Off the Menu: Buena Moments by Guest Bartenders is a series of guest submissions serving up their own good life moments through their own personal story, in hopes of showing how much beauty each of Our Buena Vidas holds. If you would like to submit a story to this series, click here. Today’s post is by Guest Bartender, Nicole.
Motherhood is a wondrous event for women, one that I’m told changes you and shakes you to your core, especially if you doubted the possibility that it could happen to you, which I did for many years.
Growing up, I loved children and always had an inexplicable motherly intuition at a very young age. In my heart, I always knew that I wanted to be a mom someday. Those dreams came into question when I was 23. I woke up in the middle of the night to the most excruciating pain I had ever felt in my life – I felt as though the right side of my body and all that was inside me was being twisted like a rope. I was rushed to the hospital and had emergency surgery to remove a dermoid cyst that was the size of my fist from my ovary. Unfortunately, due to its size and the fact that it had wrapped itself around my ovary and cut off the blood supply, my right ovary was removed as well. And so began the little voice in the back of my head that questioned my ability to have children in the future. Would I be able to get pregnant with one ovary? What if something happened to the only one I had left? Not something your average 23 year old girl is usually concerned with or even thinking about, but I would be lying if I said it didn’t cross my mind regularly.
Fast forward to 2008, I fell in love with my best friend, George and we decided to spend our life together. I was blissfully happy – we travelled the world together and were married in 2010. But that voice was always there in the back of my head; a constant stream of fear and anxiety over my ability to have children. And those fears became a reality in 2010 when another cyst was found on my left ovary, the only one I had left.
Enter: panic, fear, anxiety and disbelief.
The doctors said it would be risky to have surgery because I only have one ovary so their advice was to wait and monitor the growth of the cyst. After three fearful months and a feeling of complete helplessness, the cyst grew to a massive 10cm and laparoscopic surgery was scheduled.
After the surgery, whether driven by fear or a biological clock, I insisted that George and I get started trying to have a family. I put the pressure on – I wanted a baby, now. I had doctor’s telling me that if I wanted a child, I shouldn’t wait any longer. We spent a great deal of time discussing and weighing our options. We fought, we disagreed, and ultimately we decided to wait…It just wasn’t the right time for us to have a baby and deep in my heart I knew it was true – so I conceded.
Exactly one year after that surgery, in April 2011, another cyst was on my ovary.
Enter: depression, frustration, resent, helplessness and fear.
I resented George for making us wait, I was angry that this was happening to me and I began to question so many things. I felt like I had no control over my body or what was happening to it. I tried everything to get rid of the cyst naturally – meditation, visualization, Chinese herbs, acupuncture, but nonetheless, it grew and grew until I needed surgery…again. This was something I was praying to avoid, because with every laparoscopy, ovarian tissue is removed and I didn’t have any to spare. I went to a reproductive endocrinologist who agreed to do the surgery. We were all aware of the risks: I could lose my remaining ovary if something went wrong, but at the rate this thing was growing, something had to be done. As is procedure, he ran a slew of blood work only to get more bad news; my AMH levels (a test used to gauge a women’s fertility via ovarian follicles) were “poor” for my age (.32 compared to a healthy number of 1.0-1.5) and given the fact that I had one ovary that had been through so much trauma, he was pressuring us into fertility treatments immediately following the surgery. He just didn’t think it would be possible for us to conceive on our own.
Surgery went well. George and I agreed we needed to “get to it.” I made the bold decision to reject fertility treatments, as per numerous discussions with an acupuncturist who specialized in fertility. She was truly a gift from the universe. The doctor, a skeptic, said in June of 2011, “Come back and see me in January and we can begin treatments then. Take a few months to try on your own if that’s what you want.” It was as if he had no faith at all and truly believed we would be back in a few months.
He was wrong. After only three months, on Halloween (my favorite holiday, too, I might add) I found out that I was pregnant!!!
Enter: joy, relief, shock, excitement and yes, perhaps a newfound belief in the possibility of miracles.
Our little girl is due to arrive July 3rd.
So, the moral of the story…well, that one took me awhile. Why did I have to go through all that? I mean, what was the point? Maybe it was to make me appreciate pregnancy and motherhood more than I would have without the obstacles I encountered along the way. Maybe it was to teach me to have more faith in myself, in the universe and a higher power. Maybe it was to teach me to not believe everything I’m told and that doctor’s aren’t always right; they are human and capable of mistakes, too.
What I know I learned for sure is that I can’t get any of the time back I spent worrying – once time is gone, it’s gone. All the years spent worrying, all the time I spent wondering whether I would conceive or not in the future was all for nothing. I think that Kurt Vonnegut (one of my favorite authors) said it best “Don't worry about the future. Or worry, but know that worrying is as effective as trying to solve an algebra equation by chewing bubble gum. The real troubles in your life are apt to be things that never crossed your worried mind, the kind that blindside you at 4 pm on some idle Tuesday.”
And how true has that statement been. The things I have spent the most time worrying about are the things that, in the end, were fine! I wish I would have spent all that time enjoying what was going on in my life at the time – really being present for the magic that was happening all around me – being aware that our life together as a couple without children might be nearing an end and to embrace it, feeling blessed that my husband and I were able to travel the world together, appreciating the time spent with friends and family. I wish I would have just treasured all the things that I was blessed to have instead of focusing on what I lacked or what I feared I would never get.
So, that’s my lesson learned: Worry, fear, and anxiety serves us no purpose.
You really don’t know what’s going to happen in the future, so enjoy the present and stop worrying. Focus on the here and now because time truly is precious and it is also fleeting. Easier said than done, I’m aware, but something we should all try to remind ourselves of when we find ourselves in those moments of fear and worry. Be mindful of how you spend your time, because only a few things in life are guaranteed; one thing is that you can’t get time back once it’s gone.