Growing up I always imagined myself with 5 or 6 kids. After we got married I slowly realized it wasn’t going to happen; I had to accept my new reality.
Almost immediately I found out something wasn’t right. We had to come home early from our honeymoon because I was in excruciating pain. I ended up having a ruptured cyst. Two months later I went in for my first surgery. My doctor said I had moderate to severe endometriosis, but shouldn’t have any problems getting pregnant. Sadly, it wasn’t the case.
Intrauterine Insemination (IUI)
Four years, four surgeries, numerous shots, and lots medications later we went to a fertility clinic to start the process of IUI. I prayed we would be blessed with a baby. Our first attempt it didn’t work but tried again, and a miracle happened. In October of 2010, the IUI worked! With the severity of endometriosis and the scar tissue from 4 surgeries, they were amazed it only took two tries. I remember waking up at 4:00 am, the earliest day I could take a test and seeing those two pink lines — the ones I had always wished to see. I woke my husband up with my excitement and then the shock set in.
A couple of months before I got pregnant I was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. So not only did I have pelvic pain but my whole body was in pain. Every joint hurt. It hurt even when my husband hugged me — I was in constant pain. Little did I know being pregnant was the best thing for me. My fibromyalgia went into remission, and I was pain-free. I loved being pregnant, feeling him kick and move around. He got the hiccups all the time, and I enjoyed watching my stomach jump up and down. I couldn’t wait to meet this miracle baby. On July 23, 2011, our son was born, healthy and beautiful as ever. We loved watching him grow and learn. Seeing a baby discover things for the first time is such a fantastic process.
Pain, Procedures, and IVF
When he was six months old, my pain returned. My doctor didn’t think my endometriosis was the problem, but did an ultrasound and found a large cyst. Again, I went in for surgery, and he removed the endometriosis and a tumor the size of a golf ball. Thankfully the tumor was benign, but my endometriosis had come back.
There were more medications, shots, and another surgery the following year found more endometriosis. I kept thinking, when is this going to end?! My body was most happy and healthy when I was pregnant.
When our son was just over two years old, we decided to try and get pregnant again. This time wasn’t as easy. We went through 4 rounds of IUI with no success and decided to move onto IVF. As hard as it was to spend the money on the medication and the whole process of IVF, I was so excited and hopeful to have this work. I started the shots and went in for my first ultrasound to make sure everything was looking good, but it wasn’t. There was fluid trapped in my uterus, and they told me to stop the IVF cycle right away. I was heartbroken. I felt sick to my stomach about the whole thing.
The Decision to Adopt
We prayed to know what we should do. I strongly felt we needed to stop fertility treatments altogether and adopt. My husband didn’t get the same answer. We talked a lot, prayed a lot, and being a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints; we went to the temple a lot.
At one point my husband said I want you to make the decision and I will be on board. I went to the temple and saw a vision of my husband and me with our son and other children of different ethnicities. It was as clear as if they were sitting there with me. I came home and told my husband; we are going to adopt. So we started the process. It was fun, exciting, but very stressful.
After almost a year we hadn’t had any luck with an adoption match, and we decided to take a break. Which was good. I had been in pain every day and had a few discussions with my doctor about having a hysterectomy. He had told me because of my endometriosis I would eventually need to get one. He had hoped it would be after having a few kids. I was tired of living in pain and made the hard decision — now was the time. My doctor was hesitant but said he would do what I wanted.
On July 3, 2014, I had my surgery. After the surgery, the doctor confirmed it had been the right decision. He left one ovary but took the other because it was covered in endometriosis. I felt my decision confirmed, but it was still hard to wrap my head around it.
I remember having my husband wheel me to a common area to watch the fireworks. Every woman around me had a baby in their arms, and I sobbed my eyes out. I had to go back to my room; I couldn’t be around them. Seeing pregnant women from the start of this journey was hard because I still wanted it so badly, but the reality was devastating because I knew I would never bear a child again. Eight months after my surgery I ended up having a complete hysterectomy because the pain continued.
The Change from Sadness and Heartache
While I was recovering, we were given the name of a lawyer who facilitates adoptions with the Marshallese community in Arkansas.
Five weeks after my surgery we sent him our paperwork. He received the last of our file on a Friday, and Saturday evening we received an email saying we had been chosen by an amazing family and the mom was about thirteen weeks along. On August 16, 2015, we were blessed with our sweet daughter. We will be forever grateful for our birth family and the sacrifice they made. They hold a special place in our heart.
I have learned so much through these last ten years. It has definitely not been a walk in the park, and I know many say this, but I can’t imagine life any other way. I have wished it wasn’t this way, but have learned to live with it. Making every day a day to learn, grow, and be happy.
To those who are going through infertility, I would say don’t just go through it, learn from it. I know it’s a lot easier said than done, but it is possible. I have shed more tears then I care to mention, I have not gotten out of bed, and I have been bitter avoiding baby showers. But I’ve also realized this is my journey. I try to ask, what can I learn from it? I have two sweet miracle babies; how do I want them to see me?
I still have rough days, but I wouldn’t be able to go through them without family, friends, and lots of prayers. I know we have a Father in Heaven who is mindful of us. Don’t lose hope; He will provide a way.