A reader wrote me a private message:
"You going to write about the fourth part- I noticed you wrote part 1 to 3- but where is the 4th?"
When I read that query, my heart started to pound hard. I found myself starting to have an anxiety attack-
I had written the Bump (Part 1); Without Answers (Part 2) and Not sure (Part 3) last spring. Originally I had written this post in October. I kept coming back to the post to stare at my writing, re-opening my wounds over and over like a monk flagellating himself. Interesting,I find myself switching forth and back between two moods while reading; some days I cry reading this post and other times I find myself distant. It's in January now since October, and it still hurts reading the post, remembering. Nevertheless, there are sensitive triggers here, for folks who are still recovering/struggling with accepting childlessness, I'd not recommend you to read furthermore.
Between late December 2011 to February 2012, that timeline was the most painful time for me, mentally, spiritually and emotionally, and even now it being January 2013 (as reviewing this post, I still consider that time as worst of all I had ever experienced.)
I found it easier to bury my head in the sand- in other words, denying that I was going to be childless; refusing to accept that I'd not hold a baby of my own in my arms; hoping against all hope that the doctor was mistaken. I was praying day and night that it was all a nightmare; that I'd not have the surgery upcoming to remove my uterus, and the execution day will not happen.
When I was told that I'll be an aunt, only two days after finding out I cannot have children, I was able to 'put it aside', thinking "it was all a nightmare, I'm going to wake up soon."
I patted some baby clothes at the store thinking, "I'll get some of them later, when the doctor tells me I was the wrong patient."
I laughed and made jokes, living in the illusion that the doctor would say "oops, my bad, that's the wrong ultrasound pictures- let me get your right chart. My apologies again."
"I'll be fine- They'll be able to fix my uterus after they find out that there is nothing wrong with it", I told myself.
Ironic, it wasn't the doctor. It wasn't the surgery. It wasn't the size of the fibroid. It wasn't the waking up at the hospital room afterward.
It was someone who was closest to me, who shoved me into the river of agonizing fire, to see the reality.
Among all that, I had the close friend, who was my confidant in everything. I'll call her M. We had a lot in common. We could laugh at the same things; we loved science fiction and horror movies. We could be jumping in and out of topics through the conversation all day without blinking. I was very supportive to her, especially with her private issues. I was flippy happy when M got married. I understood her when she said she didn't feel ready to have children; she wanted to work on her issues first.
During my medical journey trying to find out what was wrong with me, including testing the water of whether I would be able to have children or not, M was supportive of me all the way. I tried to be strong but she reminded me that I didn't have to be strong sometimes. When I needed to talk with someone, she was there. Don't get me wrong, there were other friends. It just was harder to get in touch with them, and she was there always for me. Admittedly, I considered her- Safest friend
Unsafe friends- who already have children, or are pregnant.
Safe friend- who has no children, never had raised children, or having no plans to get pregnant any time soon.
I started to identify friends into two groups -unsafe and safe. Even in levels of unsafe and safe friends, there were sub-types.... mommies with adult children are safer compared to mommies with toddlers-unsafe. Crazy, I know, but that's how I tried to hang on.
This was what I was clinging to, during the insanity going through examinations, tests and doctor appointments. In and out. Lab works. Sonogram images of dark marks. I didn't want to accept the stark truth.
All this changed with an email from M.
I got a short message from M in January. She told me she wanted to tell me something- I read the brief message, thinking, "oh great! She is getting a job!" I knew she was looking for employment, and so I was thinking she was excited to tell me that she got a job.
Later on the same day, I got a long email from her. Among the thick long paragraphs, I saw a sentence which was smack dab in the middle of it all. I zeroed in on that, and among all that, it was the only sentence I saw... one dab white among the blackness of the dark.
I cannot tell you what I felt at that moment. I just can't. All I know was that the world crashed upon me.
I had a minute of sanity to email her that I was not ready to talk about this. That was the only thing I could recall before I lost it. Truly LOST it.
Tore things up.
Ripped paintings apart.
"I am not going to be pregnant ever, of my own baby."
"I'd never come home from hospital with a baby in my arms."
"I'll never get to kiss my baby's belly while seeing her smile at me."
Considered ending it all.
Ending it all.
No more agony.
No more betrayals.
No more pain.
A sane part of me fanatically reached out during my crying fit of rage. Thankfully, a friend S was in town. She was immediately there with me. I wept as she held me. She convinced a neighbor to go to the store to get more tissue boxes without asking why. She threw out a bottle when I told her I wanted to drown in drunkenness. Another friend, T talked with me in a firm yet loving tone, to remind me I have friends who love me, and that she'd be pissed if I gave up. She was steadfast in her love as I screamed at her, "WHY me?" In her Old South attitude, she loved me with her nonsense attitude. I cried, with tears coming down my cheeks as I looked upon L, a close friend, and to hear from her that "She knew you are hurting. Not to tell you she was planning to get pregnant. That's the lowest blow." and reminding me that I'm not alone, that L had been there for me for so many years, and she is not going anywhere, from my side.
Thankfully, the office didn't question when I decided not to go in for a few days. I was looking down at the void and I knew there was a millimeter between me and the void, very tempting.
I got the email six days before I was to see the doctor. It was a weekend and a few days of sorrow, rage, weeping and staring at walls, writing letters to N, trying to explain my feelings, failing and tearing them up, before I found myself at the doctor's office, -dead to the world. Hope was dead.
"When do you think you would be ready for your surgery?"
"Can you do it on February 13th?"
The doctor knew something was wrong. She strongly encouraged me to see a therapist right away. That was the best decision ever I had made since the finding the bump.
Nevertheless... January 12th was the starting of the end of my world as I knew it. The new world- all gray, shades of black and grey. Thunderous clouds, empty rooms with abandoned dusty baby furniture. Empty frames on the walls, old wallpaper peeling. Trees empty of leaves, dying. Repeating cycle of riding on the empty subway, that doesn't stop at exits. With the two new pregnancy announcements, both very close to me without no clues, no hints, no red flags-- during the most painful moment when I wasn't ready- that's the world where I found myself in. That is what I had experienced in the reality since January 12, 2012.
February 14, 2012- Waking up at the hospital after surgery, I felt empty. Not because of the uterus that had been taken away, but of empty dreams. Pandora's box is even empty of hope for me. I was very distant, dissocated from any emotions for a long and long time but for fits of weeping and rage.
And turned out that I didn't have cancer. Sick joke, if you asked me.
My therapist said "You know, you're going through this and your sister in law is pregnant. A surprise to you. Then your closest friend planned to get pregnant, but didn't give you an head-up to prepare yourself and now she is pregnant out of the blue, double hits. You're going through all this and alone, no less- this is your baptism by fire. Worst time ever to find out that you cannot have children."
She nailed it.
I'm a proud aunt of a new nephew last August; hopefully one day I would get to see him in person when I'm ready emotionally.
M had her baby in the same month.
So, that's your answer for the 4th part. It doesn't mean the end, but of surviving the worst that had been thrown at me. It's a year now, and I'd like to think that I'm stronger after that, but I'm not there yet.