In the world of infertility and pregnancy loss there are many strange and unexpected circumstances in which I never dreamed I would find myself. In fact, I was blissfully ignorant to an entire world that so many women inhabit. Now I am oh so initiated and let me tell you : it's weird. It's so very, very weird, friends.
The other day I had to go for an HSG--in case you don't know, it's this test where they shoot you up with dye under an X-Ray and see what's cooking in your uterus and fallopian tubes. I was told it was incredibly uncomfortable by several trustworthy sources (no, not just google) and so I was nervous. The details of the procedure were fairly uneventful--first take a pregnancy test (because they just like to rub it in, I guess), change into another hideous sacky hospital gown, assume a compromising position in an exam room, and have something decidedly not fun done to your insides. The physical discomfort was reduced by taking a bit more than the recommended dose of Advil beforehand (disclaimer : I'm not a doctor, I'm not a drug pusher, and I am in no way recommending going against whatever medical advice your doc gives you, but when my "sources" suggested I go to town on the ibuprofen, I did, and for me, it seemed to help). The good news was that my fallopian tubes are in great shape (in case you were losing sleep over that) with no sign of the blockage that the MRI had originally suggested. Which brings me back to this bizarre world in which I live where I utter sentences like "At least now I only have to have surgery on my uterus". But hey, one less surgical intervention? I'll take it.
The takeaway from this experience had very little to do with the actual medical details, however, and more to do with taking new steps on my continuing quest to find ways to decrease the emotional discomfort. The thing I was left turning over in my mind was the idea of how to merge this odd world (a world of tests, discovering "egg reserves" are a thing, cryptic acronyms, ovulation, surgical interventions, and the depressing purgatory vibe of old waiting-room magazines) with the world I have (for the most part) comfortably been navigating up until this point. How do I integrate this bizarre new world that has been thrust upon me with my pre-miscarriage life? How does it become just part of business-as-usual without feeling like it is stealing a little bit of my soul?
Here's a piece that I am adding to the puzzle of the particular predicament of integrating the two worlds : it has to do with the way the day of my HSG appointment rolled out. Chris just started a new job so he couldn't leave to accompany me to the appointment as he usually would. Mom offered to fly in, but it's really not that big of a deal and so that felt unnecessary, so everyone's favorite series regular, my best friend and platonic life partner, Jeremy, was up to the plate (that dear man has a special place in Heaven where they erase all the knowledge of my uterus that has been forced upon him over the last 6 months à la Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind). The day turned out to be not nearly as miserable as I had anticipated. I had visions of the collective sadness and sense memory of returning to the building where I had my D&C crashing down on me hard, but it didn't really go that way. I am just now putting together why that might have been so I can recreate it in the future. Here's what I can deduce...
One of the keys to bringing these conflicting worlds together is to actually just go ahead and physically mash them together even if it feels unnatural at first. I didn't set aside a day just for the energy of appointment. I could have. If I had left a little more room to wallow, believe me, I would have. Instead I met Jer for coffee in the morning as we do eight billion times a week, we grabbed a bite, we laughed at the serious-looking nurse who I feared would not be able to tolerate my sass-mouth in the exam room (she turned out to be excessively lovely), we marveled at the inexplicably and heart-wrenchingly beautiful United Colors of Benetton ad that were the secretaries at the hospital Radiology Department (clearly sourced from Central Casting), I told the doctor a funny story while she sent my uterus into unpleasant contractions, and we followed it all up with strawberry frozen yogurt with rainbow sprinkles. Afterwards, Jeremy put my drowsy butt into a cab back home and instead of the slow-motion cry I expected to have while feeling like a zombie ransacked of all my sparkle, I just felt like a slightly more tired, achy version of me.
In short, I was just myself in a weird situation instead of letting the situation shift me off my usual trajectory into weird energy. Trust me, I know it is SO not easy to find laughter and normalcy in these decidedly abnormal circumstances. I know that being in medical environments such as these can start to feel disconcertingly similar to an Invasion of the Body Snactchers scenario. There have been plenty of times I've sat in a waiting room desperately wanting to separate myself from the other downtrodden uteri present. I've wanted desperately to scream, "Just so everyone knows--I'm not like all these other women! This isn't my life! I just took a wrong turn!" However, I think a key to unlocking this whole thing may be working toward a certain acceptance that these experiences are more an innocuous part of my world and less an interloper determined to wreck my entire existence as I know it. I'm not suggesting I should brush over honoring the magnitude of the physical and emotional trauma, but I also don't have to give it all the power. I do not have to be a pod person version of myself in this storyline. I am not "That Reproductively Challenged girl". I am messy, ridiculous, optimistic, silly, emotional, sarcastic, mush-ball Becca who happens to be making a special guest appearance in the Valley of the Infertile. It is a landscape I hope to not walk forever, but as long as I am here I will continue to look for ways to claim ownership of my stay.