It's ironic that my daughter was born in April.
After years of trying to have children, we had finally started to give up hope. The fertility drugs weren't working. The operations weren't helping. The endometriosis had ruined me, really. It had worked it's way into every part of my life, had taken it over. And I was devastated by the results. I could barely eat. I rarely slept. I was on autopilot. Bloated with fertility drugs. The pain was mind-numbing. Or maybe it was the narcotics they gave me to dull the pain that left me feeling so numb.
In retrospect, it was probably better that I was numb.
April is Endometriosis awareness month. And in April 2005, I was all too aware of endometriosis and the many ways it could affect a woman.
Affect a marriage.
Affect a family.
I was 30 years old, and I wanted a second child. We wanted a second child. I knew it wasn't going to be easy. The first one certainly hadn't been. I expected to work for it. Appointment after appointment. Monthly exams. Disappointing ultrasounds. My paycheck went towards vials of precious drugs that we couldn't really afford, and that didn't appear to be doing a whole lot of good anyway. I was injected every day without flinching, and the bruises on my legs spread and blackened and the edges blurred and turned green. People would stare (this is Hawaii, after all - you can only get away with wearing jeans for so long before you just have to go for a swim) and I would meet their eyes, and glare at them.
They had no idea how much those bruises meant.
An acquaintance called, and asked if we were interested in adopting. She knew of a couple who were expecting a baby and looking for an adoptive family. I said yes of course we would be interested. My body was unreliable. Unpredictable.
It would be foolish to say no.
I called Sami, excited. Sami said no.
He didn't want to give up yet. There were things we hadn't tried.
We hadn't tried adoption, I reminded him.
What if you got pregnant? He fretted.
Then we have two babies. I was calm. But I was not changing my mind.
He reluctantly agreed that there was no harm in saying we were open to the idea of adoption.
After all, I reminded him gently. Think of the odds. People wait years, pay tens of thousands of dollars to adopt an infant. What are the odds that someone on our little island would give us a baby?
It turns out, our odds were pretty good.
One day, right in the middle of April, my phone rang. I was walking across the street to work, when a voice said "Congratulations, you have a daughter. She is waiting for you at the hospital."
And she was.
Endometriosis took away my ability to get pregnant, but it did not take away my ability to have children. And anyone who is reading this, who is waiting and hoping and trying to have a child, please remember that even in the month dedicated to awareness of this ugly disease, beautiful things can happen.
Happy Birthday, beautiful. I could never come up with a better gift then the one I was given the day you were born.
14 hours ago