My journey to (biological) motherhood was anything but text book easy. It took about eight months to get pregnant. Once pregnant, I carried eight pounds of EXTRA amniotic fluid. I had back labor. The epidural didn’t touch my labor pains. And after hours of pushing, I was rushed off for an urgent C-section. I spent the night in the ICU because I wasn’t breathing properly. My firstborn came out blue, and spent his first night in the NICU, and I had to wait until I was released from ICU to truly meet him for a proper introduction a day later. I had to leave the hospital and leave my baby behind.
Welcome to motherhood, it’s not easy.
My son spent 28 days in the NICU, and at day 17 had a surgery to place a feeding tube. We were then sent home with an uncertain future. The didn’t know what he had, but told us he wasn’t doing what “normal” babies do. At age two, he was diagnosed with a neurometabolic issue known as a mitochondrial disorder – Leigh’s Disease. Seven or eight years later, we were trying to get pregnant and it just wasn’t happening. For a year, I didn’t take cold medications when I needed them, didn’t take antibiotics and was eating right and taking my prenatal. Into the second year, we tried fertility drugs for almost a year. Then I had a miscarriage. And maybe a second. I spent time going to symposiums learning about my son’s disorder and had a ton of “unpublished research” that told us it wasn’t a good idea to try and have another and probably why I miscarried thereafter. It was at that time I knew I was probably done trying for biological children.
But our hearts ached for more children.
So we spent time pursuing adoption. And we finally brought home a baby girl through adoption. Somehow I knew this would be the path we were meant to stay on, and adoption was how God was calling us to grow our family.
And suddenly, I was stopped right in my normal daily life tracks. I had never visited and ER for myself before, but in the middle of the night, my body felt like it was being attacked. I had aches in my abdomen that grew increasingly worse over a period of two hours, and it got so bad I could barely even walk or breathe. Luckily the stabbing pains came in waves, leaving me sane and stable enough to answer the nurses and doctors when they asked questions.
For a week they ran tests and diagnostics on me to conclude they needed to do exploratory surgery, along with some scheduled procedures due to my first C-section scarring and adhesions. The second week determined I needed to have an ovary and fallopian tube removed and my uterus as well.
During surgery they had to disect my uterus off other organs, the faulty swollen fluid-filled fallopian tube removed with the one cystic ovary and the other fallopian tube removed as precaution. I would be left with one ovary in hopes we can avoid hormone replacement therapy.
My journey to biological motherhood would be over. Out of necessity and by choice, I would no longer be able to bear children.
Being a woman is HARD.
I suppose this could have been a truly emotionally jarring experience. But having already gone through the adoption process, it was back then I had accepted that our path had already taken a turn and we wouldn’t be going down the road of pregnancy anymore. I had already grieved after the surprise miscarriages and infertility and already welcomed the option of adoption with open arms. I had peace about saying good-bye to biological motherhood. And I’m learning to celebrate what “the other side” of a (partial) hysterectomy will bring me!
- No more periods.
- No more pads and tampons.
- No more monthly cramps, cravings and mood swings.
- No more birth control pills.
- No more pregnancy tests before starting another pack of pills or antibiotics “just in case”.
- No more ovarian cysts to burst on my “cystic” ovary!
- No hormone replacement therapy (we hope) because I got to keep one ovary.
- Reduced risk of female related cancers due to family history.
I could choose to be sad about all this and let the weight of the emotions burden me. But instead I am choosing JOY and the freedom of never having to plan my pill packs and period around swimsuit season, work trips and vacations. I am choosing to be happy to save another 10-20 years of buying these “period support rations.” I am choosing to remain happy because hopefully my mood swings are over! I am choosing to celebrate my new season in motherhood by sending my “lady items” to heaven attached to balloons in thanks of what is no more and what is still promised to be in faith.