Lupus Blog: "Getting Knocked Up…or Not" / by Shanelle Gabriel

Like most women, my womb and the activities that go on in it have been the subject of many a conversation. Every birthday, my favorite cousin reminds me that “Another year has gone by and you haven’t fertilized an egg.” It’s almost as if for MY 25th birthday she got a biological stop watch connected to MY uterus. Every year, I shrug her off, remind her that her timer is ticking just like mine, and that losing eggs every month is okay… I was born with 400,000 of them.

I’ve never been worried about the expiration date most of my friends worry about. You’d swear the moment you hit the big three-oh, your womb grows grey hair and it’s a wrap. I always believed that I’d cross the pregnancy bridge when I get to it, no rush, and once I find the right person it will all fall into place. This optimistic thinking almost completely went out the window a few weeks ago.

I can deal with one cousin (and the occasional random family member who wants a granddaughter, niece, or nephew, and the person who just thinks you should be barefoot and pregnant by the time you graduate college). But lately, my rheumatologist seems to have looked at the same watch my cousin is pointing to.

“So, Shanelle, where are we on family planning?”

Huh? I thought these discussions were reserved for GYN visits. I know my gynecologist’s job is to take care of me when I’m knocked up, so of course, she wants me knocked up. My rheumatologist should just be concerned with my swollen joints and prednisone dosage. 

“You ARE getting closer to 30, and that means it will be more difficult for you to get pregnant. You need to start thinking about these things.”

I laugh her off, and change the subject to my Benlysta treatment. Flash-forward to my gynecology visit that happened to be a week later....