I hesitate as I begin this post, finding myself hovering over the keys very carefully.
I don’t want to be presumptuous. I don’t want to come across as having figured everything out, when in fact, I am often behind the curve on figuring things out. If anything, in my grand search for the right words, I hope this blog post reaches your heart in the way I intend it to. To reach out in unity–in a “me too” kind of light. To reach you where you are and remind you that I, too, am a “1 per-center”. A person who had the odds stacked against me. Who has often heard “no”. Who has dealt with the pain of abnormality and the stress of things beyond my control that pumped the brakes on really genuine–and righteous–desires.
Here’s to the 1 percent.
I was only 16 when the pain started. And I was barely 22 when I was told I had a less than 1 percent chance of ever having a baby. I will never forget that doctor appointment when I was diagnosed with stage IV endometriosis. I was alone, feet dangling from the table, wondering why in the world I was given this fate. I remember walking to my car as I zipped up my coat against the wind, and stopping in the middle of the parking lot as an unrecognizable cry came from my chest and I dropped to my knees. A stranger helped me to my feet.
I was only 22.
By the time I was 27 I had four scars on my stomach, one surgery behind me, a dozen invasive procedures, 6 rounds of hormone therapy, 10 rounds of acupuncture, 4 rounds of IUI’s, three rounds of fertility meds, over 6 hospital trips and stays due to pain and hemorrhaging, and countless doctors offering “possible” solutions that got me nowhere.
By the time I was 27 I was tired.
I used to view my problem as an unfair, terribly cruel and unusual form of punishment. I still have those moments where I wonder. I’m sure you do too.
Maybe you suffer from chronic pain or a debilitating condition or illness. Maybe you have a learning disability or you struggle socially. Maybe you have anxiety or depression or wrestle with thoughts of suicide. Perhaps you are raising challenging children or you’ve had to become who you are without the luxury of having parents or people who buoy you up. Perhaps the odds are stacked against you and you wonder, like I have, why that particular struggle is yours. Why did this rare circumstance find home in your life?
I would feel my heart physically ache at the sight of a mother and her baby. I would feel nauseous during baby showers. I would get so angry at each negative test that I would swear up and down to never take another one again, and I would cringe at my body each month when the blood would come.
Why do I have to suffer from endometriosis? Why do I have to suffer from infertility?
My “1 percent” chance that doctors gave me whispered in my ear that I was “1 percent” woman. “1 percent” wife. “1 percent” the person I wanted to be in this lifetime.
Since the course of blogging I have shared my story and have listened to so many of yours. I have prayed for the other “1 percenters” who share in heartache, in grief, in pain, in sleeplessness, and in a fight against something completely intangible and irrelevant to others. I have found that though all of our struggles are different, in that one thing we are often the same.
I don’t have it all figured out. And as I write this I watch the rain cascade down the window beside me in trails of quick, zig-zagging patterns and I remind myself that it can’t rain all the time. And that may just be the biggest lesson I learned.
But if I’m to really step back and think about it, I see the ways in which my chronic condition has made me a better Kayla. A more patient Kayla. A more loving Kayla. A more passionate, fierce, strong, and grateful Kayla. The struggle has made my marriage into iron. It has molded me into someone who notices things more. Being denied motherhood has made me into more of a mother than I might have been if pregnancy had come easy. Dealing with chronic pain has made me thankful for health and stability and the moments when things don’t hurt. I’ve been given the gift of merely noticing.
Living with infertility and endometriosis since 16 years old has taught me to never give up hoping or wishing or wanting.
And more than anything, it has proven to me that statistics don’t matter. And that God doesn’t play by the rules.
I write this to you with one hand on a swelled belly, over two months into my miracle pregnancy.
I didn’t want a standard announcement or one of those social media posts that I’ve seen so many times, quickly scrolling past so that I don’t give myself time to feel heartache and guilty resentment. I wanted to include the announcement of this baby in a love letter to you, the one who has the odds stacked against you. The one who is the 1 percent.
You were given this fire not to be burned by it–but to see by it. Please remember that.
And slowly your eyes will adjust and it will make more sense. I’m still adjusting to that part. I still have pain and insecurity and unease from the years it took to conceive. I still have doubts and fears and freak myself out over every bit of paranoia.
But mainly I have gratitude. I am thankful for the years that I spent wanting this baby and preparing for him or her. I am so thankful that God has always had something better in mind for me, even when I refused to pray because I was just too angry to look at Heaven. I’m grateful He trusted me to wait.
He makes a way out of no way, whether it’s in five years or ten years or next week.
Here’s to you, the 1 percent. The brokenhearted. The waiting. The rare cases. The weak in spirit. The one on a surgery table and the one in a waiting room. The one holding a negative pregnancy test. The one holding herself around the middle, willing herself not to fall apart.
You are loved by a God who takes your 1 percent and makes it mean something. You are wrapped within a universe that has plans bigger than your own. And someday, that purpose and that joy and that manifestation of all good things waited for will come sweeping in and fill your soul up to the very top–