I went to the gynecologist for an ultrasound today.
I’ve never had an ultrasound before, so I was actually excited. I got undressed from the waist down, left on my purple, cheetah print socks and laid on the table.
The technician entered the room, gave me a big smile and got down to business.
“It’s going to be cold,” she kindly warned, as she squirted blue gel all over my belly. She pressed the handle firmly onto my lower abdomen and peered at the screen.
“Let’s see here…oooh, okay!” she exclaimed. “I want to take a closer look.”
Me, too! Me, too! I screamed inside.
She lubed up a condom (yep!), placed it over a very large, long wand with a camera at its end, and inserted it into my body.
I took in a short breath.
“Well, having a camera shoved up my vagina is certainly an interesting way to start the day,” I joked.
My technician smirked.
“I’m going to switch over into 3D mode,” she said, as she maneuvered the camera like a joystick. She pressed buttons on the keyboard, took some pictures and printed out a few. I lifted my head to catch a glimpse at the screen, to no avail.
Suddenly, I heard the sound of a heartbeat.
“Wow! That’s amazing!” I gasped, as tears formed in my eyes.
“I’m going to move over to the left side now,” the technician informed me. “Sorry if it’s uncomfortable. It’s going to be a bit noisy again. I want to check blood flow.”
“No problem,” I replied, and continued to crane my neck towards the screen. The sound of the heartbeat was getting louder; faster.
I heard the printer again. More pictures.
And then it was over.
She left me in the room to get dressed. Still pantless, I grabbed the phone from my purse to take a snapshot of the images left on the screen.
There, I saw it: my 38-year-old uterus. And what I suspected was growing inside of me for quite some time.
I’m not the first – nor last – childless woman who will deal with fibroids. They’re pretty common, mostly harmless, and don’t actually cause infertility. I have dealt with lady parts problems for years, first dating back to age 16 when I had an ovarian cyst rupture in the middle of my AP History class.
Embarrassing and excruciating.
But no one really knows I deal with this stuff because I’m strong and brave and can endure all kinds of shit. Right?
Not today. As soon as I left the doctor’s office, I burst into tears.
“It isn’t fair!” I cried out loud, as I stomped back home amidst a sea of yellow cabs and groaning fire trucks.
“The first time I have an ultrasound is supposed to be because a baby is growing inside of me, not some possible cancerous shit!” I sobbed. “I should hear two heartbeats, not just my own. My body was made to do this. And it isn’t happening. So why do I still have this desire to have a child and be a mom, God? Why won’t You take it away?! It’s just cruel!”
Funny thing: God’s silence is more deafening than any New York City street corner.
I quickly burrowed down the rabbit hole of self-pity and anger. My thoughts immediately turned to my ex-husband.
“Why the fuck does that guy get to have kids and not me? What did I ever do to deserve this? Mr. Peter Pan Syndrome cheats on me, finds an older woman with money, marries her while he’s still married to me and has a baby a year later, while I’m still mopping up my bleeding heart from our stupid, dragged-out divorce? Where is the justice in that? How is that fair, at all? Why does he, of all people, get to be a parent and not me? I would be a great mother!”
On and on goes the narrative.
I wish I could paint a better picture of myself in the moment, but I got angry. Upset. Frustrated. I’m sad. And I mourn the loss of the children I probably will never have.
I know I’m not alone. So many people – not just women! – have walked this path.
But it’s not about X. He’s just a cheap and easy target. In fact, I’ll bet he’s a great dad. I always saw that potential in him. Hopefully having that sweet little baby in his life will help him mature and ultimately become a better man. I certainly hope he is a better husband to Sister Wife than he was to me.
You know that super annoying verse in the Bible where Jesus addresses the “life is unfair” business?
But I tell you: Love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, that you may be sons of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? ~Matthew 5:44-46
That’s the one that gets me, every time. It’s almost like Jesus is saying, “Listen, people. Quit whining. Life isn’t fair. You know why? Because we don’t always get everything we want this side of heaven. Also, I love everyone, not just the good, obedient, loyal soldiers. I love the people who have hurt you. You should probably get to work on that, too.”
There Jesus goes, being all Jesus-y, perfect and shit, speaking truth that cuts straight to the heart.
So, no, I cannot be angry with X. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again: It’s a good thing he and I never had children together. I have a clean slate. I get to live a re-written ending. A better ending to the story of my life, in that I have already experienced deeper, truer love with a partner. Additionally, I hope to have learned how to forgive and accept life for what it is, not what I want (or wanted) it to be.
As Sara Bareilles sings,
It’s not what I asked for
sometimes life just slips in through a back door
and carves out a person
and makes you believe it’s all true.
I really don’t want to be that jaded, sad, bitter, jealous woman in her late thirties who gives up because she got a raw deal due to life and circumstance. I refuse to marinate in the delusion that I deserve everything I ever wanted. But there are some days I cannot stomach the unending social media newsfeeds of happy, smiling, couples in love. Partnership. Marriage. Babies. Marriage and babies. Marriage, babies and more babies. Marriage, babies, more babies and puppies.
Guess what? Marriages and babies aren’t all they’re cracked up to be. Marriage is hard. It’s disappointing. It can easily crumble, without anyone even realizing it, until it’s too late. Child-rearing is not without its own set of harrowing difficulties. All babies grow up. Some leave the nest too soon, and others don’t leave soon enough. A lot of cute babies turn out to be real assholes.
Just give me a puppy.
The bottom line is, we’ve got to put our hopes, desires, faith and identity in something other than today’s wish list.
This is where I’m glad God is God, and I’m not. I’m ridiculous; just a speck on an atom of a molecule of humanity. With uterine fibroids and — as I discovered later today at the eye doc — astigmatism in both eyes.
What I do know is that my life is really good. I love it. Focusing on what I don’t have is an obnoxious waste of time. Why not focus on what I do have? Why not try putting my hopes, dreams and desires in the God of the universe? This life is too short to hold a candle for one small detail, as opposed to what is possible in eternity.
Today I’ve been given talent and a chance to do what I love. Today I have an absolutely mind-blowingly amazing man who understands, loves and accepts me for who I am. Today I have a joyful, healthy life and a gorgeous, cozy apartment in New York City. Today I am reminded I have beautiful friends and family who are real and true. I always have love, and therefore life, coursing through every fiber of my being.
Because of grace, I have another chance.
And that is more than enough for today.