This is just part of my infertility story. I hope this helps those who are struggling to realize it's a common issue. Babies come in all different ways: adoption, foster, fertility help, and sometimes unexpectedly. Also, pregnancy is a private and guarded issue for many. I have found that most people who are struggling will never tell you, even your closest friends. Always be mindful of what you might say to someone going through infertility, your "helpful" words might hurt.
Around the time I was a senior in High School, I began experiencing intense cramps each month. I always knew something was wrong in the back of my mind, but wasn't sure who to talk to about it. My family didn't really go to the Doctor and my mom wasn't the most open person. The older I became, the worse the cramping got. There were days I could barely move, lived with a heating pad, and took as many hot baths as my water heater would allow. Finally, my aunt talked to me about endometriosis. She had it. It was the cause of her infertility and she had similar cramping to go along with it.
Birth Control Blues
For years I would take birth control to help suppress the cramping and would only have to deal with it every 4th month. The birth control started making me too hormonal and so I quit. As I've talked about in previous posts, I was married before. My ex-husband wasn't interested in kiddos (point of difference between us) and so I never went to the gyno regularly until I was 25.
|2010 Photo by Veronica Reeve Photography|
I had wanted a baby for years and when Tim and I got married, we decided to start right away. Tim's dad was a OB/GYN and his Midwife at his practice was amazing and the service was free. I finally sat down with her and discussed my painful cramping and also how I couldn't wait to get pregnant. The tricky part with endo is that it can't really be diagnosed without a laparoscopy. Some women have horrible cramps and no endo, and some have no cramps and the worst endo. After about 5 months of "trying" and many years of cramping, Tim and I sat down with his dad to talk about an exploratory laparoscopy. Dr. Healy was a very successful Endo surgeon, delivered over 6,000 babies, and was tops in his profession. We were not close and so I didn't have a problem considering him to do my surgery. It probably helped that I'm not a shy person.
The lap was over in just a couple short hours. Dr. Healy burned a substantial amount of endo off my uterus. He said I would probably get pregnant pretty soon post surgery and that my cramping should go down. Endo is a disease that grows rapidly in some women and you oftentimes have to have maintenance surgery to clear it again. After a few more months with no luck, we decided on a couple things.
1. We would try basic fertility as in Clomid and hormones.
2. If that didn't work, we would move on to adoption.
Another Year Goes By
When all you are focused on is getting pregnant, everything seems more sensitive. Friends getting pregnant, strangers with their cute baby bellies, and all of your negative pregancy tests, you think you might break. Strangers will get involved with their opinions and sometimes they will sound unintentionally hurtful. Forgive those people. Especially if they have not struggled with fertility. Tim would reassure me constantly that it wasn't our turn yet and that I needed to be happy for others. I started talking more about my endo and fertility struggles with friends, only to find out that it was very common. The cramping never went away, we had moved up dosage on the Clomid, and still no sign of a baby. I remember sitting down with Dr. Healy and him telling me a couple things. One in two pregnancies is a miscarriage and he also said most people never realize they are pregnant since it might just be for a couple days.
I decided since it had been over a year since my previous surgery and the pain seemed to be getting worse that I would find an Endo specialist. This led me to Dr. Arrington. We went in for a consultation and he thought for sure that my endo was back. We scheduled surgery, this time on my Birthday. This surgery took about 5 hours. He told me he would be cutting away the diseased areas instead of lasering/burning them off. He explained that cutting it would cut down the chances of it spreading so quickly again. After surgery he told me that it was worse than he had anticipated since I had the same surgery a year before. It had spread throughout my abdomen, twisted an ovary and attached the ovary to my abdominal wall, and last but not least spread to my appendix which he took out.
And Then We Waited
I healed. Cramping lessoned, but was still painful. February came and Tim's dad passed away.
|A sweet little memorial that Davis Hospital put together for Tim's dad.|
A couple more months went by. We tripled my remaining Clomid and decided after it was gone that we were done with fertility. We had also been looking at adoption agencies for a few months. We had finally chosen one to use and started working on our paperwork and were trying to figure out our home study. A couple more months went by and then it happened. I felt my stress about not getting pregnant start to lighten and thoughts of adoption replace the need for pregnancy. After all, I just wanted a special babe to join our family and I was OK with any means of that happening.
If you talk to any girl who is anticipating pregnancy, they will all tell you that each month they take many, I mean tons of pregnancy tests. Mine always ended up negative followed by my period a few short hours later. So when July came and I refused to take a test for a few days, I knew what had happened. After a few days of being "late"... I caved and it said positive. I was in total disbelief.
On God's Time
I surprised Tim with the news before a concert we were going to in Park City. He was even more shocked and excited than I was. Everything we had been praying for finally came true.
March of 2013 we welcomed our perfect baby girl, Ava. We became parents. I became my sweet Ava's Mom.
I knew that I would probably have to have another babe within a couple years of Ava. Pregancy temporarily stops endo and then it will continue spreading. I had two potential options, if I waited a few years to have another babe, I might have to have a lap again. We decided around the beginning of the year that we were ready. This time after a few months, we were having our next babe. He will be born in March of 2015. My kiddos will be almost exactly 2 years apart.
Be Careful What You Wish For
I longed so much to be pregnant that I didn't realize that pregnancy can be a rough business. There are those of you that were like me, waiting, and I'm sure you are muttering to yourself "Jamie, shut up and don't complain." I wish I could tell you that pregnancy is glowing, beautiful, and that you only get pregnant in your stomach. Nope. Not for me. My booty gets bigger, thighs touch, I puke everyday, and you may or may not get stretch marks. My pregnancy with Ava was rough. I even threw up on the operating table during my csection. As a girl that envied pregnancy so badly, it wasn't the perfect 9 months. I've learned that lesson twice.
I'm so thankful everyday for my sweet babies and the miracle it is for me to carry them. I am so grateful for a Heavenly Father that helped me through the hardest times. I know so many people that long for a baby and some will get pregnant and some will adopt. Everyone will have their opinion, follow what route is best for you.
I decided this round of pregnancy that I would have my sweet husband do a few pics for me. It's so important to document these moments for yourself and your babes. It's such a blip in your life that leaves the best memories.
For questions or comments related to this post, please feel free to contact Jamie at firstname.lastname@example.org