Yep. We’re talking about it.
Reproductive healthcare is healthcare. In my case (as with many), it was mental healthcare, physical healthcare, reproductive healthcare. So I’m talking about it because women’s healthcare is important, and like all things related to pregnancy loss, this is just another taboo that needs taken down.
In the days immediately following losing Ian last year, I desperately wanted to have my tubes removed. I wanted to know beyond a shadow of doubt that I would never have to experience this pain again. The possibility of potentially carrying a healthy pregnancy in the future is so tempting, but the odds are stacked against me, and the risk of failure, and the consequence, is much too high. I was terrified by the thought of finding out I was pregnant again and facing another loss.
Having gone through Ava’s stillbirth in 2018, I knew that the postpartum hormones associated with loss would tell me I could do it. That I wanted nothing more than to try again. There is no worse baby fever than the baby fever that accompanies pregnancy loss. My brain had to prevail this time.
I sought out insight from others who had gone through losses and had turned to surrogacy. Am I insane for wanting to have my tubes removed so that I never have to experience another loss, another failure of my body?
I heard stories from other women who validated my feelings and had gone through the same emotions, thoughts, and decision to remove their tubes.
Of course, that was over a year ago, so why am I just now writing about this?
I decided that if my brain needed to win, I needed to not rush into anything. I set the expectation that I wouldn’t do anything before we had embryos because, with my luck, there would be a freak accident that would hurt our odds in getting eggs.
After we created embryos in June, I was still hesitant to commit too soon. However, I spent a lot of time thinking about it all. What is the point in holding out hope for my own body to carry a pregnancy someday if we are spending thousands of dollars to have someone else carry first?
And then a few months ago it really sank in. Look, I know how many women spend years wishing and hoping, women who would do anything for just the opportunity to be pregnant, and I’m seemingly casting it aside. But it’s not that simple. I’ve experienced pregnancy. I would give anything to experience a healthy, successful pregnancy. But, my “success,” no matter what, would look different. My “success” would have been making it to 34 weeks. My “success” would have basically guaranteed a NICU stay. If a gestational carrier’s success would be a full-term, healthy pregnancy with no NICU time, and a healthy baby in our arms, why would I be so selfish?
To be fair, I don’t consider it selfish for women who have loss after loss to keep trying. Their reasons are their own.
I saw myself as selfish because the only reason for me carrying another pregnancy wasn’t because it could be a perfectly fine pregnancy next time, I was only holding out because I wanted to experience the pregnancy. It was me who had to deal with another set of losses – the loss of feeling the kicks, or having the cravings, etc. I was sad for me.
In the course of committing to surrogacy, I had to confront my emotional baggage. I won’t get to experience pregnancy ever again in the way I had always hoped. But that’s okay because in the end, a healthy baby in our arms is all that really matters.
Last week, I underwent outpatient surgery to remove my tubes because I don’t want to ever again feel the pain I felt in losing Ava and Ian… Because I can’t live in a constant state of limbo between worrying if I get pregnant that we will bring another tiny urn home to place on our tiny shelf and holding any bit of hope that my body can do it – that was a dangerous, toxic hope…Because I need to fully move on from this painful chapter in my life.
There was a freedom in disconnecting my dysfunctional uterus that I didn’t quite expect. For the last 4 years, my self worth was tied to my ability (or should I say inability) to carry a pregnancy. And that connection has been severed.
Here’s to starting our next chapter.