Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The artificial woman--pt 12 The Useless Uterus

The fact that Rainbow couldn't have children the way normal women do did not stop her from wanting to be a parent. She often wondered how she should bring up the subject of her infertility to boyfriends. Was it a first date conversation? No, perhaps not even a third date conversation. But she couldn't avoid telling her secret to the man who would become her husband.

Frankly she was surprised that anyone asked to marry her. Oh yes, she had boyfriends, but the low self-esteem cloud poured on Rainbow, which made her a handful just to date, let alone consider marrying. Reason? She could never get enough attention.

Plus, Rainbow thought that love was only for those who look good. Perhaps it was because of her failure to let go of the prank James and Scott played on her in high school. They had reinforced her notion that she was some kind of joke, an outcast, because of her appearance.

So she was suspicious when she was introduced to this giant who worked with her sister Lynn. When the giant called Rainbow for a date, she thought he was really trying to get to her sister. Rainbow and The Giant shared similar tastes in music and film. And The Giant was smart.

For three years they dated, two of them living together, when The Giant proposed. After three years of dating, it wasn't entirely unexpected. The timing of the proposal was awkward, during the 11 o'clock news. Afterward, Rainbow called her sister and her parents to share the news, waking them up.

About two years after Rainbow and The Giant got married, the subject of children came up. The Giant knew that Rainbow was a barren-ess, but he hadn't wanted children anyway at first. Seeing the joy that children had brought their friends changed their minds, though. They began to consider their options.

One option was Rainbow carrying The Giant's baby via a donor egg and in-vitro fertilization. Rainbow's doctor confirmed that she, in fact, had one, and that it was healthy enough to carry a baby. However, the cost would be about $8000 a try, plus Rainbow's family had concerns that her hypertension would result in a life-threatening pregnancy.

With the in-vitro idea put to bed, Rainbow and The Giant pursued adoption. Both of them had heard of open adoption, whereby birth parents choose the adoptive parents and maintain contact with each other after birth. The idea sounded good for the child, since he or she would have a way to contact his or her birth family, and good for the birth parents, because they would have some control over their child's future.

At the same time Rainbow and The Giant began adoption proceedings. Rainbow's sister was pregnant with her first(and only) baby. The news filled Rainbow with excitement and jealousy. Didn't nature intend all women to bear children, if they chose? The clouds of low-self esteem rained feelings of imperfection on Rainbow again, because she couldn't do something her sister could.

This was Rainbow's problem, though.

Finally, after two years of waiting, and about $12,000, Rainbow and the Giant became parents through open adoption. The road to becoming parents was a bumpy one, as they had to depend on an emotional young woman to give up her baby. Yes, her baby.

She almost didn't. She had approached other potential parents, but in the end Rainbow and the Giant were blessed with a son. At first Rainbow felt more like she was her son's babysitter than his mother. That changed the first time he threw up on her.

By this time, Rainbow was in her 30s, and had been on hormones a little more than half her life. One of the perks of the hormones was that just like a normal woman, she got a period, sometimes two every month. Those times she'd be blessed with multiple periods interfered with her work, what with having to to to the bathroom to "change".

She consulted doctors.

One did a pap smear, which was abnormal, because of the abnormal bleeding. Another doctor did an endometreal biopsy, which was sort of like having her uterus and sucked through a straw. A third doctor ordered an ultrasound, and depending on the result would follow up with a hysterectomy or ablation, a burning of the uterine wall. The ultrasound showed no cysts or otherwise suspicious growths, so ablation it was.

It was an outpatient procedure that took about two hours. The doctor came to Rainbow as she was waking up and told her, "Good news! We were able to burn the lining of your uterus with a hot balloon."

Say, that is good news, Rainbow thought.

To this day, Rainbow is thankful that her uterus is intact, but she doesn't have periods.

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