Thursday, December 3, 2015

these past six months

AnnaRose at 5 months, photos by Carly Bish Photography

These past six months have been the absolute best. This girl is amazing, and she arrived at the perfect time. I'll just become a mound of gush if I keep writing about how awesome she is, so I'll move onto the difficult stuff. And I'll preface this all by saying this is by saying I'm packing a lot of information into this one.

Following AnnaRose's birth, I healed remarkably well. Her delivery was traumatic (still writing my birth story), but I felt great, all things considered. About 10 weeks postpartum, however, I was on my way to the emergency room with a familiar pain. 10 years ago, I had this similar, extreme pelvic pain. Suddenly, I'm in the ER with my mom, refusing to sit down, screaming for someone to help me and give me drugs. Now, I am not a person who pops a pill for a pain easily. I had no epidural. So this was intensely painful, clearly. It was the same diagnosis from 10 years ago: dermoid ovarian cysts.

I've dealt with these dermoid cysts for the last decade. I had the first round removed then, and they returned within several years. My current doctor explained that these growths are often so incorporated into the ovarian that it can be difficult to remove the whole cyst. So, chances are, some cyst tissue was left behind when my old doctor did the surgery back then. Those cysts were around 10 cm each. And unlike other ovarian cysts, dermoids have no known cause. And the treatments are pretty much "watch and wait" or removal.

This time around, I have known about these cysts for the last 5 or 6 years. They were small and not causing me pain, so we monitored them with ultrasound and MRI prior to me getting pregnant. They were around 4 cm, so my doctor gave the OK to get pregnant. Well, they grew pretty significantly while I was pregnant. And now I'm in the same situation with these as I was in 2005.

A few weeks after that hospital visit, I was admitted for pancreatitis and gallstones. The took out my gallbladder. I was away from AnnaRose and it sucked. Just as I recovered from that, I was in the ER again in October for the cysts. So, I met with my doctor to schedule surgery, because this things ain't going away. They are coming out on Friday, December 11. And there is a chance one of the ovaries might be coming out too.

Clearly, this is A LOT. Really, the past year and a half has been a lot for us. Getting pregnant, two layoffs, childbirth, broken washing machine, and two surgeries in less than three months.

Sometimes, I'm afraid to share the challenges, because I don't want to come off as ungrateful. I don't want to complain, because I am truly happy and grateful, especially for a healthy, happy baby. But I have learned that struggle and gratitude are not mutually exclusive. That we can be grateful and joyous, and anxious and fearful, all at once. And the more I keep the struggles and fears to myself, the more alone I feel.

Unlike the gallbladder removal, this surgery can't be done laparoscopically, so I'm looking at a bit more recovery time. I'm thankful for a non-emergency procedure, which we can plan for as much as possible, and I'm thankful for the most zen baby on earth. She just rolls with all this.

If you are still reading this, thank you. Really. Is there a challenge or fear you are dealing with? Share it in the comments. Lets encourage and support each other, OK?