By Amy McCollom
For 11 years I didn’t know if I would become a mom. I wanted to so badly, but my body just wasn’t normal. Of course, nothing has really been normal in my life, so, I don’t know why I expected motherhood to be any different.
While others around me were popping up, and out, with bursting bellies and bouncing babies, my cradle stayed empty. Month after month I did everything right, and hoped and prayed, but nothing happened. So I went to see a doctor.
Maybe my ovaries just needed a boost, they said. So I was given five tiny white pills called Clomid, one a day for five days. Like magic beans, I was hoping I had found the miracle cure. Then when the month was complete, nada.
The doctor increased those magic pills to two per day, then three, four, five, six, even seven per day. Still nothing happened. Months had gone by. They said I was one of those rare people that Clomid didn’t work for; of course I was.
I’ll say it. Infertility sucks! It wasn’t John’s fault, it was all me. They finally had figured out my problem, and it had a name. Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) My ovaries grew these little cysts instead of eggs. So I had some procedures done to see if it would help. Hysterosalpingogram, and ovary drilling. All painful. Nothing helped. So on to the next thing: Pergonal, the big guns.
Pergonal was an injectable fertility drug that worked directly on the ovary to stimulate egg maturity, and boy did it! I hyperstimulated! Instead of two to four eggs like normally was expected, I developed 15-30 eggs, but not all of them became mature. That isn’t good, because my ovaries grew in size too. If they got too big, they could rupture. It was a dangerous situation, life-threatening, actually. Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, as they called it, was a rarity with this drug. Imagine that, me have a rare side-effect. They had to be careful with me. I did several rounds of Pergonal with moderate luck, followed by miscarriages. My ovaries grew to the size of volleyballs at one point and I was hospitalized.
I got so used to needles, and so did John, as he had to do all of the injections in my hip muscle, he should have gotten a certificate of some kind. Pergonal, Lupron, Progesterone, Lovenox, Insulin, IM and sub-cu.
But month after month, cycle after cycle for two years, we either didn’t get pregnant, or we miscarried early. It was a roller coaster and heart-wrenching. We would get our hopes up every time, but after the seventh miscarriage, a part of me sort of got a little used to it. Having to bag another miscarried fetus for the lab was becoming commonplace, and that should never be something any young married lady should have to do. I was always afraid to go to the bathroom; what would I find this time? It was wearing on us both.
Why couldn’t it be just a nice surprise for me like other friends I knew. A missed period, and suddenly, surprise! We’re having a baby! Then the planning, the baby showers, the nursery, the joy. No. Not for us. We obsessed over every day of my cycle. What can we do differently this time? What did we do wrong last time? I wanted to dedicate my entire life to just this one thing; getting us pregnant. But life went on. Work happened. Days passed. Neighbors brought home newborns and posted signs in their yards across the street. I closed the curtains.
Polycystic Ovarian Disease or Syndrome (PCOS) is more commonly known and talked about now. There is still no cure for it, but at least it is understood better, along with the other health risk factors that go along with it like diabetes.
After exhausting all of our medical options, we sought adoption. Let me just say, the road to adoption had as many pitfalls and broken heart moments as did the medical failures. Birth mothers change their minds at the last moment. Even when we were on our way to pick up the baby. Adoptions fall through when you don’t follow the proper channels, so get the papers all signed first. We had a little two year old in our home for three months, then taken back because we followed our hearts, not our heads. It’s a long road, but we did become a family with three beautiful children from adoption. I wouldn’t trade them for anything! But I still had that nagging feeling of wanting a child of my own. So…
Finally, years and a long story and eight miscarriages later, I was finally able to carry Marcus almost to term with the use of Pergonal one more time. Years later, against my doctor’s better judgment, we did Invitro Fertilization and were blessed with three more beautiful children. My wonderful seven children are a true blessing! I have fought tooth and nail for each of them, and always will. They truly are precious, precious gifts to us.
Becoming a mom is not easy for some women. Many of us struggle and suffer a great deal to fulfill that dream and privilege. Do not for one second take your position lightly, for there are tens of thousands of women who would gladly take that baby off of your hands in a heartbeat. Becoming a mom is a gift from God. Be kind to the one in four women who struggle with infertility. They are climbing a mountain that you cannot see. They have wounds that you cannot feel. They have sobbed desperate pleas in the night that you have not heard. Just, be kind.