A Few Charms (Banner)

A Few Charms (Banner)

Thursday, 11 February 2016

Bellies and babies and "girlie parts"

My Treasured Hearts bracelet with the genesis dangle
There’s this thing that sometimes happens with women during peri-menopause (the years leading up to menopause). This “thing” is something I’d never heard of… until it happened to me. Why don’t we talk about this? Why don’t women talk about these things? Well, I’m about to share the gory details.

In 2009, at the age of 44, I started to experience uterine hemorrhaging. This is not something women talk about. We talk with our daughters about their periods. We joke with our peers about hot flashes. But we don’t talk about this - severe blood loss. It makes me wonder if the medical profession even talks about it.

I had to go to the Emergency Room a few times and the resident would ask me, “So how many sanitary pads would you go through in a day?” I was like, “Seriously? I have handfuls of huge clots coming out of me in a BIG gush. No sanitary pad is going to stop that.” The other question was, “How many days a month do you menstruate?” Ha! I told them, “There are 3-4 days a month when I’m NOT menstruating!” Every once in a while I would meet a nurse who truly understood what I was experiencing, but it was rare. The female resident I saw at our family practice actually talked to me about my “girlie parts.”

The back of the genesis dangle next to the baseball charm
(photo from a Father's Day post about the baseball)
My kids were accustomed to seeing a trail of blood to the bathroom! I couldn’t go more than 10 feet from a washroom. Because of that it was very isolating. And I was not able to exercise or go outside. Unfortunately, isolation and lack of exercise both wreak havoc with depression.  This went on for two years. Two years! I was practically bed-ridden for two years.

My iron got lower and lower. I got weaker and weaker. I was more and more tired. I could barely walk up even the most gentle of slopes. I was unable to do anything around the house. My poor husband had to take over laundry and meals, leaving me feeling pretty incapable, adding to my depression. And it also left our home to get more and more cluttered, while my fitness level and mood kept falling.

After two years of procedures, ultrasounds and biopsies – including intra-uterine and cervical biopsies - it was discovered that I had developed a condition, similar to endometriosis, where the lining of the uterus grows into the wall of the uterus, causing pain and severe bleeding. I was on a medicine to control the bleeding and a double dose of the pill to provide progesterone. Once we had a diagnosis they were then able to control the bleeding with an IUD that provided localized progesterone.

My "belly" the day of delivery
At the same time that all this was happening I developed a DVT (deep vein thrombosis) – a blood clot – and had to immediately go on blood thinners. When this was first discovered I had to give myself injections of heparin in my belly. And every time I had an invasive procedure I had to go off oral medication and back on the heparin shots to the belly. Having a DVT was pretty scary because a blood clot can travel to your lungs, heart or brain, causing severe complications, even death.  And the reason people get blood clots – usually – is bed-rest, surgery, a broken bone, or cancer. Although I’d had a lot of bed-rest, I hadn’t had a broken bone, or had surgery, so they had to investigate cancer.  And of course, being on blood thinners was having an impact on the hemorrhaging.

It turns out that the DVT was due to an autoimmune condition, similar to Lupus, which increases the risk of blood clots in both veins and arteries (usually blood clots are in the veins). So I will be on blood thinners for the rest of my life; thank goodness with an oral medication. This condition is one of the causes of multiple miscarriages in some women, and with it I would not be able to have children.  Luckily I already had boy-girl twins and I was quite content to stop there.

When I first came across this retired “genesis” dangle in a local store, I thought it looked like a womb with a growing fetus. I assume that was the intention of the designers, because the word “genesis” can be defined as origin, creation, or beginning, coming from the Latin word for birth. I also thought that the back of the charm looked like a pregnant belly – I’m not sure that was intentional.

For me, this genesis charm, and its meaning, are very significant. This charm, with the grape rhodolite stone, was the beginning of my “Treasured Hearts” bracelet, a bracelet about the three people that I “treasure” the most, my husband and two children. So this genesis dangle represents my gratitude for my “girlie parts”! Gratitude for coming through these health challenges with all my "parts" intact - even if I am done with them, thank you very much. And gratitude for this “belly,” which allowed me to carry my two “treasured hearts” for 38 weeks!


  1. Although sad for you with everything you had to go thru. I did enjoy reading your story and it's true that not enough is talked about as far as changed in a womens body and all the things we can/should expect. Thanks for sharing your story. The charm does look like a belly and i can see why you would hold it closr to your heart. Too bad they don't still make that one. It would be a great one for all pregnant women and moms.

    1. Thanks so much for your lovely comments Tammy