When I think of infertility, I think of a woman enduring multiple miscarriages, taking hundreds of home pregnancy tests, IUI, Clomid, IVF, a man getting his rocks off in a cup so he can have his swimmers tested, countless rolls in the sack with your significant other only to be greeted with your dreaded period month after month.
I got married in February 2008, and if you asked me that day where my husband and I would be today, I would have no doubt given you that cookie cutter answer; we'd be living in a house we had built, have great jobs, and most importantly, have kids to fill up the bedrooms of said house. Fast forward to today, and Steve and I are living in the house we had built, we have great jobs, yet, 3 of the bedrooms in our beautiful home remain empty.
My story of infertility is far from typical. There's been no Clomid, IUI, tested sperm, miscarriages or IVF. Well then why, you ask, if I haven't had to go through any of that, do I not have a beautiful family?
Whenever I go to a new doctor, lupus, cancer, and a congenital heart defect are just 3 of the things I fill out on the health history form. There's so much more, but since this isn't my blog, I won't bore you with all of that. I've been through 4 heart surgeries (3 open-heart), chemotherapy, steroid treatment, lots of painful procedures, and most days, I walk around in pain. This gal drew the short straw in the family family gene pool.
When it came time to start asking my different specialists about baby making, I usually got the run around. They'd tell me it was very risky to both myself and the fetus, throw a few numbers and statistics my way, say ultimately it was my decision and they would do what they could to monitor me every step of the way. There's no true way to know if my leaky heart valves wouldn't be able to take the extra blood flow, if my lupus would flare, it I would throw blood clots, or if all the chemotherapy and other medications would make the baby be born with half a brain.
I finally met a doctor who looked me in the eye and said, "Marla, don't do it." Even though those words caused me an immense of pain, it was also quite comforting. It's what I needed to hear to be at peace with my decision.
In November 2013, I underwent a tubal ligation; I voluntarily went under the knife to make myself permanently infertile. I still struggle with it, but I know this was the right decision for me. I've always felt I have so many cards against me, that it would be in my best interest not to play the hand. While I know that pregnancy is a crapshoot, and anyone can experience complications, I would have been starting with a ton of risks. The thought of God forbid something happening to me, or our baby, or both, was too much. My health is also not at a place where I could safely care for a child, and I felt bringing one into the world when I couldn't be at my best was selfish.
So, I'll never have to go through rounds of Clomid or IVF. But, I also know I will NEVER get to feel my baby's first kick, hear its heartbeat, let Steve read a story to our baby growing in my tummy, have a pregnancy photo shoot, or prop up a book on my huge belly.
The decision we came to was not easy, and there were so many sleepless nights, tears, and way too much time on Google. I know a lot of women who wouldn't look at the risks because they would do anything to be pregnant. I'm not that woman. This is what was best for me.