May 13, 2011 was the start of the very last period I will ever have. I almost wish I knew it then so I could have acknowledged its passing or remembered some details about it. At the time, I was disappointed to see it since Adam and I were four months into trying for a baby.
I conceived the week of May 24, Adam's birthday. It turned out that my growing daughter was made with the very last egg my body would ever produce. I'm thankful I know these dates. They feel important and when I reach the anniversary next year I know I will need to mourn and celebrate in some way.
The more I talk to doctors and learn about this condition I didn't know I had, the more remarkable it is that I am even pregnant. The cysts that were on my ovaries had taken over to the point that there was very little ovarian tissue left, as the surgery report said. My ovaries would have had to be removed at some point, probably in the next five years. Fortunately (?) they grew so quickly as a result of all the pregnancy hormones that doctors were able to detect that something was wrong before they caused me tremendous pain by bursting or twisting. It's good that I'm getting regular pregnancy ultrasounds or there wouldn't have been a reason to look at my ovaries.
I'm slowly researching the surgery and what my life will look like without ovaries after my baby is born in February. I've learned that the operation I had is called a Bilateral Salpingo-Oophorectomy. I can't even pronounce it but it means that both my ovaries and fallopian tubes were removed. Three weeks later, it still makes me cry. I haven't figured out my feelings around this yet. I know I'm mourning in some way but it's still in the back of my mind. Other than the 7" cut that runs up the middle of my belly, I don't yet have any side effects. I know that I can expect a huge shift in hormones after the baby is born. That's normal for any pregnancy, but in addition to suddenly adjusting to that, my body will no longer be able to make estrogen once the placenta is delivered. I won't know how to compare that to a normal recovery since this is my first baby so I can only prepare to feel crazy. I don't know how to expect something in theory without knowing what it's going to be like.
My focus after surgery has been on resting and trying to continue on with life, as if I'm only trying to heal from a physical wound. Only, this wasn't a regular surgery that fixed a problem. It's a surgery that will alter my life in a few months from now. Something was taken from me. I'm trying to deal with what it means to not have ovaries. This is the equivalent of a man being castrated. (It took me several minutes to be able to complete that sentence.) I have only been able to briefly scan medical websites that explain the side effects of missing such a crucial organ. It still causes me to panic and fear the worst. The most upsetting thing I've seen is something about premature death. I've always assumed I would die an old lady and not a decade too soon. I have two more weeks until my follow up appointment with the surgeon who will likely tell me what I want to know, but also fear hearing.
I'm having a harder time than I expected dealing with things. Everything is that much harder to accomplish. I feel like life is pushing me - rushing me to get back up and going before I am able. I'm trying to function, yet everything I have to do feels like a much bigger task than it is. Big things feel impossible to accomplish. Bills are still due, I'm still trying to find work, we're running out of money. Everything seems to depend on something else which is keeping me from moving forward. I can't work on my freelance editing project because I can't think straight and that's causing me guilt and anxiety. I have the motivation to find jobs to apply for, but then can't get past feeling overwhelmed at the energy I need to buck up. How can I find the words for a cover letter and pretend I believe in myself, even though deep down I know I could do the job? It's just too much to try to convince someone else that I can do it. I'm finding cheaper apartments online and dreaming about saving hundreds of dollars a month. Wouldn't it be great to reduce that financial stress and be able to stay home longer with the baby? But oh, everything we'd need to do to move stops me frozen.
I thought I would feel better after writing this, but I don't. I can only look forward to a time when I let out a big sigh of relief and am happy I've made it through.