Thursday, February 24, 2011

The Search Continues

Picture this ram's head in miniature, sitting right above my pelvic bone. Only it's smaller, and pinker, and softer. But this is its shape--sort of. Not quite--but I really want it to be. Let me explain...

My helpful friend, Heather, loaned me some of her midwifery books so I could learn more about my "deformed uterus." Therein, on page 180 of the tome Holistic Midwifery: A Comprehensive Textbook for Midwives in Homebirth Practice, Vol 1--Care During Pregnancy, our esteemed author, Anne Frye, provides a picture series of seven uteri in various shapes. Frye diplomatically refers to their variations as "anomalies" rather than using that "defect" word I've seen and heard elsewhere. (Oh Midwifery Model, you are so much kinder!) Anyway, the Class IV: Bicornuate uteri basically look like variations on the theme of O'Keefe's Ram's Head painting--minus the stormy sky and high-desert hills. The skull is the uterus (in this case, with two separate cavities) and the horns are the fallopian tubes leading to the finger-like flourish at the tips--the ovaries, of course. Ah, to have such a uterus! Look at it there, hovering above the horizon with a saucy flower behind its year. That uterus could get pregnant just looking at a bull!

But no, as I read on I find that the bicornuate unterus description doesn't jive with what I have come to understand about my own anatomy; alas, there is no inner ram's head for me. Reviewing the Class V: Septate uteri graphics that are below the beautiful ram's head series, I see something a little more familiar but a lot less glamorous. These uteri look like jester's hats, if the middle of the hat drooped down into the space where the joker's head would go (at least, until the Queen tires of him). Unfortunately, not only does this squished-jester-hat image hold little artistic appeal, but it just don't match with what my test results show: a heart-shaped, asymmetrical uterus.

Now I'm no gifted researcher, but usually my instincts lead me to the answers I need. However, further Googling on topics such as asymmetrical uterus yields only this gem: "Sterility in cows: its causes and treatment." I believe that any comparison of one's body parts to those of barnyard animals is a sign that one should stop the research for the night--or perhaps, forever.

Where's Georgia O'Keefe when me and my unique uterus need her?!?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

V-Day Hangover

Well, it's happened again: I gave my heart to a wag and am left alone amidst the empty chocolate boxes on February 15th. No, my lover didn't spurn my sweetest sonnets. No, my husband didn't betray me. No, it's by now a much more familiar story: betrayed by my body once again. Actually, I think it's the 20th time...but who's counting?

Oh, like any lovestruck girl, I had this silly little dream that we'd be one of those couples who get all the infertility testing done, get ready for their first big treatment and then...whammo! Get pregnant all on our own. I could tell my husband was secretly nurturing the same fantasy because on Saturday, when I completed my Day28-6am-pee-on-a-stick ritual and got the dreaded BFN, he said, "According to my research online, you really have to wait until 14 days post-ovulation for a reliable result from a home pregnancy test." His authoritative tone (and the very fact that he'd been on while I was in the bathroom holding my breath) brightened my spirits. Since I didn't ovulate until Day 17, there was still a chance (I believe my words were, "Yes, dear, hell could freeze over...")

But there was more evidence for the evil stick's allegation last night: blood enough for me to risk drinking half a Valentine's cocktail called "Between the Sheets". Unfortunately, that elixir wasn't potent enough to drown my sorrows--but why do I feel hungover anyway? Seems like the intoxicating visions I had, despite my best attempts to hold off hope of any kind, stuck around despite my full-proof hangover cure: two Advil, tangerine Emergen'C, and a good night's sleep. Not fair.

So, back to the drawing board and my quest to understand what's happening "in there" (shout out to Eve Ensler!). Naturally, I go to Wikipedia to get the lay of the land. And what to my wondering eyes should appear? The very first clarification under the "Uterus" entry is this:

"Hystera" redirects here. For the state of mind, see hysteria.

Uh-oh. This IS a never-ending hangover: now all my anxieties and "unmanageable emotional excesses" (i.e. emotional drunkeness!) DO relate back to my uterus. I don't like where this is going...

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

An Oddity

I like my reproductive endocrinologist (RE); I do. I like him even though he just called my uterus "an oddity." He has his theories about how and why it's misshaped the way it is, but he has "never seen anything like it before." Okay, so I'm unique--but the word oddity suggests that I'm unique in the "special bus" way, not the "rare black diamond" way. Annoying.

I figure there have to be some other odd ducks like myself out there, but searching cyber-space I fail to find anything that seems like a direct match. So naturally I turn to for more information. Here's the smorgasbord of items that comes up when I search "uterus":
  1. a Uterus w/ Fetus Model Set;
  2. a book called from 1864 called On the causes and treatment of abortion and sterility: being the result of an extended practical inquiry into the physiological and morbid conditions of the uterus;
  3. the boxed set of Friends Season 4 (video on demand);
  4. a stuffed Uterus Plush Figure made by Womb Service (complete with ovaries and a smile);
  5. the mp3 for a song called "Jail";
  6. a CD entitled Aquitania: Christmas Music from Aquitanian Monasteries (12th Century);
  7. Mammary and Uterus Care tea;
  8. Uterus PowerPoint slides;
  9. a black men's t-shirt emblazoned with the confident phrase "UTERUS BRUISER";
  10. a German-language DVD called L-Shots.
Wow, talk about an oddity! That list is like an oulipo poem and does absolutely nothing to A) help me learn about the uterus' many and varied manifestations or, B) make me feel better. The book from 1854 is more promising than the Friends DVD and the German film, but the t-shirt is just insulting. The nuns in the Aquitanian monastery probably knew some things about their uteruses, but I'm not convinced they would have slipped that knowledge into their Christmas carols. Maybe I should just get the plush, pink, grinning uterus to hug while I consider the sad dearth of information about my physiology. Dammit...It looks like I am going to have to write a book about the oddest of organs: The Uterus.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011


Today is Imbolc and, as my friend Laura Weaver writes, "Imbolc (or Candlemas) marks the time when the 'seeds first stir in the ground again'—when the new life quakes and trembles and remembers itself even as we are deep in the womb of winter. Underneath a land that lies fallow is the beginning of what is to come, the calling from the future." This metaphor appeals to me as I mole my way through the winter blues towards the smell of spring. In Colorado, you can tell when spring has really arrived by the scent of pollen on the Chinook winds--smells like semen, no joke. But that time is far away still, according to my internal clock, even if the City of Angels is blooming all around me.

Me and my "unique" (a.k.a. cogenitally misshapen) uterus are still holed up underground, sniffing for spring. We've been holding tight, dreaming bad dreams and shivering through the long, quiet darkness. I think there is more winter ahead--but maybe not. Maybe my uterus is dreaming its way to its own quickening springtime...Today is also St. Brigit's Day, so I'll light a candle to Saint Brigit: goddess of fire, patroness of smithcraft, poetry and healing (especially midwifery). They say it only takes a single flame to keep an igloo warm.