Well, obviously I didn’t die. That wasn’t part of the plan. And it took me a LONG time to realize that things really were okay, even if they weren’t okay in the way I wanted them to be.
The thing I hated the most after the IVF was having to comfort people (my mother, one of my so-called friends) when I was dying inside. I didn’t want to talk to anyone. My depression was at its worst. I made my way to the doctor to ask him about anti-depressants. He was brusque with me, left the office halfway through the appointment and never returned. I realize that he had an emergency to deal with, but I was livid. I never went back to that doctor again.
My RE met with me, saying that when we did the next IVF, we’d take a more aggressive approach with the drugs.
But meanwhile I still had to live in the real world, still had to pay back the loan for the first IVF, still had to deal with the endometriosis that was eating me alive. So I went back to work. I started trying to find an endometriosis specialist, and found one not too far from me. I didn’t like his bedside manner at all, but hoped that perhaps someone who specialized in endometriosis would be able to clean me up inside where Dr. D. had not. So Dr. J. did another laparoscopy, and was able to get a few of the adhesions cleared out, but not much. He put me on a 6-month course of Lupron. I had not read up on it ahead of time, and was dismayed to see the weight I’d worked so hard to lose come back on. Then he wanted to put me on Depo-Provera, to help keep the endo from getting worse until we were able to do another IVF. I researched that, and refused to go on it.
Dr. J. is one of those doctors who thinks he’s God. He was angry with me for refusing the Depo-Provera, but put me on some birth control pills instead. On the day that I was driving down the street and had a sudden impulse to drive my car into a light post, I immediately stopped taking the birth control pills and doubled my antidepressant dosage until I was able to get in to see Dr. L., my family doctor whom I just adore.
Well, the endometriosis got worse and worse and worse until I was lucky if I had one week out of the month that I wasn’t in severe pain. I was working full-time and going to school full-time. I’d take darvocet or vicodin as soon as I got home. I didn’t have a life. I began to feel that I was going to have to have a hysterectomy, because I couldn’t carry on that way much longer.
Joe was very upset about this. I didn’t realize how upset until several years later. He did not accept that I needed to have a hysterectomy. He did not get any counseling, did not seek out anyone to help him, and he had a lot of built-up anger at me. Logically, of course, he was very aware of how much pain I was in. But for him, it was all but impossible to accept that he would not become a father.
I had the hysterectomy, and the day after the surgery felt better than I had in a very long time. My marriage was on very rocky ground, but somehow we managed to survive the trauma. Joe just within the last 6 months confessed that Dr. J. had strongly suggested counseling, and he wished that he had taken heed.
We were still hoping that we would either be able to adopt or have a baby through surrogacy. I’d talked with my sisters, and one sister had said she’d donate the eggs, and the other sister said she’d carry the baby for us. However, that ended up not being viable. The sister who said she’d carry the baby for us was using drugs, and is the one who was killed in January of ’06.
Adoption wasn’t in the cards for us either. I had prayed about it, and had a very, very strong impression that adoption was not what we were to do. However, I am a stubborn person plus I love kids, so on the various occasions that we had an opportunity to adopt, we eagerly embraced it. The first one fell through before we got too involved in it. The second one ended up being a hysterical pregnancy, which was just as well because the girl in question was (a) mentally ill and (b) in CPS custody out of state. There would have been incredible amounts of red tape, and even had we gone through everything there still would have been a good chance that we wouldn’t get approved by that other state for various complicated reasons I’m not going into here.
So it became obvious that I wasn’t going to have children, whether through giving birth, through surrogacy, or through adoption. So what was my purpose in life? I’ve taught the Beehives class at church (12-13 year-old girls), and I never pulled any punches with them. I wanted them to know above all else that even if your life doesn’t go the way you want it to go, and you don’t get your dreams fulfilled, you can still have a good, rich, fulfilling life. I was trying to believe that back then.
Now I know it. I don’t have to try to believe it. I’m living it. Despite the rows Joe and I have on occasions, our marriage is stronger than it’s ever been. We’re learning how to talk to each other. We’re spending more time together. We’re each pursuing our dreams, both together and individually. I am refusing to let him give up on his dreams of becoming a professional musician. I am refusing to give up on my dreams of being a superb writer.
I have wondered for years why God would keep some people childless, people who would make great parents. Why does He tell some people not to adopt? Why do so many people have children and abuse them, and others can’t have them at all?
But it’s not about virtue. God doesn’t give children as a reward, and he doesn’t withhold them as a punishment. If that were so, CPS would not need to exist. Crack whores wouldn’t be giving birth to drug-addicted babies. Life’s a lot more complicated than that.
I told Soleil the other day that I sometimes think I’m just a poster child for the “You may not get what you want, but life can still be great” movement. And if that’s what God wants me to do, then that’s what I’ll do.