Appointment No. 2 : Awakening Old Wounds

woman looking at sunset

When I learned a couple of weeks ago that today would be the day that I would have a balloon, camera, and other foreign objects/substances stuck inside me, I knew that even though these were necessary procedures to figure out what the heck is going on “down there,” I probably wasn’t going to enjoy the experience. Like we typically do, Megan and I decided to make-light of it in the meantime with jokes along the lines of “Well, if there are balloons involved, it must be a party.” Honestly, I thought I would have a far more humorous post to write for you.

But I don’t because today was kind of brutal.

It all started out fine enough…

After ensuring I’m not already pregnant (because why wouldn’t I be a candidate for immaculate conception), the nurse ushers Megan and me to a low-lit procedure room with all sorts of screens, machines, and other medical contraptions. My eyes wander around the room to a prep table with various substances and other tools that I assume were just left from their previous procedure because why would they need all of that for me. And as soon as the nurse leaves, I proceed in making myself indecent from the waist down. However, I do convince Megan to loan me her socks, since I had taken mine off right before we left the house. I don’t want these kind ladies horrified by my bare feet in the stirrups.

The nurse pops in and says, “Sorry, I guess we didn’t get the {insert name of hysteroscopy device I can’t remember} in the room yet, so I have to hold the door while the other nurse brings it in.”

“No worries,” I respond, still without much concern until I see the second nurse walk in with a hefty apparatus that can best be described as a mix between a heavy-duty power tool and fishing pole.

Legit. I’m not exaggerating here.

man in green jacket and blue denim jeans holding black rifle

Actual photo of this hellish device’s inventor.

Okay, maybe not. But I’m sure I’m not too far off.

“Ahhh” I automatically blurt out.

“Yeah, I know,” the second nurse says while plugging it into different sources, one of them being a tube connected to one of those IV fluid bags. “It looks worse than it is. Only a little bit of this actually goes into your cervix.”

“Haaaaa,” is the best response I can muster as my eyes widen while looking at this torture device straight out of the apocalypse.

After hooking it up to who knows what, she gently covers the device with a medical sheet, as if that is going to calm my nerves. Instead, I’m even more fixated on that horrific tool just lurking under the sheet, waiting to sneak on in when I least expect it. The nurses leave, and I turn to Megan.

“I don’t want that thing going in me,” I say, looking to her for reassurance.

“Just think of it as if they’re going fishing,” she offers with a smirk.

“Yeah…well maybe they’ll catch something,” I mumble, not realizing that statement implies I have STDs. Rest assured, all of the blood tests came back clean last week.

The doctor walks in and introducers herself, adding, “The team will be in here shortly.”

Team? I thought this was a one-lady job…How many people are going to be poking around down there?

She gives me a brief preview of the fun that is about to commence, while two other women come in and start prepping other things in the room.

purple and red balloons

I guess it really is a party.

So, I lay down, and the doctor now has the fishing pole from hell in her hand, while one of her assistants brings the fluid bag it is connected to. She then states, “You’re going to feel a little pressure…” and the assistant places her hand on some sort of squeezy thing (that’s the technical name for it, I checked) attached to the fluid-fishing pole contraption. She squeezes it twice and…

HOLY *#%$@ HELL!

Guttural groans of agony escape my body as I feel the worst kind of pressure shoot throughout my lady parts, all the way up my spine and into my chest. I was expecting discomfort (they had me taking pain meds yesterday and today to prepare for the procedure), but this is so much more than the “possible cramping” I was warned about.

“You can watch what we’re seeing on this screen,” one of the assistants says while illuminating a screen near my head.

I try to watch, but the continuous sensation of a power washer shooting up my body makes it impossible to focus on anything else besides trying not to vomit and pass out.

Just keep breathing. I internally chant, while squeezing my eyes shut to hold in the tears. I think I hear Megan asking me something, but it’s hard for me to talk, so she puts her hand on my arm.

I feel what I’d been fearing creeping in. And I try to push it down and ignore it as much as possible. But the mix of the constant pain and penetration takes over my best efforts, and I begin to hyperventilate.

It’s happening again. That thing that consumes me sometimes during intercourse when my body and my soul have flashbacks to sexual abuse and rape I encountered about ten years back. Everything turns dark, I begin spiraling into a deep hole, and the air feels thinner.

I can’t breathe, everything fades away, and I feel lost and terrified.

I’m grateful for the mask I’m wearing because it makes the stifling of my whimpers and panic a little easier to hide from everyone in the room. Or at least, it feels that way.

Get yourself together, Britt. You shouldn’t be responding this way to a medical procedure. They’re going to think you’re insane.

“We’re just over halfway done,” the doctor says while taking out the f%cking fishing pole and then promptly sliding in the other device for the ultrasound.

Now, the pain and past-lived trauma have quickly subsided into manageable discomfort as I begin to breathe again and open my eyes. I try to inconspicuously wipe away my tears, while looking at the sonohysterogram screen and then back to Megan. I can see the concern in her eyes.

“Alright, we’re done. You can sit up.”

crop doctor with stethoscope preparing for surgery in hospital

I do so and can tell by the doctor’s face that I’m about to learn something.

“So, everything looked pretty good, except you have some polyps and extra tissue. This is likely what’s causing your irregularity and can cause infertility, miscarriage, and other pregnancy complications. You’re going to need to have surgery. We’re going to do a similar procedure, but it will be operative hysteroscopy polypectomy. Don’t worry, you’ll be under anesthesia for it, so you won’t have to experience that discomfort again.”

She proceeds to talk about some other blood tests I’ll need to consider before choosing our donor, but all I can think about is how I never thought that today would be the precursor to requiring surgery. After she leaves, I put on clothes and tell Megan I’m just not ready to do more blood tests today. I just want to go home.

Megan lightens the mood a little as we wait for the surgery scheduling nurse by saying, “You didn’t get to see your little friends in there. It was crazy, they looked like they had little legs and were all like ‘wooohoo’.” She waves her hands over her head, doing what I would imagine is a pretty spot-on rendition of an endometrial polyp.

“Well, shoot. Now I feel like I need to see them,” I try to laugh, even though my heart feels all sorts of heavy.

The nurse reconvenes with us and gives me an intense rundown of all the steps (phone calls, pre-op visit, blood work, medications, Covid test, and post-op cancer test of the polyps) involved with my surgery on December 2nd. Before she leaves, I can’t help but ask, “I didn’t get a chance to see my polyps, but my wife said they were quite impressive. Do you happen to have pictures I can see?”

She returns only a few minutes later to show and explain the “rough” surface that should be smooth and then points out the mug-shots of the polyps that crashed today’s party. It was interesting to see them, but I sure as hell hope those images don’t come back to haunt me in nightmares. The human body is a strange and miraculous thing.

So, this wasn’t the day we were expecting, the news we were anticipating, or the next step we were looking forward to. Not at all. I also didn’t imagine I would have a pain-induced panic attack in front of three strangers today.

But hey, we’ve got to find the silver lining here. At least we figured this out before dropping a good chunk of money and time on sperm, further tests, and the IUI procedure, only to have it all likely fail. I’m grateful for modern medicine, kind and knowledgeable professionals, and advances in technology.

Granted, that dastardly mechanical fishing pole that looks like a DeWalt reject has some room for improvement. Thankfully, I’ll be unconscious during my next encounter with that fella.

And one last plus side: This whole endeavor took my mind off the election for the first time this week.

2 thoughts on “Appointment No. 2 : Awakening Old Wounds

  1. I wish I could give you a hug. I’m so sorry you had to endure that procedure and that the results were not what you both were hoping for. This is just a bump in the road. The journey to Motherhood is not an easy one…it’s challenging, hard, & sometimes heartbreaking, but it is worth all of the difficulties we have to go through. Hugs to you & Megan and prayers for you on this journey.

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    1. Thank you so much for the supportive and encouraging words, Jessicca! You’re right, it’s not an easy road. Hopefully it’s a little less bumpy after this. Thank you so much for reading and lifting my spirits. I hope all is well with you guys!

      Like

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