It all started in the sixth grade, when we received "The Talk" with our classmates. We all giggled and rolled our eyes when looking at the large graphic images of male and female genitalia on the overhead projector. (Yes, those were functioning when I was in grade 6. You know, the ones that had lights and mirrors and reflected the black and white clear sheets the teacher placed on the flat top? This makes me feel old. But I digress....)
We were a small class of 19 kids. One of the nurses asked if any of us had started our periods, and three lucky girls raised their hands. The nurses spoke with them specifically about how to use tampons and pads. The boys were hiding their faces and rolling their eyes. We discussed sex, maturity, and babies.
Fast-forward to the eighth grade. We received another sex ed class, this time more graphic and with a teacher who was scared to death to even say the words sex, penis, and vagina. So that class was a bust, it sucked, and nobody learned anything.
By the ninth grade, we had yet more sex ed, with kids learning about STD's (STI's), condoms, birth control, and having it drilled into our heads that abstinence is the ONLY WAY to be saved from damnation, eternal health problems, and God forbid, teen pregnancy. We wrote in journals about our thoughts and feelings. By this year, the question was no longer posed as to who had their period and who hadn't. It was just assumed that everyone had. I sat there, red as a beet, hiding away in a corner as all the other girls giggled and asked each other for tampons and whispered about their cramps. I felt isolated and alone. Jealous and hateful. My doctor said, "we will check you when you turn 16. No need to worry until then."
My doctor finally sent me to see a gynecologist, who didn't even assess me before the testing began. The ultrasound was the first thing, and the doctors told me they were inconclusive. So, next level of testing and more blood work followed. The MRI is a curse. I don't know how anyone else reacted, but I suffered from strong headaches for a long time after. The procedure itself was simple. It only took about an hour and a half to do an abdominal scan. Then I waited for another 6 months before the gynecologist could see me, and that is when she gave me the news.
I bawled. I screamed. I hated the world, and I hated myself. I hated seeing babies, pregnant women, even people with car seats in their cars! I hated my classmates that ended up pregnant accidentally. I hated girls who I heard had abortions, throwing a baby's life away when I could never have one of my own. I wrapped myself up in Family education classes, Health classes, and spent all of my time at home researching my syndrome. At that time, the only thing that existed on the internet was very wordy doctor reports, full of medical terminology and words I didn't understand. I gave up, and felt more alone and helpless than ever. I brought the mechanical baby home THREE TIMES because I enjoyed playing with it and wondering what it would be like to have a tiny baby of my own. I loved waking up throughout the night to feed and take care of it. I enjoyed walking through the stores with the baby in a car seat, getting stares from strangers.
I kept everything inside, not telling anyone about my syndrome and learning to deal with the emotions and jealousy on my own. I found out my step mother was pregnant with my baby sister, and rejoiced in the idea of having another little one to babysit and play with. I already had 2 younger siblings, but what's one more? I struggled watching and listening to coworkers that were newly pregnant complain about their aches and pains, and use their pregnancy as an excuse to get out of doing everything from sweeping floors to baking. I also watched a younger girl, another coworker, who was very pregnant push herself to the limits before her doctor finally placed her off. And suddenly, there was a pregnant woman I could admire. She took responsibility at a young age for her child, and worked until she was told she couldn't work any more.
Fast-forward again to 18. I moved in with C, and asked my gynecologist about our options for having biological children. C came along to some of my appointments. They finally gave us paperwork and advice, deeming us old enough to know what we wanted in our lives. The lists were endless, and the options and possibilities were open-ended. If we could stretch my vagina long enough, we could go trans-vaginally to harvest eggs in a few years. If we couldn't, they would have to make small incisions in my abdomen and try to harvest the eggs that way. I would have to be careful of the hormones they put me on, because most regular birth control made me crazy.
Needless to say, I am dealing with my syndrome a lot better now than I did a few short years ago. I know what my options are, and thanks to the wonderful internet community, I am more knowledgeable about MRKH than ever. I am chasing the doctors for medical information and testing, instead of waiting for them to request it for me. I know what I want to know, and what I need to know about my body. I've been using home ovulation predictor kits, and have begun to pinpoint my cycle. I had a 5-day positive this month. That means I might have a cyst issue with my ovaries, where my eggs are being reabsorbed after release because they have nowhere else to go. Instead of letting that scare me, I am looking forward to asking my doctors more questions and learning more and more about my body every day.
I'm still jealous and filled with longing when I see pregnant women and tiny babies, but I try not to hide or shy away from them. I know I will achieve my dream of having a family someday. It might not be the conventional way, but it sure as hell will be the right way for us!
Thanks for reading! Here's our IndieGogo campaign for our fertility treatments and IVF. We are only looking for a small amount of money in order to start a savings account, that way we can watch our money grow while we wait to start our family.