“After three years of marriage, and over four of dating, my husband and I were ready to start a family. We had traveled and our careers were well established. We were both physically fit, healthy, and confident. With type A personalities, we were used to setting a plan into motion, and seeing positive results quickly. When we got started, we were like two annoying spirit leaders, giving out high-fives and saying, ‘We got this!’ But, for us, getting pregnant wasn’t that easy. I found out that as much as you plan, things don’t happen exactly how and when you want them to.
After a year had passed without a positive pregnancy test, I knew something was wrong. We made a doctor’s appointment. The tests showed I had seven fibroids in my uterus. One ball was the size of a grapefruit and the others were like lemons and limes. I imagined that my stomach contained a basket full of fruit, with a plaid ribbon on the handle. I had been feeling bloated with some mid-cycle bleeding, so the news didn’t come as a big surprise. Fibroids don’t normally cause infertility, but in my case, their specific placement in my uterus made it difficult for his ‘swimmers’ to navigate. We were given a few treatment options and did our research.
A robotic myomectomy was the best treatment for my case. The procedure was a part of a pilot program at the hospital. Most myomectomies were performed laparoscopically by hand, so I signed a waiver to enter the program to receive the surgery via robot. I was nervous, but I knew this was the only way. I wanted children so badly. With a plan in place to remove the obstacles in our path, we were very optimistic that our journey would begin to bear fruit. Thankfully, the surgery was a success and we were hopeful.
Once my body was healed and we were ready to ‘try’ again, we booked a relaxing trip to San Diego. We stayed in a nice hotel by the beach, but kept it casual by ordering a pepperoni pizza for dinner. We ate the greasy slices on the hotel bed and watched a comedy. Earlier that afternoon, there was a wedding ceremony out on the pool deck. It was intimate and romantic, with guitar music playing. A cool ocean breeze lifted the bride’s veil subtlety, like a peaceful flowing waterfall. We watched the ceremony like spies from pool-side lounge chairs under beach towels. It reminded us of our own wedding day not too long ago. Our friends and families gathered similarly in an outdoor ceremony to watch as we committed to a lifelong journey together. That no matter what, in sickness and in health, we would stick by each other’s side. Baby or no babies.
Thankfully, we were blessed with a healthy pregnancy and delivered a healthy baby boy almost exactly nine months later.
Then, we had our second son only eighteen months later. I got pregnant the second time quickly (likely when we were on a trip to Napa for a wedding). I’ve heard that this is common, but comes as a surprise to couples who had infertility complications with their first child. It’s like our bodies are finally primed and ready to go, and in the baby-making mode.
When people ask, ‘How far apart are your boys?’ I tell them their age difference and they say, ‘Oh! You must be busy. At least they will be close!’ Clearly – that’s a true statement. But, sometimes, I wish they would ask me how my body is holding up from the surgery, the back-to-back pregnancies, two C-sections (required for safety due to my surgical history), the countless hours nursing, and the baby weight that won’t come off. I honestly feel like a deflated balloon most of the time. Sometimes I feel like I deserve an award or a hug. When I’m feeling this way, I remind myself they were all important steps in the journey to having the family I always prayed for.
This might be too many personal details but my point is, in my case, getting pregnant took some work. I had to be an advocate for my own health, get a diagnosis, and get treatment. The treatment included some risk. I wondered, ‘What happens if the surgeon slips up causing permanent damage? Would my chance of having kids be ruined forever?’ The reward though, was that it was very precise and removed all the fibroids in our way. Without advances in healthcare, I likely wouldn’t know the joys of motherhood. Like burping my 5-month-old and kissing his soft bald head, or watching my toddler’s face light up with delight when he learned to drive his Little Tykes car forward for the first time.
Although it took a lot of effort to finally get pregnant, there is something to be said that both of my pregnancies happened while we were on a vacation, watching a wedding. Weddings symbolize love, family, and a future together. Maybe it helped set the mood? Also, while we were on vacation, I was relaxed and having fun. I wasn’t focused on the specific goal of having a baby. So, in a way, it happened naturally. I think there’s an optimal balance between taking initiative and control in the journey to motherhood, and in letting go so that it can happen when it’s supposed to. Ultimately, on its own perfect time.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Elizabeth Janczyk of Irvine, California. You can follow her journey on Twitter and Instagram. Submit your own story here and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.
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