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November 26, 2020
Today we’re getting real here on the blog. This post has been a long time in the making, as I haven’t really felt ready to talk about it yet, but today we’re talking about my infertility struggle. You are not alone!
(Please note that this story is meant to be an account of my own personal experience. It is not in any way a substitute for medical advice and you should discuss your personal medical condition with your own doctor.)
Our plan was always to have children. My plan was always to have children; I’ve thought about it since I was a little kid. The number has changed over the years of course (I started at wanting five, and now that number is hovering somewhere around two or three 😀 as I’ve grown older), but it’s always remained a constant in my life: “that time” in the future when I’d be married, with job, and having children.
And so in the summer of 2018, married for two years, almost finished with residency, and freshly moved into our “forever home,” I established care with a new OBGYN, closer to our new home, to set off on this journey to become pregnant. We had been trying for a couple of months without success, and I was scheduled for my routine annual checkup anyways, and so I discussed our plans with my new physician as well.
The first bombshell was that during my physical exam, she discovered a mass on my vaginal wall. This was scary enough to me at the time, as I didn’t know how long it had been there, and if there were more. My new physician immediately jumped into action though, which I was thankful for, and suggested we get an ultrasound that day just to ensure there were no other masses present, which would greatly decrease the likelihood of this mass being malignant (and also my anxiety level).
Fantastic news: no other masses found on the ultrasound. But the second bombshell was ready to explode for me that day anyways: I had a septate uterus (an extra piece of tissue within my uterus which was likely a uterine anomaly present since birth) which was occluding 75% of my uterus.
Looking at these photos of me with my four month old daughter, it is kind of easy to forget the anxiety and terror I felt in those moments. But when I really think back on it: it was terrifying news to hear at the time, maybe more-so because I am a medical professional, and while I knew this wouldn’t affect my ability to get pregnant, it absolutely put me at an increased risk for miscarriages and possibly not being able to bring a baby to gestation, or at least far enough to survive. Suddenly my lifelong dream of having my own children was in jeopardy – had been in jeopardy my whole life and I hadn’t even known it.
The good news at the time was that I had not yet conceived. That would have made the situation more dangerous, both physically and emotionally. The second piece of good news was that my doctor felt confident that surgery could improve our chances of having our own baby. And that is the story of how I ended up in the outpatient surgical center about a month later, super worried to go under general anesthesia for the first time in my life but willing to do what I needed to in order to give my husband and I a chance.
Like any other neurotic resident physician (at the time), I spent countless hours before and after the surgery researching on PubMed. “Septate uterus.” “Surgical correction for septate uterus.” “Septate uterus post operative pregnancy rates.” “Septate uterus miscarriage rate.” Everyone is different, but this is how I typically cope with anxiety: “let me learn every single thing I can about this immediately right now.”
It took six months of recovery and trying to conceive again after my operation for us to see those two little blue lines on my pregnancy test. I fully understand how lucky I am – some people wait years and for some people those lines never come. The anxiety wasn’t over, of course, when those two little lines showed up.
I tend to be somewhat of a worrier, but I try to limit my worrying to things I have control over. However, just like my hormone levels, during my pregnancy my anxieties ran a little rampant. Chief among my concerns: would I be a good mom? Would I actually bond with this tiny human we were growing inside of me? Would I physically be able to get through the labor itself?
It didn’t help that my pregnancy was abnormal from the beginning. I shared earlier this year how we struggled with losing one of our twins early on in the pregnancy, and I also ended up with a velamentous cord insertion which also increased risks to our baby in the womb in terms of making sure she was getting enough nutrients.
But on October 12, in the very early hours of the day, little Sophia came into our lives and we have never been the same.
Becoming a mother is an amazing journey. You think you’re preparing for it during those months she’s taken up residence in your belly, but then when you give birth you realize that nothing can prepare you for this insanely magical thing that just happened. And I am so grateful to my supportive husband, my doctors, and God for letting it.
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Hello and welcome to The Charming Detroiter! I'm Sarah, a suburban wife, expectant mother, and physician from Metro Detroit who loves cooking, fashion, travel and home decor! Most of all, I love organizing it all, and I'm glad you're here so that I can help you too! To learn more, click here!
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