‘At 12, my doctor told me I’d still have children, but never went into details. ‘Your doctors never cleaned out your abdomen in surgery.’ I was betrayed.’: Woman shocked by surprise pregnancy after childhood medical issues

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“Ten years ago, while standing outside the student union in the snow, 19-year-old Caleb asked me to be his girlfriend, just six days after we met. Little did I know, this nervous college student, holding my hand and waiting for a reply, was my future husband.

Courtesy of Abbey Grim

He is the love of my life and my best friend. Caleb and I met in a little dorm room in Alumni Hall at Valparaiso University. I sat down in a chair, looked up, and saw him looking back at me, smiling. One week after we met, he asked me to be his girlfriend, a week after that we said I love you, and two years later we were engaged. Anyone who knows us will tell you he and I are absolutely inseparable. We spent our college days doing homework together, eating ice cream and playing board games. Even 10 years later, he is still the first person I want to see every day and fall asleep next to every night. I get butterflies just thinking of him now! As I walked down the aisle towards him at our wedding, I thought about how excited I was to see him be a father… I just wasn’t prepared for how hard it would be.

Kristian Irey Photography
Grace E. Jones Photography

Ever since I was 12, I knew it would be tricky for me to be a mom. I remember laying in the back of my parent’s car, holding my dad’s hand, crying out in pain. As puberty hit, once a month I would experience horrific cramps that left me doubled over and in tears. Doctors thought they were bladder infections and gave me medications and sent me on my way. Things got better after a week, but would return 28 days later when my period started again. After six months of this, my mom finally took me to a specialist who quickly found another diagnosis. Uterine Didelphys. I was born with two uteruses, or more specifically, one uterus that never fully formed and is split into two halves, with two cervixes. A wall formed over one of the openings and was causing extreme acute endometriosis. When they finally did an exploratory surgery on my little body, my abdomen was so filled with blood that, as the operative report stated, ‘there was so much blood in her abdomen, we could not visualize her organs.’ They came out of the operating room and told my terrified mother there was nothing they could do for me and sent us to another specialist to do the repair surgery a few weeks later. This time it worked. I’m now totally pain free every month, but am still left with 2 uterus halves. My doctor optimistically told my 12-year-old self I would be able to still have children, but since I was so young, she never went into details, nor did I think to ask for more information.

Courtesy of Abbey Grim

A little over two years ago, Caleb and I excitedly decided we would start trying for our family, but after six or seven months off birth control, my periods never regulated. They were anywhere between 20 and 55 days apart. Wondering if this was something caused by the didelphys, we consulted my primary doctor who ran blood tests and quickly diagnosed me with Lean PCOS, a hormonal imbalance. But we were assured that with medication and careful ovulation testing, we could still get pregnant, so we continued to try. It was still taking a while, and after 6 months, we began seeking out several OBGYN’s opinions. All four doctors looked at my chart and operative charts, and shook their heads. ‘Your doctors never cleaned out your abdomen in surgery, they just corrected the cause of the endometriosis.’ Each doctor gave us the same diagnosis. I most likely had blocked fallopian tubes from the endometriosis and would need extensive surgery if we ever wanted to get pregnant. I remember feeling incredibly shocked but also betrayed by my childhood doctors. They never prepared me for this, nor did they try to prevent it when I was in surgery – they never thought of my future. Our doctors told us we could keep trying and have Caleb’s fertility tested, but overall suggested surgery was our best shot. We prayed about it; I begged God to not put me through another procedure, but after another few months of trying, Caleb and I decided to trust our doctors and set a surgery date.

Mackenzie Hope Photography

We sat in our doctor’s office waiting for our pre-op appointment, two days before the surgery. As Dr. Jones called us back, and began to look at our charts, she had a puzzled look on her face. Caleb’s test results came back. They weren’t good: low sperm motility and volume. He looked at me with tears in his eyes, then to our doctor, and asked her what we should do next. She nodded and explained that our best chances to get pregnant were within three months of the surgery, so we should postpone the procedure and get Caleb figured out first, no guarantees. She set him up with an appointment with a specialist, and told us to call her once we had more answers.

We went out to the car and cried and prayed together. We were so exhausted, crushed. Another road block – yet another thing keeping us from growing our family. I remember finally allowing myself to feel angry with God. I kept asking Caleb why God, who was supposed to be so good, was putting us through all of this. My sweet Caleb simply squeezed my hand and told me we would understand someday.

Four days later, Caleb left for work, and as I woke up, I had a feeling… more of a push… to take a pregnancy test. It was still too early to take one in my cycle, but it was gnawing at me. Five minutes later, I stood in our little bedroom, staring at two pink lines on the test strip. I laughed, then felt like I couldn’t breathe, then slid down against the wall and sobbed. After re-testing two more times and getting two more positives, I ran downstairs and called Dr. Jones to make an appointment to confirm the pregnancy. Her receptionist sounded confused. ‘You already have an appointment scheduled for today. Looks like it’s your post-operation check. How did the surgery go?’ Chills went down my spine as I asked her to keep the appointment, but change the description to ‘pregnancy confirmation.’

Once I hung up, I immediately texted Caleb at school (he is a high school math teacher) and told him I needed him to come home immediately, pretending to be sick. While I waited for him to drive home, I hung a little banner in our kitchen that read ‘We’re Pregnant!,’ set up a camera to catch his reaction, and waited for him to walk in.

Courtesy of Abbey Grim

We both held each other and cried for what felt like hours, before going to our shocked doctor’s office together, and leaving with good news for the first time in years. We were officially pregnant!

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FULL VIDEO VERSION IN STORY HIGHLIGHTS! SOUND UP!👂 We were told by 4 different doctors that we would need extensive surgeries in order to grow our family. We had SO many road blocks. PCOS, Endometriosis, Uterine Didelphys, Slow Swimmers- you name it. A few months ago, Caleb and I sat in the doctor's office for my pre-op appointment, my surgery scheduled for 2 days later, when our doctor read us some unfavorable test results and told us we needed to post pone the surgery until they were straightened out. We went out to the car and cried and prayed together. We were so exhausted, crushed. Another road block- yet another thing keeping us from growing our family. I remember being really angry with God- I kept asking Caleb why God, who was supposed to be so good, was putting us through all of this. My sweet Caleb simply squeezed my hand and told me we would understand someday. We set an appointment with the specialist our doctor referred us to, but before we could even get to the appointment, in fact, the DAY OF what should have been my post-op appointment, we discovered God had other plans 🙂 No surgery. No testing. No more tears. In fact, had those test results came back normal, the way we had hoped & felt we somehow deserved, and had we went through with the surgery, I would not be sharing this post today! I can't believe I'm typing this! But we are expecting a new little Grim late October, early November. ❤ THANK YOU to EVERYONE for all your prayers through all this! Please share this for anyone who may need hope who may be going through what we did- not only through infertility (I'm a HUGE advocate for speaking out and supporting each other, especially when it comes to PCOS, Endometriosis, and other infertility problems), but also in waiting and trusting through all the “nos” and “somedays” ❤️ We definitely STILL need allllll the prayers- we are still considered a high-risk pregnancy and have been told we'll be lucky to make it to 34 weeks- and it might be a little dangerous for me- but God has done greater things than this for us this year, so we have high hopes ❤ #TheBabyGrim

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I don’t know if it is because of my horrible past, but early in our pregnancy, I kept waiting for the other shoe to drop. I would lay in bed worrying myself sick about losing our little miracle baby. Each ultrasound I waited for the doctor to tell us something was wrong. But Caleb never wavered. He always held my hand and reminded me how much God has already prepared for us. He made a list of reasons why ‘God’s plan is bigger than ours’ and hung it on our refrigerator for me to see every day.

Courtesy of Abbey Grim

We are still considered high-risk because of my uterine didelphys. The baby has half the space for the baby to grow in; but we have been told it shouldn’t be any more risky than a healthy woman carrying twins. In fact, our maternal fetal doctor told us our baby is one of the strongest she’s seen in a really long time. God gave us a fighter, and we plan to keep on fighting for our little one!

Courtesy of Abbey Grim

It’s funny how we had this idea in our heads of how things should have gone – but God was always one step ahead of us. In fact, if Caleb’s test results had come back normal, the way we hoped and felt we deserved, and had we gone through with the surgery, I would not be sharing this story today – and I don’t plan to stop sharing our story. When we were struggling, I would constantly look up stories of women who had my condition, searching for a little hope that it was possible to have a family someday, and stories like these honestly kept me going. The biggest thing I have found is that infertility is something so many women are shy to talk about, but there are SO many of us out there who could simply use the hope.”

Courtesy of Abbey Grim

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Abbey Grim of Valparaiso, Indiana. You can follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here, and be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories.

Read more beautiful stories of families overcoming infertility:

‘I think I’m pregnant!’ He asked, ‘Why on earth would you think that?’ I laughed. ‘I have a positive test in my hand.’ ‘How accurate are they?’ ‘I have no clue! I have never gotten a positive before.’

‘I held my baby girl in my arms, staring in awe at my exhausted sister. She had just given birth to my daughter, and I was completely overwhelmed.’

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