Why women with endometriosis cry; endometriosis and miscarriage
I’m in a small room whose walls are covered with notices about hygiene; in the corner, there are two bins, one black and yellow, also plastered with notices. Next to the bed I’m splayed on, there is a machine with a monitor. Another monitor hangs from the ceiling in front of me.
“I’ll take you through what I see on the screen as we go along. Let your legs go limp, yes, that’s it. Thank you.”
The doctor and the scanning technician look away from me and towards the small screen in front of them. I see the screen on the ceiling flicker into life and into a seemingly untranslatable melee of grey and black.
Last time I was in this very room, there was a baby on the screen, a small tiny dot with an even smaller heart, all that part of a ‘viable inter-uterine pregnancy’. I didn’t smile when I heard the doctor say it. I didn’t dare in case I blew the dream away with my breath.
“I can’t tell why you’re having those cramps. See how it goes.” was the verdict.
It didn’t go that well. My dream got blown away despite my holding my breath. Now, all that is left is the ‘remaining product’ that still lingers in my uterus three weeks after my miscarriage.
What surprised me most is the amount of blood and the amount of pain: an awful lot of blood, an awful lot of pain. Three weeks on, they’re checking out my uterus, which has spent this time trying to cleanse itself, as I’m still testing positive, and I’m still bleeding. My uterus is struggling.
Lying on the very edge of the bed, my legs spread wide, I fumble with my tissue. The doctor brings me some more so that I can wipe the lonely tear falling from my eye. She holds my hand. Soon more tears follow and now I can’t stop them. All three of us are silent. All is still, and nothing is right.
They two women continue to stare at their screen. I stare at mine. The scanning technician inhales through clenched teeth. She breaks the silence and seemingly into a little chat.
“So did you have a transvaginal scan like this before you were pregnant?” she asks.
“No.” I don’t see the point of the question. “I have endometriosis so I’ve had all sorts of tests, but not like this. I had two operations last year to have ovarian cysts removed.” I reply staring blankly at the ceiling. This is all a bit awkward. I blow my nose. I don’t see the point of her asking. Small talk right now? I’m trying to hold back the sob that is rumbling deep within me.
“They were endometrial cysts?” she asks casually.
“Yes. Endometrial on both ovaries. ”
Silence again. They stare at the screen some more.
“You’re worrying me now.” I say after a while.
The technician doesn’t look at me. She does a print out.
“There’s a small amount of lining, which we’ll need to discuss”, she finally says, “Also unfortunately your cysts have come back.”
My heart drops in my chest. I feel a wave of searing heat shoot from my suddenly tight chest outwards. She continues but I hardly hear the words.
“There’s one on your right ovary, which is an endometrial cyst, and the one on the left ovary is a dermoid cyst. That’s why I asked. But it will still make your ovary bulky.”
The sob escapes and there’s no way I can catch it now. On my back, my legs spread wide apart, the probe still in, I’m crying as if my heart would break. My body shakes with a silent despair of a violent cry, but there’s no sound. This is silent weeping, full of grief, full of fear, full of hopeless helplessness.
Afterwards, I’m sitting in the ‘quiet’ waiting room. I’m taken through my options. More gynae consultations. Another scan in two months. More waiting. All this waiting. Always waiting: for another laparoscopy, for another appointment, for another test result, for the drugs to wear off, for my period to come back, for my body to catch up, for my iron level to increase.
“Don’t worry”, says the doctor who held my hand so tenderly in that simple act of human kindness, “most women fall pregnant quickly after a miscarriage.”
But then she catches herself, almost imperceptibly.
“Just sort your cysts out.” she adds quietly.
I, my empty uterus, and my broken heart, leave the hospital. Life, my life, must go on. I shall wait. How long? What for? I dare not ask. Inside me there is a silence in my heart. Inside me, I’m still, but nothing is right.