I know that when it comes to infertility anything goes. When you’re dealing with all of the feelings and emotions that come along with it, you never really know what you’re going to get on any given morning when you wake up and realize you’re still NOT pregnant.
When my now husband and I were dating, not long before we got engaged, I vividly remember some of the conversations we had about our future children. He talked about how he couldn’t wait to see me pregnant, and how he knew, with my personality I would come up with the best ways to tell him he was going to be a dad. He was so excited to just have a family. The first year into our marriage when we weren’t pregnant, I was totally ok with that. More than ok with it, actually. We were in our mid 20’s, and enjoying life, just the two of us. We were still getting adjusted to living under one roof and the thought of bringing a child into our lives seemed a bit overwhelming to me. As our first year crept into our second year of marriage I began adjusting to the fact that I was ready for a baby. Two years into our marriage, however, when we still weren’t pregnant I knew something had to be wrong. I just had this feeling, which I can’t explain that something wasn’t right.
I went to my ob/gyn and had all the necessary tests done. I was diagnosed with a few issues that he told me would make it difficult to conceive as well as carry to term –but to not lose hope. He patted me on the hand and with a reassuring voice said “You will be a mom.” He went on to discuss how 1 in 4 cases of infertility are male factor. We discussed having my husband tested as well and my husband and I made a few appointments and waited for more blood work and all of the results to come in. In the meantime I was scheduled for a lap procedure to clear my tubes and check my ovaries. The night before my surgery my doctor called me. He revealed “Erin, I have some news. I need you to know that there are some issues with your husband. You will never conceive.” My heart sank. So many times I remember thinking to myself, if there are problems, please Lord, place that burden on me. I don’t want him to carry that. He blessed us with the acceptance that we both had medical issues that would prevent us from conceiving and I feel so blessed to know that neither of us have ever blamed the other.
Today, seven years later, we are now the parents of, at any given time, up to 4 children. We started the adoption process approximately nine months after we received the news about our infertility. Eight months and three days after our paperwork was finalized we were placed on our agency’s waiting list. We were matched with the most amazing birthmother. We are now the parents to two adopted children and we are also licensed foster parents. We wouldn’t change anything.
Earlier this year I realized how much my infertility was weighing on me, not just emotionally but physically too. The problems I had weren’t getting any easier just because I was getting older. If nothing else I realized I was feeling worse. I was in extreme pain and I had a lot of side effects. Overall my quality of life was deteriorating. After a visit to my ob/gyn I got the necessary information I needed to have a serious conversation with my husband about having a hysterectomy. Just thinking about it was stressful, and going through it seemed overwhelming. It was also very saddening. There simple finality of it all was very overwhelming to me. I didn’t know how to feel about it. I took a long time to think about it, pray about it, talk through everything, and finally six months later I made the decision that a total hysterectomy was my best option. I called my doctor and made a few pre-op appointments. I met with him and he was very supportive and understanding. Never once did he make me second guess myself.
So, in September of this past year I had my hysterectomy, and honestly, looking back it was the best thing I have ever done for myself. I feel so much better. I’m happier and overall my quality of life has improved ten fold. With that said, I do have to admit that it was still a bit of an adjustment. For the last nine years we knew that we would never conceive, but to have that finality and realize any hope that we did have would be taken away was somewhat of a burden to bear. Would I change it though?Absolutely not. Through all of my infertility struggles I realized that I was mourning the loss of the experience, not the loss of children. In truth, I have two children — two beautiful children that we have adopted. I was sad I would never experience pregnancy, and truly nothing more. Once I accepted that, there was a sense of relief. My adoption experiences were my pregnancy. They were stressful, nauseating, difficult at times, and they seemed like they would never end. I imagine that is much like how a pregnancy would feel.
So while I mourned for the uterus I never used, my children grew in my heart and for that I’m forever grateful. I had experiences with our adoptions I never would have had with a typical pregnancy, and to be honest I have accepted the fact that my experiences with having children are my own and I have no regrets for the way things have unfolded for our growing family.