Winter

Illustration of a Moon Scream. from: PWCD - female infertility.

Barrenness Is Acceptable

Letters

Written by Leah Summers-Milne

Last year I was in my doctor’s office – my legs in metal stirrups, exposing myself to the female nurse in the room. She was making idle chit chat as she lubed up the ultrasound wand, which, in my personal opinion, is far larger than it really needs to be. She had a smile on her face, as she was unusually perky considering she was about to shove a wand in my vagina. The last time I got an ultrasound, I was told to have a full bladder. So I had gone out of my way to drink half a gallon of water before coming into this appointment, only to be told that for an internal ultrasound of my uterus, I’d need an empty bladder. This particular day was obviously, not going to go as planned.

The smiling nurse reassured me that she was just checking to make sure everything was in working order, that I didn’t have any visible issues, and to ensure that my new IUD would go in without a hitch. She was also checking to make certain there weren’t any tumors or general abnormalities in my uterus.

It was a checkup, a basic checkup, and I figured that this appointment would go easy. However, I should have known better. My life has forever been governed by forces outside my control and strictly by Murphy’s Law. This appointment was going to be anything but easy, regardless of what I’d hoped. Anything that could go wrong, would go wrong.

She inserted the ultrasound wand. It was uncomfortable to say the least. She pushed it in further than I think was really necessary, causing extreme discomfort. Then came the pain… Why was this procedure painful? I’d accepted that part of being a woman is the expectation to cope with high amounts of pain, as well as having nobody believe me when I am in pain. I bit my tongue while the smiling nurse moved the wand inside me as she checked every crevice and canyon that could be displayed on the monitor. It was invasive, uncomfortable; and I was ready for this ‘basic’ appointment to be over.

The smiling nurse shifted, wand still in me, her face turning serious as she stared at the ultrasound screen. From my position, a glint of an object appeared — a shiny something, which the now serious-faced nurse said was my IUD. Something wasn’t right though. Something was deeply wrong.

“This is really odd, your IUD doesn’t appear to be in your uterus,” she said to me, moving her hand over the ultrasound video. “Your uterus is here, and here’s your IUD. It looks like it’s embedded in your cervix.”

She continued to move the ultrasound wand around more, and finally decides she needs to get the doctor. She pulled the wand out, offering me a little reprieve as she excused herself to call him.

The doctor, a man in his late 40s with salt and pepper hair, snapped his gloves on as he took his place between my legs; the nurse standing in the corner with her lips pursed. He inserted the wand again; the discomfort worse than before.

“Mrs. Summers,” he begins, “your IUD wasn’t put in correctly. It’s embedded in your cervix and it’s not even in your uterus. I can’t advise you to be having sex right now for fear of getting pregnant. This device is inherently worthless for preventing pregnancy.”

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