IOUD, Part One

We packed our bags and grabbed our Finn, and left for 1000°-degree rural Texas for a few days to visit family. We killed two scorpions the first night, and subsequently captured a jumping spider that was surely named for the effect it has on its prey. And human captors.

Avara lay next to me, on her side as always, trying to sleep. The hour was late. Since our son’s birth, sleep hadn’t exactly been something we were good at anymore. We longed for it but knew it would never greet us again the way it did when we were young.

Avara sat up in bed and walked to the bathroom. I’d gotten used to pretending that if I laid still enough, sleep might come for me. But it never did. She returned to our blow-up mattress and spoke softly, as friends do and as we’d always, talking about anything, but this time she told me she felt some cramping and pain in her abdomen. It was undeniably ambiguous.

We let it go.

But a couple nights later, at the witching hour, the sweat on Avara’s brow dictated getting her to a hospital. She wasn’t one of those soft characters when it came to pain. She muscled through it. She ignored it like a T-Rex dealt with a gnat. Hell, she pushed our son out in four hours with no help.

Her father drove her, as only a father can and would, to the local emergency room, which wasn’t saying much being in a town of less than 4,000, and I stayed with Finn. So began our text discourse for the next four hours…

She started with needles, first and foremost, then scans and sonograms over her abdomen to make sure her IUD didn’t puncture the wall of her uterus or something horrific like that. Her texts were short, almost curt. It was almost 2am by this point, so the fact that she was awake meant to me she was either in a ton of pain or scared enough to forget about it. But, in the next moment, she grabbed me through the phone like my collar was bunched in her fists.

“Positive pregnancy test. Whoa.”

The whole world could go down in a sea of text messages.

They weren’t equipped to assess anything transvaginally. God, I hope that’s the last time I use that word for a while because unless I’m quoting ‘Fifty Shades of Grey’ or telling someone to televaginally send me some pizza, I don’t want to hear that word again for a long while. They couldn’t even take out the IUD if they had to.

I didn’t know what to say. Didn’t she have an IUD, which, for those of us who are less familiar, is something with a 99.9% effectiveness rating for preventing pregnancy? I should’ve been there with her. I knew her hands were shaking just typing those words to me. Instead, I was busy making sure Finn didn’t fall out of the non-toddler-proofed air-bed for the 87th time.

Avara and her dad went to a second hospital, and got a more decisive response. All I really cared about was her well-being and the fact that she wasn’t going to bleed out or, worse, have her vagina accidentally sown up by someone who was too tired or too backwoods to care.

But the opposite was true.

They worked through things compassionately, systematically checking everything they could. Doctors told her some cysts had burst, near her ovaries — the most likely cause of the pain, but it could be related to the, wait for it, pregnancy. Since we were on a trip, it made more sense to get back to Los Angeles as fast as possible. They couldn’t be sure of much else. The blood tests were going to be the tell-tale anchor upon which decisions would be made and directions charted.

But no test, or prodding could resolve the situation we found ourselves in. Not that night, at least. I looked at my son and half-dreamed all the insane experiences my parents had gone through while they watched me sleep soundly, breathing heavy in my own world.

She either had: an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage or a miracle zygote growing inside her despite the IUD’s best defenses.

Pardon me if I don’t continue for the moment. I want to tell this story but I refuse to let my emotions cloud the play-by-play. Please hold.

Or, just let it go.

For PART TWO, Click Here.

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Charlie Capen


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