It seems appropriate to me the only room they have available for the ultrasound of my heart is in pediatrics.
I feel so much like a little girl.
I follow the woman with my paperwork down the hall and into the elevator. She has kind eyes and blond hair. Her shirt is colorful and I want to hold her hand.
I change into my gown, open in the front, and lay on the table. My aunt is with me and we are talking, keeping the mood light and airy.
The gel, heated for the little ones, feels warm on my skin. There are colorful projections of planets and a smiling moon moving across the ceiling.
As I lay there, occasionally hearing my heart on the monitor, all I could think about are the ultrasounds I had with my babies.
I talk to the nurse about my children and my births. She tells me her son’s birth story. We laugh and make a connection while I ignore the nagging fear and reason I am here.
Something is wrong.
My heart started a few weeks ago fluttering madly in my chest. I ignored it at first, but the feeling persisted and got worse. It started to make it hard to breathe.
I tried to tell myself it was just stress, but fear grabbed a hold and wouldn’t let go.
I drink more coffee than water.
I’ve put on a bunch of weight.
I barely move my body.
I eat too much sugar.
I drink too much alcohol.
Ticking off the ways in which I have neglected myself fed my fear.
It grew and grew until it was a mothering-fucking monster.
What if there is something really wrong with me and I don’t go to the doctor? I might die of a heart attack at 38 years old, my children finding me on the floor. The scars of my death will forever be etched into who they are.
What if it is chemical? Maybe my depression and anxiety are worsening and the time for natural remedies and therapy have past. I have seen how hard it is to get the right treatment and I fear I’m not strong enough.
So I called the doctor and the testing began.
I’m not going to lie.
I keep telling myself to stay calm and wait for answers. So many people have gone through this and it ends up being nothing. Or it ends up being something and you fight it and get better. Or you don’t get better, but you keep fighting anyway.
I’m in no way unique or special. My very best friend has been dealt the medical roulette of health issues, adding Rheumatoid Arthritis and Fibromyalgia to the list just yesterday. My young sister-in-law faces a hysterectomy and a future without the kids she wants. Another friend is fighting breast cancer, unable to walk from the treatments.
I know all this, yet I am still terrified.
I am the only mother to my children and this all feels heavy and scary.
I want someone to hold me. I want to cry.
School starts tomorrow and it feels like a new year, a new beginning. I always make promises to myself this time of year. I will use the time the kids are in school to exercise, finally tackle my messy house and maybe even keep up on my writing without staying up all night.
All these promises I make, as readily and as fervently as any New Year’s Resolution. They are just as carelessly discarded when they get hard or no longer suit me. Distraction and obligation keep me busy.
Yet, here I sit with this heart monitor and immense fear. Both are screaming to me that I need to make the time for me now.
I need to stop worrying what others think of me, or if I am doing enough.
It is time for me to be strong.
I am not a little girl.