My genitals are taking me on a wild journey I never expected (2023)

My genitals are taking me on a wild journey I never expected (1)

Courtesy of Eric Landis

When my gynecologist first recommended a hysterectomy after reading a pathology report that showed precancerous cells in my cervix, my hands immediately went up in the air in a thumbs up gesture. The hysterectomy was like a magic wand that erased any possibility of cancer in my body. case closed. Blood tests confirm that my 53-year-old body is going through menopause. At first, I was also happy with the news. No more unexpected periods or painful cramps. Look no further for Target's biggest winged night pads.

Two weeks later, I left the oncology office with a shiny briefcase full of pre-operative instructions and endless forms. Before driving home, I sat in the car for a few minutes and looked at pictures of smiling doctors next to robotic surgical machines. Of course he is very experienced. It was informative and enjoyable. He is also very practical about it all. Any lingering concerns are excluded.


When I start thinking about my next surgery, I think about my son Noah. More specifically, I was considering getting pregnant with my baby. I was 40 and an excited newlywed when I found out I was pregnant with him. It was so simple that it happened almost immediately after quitting the pill.

My pregnancy was going well too. My reproductive organs feel like they've been waiting 40 years to "get their stuff out". Noah became pelvis last week and was born by caesarean section in 2008. He was perfect, he had black hair.

My body amazes me. I felt my uterus contract as I fed Noah. My body becomes human! I'm a woman, hear me roar!

My genitals are taking me on a wild journey I never expected (2)

Courtesy of Eric Landis

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The two years that have passed since her birth have been everything I could have imagined - exhausting, exciting, fun and challenging. I was so happy to stay home with Noah. He always wakes up happy and gives me a wet kiss. I was slowly getting used to being a new mom, with all the wrestling and insomnia. I'd deftly fill her bright orange diaper bag with everything we might need during our days in this bustling New Jersey neighborhood.

When he saw the dog, he got scared - he shouted and pointed. He especially likes to smile at ladies with long brown hair. When an old Valerie Bertinelli commercial for Jenny Craig came on TV, he stopped everything he was doing. He is fascinated by her.

He eats everything from crackers to mushrooms and usually needs a shower after every meal. “You want to make a bubble?” I asked and he ran to the tub shouting “BANKA!!!” He was emptying the bath as I turned on the water. He is pure joy and I have never been happier.

Then something happened that I never thought would happen. Noah walked out the door into my father's yard and drowned in the underground pool.

I'm in the next room. This happens within minutes. It was a door I never thought she would be able - or willing - to open. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), more children between the ages of 1 and 4 die from accidental drowning than from any other cause except for birth defects. We have become that statistic.


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Now, immediately immersed in this world of child loss and grief, we quickly start trying for a baby again. how can we justNOBe more parents? The silence after losing a child is deafening, and we don't want to continue living in this painfully silent world.

We started trying again to conceive naturally, but month after month the pregnancy tests came back negative. We are devastated, but I trust that my reproductive organs will restart their wonderful engines. they do not. A blood test confirmed that my own chances of pregnancy were less than 2%. I'm 42 now.

My genitals are taking me on a wild journey I never expected (3)

Courtesy of Eric Landis

I never thought I'd be stepping into the terrifying world of fertility. No matter what brings a woman to this waiting room, we all have one goal: a baby. I am angry and ashamed of my reproductive organs. I used to support them. Now I want to yell at them, "Come on! You've done it once! You can do it again! There must be a magic egg there!"

but none.

Now the world of in vitro fertilization lives side by side with pain. Procedure, injection, blood test, rinse and repeat.


We're always looking for signs that we're going to have children again - dragonflies circling in strange places, finding Noah's socks, old objects, and dreams we thought we'd been putting off. This little blonde girl has appeared in my husband's dreams many times. He always woke up full of hope, and when he described it to me, I shared his hope in that moment. We must hope. There is no other choice. I am almost 45 years old.

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Two and a half years after Noah's death, Miriam Phoenix was born. I just smiled as the doctor pulled it out of my stomach. Numb from the waist down, I'm not as scared as Noah was when he was born. Miriam has blonde hair, like the little blonde that appeared in my husband's dreams when we were at our worst. I reached the finish line of the race. I run like my life depended on it.

This pregnancy is different than my first. Instead of a positive pregnancy test at the pharmacy and tears of ecstasy, I recall a glossy 8x10 photo of the inside of my uterus after a hysteroscopy in preparation for pregnancy. I have a picture of cells dividing in a petri dish. I witnessed a true point of light when your embryo was placed inside me.

My body still feels amazing. But I also realized that I am the sum of my parts. Together, science and hope have created our family's rebirth. Our fiery phoenix.

It's been 10 years since Miriam was born. She's still blonde, just like my husband's dream girl. I was ready to say goodbye to that place in me when she began to understand where babies come from.


My genitals are taking me on a wild journey I never expected (4)

Courtesy of Eric Landis

I have the best of both worlds. I saw what my reproductive organs could do as nature intended. I've seen what they can do with medicine. I consider myself lucky. However, saying goodbye to the cervix, uterus, fallopian tubes and ovaries is like saying goodbye to the hardships of raising a son and daughter. Part of me would like to keep them the same way I keep old ticket slips - something for an album. But I can not. I'm going further. Next stop: hysterectomy. Thank you for the memories you gave me, dear body.

Recovery is slow and steady. The chocolate pudding was rich. I sleep more than in years. I cried when the oncologist called me and said that what he thought were high-grade precancerous cells had turned into cancerous cells after the biopsy. Tears of relief. I shed tears knowing I made the right decision.

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The cancer appeared early enough that no further treatment was needed - just PAP every three months for the next year. I'm joking that I'm an empty chocolate bunny now. But I'm far from empty. Instead, I was full of too many emotions.

I am grateful that I gave birth to my daughter before my reproductive organs reached the proverbial fans. I appreciate every stage of the female body more - from early years to awkward discussions about health, synchronized periods with college roommates, and how easy it is to just take a pill. The pregnancy was easy at 40, followed by a litany of doctors, blood tests, and injections, until it all culminated in a spectacular birth.


My organs may be just a memory, but I am grateful to be able to do more and proudly show these five levels of laparoscopic scars to anyone who wants to see them. My reproductive organs wrote an eloquent resignation that I gracefully accepted.

Erica Landis began her writing career with Mrs. Kelly wrote an emotional piece about the #2 pencil. In the eighth grade, she began writing herself and her friends in the 1980s storyline "General Hospital". She often writes about life after loss, the power of humor and resilience. Her articles can be found on many lifestyle and parenting blogs. Find herFacebook from Erica Landis - I'm a writerfollow her

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