Famous last words.
I remember it like it was yesterday, when Dr. Cold, Dr. Doom, Dr. F*cking Pang dropped this bomb on me.
He sat there, impassive, with a stone cold look on his face, impervious to my tears as he said “You will never get pregnant. Not naturally and probably not through IVF. Your egg reserves are too low.” Everything in me screamed “No f*cken way!” My gut revolted at these words, my heart was trying not to break.
Granted I was 40 at the time, and most people would say “well what did you expect?” including my own mother. But see, I had done all this research that showed that the chlomid test we did (the way they test your ovarian reserve, which basically means if you have enough eggs to get pregnant), is not always foolproof. All kinds of factors can affect its validity, including stress. So I tell him this.
Again, cold impassive look on his face as he says ‘no, it would be a waste of time. The egg reserves get worse with time, not better.’ A waste of time?? Did he just say that to me? I seriously wanted to reach across his desk and punch him in the face, anything to wipe that smug cold impassive look off his face. Wasn’t this guy supposed to be more compassionate as he delivered these news? I’m sure he figured I better not give her too much hope, so she doesn’t waste her time. But as someone who went through the process himself with his wife, I expected more kindness, better bedside manner. When I brought this up to him (after he reiterated my ‘advanced maternal age’), he got pretty upset and said “that’s personal, and really not any of your business.” (the only way I knew this information in the first place was because it was very public, and mentioned in an article I had read). I was surprised at how upset he got at this question, really the only emotion he showed that day. He reluctantly told us yes, he had twins through IVF, even though they were in their 40s. He then had the balls to show us a picture of his twins. Really a**hole?? Gee, good for you!
We left that appointment devastated. But I remember telling Matt “I still think I can get pregnant, I’m not giving up.” Fast forward a few months to May 2013, I was now 41. We were walking our old dog, and out of nowhere Matt kneels in front of me, kisses my belly and says “I think you’re pregnant.” Earlier in the day I had told him how my period was late. I almost cried, it was such an unexpected sweet gesture, but I didn’t dare hope. So I said “God I would love that, but I’m not gonna get my hopes up.” We waited a week, and I took a pregnancy test. And OMG!! There it was in bold lines “PREGNANT.” I was Pregnant!!!! What was that Dr. Pang?? I can’t get pregnant naturally? Really? Guess you didn’t know what the f*ck you were talking about!! We were so so so happy. It was the sweetest secret to keep.
A month later, on a Sunday night, my cousin called me to ask if I was pregnant because silly me had posted a picture on Instagram not realizing it was public (back when I knew nothing about Instagram). We talked excitedly on the phone about how I was finally going be a mom, and it felt so good to share the secret with her. After we got off the phone, I felt a sharp pain. It was intense, and I knew right away something wasn’t right. A superstitious part of me felt this was happening because I had told our secret. I kept telling my now husband “something is wrong, this really hurts. I think we should go to the hospital.” We went to the ER, and they took an ultrasound but couldn’t see anything. So they sent me on my way after giving me a dosage of Tylenol, assuring me over and over that it wouldn’t affect the baby because I kept asking. They referred me to an obstetrician and suggested I see him the following Monday.
So off I go, to see this doctor. Now this doctor was world class, someone worthy of the title. He was kind, patient, a good listener and I felt like I was in good hands with him. After examining me, he explained that at this point they couldn’t see the egg. That we may need more time to determine the cause of the pain. He made me promise to call him if the pain kept getting worse.
That following week on a Wednesday, as I was getting ready to go to an interview, again the pain came back. This time it was so excruciating, I could barely breathe. My phone rang, and of all coincidences, it was my doctor calling to see how I was doing (like I said, world class). I told him what was going on, and right away he insisted I come in. He mentioned how by the sound of my voice and my breathing, he could tell I was in a lot of pain. I kept saying “but I haven’t showered yet, and I need to get ready for an interview which is in a few hours!” His reply was “I don’t care if you haven’t showered, come in. You can always shower after, and go on to your interview. But I really think you need to come in first, and be examined.”
So reluctantly, in I went. There I was, greasy hair in a pony tail, makeup-less, wearing 3 day old sweatpants and a stinky sweater, laying in the examining room. As the doctor examined me with an ultrasound, the look on his face said it all. But his next words terrified me. It was worse than I had expected. “You need emergency surgery. I can see the egg now and it has implanted in your fallopian tube. You did the right thing by coming in. If you had waited any longer, the tube could have burst and you would have had internal bleeding. This is very serious, we can get you into surgery within the next hour.”
I couldn’t believe it. I was scared and yet emotionally numb. But I knew it had to be done, and so I said “ok.” I called Matt and explained what was going on. I called a former best friend, and she said she could come be with me since Matt wouldn’t be there until probably right before I was going into surgery (his job was over an hour away). She sat there and made conversation, trying to cheer me up and distract me. But all I could think about was the baby that wasn’t going to be. When Matt got there, they were about to wheel me in. I tried to pretend I was ok, even making jokes, but I was terrified inside. A few hours later, I woke up dizzy, feeling hungover. I was told they couldn’t save the tube, and had to cut part of the other one. I was so out of it, I couldn’t even digest that information. I remember a nurse urging me to get dressed, and I could barely keep my eyes open and wanted to swat her away. Why was she making me get dressed for christ’ sakes? Couldn’t I just sleep? Turns out 5 minutes more, and they would have had to keep me overnight, something they were trying to avoid. Isn’t healthcare grand?
The next few days were a blur of laying in bed, taking meds, trying to go to the bathroom. God that was probably worse than the surgery itself. That week, me and Matt got closer in ways I wasn’t exactly happy about. The defining moment that I can’t help but laugh about these days, was needing a fan because it was so damn hot that day, and no AC in the bathroom, and no choice but having to beg him to bring in a fan. So yeah, he got to see my in my full “glory,” sitting there on the toilet, topless because I had taken off my shirt, I was sweating up a storm, from the heat and the fact that I couldn’t ‘take care of business.’
This all happened at the end of May.
Read more in my next post: Dr. Doom really had no clue…