I don’t share a lot. I’ve learned this over the course of my life, and more so with this blog. I’ll write a few lines at best and consider adding more later, but I hardly ever do. Right now though I am compelled otherwise. Warning: read at your own risk. I may be overcompensating for my long silence and a wee bit melodramatic because it comes so naturally. Since I wrote this I’m feeling much better, which can only be good, well, for now. I reserve the right to delete this in ten minutes.
For the past few weeks I’ve felt nauseated. Normally this sort of thing is annoying at best, however I got excited because at the same time my period was late and I’m more clockwork than not. With each passing hour I got more and more excited. (Yes, from feeling like I might hurl.) I wrote Elsa short updates and had her crossing fingers, etc. I bought two home pregnancy tests and conducted the first one two days after my period was due. Negative. This didn’t deter me at all, rather I was excited with each visit to the toilet and no sign of a period. Give it two days, I thought, I’ll test again. Two days later, negative, but still no period so I wasn’t too too bothered by it. Instead I caught myself doing little dances, cupping my hands to my mouth and saying “oh my god” like a beauty contestant about to be crowned. I found myself imagining a life changed by the arrival of a new one which is quite unusual for me.
For most of my reproductive years I haven’t been the type to day dream about babies or children in general. Rather, my spacing out/visualization time has focussed more on designing a little studio space, or redecorating my current dwelling. In fact, now that I think about it, I don’t really dream about the future anymore. Before I met JM I would day dream about my future husband (who some days looked like Colin Firth, other days like Ralph Fiennes) and I did a pretty good job finding him. I’m not sure how I decided I wanted kids beyond the primitive surge of hormones egging me on every month. I also don’t pretend to know what I’m getting myself into (although I read lots of mommy blogs filled with the words like poop, love, teeth, no, strangle, fascinated, etc and somehow I am not disheartened).
A few weeks before all this, JM and I had made plans with friends who would be coming down to Mandurah on the weekend and we would then tour the wine region in Margaret River. Well, I definitely wouldn’t be partaking on this trip, but I didn’t care. What I did care about was the spotting that was now happening. I bought two more tests and decided to wait until Saturday morning before taking the first one. Negative yet again. I started to worry. By then I was a week late. The weekend went along with me feeling like I would start my period at any moment, but I never did. I resolved to see a doctor on Tuesday when we returned. That morning I took the fourth test. Negative. I made my appointment.
After a bit of calling around I finally found a clinic that explained how things worked in Australia (this part of the story is reserved for another post and rant about how I miss the Swiss system) and I could get in to see a GP that afternoon. When we arrived at the clinic we were greeted with the most depressing waiting room ever (granted sick people aren’t a happy bunch anyway, so I should set my expectations accordingly). My doctor, a diminutive Indian woman, came out to get me by calling my first name only. I followed her back into the office and sat in the chair she offered. I explained what brought me to her and she listened quietly, too quietly. The more she didn’t say, the more I blurted about my history with endometriosis, etc. Finally she suggested that we do a blood test for pregnancy and that I should return tomorrow to discuss the results as well as have a pelvic exam.
At noon the next day I sat for half an hour in the waiting room until she came out and called my name. I followed her back into the office, took my seat, and watched as she brought up my file on the computer. “The test was negative,” she said staring into the computer and not at me. My insides sank and I held back the tears threatening to bathe my cheeks. Just a little longer, I told myself, don’t let her see you’re upset. She then did a pelvic exam, explaining that a pap smear wasn’t possible because of the spotting, but my uterus was enlarged and there was a polyp, and she then went on to prescribe Ponstan and order an ultrasound. I left her office and immediately saw JM look up at me from his seat in the waiting room. I shook my head no, walked to the reception desk, paid the bill and released the dam gates outside. Small controlled sobs, I was still in public after all.
Thanks to JM, we were able to wrangle the ultrasound for that day. I had been through this before because of my previous struggle with endometriosis. In Switzerland my specialist could do everything in her office and she would explain what she was seeing on the screen. I knew here that wouldn’t be possible, they’d tell me that it was up to someone else to interpret, but I devised a way around this. At the appointment I was able to ask the technician if that was my ovary he was measuring or a cyst on it? A cyst. What’s the size? 4 to 6 centimeters. When he realized I understood what he was looking at he was a bit more comfortable sharing the information with me. Yes, chocolate cysts and all are back and kicking my abdomen’s ass.
I wept on and off the rest of the day, in public, in the car, at home, I didn’t care anymore who saw me. I was breath-gasping, gut-wrenching, banshee-wailing sad. On the ride home I told JM that I almost wished it had been a miscarriage or ectopic pregnancy because then I would have been able to say at least I got pregnant once. (I don’t mean to belittle the pain of someone experiencing either of those, but right then infertility was the greater curse for me. In retrospect, had it been either of the other situations I would have reacted just as insensitively.) I felt stupid, gullible and betrayed by my body. Again.
I still have to go back for my pap and to discuss the ultrasound, but from what I gathered, I have an old familiar path to travel and one from which I can never stray. I managed my symptoms in the past with a strict diet, but over the years have abandoned it for my lazy, sugar loving ways. Starting Monday I will return to the wheat/sugar/dairy/meat/fun-free diet that saw my previous cysts shrink and made me pain free. For the next three days, however, I am indulging in as much pasta, bread, and sugar I can consume for which I am neither proud nor ashamed. Farewell Nestle, oh how I love thee. As for being fertilely-challenged, I’ll make an appointment soon to follow up on other options.
The grief, the crying, the sadness, doesn’t stem from the return of the cysts, the strict diet, or what lies ahead. It’s thinking about that week of boundless joy, the giddiness, the happy, silly girl surprised by her own reaction to the possibility of parenthood. If only it had lasted a little longer…