What It Feels Like To Find Out You May Not Be Able To Have Kids
I didn't know anything was wrong. How could I? I hadn't yet tried for a baby. In fact, that plan wasn't even in the picture until I was married for at least a year, and at this point in time, I'm not even engaged yet.
The whole plan felt like lightyears away, until one day, it just wasn't a plan anymore.
It started out like a regular Thursday.
I had woken up to another morning, with sun rays beaming in through my curtains and my boyfriend's face lodged deep into the pillow, with his morning hair sticking out in every direction.
I had gotten up, gotten dressed and taken 10 minutes to sit outside drinking my morning coffee; I did everything in the exact order I have been doing every day of my life.
The traffic was minimal as I drove into work. I had my radio playing as high as it could go, and for a brief moment, I realized how happy I was.
Everything in my life was going well. My latest article with Elite Daily had received over 17,000 shares. It had been retweeted by a celebrity, and I had received an influx of messages from girls who suffered with negative body image, letting me know how much my article had helped them.
The whole thing had finally given me the confidence I never knew I needed to help me decide writing was the career I wanted. I drove into work, jubilant over the knowledge that this would be the task I would pursue for the rest of my life.
I could help people; I could make a difference. I could finally pursue my passions of conveying my experiences through words.
When I went home that night, I planned on finally editing the latest book I had written; the same one that had been pushed onto the back burner along with life's other mundane tasks.
Not tonight, though. Tonight would be the first night of the rest of my days.
I had gone to the doctor later that day, for a completely different purpose, until I saw in black and white that I had an abnormality in my uterus.
Biocornuate versus septate, it read. Or more so, suggested. What did this mean?
Apparently, according to research, a true bicornuate uterus is generally associated not with miscarriages, but with a higher risk of preterm labor and birth. A septate uterus, on the other hand, does not affect a woman's ability to conceive, but it can impact a pregnancy's outcome.
“We see a higher risk of first and second-trimester pregnancy loss with a septate uterus,” says Beth W. Rackow, M.D., on the website fitpregnancy.com.
Now, my findings were suggestive, which means further diagnostic work was required before I could finalize which one I had. But the notion still affected me.
I remember clenching onto my boyfriend's hand; the man who had talked about having babies with me one day.
We had discussed names and would joke around about how those kids wouldn't stand a chance because they'd be Disney addicts with a compulsory love for comic books, and would definitely wear glasses due to our lack of working eyesight.
We had planned on two of them: a boy and a girl. I had hoped they would look like him, be like him and carry passion for the world around them, just like him.
All I could sense, though, as we headed out toward the car, was the image of birthing a healthy baby disappearing completely. It left me feeling empty. It left me feeling hopeless. It left me feeling scared.
Our car ride home was silent. I kept my head cocked to the passenger side of the window, watching the river flow beneath us as we took the bridge back over into the city. I kept thinking to myself, “But everything was so wonderful this morning.”
I woke up this morning, hopeful. After hearing this new information, though, none of that mattered anymore. Not Facebook, not how many new followers I had on Instagram, not Twitter, not words of thanks or even recognition.
All that mattered to me was the realization that all I've ever wanted in life is to be a mother, and the dark cloud hanging over me let me know how hard that may actually be.
The next couple of days weren't easy. My mind kept running through the worst-case scenarios.
I had this image of having two babies within two years of each other. Andrew would look like his father, with big brown eyes and a gorgeous smile, with my strands of brunette curly hair. Maddie would be younger, with blonde hair and adorable dimples that stuck out between her cheeks (the same dimples she'd inherit from her father, of course).
The two of them would race down the steps on Christmas morning, wearing their flannel pajama bottoms because I know I'll be the mom who will find it cute that all four of us will match for our Christmas photos in front of the tree.
Their faces will light up with excitement while their fingers tear apart the wrapping paper, letting it fly across the hardwood floor. My husband and I would sit snuggled next to the couch admiring them; admiring these two people we created, who, at this exact moment, are as happy and as healthy as we had always wanted them to be.
Friday night, and all of a sudden, that image was gone.
Suddenly, the notion of those two kids slipped away. Their faces just began to obliterate from my mind because all I could then think about was how hard it'll be for even one to exist, let alone two.
I thought about the struggle and the heartbreak, and all of a sudden, I went from a woman who thought her timeline was figured out to now understanding she had no idea.
My boyfriend just looked at me, holding strong for the two of us, repeating to me over and over again that God doesn't give us more than we can handle. But to be honest, I didn't want to handle this.
What would happen? Would I need surgery to correct whatever it was I had? Would I need to give myself shots every day to ensure fertility? And what about the emotional toll?
What about discovering I was pregnant only to have it end in miscarriage in the second trimester? How would that feel?
My womb already ached over the loss of something I had never had.
Was I rushing ahead, worrying about something that probably could be corrected, something that probably wasn't even a big deal? I didn't know.
And because I didn't know –- because this news came out of nowhere, crashing into me like a head-on collision — I couldn't help but think the worst. I couldn't help but feel angry, isolated, guilty and terrified.
Every second after reading those results was met with those four exact emotions, simultaneously.
After all, I could be angry. I could be angry my ex-husband has a child of his own since the years after our divorce. I could be angry that he gets what I recently realized I am so desperate for. I could be angry his new wife could conceive easily, while I was stuck in limbo trying to figure out what the hell my options were.
I could feel angry that I felt those options had been taken away from me. I couldn't just decide one day to have a baby, and I could be angry with that fact. I could be angry I have to go through this and my boyfriend has to go through this; that this image of the perfect life just as easily faded away for him as it did for me.
I could feel isolated. I could feel like I am the only woman ever to be worried about her fertility. I could feel so isolated I choose not to talk to my mom about the reality of what my fears really are.
I could feel so isolated that my boyfriend's continued encouragement becomes an annoying attempt at consolation. After all, how could HE know how this feels? How could ANYONE in my life understand how this actually feels?
I could feel guilty. I could feel guilty that this is something I've probably been born with and therefore have no control over. I could feel guilty I never knew what happened to the inside of me, and I could feel guilty that a part of me never really tried to find out.
I could feel guilty that trying to conceive a baby will not be as easy as waking up on a Thursday morning and deciding to give it a go on Thursday night.
I could feel terrified. I could feel terrified I don't know which abnormality I possibly have. I could feel terrified about what kind of treatment is required, how it will feel and what will happen.
I could feel terrified while I sit here and wait — wait patiently to find out what next steps in my future I need to take — and then feel even more terrified about what it'll mean to face them.
And then, I stopped.
I stopped to take a moment to address the anger, the isolation, the guilt and the fear. I had to put it on the back burner. I needed to push it aside, and understand that those fears — those anxious feelings of worry, of terror and of anxiety — weren't getting me anywhere.
They were futile. They were useless.
Some may ask why I chose to post such a personal article. Maybe, for me, it's a little bit therapeutic.
But, mainly, I choose to post this because I know I would want to read this if I were going through the same uncertainty. I would want to know I'm not alone. I would want to know everything is going to be okay, even if the results are not what you're expecting. I would want to know that my fears, however irrational they may be, are validated.
Because the truth of the matter is the concept of having difficulty having kids is terrifying at any age, especially when becoming a mom is the one thing you want most out of life.
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