On (definitely not) Being Pregnant!
Originally posted 11.17.2016
So… big news. We’re (definitely not) pregnant!
Was that mean? I’m sorry, but I couldn’t resist. Okay, so I’m not pregnant, but this ultrasound has been hanging on my refrigerator for the past month. This is mostly because my OBGYN joked and said “now THAT’S not something you want to hang on your refrigerator,” and then I decided that yes, actually that is exactly what I wanted to do. So there it’s been. A casual reminder that my body is growing a balloon inside of my belly. And I’m weirdly proud of it… but we’ll get to that later.
This way too long story really starts back in February. A week before, my best friend proposed to me and I - of course - said yes. It was a week later that I thought my insides were going to explode. And no, not from pre-wedding excitement. I had a sharp, excruciating pain that my above-par WebMD skills were attributing to appendicitis….. so I did what the aforementioned WebMD post told me to do and went to the hospital. They did a lot of unpleasant poking and prodding and got me into a lot of emergency testing. Turns out, it wasn’t appendicitis. Instead, they found a 10cm cyst in my pelvis.
There was an awkward ultrasound, a doctor’s appointment or two, a lot of ibuprofen, and of course, a lot of one on one time with my heating pad (god bless whoever invented the heating pad) and I was scheduled for surgery a week later.
The surgery, I’m assuming, went well. I took a long nap, and then when I woke up I got cookies. Or maybe I didn’t? To be honest, I don’t remember that day very much. But I remember they had to pump me up with gas to see my insides and I felt like that girl in Charlie and the Chocolate factory that turned into a big blueberry. I was really excited for this surgery. I had been in pain since I was 15 years old, and never had any answers. I thought that this surgery would be the end of that.
And, I mean, I did get answers. But this definitely wasn’t the end of the road. I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis, which - I think - sounds a lot more serious than it is. I’m not here to tell you what endometriosis is. WebMD can do that, if you’re curious. (No, this post was not endorsed by WebMD but gahhh… I love it.) But it’s incurable, causes lots of pain, and is the leading cause of infertility.
So here I am… newly engaged, poofy as a balloon that’s about to pop, and high as a kite. (They give you the good stuff when you have surgery.) At first it felt good to have an answer to years of pain, but it didn’t really hit me until a week later at my follow up appointment.
We - meaning Christian and I - had spent an hour with my surgeon reviewing my surgery. The highlight was looking at my ovaries’ glamor shots. The worst part was waiting for my doctor’s note excusing me from work while I recovered.
We were sitting in a lobby full of children and mothers and expectant mothers, and it all hit me at once. There’s a chance that having kids isn’t in my future. And right there, in the middle of the lobby, I broke down. Christian grabbed the doctor’s note, and walked me out to the car. I don’t know exactly what I said, but I remember giving him an out. I couldn’t see how anybody would still want to marry me after realizing that I was damaged goods. Don’t people get married to have kids?
And… I mean… he’s perfect. He’s always been so rock solid in his positivity. Since then, it’s been a roller coaster, but I rarely see myself as damaged goods anymore. Because of him. I think one of my favorite moments was after (yet another) OBGYN appointment, where we had to discuss the inevitability of future fertility problems. We were eating lunch in the hospital cafeteria, and I broke down, because apparently I like to do that in public places… And he held my face firmly in his hands and said that he was excited for our future no matter what. If we had kids, we would have so much fun. If we couldn’t have kids, we would have so much fun. And I’ve held on to that. Life, with him, is going to be so. much. fun.
Okay, I’m almost done, I promise.
I’m writing this because I’m about to go in for my second surgery. During a follow up ultrasound, they found that both of my cysts had returned, and advised a slightly more invasive surgery. And that’s today! Maybe even as you’re reading this! And if you can’t tell by my use of exclamation points, I’m really excited! But I have realistic expectations this time. I know it won’t cure me. I know that I will deal with this for my whole life, and I’m learning to be okay with that. I am healthy, and I am loved, and I am so lucky to be me. But here’s why I’m writing this...
If you have extreme menstrual pain, that is NOT normal. If your OBGYN doesn’t have answers, INSIST on those answers. It's estimated that one in ten women have endometriosis, and no matter what the world would have you believe, extreme period pain is NOT normal. You know your body. If you can tell there’s something wrong, figure out what that is. Who knows where I’d be if my OBGYN had discovered this when I went in for pain at 15.
PLEASE don’t be afraid to tell me you’re pregnant. This whole experience has made me appreciate that aspect of life so much more, and I will be SO HAPPY FOR YOU AND THIS IS NOT EVEN FAKE I AM GENUINELY ALL CAPS EXCITED FOR YOU.
Be grateful for modern medicine. They can’t do everything yet, they don’t know everything yet, but they know a lot and it’s pretty amazing.
And, most importantly, bring me chocolates because I’m recovering from surgery and I deserve it. Okay, mostly kidding. Thank you for being such a great community of friends & family. I love you. :)