Have you ever been blind to something, and then once it's brought to your attention, you feel like you see it everywhere? We tend to block out or ignore things that don't seem relevant to us, but sometimes that type of selective hearing can prove to be harmful.
About six months ago I began to have some health concerns. I confess that I tried to ignore them at first. I was hoping it was temporary - you know - a fluke. I also tried not to WebMD my situation and assume the worst by self-diagnosing. I couldn't help but do a little research though, and by the time I went to the doctor a second time (the first time I went, she already determined I had cervical polyps, but I knew there was more to it than that), I had a theory on what the problem might be.
Just before Christmas, I went in to see the doctor and I was armed with a list of questions. I didn't get a chance to ask them though. The doctor took one look at the screen and said, "Oh. Yeah. You have endometriosis." I've had what I thought was random pain throughout the years that I chalked up to be "normal" girl pain. This past fall, however, my pain escalated. Nothing helped. No medicine. No heat. And the pain was so intense that I couldn't do anything beyond laying in the fetal position for a few hours. It was so intense it ran through my entire body and made me feel like I would either throw up or pass out. She explained that without surgery, the pain I'd been experiencing was not going to end, and medically speaking I would not be able to have any more children.
I'd like to take a side-step for a moment and talk about babies. Adam and I have always wanted more children. We went through almost two years after Imogen arrived of a roller-coaster of emotions that particularly took its toll on me. We didn't know why we couldn't get pregnant again, and there were times it was so defeating. I have so many friends who have two, three, and four children in their families. While I've sincerely been happy to rejoice along with them in the miracle of their pregnancies and births of all of their children, each time someone announced another pregnancy, I got this sinking feeling in the pit of my stomach and wondered if I'd ever be able to say those words again.
The past few months have made me increasingly aware of how much of a miracle Imogen is. The doctor was very surprised I'd managed to already have a child considering the severity of my case. If God deems it so that Imogen is our only biological child on this earth, I will go to my grave with gratefulness. I admit, though, that I've struggled with feeling guilty and greedy wanting another child. I have so many friends who've struggled with fertility issues and who want to be parents so badly, but those prayers go unanswered. And then here I am, already a mother, but wanting more. Often, what seems like harmless, casual conversation, can be so heart-wrenching for people. People always want to know what's next in life, so every time people would ask if we wanted more children, I had to decide how much information I was willing to give. Yes, but we're waiting on the Lord. Yes, we'll just have to see when. We hope so, but it hasn't happened yet. While I know people always mean well, sometimes these questions can be so painful.
Well, two week ago I had surgery. The purpose of the surgery was to help minimize my pain and also hopefully create the best case scenario for us to have another baby. I'm happy to say that the surgery went well (according to the doctor). Recovery has proven to be a slow process, but I'm feeling more myself each day that goes by. I'm so grateful to have an incredible husband, family, and friends who helped take care of me, take care of my family, and send their well-wishes while I've recovered. And now, we wait. I'm praying for little to no pain moving forward, and of course, I'm hoping that someday I'll be able to say that we're expecting another baby. If I ever happen to randomly cross your mind, will you please say a prayer for me?
Finally, a word on taking care of yourself. I've always been stubborn about doctor visits, checkups, etc. It's not until recent years that I've gotten better about taking care of myself and being an advocate for my health, however, I clearly have a ways to go. I will say that I think a lot of women tend to push their wellness aside or ignore warning signs. We tend to take care of the people around us before we ever raise our hands and admit that perhaps we need help as well. We tend to think - and I mean this in complete seriousness - that suffering silently is part of what it means to be a woman. While the symptoms of my endometriosis escalated this past fall and revealed themselves quite clearly, the warning signs were actually there for years. Sadly, I didn't know that's what they were. I thought the pain I had was normal and IT WASN'T. I didn't know that. I'm certainly not the first woman to go through this, but I'm hoping that I can encourage others who might wonder if they, too, could be suffering from something more than just pms to do some research and talk with their doctors.
When my surgery was over, the doctor told Adam that she didn't know how I didn't go through life screaming in pain everyday. My scar tissue is extensive. If we didn't want to try to have another child, I would have had a hysterectomy, and I will have one within the next few years so that I don't walk through life with unnecessary pain. The good news is that the polyps were benign, the doctor was able to drain the cysts on my ovaries, and my uterus and tubes look good.
When I think about what Jesus went through because of His love for me, it does not compare to anything I will ever experience. Any woman who has been lucky enough to become a mother knows the pain and suffering that comes along with that process. I'm amazed at what a gift it is that I was chosen to bring a life - Imogen - into this world. I pray that she is a blessing to God's kingdom. It's funny that any woman wanting to birth a child knows that she's simultaneously signing up for pain and beauty. She knows the child is worth it. I'm so thankful God thinks I'm worth it, too.
Thank you to everyone who sent cards, flowers, and messages of encouragement. Your Love was felt deeply.