Yeah totally relaxed over here.
Yeah totally relaxed over here.
On Friday, September 11, in the bullshit, hellfire year of 2020, I peed on a stick and it showed a positive result.
Sorry, I should clarify– I peed on a PREGNANCY TEST stick and it showed a positive result for PREGNANCY. (Just in case you thought I peed on a popsicle stick or a yard stick and that the stick, as a result, felt optimistic. As far as I’m aware, my pee does not have that power.)
One might view this as good news, and generally it is (obviously), but any excitement I felt about the positive result was quickly overridden by doubt and worry because 1) the line was VERY faint and 2) it took four days after my missed period to even show up on a test (My mother, quite the Fertile Myrtle* yet from the Jurassic Era of pregnancy, did not find this latter point suspicious in the least, but we all know that modern pregnancy tests can now detect pregnancy SUPER early, often BEFORE a missed period, and almost certainly on the DAY of the missed period. And by “we all know that,” I mean that’s what happened with my last pregnancy and therefore based on that one situation once, it is filed in my brain under “Facts We All Know.”)
So naturally, I immediately googled “faint line on a pregnancy test 4 days after missed period and I’m freaking out.” I got about 78923392893 explanations, and 78923392892 of them were some version of “Every woman is different. You’re fine, Karen.”
But naturally, I zeroed in on the one article that mentioned ectopic pregnancy as a possible reason for this late, faint-line scenario, and my anxiety disorder immediately perked up and declared “YES. I’LL TAKE ECTOPIC PREGNANCY FOR 500, ALEX!”
For those of you who don’t know what an ectopic pregnancy is and who enjoy getting your medical information from this blog (not advised), it is a complication of pregnancy in which the embryo attaches outside the uterus (don’t worry, I cut and pasted that from
wikipedia a verified medical source so that you know it’s accurate). The uterus (again for those of you who skipped 5th grade health class because your parents are religious, or for those of you who are Mike Pence), is the only place in the body that can provide a “hospitable environment” for an embryo. If the embryo attaches outside the uterus, it cannot thrive and grow, and therefore has no chance of being a viable pregnancy.
Reading all this on The Google offset a series of back and forth with my OBGYN. I requested an earlier ultrasound, because the soonest appointment offered to me was 10/14, which would put me at 9 weeks 2 days pregnant. That seemed an absurdly long time to wait, especially considering that my “advanced maternal age” (cue flirty hair toss)
and previous C-section automatically put me in the category of “high risk.” The doctor agreed to do bloodwork to ensure my hormones were rising as they should, but wouldn’t budge on the ultrasound date.
Then I found blood in my underwear.
Finding blood in your underwear is never a sign that today is going to be a good day. Even when it’s the “good” blood (aka your period), it’s a huge fucking bummer. So when you find the “bad” blood, you can pretty much throw out your chances of mental sanity for the foreseeable future. (What you can also do is take pictures of it and send to your BFF, thus solidifying what you already knew was an in-the-trenches-together-for-life friendship. Thank you again to that friend, and I’m sorry if you still can’t eat.)
I called my doctor and she insisted that it was still too early for an ultrasound (at this point I was 5 weeks 3 days), but that we’d see what my blood results had to say. My results came back the next day and showed that the hormones were increasing as they should. And you know what’s great about your hormones increasing properly during early pregnancy? ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOTHING IF IT’S AN ECTOPIC PREGNANCY. Because technically, you are pregnant (just in the wrong place), so your body continues to supply you with the hormones as it would for a properly-placed pregnancy. It doesn’t yet know the difference. So a blood test early on will reveal absolutely zero helpful information in terms of discovering an ectopic pregnancy.
You know what WILL reveal an ectopic pregnancy that early?
A MOTHERFUCKING ULTRASOUND.
After more pleading (because I was not satisfied with the bloodwork results alone), my doctor agreed to move up my ultrasound to 10/6 (when I would be 8 weeks 1 day). I still found this unacceptable. She continued to argue that it was too early for an ultrasound (FALSE– perhaps too early to detect a heartbeat, NOT too early to detect an ectopic pregnancy), and it wasn’t until I burst into tears with the secretary that she magically found a way to squeeze me in on 9/30, which would put me at 7 weeks 2 days. I still found this absurdly late for a first ultrasound given my age, the suspicious faint line, and the blood, but not wanting to harass them any further and come off as a complete crazy person (big mistake- I should have owned my title as I always have), I accepted that date.
On Monday, 9/28, two days before my scheduled ultrasound, I woke up to more blood.
And about an hour later, I began experiencing cramps on my right side, which quickly devolved into EXCRUCIATING pain. I could not move from the fetal position. Not that the fetal position was even helping. No matter how I contorted my body, the pain was sharp, intense, and relentless. It literally took my breath away, in the absolute least romantic interpretation of that phrase.
Eric called the doctor’s office. My OB was not in that day (OF COURSE), but the secretary told us to go to the emergency room. We drove straight to the nearest hospital in Norwalk.
Due to COVID, Eric was not allowed to stay with me. So I would now like to add “Scared and alone in the ER” to my “Things I Blame on Trump” list.
They took an ultrasound. Fun fact: the ultrasound technicians are not allowed to reveal to you what they are seeing. I don’t know if they take some kind of acting class in order to hone the skills required to stay completely fucking stone-faced while staring at a pregnant woman’s empty uterus, but I gotta say, the Oscar goes to technician Cindy in Ultrasound Room B.
Bitch didn’t bat an eye while gazing into what I would later learn was the hollow, unoccupied abyss of my uterus. She didn’t show the slightest hint of emotion when I asked her, through a cascade of tears, if she could hear a heartbeat. “I’m not allowed to discuss what I see,” replied Cyborg Cindy.
About 30 minutes after the ultrasound was completed, the ER doctor reported his findings. “There are no signs of pregnancy in your uterus. The ultrasound shows significant bleeding in your right ovary, and we believe we see an ectopic pregnancy in your right fallopian tube. The bleeding and pain is likely the result of the tube rupturing, but we will need your OB to come in to confirm.”
He was perfectly nice and sympathetic when he relayed this news, but it didn’t stop me from wanting to light his face on fire.
They called my OB’s office, only to be told the on-call OB was in the middle of performing a C-section. She would get back to us in an hour. I stared at the wall and choke-sobbed, creating a list of reasons (I love lists) why this was happening to me. In true depressive form, they were all my fault.
In a not-at-all-shocking turn of events, the on-call OB at my practice finally called back to say that their doctors are not licensed to practice at Norwalk Hospital, only at Greenwich, and therefore could not come to consult. I would need to be seen by the attending OB at Norwalk.
I jotted down this hour of wasted time in excruciating pain as the final point on my “Ways This Practice Has Ass Raped Me” list (looooove lists), and vowed to never return.
The one bright spot in the story is that the attending OB then stepped in, and she was a lovely angel sent from the heavens. She had the (wee) stature, coloring, and gentle, soothing manner of Ruth Bader Ginsburg, and I immediately felt safe in her Jewish motherly presence (she probably wasn’t Jewish, but definitely had that “vibe,” which is a positive trait in exactly one kind of situation, and this was it).
Ruth Dr. M was calm and comforting, but also knew her shit and wasn’t going to beat around the bush.
She immediately confirmed an ectopic pregnancy.
Obviously. Of all the “this-pregnancy-situation-aint-lookin-good” scenarios, Of COURSE this was an ectopic pregnancy. Because in no other body than mine would the egg and sperm go through all the trouble to meet and merge, only to then be TOO FUCKING LAZY TO MAKE THE 5 INCH** TRIP DOWN TO THEIR UTERUS HOME.
Sperm and egg were like “Hey, you wanna do this thing? Cool. So let’s just park it, crack open a can of hard seltzer (this embryo was VERY white) and netflix n’ chill here in the fallopian tube instead of, you know, doing all the stuff that requires energy.” Basically the story of my and Eric’s courtship.
And I’m obviously in favor of the whole “meet-and-immediately-settle-down” approach but in this scenario, putting in one more tiny modicum of effort turned out to be necessary for the success of the relationship. They were lazy and they blew it.
So I had immediate emergency surgery.
The embryo had been growing in my right fallopian tube, and because it had grown to a size that exceeded the diameter of the tube, the tube had ruptured. In case you’re wondering what it feels like when an organ ruptures inside your body, stop wondering. You don’t want to know.
They put me under general anesthesia. They preformed the surgery laparoscopically, and removed my ruptured fallopian tube. The internal bleeding and inflammation was so bad at that point, the doctor told me I was extremely lucky that I came in when I did. I took that to mean I very possibly could have died, but I didn’t ask her to clarify. Even I, the masochist, didn’t want to know.
When I awoke from surgery, which took about 2 hours, I was delighted to see Ruth Bader Ginsburg– the ACTUAL Ruth Bader Ginsburg– stroking my hand and telling me I did a great job. She was super proud of me. I thanked her, then asked, “Did you come back from the dead, Ruth? I can call you Ruth, right? That’s ok? Or are you a ghost? You know what, it doesn’t matter. I’m just so glad you’re here.” At which point Ruth lovingly assured me that I was on lots and lots of drugs, and that I should stop saying words.
I stayed quiet after that, but only after asking her to please sign my water bottle.
Idk she must not have heard me.
I am now home recovering, and have been getting plenty of rest and lots of love. My mother-in-law arrived the day of surgery and took care of Nora for the following 3 days. My parents then took over on Wednesday night. They arrived with a full bottle of Grey Goose, 5 bottles of wine, and their own coffee machine. None of it was for us. Those are apparently the supplies they require in order to make it through a 48 hour stay in our home.
My respect for them runs deep.
How am I feeling? I appreciate you asking (you didn’t). I’m pretty much all over the fucking place (hence the choice to start writing. It helps.) Here’s a sample of some of the things going through my mind. Don’t worry, it’s just a pu pu platter. I won’t torture you with the full menu, as I haven’t even worked through that myself.
But none of this is linear. I’m deeply humbled one moment and back to angry and sad the next. Then back again. The only constant is the steadfast eating of feelings. I would like to thank “snacks” for sponsoring this miscarriage.
My body still hurts. I am still expelling remnants of a pregnancy that once carried endless possibilities, and is now just a visual reminder of hopes dashed. I know I’ll get through it, but I’m still in it.
And it’s pretty dark in here.
So thanks to those of you who have provided some light.
Especially you, Ruth.
*”She got pregnant if I even looked at her funny!” – My Dad. 🤢
**Measurement entirely fabricated. 🤷♀️
Kid: (burps loudly)
Me: “Ummm…what do you say after a burp?”
Kid: “Ugh I HATE when you do that. You’re disgusting. You can sleep on the couch tonight.”
Kid: “That’s what my mom says after my dad burps.”
I’ve been doing a lot of solitary activities to manage my quarantine anxiety and I guess it’s become an issue because I just received this email from Eric:
(Continuation of Accurate, But Still )
“It’s Dada! It’s DADA!!!!!!! I see Dada!”
— Nora, every time she sees Charlie Brown.
“It’s Mama! It’s MAMA!!!!!!! I see Mama!”
— Nora, every time she sees Eeyore.
As I’ve mentioned on this blog and to anyone I’ve ever met anywhere at any time for any reason– I’m a sweaty person. Like this but sweatier.
Our current apartment runs extremely hot. We’ve posted many a video of Nora on social media and she is always stripped down to the diaper– friends think this is because we have a “free the baby from the burden of clothes!” hippie attitude, but what they don’t realize is that I, too, am naked behind the camera because it is 5 fucking thousand degrees in our home and WE’RE ALL JUST TRYING TO SURVIVE. (I’m sorry if that mental image of naked me ruins your enjoyment of Nora’s videos (Brothers. Dad.), but you’re welcome if it enhances it (No one? Oh ok.)).
So due to this hot apartment/me being a sweaty mammoth combo, I need to sleep with the air conditioner on throughout the night. In fact, the AC isn’t even enough– I need the fan too. Eric, whose body functions like that of a person meant to live on this earth and not in a 70-degree isolated space bubble, does not enjoy this nighttime freeze-out ritual. He insists that if we just keep the window open, it will have a similar effect, with the added bonus of saving both money and energy.
I have tried this crazy window-scheme he’s concocted, and I simply disagree with his assessment. It’s not the same. He then tries to argue that I have not given it a real chance, as if me doing it that whole one time for 10 seconds isn’t sufficient enough to draw an accurate conclusion of NOPE THIS IS TERRIBLE HELLFIRE AND I HATE IT.
So, like any good, solid married couple with opposing viewpoints, we have agreed to compromise and have the AC on full blast, the fan on high, and the window sealed shut.
Eric, over time, has learned to accept that this is the situation, and has ceased to verbally comment on it anymore, as he knows, much like when he tries to teach me about the stock market or how to make toast, it is a waste of breath. I am who I am (
the worst. the best ? inexplicably and unadvisedly someone’s mother. Set in my ways.)
But what he DOES do is passive aggressively send me the monthly email from Con Edison explaining how much energy we
waste use compared to other homes. It is, without fail, always over 150% more than similar apartments in the area. He sends these emails with no explanation– he just forwards them along and hopes I’ll open one and, you know, feel something.
I do not.
He does make sure to follow up when he gets home from work, though. The conversation goes something like this:
Eric: “Did you get my Con Ed email?”
Me: “Yes I did.”
I don’t know why he bothers.
But guys– today’s email really got me. See below.
Maybe it’s that the percentage is over 200 for the first time ever. Maybe it’s the fact that Eric took the time to deliberately change the subject line to 233%, so I can’t earmuff that shit. Maybe it’s that he added the “I give up on you and life” cry-laugh emoji. Maybe it’s that image of a polar bear floating away on a block of ice (not sure if that directly relates, but goddamn that’s upsetting). Or maybe it’s that gif I once saw of a dog so sad he can’t even muster one ounce of excitement for what has to be the largest, most wiggly bubble ever (completely unrelated. Now I’m just spiraling.) But the point is, for the first time, I felt something.
So tonight I turn over a new leaf. If I can’t be motivated by Eric’s discomfort (oh, you don’t like the temperature? Remember when I grew a human from scratch, stored it amongst my organs, and then carried a farm’s supply of lactose in my boobs for a year? I’M SORRY YOU’RE COLD.), I should at least be motivated to serve the greater good.
So you win, Eric. No more winter AC.
But make no mistake– I’m doing this for the dog.
So the other day I was telling my single-and-fed-up-with-dating friend the story below, and she responded, “You should write about this, because based on your blog, I never would have guessed that you and Eric experienced anything but the smoothest sailing from first date to marriage.”
I was horrified by the fact that I was inadvertently giving public credence to the bullshit notion that good, solid relationships are and should be easy, so I think it only fair to my
plethora of readers two readers mom that I set the record straight.
Eric and I have had our fair share of little roadblocks along the way, but my favorite roadblock, if we’re ranking roadblocks (and who doesn’t?), is when
we I first said “I love you.”
It went a little something like this:
Me: “I love you.”
Me: “I said I LOVE YOU. Say something!”
Me: “Ummm….DO YOU LOVE ME TOO?”
(Side note: this was not the first time I had told a guy I loved him and didn’t hear it back, but it WAS the first time I told a guy I loved him and MEANT IT and didn’t hear it back– so needless to say, this hurt more.)
So after Eric pulled the real-life equivalent of a Homer Simpson bush-melt, I realized I was not getting an “I love you” back– which, quite frankly, surprised me because according to Eric this is the celeb version of us as a couple:
Which is Eric’s hilarious, self-deprecating way of saying “I married up” (people DO tell me I look like that actress, btw, but only when I brush my hair. So never.)
And while I don’t disagree that he married up (I’m great), he needs to give himself more credit with his celeb doppelgänger, which is only Danny Devito in height, but clearly Daniel Berger in all other features (minus being good at golf):
But I digress.
The point of this is to say that I was kind of like, “Wait– YOU don’t love ME?!” First of all, I was
desperate openminded enough to look past the fact that your dating app photo was taken 200 feet away, head to the side, wearing sunglasses and a hat, forcing me to be like trying to figure out whether or not you were a mutant (you weren’t ).
And THEN I even looked past the fact that you lied about your height by an ENTIRE inch, which is such a trite internet-dating-jew-move. Lucky for you, on our first date, I was
too drunk to notice once again openminded.
All this, and YOU don’t love ME?!
But yeah. He couldn’t say the words.
So I did what any rational, mature, 33-year-old woman would do and kicked him the fuck out of my apartment. I told him that if he didn’t love me, I didn’t want to look at his ass face, which I think we can all agree is a good way of persuading someone on the do-I-love-you fence to hop on over with enthusiastic ardor.
Ok, no, jk, I wasn’t that harsh about it (out loud), but I did think he needed to take some space to sort out his feelings, since he claimed he was “confused” and “scared” (I think those were his words. I don’t know guys I’ve spent the past year wiping drool and cleaning poop. Nora’s, not mine. Nora’s and mine? Point is, my brain has atrophied.).
In Eric’s defense, he had only recently gotten out of a years-long relationship, and it had left him with some emotional baggage– the kind of baggage you think is totally compact and manageable but then you reach your gate and the attendant scoffs because there’s no way in hell that tattered, 400-pound Samsonite is fitting in the overhead compartment.
So I asked him to go home and take some time to think through his feelings and “unconfuse” himself, an idea he decided he hated the second he left my apartment.
He texted me from my lobby saying something along the lines of “This sucks. I don’t want to go home. I want to be with you,” and I replied with something along the lines of “Tough shit, dickwad.”
Or maybe I just said, “I know, I’m sorry, but I think you need some space to think about what you want from this relationship.” Like I said, details are hazy these days (grand…pa….SHARK do do do do do do….).
Bottom line is that clearly I was hurt and embarrassed, although embarrassment was really secondary to the hurt, because I think when you truly love someone, you’re able to put your ego aside. Plus, like any woman who has spent more than 5 years online dating in NYC, I had lost every last modicum of shame.
So Eric went home and called one of his guy friends for advice. Now this could have gone very poorly. Don’t get me wrong, Eric’s guy friends are some of the greatest people I’ve ever met, but I would only take advice from a select zero of them. Thankfully, Eric chose the arguably most normal of the bunch, who immediately told him, and I’m paraphrasing here, “Stop being such a pussy.”
The next morning, I went for an 18-mile run at 4:00am on a workday, because I was training for a marathon and also because I am insane.
I blasted Adele’s “Hello” on repeat, screaming the lyrics as loudly as possible in order to prevent myself from crying over the fact that this dude clearly didn’t love me. What I quickly learned is that you don’t play Adele when you’re trying to NOT cry. You’d think after 18 years battling clinical depression I would have curated the optimal soundtrack for emotional soothing, but no, I still play Dave Matthew’s “Grey Street” when I’m feeling hopeless as fuck, which (spoiler alert!) doesn’t help.
I arrived back at my apartment around 6:45am, snot-nosed, bleary-eyed, nauseous, and sweating profusely. I smelled like a prepubescent boy’s gym sock. So it was the perfect time to encounter Eric, the man I was hoping would fall in love with me, standing right there at my front door. He was holding a bouquet of
bodega flowers fresh, long-stemmed roses and waiting to deliver a 10 minute speech about his feelings for me.
I tried to pay attention to all the reasons he loved me (something about how I’m a good listener?) but could only really focus on the fact that I was sweating from all holes and going to be late for work.
Regardless, I was elated. I finished half-listening and gave him a kiss that surely tasted like regurgitated PowerGel, hopped in the shower, and arrived at work 5 minutes late, still sweating.
But giddy as fuck.
My co-teacher took one look at me and asked what was happening with my face, and I had to explain that this is what it looks like when I’m experiencing a happiness that isn’t induced by four coffees or a bottle of Wellbutrin. She was thrilled for me, and we spent the morning re-hashing the details of the story while our 4th graders
ran amok? fell asleep? stole supplies? full blown Lord of the Flies murdered each other? There’s really no way to know worked independently.
So I just realized this story is less of an “All relationships have roadblocks and that’s ok and normal so just work through them and have faith” story and more of a “Nice job bullying your boyfriend into professing his love for you!” story but either way ALL’S WELL THAT ENDS WELL GUYS.
Because two years later we made this:
So hang in there, single ladies.
Eric: “I had a dream last night that you were cheating on me. You were texting some guy whose name started with a ‘C’, and I kept trying to ask you about it but you wouldn’t answer me, but I could see you texting him about where you were going to meet up. Like it was obvious you had been having a full-blown affair with this guy for a while.”
Me: “Ok, well, that’s completely ridiculous.”
Eric: “I know.”
Me: “His name doesn’t start with a ‘C.'”
“Hey isn’t this great?”
“We have all day together!”
“What should we do?”
“What’s our plan?”
“Did you eat yet?”
“What are you thinking about?”
“Should we go run some errands?”
“What are you snacking on? Should I have a snack?”
“Banana Republic’s having a sale.”
“What are you reading? Send it to me.”
“Maybe I’ll go to the gym.”
“I see you’re eating another Kind bar.”
“I had the weirdest dream last night.”
“Isn’t this nice?”