Monday, June 6, 2011


It didn't seem to matter that I'd written question marks and "N/A" and "not sure" all over the new patient form; the ultrasound technician was expecting to see a fetus.

I listed a few dates for her. She plugged them into the machine and said, "You're anywhere from six to ten weeks."

I smiled politely and said nothing. No, I'm not, I thought. I was expecting to see an empty uterus.


I knew with a strange kind of instinct what I was looking at on the monitor before anyone told me. I didn't know what exactly it was made of, but I still knew what it was.

Something missed. Something left behind. Stuck.

I was oddly relieved to see something inside me instead of nothing.

The something, it turns out, is a chunk of placental tissue, about the size of a golf ball—or perhaps a lime, since pregnancy timelines are so fond of the fruit comparison. And it really is stuck in one of the "horns" of my bicornuate uterus.

The doctor who went over the images with me was very upfront about the possibility that this could be bad, as in, "you're at risk for infection." Or it could be really bad, as in, "you have a rare form of cancer."

He was quick to mention, "I've never seen a woman die from this." I wonder what my face must've looked like, because he repeated, "You're not going to die. You're not going to lose any organs—except your uterus. You might lose that." But he wouldn't know anything until the lab had a chance to take a look at my blood.

Rob was in meetings all day. I had to leave him a voicemail message with the word "cancer" in it.

* * *

Even though I've been having some pregnancy symptoms for the past few weeks, my hCG levels came back low. Under 100. Much lower than 50,000, the "there-might-be-placenta-growing-in-your-organs" number.

The doctor recommended "a gentle D&C." I didn't tell him how ridiculous that phrase sounds to someone with a uterus.

So in a couple weeks, I'll be in the OR. You know, the last place I wanted to end up when this miscarriage business started over two months ago.

* * *

I'm getting tired of these plot points in the story of my uterus. I thought Conception-Gestation-Birth was a pretty interesting story in its own right—no need for all these extra conflicts and reversals—but apparently, that one's been done before.

"I feel like we're in Act III," I told Rob as we lay side-by-side, trying to stare at each other in the dark. "And we know what happens in Act III."

He didn't miss a beat. "Someone gets married."

I thought about grouching at him for trying to brighten my mood. Couldn't he tell I was busy feeling sorry for myself? How dare he act like this was no big deal?

Except, of course, he's right. It isn't a big deal—which I'm having trouble seeing, because I'm knee-deep in it. This is just a detour on the road to healing and (possibly) expanding our family. Yes, it has some pretty serious emotional fallout. But it's not going to change the genre of our story.



joanna said...

noelle, i'm so sorry to hear this. i will be thinking good thoughts for you and rob and westley. good luck.


So many things to say, but most importantly I just want to let you know I'm thinking of you and sending lots of healthy, fertile uterus energy your way :) My favourite sentence is this:
"This is just a detour on the road to healing and (possibly) expanding our family." Detours are a bitch. I'm hoping that the word "likely" will be able to replace "possibly" in those brackets :)

Take Care.

Allison the Meep said...

I really mean it when I say that I'm thinking of you, all the time even. Probably enough to be considered kind of a creeper since I don't know you in person. Sending good thoughts of love and healing and health to you.

notmommy said...

I'm the same way as Allison, thinking of you in a non-creeper way. I truly hope this is the last act <3

Candace said...

Sending healing and love. This crappiness just means that awesomeness is coming your way! Good luck with tests and such. Hoping to brighter days soon.