September 22, 2012 Pink Inspires

In My Shoes…

Days leading up to my hysterectomy quickly approached.

Blood work – check.

Babysitting logistics – check.

Hospital bag packed – check.

Clean house (yes, I am one of those) – check, check.

Several family and friends called to wish me well, but it was during my aunt and uncle’s visit that things went sideways.

My doctor called asking me how I was doing and casually mentioned he had something he wanted to share.  Not thinking anything of it, other than I was pleasantly surprised to receive a house call from my doctor, I responded, “Okay, what is it?”

“You’re pregnant”, He said.

Two small simple words.  I can still vividly remember, how instantly I became lightheaded and on the verge of passing out. I could still hear my mom’s voice, in my head, so I desperately held it together not wanting to “freak out” my relatives, while I politely, asked my doctor if I could call him back.

The next hour seemed to crawl by.  I tried desperately to keep my cool; all the while knowing that my aunt and uncle suspected something was going on.

When I called my doctor back an hour later… I was still numb with shock.  My doctor shared he was equally surprised since he had informed me that my chance of becoming pregnant was extremely slim. My ultrasound showed that my ovaries and fallopian tubes were covered with “growths”.  I had stopped taking my birth control pill for only a month, and to be perfectly honest, with a crazy schedule, the stress of the surgery, and a child that likes to sneak into our bed every night… There wasn’t a lot of action going on.

After whispering, “What does this mean?” to my doctor, he explained that he had cancelled my hysterectomy.  But, more importantly he wanted to know if I was going to continue with the pregnancy. If I chose to continue the pregnancy, I would be monitored very closely. However, if the masses in my ovaries and fallopian tubes were malignant, the high levels of estrogen could cause the cancer to spread quickly.

So much to process. I needed to talk to my husband yet I was sick to my stomach knowing he really wanted another child.  On the other hand, after seeing what this disease had done to my mother and knowing that it may be my fate too, I couldn’t continue the pregnancy.  I knew my husband would take the news well but I must admit, I was very surprised that he never once questioned my decision. He was extremely supportive and said without hesitation that terminating the pregnancy was the only decision.

The following morning, I let my doctor know of our decision.  But, things are never easy.  Unfortunately, my doctor informed me that he could not terminate my pregnancy at my Catholic hospital, because one I am Catholic and two my life wasn’t at stake.  My only option was to seek out a local clinic to perform the procedure.  What??? I could not believe what I was hearing.  This “policy” was completely absurd. Unfortunately, this was a battle I did not have the energy for and I knew the longer I waited, the harder this decision would be.

The next day, my husband accompanied me to a local clinic where they first made me sit down, while they counseled me to make sure I was making this decision with a clear mind. Next, I was moved into an examination room for an ultrasound.  Remember I said earlier nothing is every easy?  Well, it turns out that the tech was unable to locate a gestational sac so I under went blood work to check for HCG levels that would confirm if I was pregnant.  Obviously I was.  However, because the pregnancy was in the early stages, I was denied the termination and instead told to return in another week.

Are you KIDDING me???

The next week was complete hell and to say I was on an emotional roller coaster would have been a complete understatement.  I couldn’t get away from everyone asking why my hysterectomy was cancelled.  Few people knew about the pregnancy and I just couldn’t deal with the stress so I let my poor husband deal with all the questions.  In amongst all the feelings, I remember feeling utterly embarrassed. I had always considered myself responsible. How could I have allowed this to happen?

A week later, my husband and I returned to the clinic, this time arriving on a Saturday.  Outside the clinic, protesters were thrusting Pro Life pamphlets in our faces as we walked inside. I felt so ashamed and so annoyed all at the same time.  How dare these people judge us?  They have no idea what each woman’s story is, that bravely walks through those doors.

Once inside, I was escorted again into an examination room for another ultrasound. Again, the tech was unable to spot the embryo, so the doctor was called in.  To my relief, even though he was unable to locate the embryo, he agreed to perform the procedure.  Now, I could finally reschedule my hysterectomy.

This experience has taught me so much about myself and made me appreciate what others must face.  I am completely aware of the negative stigma and knowing I may offend or alienate people around me when they find out I was faced with this Pro Life/Pro Choice decision.  I contemplated whether or not to share this personal, yet controversial part of my story.  Even though, I made the difficult decision to terminate a potentially dangerous pregnancy, I know not everyone will agree.  There will be those that will judge me and simply won’t care about my reasons. However, I do choose to hold my head up high and stop second-guessing myself.  I am here today and able to enjoy and share every minute of my life, with those around me that I love.

… For those of you that read this story, I THANK you from the bottom of my heart for your open mindedness and allowing me the opportunity to share.  Stay Tuned for the next phase of my journey.