I have my official evaluation for ADHD in September, and I had to fill out a packet of forms for the psychiatric nurse practitioner. Always with the forms that seem to chirp, "Hello, can you please share your medical trauma on this dinky form with entirely insufficient space for your sad-sapness? Thankyoooouuuu."
I have a difficult time when they ask about two things:
1) Do you have children?
2) Please list any and all surgeries/procedures.
My tendencies run towards snark with the children one: Do you have any children? NO, ZERO. If I'm particularly irritable, I'll say ZIP, ZERO, ZILCH.
At least this form didn't ask me how many pregnancies, how many live births. That one always makes me sad.
But the surgeries? There's the orthopedic kind, starting with a surgery to break and reset my legs in 1977 because I was born with a dislocated hip that wasn't diagnosed until I was about 9 months old (medical misfortune hit me young!). Then the knee surgery in 1993 for a dislocated knee, obtained when I jumped for joy over the sight of flats and flats of pansies at a nursery, but due to a crappy orthopedic surgeon (who had me walk on it for months which resulted in the need for significant reconstruction and led me to the total knee replacement in 2023 (whoa! 30 years later to the year! didn't realize that before!) because of significant damage and arthritis.
Then there's gynecologic: Laparoscopy in 1999 to look for endometriosis that wasn't found, laparoscopy in 2011 to remove ectopic pregnancy, endomyometrial resection in 2016 to get rid of my erratic horrorshow of a period since I couldn't do hormonal things with estrogen anymore, and then hysterectomy in 2018 to remove the whole damn thing, problem solved.
Lastly, the endless list of infertility-treatment-related surgeries. I used to list out every individual one, and then I stopped. It's not strictly necessary, and it takes up way too much space. So when I was filling this one out, I was trying to remember how many egg retrievals, how many hysteroscopies, recalling the paracentesis from when I developed OHSS and had a soda bottle's worth of fluid in my abdomen. Ugh. But then I was like, just put 2009-2015, infertility treatment, including I believe 3-4 hysteroscopies and 6-7 egg retrievals. Because frozen transfers, egg donor cycles, and cycles canceled late in the game at the end.
I started looking up how many, and then I stopped. IT DOESN'T MATTER. It was multiple. Whatever. Still paints a picture. (A picture that usually results in a fair amount of sympathetic noises from whoever reviews it in front of me, when it's an in-person appointment, and less often unhelpful, unsolicited comments.)
But, let me tell you, I was THRILLED that I didn't remember. For the longest time I held on to all of this information -- my HCG numbers for my pregnancies, my number of retrievals, my number of pretty much everything. It held a lot of space in my consciousness.
I could not remember. And when I started going to research the specific data, I stopped myself and was like, I DO NOT NEED TO KNOW THIS ANYMORE. I have it, in notebooks and the blog record. But I don't necessarily need it. It isn't front and center. My brain has filed it away because it's just not as relevant anymore.
That brought me so much joy. It was one of those moments where I felt that relief, that freedom of THIS IS MOVING FURTHER AND FURTHER INTO THE REARVIEW MIRROR.
I do want to assert that this doesn't mean I'm "over" infertility. That it's not a part of who I am, that it didn't change me irrevocably. It is, and it did. But it's not so all-consuming. It doesn't feel like it takes up so much of my identity space. How freeing, how revelatory.