I have been fervently praying for this blog and my outreach to those impacted by infertility and I would ask that each of you would pray for guidance for me in what God would wants me to do to help the Hannahs. I have been led to continue to share the next part of my journey and do so in continued hope that it will be the words that someone walking in similar shoes needs to hear.
Last time I stopped with the birth of our daughter Kaitlyn on March 10, 2004. After she was born, Darren and I went through the life-changing adjustment of being parents. It was during the first few weeks of Kaitlyn's life that I was reminded hourly why God gave me Darren as a partner and husband. He was/is an amazing Father. He never stressed when she cried, he didn't seem impacted by the lack of sleep and most of all he was a baby-whisperer and could put her to sleep in an instant. I was a bit more gradual into being comfortable as a mom. Don't get me wrong I truly loved this amazing, beautiful and miracle of a child, but I am a routine person and this was a whole routine for me :-). After the first couple of months, I finally felt comfortable and felt like God had given me a new calling in life of being the best Mom I could be to Kaitlyn. I started staying home with Kaitlyn and I also started watching my niece who was 3 after my sister started teaching again. I really did love every minute of being a mom, I couldn't wait to see all the changes that each day brought and truly tried to cherish each one.
We always planned to have more children, we never questioned it or even really discussed it we just knew we would have more. After having Kaitlyn I found that birth control pills made me feel terrible and I had begun to have a lot of pain every single month during and right after my period. We never really tried to not get pregnant, but when Kaitlyn was about 2 1/2 we started to make it a priority. I went and visited with my doctor, let her know we wanted to have more children and explained that I was concerned because I having pain. She informed me that I should get on birth control pills for a few months and then get off of them and try to get pregnant then. She also told me that because I had one child with my husband there was no reason to believe that we could not have more children. She dismissed my pain as just being regular hormonal issues and nothing more. She said that if we were not able to get pregnant within a year she would discuss further options. I did the birth control, felt miserable for a few months and then got off and started trying to get pregnant again. After a frustrating year of trying to get pregnant and after finding out my gallbladder was not functioning properly, I went back to my doctor. She told me that she didn't see any issues and that she wanted me to make sure to have my gallbladder taken care of before I got pregnant. I was also told by her to start doing temperature tracking, but that things still appeared normal and she did not think anything was hindering me from getting pregnant. I again brought up the continuing and worsening pain and the fact that my sister had endometriosis and said that her pain was very similar to mine. She told me that she did not think that was my problem and was not comfortable pursuing it because she did not believe I had endometriosis.
In October of that same year, I had my gallbladder removed per my doctor's orders and started to try to get pregnant again. I tried to stay relaxed about the whole situation and even though I was doing temperature tracking, I did not obsess or worry about it. This was of course much easier said than done :-). That year, I had friend after friend get pregnant, many after not trying or planning to have any or more children. All the while I watched as I entered my third year of trying to get pregnant and getting very frustrated and feeling that no one, not even my doctor, was listening to my concerns.
In the midst of this year, my amazing, godly, loving Mother ended up in the hospital for three weeks, my marriage went through an extreme crisis and my husband's job was in utter chaos. Darren and I had now begun what we still refer to as some of the darkest years of our lives. After the crisis our marriage went through, we went to an amazing marriage counselor. In one of our many sessions, Darren was discussing his concerns about my health and how I never felt good and had been dealing with unexplained pain for a few years now. Our counselor recommended changing doctors and told me of some good doctors in the area we live. After years of feeling like no one was listening to or caring about my concerns, I finally felt like I had some reassurance that I wasn't crazy and that I needed to listen to my body.
In December of that year, I went to see a new doctor. After my examination I was taken into his office and told that he believed I had many of the symptoms and characteristics of endometriosis, including infertility. He wanted to schedule surgery immediately and then discuss our options based on what he found. In January of 2009, I had my first of many surgeries to come, exploratory laparoscopy with ablation. What my doctor found both terrified me and gave me hope for a future baby. I not only had severe endometriosis, but it had blocked my fallopian tubes and grown on other non-reproductive organs. My doctor was able to remove the endometriosis from one of my tubes, but the other one could not be cleared out without the risk of injury, so we would have to move onto some further treatment options. We could no longer try to get pregnant until we had this taken care in fear of an ectopic pregnancy. The treatments discussed at my follow-up exam from the surgery were fairly grim, but they were options and the doctor assured us that I had a high probability of getting pregnant after we went through further treatment.
I know this has been a lengthy and detailed post and it is a story that I hesitate to share in such detail and only do in hopes that I can help those who are hurting. There are so many stories within this story about God's grace, peace, mercy, hope, provision and love, about friends and family who loved us, supported us and prayed for us. Through these dark years that I wrote about in this post and will write about in my future posts, I have had many people tell both Darren and I that they do not know how we handled things as well as we did. I only have one answer that comes to mind and that answer is we didn't get through it by our own strength, but by God's strength. Even when our faith wavered and we doubted we would ever make it through, He was still there and continues to be there!!