Four letters changed our lives on March 12, 2013.
It was a damp, snowy day. I pulled into the parking lot of a local fertility specialist’s office. I was so nervous pulling up to the building that I had to take a couple deep breaths as I felt the anxiety pulsing through my veins. My heart was racing. The snow started to collect on my windshield. I pulled up the hood on my coat and ran into the building. The receptionist checked me in after having me fill out numerous forms and disclosures. My hopes were high, and I was just ready to get my exam over with.
I sat down in the waiting room and my heart was racing. I thought it was from running through the parking lot and dodging puddles of slush. But after a few minutes, my heart continued to race. “It’s okay to be nervous,” I said to myself. “It will only be a few minutes and then you can leave.”
I waited … and waited … and waited. The door opened. “Mrs. Hodge,” the nurse said. “Hi, I’m Nancy. Come on back with me.”
She told me to look at the computer screen up on the wall. “See those little black dots?” she asked. “Those are your eggs! And, wow! You’ve got a good amount!”
I started crying. I was elated knowing I had eggs; after not getting pregnant for more than a year, I thought I didn’t have any. At that moment, I figured nothing was wrong with me, and that getting pregnant would be an easy road. I figured the doctor would tell me that Matt and I just didn’t get our timing right to conceive. I had hope in that moment.
And in one moment everything changed. My reproductive endocrinologist Dr. K came in to the dimly lit room. “Have you ever heard of PCOS?” he asked.
Surprised I replied, “I’ve heard of it. Only because I’ve been researching the possibilities why we haven’t gotten pregnant yet and why my periods have been so irregular. I don’t know too much about it, though.”
“PCOS is PolyCystic Ovary Syndrome,” he said, very matter-of-factly. “See what looks like a string of pearls on the screen? Those are your follicles which hold your eggs. But unlike other women, yours are surrounded by tiny cysts. You don’t have the right hormone balance and space in your ovary to produce a mature egg for fertilization. This is why you haven’t gotten pregnant.”
So even though I had seen a “good amount” of eggs on the screen, those eggs weren’t able to grow and mature into a fertilizable egg?! My dreams felt shattered. I had no words in that moment. All I remember is that physically I felt a change, and emotionally, I would never be the same.
“Okay. All done!” Nancy said. She told me to get dressed and come back out.
I sat down in a plush leather chair in Dr. K’s office. I can only imagine the look on my face as he handed me pamphlet after pamphlet, paper after paper. So many words I’d never heard before were being tossed right in front of me that I literally could not comprehend. I was sweating. I was confused. I was almost frozen in my seat. “Do you have any questions?” he asked.
I could only reply with a hushed “Ummmm. No. Not at the moment.”
I walked out of that office and didn’t even pull my hood up to avoid the snow. I got into my car and drove away. A minute or so in, I began crying so deeply that the windows fogged up. I couldn’t see from the tears and the clouded windows and had to pull over. I called Matt at work, and I’ll never forget how sweet his voice was on the other line: “Hi baby!” he said. “How’d it go?”
From there, I only remember wailing like I had never done before. Such raw emotion erupted from deep inside my body that I couldn’t contain. It was like a living nightmare that I knew all too well was reality. Matt kept asking me to breathe and repeat what I was saying; he couldn’t hear anything. “I’m coming home now,” he said.
I could barely breathe. I screamed in emotional pain. It’s really hard to describe, but the way I perceived life all changed.
The past two years have been filled with tumult. I’ve crawled under the covers for hours in tears. I’ve listened to ignorant advice. I’ve felt the eyes of judgment. I’ve been poked and prodded more times in one month than most women ever do in an entire lifetime. I’ve cried, I’ve bled, I’ve been sick, I’ve been fake, I’ve felt undeniable pain and fear.
My infertility story has yet to see an ending. I cannot say my story ended “successfully” with a pregnancy after years of trying. I have yet to say my story is complete. But what I can say with certainty is that in the years I’ve spent wrestling with infertility — I have never had more joy in my life. It seems twisted — unfathomable perhaps — but my infertility has proven to be a gift from the Lord. And I’m honored to share it with you through It’s Positive!
For His glory,