Should I Blowdry Your Shirt?

I had my HSG test today. I didn’t think anything of it beforehand. My doctor had said it was going to be a quick procedure so I was planning to go to work right afterwards. There were never any concerns about my tubes. I had the basic understanding of what the procedure was about – the dye was going to tell us whether or not my tubes were clear. I did not feel the need to google “HSG test.” I was fortunate that it was my doctor who was going to be doing the test. As he was getting set up, I had the opportunity to ask him if all of my fertility bloodwork came back okay, which he said it did.

As he had recommended, I had taken Advil 30 mins before the procedure since there was going to be “some cramping.” I don’t know how many injections of dye he did but I think it was after the second one when I cursed “f***!” clutched my abdomen (forgetting that this was an x-ray so the nurse had to remind me to move my hands as they were blocking it) and nearly passed out from the pain. I do not have a low pain threshold. Every 6 weeks for the past 6 years, I morph into the guy from Hellraiser when I get my cortisone injections (with a decent sized needle) all throughout my scalp for Alopecia. Today’s test was definitely the most painful medical procedure I have ever had done and with my cornucopia of health issues, I have had many.

As I am doubling over with pain, which thankfully does not last very long, my doctor was telling me that I might have to do IVF now since it was looking like one side is blocked. I had no idea what I was looking at on the screen and as he and the radiologist were confirming through the speakers what they were seeing, all I registered was “oh okay, there it is now. Some of it is coming through.” So one side seemed okay. I think. To me, it looked like barely a trickle on the screen. Near the end of the procedure, he got an emergency call from the OR so he had to make a quick exit. I anxiously asked him if I need to now do IVF instead of IUI and he said that he will need to talk to the radiologist about my results. The nurse came to give me a towel to put between my legs “while you waddle like a duck to the washroom” and asked me if I was able to get any news. I must’ve not said anything because I remembered her asking me if it was bad news and I think I said “yeah, kinda.” The bed and the towel were soaked with fluid. Likely not a good sign.

Holding back tears, I dressed with home as the target in my mind. Thankfully, I only had a quick train ride to the next station. As I walked up the platform and wiped away a couple of tears that escaped, I was grateful that I had huge sunglasses and that it was mid-day on a weekday. Other than a lone cyclist, there was no one. Until of course, a smiling, 20something-year-old mom with her beautiful baby daughter lovingly wrapped up in bright, tauntingly cheerful colors in front of her, came to ask me if I knew when the next train would be coming. Thank god, the train arrived within the next couple of minutes. I was practically counting the steps towards the mirage of my little yellow brick apartment, hoping and hoping that I would make it past the threshold of my place before breaking down. Maybe about 40 steps to go (something like that anyway. Was never good at math…yes, even though I am Chinese), a man who was probably not as old as he looked, just ravaged by life, asked me for change. After I apologized and said that I didn’t, he replied with a “God bless you.” Really. Yeah with a defunct pipe(s) and uterus. Thanks, God.

Before the door was even closed behind me, it came out. I had a fleeting thought that I should maybe try to keep my eye makeup intact as I was supposed to be leaving for work right away but I knew that it was not going to happen. Creating a gray, grainy trail of mixed mascara/tears on my laminate towards my couch, I buried myself like a child in my blanket and pillows and sobbed like I haven’t sobbed for a long time. I didn’t give a s*** if my neighbours, who are often home during the day, could hear through the paper-thin walls. Since hearing the words “IVF” come out of my doctor’s mouth, I felt like I was having an out-of-body experience. I was there but not really. My mind was trying to protect myself. I had never planned on doing IVF. With my very limited funds and with the bleeding from these cursed fibroids getting worse and worse each day, I had planned on trying maybe a few months of IUI until my bank and my body could hold no longer. Maybe if I had done a better job at “managing my expectations” as my therapist had advised or if I was more a pessimist, I would have been worried about my tubes and not be as stunned and upset. I was not mentally prepared for the possibility of the long, emotional journey of IVF.

I try not to have regrets in my life as I always try to believe that there is something to learn in every challenge but I could not help thinking today that I regret ever using birth control during my adulthood. Maybe then I would have already had a baby or two. It would be Russian roulette on who the father would be and I would probably be embroiled in some nasty custody/financial battle and have some man I didn’t really care for in my life. But I would have a child. Well I guess it wasn’t meant to happen that way and it is looking like it may not be meant to happen the way I am hoping for either. I knew that with my uterus packed with submucousal fibroids, polyps and scar tissue from hysteroscopies, chances of having a baby were going to be slim. Now with this newfound discovery of issues with my fallopian tubes, are my chances now down to the equivalent of being struck by lightning?

My one and only ex-boyfriend, Z, has never stopped pursuing me even though I ended things nearly 10 years ago and knows that I have someone in my life. I received another one of his texts recently asking me when we can get together for coffee. As usual, I have not responded. Since realizing that I wanted to be a mother, once in a while I will have this very short-lived reflection float up and appear on the surface. Maybe if I really, really wanted a child, I would go back with Z. He would love to have a houseful of children and a housewife. He is very successful and so money would never be an issue. His family is nice and similar to mine. He loves me and is nice, caring, intelligent, tall, and decent-looking. We have 7 years of history together. And then I think…I don’t love him. Yes, I would maybe have children but I would also have my life entrenched with someone I did not love. Yes I long for a baby but not enough to grow deceit and pretense in my heart and in another’s life. And then it disappears.

In my distressed state after getting home earlier, I had called S. I am rarely in a state like that and hearing my delirious hyperventilation on the phone, he initially thought it was a dire emergency. After piecing together my blubbering words of “IVF, “blocked tubes,” and “can’t afford,” calm and steadfast as he always is, he told me to contact my work to let them know I wasn’t going to go in. It took me about an hour before I calmed myself down enough to call them. I also tried to call my therapist’s office but I was unable to get through to anyone. When I was sedated enough, I started looking up info and pricing on IVF and also on blocked fallopian tubes. In my state of semi-consciousness, I could not even remember which tube he said was blocked. Maybe it was left?? I also could not remember if he had told me to book an appointment to see him next week so I luckily I remembered just in time to call the office before they closed for the day. He will be away after next week and so his schedule was jammed. I briefly explained the situation to the receptionist and told her that I could not wait until May as my consultation with the fertility clinic will be in the last week of April. She warned me that there will be a long wait but she managed to squeeze me in for 6:30 pm next Tuesday, which means that I probably won’t get into actually seeing him until 9:00 pm or so.

S came by after he finished work. I just laid in his arms and cried. There was not much to say. I did tell him that at least I have him in my life. No matter how imperfect our love and relationship is, I know I have somehow managed to get this one amazing blessing in life. He eventually had to go as he had an appointment at the clinic to donate blood. He tried to convince me to accompany him to get my mind off of things. I said no and asked him if I should blowdry his shirt after I saw the sprawling wet mark I had left on his left shoulder. Literally a shoulder to cry on.

I tried to distract myself with dishwashing and Lykke Li but as the occasional tear dropped into the sink, I realized that I have never really, really wanted anything in life. I never had a burning desire for massive loads of money, shiny things, possessions, or even a Prince Charming. My desire to do international humanitarian work was in my heart but it did not consume it. I realized that I have never, in my 35 years, truly wanted something until now. And that is why it hurts so much when there are setbacks along the way. I knew that this was going to be a rough journey. I didn’t realize that if it does suddenly come to an abrupt end, that this will be the worst heartbreak of my life.


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