I am the face of Infertility.
This is my story of HOPE.
I am one of the lucky ones. It may not seem like it as I begin my story, but this one has a happy ending.
I have wanted children for as long as I can remember, always feeling like I was meant to have a family. However, around age 14, I began to have severe pelvic pain, it would get to the point where the pain would double me over, especially during my time of the month. I was placed on pain medication to get me by. Eventually, I stopped having a period altogether. When I was 21, I was finally diagnosed with severe PCOS and 2 years later I was told I also have Endometriosis. Both were severe enough that my doctor (at the time) suggested an immediate hysterectomy. She said that Endometriosis can be fatal in extreme cases, that it can cause infection or even spread to vital organs and shut them down. I asked her if it looked like I could be one of those extreme cases, she said simply “not yet.” I told her I wanted children and she informed me that I would most likely never be able to have children as both PCOS and Endometriosis can cause infertility and while pregnancy can lessen the symptoms and even stop the spread of Endometriosis, PCOS can make it near impossible to get pregnant. I chose to take my chances and declined the hysterectomy.
Fast forward 7 years to 2008. By this point I had been told by 5 different doctors that I would most likely never be able to have children. I met my husband that year and after he told me he had also always wanted to have children, with a heavy heart I told him there was a high chance that I wouldn’t be able to conceive. Regardless of that knowledge, shortly after he proposed we decided to start trying to have a baby. Every month that went by with that dreaded “negative” pregnancy test, I fell further into doubt and depression. After a year of trying with no success, I went to see a new doctor. After a few visits with him and several tests, he told me the words I feared the most, “you are infertile”. Despite being told many times that I would most likely never have children, it was always just “most likely”, meaning there was still a chance, albeit a very small one. Hearing the word “infertile” was like a knife to the heart.
I began to mourn the loss of children I would never have. Worse, I had to tell my husband (who was my fiance at this point). He took it better than I expected, but I knew he was hurting just as I was. Ever my protector and comforter, he stayed strong for me. I began to grieve as one would a loss and a few months later I saw my doctor again for a minor procedure. I told him I was depressed because of the infertility and I couldn’t seem to get past it. He then told me something I never expected. He said, “you know, infertility is not a life sentence, it’s merely an inconvenience. There’s always hope.” HOPE! I asked him to elaborate and he said that he has had a handful of other patients that were also infertile, but with work and determination, they were all pregnant within a year of receiving the diagnosis.
A window had opened. Even though we were terrified of getting our hopes up only to have them shattered again, my husband and I met with the doctor to discuss the steps we needed to take. He put me on Metformin (a popular diabetic medication that is supposed to work for PCOS patients as well) as he said that would regulate my periods and kick-start my reproductive system. Nine months later, we still had no success, so I was then placed on a strong fertility medication called Clomid and was told to also continue taking the Metformin. Three months after beginning the Clomid, I was late. I thought for sure it was like any other month that I was late, but took a pregnancy test anyway. My heart stopped for a second when I looked at the test and saw the “positive”. Could it be true? I took another one and it was positive as well. I woke my husband and tearfully told him he was going to be a daddy. It took a minute to register, but I’ll never forget the look on his face when it did.
The next 9 months were scary, we worried over every little twinge and even had some seriously frightening moments. At 21 weeks pregnant we thought I was losing the baby. The physical pain I was in was unbearable, the worst pain I’ve ever felt. After being sent to labor and delivery at the local hospital, they determined I was not having a miscarriage but suffering from rather nasty case of kidney stones (OUCH!). Add to that a diagnosis of gestational diabetes and pre-eclampsia (complete with bedrest and several non-stress tests) it was a very eventful pregnancy.
At 41 weeks pregnant, after 40 hours of labor, I was taken to the OR for a c-section and delivered a beautiful, healthy baby boy. He is my miracle. I say it again, I am one of the lucky ones. I realize just how lucky every time I look at my beautiful, happy, playful little boy who is now 3 months old. He has brought so much joy into our lives and is a constant reminder that no matter how bad a situation may appear, there is always a glimmer of hope.
You can contact Becky at: firstname.lastname@example.org