My surgery and experience was nowhere near immobilizing, but it definitely took a toll on my physical self (lots of bed rest and food cravings…definitely gained some weight, haha!). From the moment I had surgery until my HCG levels reached 0, I had to stop taking vitamins (for risk of interaction with the Methotrexate), no working out (for fear of injury/muscle soreness that could be mistaken for ectopic pregnancy pains), no swimming or baths (to avoid possible infection post-surgery), no bedroom activities (if you know what I mean *wink*)…and SO. MANY. RULES.
I am a rule follower, so I was so focused on all of the “don’t do’s” in order to recover properly. As soon as my HCG level hit 0, my doctor put me back on the birth control pill that I had been taking for 13 years prior to my TTC journey. It is really important for me to avoid getting pregnant for 3-6 months after my last chemotherapy treatment because that drug is extremely dangerous to a fetus. And since I know ya’ll are wondering- we can start trying again in January (ahhh!). So here we are. Married for just over a year, wanting kids so badly, recovering from a pregnancy loss, buying condoms, and taking birth control…WHAAAT?!
It’s hard to explain how I felt physically because I felt empty. I mean, having your uterus scraped clean makes you feel empty (literally and figuratively). I felt like my body wasn’t strong; I wasn’t able to do what I could before this experience and I wanted to get it back. I quickly began getting back into my workout routine at Orangetheory Fitness, simply being more active in general, and on a diet where I focused on eating mostly plant-based meals and vegan when I could. I didn’t feel “pretty” and by no means did I feel “sexy” to any extent, so I tried doing things that made me feel those ways again. I had big dreams of achieving my physical goals as quickly as possible and decided to focus on my career goals at the same time- anything to make me feel normal and successful again.
All of these things combined truly made me feel better. Especially when I started seeing progress in my physical self…for a moment.
Just when I thought things were starting to go back to normal and become “good” again, they took a turn for the worst. I felt so empty and lost. I had more moments alone and the only thing I thought about was things having to do with “what would life be like if I was still pregnant today?”
I thought about my baby and how I failed him (and yes, I will refer to this baby as a him because for whatever reason I had a feeling and got little signs pointing towards this baby being a boy).
I thought about how I felt like I failed my marriage.
I thought about how my dreams of becoming a mom won’t ever come true.
I thought so many negative things that were so far from the truth, but I just couldn’t help it.
Now, one thing you should know about me is that I am an emotional person, but I have always been the type of person to put on my “problem-solving hat,” push my emotions to the side, and be there to emotionally and physically support anyone who needs me. It’s difficult for me to lean on someone else for emotional support, even my own husband. I want people to look at me and know that I am a strong person and am capable of being there for them. I don’t like when people see me break down. I mean, who does?
That’s really when I started writing; writing became one of my only true outlets. Any time I had a breakdown, I jotted down some notes and feelings about what was going through my head. Each day it was something new, but writing it down helped me lift some weight off my shoulders. I have unexplainable triggers like seeing the stars, peaceful moments, being alone, being in a big crowd of people. Then I also have triggers that seem so obvious like people asking me questions about pregnancy and/or kids, special dates related to my pregnancy, being surrounded by expecting mothers or even seeing parents with their own babies.
I’m still not totally accepting of this self-diagnosis, but I really do think it’s the only explanation for my behavior and emotions; I’m sure I have developed social anxiety. Anxiety runs in my blood. I’ve had anxiety-related behaviors since I was a young child, but have noticed myself deal with anxiety as an adult as well. My anxiety reaches an all-time high when I am planning on going to an event where there will be a lot of people, when I am in public and surrounded by a lot of people (this includes people I know and people I don’t know), and especially when I have to meet someone new. Writing has been the only solution to really relieve this feeling.
I am so incredibly blessed to have the support system that I do. I have the most amazing husband that has done nothing but try to say all the right things (as well as the things he thinks I want to hear most just to make me feel better) and make me feel pretty and sexy again. He spends his time helping me juggle my emotions and comforting me in ways only he knows how.
My family is constantly checking in on me and is so willing to talk things through, especially my mom. She is so used to me telling her every little thought and feeling I ever have and not used to seeing me so shut down. Yet, she still pushes on to help me any way she can. People may say “that’s what mothers are for,” but she goes beyond that statement. I feel guilty that I can’t open up more about this experience verbally to her, but I know she understands because she’s just that great.
And of course, my friends. I have friends out of state who have sent me “thinking of you” gifts that mean the world to me, girlfriends that text me constantly to check in and remind me that they are here to listen, and friends who simply make me continue living my happy, exciting life. I mean, there is no way I would be sitting here today sharing my story if it weren’t for their encouragement and support through every minute of this journey.
As I recover mentally and emotionally, I have accepted the fact that I will have “bad” days. I’m okay with that now. I hold on to them and use them to make me stronger. I know I can do this because of the positivity I surround myself with and the encouragement and love from all of you. So, thank you. My road to recovery is about to get really real.