Three years into our marriage after we had checked off many of the items from our list of “Goals to Achieve Before Beginning a family” we decided that it was time to dig in. We had just experienced a life changing experience and wanted to celebrate the gift of life that we now knew to cherish. I was in a bad car accident I was stopped at a stop sign in the passenger seat of my mother’s car, on the way to her birthday celebration. I had taken off my seat belt to pass around the take out we had just stopped to get and we were rear ended by someone speeding down Lyndale Ave, never even breaking. Without the seatbelt to hold me in my face went through the windshield of the car. 9 ½ hours of reconstructive surgery later, I had a stroke in the recovery room. No one could figure out if it was the swelling from the bleeding causing pressure on my brain. It was the first in a line of medical oddities that wouldn’t be solved for years. What we knew now was that I needed to heal from the reconstruction and then diagnose the underlying cause of the stroke. Recovering from the reconstruction involved 6 months of a liquid diet, a year of painful physical therapy and a deeper need to understand why this had happened. As I slowly dealt with and healed from the facial reconstruction, we began to see how blessed our life was and decided that is was time to embrace the opportunity to have children. A year into my healing we still hadn’t found success and sought out help from a physician specializing in infertility. Looking back now I realize that first day meeting Cheryl, would change our lives, and hers, in more ways that we could even comprehend at this time.
For anyone who has traveled down the road of infertility, they are aware of the frustration, anger, sadness, and desperation that you experiences as month after month passes without success. While we watched many friends and family members successfully have children, you feel torn by your happiness for their success and your confusion of why you aren’t achieving, what seems so easy for so many others. During the 3 years that we were trying to have a baby I was also serving on the Child Abuse Council for our county and was daily watching the horror of families who were striking out in anger at their beautiful children. Embracing the violence of a violent society and not appreciating the precious gift that they were raising each day. Watching these little lives being forgotten and abused, made our inability to have babies seem all the more painful and damaging. A year and a half into our battle with infertility we decided to complete a long stream of tests to help better understand the origin of the problem. The tests were slow, painful, embarrassing and often inconclusive. We tried to see the light side and laugh about the crazy things they want you to do; between taking your temperature, changing your choice of underwear, to scheduling your intercourse. We found it ironic that after aggressively trying not to get pregnant in the early years of our marriage we now come to find out that it was all for naught. We could have been willy nilly and would never have needed to worry. Hindsight, is often ironic like that. When the tests were completed in mid-December of that year, just as the holidays we keying up, a time of family, hope and child-like wonder. We sat in a doctor’s office to learn: I had massive scar tissue in my uterus because of extreme endometritis coupled with the fact that I was not ovulating routinely..we would never have children of our own. Oh and by the way..I needed to have a surgery to attempt to clear away some of the scar tissue to open up the blocked tubes that were found on my hysterosalpingiogram. Merry Christmas! We were devastated. After so many years of trying, false hope and failure, in the season of birth and joy we learned that we would never have children of our own. That Christmas was a time of utter sorrow and anger for us.
As the new year began we scheduled my surgery and set up the necessary pre-op physical. I will never forget the day of my pre-op physical Todd had come to the appointment with me, as he had for most of my doctor’s visits in the 3 long years. As the nurse was preparing routine tests for me, she explained that one of the things they must do is have me complete a urine pregnancy test, to make sure I wasn’t pregnant. I began to cry, thinking how horribly ironic. I told her..that we had recently learned that there was no way that I could be pregnant. But she said that they must follow protocol, so I peed in the cup, crying the entire time. I was so grateful that Todd was there in the room waiting to hold me so I wouldn’t feel alone. The next morning we got a call from our OB. We needed to come in for more tests, today if possible. Back we went on our lunch breaks and were brought back into a clinic room where Cheryl was waiting for us. “Please don’t get too excited, but you urine came back very faint..but is appears that you might be pregnant!” Todd and I sat in stunned silence. “But I thought that couldn’t happen!” “What do you mean?” We both shouted out at the same time. “Be patient, we need to confirm, don’t get too excited, it might be wrong,” all came rushing back at us. They would draw blood today and then again in 24 hours to determine if I was truly pregnant and if the pregnancy was maintaining. At that time in our lives those 2 days were the longest we had ever gone through. Wondering, waiting, hoping but trying not to get our hopes up. Talking, planning, dreaming and then crying in sorrow that there might not be a baby, possibly never. I was nauseated all of the time. I believe it was stress but dreamed it was a sign of hope. Hope is a scary thing, when it is a small light in a world of darkness you worry that by clinging to it your need will snuff it out. You try to look away from the light. You hate the light, but need it with all of your heart. Hope is the only thing that can bring light back into your world.
Together we returned the call to our doctor after two days of holding each other through sleepless nights, and two days of going through the motions at work, hoping that you were not wearing your emotions on your sleeve. We listened to our doctor say the two words that would forever change our lives: “Your Pregnant!”