Sunday, September 8, 2013

New Methods of Vaginal Humiliation

I'm sick of feeling vulnerable.

I'm sick of laying down and putting my legs in stirrups and bracing myself for whatever they're going to find.

I'm so tired of being wheeled into yet another procedure, brought down the long, sterile hall, alone with the doctors and nurses, because it's my body that's broken and needs fixing, and no one else can go through the surgery for me.

I'm long over laying on the couch, losing another sunny day to feeling like shit, or bleeding too much, or crying the hormones out.

I don't want to worry anymore about heartbeats or complications. Can no longer handle being the 1% standard deviation patient.

I had the surgery, on Wednesday. They successfully removed my submucosal fibroid.

And now, having thought I'd suffered every humiliation possible in this quest for children, I learned but wait! There's more. There's something called a balloon catheter that they sometimes put in your uterus after something like a fibroid surgery. They blow it up with saline and shove it in there so the walls of the uterus won't touch and form scars. My witty friend S. suggested that perhaps they could put candy in it instead, so you could be a human piƱata! That would only be mildly less humiliating.

Last night, the tube of this catheter fell out of my vagina, which they warned me may happen. So now? I have a long, plastic tube hanging from me. This feels nothing like the tampon string the doctors suggested it would feel like. They should really test these things out before they go making such declarations. What it feels like is a big, heavy piece of plastic hitting the inside of my thigh and shifting around every time I walk. I now know roughly what it would feel like to have a really skinny penis and it makes me sort of understand why guys are always adjusting themselves.

But back to the surgery. So I finally settled on a surgeon and center, though I still had reservations. It took me years to build enough trust with my old doctor to the point where I never questioned her, and surgery became if not comfortable, at least less panic-inducing for me. I'm still trying to process exactly what happened, but it seems like she missed the fibroid in the cavity when she scoped me in March, before the last pregnancy. That pregnancy was chromosomally normal. Did it land on the fibroid? Would I still be pregnant with a healthy boy if it had been caught? Was it indeed there, or did it surface during or after the pregnancy? I am asking questions about a doctor I adored and trusted wholeheartedly, and constructs of reality are being torn down. So I don't know exactly how to trust a doctor I really don't know at all.

I got my period last Friday, of course, the day we headed off with H for a much-needed mini vacation after a summer of moving and settling in. I called the office, scrambled in for blood work and the surgery was scheduled for Wednesday. And even after all I'd been through, every prior surgery that told me this one would be okay, I was terrified. We dropped H with a generous friend willing to watch him and then I was in my pre-op room, waiting.

I wanted my husband to do it for me. I wanted to run away. I wanted to pick up H and enjoy the sunshine at a park. They wheeled me in. I said I wasn't sure I could do it. They called in an anesthesiologist who "specializes in anxious patients." I asked the other guy if I scared him away. The row of doctors and nurses lined up at my bedside laughed. They gave me Versed, the edge was gone, and the last thing I remember is being told a random story about the anesthesiologist's first job.

When it was over, I couldn't wait to leave. I bounced up, relief overshadowing the need to move gingerly. I was standing in my friend's driveway talking about H's time with her when I felt the first gush.

I got home and assessed the damage. Lots of blood. Pad the heaviest I've ever seen, densely red. I called. They told me it's normal, it's probably less than I think, when you've been laying down a while it gushes out sometimes. You know what? I've been to this performance before. I know a pas de bourree from a pirouette. I know the difference between blood coming out and coming out in a way that almost hurts. They urged me to lay on the couch a while and see if it slowed. When I moved at one point and saw that my couch cushion looked like a b-grade horror film scene, we were back in the car on the way to the ER.

I sat on the toilet in the ER, giant clots coming out of me, and just thought I'm done. Worst-case scenarios whirled through my head. They tell you there's a risk of their piercing your uterus during surgery. Don't they say that because it happens sometimes?

That wasn't what happened to me. I was in a 1% complication bracket with the complication it was, but luckily it wasn't the kind of 1% that required more surgery or worse. It was a bleed at the site on my cervix where they put the tenaculum. Apparently bleeding at that site is common, but usually resolved at the end of surgery. Mine reopened and needed cauterization. Then I could finally go home to the couch, still dizzy from the meds. I slept on and off for two days straight. I felt like I'd had a run-in with a large truck. I'm still exhausted.

On Monday, the balloon catheter comes out. Then I meet with a doctor to determine an IVF plan.

I've known for approximately forever that I wanted kids. It's deeply part of the fabric of me, like feeling the first chill of autumn somewhere in my soul and loving Nora Ephron movies. I can't change that. I had a beautiful baby boy 3.5 years ago and it didn't cure me of wanting kids any more than winning the World Series makes a ball player pine for retirement. For some reason, the one thing I've wanted, more instinctively than anything else, is hard. Damn hard. Harder than anything I've ever done. And unexpectedly, despite all the time I've spent in this zone of fighting for it, I feel like I have fewer answers than ever about what it all means or where I'm supposed to go or how long I'm supposed to fight.


Amelia said...

The same for me. That old saying, when you hear hoof beats check for horses not zebras? I'm the zebra. And my love for G is the reason I want more. What a beautiful thing it would be.
Sending light and love. I'm sorry you have to go though this.

anofferingoflove said...

oh honey...I don't even have words. sending you bits of strength and warmth. xo

Unknown said...

I so get feeling like you are always on the wrong side of the odds. It sounds like you have dragged through the mud (again). Sorry that procedure turned into such an ordeal. I'm glad you are feeling better and are on the mend.

Anonymous said...

I am so sorry it just keeps going and going. I'm glad you feel better now, but so frustrated on your behalf that you keep ending up on the wrong side of the statistical odds.

Hugs, hun.

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