Over a month ago I posted that I have a story to share. A version of our story that's not the watered down version for fear of judgment. I drafted this post over a month ago but out of fear, I've spent weeks thinking and praying on whether or not I should begin this series. Dead end after dead end, and struggle after struggle, have led me to believe this is necessary. So with that, I give you part one of many posts to come about our story.
I cannot count the number of times when I was pregnant with quadruplets, and when the babies were very small, that someone came up to me and upon finding out I had quadruplets asked me why I didn't have my own television show. Over and over again, complete strangers approached me as they saw me out and about with the quads and the question I heard the most (besides "are they...") was and continues to be "Quadruplets! Wow! I bet you have a lot of help." Usually, I am able to smile and nod and go on about my business. Because honestly, we've had some pretty amazing friends and even perfect strangers pour out so much love on us unexpectedly. Still, the truth of the matter is, I've basically raised quadruplets by myself for much of the past three years.
I promised you a story. So you're definitely getting a story. The truth is, those people that see me in the supermarket have no idea what my story is like, no idea the battles I have faced, and honestly, no idea what it's like to be stared at and asked a million questions about your personal life by perfect strangers as you're trying to buy groceries with a litter of babies (some people get offended by calling babies a litter and I'm sorry if you do but sometimes, I really do feel like a Mama Kitty carrying my babies around.) When they casually ask me "did you do in-vitro?", I'm certain that either they don't know the sting of a battle with infertility or else they're battling infertility themselves and too afraid to say.
As with any good story, it's probably best to start at the beginning.
Battling Infertility; Where it all began: I can trace my earliest signs of infertility back almost as far as junior high. I was the last girl in my class to get her period and when I did, it was extremely painful and heavy but was never regular. At age 16, I went on birth control pills to help regulate my cycle. They did and I managed to go through the rest of high school, college, and even a few more years living a relatively normal life thanks to my new best friend, the oral birth control pill. However, in 2006/2007, I started having some issues with not having a period even on birth control and later bleeding that wouldn't stop. This eventually turned into some weird cramping pains so I went to see a specialist. It turns out, I was diagnosed with PCOS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). Basically, it means that my hormones are crazy. I do not ovulate regularly, thus I don't have regular periods (I also still have a TON of eggs as a result). On top of that, I was also diagnosed with a dermoid cyst (a collection of cells) on my right ovary that had to be surgically removed, along with part of my ovary. So when my husband and I got married in 2012, we knew there would be issues with ever wanting to have a baby. We decided that my life long dream of becoming a mother was important to us both, so we didn't wait long before seeking help. Near my 34th birthday, I made an appointment with my Ob-Gyn. We tried a round of Clomid (an oral fertility drug commonly used to treat infertility) to see if it would help but because of my age, she didn't want to play around with it and risk wasting any eggs and referred me to a specialist off of I-10 in Houston.
I still clearly remember my first meeting with the fertility doctor. I saw him at a satellite office that was close to home. It was an office that he must have shared with other doctors as there was no decor, no homey feel, and if I'm honest, it felt kind of shady. The doctor was very matter of fact, laid out a million facts to us, and explained the infertility testing process that we'd have to go through before we even knew whether it was something that could be treated or not. I left in tears. I remember feeling defeated. I'd wanted a baby for so long and had watched friend after friend and relative after relative have babies and more babies but my dream, my dream was tied up in some invasive tests that not only I would have to undergo, I'd force my innocent husband to endure as well. Talk about feeling less than feminine. The whole reason behind being designed as a woman and I was failing at it. Let's just say my confidence was more than lacking.
As we sat in the car following the visit, I told Adam that I gave up. I just wasn't meant to be a mother. And I sobbed. From little on, I doted over my baby dolls and I mother henned my baby brother to death. I wanted nothing more that to be a wife and mommy, but those dreams seemed about as far out of my reach as the moon. Still, my very logical husband questioned me "did you listen to what he said, Misty"? In truth, maybe I hadn't. Maybe I only had in my mind what I wanted to hear "you'll be pregnant by XYZ". But I didn't hear that. Instead, this very smart man who'd helped tons of women get pregnant before me, was explaining my body to me and outlining a very detailed step-by-step process we would go through on that journey. I'd missed the opportunity to see just how smart he was because I was more focused on my feelings.
The next week, we went to our first appointments for bloodwork. Over the course of the next two weeks, we'd pretty much lose all shreds of dignity with the invasive tests and procedures we'd both endure. They make machines to do things that I'm pretty sure I'd only dream of hearing about in sci-fi novels.
About three weeks later, with all of the test results in and labwork compiled, Adam and I went for a consult with our doctor. The news was, all of the issues lied with my and my PCOS. I had a 0.5% chance of ever conceiving on my own. Did you see that ZERO? That's about as hopeless as it gets, friends.
To be continued...