I hadn’t expected to care when the anniversary of my ectopic rolled around. I always assumed by that time I’d be severely pregnant and the harshness of the day would have faded to a bitter memory. A mark on my already messy road to conceiving. As this day inched closer though, I felt a tear in my wound – I didn’t think I’d see September again so soon, and so bumpless. Where’s the baby Doctor Kate promised I’d have by now? “At least we know that you can get pregnant. You’ll be changing diapers and having sleepless nights in no time.” More like changing blue liners and, well, she nailed it on the sleepless nights. A year later and I’m drenched in anger wondering, how is that all we get? I was given the smallest taste of pregnancy to hold me over for the next twelve months. What a tease. Then there’s the fact that if there are any future pregnancies, this experience will tinge those first weeks with fear. I’ll have to live the rest of my (in)fertile days hoping it isn’t happening again, struggling with a “15% of the time it happens every time” type of mindset. It doesn’t make sense, but phobias rarely do.
That’s the real trouble with ectopics – there’s never any true closure because it doesn’t come with answers. There’s still no ‘why’ or even a ‘why your tube will probably take another embryo hostage now that it happened once’. Once a tube implanter always a tube implanter, I guess. Traitor. My tubes are almost comically open to the point where I have to assume this was some intentional evil plan acted out by my own body. Because it was my body that did that to me, and I punished it with the harshest chemical that had ever entered my system. Call it even?Read More »
So, your friend/coworker/relative is trying to conceive and you’re mucking it up as her number one support system. It’s okay, it happens. What I want you to understand more than anything is that unless you’re a member of The Trio, we’re not looking for anything more than someone who will listen. We don’t expect you to fix our broken uteri, and we especially don’t want to hear your forced positivity because it sounds utterly ridiculous at the moment. I’ve experienced the entire trio of trying to conceive: the struggle, the loss, and, my newest addition, the infertility. Here’s the number one thing I hated hearing during each saga, and alternative (might I even say, BETTER) options that’ll prevent you from earning a face full of moscato. Read More »
‘Tis The Season to Be…Scrutinized By Family Members About Your Pregnancy Status.
Ah, Christmas time. Snow, twinkle lights, and nosy relatives asking about your uterus: cheer laced with dread. Holiday parties used to be rich in delicious food and even more delectable distant-relative gossip, but the second my husband slid a ring onto my finger – everyone’s eyes slid down to my belly. Some deeply ingrained instinct awoke inside my family members and they developed an obsession with The Questions. “Must. Ask. About. Procreation.” As if I’m the last in my bloodline. I call it the Pre-Pregnancy Phenomena: the moment when people reject all social normalities in pursuit of reproductive knowledge. Curiosities aside, I can’t grasp the burning desire relatives have to know if I’m pregnant or trying to conceive. Just because we’re in the same gene pool, does not mean I owe you an update on my body.
The accusations started last Christmas. (You know, our final pre-TTC holiday where I unabashedly made comments like, “This could be the last Christmas with just the two of us!” *Enter year-long struggle*) I was caught drinking water at our holiday party (that’ll teach me to drink non-alcoholic beverages in public!), ergo I could be doing nothing else besides hosting a fetus. I was able to laugh it off at the time and figured it said more about me being a wino than it did about me being watched like a hawk. The truth is though: I was being watched, and I’ve been disappointing my audience. I learned my lesson and have implemented a strict wine-in-hand at all times policy this Christmas. Don’t get me wrong, I love drinking my moscato, but much like trying to conceive: it kind of loses its fun when you feel forced to do it. Read More »
Stomach aches. Ovary pings. An extra day of spotting. These are a few of my biggest fears (bonus points if you sung that to the tune of ‘my favorite things’ in your head). Ovaries are supposed to take turns each month on who releases the egg, and according to the cramping and pressure on my right side, it must be righty’s time to shine. And it doesn’t feel great. There is no manual on What To Expect When You’re No Longer Expecting: A Guide to Surviving Ectopic Pregnancies, so I was blindsided when it felt like something was actually shifting. Ovulation, yeah? I figured I was being thrown a bone – now I get an extra sign that I’m actually working! Except when I took an ovulation test (expecting to see a shining positive and smile in triumph that I’m beating the system) it was negative. I crinkled my forehead as I stared at the strip daring to tell me that I was not currently fertile. Do I ovulate earlier because of the ectopic now? Later? NOT AT ALL?! I’m back to my anovulatory cycle theory, completely disregarding the stress and anxiety and total wrongness this caused me in August. So much for succumbing to the process. I tried to pull the same stunt last month – had all these symptoms that I thought meant I was ovulating like crazy and then…negative. Took an at-home progesterone test in an attempt to put my mind at ease – negative. Pregnancy test (I knooow….) – negative. Can’t catch a break with the BFNs.
The sun has set and all you have to light your way is the moon and street lamps sprinkled down the block. You’re crouched in anticipation, waiting for the moment that someone will spot you and shout, “ghost in the graveyard!”; then you’ll pump your legs in the hopes that your fingers will graze one of your neighbors before they make it to base, and then they will be ‘it’. Have you played this game? What about The Witch Ain’t Out Tonight, or Bloody Murder? In my neighborhood, it was just Ghost in the Graveyard, and I was never ‘it’. In fact, I was reduced to sulking on my front porch as I whined to my mom about how I wanted to play and it wasn’t fair (girl, you don’t know what ‘not fair’ is).
Being the youngest of my two siblings, exclusion wasn’t anything new to me, but that didn’t mean I accepted the reasons for why I wasn’t allowed to partake in the evening game: It was getting dark. Bedtime was approaching. I was too young. (Ah, to be “too young” again!) This may be a bit of a stretch – but TTC is kind of like playing Ghost in the Graveyard (or, at least it is for my current situation). Trade out young kids for a bunch of women in their twenties and thirties, swap the ‘ghost’ for a BFP, and you have a group bubbling with nervous excitement searching for a way to become it. Not being able to TTC is like watching everyone play a game that you can’t be a part of. I’m stuck on a mental front porch, wishing that I could join in. Read More »
In a mere two weeks, my hCG levels went back to normal (my doctor’s choice of words – I would’ve preferred a concrete number – am I at 5, or 0?!) and I’ve been given the green light to pick back up on all the can’t-dos that came along with the Methotrexate. And honestly? I’m finally starting to feel more than just “okay”. Not a watch-My-Baby-Is-Gone-on-Lifetime kind of okay, but good enough for now. Regardless of the lingering pressure in my ovaries, I’m pretending this is my ectopic-closure. It’s over(ish).
During this two week wait, I missed TTC enough that I spent my time Side Effect Spotting, which isn’t hard to do when your ovaries are gurgling like a digesting stomach (the memory of that sound, and simultaneous feeling, still makes me shudder). The first few days it was easy to blame everything on the Methotrexate: nausea, fatigue, abdominal pain, the gurgles. Even walking provided new challenges as going too far, or too fast, left me gripping at what felt like a runner’s-cramp in my side. I went from religiously going to the gym, to laying on an air mattress in my living room – self soothing with carbs and cookie dough. My physical and emotional pain had to battle for my attention. It was hard to feel so utterly…not me. Eventually, worse side effects moved in: cracking wrists, aching bones, what felt like a bubble sitting in my tube…and bubbles BURST. Was this just my body being weird, or something more sinister? Is this the Dry Socket Fiasco all over again?Read More »
Raw. That’s how I felt after my diagnosis – as if someone had cracked me open, scooped out all of my insides, and sewed me back up haphazardly. I had officially been broken.
The morning of my appointment, I was greeted with red, and clots. I again felt the fear that this was all some sort of grandiose delusion and at any moment someone would tell me that none of this was real. Was I currently losing our baby?
The ultrasound room felt strangely dark and ominous, not a place where I expected to hear a baby’s heartbeat. Our technician assured us that she would let us know if she saw anything, and then proceeded to remain tight lipped throughout the procedure as she paused to draw lines or circles and print pictures. My eyes were glued to the screen as I tried to make out what she was noticing that I so clearly could not pick up on, but I had seen enough ultrasound pictures to know what I didn’t see: a sac. After shuffling around for about ten minutes, she ended the exam and broke her silence. “There isn’t an embryo in your uterus, but you do have a lot of fluid which is odd; and there is something on your right ovary which makes me believe that this could be an ectopic pregnancy.” And then she left. Read More »