Labor Day weekend my Dad, his fiance, Big Butter, and I went up to Vedauwoo. For those not familiar with the Colorado/Wyoming area, Vedauwoo is about 30 minutes west of Cheyenne Wyoming. There are lots of large strange lookin' rock formations up there that big nerdy climbers like my Dad like to play on. They aren't particularly difficult routes, but the rock is all granite and pretty pokey. I like climbing a teeny bit, but if the rock is cutting the shit out of you, it really isn't that enjoyable in my opinion. Basically I went along because we were going to have a picnic (have I told you how much I love picnicking? well I love it!) and I get to see my dad about once a month or less. So Butter and I drove up together and I brought my trusty book about Molly Brown and a blanket so I could rest while they tackled the evil rock.
During our picnic, the conversation invariably got around to pregnancy and I turned to dad to confirm the facts I had already found out about my mom. A while ago I asked him why my mom needed to have a c-section with Big Butter (because that invariably led to me being a c-section. This was before they did VBACs. Take that bitches I know official terms and shit!). Turns out mom wanted to give birth in St. Luke's (Kansas City) brand new birthing center. It was designed to look like home (it just made me all warm and fuzzy to hear that my mom wanted a similar birth experience as me) and you could have your family there with you. So she went into labor and headed to the birth center. But after 24 hours with not a whole lot of progress she developed a fever and there were signs that Butter was struggling, so off she went to get chopped open. Butter had to stay a couple extra days in the hospital and was given antibiotics.
I knew this stuff already, but I was curious how close I was born to my actual due date, because mom scheduled me to come out on the 8th. Mostly I was curious whether I was actually meant to be like a 9 pounds baby and because I was taken out early I was only 7 1/2 pounds. Andy was around 7 1/2 pounds too, so I was all excited that Nugget probably won't be too gihugic. Then I remembered I was a c-section. Doh!. Dad couldn't really remember my exact due date, but he thought it was pretty close to when I was scheduled. So who knows for sure.
But then the conversation shifted, somehow, and he mentioned something about how mom had a seizure when she was pregnant with me. Um what? Dad said, 'yeah she was taking Bendectin, an anti-nausea medication, and one night I woke up and she was seizing'. He said that she didn't remember having one, he told her that it had happened. (Did I mention both my parents were nurses? I guess I should considering you're probably like 'um why didn't he call an ambulance and get her checked out). He wasn't sure if it was because of the medication or not, but I think she stopped taking it after that. I remember my mom telling me that her nausea was really bad. I think it was one of those things that looking back you kind of downplay it, but she told me a story of having to throw up in the parking lot before going into the grocery store. Yikes. Considering I thought my nausea was kind of miserable and I just had a sort of all day constant nausea without vomitting, I am assuming hers was much worse. Poor momma. Glad she stuck it out and decided to give me life and all.
Anyway, big forgetful preggo brain (me) lost the name of the medication in my brain matter a couple days later. I knew it started with a "B", but that was all I could remember. So I jumped on the magic internets and looked for "anti-nausea medication 1982". The first thing that popped up was a discussion thread that started with someone asking "My mom took an anti-nausea medication in 1982, does anyone know what it might have been?". Took the words right out of my mouth. So I look at the first response and see "Bendectin". That's it! Something told me to read on. (here's the page in case you're curious). After reading some of the entries I had an oh shit moment. A lot of the women writing in were mothers who had taken Bendectin or daughters of mothers who did and SEVERAL of them were talking about being diagnosed with PCOS and/or having extreme fertility troubles. There was mention of Endometriosis too. Basically general reports of damaged lady parts. You have to be shitting me! Believe me this isn't at all what I was looking for. Mostly I wanted to be able to go into my midwife and say 'hey my mom took Bendectin and had a seizure with me, should I be worried about anything?'. I figured she would write it down in my file and say, 'no, you don't need to worry, Bendectin never had any bad side effects on the baby yada yada yada". I had no idea I would stumble upon a hint as to a possible reason for my fertility issues.
Before you all get excited and run out to kick your mom's doctor in the junk, let me say, it doesn't look like there is an official study tying the two things together. But it is a possibility. Here is a more official article talking about Bendectin and some of the birth defects they observed. It sounds like the original, three ingredient, drug was the issue. A study was done in the 60s on animals and somehow (evil drug companies thinking only of profit) the conclusions showed no negative affects on the animals. Drug companies reporting positive outcomes, noooooo! The article points out how they didn't study any of the animal's fetuses and the discussion thread suggests that there was a lawsuit filed by a group of mothers who were prescribed Bendectin. Someone, official, looked at the data from the original study and said it wasn't convincing that there were no effects to the animals. The FDA official in charge of approving Bendectin later said if she had seen the original study data she would have required more investigation into the effects. Awesome!
The good news is that a newer version of Bendectin was released at the end of the 1970s. This one only had two ingredients, B-6 and some other medical wordy thing. No effects were reported from women who took this newer version. But, it is possible that the original version of Bendectin was available to women up until 1982. You're shittin' me again!
Listen peeps, I am not here to say 'this is what caused my fertility issues'. After reading all two of those web-pages I wouldn't say I am that certain, but it does make you wonder. If that many women are reporting similar problems with getting pregnant and their moms took the same drug about the same time frame. I mean you can't really ignore that it might be a possibility. But where does that put us? No where really. I mean it isn't like someone out there has said 'Bendectin caused it, here's how you fix it'. Good news is a lot of the women who posted on the thread reported eventual success at getting pregnant and then obviously I am pregnant. So that is good news. Hopefully one of your parent's will be able to tell you if your mom took any medications during your pregnancy. Maybe she didn't take Bendectin at all. Who knows. I am not saying 'that must be it, all of us must have fertility issues because of Bendectin!'.
The only reason I thought this was something blog worthy is that I know so many wonderful, beautiful ladies out there struggling to get pregnant. Like I said, it doesn't help a whole lot to know about something that doesn't really have a solution, but there is some kind of relief in knowing that we might not be broken for no particular reason. There could be some actual tangible thing that made us fertally retarded compared to those women who can get pregnant without even trying. Anyway, I know my story is full of holes. You might get out there and find this whole theory is total B.S., in which case, let me know about it. But for those who are interested, there's my investigative reporting for the day.