The day a baby is born is considered a miracle. You prepare for nine months to bring this child into the world. It’s a whole process of joy. The nursery gets painted, the crib gets assembled, the baby showers happen, the late night pregnancy cravings are fulfilled and then the labor and delivery starts. After hours of labor, your beautiful bundle of joy arrives into the world and you are now a new family. What happens when infertility happens? The stork forgets your address. Here is my personal story of infertility and how it has changed my life:
My infertility journey began when I was twelve. I woke up in the middle of the night and noticed my period came. (Thank the lord it was the middle of the night.) I went to get my mom to tell her what happened – she gave me some feminine supplies, puts me back to bed, and she congratulates me on becoming a woman. A few hours later – I woke up again. This time the bleeding was worse; It was heavier and I had blood clots happening. I figured this was normal. As I went to get my mom to tell her I needed her help, I got out of bed, and I had clots falling out of my body. These clots were large in size – about the size of my fist. I remember trying to clean this mess up off the carpet and trying to get my mom’s attention. She came into the bedroom and she had a concerned look on her face. She helped me get cleaned up and we went down to the hospital. I remember thinking that most girls probably do not go down to the hospital on the first day of their periods.
I was a healthy teenage girl, a competitive swimmer. One of the nurses in the emergency room was one of the mothers on the swim team. She has told me to this day, she still remembers my story and that visit. When we got there, I had a male doctor. The doctor and nurses did everything they needed to do that day, we just didn’t get any good answers. I had my first pelvic exam that day, which can be very traumatic for a young girl who just got her period a couple hours earlier. By the end of that morning, I was half a day older, a woman and I had a gynecologist. The bleeding didn’t stop for forty days. It took two different types of birth control to get the bleeding to end. One of the birth controls given to me was Depo-Provera. It’s an injectable that contains the hormone progestin. It’s designed to stop your cycle.
Every year I was instructed by my pediatrician to see my gynecologist. I was the tween sitting in the OB-GYN lobby with her mother. I’m sure everyone was thinking I was a knocked up teenager. I got my yearly check-ups, took my birth control, ate well, exercised, and controlled all my symptoms and pain the best way I could. I remember asking every year at my appointments if I would ever have problems having a baby in the future, the answer was always no. At thirty-one years old I was told I had endometriosis, adenomyosis, uterine fibroids and lower progesterone levels. I lost my uterus, cervix and fallopian tubes that same year. I would never have a baby. I never had one positive pregnancy test.
I believe most women wish to have a baby of their own. It was my dream. Infertility happens to one in eight couples. I believe I was born with a bad uterus. I was never meant to have a baby of my own. I spent years doing fertility treatments that failed. It took almost twenty years to diagnose my reproductive issues. We did so many interventions to get pregnant. We decided not to pursue IVF and adoption because we did not believe in IVF, and with adenomyosis, you have a high risk of miscarriage. (our opinion on IVF is just personal, I support anyone who attempts IVF.) The embryo can have a difficult time implanting, and I did not want to spend $40,000 on a miscarriage. I have a stepdaughter – she is such a joy. I felt as if adoption would feel the same as having a stepchild. I chose to love and care for a child that isn’t biologically mine.
Infertility crushes the soul. the grief takes over your life. We need to support one another, we need to speak up and re-define infertility. We need to be our own advocate. There is a stigma about infertility that needs to be lifted. You are not alone. There are many different resources that I have used as my support system. Doctors, therapy, support groups, family, friends, blogging, and my dogs. I have never experienced pain like infertility. I have gone through many trials – death and divorce have been a close second to infertility. I lost everything in my divorce. Infertility was the cherry on the cake.
I am still standing, I am still living, and I am still thriving. I had been suffering since the age of 12 with illness and didn’t even know it. I thought and was told I was normal. I know many others can relate to my story in some way, shape or form. My husband is my greatest support system. I couldn’t have survived a day without his constant support and love. I am a stepmom, godmom, dogmom, and an auntie.
You can pretty lie and say it’s okay
You can pretty smile and just walk away
Pretty much fake your way through anything
But you can’t cry pretty
— Carrie Underwood