It’s been three weeks since we lost our ball of cells.
That’s what we named the presence of forming life in my body — our BOC. He started to say “our baby” and I said no, it’s nothing but a ball of cells, and he said, “BOC.” And for nine beautiful, hope-filled, purposeful days, it was BOC in my uterus. We wondered and dreamed, I limited myself to one coffee a day and ate a lot of protein.
BOC did not survive past nine days.
Three weeks later, my body still experiences flashes of abdominal pain akin to the pain of those days. If our sense of purpose was ever at its highest, it was during those nine days; now, it’s at its lowest, probably because we knew how high it could go. I don’t want to talk to anyone or ask for help. I can’t shake the feeling that my body failed us, even as I understand intellectually that this episode constitutes neither failure nor tragedy.
Who understands the feeling of wanting children?
Who truly understands the stakes?
“A lot of pressure.”
The gynecologist tells her that her cervix is looking particularly uninteresting. Good, she responds. Then you don’t need to cut any more of it out of me. She’s done this twice already. Three times, if you count the experimental procedure that got rid of the growth — but that was different.
She barely feels the presence of the spectrum. The minutes go by, and various tools slide in and out. Q-tips with vinegar, special solutions to allow the gynecologist to see the cervix in full view. Those dreaded, long, awful scissors enter and in one huge motion snip a tiny piece of her interior body for a pathologist to study. More Q-tips, this time soaked in another solution meant to stop the bleeding from the incision.
The name of the procedure with the scissors is “Surgical Pathology.”
At last, the final tool. “That horrible scrapey feeling,” says the gynecologist, “that one that everybody hates — that’s just me cleaning up in there.”
It feels horrible, and she hates it.
There have been five of these procedures done in the doctor’s office today. Three people have gotten IUDs.
She vows that she is never going to voluntarily go through any unnecessary re-openings of her cervix or her uterus in order to do something like insert an IUD.
“It’s funny,” the gynecologist muses. “This is such a thankless thing. I mean, we should be thankful that because of this procedure, we can prevent cervical cancer. Most of the time women come in here and leave thankful that they won’t get procreate. But not having cancer — I’d say that’s pretty cool.”
I can’t fathom “trying again.”
I don’t want to go back to using contraception, but I can’t invest any energy in that word — “trying.”
I don’t want to change my diet, my drinking habits, my yoga practice. I want to heal in a way that feels familiar. I want to go out with friends. I want to feel normal. Not like a person whose body evicted the unrealized doom of a ball of cells in a bloody mess while clutching at her lower back in pain for multiple days.
I just want to live it through. I want to get to whatever’s next. That high hope, that place over the moon. That sense of purpose.
What is my purpose?