Quick post today. So much going on and I'm struggling to gather my thoughts. But before I really dive in, I need to introduce all of you to my office mate Ralphie. Ralphie came into my life back in September 2012 as a 3 month old puppy. Though Ralphie spends most of her time down in the lab with her mom she also occupies my office, bring a joy and peace with her that helps make difficult days much more manageable.
Today, I really needed Ralphie.
The past week has been a tough one. I learned on Sunday that I had been rejected from my final fellowship opportunity, resulting in my postdoc virtually disappearing before my eyes. Reading over the reviewers' comments was difficult, because I also learned that my letters of support were mixed. Something completely unexpected and surprising, both to myself as well as both my graduate advisor and my potential postdoc advisor. On top of this, Grey learned that his postdoc will be officially ending as of July, resulting in even more uncertainty for the future. All while he's away at a conference (on a good note, his talk went incredibly well with many people being very excited about his work). Add in trying to help troubled students, preparing my class for their last midterm and dealing with a teaching assistant who is more interesting in texting/playing on his computer instead of doing his job and you have the perfect setup for a meltdown.
So when I started getting zaps of pain focused in the vaginal area, cloudy urine, cramping when walking across campus and not feeling so great, it didn't take long for me to speculate the worst.
Thankfully, my new care providers didn't minimize my feelings of anxiety. Instead, they asked clarifying questions and then immediately scheduled an appointment to see me ASAP.
This morning, I made my way into the clinic for my first solo doctor's visit in about 3 years. Since starting this journey, I noticed a trend that any doctor's appointment I have alone ends badly, either with treatment being canceled, poor interactions with physicians or news of miscarriage. Hence I was nervous. So nervous that I barely slept last night. I broke down at 4 am to text Grey, allowing the tears to flow for the first time in a long time and was grateful that instead of trying to be the strong one, he empathized with me and confessed that he was scared too.
The appointment was a fast one, with all parties involved intent on working through their checklist to quickly identify any problems that may exist. After checking me in and getting vitals, they got a urine sample to rule out a UTI, then immediately followed with an ultrasound to check on the Beats. Beat B danced away while we discovered that Beat A had the hiccups. Both heartbeats were strong. Following this, they took some vaginal swabs to check for yeast and bacteria. Finally they measured my cervix, with all of us breathing a sigh of relief to find that it was low and long, at 3.7 cm.
The conclusion from today, the zaps and twinges are probably a combination of round ligament pain, uterine expansion and me being overwhelmed. We have our appointment scheduled for next week still as a follow-up, but the team was glad that I called them to come in to rule out something more urgent.
All I wanted to do after the appointment was curl up in someone's lap. To lay in a fetal position and simply be held. So you can imagine my response when I walked into my office and saw Ralphie this morning. Immediately I stripped myself of my bags and coat and wrapped my arms around her. It wasn't long before we were both curled up on the floor of my office with my head buried in her body. I'm sure this was quite a sight for all who passed, but in that moment I didn't care.
I'm calmer now, though the tears still come easily. Ralphie is currently off with her mom completing some data analysis. Just knowing she's here today helps. Knowing that there's a friend who doesn't need me to explain why I'm panicked and is more than happy to curl up with a hormonal pregnant infertile.
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