Ellen Palmer | Perry, Georgia Local Leader
I never really thought about the word “infertile”. It’s not a fun word and doesn’t sound like me — But now I think it's odd that I didn't think about that word, because it is a part of my story.
Six months after I married my husband, I was told by my infertility doctor and surgeon I should never and could never get pregnant. Wow, right?
Let's rewind. I had been suffering from extreme, never-ending menstrual cycles for close to two years. At times I couldn’t get out of bed; I missed work; I couldn’t exercise; I had no energy and I was doubled over in pain. It was impacting every aspect of my life. So, after a year of trying medication and other methods, my gynecologist said I needed to have surgery to see what was wrong.
My first surgery (of many) was one month after I got married. After each surgery and different doctor’s visits, I was told: “I’ve never seen anything like this before. I’ve never seen this many fibroids inside a woman’s uterus.” (Unfortunately, my diagnosis doesn’t have an acronym or one specific word to define it.) There was nothing they could do to make the fibroids go away. There were too many to remove and they would continue growing back even if they were removed. I was told I would never carry a baby: the diagnosis no woman wants to hear.
Devastated was an understatement. I felt completely hopeless and lonely. My husband and I had just started our life together, in a new city with new jobs, where I knew no one and we were hours away from my family and friends.
Why? It's not fair. Why me God? These questions tumbled around in my mind. Is God telling me I shouldn’t have children? Is He punishing me? Why? Why? WHY?!
The doctor gave us two options: Surrogacy or adoption.
Surrogacy, are you serious? You mean when another woman carries your baby? You mean people besides celebrities do this? You mean a stranger would carry my baby?
The doctor also said if we were going to use surrogacy we needed to act as soon as possible because my egg count was really low and would not improve with age. I was only 31.
After many long and hard discussions with my husband and praying to God through tears, worry and doubt, my husband and I decided we were called to surrogacy. I never thought I would choose surrogacy but God is in control, not me. He put in my heart to try this first. Even though a surrogate would carry our baby, I still had to go through IVF, which was tough on me. I had to go through the shots, hormones and all of the crazy emotions (plus the expense) knowing we still had to find a surrogate to carry the baby. This was only a small part of the surrogacy plan. The high dosage was hard on my body, but we retrieved eleven eggs. We were hopeful.
But, after all, was said and done, we just had one embryo to work with — ONE! Our doctor told us that there was only about a 30% chance that the embryo would take. This was really just the first step. We still had to go through a surrogacy agency to find a surrogate, a tremendous process, and huge financial burden. So, we decided that surrogacy wasn’t the path for us at that time. If we had known someone personally we would have tried it. But we didn’t, so, we have one frozen embryo still.
After IVF wasn’t successful, I had to make another very tough decision. I was still having all the same symptoms if not worse at this point since I still had that very important female organ, a uterus. My only hope to make it better was to have surgery one more time and have it removed.
So, I decided at age 32 to have a hysterectomy.
It was the only cure to help me heal and feel better. Afterward, physically, I felt like a new woman! Emotionally and mentally, God helped me heal with all of that.
The next chapter of our story is about adoption. We started the adoption process, and everything that goes with it: the emotional ups and downs, stress, money, time, meetings, and on and on. We endured through it all and after about ten months were matched with a birth mother, whose baby was due to be born only a couple of months later.
When it came that time, the adoption fell through. Yes, you heard that right, now we’ve experienced a FAILED adoption.
All I could think was: This can't be real. This can't be happening. Another shut door, another “No,” another devastation.
But we couldn’t give up. We didn't give up. We knew we wanted to be parents. God was still there, His active presence in our hearts, was providing hope.
We jumped right back in the adoption process a couple months later and were matched four months later and our baby boy, Wallace, was born.
Now, years later, I knew I wanted to use my pain, my hopelessness, my confusion, my frustration. There was such little support for women out there going through the same thing: the same hurt and the same waiting.
I jumped right on board when my co-leader asked me to start a Waiting in Hope group in our town of Perry, Georgia. I couldn’t believe the opportunity was presenting itself and yet I knew God was again showing me the way. I knew this was God’s purpose.
I tell everyone, God is why I got through it all and made it through with hope. I don’t have all the answers and I definitely don’t understand it all. But I do understand there is a plan for us — God’s plan. And without God’s plan, I wouldn’t have my precious 21-month-old son.
I hope you can find support through Waiting in Hope.
Please comment and share with those who may need to hear her honest story. Please join Ellen or tell others about the Perry WiH Group it meets this Sunday, for more details please contact firstname.lastname@example.org