Doors

It’s been quiet here. I just haven’t known what to say. So often I feel like I’ve been dragging around my problems, always with some new story about a doctor’s visit or trouble to share, exhausting everyone who comes in contact with me by talking about what really is going on. I sometimes think, when did I become that girl? I don’t want to be that person people feel sorry for or avoid because their reality is just too heavy. I vacillate between feeling sad about this and feeling angry. Sometimes I feel numb which is an odd reprieve.

But the thing is, I went through a door and I can’t get back. Because once you go through the proverbial door, it’s gone. I went through one door when they found the cancer. There was no returning to the person I was before those words were spoken. It changed me in such profound ways that a year and a half later, I still don’t comprehend the breadth of it. I went through another door when we lost the baby. I feel like I’m still stuck in a room with no way out after that experience. I get flashes of it from time to time- like full-body remembering when I was writhing in pain and scared out of my mind while machines beep and Darcy looks at me with complete and utter anguish. That shit was real and awful and even my body isn’t done processing it all.

There are moments where I feel okay. I’ve got my brave face on with only a few cracks here or there, mostly around the eyes, where people might glimpse my sadness. I go out in the world, make small talk, work, run errands, and try to be a functioning human. But mostly I’m at home with my husband and our pets, where it feels safest. Where I don’t have to be “together” and okay with the fact that our baby ruptured inside of me and we’re not going to have our own biological children. I can cry in the kitchen while making Thanksgiving stuffing because I’m overcome with sadness about not passing on our family traditions to our child. I don’t have to pretend it’s okay for the sake of everyone else’s feelings. Because it is not okay and it probably will never be okay and trying to swallow that reality pill is huge and it’s stuck in my throat.

I’ve learned a lot of things these past two years having gone through my own personal tragedies. And mostly what I know for sure is I know nothing is for certain. I will never understand why life unfolds as it does or why bad things happen to good people or why we think qualifying a person as bad or good means they deserve an easier or better life or why we put so much pressure on ourselves to live a certain way, so busy striving for it, we hardly get to enjoy it or why some friends disappear when shit gets hard and others show up at your doorstep to hold your hand while you cry or why some people get to have babies but don’t want them and others can’t but want them desperately or why most of us are so scared of saying the wrong thing we say nothing at all. . .

Lately, I don’t trust all my reactions because I’m raw and easily hurt. I’m quick to frustration and easily stressed. My memory is shot. I make simple errors because I’m not operating at 100%. I sleep fitfully and feel tired a lot. It’s not pretty. I miss caring about pretty. I miss the me that didn’t know what I know now.

The holidays feel tough this year but then again most things feel difficult. We’ll get a tree and maybe the twinkling lights will bring some cheer. We’ll go back east to visit family and maybe the togetherness and change of scenery will do some good. I’m taking most of December off from work to regroup, disconnect from the daily grind to reconnect with myself, and hopefully move through some of these stuck places. As if unsticking your stuck places is as easy as that. “I’ve scheduled time to get unstuck- let’s do this!”

We’ll see what happens. I have no idea what’s next. When I find the door, I’ll let you know.

Life with Otis

It’s hard to believe it’s only been a month since Otis joined our family. It feels like so much longer. Partly because we’re so exhausted and partly because he’s just such a joy. The cats don’t wholeheartedly agree yet but they are coming around. They actually will enter the room now if Otis is there which is a far cry better than when he first arrived and they recoiled in horror at the sight of him.

otis's first day home

Baby Otis on his first day in our home.

We manage our time differently now and take into consideration that there’s a wee pup at home waiting for company when we make plans. We get up early to play with him and spend hours after work avoiding his puppy nips and relishing in his sweetness. I take him to the office some days where he has won over the hearts of all my co-workers. I have never had so many people come by my cubicle. When I leave him at home, they inquire where he is and make pouty faces. Pretty soon I will need to come up with a better barricade because he’s growing so fast. I swear every morning I see a change.

Otis is very popular at the office but he's not very good at filing or data entry.

Otis is very popular at the office but he’s not very good at filing or data entry.

Last night Mr. Darcy took him to his first puppy training class (I had a work function, sadly) and he was a star. He learned to sit in one class! This gives me great hope that potty training him outside will not be arduous though we anticipate some accidents and sleepless nights in our future.

Otis loves toys. And ankles. And jeans. And stray socks. And hands.

Otis loves toys. And ankles.
And jeans. And stray socks. And hands.

We’re so grateful to have such a lively, sweet pup in our family. We’re anxiously awaiting his second round of shots so we can have puppy play dates with our friends and go on walks.

I will miss this piglet belly when he gets bigger and outgrows it.

I will miss this piglet belly when he gets bigger and outgrows it.

Milestones

A year ago today Mr. Darcy and I donned fancy clothes and in front of our nearest & dearest, vowed to choose each other every day for the rest of our lives.

toasting

That was the best day of my life.

It has not been a carefree year for us. I look at this picture and remember how incredibly happy we were despite a year where we fought The Cancer, started a new job, bought a house, and moved all while planning the wedding. We thought that we were on an upswing after all that stress. And we were but it didn’t last long enough. Upswings rarely do.

The thing is- even though we have had a rocky first year, we as a couple are not rocky. Despite all the sorrow, we have done our best to navigate it with tenderness, grace, and humor. It’s often been downright brutal and we’ve fallen apart and put each other back together again and again. If there’s one thing I can say that’s good from all the bad it’s that we are stronger for our troubles. I would not wish anyone else by my side than Mr. Darcy. Even when we’re fighting, even when we’re lost in our own grief, and especially when we’re laughing. Marrying a guy who can make me laugh when I’m crying is among one of my smartest choices in this life.

This past weekend we got ourselves an anniversary gift.

otis sits

His name is Otis and he is a seven week old Australian Shepherd and Catahoula Leopard mix.

As we drove home with him, I cried. I was just overcome with how much I needed him. We both need something happy to turn our attention to and to love together. A salve for our wounded hearts. Enter Otis, the best present ever.

otis comes home otis sleeps

We’re hoping year two has less troubles and more joy. I think Otis might help with that.

I love you, Darcy. Thank you for being my person.

The Answer to the Question

“How are you?” is “I’m not okay.”

The fundraiser I worked on- worked three weeks time in the past two weeks- was Saturday. It was apparently a success. We raised money. People had a good time. I can’t even wrap my head around it because I’m exhausted to the bone. I spent the last few weeks living and breathing that event, working 12 hour days, attempting to push down my feelings about the reality of my personal life while giving work 120%. I wasn’t always successful at keeping a lid on my emotions as evidenced by the crying jags in my cubicle and the meltdowns I had in my car. I wasn’t handling stresses I normally could roll with in the same way. I went to my boss on a daily basis and tried to quit. I hit the bottom of despair and convinced myself that I am not good at what I do. On top of everything I was sitting there sobbing, thinking how I now have to find a new career at 40 years old. Everything was overblown for me. All my rational thoughts were used up on the planning of the event.

Then yesterday, the Monday after the event, I had to go to the doctor before coming into the office. That appointment was with a surgeon, one recommended by other doctors, one that could perform the removal of my fibroid. Except, after talking to her we were even more convinced that trying to get pregnant is not in the cards for us. The surgery is risky- they could try to do it robotically but it’s very likely they would have to open me up if it started bleeding too much (opening up means longer recovery) plus the fibroid penetrates the uterine lining so sewing me up is challenging and later if I did get pregnant (most likely after costly IVF), I run a risk of rupturing while carrying our baby which could endanger both me and the child. My left tube may or may not open up with the removal of the fibroid. Darcy has had some time to process all this while I’ve been buried under work and he’s still very sad but he’s also more sure the right thing to do is to look for alternative ways to be parents. After watching me rupture, lose our baby, bleed internally, and get negligent care, he’s very hesitant about me having any more medical interventions. I can’t blame him. If I had to go through watching him be in distress like I was? I wouldn’t want him doing anything drastic either.

So yesterday I arrive at the office after the doctor’s appointment where I had spent the entire car ride over bawling my eyes out and everyone was smiling and saying “congratulations” and saying positive things about the fundraiser. Except I didn’t care. In fact, every congratulations felt like a punch in the gut because the only thing I was thinking about is how I will never get to be pregnant or have a child that is made up of Darcy and me. I kept trying to hold it together and smile but I have no poker face and, well, it’s kind of hard to hide the fact that you’ve been crying when your skin gets all blotchy red and your eyes are big puff balls.

I don’t know how I will get through this though I know I have to somehow. I’m the most sad I can remember ever being. It’s different from when I had cancer because that was a scared sad. This is just a deep, deep sorrow that feels like something is tugging on my heart. And I know I have to feel it all to keep moving through it. And I know that someday it won’t feel so tragic, that maybe a happy ending could find us after all. But right now I am worried that this is going to break me in so many pieces I won’t be able to put myself back together. That I will be changed so much I won’t recognize myself. That I will become a shell of my former self- all hallowed out and sad and jealous of women who get to have babies. A part of me has died and I’m trying to figure out how to survive the loss.

I’m writing because I don’t know what else to do. Talking about it hurts. Seeing the look on people’s faces when they hear about it is too much to handle right now. It just reflects back to me the reality of what I’m trying to swallow.

I don’t want any of this to be true. But it is.

(I’m turning off comments on this because I don’t want anyone to feel like they have to say something comforting. It’s an awkward situation. A fucking shitty, awkward situation. And you’ve all been so nice to me already. You don’t need to do more. )

Can I order a new reality?

In the past month I’ve been to three OBs, one gyno-oncologist, one fertility doctor, to radiology and ultrasound, and a fertility support group. To say we’re overwhelmed with information and feeling would be an understatement.

The reality of our situation hits us in waves. Some moments we can find peace and hope. Others we are curled in a ball on the bed crying into our pillow. We’re up. We’re down. We’re resigned. We’re angry. We’re always, always sad. After all those experts took a look at my case, examined my uterus, the stupid fibroid encasing the top of it, my cancer history and sub-par cervix, and my god damned closed left fallopian tube, they all said the same thing: the fibroid has to come out and you’ll have to do IVF if you are going to carry your baby.

But one doctor at a different hospital was very frank and blunt and laid out the risks involved with such a surgery. The likelihood that I would have to be cut open is high instead of doing the less invasive surgery robotically. That would increase my recovery time as it’s harder on my body. Removing the fibroid is tricky and mine is large so I could start to bleed while they attempted it laparoscopically and then they might quickly have to open me anyway. Even after that surgery and subsequent recovery, there is no telling if my left tube would open OR if it would be safe for me to carry a baby to term. The uterus could rupture while I am carrying our baby which is very risky for me and for the baby. What percentage are these risks? I don’t know. But they exist and are making us very concerned about moving forward with this path towards being parents.

After the appointment with the blunt doctor (we appreciated her candor and time), we sat in the car in the parking lot and talked about what to do. Mr. Darcy felt that we should not move forward with me having the surgery and trying to carry our baby. He thinks it is too risky and he doesn’t want us to go through that. He basically said, “You are the most important thing to me and I don’t want to lose you. We can find another way to be parents.” (Everyone I tell this to goes “aww” or tears up.) I’m pretty sure he has some PTSD from having to watch me during that rupture day and I don’t blame him. He’s got a lot of anger towards doctors who were negligent, rightfully so. I’m mad too it’s just that I’m more sad and I have to spread what little energy I have to trying not to fall completely apart. I mostly agree with him on this as I’m not sure what my body can do and I’ve lost faith in it. What if I went through with the surgery and we paid through the nose for IVF and I still didn’t get pregnant? By then we’ve likely lost a year, we’re closer to 41, and if it doesn’t work we’ll have to start anew on a different path, all of which are time-consuming, lengthy, and costly.

Depending on the day, hell, the hour, my decision changes. It absolutely breaks my heart to think that I cannot carry our baby. That we will not have a child with our genetic make up. Please don’t tell us how we will love an adopted baby just as much even though you mean well and you’re probably right. We’re really sad and mad right now and trying to wrestle with the reality that we can’t be parents the way most folks can. Please don’t tell us about surrogacy unless you have gone through it. It’s complicated and costly and difficult to get support with that option. This is an uncomfortable situation for everyone. No one knows what to say and all the advice is well meaning and most of the time we appreciate it. Sincerely, we do. But there’s a huge piece of this that makes us feel really, really alone and lost and like failures, and so angry at unknowns and bad luck and EVERYTHING. There are parts of this that we, as husband and wife, are unable to even support each other through. Grief is often a solitary process.

We’re still looking into the options though not really the one where I carry the baby as all signs point to that being not the right path. We’re still looking to talk to adoptive parents either through foster-to-adopt or private adoption and anyone who has done surrogacy. We appreciate your good thoughts and sympathy and your well-meaning advice. I might not respond to every email right away but I will eventually. I am buried at work under a 400-person gala fundraiser that is sucking the life out of me. I’ve hardly had time to feel my feelings on this because I’m working my ass off and have no spare time. I cry in the car or on my morning walks and then I get back to business because this event isn’t going to plan itself despite of me wishing it would or the numerous times I’ve walked into my boss’s office saying I want to quit (she refuses to entertain these dramatic outbursts- luckily we’re friends).

I probably won’t be writing again until after the fundraiser. That is, if I survive it, or if I’m not crumpled in a ball in the corner having a nervous breakdown.

Crossroads

Last week we had appointments with a new OBGYN and a fertility doctor as well as enduring an hour-long ultrasound appointment (where they put us in the same room as the day I ruptured). Yesterday, I took myself to radiology for an hysterosalpinogogram or HSG as ordered by my new OB. An HSG is where they fill your uterus with contrast dye to get a better look at it and the fallopian tubes. Or in my case, the left fallopian tube as that’s all I’ve got left. To say this is an uncomfortable procedure would be a bit of an understatement. Filling a uterus that quickly with liquid causes it to severely cramp, to the point where I was doing deep breathing and at one point said “shit” pretty distinctly because OW.

But that wasn’t the worst part. As the dye filled my uterus and we watched the screen, it was clear even after pushing more dye into me that none of it was making its way into my left tube. My left tube is not open which pretty much means we can’t get pregnant naturally. Maybe my right tube hadn’t been open either which is why our baby got stuck there. It’s not like they check these things before they tell you to go ahead and get pregnant. So much is left up to chance and we just seem to have pulled the short straw when it comes to fertility.

As I laid there on the cold steel table with my legs bent and contrast dye leaking out of me, looking at the image of my uterus and that god damned useless left tube, reality hit me and I started to cry. I have endured countless indignities and disappointments in the past 14 month and for what? To come to this hard truth as I lay naked from the waist down dripping on a towel and crying in front of three women.

I feel like a failure. Like my body has betrayed me. As if I am disappointing not only myself but my sweet husband and our families because my body can’t make a baby without medical intervention. I’m 40 1/2 years old so time is not on my side. I have spent my entire life knowing that I want to be a mother but never fathoming that the choice would be taken away from me because my body can’t do the job. I foolishly believed that even if there were complications, THIS would not happen to me. Over and over, I am reminded that life happens with or without the plans you’ve made.

So we are faced with choices, all of which come with their own difficulties. Do we take the path towards IVF meaning I  will have to get the 7cm fibroid that is sitting on the top of my uterus removed and wait 3 months before starting the laborious IVF process which has no guarantees for producing a child and is very costly? Or do we decide not to medically intervene, let go of the want for our own biological child, and start the long process of becoming foster-to-adopt parents- enduring months of training, home visits, scrutiny, soul-searching, to hopefully be placed with a child that will not be taken back and put with birth relatives after we’ve attached ourselves to him/her? Or do I just get the hysterectomy and we adopt some dogs and take that trip to Paris and grow old together with no children to raise?

We’re overwhelmed and conflicted, feeling so much pressure to make the RIGHT choice as we grieve this huge loss. We also don’t have that much time because if we are going to do IVF, I’ll need to have that fibroid surgery right away. The clock keeps ticking and I wish I could rewind time and change this. But here we are, at a crossroads, pondering which way to go.

Right now we need to do some research about foster-to-adopt and IVF. We really want to talk to people have lived through both- the good and the bad stories- so we can more carefully weigh these options. If you have any experience with either or know a blog, a friend, a family member who has done any of these, we’d welcome the chance to hear their story.

Things & Other Things

Life continues to ramble on as I wait for the onslaught of doctor’s appointments scheduled in early September. I find myself crying at odd times- the day after I have my first session with a new therapist specializing in grief and infertility or in the office of my acupuncturist that I hadn’t visited since the week I found I out I was pregnant. And not so odd times- when a favorite song plays and my voice catches as I sing along, hugging old friends that I miss terribly, watching moms with their babies, thinking about how far along I’d be if. . .

We took a quick trip to California for a cousin’s wedding where I got to see, hug, and laugh with extended family, visit the ocean, drive across the Bay Bridge eight times, and see some of my oldest & dearest friends (albeit too briefly). It was a nice distraction.

My August is busy, busy, busy. First the California trip then this weekend, Portland to celebrate Jenny Two Times’ 40th birthday, then back to Seattle to ready our house for Mr. Darcy’s 40th birthday gathering on the 24th, then to the Washington coast for some, hopefully, quiet and disconnection from all the busy. I’ve decided I will rest in September though I’m sure the Universe hears that and laughs, readying a plan to thwart my best intentions.

So many of you have asked about the karaoke terrorists and I have been meaning to update you but part of me worried I would jinx it. We had sent a second letter to their landlord with some strong wording that basically hinted at forthcoming legal action if we didn’t hear from her and she finally called. She seemed reasonable and took our complaints seriously. She told us she intended to speak to them directly and that if they didn’t knock it off, she would not renew their lease in November. We also learned she has six people on the lease over there. SIX! Uh lady, that’s your first problem. All of them are under 30 too. And, when she spoke to them after our first letter they told her we were complaining because we hate Vietnamese people. No, but we do hate your raucous parties, blaring music, and complete disregard for your neighbors.

After our phone chat, we noticed a decline in gatherings and noise. There has been zero karaoke that we can hear and when they do have people over, it’s a lot smaller and less rowdy. Sometimes on Fridays and Saturdays it appears that no one is even home! Guess they found somewhere else to party which is fine by us. After months of enduring their nonsense, the peace and quiet is welcomed. Hallelujah!

After the Horrible Thing, there comes a lot of Awkwardness

Some people have remarked, “You must be sick of being asked how you are.” I am not. Because, surprisingly, not that many people are asking. I’ve gone back to my normal life. I get along out in the world without crying publicly. I talk about regular things like movies and the weather. I’m managing. I’m not a basket case. But I’m not alright either.

It hits me at strange times. Like after retelling my ordeal to a friend who hadn’t read my posts. Like after talking to a pregnant acquaintance and it coming up. Like being somewhere where there are a lot of kids. I love being around kids, holding babies, and entertaining toddlers but it hits me in a different way now because the “what if” hangs heavy on my heart. Sometimes I just cry because a commercial strikes me as sad and I’ve had a day where I’ve seen too many pregnant people. I don’t really understand the psychology behind it all but that’s why I made an appointment with a counselor who specializes in infertility and grief. I do not know how to navigate this.

I think the most awkward situation has been encountering pregnant people. It’s usually a situation where they don’t know what happened to me and it somehow comes up and I see their face turn to horror as the capital A Awkward Situation unfolds. How awful must it be for them to stand in front of a woman who went through some horrific “miscarriage” while they are carrying a baby inside them? I mean, I feel so terrible having them find out about what happened to me. And at the same time my heart breaks because WHAT THE FUCK? WHY IS THIS A THING I HAVE TO ENDURE? But I try to be kind and gentle and reassuring. I do not blame them. I’m not angry with them. Of course I’m envious. I’m human after all.

I wish I was the kind of person who was extremely private. But, uh, I am quite the opposite. I’m a sharer. Maybe an over-sharer. But having shared my struggles publicly has brought a lot of people into my life who are in a similar place. For that reason alone I don’t ever regret sharing because no one should have to feel alone. And I think that by being vulnerable, I’m encouraging other people to do the same.

I know it’s difficult for people to know what to say when someone is having a hard time. So many tell me they are afraid they will say the wrong thing which I think leads a lot of people to say nothing. I have totally said the wrong thing to someone. It was not the end of the world even though I felt terrible and it was absolutely not intentional. I can’t speak for every person who has had a crisis but for me, saying nothing is not the response I need. I’m publicly acknowledging that something terrible happened to me. It’s okay for you to bring it up. It’s okay for you to email, text, call, stop me in the hallway and say, “I’ve been keeping up with what you’ve been going through and I just wanted to say how sorry I am. I’ve been thinking of you.” It’s really that simple. You do not have to fix anything. Please don’t try to. You do not have to give me advice on what I should do next. You don’t have to remind me how strong I am because right now I do not feel very strong and it makes me feel like a failure. That’s not your fault! It’s just how it is. Showing up for someone is not an easy thing and there is no manual on it. But I think most people want to be reached out to, to be thought of, to be cared about on good days so it’s even more needed on bad ones.

Grief is a lonely experience as are health crises, and break ups, and all that other hard stuff. We’ve all been there at one time. We can relate. Maybe you’re the type to call up and ask for help. There are some of us who struggle doing that when we’re in a good place so think how hard it must be when you’re feeling so down. A few friends pushed through my resistance and showed up because they knew I would never be able to ask for it. They’ve admitted they worried I’d think them pushy but honestly, they lovingly forced me to connect with people at a time I wanted to crawl into a hole. Every card, call, text, email, comment on my blog, tweet, or Facebook status meant something to me. Even if you just said you were sorry, it helped. Thank you for showing up for me.

And so, here I am in this complicated place. I appreciate you listening.

Happy Birthday to My Favorite Boy

Today you turn seven.

G 7th bday

Seven is full of sass and remote controlled toys and swim lessons. It’s cartoons and video games and being outside in Grandma’s pool until you turn into a raisin. It’s giggles and a kid’s version of truth or dare and waking up too early.

You have a great sense of humor and love to laugh. I see the hint of a teenage you when you pout or throw attitude our way and I think “oh boy, we’re in for it.” You will always be loved though even when you’re being a punk. Sometimes in the middle of a conversation you throw out, “AWKWARD” which often makes no sense but is always hilarious. You say it like, “awwwwwwk-ward.” I can still get you to do silly things with me like put baskets on our heads at Target and take a picture of it. I know it won’t always be like this so I’m enjoying it while it lasts.

us hats

I hope you know I will always be there for you. You changed my life by being born. I wouldn’t be in Seattle or have met Mr. Darcy or have any of the countless wonders that make up my life without your existence. You’re a bright light, my little love, and I hope you always let it shine.

I love you so much,

Your Tee Tee

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.