This post was originally published on MommiNation.
I was oblivious.
Throughout my twenties, as many of my friends had those "oops" moments and I didn't, I thought to myself, "Dang, we don't have those problems, y'all man need to learn how to pull out!" I'm a lot of things, but dumb isn't one of them. Infertility issues were something so foreign to me, I swear the thought never crossed my mind.
In 2010, just months after getting married, my husband was awakened by one of those calls that come at that time of night that you just know can't be good. The way he said "WHAT!?!" still sends chills down my spine. His brother had been shot and was being rushed to shock trauma.
As we spent the next week in the hospital praying and making medical decisions as he clung to life, my cycle started. As my brother-in-law lost his battle and we all grieved the loss of one of the brightest lights in our lives, I didn't think much of it when my cycle dragged on for almost two weeks. After all, we had spent every waking moment in the intensive care unit for the last several days and watched our loved one (who happened to be the same age as me) deteriorate until the doctors could do no more to help him and we had to let him go.
Just as we began to work towards returning to life as we knew it before this tragedy struck, I woke up one night in excruciating pain -- the kind of pain that makes you wonder if you're going to live. I looked over at my sleeping husband and didn't want to wake him. It was around 1 AM, he had to be up at 4:30 and would surely insist on taking me to the ER. I wanted to let him rest. So I went out into the living room and suffered in silence, alone.
I rolled around on the floor. I curled up into fetal position. I climbed the couch. I made it through.
The next morning, I went to work and shared what happened with my girlfriend. All my co-workers encouraged me to go home. They agreed to stop pestering me, but only if I called my doctor and let them know what occurred. So I did.
After describing what happened, my doctor responded, "Can you come in today?" Baffled, I responded "OK, sure."
What's happening to me?
When I arrived at the hospital, my doctor sent me to a different waiting room where I noticed I was surrounded by pregnant women. But none of their pregnancies seemed to be going quite right. My suspicions were confirmed when the young woman beside me was taken to the back and her mother came out five minutes later. I'll never forget hearing her tell someone on the phone, "The baby is stillborn, she's going to have to deliver right now."
I was called to the back and my sonogram began. The tech I got didn't have a good poker face.
I knew something was up but had no idea what.
She called a doctor in to confirm what she was seeing. They pointed at the screen and whispered to each other. The doctor finally included me in the conversation, pointed to the screen and said, "You see all that black area? That's blood. Your abdomen is full of it, we're not even sure how you're conscious right now."
My gynecologist then came in and explained to me that what I thought was a stress-induced extended period was, in fact, an ectopic pregnancy that had been slowly causing internal bleeding. Oh, and that episode last night? It ruptured.
I needed emergency surgery. Right now, that day, right there and then. Turns out, I had gotten pregnant but the fertilized egg never made it through the fallopian tube to the ovaries where a pregnancy is supposed to implant and grow. So as the tiny egg grew inside the equivalent of a string of spaghetti, the tube eventually burst.
So now, I'm a newlywed, enjoying my marriage and looking forward to procreating with my husband in the near future when the doctor told me:
"We are going to have to go in and clear out the blood, remove the ruptured tube, and if there is cause, we may have to remove your entire reproductive system."
To this point I hadn't cried. Hadn't had time to even process any of this. It hadn't even been 24 hours since I was in the living room squirming around on the floor. But this was too much! I lost it. I began to think of how in the world I was going to tell my husband he may have married someone who couldn't give him children.
When I woke up from surgery, the first thing I saw was his face. We embraced and I sobbed. Had they taken it all? Could I still have children? Would I ever be a mother? Turns out, it was the best case scenario. They were able to remove the ruptured tube and leave the remainder of my reproductive organs intact. Praise the Lord.
Can we conceive?
You know how you didn't know how badly you wanted something until it was taken away? Well that loss sent us into full trying-to-get-pregnant mode. But after two long years with no success and what seemed like EVERYONE around us getting pregnant without even trying, we realized something was going on. Selfish as this may sound, I know other moms who have struggled to conceive can relate – it got harder and harder to "act" happy when someone announced to me that they were expecting. Over time my reaction went from genuine excitement to a forced "yay" and wanting to burst into tears with each passing announcement.
I was terrified to find out what was going on with us. But we had to.
My husband was fine, so it was me – shocker. I had one tube, a partially blocked one at that, and Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This causes you to ovulate irregularly, sometimes not at all. Doctors ran tests and saw that I hadn't ovulated in months.
I had plenty of eggs but they would just sit there, never falling to meet their sperm suitors for a date.
So if we COULD have a baby, it wasn't going to be easy.
But I'm a go-getter, so with each new piece of information we received, I tackled the doctors with new questions and demanded options and plans of action. The first step for Adrian and I would be hormone shots. Try to stimulate ovulation to see if the rest could come naturally.
Success! Not so fast…
After our very first round of hormone shots, I successfully ovulated and we conceived, our luck was looking up! But wait, not so fast. Voicemail: "Good afternoon Mrs. Kelly, this is Dr. So-and-So from the Fertility Center. Please give us a call. It seems you may be pregnant but your hCG levels are low and we don't believe the pregnancy is viable."
Well, that took a turn. I went from immense excitement and joy to extreme sadness and confusion in the 10 seconds it took to listen to her message.
So, once again, I gathered my strength to forge onward and called back. They scheduled a DNC to abort the pregnancy and be sure no remnants of the pregnancy were left behind because those can become cancerous if left to linger. Lordt. They do however, schedule it for quite a while later to watch how the pregnancy progresses, just in case.
I continued to go in and have my hormone levels taken weekly. They continue to be off, way off. Too low for the point I'm at in my pregnancy. The DNC remained on the books.
The day came. We went in and prepared ourselves for another loss. The room was dark and cold. The nurse came in and introduced herself, my husband responded, I didn't. I'm trying not to cry. Cold gel hit my stomach, and the sonogram machine was turned on. You could hear a pin drop. Then it happened.
The sound of my son's heartbeat began to reverberate through the room. Like a horse trotting through a field. Like a drum in an African folk song. Just as strong as can be.
Miracles are real. God is real.
The doctor assessed and reassessed me. It's true, the baby had a strong and healthy heartbeat. There would be no DNC that day.
Nine months later, a smart, outgoing, and charming little boy named AJ entered the world.
To all my ladies going through infertility issues, I pray my story doesn't bring you more pain in the midst of your journey. I pray it gives you hope. I pray you find the strength you need to press on and press forward during what I know was one of the most difficult things I've been through.
I know it's hard, I know it feels lonely, I know it feels unfair. I know it gets harder and harder to be happy for people who seem to get pregnant by sneezing, and going to a baby shower feels like torture, that's OK. Know that I understand that, even if it feels like no one else does.
If you want to share about your journey below please do, we'll support you. If you have encouraging words for women going through this, I welcome them. If you want to share your journey with me privately, I'd be honored to listen, just DM me: @YolandeKelly.
This article was originally published on MommiNation.
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