Penny's Story

A cute little drummer living her dream.

Archive for Infertility

Ultrasound Update

So, I haven’t had tons of time, but I felt like that last post needed some sort of closure. So, I saw my doc for the follow-up to hear the results from the ultrasound. Essentially, they didn’t find anything “unusual.” The way the report was worded, I could just ~feel~ that what it said was: “normal ~male~ innards.” It didn’t, of course, but it said “40 year old individual” in a way that made me feel neutered in a way that I’m not used to. But, so, whatever, no ovary, no fallopian tube, no uterus. Barren. Closed playground. Worthless.

What else would there have been to find? At best there would have been dried up or malformed bits that certainly would never have produced a child anyway. So maybe this is better. I’m honestly not sure.

A friend suggests I insist on an MRI, as it might offer an image with better resolution. I’m not sure if I have the energy. Every step I take to try to find the answers to the mysteries of my youth is extremely draining. I do still have the sort of unexplained pain/cramps that I’ve had since I was ten years old, so further exploration may be justified.

I am going to see an endocrinologist, which, amazingly enough, I’ve managed to never have done before. Maybe they’ll have some answers. I dunno.

It’s pretty annoying feeling so defeated and so hopeless, but lately that seems to be all I can muster.

Ultra Sound

Looks kinda cool as two words, doesn’t it?

Ultra Sound.

Might make a neat band name or CD title.

Huh.

Anyway, I had an ultrasound today. It was pretty tough emotionally in lots of ways. This was because I have some intermittent pelvic pain and cramping that I’ve had for as long as I can remember. This is the first step in trying to figure out why.

I had to confront the surgery I had when I was three. I recently found out that the records of that surgery have been destroyed (it was 37 years ago), so any answers we may find will be from what my body can tell us.

The hospital where I had the procedure done still had an “M” for my gender marker (I had been there a long time ago). That was pretty annoying.

It’s so strange, I sort of don’t want there to be anything found, but of course, it came out this morning when I was talking with the Darling Boyfriend and I said, “Well, of course what I want them to find is an ovary with fresh eggs.”

I’ve always dreamed impossible dreams.

And then was the worst part, which in my stress about other things hadn’t even dawned on me. Sometimes I am so oblivious. It didn’t even hit me until she had the sensor thingy on my tummy, and I could see the little half-circle picture of the ultrasound on the screen.

And I suddenly realized what so many women get to see when they have ultrasounds on their tummies:

…their baby…

Trigger Me Intersex

I’ve talked about the surgery that I underwent when I was three a few times. I usually don’t bring it up because it can trigger too many things. To recap, and this is from my mom’s recollection since my medical records from back then are long gone, I had surgery when I was three that was purportedly to resolve an undescended testicle. It turned out that the surgeons removed something instead. They told my mom that they removed “a mass.” I still have that scar. I remember being in the hospital; I remember riding around in the little wheelchair/cart that they gave me after the surgery (these are some of my very earliest memories).

I’m very happy with my life now, and I do think it’s important to point that out.

I also should mention that I am 100% opposed to non-emergency or essential surgeries done on babies and children before they have reached the age of consent. Yes, that includes circumcisions. Leave babies alone. Stop trying to “fix” people!

Anyway…

It’s probable that I had an under-developed testicle and that removing it was the proper medical decision. Externally I had arguably normal male genitalia; I had a very small penis and one testicle. But who knows what was going on internally. It’s possible that I had some form of intersex condition. Sometimes I wonder if what was removed from me when I was three was more akin to an ovotestis. Every once in a while I let myself imagine that what was taken from me was a healthy ovary. With eggs.

But I’ll never know. It’s probably just as well that I’ll never know. Considering the possibility, no matter how remote, that I may have had eggs that were stolen from me sends me into some pretty dark emotional territory.

Usually it’s easier for me to just see myself as a plain old transsexual. Considering any of this stuff makes me feel an extreme loss of agency, autonomy, and self-determination. Intersex conditions are so varied and so understudied that it isn’t easy to just say one way or the other. I’ve heard the fairly common condition of undescended testicles referred to as “ambiguous genitalia,” for example. There was a time when I wished that I was intersex, but that was when I was struggling with self-acceptance and felt that a tangible biological cause for my feelings of being in the wrong body would help to explain things, if even only to myself. It gradually became a moot point for me as I let go and stopped caring about the ~why~ that I am the person that I am.

But every once in a while something will trigger a thought and I’ll start to wonder if I was, in fact, robbed of something special and irreplaceable.

Anyone who reads my blog or knows me knows that lately I’ve been struggling with my infertility. It comes and goes. It’s the heaviest cross I have to bear. And when I struggle with infertility my mind almost invariably wanders to that long-ago surgery.

And I usually tune it out, and tell myself I’m being silly, and that the odds of it having been a healthy ovary that was taken from me are vanishingly small. So small as to be not worth consideration. And I content myself with the hope that someday I will find a child who needs a mommy as much as my heart needs them, and we will be a family.

And then I read something like this:

http://aebrain.blogspot.com/2010/02/letter-from-mitaliano.html

Which contains these links:

***Fertile individuals who have fathered children can have a uterus.***

http://www.ingentaconnect.com/content/oup/humupd/2005/00000011/00000004/art00351

***A fertile individual who has fathered two children can have an ovary with follicles and devloping ova. This individual also has a Fallopian tube and a uterus.***

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/4532534?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=49

***A fertile individual who fathered a child and also had an ovary with ovarian follicles and evidence that ovulation also occured. It is the first case where cytogenetics and not just a buccal smear was used***

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/7200380?itool=EntrezSystem2.PEntrez.Pubmed.Pubmed_ResultsPanel.Pubmed_RVDocSum&ordinalpos=18

And then I’m forced to wonder yet again just what, ~exactly~, was taken from me without my consent when I was three.

Hostessing My Ex’s Baby Shower

So, today was my ex’s baby shower. She’s due toward the end of November. As you might imagine, it was a very interesting day. I am exhausted, but I wanted to write while so much is still fresh in my mind.

First off – ~*WOW*~ I.Want.A.Baby.

There were three babies there, and they were all absolutely adorable. I got to hold my ex’s nephew for quite a while, who is about four months old, and even fed him twice. My very first girlfriend, way back when I was 18, had a one month-old when we started dating. We were together for about seven or eight months. I changed more diapers than she did, and I was the one most often relegated to middle-of-the-night duty. I’m out of practice, but wow holding a baby is just about the most incredible thing there is. I’m aware of the messy and sleepless parts of the process, and God I miss it. Feeding my ex’s nephew just reinforced in my head how special all those little people are (as if I needed to be reminded). I would give anything, ~anything~, to have a baby of my own. If I could trade my drumming for a baby, I wouldn’t even think twice. Anything.

It was great to see my ex-mother-in-law. She and I had a really nice talk and it was amazing to interact with her as a not-depressed person. I haven’t seen her in over three years, and talking with her just made it so clear how much I’ve changed. We were talking about before my transition, when my ex and I were still together, and she said that she knew I was a very confused person (yea, to put it mildly!). I’ve been wanting to see her for a while now, because I always thought she was cool, and I missed her, so it was great to see her. [My ex-mother-in-law has the distinction of being the first person to ~really~ realize that I needed to take hormones and fully transition. It’s sort of ironic, that…]

So, yea, my ex is having a baby. And it’s awesome. I’m trying hard to see the other side, and feel the sadness at the fact that she and I never had kids together as well as how sort of front-and-center my best friend’s pregnancy sort of forces me to consider my own infertility. I’m not sure whether it’s because I’m exhausted, or I’m lost in the joy of the day, or because I’m smart enough to realize that it’s probably just as well that my ex and I didn’t have kids together (it only would have ~really~ complicated the divorce – even though I’m not saying it’s not a “loss,” if my ex and I had managed to have  kids, they would have been an amazing blend of genes and would have kicked serious ass), and I also seem to be able to really ~get~, at this moment, that just because my best friend is about to have a baby, that doesn’t mean that I won’t have a baby at some point.

Am I jealous?

Well, d’uh, right?

And yet, I’m also about as happy for her as I could be for anybody. As long as I’ve known her she’s wanted to be a mom about as much as me (it’s one of those things we always had in common – lol!). She is going to be an absolutely stellar mommy, of that I have no doubt. So, how could I possibly feel “bad” about my ex being pregnant? Like I said, she’s my best friend. Hell, I was the first person that she told that she was pregnant. I think it’s about the coolest thing ever. Well, maybe the second coolest thing ever – cooler will be when I’m bringing my baby home from the hospital. 🙂

I’m not sure what else I can say about the day. It was amazing to see my ex’s little brother and niece, as it always is. We roasted marshmallows by the fire last night, and just had tons of fun talking. Being back in my ex-in-laws’ house was a little strange after three years, but they were wonderful and made me feel incredibly welcome. I think the house looked great (of course, I did supply most of the decorations), and the food was awesome. I hope my ex thought the shower was nice, because I thought it was really lovely, and she deserves the best.

Will I wake up tomorrow feeling powerless in the face of my infertility? Will I sob on my boyfriend’s shoulder tonight as I tell him how much I want a baby? Will I rant and rave at the unfairness of having been born without a uterus again in the near future? Maybe. But I won’t for one second fail to celebrate my ex’s pregnancy and childbirth. I can hold both of those realities just fine.

What an absolutely amazing day.

My ex is having a baby!

Hooray!

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