By: Amy Mills
As I look at the two beautiful boys my husband and I created, I am beyond grateful for the glorious seasons of pregnancy.
I know for many women pregnancy is a struggle–whether it’s the thing itself or it’s the process to becoming pregnant… and then there are the women among us grappling with the concept that they will never have the ability to carry a child. This is all encompassing in the experience we share as women; the journey to being and desiring to be a mom. It looks different for everyone.
Most of these journeys lead to experiences that we can attest to “not being a part of the plan.” Here was that moment for me:
After two perfectly healthy and wonderful pregnancies, followed by quick labors, I never could have imagined that at three weeks postpartum with my second son, all of the future pregnancies I had in mind would come to a screeching halt.
First off, I am so thankful for my wonderful sister, who came to visit her nephews, and by happenstance, became our family’s saving grace during this time. Meanwhile my husband embodied every ounce of peace, support, strength, and comfort I could have asked for.
It was about two in the morning on a Friday as I woke to feed our new babe. I suddenly felt a gush come from my womb as the bed soaked in the blood. I hobbled to the bathroom petrified of what was happening. I became numb as my sister tried to talk to me and assure me I was okay. Next thing I knew, I was being rushed to the emergency room where they told me this was residual from labor. I went home and thought relief was inevitable. But that was not the case. By the following Sunday, I was back in the hospital after days of sudden bloody episodes which led to puppy training pads on the seat of my car and being too scared to even leave the house. At the nudge of my aunt, who told me I needed to go back to the hospital or I could bleed out, it became apparent this problem couldn’t be wished away and was only getting worse.
Four pelvic exams, four ultrasounds, and an MRI later, I heard the term “Uterine Arteriovenous Malformations” (and I will probably never forget it). Basically it was a cluster of arteries and veins that ruptured and would not stop bleeding.
My OB team was at a loss. There was no literature on someone in my case of uncomplicated pregnancies and births, and no measures to go on that would be successful. Tuesday morning a procedure was planned, but by Monday night the situation became more urgent as I sat in the hospital bathroom unable to get up. I was losing over one thousand milliliters of blood in a fifteen minute span. They put me on a bed and rushed me down to the ER, leaving my husband in distress. I had to consent to an emergency hysterectomy if the first procedure didn’t work. It did work… for a few days. With the first procedure, I was told future pregnancies were dismal since it would cut off ninety percent of the blood supply to my uterus, but that this was the only option to save the remaining ten percent chance we had for more children. A couple days later my nightmare became my reality and I was back in the hospital deeming the first procedure unsuccessful.
In the matter of a week, I went from a healthy, healing mother, to now having to decide if I was ever going to be pregnant again. The stress was overbearing and being away from my baby added a heaviness no mom should have to feel as I tried with everything I had left to pump. During this time my husband traveled to and from the hospital to our home delivering milk. The emotional and physical pain was just too much. My exhausted sister was becoming the caregiver to our three year old and our three week old, while my amazing husband continued his thirty minute treks back and forth to help her, and also be there for me. The nightmare felt like it would never end.
Finally, after speaking with my doctors and getting second opinions, there seemed to be no other options. So, at twenty-eight years old, I had to put aside my desire for future children and move forward with the hysterectomy.
I’d like to say that now, four months later, I’ve made peace with it. Having no period to worry about since June of last year has been nice, and not having to worry about any form of birth control is liberating. But there are moments that still hurt.
That nurturing part of myself who wanted to fill this world with as many children as possible and raise them in a Jesus loving home seemed to be stripped away all too soon. I felt a sense of control knowing I could create, carry, and birth babies. But, I guess we can all feel that way when it comes to our own physical capabilities. “How many kids will you have, Amy?” That was the one question I never hesitated to answer. I never second guessed my plans until God gave me the reminder that He has been, is still, and will be in control of all life’s seasons.
I know that He has blessed me with two amazing boys who I will give my everything to and surrender their futures to His hands. I will be forever grateful for the journey leading to them being so graciously placed in my arms.