Fat and Not Afraid

Respect and love are for EVERY body.

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The Middle: Betrayal

February 16, 2012

Trigger warning for depression, suicide, discussion of medical procedures. This is a long one, so I hope you're comfy.

Unfortunately, while the meeting the next day with my nurse went well, the resulting visit to an actual doctor did not. Julie, my awesome nurse, did a verbal test of sorts with me and determined that I needed to see my family doctor right away, something that's usually impossible to do back in my hometown. The waiting times for certain things are in months, so I was surprised when she said I had an appointment with him that evening. I suppose when you're as messed up as I was things move a bit more quickly. That night I went back to the health clinic and sat with my doctor, who had my chart and notes from Julie, including the test I had done. He asked me "What do you want me to do for you?"

I was stunned, no idea what to say. Something along the lines of "I don't know, help me not feel like this?" fell out of my mouth. I didn't know at all what I wanted, or needed, except to stop wanting to die or hurt my kid. In the end all he did was write me a prescription for Prozac and told me to get it filled at the pharmacy. Do you know what the side effects of Prozac are? If you don't, let me tell you:

  • insomia
  • loss of libido
  • suicide
  • drowsiness
  • anxiety

Fantastic! This was exactly what I needed; a drug that would make me sleep, maybe, if I wasn't too anxious (that was another great thing about ppd-extreme anxiety and panic around taking Gabe anywhere alone. What if he cried? I'm a terrible mother! What if I had to feed him? Gross! Boobs! FREAK OUT) and would turn me off from my husband even more! Also, suicide or at least suicidal ideation, which I had in spades. Perfect! Needless to say I never filled the prescription. My solution? Sleep more (and Gabe helped me out here by suddenly sleeping more too), get out of the house with friends, and when Gabe was 3 months old (and sleeping through the night!), go back to work at the call centre. Basically, run away. Avoidance is sometimes the best and worst strategy but it's all I'd had for a long time.

Sometime in there I had an IUD put in; it seemed like the best choice for lack of fuss and care. I couldn't afford one of the fancy hormonal ones but I figured a large peice of copper wire in my uterus would stop future pregnancies until we were ready. Yeah, that didn't go so well either. A year and a half into my supposed 4-5 year IUD, it failed. I was back at the university finishing my English degree, Ryan had left classes in order to be a stay at home dad and figure out if university was actually the right path for him, and money was seriously tight (and by seriously we weren't able to pay the rent for a couple of months that Spring).  It was The Worst Times, and now I was very unwantedly pregnant, and terrified. There was only one choice for me and that was to get an abortion.

Note how I say "For me". As with any and all decisions regarding my body, the decision is mine alone. I would never tell another person what to do with their own body, it's theirs. That's how being grown-ups works. You don't tell me what to do with my life and I wont tell you what to do with yours. Any and all comments to the contrary will be mocked and/or deleted.

So the Worst Times became the Even Worse Times-Ryan understood and accepted my decision though he didn't like it. I had the IUD removed by a, at first, very skeptical doctor at the hospital. I was only 5 weeks along but I knew, and the pregnancy test confirmed it. Then they did a test of their own and I distinctly remember him saying at his computer "Holy shit, she IS pregnant!" I only had a 1% change of becoming pregnant with that IUD in and because the IUD had been in there, there was a chance it was a tubal pregnancy which could rupture and damage or potentially kill me. There was a 50% chance removing the IUD would induce a miscarriage, and a 1/5 chance that sometime during the next few weeks I'd miscarry naturally. None of the above occured. Sadly, I had to wait another 5-6 weeks before getting the procedure done and in the meantime have an invasive vaginal ultrasound to confirm a tubal pregnancy (or not. It was not.) Abortion cost is covered by healthcare in Ontario, but in my hometown the doctor who did it was only available once a month and came in from out of town. The nearest place was 4 hours on the Greyhound away, or 9-10 hours to a private clinic. The pill form wasn't available either, so I had to wait. That was almost The Worst Part of all of this-waiting.

During the waiting I barely ate. I HATED my body, hated it for betraying me, hated being pregnant, hated having to wait, knowing every moment I did another human was growing inside me, stealing my nutrients, making me sick and tired, distracting me from my school work and driving a deep wedge between me and the man I loved more than breathing. My very good friend Amanda took this as an opportunity to introduce me to the Fat o'Sphere, via Kate Harding's often hilarious blog. It was a distraction I sorely needed, and it offered me a different way of thinking, a way out of the hate. My personal journal from this time is sprinkled with quotes and links to articles from all over the 'Sphere! I didn't start this blog until a year or two later, but the seeds were sown in those dark days. I came to fat acceptance from a very sideways path but here I am.

The waiting-it was so hard. I became conflicted but Ry and I were against the idea of adoption; we couldn't live with ourselves knowing that our child was out there in the world somewhere, maybe ok, maybe being hurt or mistreated. And I was too scared after what happened with Gabe to go through labour, delivery and then the mental hoops again, nevermind our dire financial straits. Ryan still wasn't completely on board with everything but he was as supportive as he could be. My sister asked me, in a long drawn out way, "Can't you just be strong enough?" and that sincerely broke me. No, no I couldn't. I can now, I hope, but not then. That pregnancy wasn't just unplanned, it was completely unwanted. Eventually I reached acceptance and at the end of March in 2008 I went down to the hospital, by myself. The protestors were there, just like every Saturday, and this time they didn't have their dead baby sign. A week or two earlier I'd taken it and stuffed it under a dumpster while visiting my sick grandpa.

I dont' know what it's like for other women but my abortion HURT. It fucking hurt. It hurt more than back labour with Gabe, and that's saying something. I'm surprised I didn't break the nurses hand (yes I was awake though now I wished I hadn't been but I don't think that was an option). It was loud and painful and when it was over I was completely alone. The doctor disappeared. The nurse just left me on the table, feet in stirrups and paper gown. That was The Worst, worse than the waiting, the doubts, the hurting my husband, everything else. I was in pain, alone. It only lasted for less than a minute but it was awful.

Mentally it's taken me a long time to get off that table. Sometimes I'm still there, but I have no regrets, and I'm not sorry.

Part 3 on Friday.

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