In 2013 I lost both my Fallopian tubes. Along with a piece of my heart they were the fall out from our pregnancy losses. For two tiny parts of my anatomy that were no thicker than a strand of hair the impact of their loss was enormous. I'm sure anyone who has lost an organ – appendix etc - will relate when I say waking up from an operation and knowing a piece of you is gone is an odd feeling.
For me waking up after my second ectopic pregnancy to learn my remaining tube was gone was also the loss of the “bridge” to natural conception.
I had had the ultimate - irreversible - version of the "snip" for ladies.
It didn't really hit me at first - after all I was grieving a bigger loss at the time, our baby.
In hindsight I downplayed how important this was to me. After all with the wonders of IVF it doesn't mean I am unable to have children. It was the whole ‘nothing to do but solider on' approach…
So solider on I did - I got the green light and dived right into another IVF cycle. When that didn't work I fell apart. I was disappointed the cycle didn't take, but I realised that it was actually more about what had gone before.
I'd grieved the loss of our baby, but not the loss of my tubes.
As silly as it might sound to anyone else it felt like a loss of my womanhood.
It’s instinctual feeling not a rational one. The rational mind says - we were having trouble TTC anyway, IVF was our way forward, we don’t need fallopian tubes for that! The instinctual, emotional side says – I’ve lost the ability to ever, ever fall just pregnant naturally.
In the past I have been that person who swung from the extremes of victim (depression, anger, helplessness) to the extremes of not acknowledging how I feel and powering through it. I definitely started down both these roads when processing what had happened.
But a big lesson that my fertility challenges have taught me is this:
There is difference between living my life from a place where I act as the victim of circumstance and let it consume me, than from one where I can feel and process something and then choose how I let it impact my life going forward.
In the end it was the loss of my tubes that helped me master this. I was just so sick of feeling like I had outsourced my happiness to this thing called infertility!
An unexpected sliver lining for not having fallopian tubes has been that time between IVF cycles is genuine time off from this crazy ride! I thought this would freak me out, but if anything its relaxed me, and given me the space to really sort my head.
Here’s some of what I came up with:
- It’s ok to take a break!!! To have fun, live life and give my body time to rest and rejuvenate. A month or two here and there actually made me stronger.
- It’s ok to feel emotions, especially grief for a loss. I don’t have to pretend I am ok all the time.
- There is a big difference between feeling something and processing it, and wallowing in it. One is healthy and constructive; the other is self-indulgent and self-destructive!
- Infertility is not who I am, its an experience I am having. I have room in my life for lots of experiences if I choose not to let my fertility challenges overtake my world.
- My uterus is now a perfect cave for my embryos, with no passageways to get caught in! :-)
Do you tend to “power through” tough outcomes? Or Wallow? What are your tips to coping with difficult circumstances while TTC?