Thursday, January 29, 2009

Letter #5

Dear Veronica,

"One disaster at a time." Those were the last words told to me by my doctor, one of my partners in this process of trying to make you into a cradling reality. Today, I had a hysterosalpingogram which is fancy word for shooting dye through fallopian tubes to make sure they are clear and functioning properly. Your only Tita, my wonderful sister, spoke her usual positive words when I told her that the discomfort was like getting a papsmear multiplied by fifteen, "Well, you never, ever, ever have to get that done again. Ever." And when I told her how they stuck cold metal up my Precious and then inserted a long application into me, and then filled me up with a fluid that made me feel like I was either going to die of cramps or explode, she replied, "Mhm. Sounds great - like reverse birth."

Humor, my dear, will be the key to surviving life. You'll learn that when you are born.

Your father was made to put on a safety apron because it was in an x-ray room. It was scarlet and tightened around his torso with a big piece of velcro. He looked quite anxious when he noticed stains on it, but he tried to keep me laughing. Or maybe both of us to relax before the horrible test I was about to have.

To distract myself from the pain, I tried to imagine what it might feel like to actually be pregnant with you. It's worked so many times before. The discomfort and sense of invasion was so thick, I could hardly get away in my thoughts. That's rare. I'm usually the kind of woman that cannot be followed in the secrecy of my mind. I can usually escape in a moment, but not today.

To make things even more complicated, I have some sort of tear in my - hold onto yourself - my rear end. A fissure, is what it's called, and feels like I am passing GLASS once a day. Yes, glass. More fiber, water, exercise, yoga. I'm doing everything I can, but the pain is so traumatic, so acute. Today it was so consuming, I cried in the shower for a long time. It's been weeks of pain, my dear, and with the thoughts that you may or may not be realized only makes me hold tighter to a thread of possibility that may not even be real anymore, but I still hope.

I have to believe that since the dye cleared my tubes, my surgery was successful, and I am surviving some of the most physically painful times of my life that I am a mother in training. I shovel snow, have my tubes inked, write manifestas, and cook mean meals that stick to your ribs. I am woman.

Hear me roar.

If you are ever born inside me, you'll be the first to hear it.

Love,
Mom

2 comments:

  1. I have really been enjoying these letters to your future daughter.

    I know this was far from the main point of the post, but I wanted to mention that I was getting various cracks and fissures in my various nether parts for a while, and my NP told me it might be seborrheic dermatitis, especially if I was having problems elsewhere on my body (and I was... I had a crack behind my ear for a while that took forever to heal, and I would get these scaly patches on my eyelids that didn't respond to moisturizer). I'd tried over-the-counter cortisone but it wasn't doing anything.

    So anyway, she gave me a prescription steroid cream (triamcinolone acetonide 0.5%) to apply for 2 weeks, and told me to apply Aquaphor (a greasy, vaseline-like moisturizer available at the drugstore) twice a week after that for a while, then as needed thereafter. (I think the steroid cream would probably have done more harm than good, especially to anal fissures, over the long term because it thins the skin). This seemed to clear everything up and I haven't had it recur, but if I get itchy I'll use the Aquaphor for a couple of days, and that seems to take care of it. I also started using a milder soap down there (sodium laureth sulfate instead of any of the other sulfates, or shampoo with something milder like cocamidapropyl betaine if I have it).

    That was more than you ever wanted to know about my skin problems, but I googled it once and was shocked to find the number of women on message boards who were dealing with genital or anal skin problems whose doctors had either done nothing for them, or assumed it was a yeast infection or something stereotypical like that. A lot of these women would describe having sex and then going into the bathroom and crying from the pain. After that I decided I would annoy everyone I could with my experience so hopefully fewer women would suffer with this kind of stuff that we seem to have so much trouble discussing with others.

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  2. How kind and lovely of you to share your story and experience to help others. Under all of that, I think, is some of the greatest qualities of humans: the compassion to share our lives so to help others through it or protect those who have not.

    Many, many thanks for your words!

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