Monday, February 2, 2015

After Surgery

On Friday, I had a hysteroscopy and laparoscopy to look for the cause of my recurrent miscarriages. My doctor found extensive endometriosis and was able to remove most of it. After the surgery, he commented to my husband that he was surprised I had even been able to get pregnant with how much I had.

Since informing friend and family, I've been asked several times how I feel about learning I have endometriosis. Some have assumed I'd be quite jubilant because We have an answer! And the doctor removed it! Others assumed I'd be quite depressed about the news because Endometriosis is a life long struggle! It comes back! Those conclusions are both quite apt. I'm feeling a lot of mixed emotions.

I'm trying to be really optimistic about it all. I am glad we have an answer but there is truly no way to know if endometriosis caused my losses or is just one of several reproductive issues I face that have combined to cause four losses.We are hopeful that this was the missing puzzle piece and that our next pregnancy will carry to term but I have to keep in mind that this might be just one piece in a still incomplete puzzle.  We initially thought low progesterone was the cause and naively assumed that progesterone shots would result in live babies. They didn't. So, while I hope this is exactly what was needed, I must also remind myself that conception and pregnancy is an extremely complex process in which so many things must go right (and therefore so many things can go wrong) in order to have a living child at the end.  Even if endometriosis caused all my previous losses, something completely different - genetic abnormalities or whatever - can cause the next pregnancy to end far too early. In this world of modern medicine, it's tempting to think that we can control nature and the human body through medicine. But we can't. I imagine any doctor can tell you. We can often work with nature, but we cannot control it outright.

But even if we knew for sure that the cause of all my heartache was endometriosis, that diagnosis is scary enough. It will come back so it's something that I'll always live with and something that will always threaten my fertility and babies in utero. I worry that I won't realize it's growing back until it's caused another loss or two. I didn't have many of the typical symptoms of endometriosis, so the losses themselves were really the only reason to suspect it.  

I was hoping it was something else with a more permanent fix, though certainly it's much better that having no answer or one with no treatment at all.  Endometriosis is not a very unexpected diagnosis. A gynecologist offhandedly told my teenaged self that I most likely had endometriosis and would never be able to have children (thank goodness she as wrong about that second part).  My doctor expected he would find some and the NaProTechnology website states, "In women with repetitive miscarriage, 85 percent will have endometriosis."  So, not a surprise, but also not a reality I was willing to face or think through until I got the final verification. And my doctor gave me some lovely pictures of my endometriosis-riddled insides so there is no denying it now.  

I feel like I'm facing an important decision: how do I react to this news? Do I put all my fears aside and choose to see this as an opportunity to trust God? Or do I wallow in the fears of what is to come? Certainly I don't think endometriosis or miscarriage are God's doing, but I do know that, if you let Him, God can bring goodness and beauty out of anything. Even the ugliness of organs scarred (and adhered together!) by endometriosis. That, my friends is disgusting to look at (what exactly am I supposed to do with those pictures anyhow?) but God is working in me to bring goodness out of it all. Even if we don't have more living children. And I'm starting to be ok with that - a future filled with God's goodness and beauty, a future of meaning, a future as just a family of three.


  1. Praying for your continued healing!

  2. My doctor gave me pictures from my ruptured ectopic surgery five years ago. I still have no idea what you do with that kind of thing. Answers are always a good next step. Prayers for your recovery and healing.

  3. Ah! Mandi I have so many thoughts to share but most of all gladness that you've got some form in the way of answers. Thanks be to God for that. Continued prayers for your health and family, sweet lady.

  4. Despite the heartache and pain, your life is so beautiful. Thank you for sharing it with us.