When I was just a little thing, I used to think riding on a roller coaster was about the most terrifying experience a person could have, especially considering I’ve always had an irrational fear of heights. Yet, life has taught me that there are things that are more frightening. Experiencing secondary infertility has to be one of the worst.
The Endless Waiting Line
Growing up, I’d always had excruciating pains around that ‘time of the month’. As years passed, the pain grew unbearable. Momma would endlessly chauffeur me to doctor’s appointments only to be told the pains were normal, that they were all in my head; or my personal favorite – as a daughter of Eve it was my sin to bear. No one had any clue as to why it felt like tiny invisible ninja with razor sharp blades were declaring war on the innards of my abdomen.
Going Up the Track
After several years of marriage, I recognized my symptoms while reading an article about Endometriosis in a magazine. I learned that Endometriosis (or ‘Endo’) is a painful condition which occurs when tissue from the endometrial lining is present outside the womb. Finally, I had possible answers, and with answers came hope. Hope that I had even the slightest chance of possibly conceiving.
Our physician suggested exploratory surgery, or laparoscopy, in which a fiber optic light and camera would be inserted into my abdomen to assess if Endo was in fact the culprit. They found that not only were my ovaries being strangulated by the invasive Endo, so were the majority of my other organs. An emergency laparotomy (‘laser surgery’) was performed to rid me of adhesions, and a short 12 months later I delivered our precious baby girl.
A miracle had happened, however the ride wasn’t over. My hormones had been all over the place, and I wasn’t adjusting well to the changes of motherhood. I watched my daughter grow from a distance while I lay in debilitating pain as the Endo came back in full force. I was told any chance of having a second child was now impossible. I tried several hormonal therapies, special gluten free diets to help ease pain of digestion, herbal remedies like Blue Cohosh and Dong Quai – but nothing was effective for infertility.
The Sudden Stop
Eventually the emotional rollercoaster ride began to cease, as I learned to cope. I spent years wrongfully blaming myself and my body. I learned to accept the fact that I am infertile, but all wasn’t lost. I still have a wonderful daughter to cherish, and that miracle is enough. If this experience has taught me anything it’s to embrace the ride, fear and all and to appreciate every moment.