“‘Fifteen years from now, I see myself married to a nice, romantic, funny man… and down the road I hope to have four kids.’
These are the words of twelve-year-old me. Had someone told me I’d be unmarried, childless, and battling infertility almost twenty years after those words were penned, I don’t think I would have believed them. Throughout my life my career path has changed. Once I wanted to be a ballerina, then an OBGYN, then a veterinarian, and mostly a teacher. But one thing never faltered in my mind—motherhood.
I have wanted to be a mother for as long as I can remember.
Two years ago today, I walked out of my doctor’s office after my six-week post operation checkup. I’d just had emergency surgery to drain a large cyst and remove endometriosis adhesions, my right ovary, and right fallopian tube. Via the findings during surgery and my symptoms, I was diagnosed with Stage 3 Endometriosis. During this appointment, my doctor very seriously discussed the state of my fertility and asked what my plans were. I left that appointment feeling a whirlwind of emotions, but mainly dread over giving my partner the news, terror I had already lost my chance to be a mother, and heartache over the knowledge I was not likely to have a natural pregnancy experience.
I went home that night and I called Will, asking him to come over so we could discuss my appointment. While I waited for him to arrive, my preexisting anxiety took this new information and ran with it. ‘He’s going to leave you,’ it said. ‘What if he doesn’t want to forgo our ‘plan?’ What if he decides to look for a partner without medical problems and a likely battle with infertility? Can I handle something like IVF? Can we? How do we even pay for it?’ The biggest, scariest thought of all repeated over and over again during the thirty minutes it took him to drive over.
‘What if I never become a mother?’
One part of my childhood prediction did come true, though we aren’t quite hitched yet. Will is exactly the person I’d always dreamed of. He’s kind, witty, sweet, and thoughtful. He’s hilarious almost 24 hours a day. This conversation was one of very few times I saw him stripped of all humor. He was as serious as I was, and he listened intently as I relayed the information I’d been given about my body. I told him how it had betrayed me, and us. I told him I was terrified the Endometriosis would take my left ovary as quickly as it had taken my right. I cried and I shook, and he held himself steady and strong, my ship in the storm.
Ever since that day, we have been trying for our miracle. For two years we have been riding this god-awful emotional rollercoaster of a ride. That is twenty-four cycles, twenty-four chances all missed. Twenty-four months of apps and logging information. Twenty-four months of waking up to temp and following a supplement regime. Twenty-four months of planning for intimacy, which takes everything intimate about it away. Twenty-four months of stress and worry about each other and ourselves and our family, and honestly, sometimes fighting each other against this awful situation we’re in. Twenty-four rides up the ascension of hope, crashing to the depths of despair, and plateauing through complete and utter apathy.
Life has a funny way of kicking you when you’re down, and so ironically, I write this today, exactly two years after making the decision together to begin trying for a baby, at cycle day 1. This day is the absolute worst, and I have to relive it over and over again, month after month. I wait, I pray, I hope, and I dare to dream of two tiny pink lines.
Instead I’m met with blood and pain and a belly looking as if it holds a baby, but there are only swollen and diseased organs.
I don’t know where this road is going to take us. I don’t know if we’ll ever conceive successfully. I don’t know if we’ll be able to afford IVF, if I’m strong enough to go through the process, or if it will work. I don’t know if we’ll be able to use a surrogate.
I don’t know anything about what the future has in store for us. But I do know these last two years have been so incredibly painful and scary, and I know that for many others, two years is nothing in comparison to the length of their journeys.
For now, we push forward, and we continue dreaming of the day when it is our time to experience the joys of parenthood together.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Ashley D’Annunzio, 30, of Houston, TX. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.
Read more stories here:
‘TEN years together? And NO BABY?! What are you waiting for?’ We spent our anniversary in a hotel bed, bawling our eyes out.’: Woman battling infertility urges ‘ask how we’re doing, not where the baby is’
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