HerStory: Does this Infertility Clash with My Prom Dress?
December 26, 2013
At sixteen, while most girls are picking out prom dresses - and more importantly a prom date, I sat in a pink paperless gown - front opened, feet secured in two cold metallic stirrups.At that age I was already an outgoing girl - I was an academically lazy overachiever, a cheerleader rebel and on a pretty destructive path of self-sabotage. I struggled with depression, anxiety, and substance abuse. No one knew it at the time - on the outside I was smart enough to get away with the bullshit, pretty enough to get what I wanted with the boyfriends and lucky enough to have a high paying part time job that supported shopping with my girlfriends and fun enough to party with all. On the inside I was a mess. Emotionally I was a wreck. Psychologically, confused - I buried everything in any way I could and it started to eat at my soul.
I thought about this as Dr. G. had her light on my P. Did she really need a light? I mean I was active - but more of a tease than a slut. Sexuality bored me - it was like a Monopoly game – I played only until I passed go or didn’t feel like collecting any more houses. Nobody ever plays long enough to actually win. And it was rare I kept a boy around long enough to make it to Park Place.
Maybe Dr. G. was searching in the vastness of my soul - of my emptiness as a person. Maybe my insides really were that dark. She popped up her head with a pursed lip and an arched brow like a psychic that just learned my unfortunate female fate. I was there in the first place because my periods were so irregular. And by irregular I mean one of three varieties: extremely painful, non-existent or both. I had been on the Depo-Provera birth control injection since I was 13. They started shooting me up when my abdomen hurt to point of nausea and it was assumed to be just bad cramps and an inability to digest various birth control pills. (Yes, pills, I got my period at 10 and went on birth control soon after. God Bless 'Merica.) As she switched the light off, my innocence seemed to be dimming too. "So I think you may have Endometriosis, we will have to do some tests. I'll be back to get you started on paperwork. Is your mom or guardian here" she was like a robot dressed as a miner in a lab coat.
“No” was all I managed while thinking 'What the fuck is endometriosis?'
Sounded like SAT prep at the OB-GYN and I felt S-O-L. I made appointments on my own – at sixteen I didn’t need [my mom] but the little girl in me wanted her whenever I went back for results.
When I went for a sonogram I was alone. No man, no mom, no baby. I regretted not having her there but I thought it might ruin the experience – like she should be seeing her grand-baby not my fucked up fallopian tubes. I looked around at all of the babies and bumps in the room. I found another sad face across the way - she was alone too and somehow it made me feel like I had a buddy in this overcrowded waiting room. I certainly had no reading material - Parents magazine was taunting.
I entertained myself with thoughts of irony looking at all of the overweight nurses and unhealthy vending snacks in a health care center (God Bless 'Merica). The time I went back to give blood and submit to a bunch of tests I was high on cocaine. It woke me up from binge drinking away the confusion following one too many "Google: What is Endometriosis". Jack helped me Ask Jeeves and the gram helped me wake up in time to ace my Sociology final and make it to Dr. Dumpy Ass in time. The only thing that made me feel better was that her butt was flat as a pancake. I laughed to myself thinking it was due to her sitting on her chair, judging vaginas for a living. [In actuality, I think very highly of female physicians but this one will always remain Dr.-D-A for my emotional-psychological defense and I'm okay with that). My mom met me there and we went into the room. I decided I deserved a lollipop pre-payment. I didn't have time to open the Dum-Dum before Dumpy Ass (she had at this moment lost even her credentials with me) came in to electronically spew the following: "Tests for endometriosis are positive. You are stage 3. We will need to remove some scar tissue."
"Ummmm, okay, this means what? Should I get a second opinion or something?" My mouth was really dry but I couldn't focus on the candy.
"Well, if you want to, but it's stage 3. The surgery is pretty simple, it's endoscopic. Stage 3: It means your particular scar tissue and condition has a high risk of infertility."
Good thing I didn't have the lollipop -- I might have choked. Or spit it out in her face. I mean, I didn't want kids -- my divorced parents were a mess (they were the best they could be - aren't they all) and I definitely didn't want a kid like me doing lines between classes and internalizing all of life in a most dramatic fashion. But just like any other teenager -- woman -- human: tell me I can't have something and 'bam!' in bursts desire.
"So, like I can't have kids?" I looked over at my Mom and she numbly asked "What can we do?"
Dr. G. replied to my question, "Can't? No, I mean there's IVF and other options for her, she's young, she probably won't even think about it until she's trying to get pregnant - and I'm sure by then there will be even more technology."
I sat still on the edge of the table with the stupid stirrups at my shoulders. I wanted to smack them and DDA - '"she?" I'm right here - turn on your fucking light!"
DDA continued, "She has about a ten to eleven percent chance of ever getting pregnant" -- this woman was out of her mind! Eleven? Where do you come up with a number like that, what are you living in the land of Oz - do you think that starched coat and those hideous Doctor Khakis make you some kind of Wizard. Eleven percent! I had enough. My mom was agitated too. I took two Dum Dums on my way out.
A second opinion – with a more compassionate (and really cute) male doctor confirmed the endometriosis. I did what I was good at and buried the feelings – they actually turned out to be pretty satisfactory mortar in my upward growing walls of self-preservation. On the outside there was a posted sign: ‘I don’t want to get married I don’t ever want kids.’ That security, it turns out would work for a while but – no one got in and nothing got out. And from the outside all seemed okay.
But internally, in every way, I was scarred. Continued...
*This story is true and based on the author's experience. All contents are opinion and should not be used as medical advice. Please consult your doctor for any health care questions or concerns.