You guys -– I KNOW that this whole getting pregnant thing, and hence, this blog, is taking forever. So make a cup of tea and settle in because it’s going to take a little longer.
I get an email from the clinic’s Billing Coordinator letting me know how much my next procedure -– a saline sonogram to take a deeper look at my uterus and make sure it’s all cleaned up –- will cost: $600, due at the time of the procedure. Which is more upsetting, a pending $600 bill, or the fact that the Billing Coordinator signs off her emails thusly: "'Look at a day when you are supremely satisfied at the end. It's not a day when you lounge around doing nothing; it's when you had everything to do, and you've done it.' - Margaret Thatcher"?
Followed by: "'Our worth is not increased when people praise us; nor diminished when they ridicule or criticize us. Our real worth depends on how God sees us.' -- Joel Osteen"
Really? Joel Osteen is a homophobic Texan televangelist who preaches that God sends down cash, prizes and power if you’re a super-great Christian. And Margaret Thatcher -– wow. Just wow.
So I show up for my saline sonogram. Dr. Rosen isn’t able to administer it, so I work instead with his partner, whom I will call Dr. Meredith Baxter Birney for her uncanny resemblance to the Family Ties mom and subsequent made-for-TV-movie star. Dr. MBB has ashy-blonde hair and big blue eyes rimmed with clumpy mascara.
My butt is naked on what appears to be some puppy pads at the bottom of the exam table, and Dr. MBB is really great about telling me every single thing she is going to do to me. I appreciate this conceptually, but it becomes too much, a blur of speculum –- catheter -– balloon –- saline -– uterus, all recited as the array of instruments are inserted into me, which is the sort of grossly uncomfortable sensation that makes your skin crawl.
At first. Then it is simply painful, and all of Dr. MBB’s thoughtful narration just makes it harder for me to vacate my body.
As I writhe and clutch various clutchable things -– my hands, my face, my hair -– I wonder if I am cut out for childbirth. If I can’t handle what I think is a catheter with a balloon at the tip being inflated with saline inside my uterus, can I handle a perineum-ripping baby shooting headfirst out my cervix? The thought, there on the table, fills my eyes with tears.
I am such a baby. Can a baby have and raise a baby? Making everything worse, the balloon -- I guess -- slips out of my uterus, so they have to sort of thread it back in, which feels awful.
Dr. MBB asks me if I’ve ever had a D+C, which is odd. I’ve never been pregnant, so I’ve never had any abortions.
“You maybe have some scar tissue,” she reports, “Maybe a bit of a fibroid.”
“I just had a bunch of fibroids removed,” I tell her.
“They might have missed one,” she says. “Or, it might just be a shadow.”
But to find out, Dr. MBB schedules me a hysteroscopy, where they send the paparazzi into your womb for a close-up. That sounds painful! I immediately plan to score some Xanax off my General Practitioner. Someone else who goes to her said she gives her anything she wants, which she then illustrated by shaking the little vial of pills she wears decoratively around her neck. I’m sure she’ll hand off some Xanax for what sounds like a torturous procedure.
I’ve been on the verge of tears throughout the procedure, and give myself permission to burst into sobs the minute Dr. MBB leaves.
The stress of what I just went through and the bad news that the renovations in my uterus are probably not over makes me want to cry, but just giving myself permission to weep sort of calms me down. I’m shaky but dry. I stop by the counter on the way out to awkwardly ask about my payment, which I’d been told by the Thatcher-loving Christian Billing person would be due the day off, but the women there brush me away and I leave without paying, puzzled and guilty-happy.
My sister wanted me to call her right after the procedure, so I do. I wait until I get off the bus, because there is a mentally ill gentleman on it who keeps yelling, "I like a dildo in my ass!" and it’s very distracting.
I catch Madeline at a play date so she can’t talk for long. I tell her I need a hysteroscopy, but I don’t call it that, because I’m confused. I call it a "hysteroctomy," which does not exist but sounds an awful lot like "hysterectomy." My sister sounds incredibly alarmed as she gets off the phone and promises to call me back immediately.
I go home and realize I have locked myself out of my house. I walk to a nearby café with the intention of working but instead go to the Barneys and Opening Ceremony online sales and fill my virtual carts with things I can’t buy. Dashiell swoops by and grabs me on her way home from work, and I make us fried chicken fingers and mashed potatoes for dinner. I need comfort food.
I decide to not answer my phone and just spend the evening sulking in a food coma. We even skip taking Rodney to his final Bad Dog Class, and watch "Boardwalk Empire" and "Project Runway" instead. The perfect balm for my wounds.
In the morning, I look at my phone and realize my sister had called an alarming number of times. She picks right up when I call.
“Are you going to get another opinion on this?” my sister asks me. She reveals that she was up all night Googling my situation. She is very upset. “I think you should get a second opinion from my gynecologist here in Los Angeles. I could get you in to see him this month.”
“I don’t think that’s necessary,” I said, confused. “I mean, I can just do it here.”
“How are you doing with it all?” she asks. “Are you OK?”
“I’m fine,” I say. “I was bummed yesterday, but I’m over it. It’s annoying, but it’s not that big of a deal.”
We go back and forth for a while, like an episode of Three’s Company or something, until I finally stop being weirded out by what a huge deal my sister is making about my procedure and realize she thinks I’m getting my entire womb ripped out of my body.
“Oh, my god! Oh, my god!” I yell. I feel so bad for her, up all night like the best sister she is, Googling my condition and coming up with various health plans for me.
“I’m not getting a hysterectomy,” I assure her. “I’m just getting a camera up there.”