After what has seemed like an eternity of having unexplained infertility, I am kind of relieved to have finally been given some solid clues as to what might be going on with my defective reproductive system.
My husband and I got married in 2008, and stopped using birth control in 2010. I felt like God was convicting me of my usage of birth control, and although I didn’t quite understand why He didn’t want me using it – I threw it out.
I thought for sure, after getting rid of my contraceptives, that I would get pregnant right away. At that time, I wanted to get pregnant and was open to it – but was also deathly afraid of what a child would mean for our finances and our (then) struggling marriage. Still, I knew that God had spoken to me about ditching the birth control – so I did it, thinking that I’d probably get pregnant soon and was eager to see how God would provide for us in the event that we had a child.
I have always wanted children – both biological and adopted. And I have, from the time I was 7 years old, felt a call to motherhood on my life. But it was during my first year off of birth control that my desire for motherhood grew exponentially. One month, I was two weeks late for my period and had convinced myself that I was pregnant. I waited as long as possible to test for pregnancy and was absolutely devastated when the test read negative. My first BFN (of many). I cried in a way that is totally out of character for me, and it hit me that my lifelong desire to become a mother had reached heights that I had not known were possible. We continued to spend the rest of 2010 and 2011 not trying and not preventing. And every month, my hopes were crushed at the beginning of each new cycle.
In 2012, my husband and I finally agreed to begin trying. Our marriage, at this point, had grown very strong and he felt ready to do more than just “not prevent.” This was music to my ears. Perhaps, I thought, the reason we haven’t become pregnant yet is because our marriage was weak and we weren’t on the same page.
I naively believed that I would be holding a baby in my arms within the year. I began reading everything I could find on getting pregnant. I joined TTC (trying to concieve)websites, bought prenatal vitamins, and started charting my basal body temperature to pinpoint ovulation. And again, each month was a failed attempt. Failure after failure after failure, as the months grew into years.
It didn’t help that I studied children in school and was working with children each day for a living. Over the years, my prayers went from “Please God, let me get pregnant this time!” to “Okay God, let me get pregnant, but help me to still be grateful even if I’m not pregnant this time,” to “God, help me learn to deal appropriately with childlessness,” and finally to “Whatever you want God, let it be and help me to accept it.”
I finally accepted the possibility of infertility, and went to a doctor in 2013. She was incredibly rude. She brushed off everything I had to say, rushed me through the consultation, and shooed me out of her office with the advice to “just keep trying.” I didn’t have the guts to see another doctor until early 2014. She was a bit more helpful. She ran two blood tests and ordered an HSG (hysterosalpignogram), but in the end she diagnosed me with unexplained infertility and said there was nothing more she could do for me but send me to a fertility treatment center for IUI or IVF.
I wasn’t ready to give up on the idea that I should be able to get pregnant naturally, and I happened to meet some women who told me about NaPro – a system that I could use to find the underlying cause of my infertility. I looked it up and found a Fertility Care Practitioner who helped me learn a new method of charting and of fertility awareness. It is through this program that I have finally been given what seems to be the reason for my infertility – endometriosis.
Endometriosis is a condition in which the endometrial lining that normally grows inside of the uterus begins to grow outside of the uterus. I don’t have an official diagnosis, because that can only be made through a laparoscopy, but during a recent physical exam, my NaPro physician said that she felt what is likely endometriosis in my pelvic area.
On one hand, it’s bad news. I don’t know how severe it is, it’s a disease that can only be managed – never cured, and more than likely I will need surgery to remove whatever tissue build up is going on in my abdominopelvic cavity. On the other hand, it’s good news. It means there’s something to fix. It also explains other unresolved health problems that I have had for years, and for which I have not been able to pinpoint a cause.
Honestly, I entered 2015 in low spirits. For the past (nearly) 5 years I have waited, and hoped, and prayed to (what has often seemed like) a wall. I have watched friends get married after me and grow their families before me. I have started my period while at baby showers. I have received convincing – but false – prophecies about getting pregnant. I have watched friends’ babies grow. I have gone to work as a preschool teacher, day in and day out, with smiles on my face and welts on my heart from the emotional beatings I’ve been taking these past 5 years. I had begun planning a life without biological children.
So, though it may seem like bad news – this potential of having endometriosis gives me so much hope. I feel like we have made some progress toward expanding our biological family.
My next appointment is in February. And I don’t know what will happen from here on out, but I am just so grateful to God that I finally have something to work on.
Perhaps I will actually get a turn to love my own child.