This is my story.

This is infertility.
This is my story.

It’s not one of those stories that have a happy ending. Where after months and months of trying, it just miraculously happened.

It’s a story of pain.
It’s a story of frustration.

Our story starts years ago when we made the decision to adopt.  We wanted our family to start that way.

But here’s the thing about that: people assume things, they judge things.
So many people assumed back then we weren’t able to have kids and we settled for adoption.

Which couldn’t have been further from the truth.

We were intentional about the way our family was formed.
So we ignored those people and continued on with our lives.

I worked hard. 
I was busy.
The kids filled our hearts with love and our home with laughter.

Then we were staring infertility right in the face.
Months turned to years.
The waiting.
The anticipation.

And then the realization that it wasn’t happening.

And the sadness became too much.

You see we were stuck in this infertility trap.
And no one knew.
Those people who had assumed earlier had no idea.
Our families thought we were just focused on our business and our lives.

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But inside we were fighting the silent fight of our lives.

And then came the questions.
Do you ever want your own kids?
Are you just going to have those two?
When are you going to have a baby?

Well meaning questions that accidentally pierced a knife through our hearts.

And we were stuck.
Stuck in this world that we couldn’t even have imagined.
How do we tell people?
How do we grieve this without feeling like our kids still matter? Without still being so grateful for the family we did have?
Does that somehow make our family less?  Our kids not as real?

What do we do now?

And so I avoided.  
I cried tears in silence.
I left family gatherings early.
I excused myself to the bathroom.
And I drowned myself in tears.

But the hardest question of all to answer was our own son’s.

Mama, you think you’ll ever have a baby grow in your belly instead of your heart?

I froze.
I could not think of one thing to say to him.

And so this is our story.
No happy ending.
At least not yet.

I wrote this about six months ago.  I'm sharing not because I want you to feel sad for me.  I share this because I want someone whose feeling this way right now to know that they are not alone.  I share this because it's important to understand our story as we continue to share what our journey with endometriosis has been like.

 

What is Endometriosis?

It’s a chronic illness that affects 1 in 10 women.
The official definition of endometriosis is:

a condition resulting from the appearance of endometrial tissue outside the uterus and causing pelvic pain.

Basically endometrial tissue that should be in the uterus somehow grows outside of it.  Endometriosis most commonly involves your ovaries, fallopian tubes and the tissue lining your pelvis. Endometrial tissue may spread beyond pelvic organs.

This causes extreme pain.
Painful periods.
Pain in between periods.
Pain during intercourse.
Pack in your back, neck, legs.
Pain with bowel movements.

Currently there’s no known cause.
And, there’s no way to diagnose without laparoscopic surgery. {Which I have had, stay tuned for another post where I share about that}

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Mayoclinic.org describes these symptoms of endometriosis.

·       Painful periods (dysmenorrhea). Pelvic pain and cramping may begin before your period and extend several days into your period. You may also have lower back and abdominal pain.

·       Pain with intercourse. Pain during or after sex is common with endometriosis.

·       Pain with bowel movements or urination. You're most likely to experience these symptoms during your period.

·       Excessive bleeding. You may experience occasional heavy periods (menorrhagia) or bleeding between periods (menometrorrhagia).

·       Infertility. Endometriosis is first diagnosed in some women who are seeking treatment for infertility.

·       Other symptoms. You may also experience fatigue, diarrhea, constipation, bloating or nausea, especially during menstrual periods.

{https://www.mayoclinic.org/diseases-conditions/endometriosis/symptoms-causes/syc-20354656}

Some women experience so much pain that they are unable to perform daily tasks several days a cycle.  

For years I have struggled with knee, hip and back pain.  I’ve done years of testing to find the answer.  I spent my high school years not able to participate in sports.  No one could figure it out.  Until I struggled with infertility.  And then suddenly it all made sense.

There is not enough research done on this chronic illness.
Doctors do not know enough about it to diagnose it properly or even consider it as a culprit.

My family doctor told me that endometriosis has no correlation to fertility.

I think back to those years that I suffered in extreme pain. 
I was told that I had

·     Osteoarthritis
·     Arthritis
·     Patella Femora Syndrome
·     Bad cartilage
·     Misaligned hips
·     Poor arches in my feet

If only someone thought to ask more questions about my periods.

While I'll never know for sure if all of my pain is a direct result of endometriosis.  I truly believe that there is a strong correlation between my pain and my endometriosis diagnosis.

If this blog can help one girl not walk the same path that I did.
If this blog can help one women have some answers.
If this blog can offer comfort to one couple walking the same road we did.

It’s an uncomfortable subject I know.

But it’s time to shine a light on endometriosis and it’s effects on women.

It’s time for doctors to educate themselves on the illness.
It’s time to find a better way to diagnose it.
It’s time to find a way to alleviate the pain.

It’s time.

{PSA: I am not a doctor.  The information in this blog should not be substituted for a doctor's diagnosis.  I am an advocate.  I had to push hard for my doctors to take me seriously when I thought I had endometriosis.  Please, please, please advocate for yourself if you believe you have endometriosis.}