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Friday, April 16, 2010

More Than One Loss

When you are getting ready for a hysterectomy, there are these papers you have to sign. Papers, that say in every way possible what you already know before you are reading will never carry a child. You will never give birth. The have you sign these papers in about 800 spots to make sure that you realize what you are getting into before you actually do it, and of course to make sure you don't sue them when you wake up without the parts they went in to remove. They have to assume that every patient is stupid to the fact, and they have to cover their own asses.

What they don't tell you is this. The whole not having kids thing? Just the tip of the iceberg. They don't tell you that even if you wake up without pain and feeling better than you have literally felt in years that you will be different. Everyone always tells you as a woman without a uterus and/or ovaries that you are the same person, but in all all seriousness, you, along with the world around you, are changed in a way that cannot even be put into words. But for those out there facing the choice, thinking about the choice, or even living in a world after the choice, I am going to try.

For anyone that has lived in pain for a long time there begins a certain routine, a certain dynamic in a family, in a marriage. When I person is sick for a very long time, not only do they get used to being the sick person needing the help, but those around them become used to being the ones providing it. My husband waited on me hand and foot for pretty much our whole marriage up till this point. He cooked me meals and helped me to the tub and shaved my legs. He did all the driving and all the paperwork for bills and all the work. He did everything. And I let him, because there was no other choice for either of us. I was the sick one, and he was the caregiver.

Now I am not the sick one. I don't need help to the tub and I can make my own meals and its finally been long enough without meds that I can get in my car and drive away, alone. Whether or not he is meaning to he is making me feel like I am still sick. He is treating me like a child who can't cut the crusts off her own sandwich and it is driving me insane. No one ever told me, there was no piece of paper to sign, telling me that there would be this shift in my marriage. And it scares me. It scares us. Are we still us like this? Are we still Sara and Dan if Sara is independent and Dan can have parts of his life not revolve around caring for me? Will he still love me when I can work and get a job and FINALLY go back to school? Will I be the same person, uterus or no, when its ME who is able to walk away from a fight and not him? It's like building a marriage all over again, and its hard. We are only two weeks into it and even though I am ashamed to say it, I see no point in not being honest with my readers and I will say that we are falling apart. He sees the surgery as something that had to happen. I see it as something that I allowed to happen. I won't go into more details than that in respect for his privacy, But things have been said in the past couple days that really make me wonder if I didn't sign away my marriage when I signed away my uterus. And it scares me.

When I look in the mirror I look the same, except that something is different in my eyes. I am not the only one who sees it, but I am the only one who knows what it is. The children I will never have had names. They had futures. They had hobbies and blue eyes and quirks and little pieces of Dan and little pieces of me and they were OURS. The were just as real to me as the wind or the rain or the Spring. And they are dead now. Is it wrong that I want to mourn them? Is it wrong that I believe I will see them again one day? Does it make me crazy to write letters and poems to them knowing that they will never actually read them? Am I insane for hating myself a little because one little part of me, deep, deep down, things that I killed my children?

My body betrayed me. You read these stories about adrenaline and people running faster than they should be able to or lifting cars of their wife or any number of impossible feats that were possible because the human body is amazing, and has this primal desire to SURVIVE. These people can do all these things because the body goes into overdrive and does what it has to do in order to survive. And here I am, and I can't even have a child. I never could. I never could give the children in my heart life and I never ever will. I will never give birth to a child. My body was meant to do something, BUILT to do something, and it failed. It failed me. It betrayed me. It was supposed to do something and it didn't. If this was any kind of business I would fire it, because it cannot be counted upon.

There is a difference, I think, in infertile and barren. To me, infertile means that you actually have the parts and something just isn't working right. Barren means you don't have the parts, therefore it is 100% impossible to bear children. I spent years of my life as an infertile woman, and now I am barren. And its a transition. I am physically unable to get pregnant. For the rest of my life. Forever and ever. I will never feel my child kick, I will never feel them enter the world. I will never get to do those things. Because I asked for this. I was selfish and I wanted my life back and I wanted to get off the couch and I wanted to DO something that didn't involve large doses of percocet and constantly buying pads. In a book I read once, and still refer to sometimes, they talk about the "little deaths." (BTW, for those who are interested, my friend Sonja recommended the book and its called "Unsung Lullabies," totally worth the read if you are struggling with infertility) Before this surgery I would have my period, these little deaths, and even though it hurt like hell that it meant I wasn't pregnant, at least it reminded me that I was whole. I was still able to bleed. I still had that part of me. I never realized how important that was until now. No more little deaths for me...only the big one that will never go away.

There are so many aspects and things to re-learn and learn for the first time that I could never list them all here, at least not in one post. I won't say that I regret my choice, just that there is more to it than anyone ever told me. When I signed those pieces of paper saying I understood what I was asking them to do...I really didn't . I really didn't understand the very long journey this will be..long even not in pain. And I am not cured. There is no cure for Endometriosis, not even cutting everything away. I was reminded of it this week when my Sonja came out of her surgery only to hear that her Endo was back and that she would be taking birth control pills...over a year after her hyst. This was a gamble, and maybe it worked and maybe it didn't. But I guess I did what I had to do. I only wish that that little piece of paper I signed my name to had told me....there is more than one loss in this.


Justine L said...

I'm so sorry that this is so hard ... and I wish that there were something else I could offer besides an "ear" and a virtual hug from a stranger. I wish I could offer you peace. No, there is no cure. Because there is no cure for loss. There is only time, and hope that some day you will be able to find joy again. You'll be in my thoughts.

Sonja said...


Isn't it so hard when the most selfless thing you could do for your kids was also the most selfish?

KC said...

You are so brave to share your feelings and it sounds like you are processing and dealing with things like a champion. Keep feeling and working through the changes and like all major challanges this will have a huge impact on your marriage. Remember that you are together for a reason so work together to redefine your relationship. It will evolve and change so stay open with your feelings and your needs. Best wishes and you are doing an amazing job!!!!

Three Cats and a Baby said...

I can't stop crying. Wow.