Updated: Sep 3, 2018
I could write this story a thousand ways. I would have taken any journey in order to land here - with my cherished baby girl, Renna Jaymes.
If I said every moment of motherhood is a dream, you would surely roll your eyes. I wouldn’t be telling the whole truth. But, in so many ways, just having a child of my own is a dream in of itself.
You see, there was a time when the chances of having a child were not in our favor. There was a time when it was all just a glimmer of hope. For us, it felt like the longest of time - but in reality, it was much shorter than so many others have endured - and for them, we continue to pray.
A few years ago, I received a diagnosis that answered so many questions, but lead to many, many more. I had been diagnosed with a prolactinoma, a benign tumor on my pituitary gland - the pituitary is a small organ about the size of a pea in the center of the brain just above the back of the nose behind your line of vision. For this story, we will focus on how this tumor affects fertility - it affects so much more, but we will save that for another day.
I was grateful to finally have answers to so many health questions. I was grateful to finally put a name to what had been plaguing me for so long. But processing everything that goes along with a diagnosis was a lot to take in, and the reality that something had indeed been growing in my head for the past 7+ years was hard to fully grasp. I was excited to get the tumor removed and move on with my life! Time to feel better, to feel healthy, to have energy, and start a family. But, I didn’t quite know what I was fully in for.
The tumor couldn’t just be removed. I asked many, many doctors to please - pretty please - get this nuisance out of my head! And no one would touch it. Why? A few reasons; it was just small enough to be too delicate to be removed from the gland without comepletely destroying it. If my pituitary gland (the master adrenal gland) were destroyed, it would be much worse and much more dangerous than living with the effects of this tumor. Since there is a pill that will help to shrink it so that it becomes a"manageable" size to live with - some insurance won’t even cover surgery. So a quick fix was not in the cards.
A pill, you say? Doesn’t that sound easier than surgery? Oh nellie, I could write a whole book on what that pill does to you. The doctors say the side effects “aren’t that bad” - but they haven’t taken it. They haven’t lived it. And I know thousands of people (thanks to a Facebook support group page) that have felt what I felt. It was not pretty. But, it worked. So I can’t fault the doc on that.
Let me try and sum up in layman’s terms how my tumor affects fertility. My tumor puts pressure on the part of my pituitary gland that produces prolactin. Prolactin is a hormone that is elevated in your body only when you are pregnant or breastfeeding, normally. This hormone is essential in producing breast milk.
Ever hear people say that breastfeeding can act as a natural birth control? This is because of prolactin. When your levels of prolactin are high, you don’t ovulate. When you don’t ovulate, you can’t get pregnant.
So my prolactin levels had been so high for so long that there was a possibility that I had never ovulated in my life. There was a possibility that I never would - because my levels were THAT elevated.
So, after the tumor shrunk down to a manageable size - it was time to talk about how to get my lady system working fully. We didn’t waste any time because we didn’t know how long this process would take and we didn’t want to take any more years of my twenties for granted. So as soon as I was cleared, I was given shots of hormones to kick start my system - in hopes that it would “rev it up.”
Three rounds later, nothing. Aunt Flo didn’t even care to pay me a courtesy visit. I had never wished to see her so much in all my life. Sorry boys, I did mention I was going into fertility talk, didn’t I?
We were on the last round of hormone injections that my doctor would allow before would would have to take a 6 month hiatus and then try again with a “more invasive method” - whatever that means…
Then this happened...
We were on vacation with my family at my parent’s cabin on the lake when I started to feel different. I was hoping it was the maybe the “rev up” we were hoping for. I then let my mind go to wondering if I could be pregnant… but stopped. How? There weren’t any signs of life down there, according to doctors and tests nothing had started back up to even allow that.
I was sitting in the car waiting for everyone to finish getting ready so we could all pile in and head to a fish fry when I saw a butterfly. God and I have a special thing with butterflies (more on that later). I felt this peace in my heart and so for the next few minutes, I let myself wonder…
Could I really be pregnant?
On the way home from vacation we stopped at the pharmacy and got a test. I could not believe my eyes. Pregnant, it read. Brad made me take it again. Pregnant, it read. How? Well, I guess I did ovulate once in my life. I guess the phrase works here too, in it’s own way, that it only takes one time.
We were truly elated. But also, truly terrified. We weren’t out of the woods just yet - but man, what a gift we had just received.
That positive test lead to a positive, healthy pregnancy and a healthy baby girl. We are so unbelievably grateful. We do not take that for granted for one second.
So although, there are still factors in my daily health journey with this tumor, which I’ll save for another day - we managed to receive the greatest gift, right in the middle of an uphill battle. Right in the middle of some of our darkest days we received our brightest light.
Our miracle baby girl was born on Easter Sunday. It‘s not necessarily the way I would have written my story - but it turned out beautiful it it’s own way. God finds a way to use all things for good - my what a good God we serve, Hallelujah, indeed.
English: Joyous song, peace, songbird
Gaelic: Little prosperous one
Latin: Rebirth, reborn
Italian: Reindeer - they represent endurance, strength, and wisdom for a journey. When a reindeer comes into your life, the long spiritual or emotional journey you have been on is coming to an end and you will soon reap rewards. They teach us that we have strength to make great strides spiritually and emotionally.