Overcoming Infertility: A Personal Story
Since I was a young girl, I dreamed of my future: finishing college, getting married, starting a family. I wanted it all—the husband, the kids, and the white picket fence. Even when I was newly wed at age 22, having a baby was only a question of “when” and never of “if.” But at 25, a diagnosis of endometriosis turned my world and all my plans upside down.
Since my early teens I had endured excruciatingly painful periods and never quite believed each physician as he or she explained that many women have cramps; try a hot water bottle, take an Advil, and call me in the morning. Instinct told me it was something more, but I didn’t know what that something was until I had a laparoscopy to treat painful ovarian cysts. My doctor discovered endometriosis during my surgery and promptly told my husband, waiting in the post-op area, that if we wanted children we had “better start now.” The time had come, but we had no idea what was in store for us. My diagnosis was merely the beginning of an invisible disorder and the cruel experience of infertility.
We didn’t know about the infertility right away. We were so excited about beginning our family. I loved imagining how it would feel to be pregnant, to break the news to my husband and family, to watch my belly grow, to feel my baby kick. Yet month after month, the periods came, and the plethora of pregnancy tests were all negative. After years of trying not to get pregnant, sex was now a chore instead of something enjoyable.
The treatment began—pills, shots, sonograms to see if I was ovulating—and my body began to pay the price. I gained weight, and my face broke out. My ovaries produced large cysts so painful that I had to quit my step aerobics class because it hurt too much. Yet the physical stress was minimal compared to the emotional suffering. I often found myself crying uncontrollably, angry with myself, God, my husband, and anybody who said, “Just relax. You’re young. You have plenty of time.” How could they know the devastation—the failure—in knowing my body could not do something as natural as conceive? I believed I was a faulty woman. And I hated living with the continuous cycles of hope, failure, and trying again; the weeks of waiting were agonizing.
I did find some comfort in knowledge. I read everything I could get my hands on about conception, infertility, ovarian cysts, and endometriosis. I sought solace online from other women desperately trying to become pregnant. We followed one another’s cycles and waited hopefully (and impatiently) as each friend neared her monthly moment of truth. We dared to ask one another, “Do you feel a little nauseous? Are your breasts tender? Do you think this could be it?” Many times we cried together as the tests failed to show that plus sign, that blue line, that tell-tale pink circle. A few times we rejoiced when one in the bunch finally conceived. Happiness mixed with jealousy and renewed frustration. “Why not me this time?”
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