Muddling Through

I haven’t been feeling so inspired to write lately, or in fact, to do anything much beyond my basic daily tasks. I work and care for my son and cook and shop and do basic clean-up. My clean laundry has been sitting for days, unfolded. My plants look very thirsty. I see clutter everywhere I look, and I keep on “shoulding” on myself.

Let me try to break this down.

Ten days after my miscarriage and D&C, I went to my OB for the follow-up appointment. I sat on the table, stripped from the waist down, trying to cover myself with the large paper towel, and the doctor walked in.

She handed a piece of paper to me, and said, without looking at me, “I’m giving you a copy of this lab report because I want you to understand. It looks like you had a very rare kind of pregnancy that can become cancer.”

Adrenaline shot to my head. I stared at the report in my hand, trying and failing to make sense of the medical jargon, while the doctor droned on about weekly blood tests and Hcg levels. I asked her a question, I don’t even remember what it was, and she said, “That’s what I was just trying to tell you.”

“I can’t hear you right now!” I answered.

I got through the appointment after coming to understand that I had a partial molar pregnancy, which means that two sperm fertilized my one egg. As far as I understand from the research I’ve done, the embryo forms but cannot survive, and the placental tissue grows too much, like a tumor. The D&C probably got it all out of me, but maybe not, and if not, it can continue to grow and has a very low risk of spreading to other parts of my body and/or turning into cancer. If my Hcg levels don’t go down in a timely manner, they will want me to do chemo as a precaution. I drove to work after my appointment in shock, my life reeling before my eyes, the realization that I am not immune.

What the fuck?

I never signed up for this when I decided to try for another baby.

I have to get weekly blood draws until my Hcg hormone levels go drop below 10. The placental tissue creates the Hcg, so having it in my system means the tissue continues to grow. The first test showed a level of 2355. My OB was worried about this, which of course worried me. (However, she knows next to nothing about this condition. Because it is so rare, most OBs have never dealt with it. I am now also being followed by an gynecological oncologist.)

After the miscarriage, we sprung for tickets to Maui, desperate for some down time and healing warm ocean waters. With this news, though, I wondered if I should even leave town. I read online about women heavily bleeding, having to get second D&Cs. The day after my first blood draw, I felt pregnancy symptoms again: a little spaced out, dizzy, nauseous. Not a good sign.

I decided to go back in for another blood draw three days after my first one, two days before our flight for Hawaii. My anxiety was up to the ceiling. It flowed down in relief when I heard back from my OB that the levels had dropped to 945.

We went to Maui, and it was heavenly. We swam daily. My little guy had so much fun in the water and the sand. I sat outside and meditated to the sound of the waves a a lot of the evenings. We enjoyed it so much that we missed our flight home, but that’s another story.

I resisted the next blood draw for a few days after arriving home, but I finally did it last Friday, and got the news Tuesday. My levels dropped to 45! Hopefully, they will continue to drop, and I will not have to get any chemo. And I will not die. Yet. Hopefully.

I’ve been a bit of a mess, honestly. I am functioning, but I feel kind of like I am unraveling. I feel old, haggard, burnt out. I’m anxious about everything. I think I should be doing so much, but feel like doing nothing. I’m angry. I’m sad. I don’t trust my ovaries anymore.

Every time I think about having another child, an edge of desperation and a huge wave of heaviness cloud my thoughts. I am beginning to ponder having no more children, and this depresses me. I have three siblings and am so grateful. As my parents age, it is hard for me to imagine how hard it would be to care for them without my sibling’s help. I don’t want to put all of that weight on one son, or deprive him of sibling love. When I think about trying to get pregnant again, I am very unsure. I have to wait for a few months after my Hcg levels drop all the way down to even try. And then, if and when I do get pregnant, I’ll be sick. I am a very nauseous pregnant person. No fun. Especially after going through this twice for several weeks with the result being miscarriage. And I will be so incredibly afraid of miscarrying again, or having another one of these types of pregnancies. I just don’t know if I have it in me. And then I think of adopting, and can’t seem to garner the energy to jump through whatever hoops I’ll need to jump through. Plus, I will need to get my husband to agree with me, and he’s been a little hot and cold on that option.

It’s all too confusing. So, I just put it out of my head, and muddle on. The days are getting shorter. Loss is a major theme in my life right now.

At least I am still dancing.

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