You know how sometimes you expect something to be hard, but then come to find out it’s infinitely more difficult than you could have imagined? So far, that’s been my journey to motherhood.
I was 26 when my husband and I decided we were ready to become parents. Without telling anyone at the time, I got off birth control and hoped it wouldn’t be as hard as I imagined it might be. I’ve known since high school that my path to motherhood might be difficult. I suffer from PCOS, the number one cause of infertility in women. It makes having a baby very tricky. However, it wasn’t until we started trying to have a baby that I actually found out what was wrong with me.
I am someone who feels shame or embarrassment easily. I vividly remember sitting down at my first appointment with my doctor at the time to discuss family planning.
“I am pretty sure I am infertile,” were the first words out of my mouth.
Most doctors would probably think, “oh great, another crazy one!” and write it off. But she looked at me with empathy in her eyes and asked why I thought that. I explained my reasons and told her that I just knew in my gut something wasn’t right.
This was the first time I had ever spoken this fear to anyone other than my husband. I used to be a very private person, and at the time, I was too embarrassed to even tell my mom or sister. For a period of several months they ran blood work, performed sonograms and monitored my progress; and it all came back to the diagnosis of PCOS.
If you know about PCOS, you know it can be a scary condition. After a year, my doctor put me on Clomid in hopes that it would kick start my body into working the way it should.
After only two months of taking Clomid something worked; I was pregnant!
But something about it just wasn’t right. I knew from the moment I saw those 2 pink lines, and it wasn’t long until my suspicions were confirmed. I was miscarrying.
The pain from the miscarriage itself and the hope of what could have been, added up to be a heartbreaking time in our lives. This experience led me to seek out a fertility specialist, and I cannot express how thankful I am to have made that decision. So far, it’s been the best one I have made in this journey!
Since seeing a specialist, I’ve learned that PCOS isn’t my only issue. In addition, I have “diminished ovarian reserve” which in layman’s terms, means my ovaries are much older than I am. That’s a way to make a girl feel sexy, huh?
I’ll never forget the day I found out. I had just been in for what I assumed was a routine blood draw a few days before at this new fertility specialist’s office. Unbeknownst to me, however, it was not just routine blood work; they were trying to figure out why exactly having a baby was so hard for us.
I was in my classroom enjoying my luxurious 20-minute lunch break, when I got the call.
“Is this Anna?”
“This is she.”
“Hi Anna this is Susie calling from Dr. Smith’s office. We got your blood results in and they came back abnormal.”
“Abnormal?” I asked. “What does that mean?”
I could hear her voice start to shake as she replied, “You have a very high FSH level. It’s the hormone that tells us how hard your body is working to produce an egg.”
I didn’t even realize they were testing for this let alone know what the heck FSH was. This sweet nurse explained to me that my body has to work extremely hard to produce an egg; an indication that my egg reserve is low, and I don’t have as many as someone my age should.
Women with PCOS typically have a great number of eggs, but those eggs aren’t very high quality. I, however, have a low number of eggs, and the eggs I do have still aren’t very high quality.
Fast forward many more months and several rounds of fertility treatments, and we haven’t had much luck.
While my medical journey has been frustrating and disappointing, my spiritual journey has been rich and beautiful. During these past 2 and a half years, the Lord has led my husband and me ever so gently through this valley. He has carried us through every negative test, every nerve-wracking call from nurses, and every delivery of bleak news.
He has taught me that hope is the only thing stronger than fear. I have no idea what our future holds or how the Lord plans for us to grow our family, but I do know that He certainly has a plan, and regardless of how our children come to us, they are already His.
I also know that one day I will see my baby, that sweet child I carried for such a short time, and find out if they were a boy or a girl; and on that day I will rejoice in the fact that he/she never felt pain.
My prayer is that as you follow through this journey with me, you, too, will come to know that regardless of the outcome, God is STILL good!