Friday, December 08, 2006

Working through a few issues

A lot of sleep, a shower, a few nice chockies, and I feel like a new woman. It's remarkable what a difference the right medical treatment makes. I don't like feeling morose. But I've still got a few issues to work out, so indulge me just a tad longer, please.

Yesterday I was extremely nervous going into the operating theatre, and made this clear to my surgeon (Dr SB). I said that the last person who had curetted me seemed quite shocked afterwards at how soft my uterus had been. Tut tut, tsked Dr SB. Readers, he took me seriously. He wrote a few notes on my form and made the decision to administer a certain drug that would make the organ contract so that he'd have something to push against. Even if he'd planned to do it beforehand, the fact that he didn't just shush me and knock me out made a big difference, and I went down into the abyss a lot happier.

Waking up without stitched and a bloated laproscopy belly was such a treat. Instead of days of discomfort and stress, I was given a plate of mixed sandwiches and a cup of tea. Instead of seeing me incontrollably shaking from the cold and shock of being stabbed internally, Best Beloved came in to find me sitting up and smiling at him groggily. That's a big step towards healing.

I don't feel a lot emotionally at the moment. I'll probably feel more later, when my body is back to normal, or when I'm finally crossing that line when more chances to try are absolutely out of the question (at the moment I'd like to think that is NOW, but we'll see.)

I tried very hard to stay mentally detached from the whole pregnancy thing because part of my brain knew that it was a dodgy deal; of course it's impossible to be truly detached, because I was there, living inside a pregnant body. Yeah, I know, but no matter how many times I try to think of myself as a complete entity, I never succeed. Mind/body separation is a reality in my universe. I am here, my body is down there. It's always been so.

Bodies are frustrating things, especially female bodies, don't you think? I'm sure male bodies have their own bugs and features, but female bodies just take the cake. Sexualised, worshipped, reviled, abused, enhanced, starved, indulged; there's no neutral position. I must say here that I'm usually great friends with my body. Ordinarily, it's a good strong, healthy body that rarely lets me down. It's not a particularly ideal body by societal norms: my legs are short and lumpy, my bum IS too big in whatever I'm wearing (so I've never asked that question of anyone). But my body gets me where I want to go, does what I want it to do, and in fact has never been short of admirers for too long, so societal norms can go jump.

It was quite a shock to discover, in my late 20s and early 30s, that I wasn't in control of all my bodily functions. I managed to have a baby (unplanned, but blessed every minute he's been alive), but it was a struggle involving a lot of medical intervention and emotional investment that shocked me to my core. Both my body and my baby's body proved to be fragile entities that all the willpower in the world couldn't control. The only things on my side were luck to have been born at the right time and the fact that modern medicine had got to the stage it had. Bumblebee would have been left for dead only 20 years earlier, and last century I would have been left for dead whilst having him.

I can't even begin to imagine what it would be like to be diagnosed with a horrid disease like cancer. I've been reading Humanities Researcher and admiring Stephanie's sharing of her journey through illness to recovery (I hope). That sense of your body betraying your life choices is a resonant one. Everything you want to do has to be put on hold, because if you don't take the time out and listen to your physical needs, the chance of doing anything in the future is compromised.

For me, as I mentioned the other day, having another child was a choice that everyone around me wanted me to make, but I was very reluctant to be proactive about. I have friends and family who have urged me (quite hard, and unfortunately, even today, are still urging) to try again 'while I'm still young enough'. That's the partly the problem. I'm not really still young enough. Anyone that thinks that they can put off having children until they're ready has to really think hard about the risks. After 35, the risks increase dramatically. (This message is not sponsored by the Federal Government.) Old eggs, old body, tired mind. If you have kids after 40, expect to do everything the HARD way. And that's not the life for me. I knew I was pregnant before I did the test because of the absolute, overwhelming tiredness. I was utterly exhausted by very normal activities, and I look forward to getting my energy back. I'm going to gambol like a newborn lamb.

The other part of the problem is a selfish one. Much of this urging is really on Best Beloved's behalf. He would love to have his own kids, but he doesn't want them at my expense. I would love to give him his own kids, but not at my expense. Having another baby (or even trying to get one whole and healthy out of me) means I really honestly wouldn't be able to concentrate on the projects that I hold dear and have been working towards for years. Ironically, in the last two years I've been setting up these projects to distract me from the fact that I'm hopelessly bad at babymaking. But now they've got a life of their own, and it's at the point where if I don't give them a go while I'm young enough to work hard at them, I'll hate myself for not trying.

Baby or books? Family or career? It's an age-old quandry, and I know that there are many many MANY women out there in the midst of it. Doesn't it suck? Isn't it shitty that you can't just order babies out of some gender-neutral catalogue? Isn't it outrageous that there are millions of kids in the world who need loving families and it takes so much money and red tape to be able to adopt them? I'll never be able to understand why that is so. Or why same-sex couples in long-lasting loving relationships get so much grief about wanting to bring up kids when there are millions of heterosexual couples out there who seem to think their kids should be in the doghouse with their pets?

These are the sorts of things I think about while lying in bed. I drive BB mad by saying that if I spend five years trying to have a baby I'll resent myself for never making the books I always promised myself; but if I don't try I'm scared that he'll resent me for not taking his needs seriously. To his absolute credit, there is no pressure from BB's side. He and Bumblebee have been seriously scared on both these occasions (more so last time) and they keep insisting that it's totally my choice whether I want to go through it again. But somehow that doesn't make it any easier.

Hey, I'm a Libran. I can't make choices like that. :)

Anyway, thanks for all the fab messages. Normal broadcasts will resume shortly. [Fyodor, you're a real man of mystery, but thanks for giving me something to think about yesterday in the waiting room...]


Anonymous said...

I hope it was a good something to think about, Ducky. That was the intention. Very glad for you that it went well.

Anonymous said...

Bodies. Meh.

There is some sense in thinking that one should make hay while the sun shines. Or at least faintly glints ... but then, who knows if you'll really regret it if you don't and make lovely books instead?

Life just is what it is. No point trying to think we can control it or choose.

Sorry, am to zen (read pished) by half and am going to bed.

JahTeh said...

You have a lovely husband and a beautiful boy plus brains so perhaps anything else would have been sprinkles on the icing of your cake. That's not to say I don't feel for you and what you've been through. Just curious, was this the decision for the haircut?

comicstriphero said...

That's an amazing well of resilience you've got there.

I've been absent from teh interwebs for a little while so missed the opportunity to add my positive thoughts to everyone elses.

Well I'll just send them to you now anyway.

Mummy/Crit said...

That "who should be allowed to have babies" question is one that is close to my Beloved's heart. He would like the govt to legislate that people be sterilised at birth, and then those who want to procreate have to write an essay detailing all their reasons for wanting to have their reproductive organs turned on again. Kinda cute, but not very practical.

Anonymous said...

Big questions.
No answers here.

I went through a lot to get one baby. Now my libran mind is wondering whether to go through it all again (only older), or to be happy with one.

Your family sounds lovely.


Ampersand Duck said...

Ah, Jahteh, I am WELL aware of the lovely life I lead, and would be very content with my family unit the way it is; much of my questioning and railing is, I suppose, really at the posse of people who constantly defend Best Beloved's right to have his own child, even though he assures me that he could live happily this way as well. I have a lot of easily triggered guilt, and it's never as raw as on occasions like this.

The haircut? nah, I just fell in love with my emerging grey hairs, and couldn't be arsed trying to cover them up for the rest of my life. Freaks my friends out, but I'm happy.

Actually, Crit, I quite like that idea (in a purely theoretical way, of course).

Seepi, if it's right for you, go nuts. I don't want to influence anyone against older motherhood. Just venting my own spleen...

Thanks, Fyodor. But I am very curious... do you own the book? Have you merely read the poem? Are you related to Ian? I'm fairly sure you're not Ian... hmmm. I hate mysteries :)

Mindy said...

These things have a way of working themselves out, moreso the more you concentrate on something else I have found (she's asleep right now). Just know that your internet friends (sounds like invisible friends!) are here for you no matter which path you choose, or chooses you. And sometimes families just have to be told to get nicked.

Suse said...

Aw shit, I'm so sorry. I catch up with your blog about once a week but don't often comment, and now I wish I'd dropped in earlier in the week and been in time to send blessings and good internetty vibes up your way.

Sending them now anyway.

Anonymous said...

Anyone that thinks that they can put off having children until they're ready has to really think hard about the risks. After 35, the risks increase dramatically. (This message is not sponsored by the Federal Government.) Old eggs, old body, tired mind. If you have kids after 40, expect to do everything the HARD way.

Any future Virginia Hauseggers, if you're reading this...

Ampersand Duck said...

It's not over yet, Suse, so I'm happy for good vibes at any time. Once the pain and bleeding has gone away I'll be a lot happier. Thanks Mindy, and everyone else.

Anonymous said...

Great posts, A Duck. I don't know what to say without sounding naff, but thanks for sharing.

JahTeh said...

Stupid IE7 just ate my comment.
I agree with you about the people posse. They came out of the woodwork when I decided to have a tubal ligation at 24. One, a male, said I'd only be half a woman if I went through with it.

My only regret is that with the technology today, I could have donated tubes, eggs and anything else to women who needed them but it was 'in your dreams' back then.

Ampersand Duck said...

Gosh, Jahteh, I'm surprised they allowed you to make such a choice for yourself. My experience of doctors is that they think every woman doesn't know her own mind on that subject until well after menopause. You must be a very persuasive woman!

Blue said...


I'm sorry for the emotional & physical pain you are going through. I had to make a similiar decision and regardless of all other input positive or otherwise - it ends up being all your own. I'm sure that you will make the right decision (or find your way to acceptance of a decision made for you) - best wishes and cyberhugs.

Boysenberry said...

Honestly, I've lost track of the times I've thought to myself "Thank gawd I'm not a woman". I've watched MrsB go through the pain of unsuccessful IVF cycles, hormone treatments, and the ever popular game of 'When will the period kick in'.

I'll keep the stream of positive thoughts heading your way :)

Liam said...

It's very good to hear that you're well-er-ing. Here's a picture of a lamb for you, below, to encourage your gambolling (though if you are concerned your gambolling is out of control, call the gambol-line).

peacay said...

A lot of sleep, a shower, a few nice chockies, and I feel like a new woman

Me too! I'll take a blonde this time.

Beyond unsaid Hallmark trite wishes.

Anonymous said...

Glad to hear you got a good doctor, and that you're on the improve. It seems to me that we spend a lot of time and energy trying not to get pregnant at the time when our bodies are ready (when we're 20ish) and just as much dealing with the later pregnancy/infertility when our minds are ready.

If it's any consolation, pregnancy at 28 hasn't been a walk in the park, and I've been totally knackered for most of it. Some of us are just a bit unlucky. My Mum had my younger sister at 36, she remembers looking at her running around the room touching everything, having my older brother (who was then 13) playing trumpet in the next room, and me (age 10) making some other demand, and thinking "That fourth kid is definitely not going to happen". An aunt tells me she realised she was too old for playgroup, and stopped at four kids. The point is that even for women who have babies realatively easily, knowing when to stop, and when is 'too old' is there for everyone. I hope making that decision isn't too rough on you for too long.

worldpeace and a speedboat said...


lordy, it's good to hear you're mending :)

of course it will take time. it always does. and the head, heart, and lady-parts all heal at different rates, at different times, in different ways.

as for the body + mind = individual, well, yeah. I had a very capable body that I enjoyed quite a lot until I was bunged up in an accident at 20. so I have to listen to what it wants and can't achieve every day, hour to hour. it's a f@cking drag.

there is no escape from the limitations of one's body - sooner or later, for good or ill, everyone will be made aware of this. how you choose to work with it is all the say you get. and it helps to work with rather than against, and play your strengths. that goes for most things, don't it?

listen to everyone, then tell them to shut up (nicely), make your own mind up, and enjoy your life. advice is always welcome, but then advice becomes nag, and that's never welcome. at what point kind words + advice = nag is always up to the individual.

man, how drab and depressing that sounds! it wasn't actually meant to be a Marvin Moment - I guess it was just a musing on reality. reality is something we all have to deal with. doesn't mean there isn't also a sh!tload of joy in it as well :)

Anonymous said...

I'm glad to hear that you're on the mend Ducky and I'm sorry that you've had such a rough trot of it the last little while.

Anonymous said...

And all these questions: I'm thinking about them all the time now. Helps me reading about people who do make motherwood work in a way that makes it seem less like a curse and more like a gift (like you.)