April 16 (Saturday) marks one year to the day that I woke up after excision surgery. All visible disease excised, in remission from the endometriosis growths that had been plaguing my body. I don’t remember much of Thursday, there were a lot of drugs.
I do remember early Friday morning, trying to figure out how to use the bathroom again (it was more difficult than I remember since I was missing a pretty major nerve), and meeting with the surgeon and hearing him say that it was gone. Gone from my pelvic floor. Gone from my uterine walls. Gone from my appendix and intestines. Gone from my abdominal walls. Gone.
Had just signed the papers to be discharged. First endo free, pain free selfie. Some of that is thanks to the drugs.
One year without daily crippling pain. One year being able to function like a “normal” person. One year of not always feeling sick. One year without diseased tissue growing unchecked, wreaking havoc on my organs.
Its been a really great year.
Its been a really hard year, too.
We started trying to conceive, “the good old fashioned way”, for 6 months, with no results. My hormone levels just weren’t regulating. My body still didn’t make progesterone like it should (or at all, in my case). Something that ALL endometriosis patients have in common, by the way. Even so, I was still grateful that the disease wasn’t holding me back any more. I am healthier than I’ve been in a very long time.
This year we started IVF, and I found that OHSS is a whole other circle of hormone hell. We froze two blastocysts. We transferred one.
On April 1st I got a positive pregnancy test (no fooling!). I was suppose to wait for my blood test on April 4th, but let’s be real. I got a positive test on April 2. And April 3. And April 4, my blood work came back with great numbers. Same on April 6th. My migraines have been out of control since Easter weekend, and since we know that HCG (the “pregnancy” hormone) triggers migraines, we figured they were *good* signs, objectively.
Today, on April 18, just a year after the CEC changed my life, our life changed again. We heard a tiny, beautiful beating heart coming from the blastocyst we’d transferred on March 25th. We watched our child flutter on the ultrasound screen, no bigger than a lady bug, and then Doc flipped on the sound. I had to hold my breath so that my ugly-cry snorts wouldn’t distort the sweet sound.
We were going to try to get a video, but then our kid did something AMAZING (showed us a beating heart that it grew in just two weeks) and we got distracted and forgot. Sorry, not sorry.
Today’s ultrasound, measuring 6 weeks, 1 day.
We did that. The Mississippi Fertility Institute did that. The Center for Endometriosis Care in Atlanta did that. God did that.
I do not have adequate vocabulary to describe how we felt, are feeling. Its a weird mix between overwhelming, overflowing joy and oppressing anxiety.
Seriously, what do we do now?
Looking back on the last 4ish years, I see where God started this journey. It was shortly after we got married that my endometriosis came back from my first ablation surgery. I was researching other methods of treatment, when I stumbled across a YouTube video of my surgeon and the founder of the CEC performing an excision surgery, and explaining it. Down the rabbit hole I went. It would be three long years before I scheduled my surgery with them after finding that video, but after seeing it and researching myself, I knew if I had surgery again, it would be with them.
Were it not for Dr. Sinervo and the CEC, we would not have heard our child today. My body would not be capable of supporting and nurturing another life, it couldn’t even support and nurture itself. I cannot do or say enough about this team in Atlanta. This was, hands down, the best decision I have made for my health and well being. I may not have the “natural” fertility that 7 out of 8 have, but they saved what I had, and gave me a shot at being a mother.
Were it not for my team in Jackson, my doctor and two wonderful nurses, the lab staff and phlebotomists, we would not have heard our child today. They listened to me and kept me well while I put my body through and extremely difficult process. They, quite literally, have held this tiny life in their hands, and have given me and this baby everything we need to thrive. They gave me a chance at being a mother.
Were it not for the Author of Life, we would not have heard our child today. There are some things about this process that are completely statistical. It either does or it doesn’t happen, and certain facets are just “chance” and “odds”. God has ordained for me to carry this child for 3 weeks now. I have held my baby for 3 whole weeks. He gave me the heart of a mother, and He is allowing me to carry my own.
One year ago, this seemed like a far fetched dream. We didn’t want to do IVF if we didn’t have to. What a story we have of God’s glory and grace in one year. I cannot imagine looking back on today on April 18th, 2017.
We are so overwhelmed and thankful for everyone’s prayers and encouragement through this process. One in eight women struggle with infertility. That is a significant number. We are more than that number. We are more than 1 in 8. Lift others up, no matter where they are in their journey or what their journey looks like. Our journeys and stories are different, but we all have the heart of a mother, and we’re simply seeking to fulfill the calling.
We are scared, we are overjoyed, we are planning, and we are tired. Well, mostly me with the tired bit. I’m crashing at 8:30 these days. My migraines are running rampant, my stomach feels gross all the time, my back hurts, I’m exhausted, and homonyms are all of the sudden really hard again, but it feels so good to feel so icky.
We are parents. And I am getting to hold my baby. I will give God glory every single day and thank him for this amazing opportunity.
Blessed is she who has believed that the Lord would fulfill his promise to her!
Elizabeth to Mary, Luke 1:45
As a note:
The Lord’s promise that was fulfilled to me is this and only this: That His grace is sufficient for me. The Lord never promised me a child, only that He would be my portion. He is still my portion. May He be glorified.