Surgery

October 15th, 2010

*written January 2009*

My doctor (the only one I’ve ever trusted in my life) told me I need to have surgery for endometriosis. That was a year ago, and I finally decided I should do it.

There was this part of me that didn’t want to. I knew it would help me feel better, help a lot of my pain. But for so long I wondered and wondered and wondered if I would get pregnant…that monthly cycle of anticipation and disappointment, surface nonchalance and sudden despair, constantly being pulled back from the everyday into the realm of what my body cannot do.

I didn’t want to go back there. The adoption process has been kind of difficult, but so healing as well. Just knowing that even if there are disappointments or failed matches on the way, we will have a child to love. To love us. It was so good to move on, after years of berating my body for not doing what it’s supposed to.

Not that the grief associated with infertility goes away. But like any grief, it gets easier with time. It’s part of my history, the history of my marriage. It’s part of my identity. My everyday, here-I-am. But not an everyday, terrible, heavy stone I carry in my heart.

So that’s why I waffled and hemmed and hawed for so long about this surgery. Despite the fact that it’s principally about making me healthier, it also opens up the possibility (or the thought of the possibility) that my wacky hormones will take a turn for the better, reverse themselves, start doing what nature intended. Maybe I’d even ovulate!!

I finally scheduled the surgery. With a surgeon named Dr. Philosophe. How could I argue about being operated on by someone with a name like that? I loved him. As much as you can love a surgeon. They do cut you open. Cut things out of you. And he cut A LOT of things out of me.

I woke up from the surgery crying. Just not knowing where I was, not able to see. I hear this voice asking me why I’m crying and like a child, a very little child I call out Will you please hold my hand?

And someone did. I couldn’t see who. My vision was blurry for so long. She squeezed my hand and I hit hard against the reality that I had been unconscious, vulnerable, that I didn’t know what had happened to my body. Not really. I couldn’t ever, really. All I remember is taking a pill, a moment in the operating room hearing an 80′s song on the radio, then waking up sobbing.

Of course the morphine helped with that. Later on I was singing the praises of my life and babbling to my sisters over the phone about how happy I am and just so sure everything will work out. Everything’s just wonderful. If I have all adopted chidlren or some biological and some adopted, it’s all okay. I’m okay now.

As if a surgery could fix my psyche. I heard Nick tell them over the phone, She’s acting VERY happy–must be the morphine. And I remember thinking, Now why is he saying that?

For the five days after the surgery, Nick had to be out of town. So my sister-in-law took care of me. I laid on my couch for about 23.5 hours a day, sleeping and thinking and sleeping. Remembering when I had my wisdom teeth out. I remember sleeping on the couch then, and my younger brother coming out in the middle of the night every three hours to make sure I took my pain medication. Remember thinking how sweet that was. And how sweet my sister in law was, bringing me tea when I could finally drink, soup when I could eat.

On the fifth day, I sat up and started adding applique and embroidery to some tiny newborn clothes. We were almost matched with a woman who is due in about a week. But she disappeared. And while I was adding tiny stitches to these tan knit pants, a little picture of an apple tree, I realized that little baby girl, who we already called Laura, wouldn’t ever wear the pants. Or the tiny white shirt I sewed a heart onto. I knew her mother wouldn’t be coming back. But I kept on sewing. A little wool bird onto a shirt. A tiny flower on a hat.

So this week I’m back to school. ┬áMy body feels strange. I feel estranged from it. Like a wide wound I can’t escape.

And these tiny clothes in the top drawer of my dresser. So sweet. So sad.