More Waiting with a Side of Unanswered Questions

There’s a package sitting on our dining room table unopened. I know what it contains which is why I’m avoiding it. Weeks before during the happy blip of being pregnant, I ordered it thinking it would help us understand the next nine months.

There is no book that will help us with where we find ourselves now. And opening that envelope will just rip me open.

You’d think I’d be used to that feeling at this point but it still startles me. Yesterday was my follow-up appointment post-surgery with the doctor I met briefly before he saved my life and removed my ruptured tube. My anxiety, an emotion I wasn’t intimate with before this last year of my life, was high that morning as I got ready to leave. I had hoped my questions would be answered and that it wouldn’t be all bad news. We’re really weary of the bad news. Mr. Darcy accompanied me and as we pulled into the parking structure I think we both had our own reactions. The last time we were there was one of our worst days. It’s hard to not be triggered.

We rode the elevator and walked hand in hand through the lobby where I had sat in my sad wheelchair, shaking in pain, watching all the pregnant women walk by, as I waited hours for that fateful ultrasound appointment. We checked in at the doctor’s office and sat in the waiting room while pregnant woman after pregnant woman walked in. All in all we waited 40 minutes for the appointment.With each passing minute our frustration grew. To me it just felt so. . . flip. Like no one cared that I had been put through hell no thanks to any of them that worked there. I went to the restroom while we waited and ran into the nurse who had seen me that morning two and a half weeks ago. She looked at me like she recognized me and I tried to keep walking because I didn’t want to talk to her. But she said my name and came over with a look of wonder and concern on her face saying how good it was to see me. I tried to make light of it so I wouldn’t lose my cool. I’m tired of being the center of the scene back there by the nurses station. She said something about how she was glad I was okay and that I was famous around the office. I must have half-smiled and backed away towards the restroom. I don’t really know just that I wanted to get away from her and that conversation immediately.

I don’t want to be famous for what I went through.

No one there seems sorry for not helping me sooner. I had to be wheeled into the goddamned office because I was in so much pain I couldn’t walk and barely could get on the exam table. I had been spotting for three days. I was faint and nauseous. MY BLOOD PRESSURE WAS 82/50 for fucksake! The doctor said she “didn’t know what” she was looking at during my ultrasound. But yeah, by all means, make me wait two more hours for the ultrasound office to fit me in. I’ll just rupture in a room full of pregnant women. No worries.

Excuse me, it’s just that I’ve kind of reached the anger phase of this grief shit.

When they finally took us back to an exam room, it was the same nurse who had caught me in the hall on the way to the bathroom. I thought Mr. Darcy was going to jump out of his chair when she joked about how my blood pressure was much better than the last time. Or when she talked about how mad she was at the ER nurses for not taking my condition seriously. She finally left us before either of us said something we’d regret and the surgeon came in. He didn’t really remember my case even though he had my file in his hand. He wondered aloud where the photos of my ruptured tube were because he could have sworn he’d taken them. He asked me to lie back so he could remove my stitches and when my abdomen was revealed his reaction was, “Hoooo boy! That’s a bruise!” We told him that this was it getting better as it had been deep purple and ran the expanse of my left hip to across my bellybutton. He said it was from a ruptured blood vessel- he must have hit it when they went in that side.

I had a list of questions mostly pertaining to what’s next and what we are going to do about the fibroid they found. He left again to look at the MRI images he didn’t remember I’d had and came back to tell us the fibroid is submucosal meaning it’s growing into the inner cavity of the uterus and has got to come out. It’s about 8-9cm, not 12cm as he previously told us, and it sits on top of my uterus making it dip down. It could be why the pregnancy got stuck in the tube but we don’t know.Apparently that fibroid was visible when I had my CT Scan last year for the cancer but no one mentioned it to me. It was about 7cm then and grew to about 9cm during the first weeks of my pregnancy.

I could have had a bad tube but it’s too late to check that one. He told us to make an appointment with the fertility doctor we saw last year when all the cancer stuff was happening and get more clarity. If (probably will happen) I have the fibroid removal surgery, I need to wait 2 months before that happens (Sept) and then wait 3 months after that to try to conceive. If it looks like my other tube is problematic or if the risk of another ectopic is too great, and we don’t want to waste precious time, they might suggest harvesting my egg and Mr. Darcy’s sperm and implanting it into my uterus. That is, if my uterus is fully functioning after my fibroid surgery. If the embryo takes, hopefully I can carry it to term but I might need a cerclage on my cervix because of my previous surgeries on it from the cancer. I will have to have a c-section.

We’re running a marathon with a lot of hurdles.

We have a series of appointments in late August/early September- one with the fertility doc, two with different OB-GYNs because there is no way in hell I want to go back to that clinic and those doctors and nurses, and another with my gyno-oncologist for my 3 month follow up. I never thought I’d have so many doctors, have had all these surgeries (prior to last year, the only surgery I’d had was when I was 8 on my tonsils), or be trying to figure out how to fix my body so we could have a baby. I took so much for granted- my health, my body, the option to have a baby. I spent so much of my life trying not to get pregnant and here I am, desperate for it.

Last night I finally just succumbed to the sadness and anger and cried my eyes out. The trauma of the rupture day was too tangible after spending all that time at the scene of it. The sadness for what we can’t get back and the worry of what is to come just racked me. I’m not a quitter but I’m going to have to train for this fight. I’m not afraid of the surgeries though I worry about the cost of all this and the toll on my body and psyche. There is a lot ahead of us, so much still unknown, and we’re just trying to make sense of it all while feeling all the grief of what we’ve lost. I just don’t want us to become beaten down to the point where we don’t enjoy our life because we’re so consumed by this.

It would be so much easier if we didn’t want a baby. But we do. And so we keep at it.

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27 thoughts on “More Waiting with a Side of Unanswered Questions

  1. Just put the package away in a file drawer or under a bed or in the back of the closet. You don’t need to look at it now. Nothing good can come of opening it.

    I know this is difficult, and I’m so sorry it is happening to you. But you can do it. You can get through this. You’re strong, and beautiful, and wonderful and loved by so many.

  2. And you’ll keep on keeping at it because some things are worth the fight, and that’s who you are. And if you find yourself feeling a little too beat down, call on me and I’ll be there to give you a hand.

    Or possibly reenact that infamous Etta James concert. Because how can I ever let THAT shared experience go?

  3. I have a fortune on my refrigerator: Do not let what you do not have, prevent you from using what you do have.

    I put it there after my mid-20s daughter was forced to leave grad school just before starting a prestigious posting in Europe to come home and be treated for overwhelming depression. 3 years later, she is just going back to school for a 2nd undergrad degree – a complete course change – and she feels certain she will never find love, never have a chance to build a family of her own.

    Take time to be angry, to grieve, to decide what you will and will not agree upon as acceptable risks. But never forget you and Mr. D have each other. Children are born, they grow up, they fly away. You and Mr. D are forever together.

  4. I’m so happy to hear you’re exploring other gyns because I get overwhelmingly angry every time i think about how you were treated there.

    I’m so, so sorry you guys are going through this. I don’t know anyone who supports their partner as beautifully as you two do.

    xoxoxoxoxoxoxox.

  5. I’m so sorry you’re going through this hell. I am very glad you’re ditching that clinic, though, because no medical professional should treat their patients the way you were treated.

  6. I wish you nothing but the best! I’m not sure where you’re being seen but Northwest Womens Healthcare was fantastic with my very complicated pregnancy (I had a cerclage) and subsequent fibroid removal. Take care and please, when and if you are ready, let me know if I can help in any way.

  7. Get angry. Get sad. Have those breakdowns. It’s not fair. It’s so very hard.

    Mike said to me once, somewhere after failed pregnancy #2, while I was sitting, waiting for yet another test to try and figure out what was going on with my body that, if he’d realized how hard this whole getting and staying pregnant thing was going to be, he wouldn’t have wasted so much money on condoms. More than two years later, we still don’t have real answers for why we have so much trouble getting pregnant and then can’t stay pregnant.

    But we don’t give up, because we still have the dream of a little one with his curls and my freckles and blue eyes. We’ve only barely started talking about what happens if we don’t get a baby – what our family will be then (adoption? no kids of our own but best auntie/uncle ever? we’ll see) and we’ve been doing this for four years now.

    All this to say, everything you’re feeling is ‘normal’ if anything can be ‘normal’ in this world of trying to get knocked up with complications.The best thing to do is to love each other, and surround yourself with support from those who love you and those who know what you’re going through. And ask for support when you need it and space when you don’t.

    I think I have the same book that’s in your unopened package. It’s hidden, out of sight, but waiting until we (hopefully) need it again. My advice, for what it’s worth: Don’t open it. Toss it under a bed or in a barely-used closet. You don’t need it now, but I hope that you will need it someday.

  8. As someone who worked in the ultrasound department at a large NW hospital, I can assure you that what you’ve described is par for the course, unfortunately. I always hated that the urgent cases had to wait an hour (at minimum) and felt anxious everyday that someone would hemorrhage (or worse) in the waiting room. I think that overtime, healthcare professionals are somewhat desensitized to patients feelings (i.e, having patients with no fetal heart tone wait in a room with pregnant women who are giddy with excitement). As I read your post, I found myself sadly nodding my head in agreement. I’ve always felt a kind of kinship with you because our lives are similar in many ways…..and here is another example of that. I am so sorry that you are going through this.

  9. It can be a long road, but no matter your path I know you’ll find a way to have your baby. IVF is just another step in the process and here’s to hoping that other tube is dang fine.
    The medical service you received is appalling. I don’t know who you’re with now, but I highly Dr Letterie (Seattle Fertility – 2nd choice Dr Kennedy) and OB-Gyn Dr Hanrahan (Minor & James – 2nd choice Erin Waters). I changed my OB-Gyn along the way and it was a great decision. I’ve heard mixed results w/Seattle Fertility (Dr Letterie/Kennedy joined them after my process), but I was given input that the best lab was with Dr Letterie which is also now at Seattle Fertility.

    • To clarify re: Seattle Fertility. They are clearly the largest in the area so many people use them, but I talked to a couple people who have worked with them in ~2009-ish and the patient care felt very process oriented rather than patient oriented. I’m not sure if that makes sense. I know someone with them right now and it has been a positive experience, but I think her road had not been like yours. You definitely need someone who takes your experience and recent medical history with all the empathy it needs.

  10. I wish I had any more thoughts and consolation to offer than a big gigantic hug and all the positives thoughts that I’m sending your way.
    This, once again, makes me wonder why on earth bad things happen to the best people. My friend (who had a brain tumor) says that we’re only given what we can handle… I call BS, because who decides this anyway?
    I just think you’re so strong and resilient to keep fighting and trudging and hoping.

    Much love.

  11. You are doing exactly what you need to be doing. There is nothing more simple than that. I am so sorry that people aren’t empathetic and it should be a requirement, but sometimes it seems like the ones that are in the job where they need it the most, have it the least. you will get through this and you can. let yourself feel and be, and you will always be o.k.

  12. Sizzle – I’m sending good vibes your way. You and Mr. Darcy definitely need them. It’s so hard to see positive things in the midst of things like this. I really hope you’re able to find a few positive things here and there. They’ll help you through this.

    I’m also yelling at your medical care providers from Ohio. Not sure if my voice can make all the way there, but they need to get their sh** together. Not acceptable service for anyone, and certainly not for you!

  13. Reading more about your experience at the doctors is really making my blood boil. I’m flabbergasted by the fact that *all* of them acted like insensitive assholes. I wouldn’t want to step foot in their office ever again. I’m impressed you both were able to bite your tongues, because I’m not sure I would’ve been able to, and I don’t like confrontations.

    I’m so sorry you’re going through this, and I can’t help but feel a little awkward every time I post about what’s going on in my life right now. Because I feel for you, and I hate that you’re hurting, having to deal with all of this. It’s not fair. Not one bit.

  14. You are definitely a much better person than I am. I would have let that nurse and doctor, have the full blow of my rage. I would have definitely filed a serious complaint, if not sue their asses for mal practice. Health providers get away with murder in this country, literally! I’m so enraged for what happened to you.

  15. Oh Sizzle (and Mr. Darcy) — my heart hurts for you. And while it may seem rote to say, I do have every confidence that you are strong and will get through this … but damn, it just doesn’t feel fair. I wish you didn’t have to have this on your plate after everything else you’ve been through this past year. But I do hope so very much that a switch in doctors/facilities will be the air you need to exhale and look ahead and start fresh. Sending you strength and hope.

  16. I just wanted to thank you for sharing. Wanting to have a baby and having it be so hard. Well it sucks. I understand first hand and am still going through the process. Just wanted to offer my support to you even though we do not know each other. I just always say to myself, “You never know how strong your are, until strong is the only choice you have”.

  17. Thank you for sharing this with us. Huge hugs for you and Mr. Darcy. Wish there was more I could do. For now I’ll be hopeful for you and if you ever need another ear I’m just an email away.

  18. As I just said on Twitter, my wife would like to give you a hug (they’re great hugs, BTW). Now that I’ve read this post, I’d like to throw one in there too.

  19. I am so sorry this is happening to you. I know it seems hard and like the light at the end of the tunnel is too far away, but you must keep strong and don’t give up! I was in the same boat. I spent my whole life trying not to get pregnant, even having an abortion. When the time came and I was finally really, it was almost to late. The fertility doctor told me I had a 1% chance of getting pregnant, even with IVF my chances would be slim. I can only tell you I am 42 yrs old with my first child now 5 months old and all the doctors visits, pain, crying, and almost giving up were all worth it. Please hold on and never give up. I will send lots of good thoughts and prayers your way. Never ever give up!

  20. You are so much stronger than I think you realize. Such a fighter. You will get your baby, I just know it. And I have a feeling that your story will help other people somehow. Much love to you guys. Hang in there.

  21. You are amazing and inspiring to keep fighting for what you want. I hope hope hope that after the surgeries, you finally get some good news. And some new docs. Geesh. Happy to hear you are looking. These people seem insensitive! I can’t believe they said that about being famous. Sigh. Hugs to you!

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