This is my favorite song. I clung to this song during my darkest hours. When I felt like no one could possibly understand what I was feeling. This song showed me someone did.
Pain and Guilt is where I have drifted in and out of for most of my journey. Not one to quit, I press on with the endless medical tests. I am now in my 30’s and I learn about endometriosis for the first time when a family member is diagnosed with it. I had never heard of this condition before. With all the tests, I thought the doctors were doing everything they could!
When I found out about endometriosis, I immediately began to research. I read everything I could get my hands on. I had every.single.symptom. EVERY ONE. Since it was time for my annual appointment with my OB/GYN, I asked him about it. He told me I did NOT have endometriosis. That my pain was from my colon. And, I was wrong. Period. I ASKED him to do surgery. I learned in my research that the ONLY way to diagnose endo is by doing a laparoscopy. It is impossible to see via scan, ultrasound or ANY other way. He refused and basically told me I was crazy. I was shocked. I left. And found another doctor.
When I met with the new doctor for the first time, I was a nervous wreck. I’d been to so many, that I had no idea what to expect. When I described my symptoms, including years of “undefined infertility” and that I suspected endometriosis, he recommended surgery. I’d never been so relieved in my life.
Not only did I have endo, I had stage 4 endometriosis that has since required a total of 4 abdominal surgeries. But here is the thing. After each surgery, I was told, that for the following months I would have increased fertility. Hopes up!!
So, we would continue to try, and try and try and try and try. For years. We had numerous tests. And the most frustrating part was we never got any answers. Many people with endometriosis conceive. We didn’t and the doctors have never been able to tell us why. We have officially been diagnosed with “undefined infertility”. How’s that for a non-answer?!?
So, we would be told to plan, and schedule and hope. Only to be disappointed. Literally crushed emotionally every single month. Month after month after month, year after year after year. It begins to wear on me. Both emotionally and spiritually.
I began to stop hoping. Stop wishing. Stop praying. I truly could not live with the constant disappointment. And guilt. Then, I got pregnant.
I had suspected for days that I was pregnant. But I was terrified to say it and I was terrified to take a pregnancy test. I had literally taken dozens that had all been negative. I finally shared my thoughts and fears with my loving and supportive husband. And on a Monday morning, took the test. It was positive. A miracle. Wow.
We were elated. We called our parents. And our Pastor. And the doctor, of course. We found out that I was 7 weeks along, due June 11, 2007. I had never been so elated.
Late that night, I began to feel the familiar pain of cramping. At first, I brushed it off, then was concerned. By Tuesday morning, I was in the emergency room, having a miscarriage. There was nothing they could do. I sobbed like I had never cried before. I questioned God that day like I never had before. My grief was as low as it had ever been. Our best friends came, my mom came (from 1000 miles away), my dad, our pastors, but really all I remember is sobbing.
For months, I was a walking zombie. I had no emotion. I had always been a smiling, outgoing, enthusiastic, loud person. Now, nothing. Just . . . . . . . . . . there. I didn’t even realize how dramatic the change was.
For those of you that have never been through this, let me offer you one piece of advice. A miscarriage is a REAL loss. It is life changing loss. It will always be with me. Always. PLEASE be sensitive to that. The Sunday after my miscarriage, I had a woman walk up to me at church. This is what she said to me. “I’m sorry about your miscarriage. You’ll get pregnant again. No worries. I went to the best baby shower a couple months ago where the lady had a miscarriage and got pregnant again right away! It was so great!!!” She then described the baby shower in detail for 10 minutes. Yes, this really happened. Knife to my heart. The LAST thing I wanted to hear about was a BABY SHOWER. Don’t promise something you have no control over. They might conceive again, but that doesn’t undo this loss.
What CAN you do for someone in this situation? In the pain and grief of infertility? Pray. Encourage. Bring flowers. Or, better yet, a meal. For NO reason. Just because. Invite them out to dinner. If you have children, get the grandparents to babysit and take them out for an evening. It’s a very lonely feeling to be the only couple in your circle of friends without children. Trust me.
Don’t ask personal questions about when they are going to have kids, or what they have tried. Don’t give advice on what worked for you, your sister, your neighbor, or your friend’s mother’s cousin. But most important don’t ignore them!! Do ask how they are doing. Do ask how they are feeling and what (if anything) you can do to help. It means so much just to know you care.
Infertility is considered a silent epidemic because no one wants to talk about it. I never wanted to talk about it. But, now that my journey is nearly over, I realize that there are so many other people that are suffering in silence too. And if they aren’t, they know someone who is. And, they want to help, but have no idea how.
Although it does not feel like it at times, I promise this verse is true. Psalm 30:5 “Weeping may last through the night, but joy comes with the morning.”