Once you cross the bridge into the world of infertility you can never go back. It is almost as if you are marked with the letters IF using a hot brand. Time may pass and the wound may begin to heal. The scar may even start to fade a little but it is always there.
There seems to be this idea out there that once you become a parent whether through medical intervention, adoption, or a miracle pregnancy that your IF memory becomes erased and almost invalid. I have had people question why parts of my story still make me sad now that I have Abby. It is true that I may not think about it as much now or that the sting might not go so deep these days but the reality is the infertility is still a part of my life. It is a part of the journey that led me to Abby. It is a real and devastating loss that I am still grieving. It is a part of me. It has shaped me into the person I am today – both in good and bad ways.
As I laid in bed tonight with all my thoughts swirling about infertility, I laid my hand gently on my lower abdomen and had a realization. The scar upon which I rested my hand made me no longer infertile but sterile. And not two weeks ago but three years ago. I have shared the pain of signing the paperwork before my hysterectomy and have always known since then that i was sterile but never owned it. When people would ask about pregnancy (after all, it is a normal part of life for most women my age), I would make jokes like “only if the doctor accidentally left something behind” or “maybe I’m a starfish and regrow it.”
But tonight as I lay in the dark with my husband asleep next to me and Charlie snoring on the floor, I am owning the fact that I am sterile. No amount of perfect timing or medical invention would allow me to become pregnant and carry a child. As a 29 year old it is a hard pill to swallow especially in the light of my recent surgery. While I knew that a hysterectomy was not a cure for endo, I at least held onto hope that it would resolve most of my pain and I would not find myself in the OR due to endo again.
This last surgery has made me question whether or not a hysterectomy was a good call.
What if I had held out a little longer?
What if we had tried one more treatment?
Could I have gotten pregnant?
While we have pretty good solid hypothesis about the fate of my fertility with my case of Endometriosis, it is nothing but a guess. Educated, yes, but still a guess.
The reality is that I will honestly never know. The title of “sterile” comes with its questions as well as a sense of emptiness that even my immense and irreplaceable love for my daughter cannot fill. I still feel a part of me is missing and it is something that I find difficult to explain in words.
Note: I would not trade my family for anything and would walk the same path 1000 times for Abby. This is just a loss in my story that is very real and one in which I am trying to grieve. I share this in order to be as real as possible about my experience with chronic illness and infertility.