Woman, sitting under a spotlight on a stool, holding her back

My Friend, The Stool

The care-free life

Living in west Texas and newlywed is one of my fondest memories.  After graduating from college, I married a tall, strapping man and began my educational career as a middle school English teacher. My husband and I wanted some time to enjoy just being a couple, so we chose to wait a few years to begin a family. For 5 years, we traveled, had fun with friends, bought our first home, and then decided that it was “time.”  After getting off the pill, we knew pregnancy could happen anytime. We were young and invincible – what could go wrong?

Grab the stool!

And then, the pain started. I naively assumed my increasingly painful cramps were because I was no longer on the pill, so I endured them. They got worse. I went to my ob/gyn, explained to him the extreme, debilitating pain I was beginning to have, and all "the relief" I received was a prescription for Motrin. Um, ok... Sure, I can try that. I also found out that my uterus was tilted, which was news to me. He assured me that once I gave birth, it would straighten out and my cramps wouldn’t be nearly so terrible. Maybe that was the explanation. I prayed the Motrin would be the answer to the pain that continued to creep into my daily life.

While teaching middle school English, I began having sudden, sharp pains. I purchased a tall stool. It was my refuge when the sharp pains became breath-taking. The pains became so strong that I’d double over in the midst of a lecture. Of course, I kept teaching, because that’s what you do, and you certainly don’t turn your back on middle schoolers. That’s when the stool was most useful.  Fortunately, I could sit or lean on it bending over just enough until the pains subsided. That worked a couple of more years.

What’s wrong?

We had now been married 7 years and were beginning to wonder why we weren’t getting pregnant. What was wrong? The Motrin initially helped, but eventually, just took the edge off the pain. Childbirth was seemingly the medical answer to my intense pain but it was the answer to much much more.  Being adopted, an emptiness tugged secretly within me. At first, it was faint, but as time progressed, it became an all-out tug of war. I knew the way to fill that hole was a baby of my own. My sense of not belonging to anything or anyone grew in intensity to the point that I yearned for a child, not an adopted child like I was, but my own child.  I wanted some sense of extension to who I was, some sort of beginning to a legacy. It began to feel like that was never going to happen.

Regular annual OB/GYN appointments came and went.  I felt so defeated, still being told the pain was normal and to "keep trying to get pregnant".  After 2 years of trying, shouldn’t I be pregnant?  And, this pain is normal for everyone? There seemed to be no answer until my appointment and examination at the age of 31. Something was there!

Coming soon: Read more in my article "A Mass".

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