One year ago yesterday, I lost my uterus. It was a big day, but it wasn’t as ceremonious as people would expect. My hysterectomy didn’t mark the end of my fertility like it does for so many. That was long gone. Honestly, it was kind of unremarkable overall. We had just been through a tornado, and while the pandemic was a threat, no one could have known that a year later, we’d still be battling it. I got ready for surgery like I always did, given it was pelvic surgery number nine. I sat on the stretcher, one week after my 38th birthday and two months after we decided to stop trying to get pregnant, waiting to get into the operating room. The anesthesiologist lectured me on my weight while simultaneously telling me about his pregnant wife who was due any day. And after being rescued by who is quite literally the best OB/GYN ever to exist, I surprised the OR staff by asking that they not sedate me while going into the operating room. I was about to have a robot remove an organ – I wanted to see the beast. 10/10 would recommend.
Everything went as planned. I spent the night in the hospital, roaming the halls by myself for most of it. Life went on.
I can tell you the exact moment I decided to end our 7+ years of trying to get pregnant.
I had just had pelvic surgery number eight, and while we had previously discussed stopping fertility treatments, I was secretly grasping onto a tiny glimmer of hope. I had just tried a different type of endometriosis surgery, hoping that would be the key. I was (almost) officially diagnosed with adenomyosis as can only be done via surgery (visual can give you an unofficial diagnosis, but dissection is really the only definite). The only cure for adenomyosis is hysterectomy and was told I needed one, but that wasn’t stopping me. ((Note: I’m about to get into some graphic surgery description here. If you’d rather not read it, skip to the next paragraph.)) I discovered this experimental surgery that only two doctors in the entire world would perform. Insurance wouldn’t cover it, because it wasn’t proven. They make a giant incision in your belly, so that they can access your uterus. They completely open up your uterus to make it one flat, open layer of smooth muscle, and then cut horizontally to remove the inner layer, attempting to treat the adenomyosis by I believe cauterizing the entirety of the inside of your uterus. Sew you back up, and hope it heals enough to support a pregnancy without the seams tearing.
Yep. And I was into it. I had just spent months doing experimental treatments – cancer drugs, white blood cell infusions, hydroxychloriquine (before it was cool!), intravenous fat infusions, diets, and so, so many hormones. So why not?
But all of the sudden, there was this “holy shit, what the hell am I doing to myself?” moment. It stopped me in my tracks.
When kids ask for something over and over and over, I’ve learned to say “asked and answered.” You’ve asked, I’ve answered. But I never seemed to learn the lesson myself. How many more times was I going to ask? After years and years of treatments, surgeries, and IVF, when was I finally going to accept my answer?
Can I get pregnant? No. It’s literally that simple. The answer was no. Asked. And. Answered.
So Mike and I discussed, and decided to just deal with it now. Frankly, my uterus had never done me any favors. My issues started around twelve years old, and I was (and this is way TMI) starting to consider using adult diapers for my periods because there was literally nothing else that could handle them. I was miserable and constantly in pain. Something had to give.
Fast forward a year later, and well, a lot has happened.
We have decided to no longer pursue parenthood.
Crazy, right? I mean, a year ago, I wouldn’t have believed me either. And before I go any further, let me say this: yes, adoption has been considered, and we’ve decided that it’s not the path for us. I’m not going to get into it here, but I’m happy to have the conversation in person if you’re interested. Any way we looked at it, parenthood was going to take an indeterminate number of years and a guarantee of significant debt, if at all. And it was the hardest decision we’ve ever had to make, but in the end, it wasn’t only in our best interest, but in the best interest of the child we had wanted to bring into the world.
I know what a lot of you are doing right now.
You’re looking at your child(ren), thinking “there is NOTHING in this world I wouldn’t do for you.”
I don’t blame you. But it’s not the same thing.
We didn’t stop fighting for our child. We stopped fighting for the idea of a child that had proven to never be ours in the first place. Over and over and over.
Asked. And. Answered. There was no amount of hope or toxic positivity that could change that. And just because we stopped the insanity of trying to become parents doesn’t mean that we wanted it any less than anyone else. This isn’t just giving up (although more on that later). This is the outcome.
So this is it. The very last Baby Fabio blog. Grief comes and goes, and really shows up in weird places. Like, the other day, I suggested that Mike babywear our co-dependent cat, and I lost it thinking about how it’s the only baby carrier we’ll buy. For the cat.
But on to new things, right? New careers and a life totally unexpected. And I assure you that if I have to live a childless life, well, it’s going to be FULL of adventure and sharp edges and unsafe balconies (and love and joy, too).