You’ve got to trust your instincts. And get three quotes.

It was exactly two months and one week ago when I climbed back into bed to ask Josh if he was ready for his life to change. Because at a ripe age of 43 and-a-half, I was pregnant. And that’s without any doctors involved. It was a miracle, and we were both elated; I’d say it was easily the happiest day in my life so far. With the wedding just a few months away, my biggest worry was that I now needed a new dress, one more suitable for a blushing knocked-up bride.

Today I’m in a hospital bed, typing this through a tramadol haze. I have a C-section scar, but no baby – the only thing that had come out was a 9cm (3.5 inches) uterine fibroid that had caused a miscarriage and more grief than I have ever experienced in my life so far. It was like boarding a flight, all giddy and happy, on your way to a new adventure, only to find yourself in a tailspin, with each new test or doctor delivering worse and worse news. I’d like to tell you that I was strong and brave through this ordeal, but it’s not true. When I was referred to an oncologist surgeon, because there was no way to confirm that the bastard is not malignant without cutting it out, I cried all day. When I got myself together enough to get a second opinion only to find out that I will need two surgeries because the bastard created a massive blood supply for itself, I pretty much lost it. There was an episode at home, when I screamed “I can’t do this!” and “Fuck you!” at the walls until I could barely breathe.

My family tried to help. I spoke with a psychologist. I took Valium. I went to work and tried to distract myself with strategic plans, or whatever. Still, I could not get a grip. Part of the reason was that I could not stop beating myself up for not doing something about it earlier. Cause, you see, I knew about the bastard for at least three years, and so did my doctors. It showed up on an ultrasound back then, but it was 4.5cm (2″) and I was told not to worry about it, because they are common, and they could shrink on their own. I did worry about it, because my mother and grandmother had enormous ones that almost killed them, but sighed with relief and put it out of my mind.

It turns out I had a lot of options back then, like laparoscopic surgery, medication, or embolization. I had very few options this time, and they were all bad, sort of comparing rotten apples to rotten oranges. I picked one which seemed to make more sense, took more Valium, and kept putting one foot in front of the other and filling one  form after another, until I finally woke up from general anaesthesia for the second time.

It has now been four days in recovery, and the worst is behind me, I hope. I have also found that grip I was so desperately looking for earlier. As a self-proclaimed Queen of Silver Linings, I found a few even in this miserable shithole of a situation. I managed to fall pregnant naturally, so it could happen again. I found out about the bastard before it grew to a size of a baseball (yes, they can do that) and required a hysterectomy. I didn’t need blood transfusion and the nurses keep commenting on how quickly I’m healing. Josh and I are more in love than ever, and we are still getting married, only a few weeks later than originally planned. I have six weeks of paid sick leave, so I will finish my third novel. I’m alive. I can, actually, do “this” or whatever else life throws at me.

I have also learned a lesson, and this is the one I wanted to share with you: trust your gut and get three quotes  or opinions on anything important. Bathroom remodel? Get three quotes. Manuscript edit? Well, I got about six quotes with sample pages. That persistent pain your doctor dismisses as “normal” and “nothing to worry about”? You get the point. You are the one who cares the most about your body, children, finances, and yes – your book. If you feel that something isn’t right, don’t let others dismiss you. Stand up for yourself. Be a brick wall – not aggressive or angry, just self assured and persistent.

I’d also like thank everyone who’d shown me so much support when I freaked out and asked for prayers on Twitter just minutes before the first surgery. It was amazing to see such an outpouring of support, well wishes, and even people contacting me privately, all worried about what was going on. Sadly, some of my real- life “friends” were not as caring. They will be fired. I needed to make some space for new friends, anyway.

Here’s looking at you, kid.

130 Comments

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130 responses to “You’ve got to trust your instincts. And get three quotes.

  1. I’m so sorry to hear this. Keep your chin up and don’t stop fighting the hard road of life. And your suggestions about getting three quotes is spot ont.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. *hugs to you and Josh*
    The grief and sadness is normal.
    I believe God loves all of humanity and that your child is now with him, experiencing eternal joy. I also believe that God is capable of redeeming this painful event and bringing good out of it, even if that seems unlikely at the moment.
    May you perceive his loving arms wrapped around you.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Ben. As hard as it is for me to say this, the baby that was not meant to be may have saved my life. If it wasn’t for the miscarriage, I would not have known about this tumor, and the longer it stayed in there, the more chances it would have to turn malignant. I am learning to just accept things as they are, instead of fighting and wishing for them to be different. Thank you again.

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  3. I’m so very sorry to hear about this. I know there’s not much that can be said, but know that I understand. I’ve only recently returned to the online world after my own miscarriage (it also included a hospital visit, but for different reasons than yours). I will be praying for you.

    I can only imagine how difficult writing this post was, but I want you to know that I found it inspiring and encouraging, also a reminder that I am not alone.

    On that note, you’re not alone either, and while you probably have no shortage of people to talk to, should you need one more I’m happy to listen.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you so much. So sorry to hear about your loss – and glad to hear you’re getting better. It was both difficult and therapeutic to write the post, and I slept through the night right after, for the first time in 3 days. My mom said I’ve done this since childhood, getting up to write down thoughts or a bad dream to be able to let it go and sleep. For some reason, miscarriages are treated like scene tons in the closet, with the whole “don’t tell anyone you’re pregnant till 12 weeks” mentality, but I think it makes the burden that much more difficult. So glad I’ve managed to encourage you – hey, another silver lining discovered! Xx

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  4. I’m so, so sorry for your loss. It seems trite to say that I’m grateful that you are okay. Instead I’ll say that I’m grateful that your surgery went well, that your body is on the mend. The rest will take time. Glad the writing and sharing is helpful….xo

    Liked by 1 person

  5. I’ve had two myomectomies so I completely understand. The second one was when I was delivering my son. It was too big to close me up from the emergency c-section. I was fine. My son was fine. I’m praying for you and your family during this time and I believe you will be fine as well. Here’s to a speedy recovery.

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Oh, dear girl, I am sorry you went through that, and sorry for your loss.
    Lots of love and hugs to you all.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Words are inadequate: the best I can come up with is get better soon.

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  8. Ana, there’s always a mental conjuring-up when I read your name of your blog – spokes of a wheel. I think you are far more responsible for evoking that symbolic imagery, than I could ever be.

    The wheel is always moving forward.

    Strength to your health and take care.

    -John

    Liked by 1 person

    • Oh, John. Thank you so much – unexpected, but so true. This is the worst health scare I’ve ever had, but then I’ve had even tougher and more prolonged trials. I have, after all, moved to the US with a promise of a scholarship and $90 in my pocket. That decision hurt for several years, but I kept going, and look how far I’d rolled :-). Thanks again.

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  9. Wow, I trying to learn to not say sorry as much any more, but replace that word with “thank you”. Thank you for sharing your personal story, because it needs out right. On paper. I feel that. I felt this.

    We lost our first, the rotating (in my head) image of the ultra-sound without hartbeat that was there a few weeks ago. And it was not natural. We tried 10 years, and then used drugs and mixed our stuff and then it died.

    Then we had a few years if IVF. The decision to take the last chance is horrifying. Because after that, there is nothing. Well we already discussed adoption. But the feeling you know?

    Now, three kidsticals (we referred to our frozen embryos that way) go to school, run around and aks question. Are reading and writing.

    But the dark days were dark, and tears well up when I go there. It is powerful, and it is bad. So I do not feel sorry, but I thank you for your story. Your own dark story. I missed you tweed asking for help, but maybe sharing stories does.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. Thinking of you … thanks for posting this perceptive piece, can’t have been easy.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. What a gigantic shock…be gentle with yourself. Recovery (physical and emotional) takes more time than you think.(Or want it to)

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you for sharing this. I’m sure that your writing and the spirit that shines through is helping others through their hard times. I’m praying that your sadness quickly turns to joy.
    M

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thank you, Martin. I’m feeling incredibly lucky to have the confirmation it was benign, and while not quite at the joy stage yet, looking forward to moving on. Have been staring at the laptop for a couple of days now, surely the funny is coming up soon! Thanks again.

      Like

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