I remember sitting with my mom waiting for the doctor to come back into the room. I was having a lot of pelvic pain and had come in to make sure nothing crazy was happening. I was only 18. When the doctor finally came back, she had a chart in her hands. She told me she believed I had something called endometriosis. She then explained to me and my mom what that was and that I could try several different methods to control the pain – changing my birth control pills, having shots in my back, mirena, surgery….etc. I was nervous and opted for just changing my birth control. This started the next 9 years of “methods” and opinions.
I went through times of pain so unbearable I couldn’t get out of bed, having shots in my back that made me have hot flashes, spending a year at a time without a period and zero explanation, mirena hell, depression and confusion. In the 9th year I started developing cysts on my ovaries that were blood filled (hemorrhagic), also known as endometriomas.
I refused the laser surgery during the 9 years and by the time the cysts appeared, I was finally considering doing it. The cysts were there every single month without fail. I was a married woman at this point and we were just starting to talk about babies so talking about changing my birth control AGAIN was just an agonizing thought for someone that was ready to have a baby. My only other option at this point (because I had tried everything else), was to have a laser surgery to try to break down the endometriosis.
My cysts were the size of golf balls and if they continued to grow, it could cause serious harm to my ovaries. Again – I wanted a baby. The thought of my ovaries being in danger because of these cysts was so terrifying. I prayed really really hard and decided to stop the birth control. To stop any and all medications or thoughts of surgery. To just trust.
In doing some research, I learned about something called Evening Primrose Oil. There were so many women with endometriosis swearing by it – literally. Go google it and read reviews! It was an all-natural herb. I decided to order some and solely take it. I didn’t really notice much of a difference that first month. Like every other up to that point, I started getting the severe pain – so severe I had a hard time walking – and I could feel the cyst growing on my ovary again. If you’ve ever had a cyst, you know that a symptom, which became my warning signal, is nausea. I would pull of the side of the road to throw up from the cyst and knew it would just be a matter of days before it would rear its ugly head.
It was getting to the point that it affected me working. Me. The owner of a photography business where I have to be on my feet all day. Who worked full-time for a local ENT office doing hearing tests. I couldn’t be affected. I NEEDED to be able to work. At least for my own sanity. By the second month, I was happily surprised not to have any of these symptoms. No pain, no nausea, no cyst. Could this really be working?
My husband and I finally sat down to have a talk about trying for a baby. It was scary because up to that point, we had been told it might not be a possibility. That we could suffer miscarriage or failure to get pregnant all together. We decided to stop worrying and to start trusting. The first month, no pregnancy. The second month, no pregnancy. When you want something so bad, days feel like weeks and weeks like months or even years. It was hard and it was disheartening.
My husband and I decided to relax and have a drink one night into the third month. I don’t normally drink so just one beer gets me feeling pretty relaxed. I got up to use the bathroom and there it was – mother nature. I lay on the floor and cried (or sobbed out loud) and begged God for answers. Why couldn’t I get pregnant? Why do all the undeserving people that DON’T want to get pregnant become pregnant? Why wasn’t I deserving enough? Hadn’t I been faithful and loving of others? Hadn’t I been living right? My husband just rubbed my back and left the room so I could get myself back together. The next day, there was no blood. The day after that, still nothing.
On the third day (Weds), I told a coworker about it and how odd it was but that I shouldn’t be surprised by my body anymore. I told her my boobs were sore and I was achy but that the period was gone. This coworker was a nurse and used to work for an OBGYN practice. She told me to take a pregnancy test. I told her I just couldn’t do it because I can’t handle any more negative signs and that I had already spent entirely too much money on pregnancy tests. She convinced me the dollar store tests were just as good.
I drove to a local Dollar Tree on my way home and picked up about 10 tests I think. I figured when this one reads negative, I’ll at least have a stash for the next times I needed to test. I was so nervous that whole drive home. I begged God to show me a positive sign and told him I couldn’t handle another negative. I cried the whole way home. After I took the test, I set it on the opposite side of the room. I sat down and just stared from across the way, waiting for those 5 minutes or however many you’re supposed to wait to pass.
I waited longer. I couldn’t make myself look at it.
Finally, I got up and walked over to it. I started shaking. It was positive. A very faint positive, but it looked positive. I took a picture and posted it in a group I was in comprised of women struggling with fertility. They all confirmed it was definitely a positive. I burst into tears and fell on the floor. I was pregnant. Holy crap – I was pregnant.
I couldn’t stop shaking. My husband, Corey, was going to be home in the next 15 minutes. “Get yourself together Jeri Ann, get yourself together”. I darted into the next room to pull out a onesie I had made for him for when the time came that I could announce to him I was pregnant. I started crying again. I heard the garage door open and flew into the kitchen with the little onesie wrapped up tight. Corey walked in the door, saw my tear covered face and said “you’re pregnant aren’t you?”. Quickly I handed him his gift and said for him to open it. He hugged me and I cried again.
I was finally pregnant.
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