When I turned sixteen, Mom got worried. She confronted me about my lack of periods and made an appointment for me at the gynecologist. It was only natural that a girl my age should have her first visit, she said.
I was terrified. I dreaded the visit like any young girl who can't imagine someone looking and poking around down there and the possible pain it might cause! Even more so though, I dreaded the possibility that she might find something wrong with me.
I remember little about the visit but the slight chemical smell, and the doctor's face. I think besides the discomfort the physical exam is not as bad as most girls imagine. The doctor ordered up an ultrasound to see what was going on inside of me. Though it bothered me to be having a test I thought only reserved for pregnant women, I was relieved that they could figure this out through a procedure only on the outside of my body.
The ultrasound resulted in some screen captures and puzzled looks but no diagnosis I could understand. I didn't know what my mom and the doctor talked about for the minutes they sent me out of the room, but this is my memory of what I was told:
"You have a congenital abnormality
Your reproductive organs were malformed.
Your ovaries are twisted.
They have to be removed.
You can never have children.
But you can adopt.
Oh, and you can have a totally normal and healthy sex life."
When the doctor told me that last part I could tell from her smile that she meant it as sort of a bonus. A consolation prize of sorts.
I was sixteen -- How the hell was I supposed to digest all of this in one afternoon? At that point, I was thinking about having children or having sex. I wasn't even comfortable with my own body and myself to be thinking yet about any of that. I was just an awkward, shy teenager who didn't want to believe that ANY of this was actually happening.
I went back to the car alone to let Mom and the doctor continue to talk, burrowed down into floor of the car and cried. I don't think I fully understood everything at that time, except for sadness, fear, and a very real sense of loss.
When Mom came back to the car she told me about the surgery they'd scheduled. She tried to keep calm but she ended up crying with me. I think we went to the grocery store at that point, in an unspoken attempt for both of us determined to put it past us and pretend none of this was happening.