Today we are sharing the story of Angela’s journey to build her family after an infertility diagnosis due to Endometrial Cancer. Thank you, Angela, for opening up to us!
Angela and her husband, Tony, have been through some of the toughest struggles a couple can face. They never expected their journey to having a child would be filled with so many obstacles that they are still working on overcoming today. However, through all of the struggles Angela has decided to share her story, hoping to help people who have gone through similar situations and show them that they are not alone.
Angela and Tony were married for a year before they started trying to conceive. After 6-7 months of trying they were not having any success. It was both a frustrating and confusing time for Angela. She was 31 and she was at that stage in life when everyone around her was having kids and growing their family. They both decided to see a doctor and see if there were any medical issues that could be preventing them from having a baby. After a couple of tests, the doctors discovered a tiny, cancerous tumor in Angela’s uterus. As a hopeful mother, Angela felt that this was the worst news she could hear. She was told that she could never have her own children. Angela states, “I wasn’t growing a baby in my uterus like I had been trying for 8 months, I was growing a tumor. I was growing cancer in my uterus where I was supposed to be making a baby.”
Although she would be unable to experience pregnancy, Angela and Tony decided to try a round of IVF so they could potentially use a gestational surrogate to carry their child for them. They were able to freeze seven embryos before she had to have a hysterectomy.
The day before her surgery, the wife of one of Tony’s friends from college called them and said that she wanted to be a surrogate for them. Angela felt as if the universe knew exactly what she was praying for. The offer was extremely surprising and exciting especially considering that in Michigan, it is illegal to pay for someone to be a surrogate. Since she was doing it for free out of the goodness of her heart, it would be a possibility. So Angela went into the surgery with a hopeful mind.
After five months of lawyers and doctors visits, they were finally able to go ahead with the first frozen embryo transfer. There were three attempts. The first did not take and the second and third times were miscarriages. Understandably, this led Angela to fall into a dark depression and develop anxiety. After the third attempt, they all made the decision to wait a while before trying again. They still have two frozen embryos left.
After such traumatic experiences and feeling emotions of hope and then loss and depression, Angela and her husband decided that they would take a year off and focus on each other. Since they got married, they had talked about building their dream house, so they did. This was a time of extreme healing for Angela. Although, she was still unable to check her Facebook due to all her friend’s baby photos, or go to any baby showers, she poured her whole heart into making her dream home the place that she will be happy for the rest of her life. She poured her soul into the project and felt extremely lucky to have a husband who let her have most of the say during the designing process. She was not just building a new house; she was building a new life for herself and slowly picking up the pieces that were lost during months and months of trying for a baby.
The house took ten months to complete and as it was getting finished, they started the process of domestic infant adoption. After they were approved all they could do was wait for a baby. It has been seven months and they are still waiting but they are both still holding onto hope that they will be soon be getting a call from their adoption agency telling them that they have been matched with an expectant mother.
Throughout the many ups and downs that Angela has faced, she has always had her husband by her side, supporting her and never making her feel guilty about anything. Of course, this was hard on him as it was for her, but they always had each other to talk to and confide in even during the most isolating of times. Although she had Tony, she knew that the only one who was going to pull her out of her dark hole, was herself and she found the strength to do so. This healing process will never truly be over but she finds strength by sharing her story and helping others. There is never an easy way to talk about infertility but she finds that it is especially hard for people who have never been through it because it is so hard for them to understand the pain and emotional rollercoaster that infertility can bring. Angela wishes that there was a better way to make family and friends understand that everyone handles their grief in a different way and that this is not a wound that will ever completely heal. Angela’s strength in her experience of infertility and cancer is something that anyone can gain hope and insight from.