Tomorrow I have a consultation with a doctor to have a tubal ligation.
I never thought in my life I would be actively ending my fertility. But let me start from the beginning, you need some perspective on my story.
My youngest brother was born when I was 8 years old. Despite all my entreaties to The Almighty for a sister, he gave me a 3rd brother. All my protests died on my lips when my beautiful Joshua was placed in my arms; from that moment on I became his second mother. I played with him, I cuddled him and whined when my mother took him from me to nurse him. He was my baby after all! I knew from the age of 8 that I wanted to be a mother. Little did I know it would be another 27 years before my wishes came true.
I met my husband in 1998. We became engaged in March of 2000 (I asked him) and we were married in May of 2001. We immediately started trying to get pregnant. I had it all planned out in my head, pregnant by September and I would present my parents with their 1st grandchild. I imagined how my family would be over the moon. We hadn’t had a new baby in our family in quite some time. My parents were just itching to become grandparents. It would all be so very perfect.
Nothing. Month after month, nothing. I didn’t give up hope. My mother told me it took her a few months to get pregnant with me, don’t stress out it.
At my annual ‘oil change’ (i.e. yearly gyno appointment) my doctor had been reviewing my complaining symptoms and lack of pregnancy with a diagnosis. Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The leading cause of infertility. My heart sank. I had a nagging fear of infertility for a long time. I remember thinking ‘Oh God I would just die if I could have kids’ Now my worst fears might possibly be real. Before I could panic, my doctor sent me to a specialist. The fertility specialist would help me get pregnant, I thought, they are experts. And besides, my family had no history of fertility problems. My mom gave birth to four fat healthy kids after all.
Fast forward six rounds of Clomid and three rounds of IV injectable drugs (and a husband who tested with a tremendously high sperm count) I still wasn’t pregnant. I was told at the pharmacy that my lifetime allowance for fertility drugs had been reached and if I wanted to continue it would be $1500 a month. I can honestly say I don’t remember walking back to work. I felt like my heart had been shattered into a million pieces. If fertility drugs couldn’t get me pregnant…… my hope was low. I cried for months.
Over the next few years, my brothers and their wives began to produce offspring. My oldest niece (and my parents 1st grandchild) was born in April of 2004. Despite my own struggles, I happily and joyful greeted each new baby with a happy heart. I couldn’t begrudge my brothers the joy of parenthood just because I couldn’t get pregnant.
Near the end of 2007 my doctor suggested that I could try losing weight to help with my fertility. PCOS causes weight gain and I had gained weight since marrying my husband. It could hurt anyway. So I joined a gym, started doing South Beach Diet and waited for my youngest brother Joshua and his wife to have their 1st baby. April 2008 gave me my first nephew ‘lil’ Josh. I was relatively happy at this point. I was losing weight, I had my friends, and family, I had a good husband. I had slowly start to accept that parenthood was not in the cards for me. I took immense joy in my godchildren, my nieces and now nephew. I was getting a grip.
Christmas 2008 was a bear. I was getting the flu and felt like garbage. I knew me and my husband would have to ‘do the rounds’ and I was dragging ass bad. I just wanted to sleep. But little did I know, I wasn’t really sick.
I was pregnant. I was finally pregnant!!!
Needless to say, there was never a better Christmas then 2008. I rung in the new year with pure unadulterated joy.
I’ll give you the short short version of the next 6 months. My father died in April of 2009 and my daughter was born 9 weeks early in June due to preeclampsia which had a ‘Stroke Team’ standing by during my delivery.
New Years 2009 I had a baby in my arms and my father in the ground. Needless to say, I had quite the struggle with mixed emotions.
And despite all of this, my greatest wish came true. At long last I was a mother. The thing I had prayed, cried and begged for was mine at last. All the heartache my husband endured with me, never once reproaching me for my lack of fertility, was ours at last. Our daughter was beautiful and perfect.
In the 4 and a half years since my daughter’s birth, I have not gotten pregnant again. I have done nothing to prevent it or actively tried to get pregnant. My reasoning was that if I was blessed with another child, so be it. If not, I wouldn’t ‘look a gift horse in the mouth’
Now as I approach 40, the dangers of getting pregnant now are paramount in my mind. I had a harrowing experience the 1st time around, did I really want to try again and be 5 years older doing it? The answer is no. I was given a beautiful daughter in reward for my years of struggle and she is enough.
But it seems so bittersweet to truly put an end to my fertility when for years my goal was to have a child. When I started on this journey, I wanted three children, two boys and a girl. By the end, I just wanted one healthy child and I got her. This is the hand I was dealt and I’m happy. But I guess there is just a tiny pang of longing for the son I will never have, the second daughter that might have been. But it’s time to put that struggle to an end.
Thank you, my fertility, for giving me enough in her.