Thursday, June 4, 2009

Rock-Bottom

To borrow the infamous words of Rachel on Friends in an episode that in no way relates to this blog:

I really thought I just hit rock bottom. But today, it's like there's rock bottom, then 50 feet of crap, then me.

In this whole struggle, this whole ordeal, this seemingly unending, unnerving journey that's been forced upon me against my wishes, today was, without a doubt, THE WORST DAY - ever. Today was the day of my appointment at the clinic.

The day started out seemingly innocuous. I didn't sleep too well but not too badly either; I wasn't (yet) feeling any undue apprehension about this appointment which, after all, I had to wait almost a whole month for. Pulling into the parking lot of the clinic, I started to get a hint of nervousness but I brushed it aside.

The bottom starting falling out when I saw the first sign reading "Maternity Ward". Out of nowhere, my hands started trembling almost imperceptibly, my mouth got dryer and dryer as I pushed through a seemingly endless amount of double doors leading to the OB/GYN clinic. It was earily quiet at first - until I got to the waiting room. There, in perfectly harmonious homogeny, not entirely unlike walking into an alternate Stepford Wives type scenario, I was suddenly surrounded by pregnant women: women of all ages, sizes, ethnicities, in different stages of pregnancy, in different styles of clothing. And, one by one, all eyes turned to me as if to say: "What is SHE doing here? She's not pregnant! She's not one of us."

I checked in with the receptionist and sat down, trying hard not to look at all these protruding midsections. I tried to read a magazine and felt a huge wave of relief when, only mere minutes after I had sat down, a nurse called me in. Phew, I thought (stupidly!), so glad I won't have to be sitting there any longer. But this was only the beginning of my ordeal. The nurse - cold, uncaring, clinical and not the least bit warm or friendly - went through a series of questions with me that felt like I was being interrogated as a murder suspect. To say that I felt stripped bare, vulnerable and defenseless would not be an overstatement at all. I felt, to be perfectly honest, VIOLATED.

Finally Nurse Frostbite left, saying the doctor would be with me shortly. And there, without warning, without ANY real notice, I burst into tears - uncontrollably, barely managing not to turn into a squeals of anguish and anxiety. It was all just too much at that point - it was as though, once again, the magnitude of what women came there for NORMALLY, what kept eluding me, was brutally and bluntly forced down my throat. I tried to calm down in vain - I bit my lips to where they hurt, thinking GET A GRIP! To my compelte and utter shame, Nurse Frostbite then returned, just as I was struggling to regain any form of composure and wiping the smudged mascara from below my eyes, my reflection in the mirror pale while my eyes looked strained and bloodshot. I was taken to a different room - and, as if someone had gleened what could possibly send me straight over the edge, the whole room, wall to wall, was covered in baby paraphernalia: pregnancy charts, Anne Geddes pictures, checklists, diagrams...It was like my personal purgatory. Everywhere my eyes darted, like that of a caged animal, there was yet another poster, picture or other pamphlet to further break my heart.

I don't know why I was so emotional today, but for once I didn't mind waiting for a doctor to see me. As I struggled to find an arbitrary spot on the floor that I could focus on - anything to not have to be surrounded by all these buoyant reminders of just how marvelous this time of my life and this place is supposed to be since, well, shouldn't I be pregnant and coming for my check-up here? Shouldn't I be listening to helpful advice on breastfeeding my newborn?

For a moment there, to be perfectly honest, I thought I might have a nervous breakdown.

So I sat in the chair like a mental patient, rubbing my hands up and down my thighs in opposing directions, attempting to direct all my attention and focus to the synchronized movements. I started tapping my feet to an imaginary tune. I started humming. I silently reasoned with myself. Anything, ANYTHING, to try not to think about where I was and why; not to look at all these reminders about what women everywhere take for granted - what, even I, took for granted as my birth right, the right of being a woman, the right to reproduce without poking and prodding and questions by sterile nurses who couldn't care less whether you're about to curl into a fetal position and wish the ground would open and swallow you whole. I had just read, somewhere, that in order to challenge your brain you should try to do minor actions/activities with the hand/leg opposite of the one you normally use for that purpose; for example, if you're left-handed, the exercise would be to try writing with your right hand, etc. And that's what I did. I tapped out entire charts of songs with complicated rhythms, switching which foot was doing what and trying to keep going as long as possible without losing the beat. It sounds INSANE, I know - and I can only tell you that, at that moment, I really felt like I was going to lose it if I didn't get my shit together (pardon my French, it's just the best way I can put it right now).

And there, in the middle of Meltdown Madness, I heard a baby cry: the clear, distinctive sound of a newborn baby. It's a miracle I didn't start ripping out my hair.

Thankfully, the doctor was nowhere near as much of a bitch as the nurse was and gave me some helpful information. The said that based on my bloodwork it was possible, if not likely, that I had Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), which, from what I understand, is basically a fancy way of saying that a woman menstruates without ovulating. Figures that some cosmic force would come up with a way to make me suffer through the pain, the cramps, the mood swings and outright inconvenience of periods without the reward of being able to conceive.

So here we are. On my way home, I bought a pint of Haagen Dazs and basically pigged out while watching a made-for-tv movie. I didn't even really cry - I think I used up everything I had at the clinic today. Now I just feel numb, like someone hit me in the head and caused me to black out - and now I don't remember what actually happened. Except that, of course, I do. Remember. Vividly, in technicolor details.

3 comments:

farmerswife06 said...

Oh honey I have so been there. I also have PCOS. I have had this for years but only diagnosed about 5 years ago. I understand exactly how terrible it is to hear this news. But there are so many women who have this who have successfully gotten pregnant. Don't worry!!! It just means we have to go about things a little differantly then others. You really should check out soulcysters.com its a great place to get info and chat with all kinds of women who are dealing with PCOS. I'm so sorry about your sucky day.

Brooke said...

I cant tell you how much your post just broke my heart. I understand that feeling of thinking your going to lose your mind if one more thing hits you in that moment. Its awful. Its like the world is playing a cruel trick on you. The last comment is so true. I have a good friend who spent 2 years wondering why she wasnt pg, was diagnosed with pcos, put on clomid, and conceived two beautiful children. Sorry about the horrible doc visit but its nowhere near hopeless. Not even close.

Julia said...

I really relate to this post. I too had a medical appointment much like this where the office was full of gloriously pregnant women, and I was on my own, just a slightly overweight woman. Thankfully, the nurse was great... but the dr was AWFUL! She didn't answer any of my questions, and she didn't even order any tests when I told her about my irregular cycles. I'm thankful I went and got a second opinion, and this is why I'm on Clomid now!