bloggingfaithinfertility

Blogging for Endo Awareness: Infertility

Infertility has been a common thread of this blog as it was the pain of infertility that pushed me to creating this blog. I have shared my broken but blessed road to motherhood.

I have also shared how my hysterectomy made me question and then redefine my womanhood.

Even recently, I have shared how the reality of not just being infertile, but sterile affected me.

Through the last couple years I have shared about how infertility affected me personally but I wanted to share a little more about how it affect my husband and I as a couple. I have always been quick to say to fellow endosisters to not take my story to mean that it will become their story. The truth is 70% of women with endometriosis will be able to achieve pregnancy. You may need a little medical intervention but the statistics are in your favor. I always want to provide that encouragement!

Our infertility journey was two-fold. My body played a role in our infertility as my cycles had gone bananas and I was ovulating really late so it took some charting (and some meds) to get some timing down. It was thought that endometriosis was not the cause of not being able to get pregnant. We also had male issues preventing us from achieving pregnancy. The combo of the two was hard to deal with.

I worried that my body had failed us.

He worried that his body had failed us.

We considered IVF when we were told that would be our only chance of conceiving and spent months trying to figure out the next step to take. Something in our hearts led us to choose adoption. Soon after making the choice to adopt, my pain became unbearable and we scheduled a total hysterectomy. Once the surgery began, we learned that endo had progressed to the point where even if we had chose to do IVF, my body would have never carried the pregnancy to term. My doctor also believed that had we not scheduled the surgery, we would have been doing it on an emergency basis within weeks.

In the end we learned that his body would prevent us from getting pregnant and my body would prevent us from staying pregnant. It was tough to deal with. Even now that we are blessed to have our daughter, there are still days that we question and we grieve. There are still days when a pregnancy announcement stings. There are still days when infertility still haunts.

In our case, some things that helped us move through this was making the choice to go through it together. It may sound pretty simple but we wanted to be sure that we were truly hearing one another to help us grieve as a couple. There were many days when one of us just needed the other to listen and hear how we were feeling without interruption. In our journey, since both of us had fertility issues, it may have been a little easier to process and its what not just one of us with the fertility issues, so if that is the case I would definitely recommend counseling. Something else that helped us heal together (and this was just last year) was being able to participate in a church service based on Loss and Infertility.

 

I think there is a misconception that motherhood erases all the memories of infertility and sometimes I wish that it would but its not the case. I am SO thankful to have the support of friends and family that is always there when I need them!



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Worth It All

This has been a hard week for me in terms of dealing with my infertility struggles. Usually I can keep a pretty good grip on my emotions when friends or family announce their pregnancies as I really am happy for them. I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone so I am happy to see them excited about their new addition on the way.

 

Yet in the midst of the excitement for them, I feel an all to familiar pain in my heart as for a moment my mind flashes back to the negative pregnancy tests, fertility procedures, and finally sobbing in my doctor’s office as we discuss a hysterectomy. For a moment, I acknowledge  that loss and allow myself to grieve. I allow the tears to flow and lift a prayer up to God asking for peace and comfort.

 

It is then that my thoughts turn to my beautiful daughter that I am so incredibly blessed to be called her mommy. It is then that I remember the day we got the phone call and my husband walked into my office with pink roses and announced we had a daughter. It is then I remember how it feels when she hugs me around the neck and says, “I love you Mommy!”

 

It is then that I realize it was worth it all.

My beautiful cowgirl

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Infertle vs Sterile

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.