Getting Pregnant With Michelle Tea: Medication, Feelings, And Chocolate Benders

Maybe I can’t have nice things. A healthy uterus is a nice thing. So is a baby.
Publish date:
February 28, 2013
getting pregnant with michelle tea, surgery, fibroids

Frankly, I hate being bummed out, and have little patience for feelings. That’s why I’m on MEDS, and it works for me! But alas, the meds really aren’t happy pills. I still have to feel the normal range of feelings a human being might feel, and I suppose a human being who just went through a surgery to remove fibroids in order to have le bebe may feel some lousy feelings upon realizing she now has to have another surgery. Add to those lousy feelings an additionally angsty sensation upon understanding that I’m probably having this second surgery because the first surgery didn’t heal properly.

Thanks to the meds, however, I don’t spend the day in tears. I can feel that storm moving around inside me like a sea monster under the waters, but it never pokes it’s head out. Do I feel too yucky to work or am I just looking for an excuse to be lazy? I sit in front of my computer, unable to figure it out. I call the fertility clinic and leave a message for my nurse that I’ll be having another procedure with my GYN. I call it a procedure. That sounds way more no-big-whoop than surgery.

The nurse calls back and gives me the go-ahead. We’re all on the same page. I wonder if it is my way in the world that things are to be complicated. Like, how I can buy a vintage dress that has managed to look good since the 70s, and after I purchase it I immediately rip it or wash it wrong and ruin the fringe. I know this line of thinking veers towards the I-can’t-have-nice-things mindset born of my lowly birth and subsequent punk behaviors, and I’ve banished this thinking because it’s a downer and oppressive and not true, but then –- maybe it is. Maybe I can’t have nice things. A healthy uterus is a nice thing. So is a baby.

OH NO! I refuse to be a woman hurled into a depressive state by her fertility drama! I hate being a statistic! I hate having the expected feelings! This is like how in 5th grade when my parents divorced I was determined not to be a clichéd child upset about their parents’ divorce. There is something so creepy-feeling about feeling the feelings that have been predicted for you. I want to buck the trend. To the be outlier. It helped, in 5th grade, that I understood my dad to be kind of a jerk and wasn’t heartbroken that he was leaving. Maybe I just need to see that shadow in my uterus as a jerky dad that my womb is divorcing? Weird. Whatever. Clearly I’m losing my mind. Or maybe it’s just that I haven’t had coffee in a week.

A word about the no-coffee-in-a-week thing: It’s amazing. I think I have really laid out how much of a mad coffee addict I am. I eat an entire French press each morning. When I am done, I run around the house looking for the coffee cup Dashiell left behind when he left for work, because they’re always a bit of coffee left in it. I drink it. It’s not as gross as when, as a baby addict, I would pick half-smoked cigarettes from my mother’s ashtray, because NOTHING is as gross as that. But the desperation of the act registers.

Truly, I feel like I need coffee. I think I don’t actually have this personality, it’s all coffee. Without it, I am dumb and boring. I would have no friends. I would never write again. My joie de vive would be in the trashcan. So, it’s sort of amazing to learn that, 48-hour headache aside, I’m fine without coffee. I’m funny. I can keep up with the world around me. I write the first two chapters of a new book. No big whoop. Dashiell notices that my energy is different –- mellower. It’s nice. I feel like a cozier person. I feel like I broke the spell that coffee had on me.

When the cleanse is over, after two weeks of eating green smoothies for breakfast and salads and fermented pickles for lunch and congee or onion soup for dinner, I decide to try not to get all strung out on coffee again. Some days I don’t drink any, or I drink decaf, or half-caf, or tea. This will not last forever –- I am, after all, and addict, and just cannot do things in moderation –- but it is really nice to feel like I got that monkey off my back for a sec, and will be able to do it again when I need to for pregnancy.

I show up for my appointment with Dr. Wendy and hang out in the waiting room across from a family -– a twentysomething female seated between her husband and her mother. It seems the female is pregnant and everyone came with her to her doctor’s appointment like it was a big outing. Someone –- I think the mom –- even takes her picture with a cell phone. Upon seeing the photo, the girl gets very upset.

“I look AWFUL! You have got to delete that picture! Delete it! Stop showing it to me!”

The mother and husband console her in a way that makes me think the girl is perhaps a big whiner and needs regular consoling. Everyone tells her how awesome she looks, etc.

“If you don’t get rid of that picture I am seriously going to cry. I mean it. I am going to cry!”

No one wants this girl to cry, except maybe me, so they delete the photo and continue consoling and helping her through the trauma of having had a bad photo taken on a cell phone.

I’m brought into Dr. Wendy Evangelista’s exam room, and the first thing she says to me upon entering is, ‘You’ve lost weight!’ I think, well, I just got a new pair of glasses and they are bigger on my face so maybe they make my head look smaller? And my hair is up, maybe that does something, too. But also, I’ve been on that cleanse.

“I did a cleanse,” I tell her.

“Well, you have to gain it back!” she smiles.

“I’m 110!” I protest. “That’s healthy!”

“That is healthy, except for if you’re trying to have a baby. Nature favors women with a little more meat on them. I want you to gain five more pounds.”

Bummer! I was so digging my post-cleanse bod.

“OK,” I said. “Thanksgiving is next week so I’m sure I won’t have a problem gaining five pounds.” But in fact, it takes until Christmas, when I go on the most serious Hershey’s Kisses bender of my life, to put it back on, and then some.

BTWs, Dr. Wendy looks amazing. Her hair is in a perfect, choppy bob and she’s wearing a pair of those wedge-heeled booties where the leather wraps all around the boot so it looks like some weird, magnificent hoof. Her chunky, black knit sweater has giant cut-aways in the back, and she wears it over a black shirt.

Dr. Wendy delivers some good news -– this surgery is not as big of a deal as the last. The recovery time is nothing –- I’ll be good the next day, pretty much. I’m not having general anesthesia but some other kind that is way less intense, though I’m still knocked out. Dr. Wendy has me lay back on the table and she pokes around where my uterus is.

“Your uterus feels much smaller,” she says, and I love that Dr. Wendy remembers what my uterus felt like. She explains again the fibroid nub I might have up there, and draws a picture of my uterus to help me understand it’s layout a little better. When she asks me how I am doing generally I tell her my tinea versicolor has flared up, and I need to go to my GP and get a pill for it. Tinea versicolor is a skin condition also known as "sea lace," and lots of surfers have it. It’s a fungus you catch from hanging out in wet swim clothes, and it creates these splotchy patches on your body. I think I caught it as a kid hanging out at the beach all day, and once you catch it you have it forever. Currently I have it under my breasts, which, combined with my recent fibroid scars and the wide red patch near my belly button where I was stung by a school of microscopic baby jellyfish in the Caribbean this summer -– I’m serious! -– my torso looks a mess and I fear I may become one of those women who has sex with the lights off. Dr. Wendy recommends a dermatologist down the hall. She’s so awesome. I leave her office and schedule my procedure at the front desk before I go.