My husband and I met and married when we were very young, so infertility was something that hadn’t crossed our minds. We never dreamed it would take us 14 years to have a baby!
When a year went by and I wasn’t pregnant, I was worried something was wrong with me so we started having lots of tests. Finally, I had diagnostic laparoscopic surgery done and discovered I had endometriosis. After surgery, the chance of pregnancy is 60%, and I believed that my prayers were being answered and this surgery would be the golden ticket to curing infertility. But it wasn’t to be.
One of the hardest parts of our fertility journey was being left behind. We were the first of our friends to get married, but as the years went by babies kept coming for everyone but us. Even my friends that struggled with infertility got pregnant. I felt like I didn’t fit in. My siblings and friends kept having babies, and it was so difficult every time I heard another pregnancy announcement. I’d spend the day crying, as each announcement was a reminder that I was denied my heart’s desire: a child.
Since we’re Catholic, IVF and IUI were not options I felt at peace with. I struggled with feelings of frustration about my religion frowning upon the one thing that would enable me to achieve my deepest desire. But after some soul searching, I decided that I wanted to abide by the teachings of my church, so we turned our focus to adoption. Once we made this decision to pursue adoption, I felt hopeful. Unfortunately, adoption has its own set of heartaches that are difficult to cope with when you’ve already been dealing with the heartaches of infertility. We had an adoption fall through, after spending three days falling in love with a precious baby girl! Handing her back to the social worker after learning that the birthmother had changed her mind, was one of the most devastating moments of my life.
After that failed adoption, I lost hope. I faced the possibility that I might never become a mother, even through adoption. I had to think about this question I felt God saying to me: “If you don’t become a mother and none of your dreams come true in this life, but at the end of it, I am waiting for you with arms wide open, am I enough for you?” I had to think long and hard about this and if I could really let my dreams go. I felt overcome with peace. From this point, I no longer anticipated that an adoption was going to happen.
One way we coped on our fertility journey was to travel. While it didn’t take away the pain, it helped to have trips to look forward to. We were planning a trip to the Amazon rainforest when we received an unexpected phone call from the adoption agency. They said, “We have a baby boy for you who is three weeks old. Could you pick him up tomorrow?” It was such a shock to become a mother overnight! The next day, we brought home our son, Alex. It was just unbelievable; the most incredible experience.
When Alex was three, we applied to adopt again. After another two years of waiting, we finally got a phone call that a birthmother had chosen us. It seemed like a guaranteed adoption, but just days before she gave birth, it all fell through and the adoption was derailed.
I was exhausted by the rollercoaster of uncertainty that was adoption. It had been years since I had researched getting pregnant. I started looking, and came across a study on Lipiodol treatment. The treatment had an almost 50% pregnancy rate for women with endometriosis. I tried to find someone here in the United States who could do the treatment. No one would, so I contacted Repromed in New Zealand to see if I could have the procedure done there.
We travelled to New Zealand for the Lipiodol treatment. I honestly didn’t believe it would really work, but I wanted to check it off the list of things I’d tried, plus we’d get a nice holiday.
I became pregnant naturally three days after the Lipiodol treatment! It was the first pregnancy I have ever had in my whole life and 13 years of trying!
Getting pregnant was almost impossible to believe after all we’d been through. After the Lipiodol treatment, I decided I wouldn’t take a pregnancy test until my period was extremely late to avoid disappointment. When day 33 arrived, I decided to take a pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe it when I saw two lines for the first time in my life! I cried tears of joy. The next day we called everyone we knew. There was lots of happy crying as our loved ones learned that a miracle had happened!
It took me a while to relax into the pregnancy. I was overcome with anxiety about miscarriage. My pregnancy wasn’t easy. I spent almost three months in bed because I felt nauseated all the time. I am so happy and grateful now to be mother of two children! I stare at my baby and can’t believe she is finally here! It is wonderful to have experienced motherhood in two radically different ways – through adoption and through giving birth.
I am now convinced that the cause for my infertility was that the embryos could not implant in my uterus. According to Dr. Neil Johnson’s research papers, a molecule called Osteoponin is overproduced in the endometrium of women who have endometriosis, and the poppyseed oil reduces the production of that molecule, making the conditions more favourable to implantation.
We hope to have another baby. Sometimes women with endometriosis can get pregnant more easily the second time. Or, maybe I will need another trip to New Zealand to have another baby!
Professor Neil Johnson is the President Elect of the World Endometriosis Society. Find out more about his story here.
Repromed provides fertility treatment with heart. Based in Auckland, both public and private treatment is available and all are welcome. You can book a 15-minute phone consultation with a fertility doctor free of charge. Email or call 0800 483 105 to book.
Individual results may vary dependent on your personal circumstances.
With thanks to our generous client for sharing her personal story.