Infertility Journal

Her Defective Body

Written by Heather Riggleman

Breathe, hold. Scream.Think of the goal–a beautiful baby girl. I writhed in agony and shame. My thoughts drifted back to English class in high school when I felt my baby move for the first time. An ocean wave of motion, as she rolled over from the left side of my body, to the right, nearly knocking me out of my chair, as I struggled to pay attention about Haikus. 

At seventeen, I thought my life was over. Within in five months, I graduated highschool, moved out of my mom’s house, turned eighteen, got married and gave birth to a 9lb, 3oz baby girl. In which case, the birth alone scared me into never wanting to have sex.

Never again.

Because I was so young, the nurses didn’t take me seriously when I called and came in about the fluid I was leaking (that particular nurse was terminated). Three days after being sent home by that nurse, my mid-wife found I had a high leak in my amniotic sac, leaving the baby in almost no fluids and subjecting us both to the risk of a life threatening infection. 

I was rushed to the hospital where the nurses broke the rest of my water to stimulate full fledged labor. And tears came, not from the pain but from the shame impressed upon me as I overheard the nurses saying, “I don’t care if her water broke. Let the pain teach her a lesson. I’ll call the doc for her epidural when she’s dilated to four.” 

Oh dear God, what did I do? This hurts so bad, let it pass. Please,”  I said as I crushed the hands of my best friend Josh and my new husband of 2 months. (Seriously, when you’re a cheerleader and blond AND you end up pregnant, your guy friends become your close friends. Josh even became my baby’s god-father.)

So, at barely 18 years of age, I became a mama. 

Not wanting to get pregnant again, I researched the contraceptive methods my mid-wife urged me to review. We settled on the IUD, but within a year, I had it removed because of multiple complications. I tried birth control pills and even the patch.

Each type of contraception had major drawbacks, either my moods were out of whack enough to send me into a straight jacket, or it would cause the veins in the back of my legs to burst, can we say clots!?!? Since I was barely 20, I gave up the idea of birth control; being busy with school, my now toddling daughter and husband; the stress (or so I thought) caused my periods to stop altogether. Not such a bad thing right?

Being a young college girl, who cared if I didn’t have a visit from mother nature with her tenacious gift of cramps, moodiness, and bloating. Yet now that I’m 30 and wanting another child, I’ve practically begged mother nature to come. Unfortunately when she does, she comes with a vengeance (and that’s why I have an ongoing relationship with Percocet).  But wait, I’m getting ahead of myself, that’s a whole other post.

Some of my close high school friends were like me, they faithfully took their birth control, went to college, started a career, got married, and now as they are entering their mid-thirties, they cannot get pregnant. My friend *Amity is furious, she did everything text book style. Wanting to have a strong family foundation established in which to bring the fruit of her womb forth; she learns instead, the birth control caused complications on top of the “You have such and such diagnosis.”  Meaning, no baby is ever likely to come from her womb. 

 I wonder how many of us are out there. We smile as our friends announce once again they are pregnant as if it’s like a sneeze affect.

I wonder how many of us are secretly hurting because we long to hold that baby in our arms and yet, we’ve buried more than our fair share of babies before they were born.

I question our sanity in any case. 

So here I am, after a very recent and dangerous miscarriage. Here I am–wanting to be pregnant and praying that my chance is soon. 

Here I am with three kids. Two are flukes 7 years, 0 months, 18 days, and 22 minutes apart. And the 3 year-old-baby of the family, was a round-house effort in all things hormones, tests, graphs, charts, and fertility drugs, and another unexpected. Another gone before I could see her sweet smile.

Here I am wondering if there are others like me whom that doctor has labeled their body’s as,

“Defective, hostile, and incompetent.” 

What’s your story? Is it like mine? Should I just accept what I have and be grateful or follow where my heart and my husband’s is leading? Either way, we are going through the infertility process. Come what may, if it’s not in God’s plans to conceive, we plan to adopt.

About the author

Heather Riggleman

Heather Riggleman co-founded Her View From Home before blazing a new trail of her own to inspire and support moms outside church walls. She is an over caffeinated mom of three kids, (ages 14, 7, 5) & married to her high school sweetheart. She blogs about her mishaps in the kitchen, switching to clean eating, raising children with special needs and talking about real women, real faith and real life.
Heather’s articles have been featured in Today’s Christian Woman, MOPS International, Proverbs 31 and Focus on the Family.
She is represented by Books & Such through Mary Keeley with her first book, Mama Needs A Time-Out! It is available on eChristian, Amazon, and B & N.com. For more about her everyday faith and mothering mania, visit www.heatherriggleman.com.

14 Comments

  • I’m so sorry for your struggles. That’s the thing about fertility. Women want to control it, to be able to say when they can and cannot conceive, but it doesn’t work that way. The control actually backfires. Women break their bodies, drugs that were taken with the best of intentions damage hormone levels years later, and women who were once fertile are no longer. May God bless you with many more children in his time, and may all women be open to letting God plan their families!

  • I am so sorry for the problems you have had Heather. I too understand your frustration. I had tried everything to have a baby; natural (several miscarrages), hormones (made me sick), adoption (several times – one ended in the mother having an abortion, one the baby died and the other the mother changed her mind). It was not in God’s plan for me to have children of my own. I too started out married life on birth control – however for a very short time. Sometimes, God just has other plans for us and that is when we have to hang on to him with all of the faith we have and trust that He sees the bigger picture. I know your heart aches for a baby. My prayers are with you.

    • Cindy,
      You made my eyes leak. I’m sorry you’ve been down such a hard road. I’m so glad I posted this. It was my goal to connect women on issues like infertility. No one wants to share or talk about it. And I thank God for the plans He has for me and YOU and for Mommy of 5 πŸ™‚

  • I personally am involved with this story, as I am the one with the crushed hand. The whole ordeal was trying at times for all involved but the little lady that came into the world has been well worth every pain, problem, or issue encountered. I still count myself as blessed having been afforded the opportunity to be near when she joined the world.

    • Now Josh, your hand still has some functionality right? Kudos to you for daring to pop in and comment on a woman’s site. We’re working on getting a ‘his view’ soon. Btw, Cheyenne is taller than me AND she can kick my tush–but don’t tell her that. πŸ™‚

      • What??? I commented on an all woman’s site??? Someone should have told me!! Ok I admit to just fibbing a little, I knew it was a women’s site (primarily) but it doesn’t mean some of us more secure men can’t peak in and learn a little something now and then about the fairer sex! Besides, the way I figure it the more I learn about how women see the world the more likely I will have a chance to someday find the one for me!
        The last time I was there Chey nearly kicked my tush, I’m surprised you lasted this long! She didn’t even need a roll of tape to scare me!

  • I can’t explain how ticked I am at your nurses!! How dare they pass judgement on you. Can I just say your story is impressive, Heather – and I’m sorry you have to go through so much pain to hold a sweet baby again. Prayers to you!!

  • Thanks for sharing your story, Heather. I, too, have known the agony of infertility for the past two and a half years. My story is different from yours (perfect health history, regular and normal cycles, never on “the pill”), and yet, it’s so similar (the heartache, the hoping, waiting, hormone tests, fertility drugs, disappointment month after month, more doctors, more waiting, hoping, praying….). Through this journey, I’ve learned so much about myself, my relationship with my husband, the relationships with family and friends, and my relationship with God, as all have been tested along the way. We feel so blessed to have found the right doctors and people to support us….. and right before I was scheduled for yet another surgery, I found out I was pregnant! My husband and I were shocked (almost to the point of disbelief) and exuberant beyond words. We cannot wait to welcome our first child into the world this fall.

    At first, I was very private about what we were going through, but as the years lingered on and still no child, we did start to share some of our struggles with our closest friends and family members. What I started to discover is that even though none of my close friends or family had ever experienced infertility on a personal level, many of them knew someone who had gone through or was going through it. I found comfort in my friends who offered their support in the best way they knew how. And though I didn’t know anyone else who shared my struggles, I didn’t feel so alone anymore because I was hearing other women’s stories of infertility… So stay strong, Heather and never stop believing!

  • Heather,
    I can’t begin to tell you how much your posts mean to me. I went to high school with Tiffany and have followed her story about her daughter and prayed for them many times. I began reading her blog posts here on your site and saw that your posts were about infertility storires. I was scared to click, but I did and began reading. I cried because I know how you feel. I have a beautiful, healthy, perfect five year old daughter. But I cannot have any more children. My husband has a large family and we dreamed of having three, four, or even more children when we got married. I have been through so many fertility treatments and tests and had surgery over the last five years. People wrongly assume that I don’t want any more children, and if they do find out that I do want more but can’t, they tell me I should be happy with what I’ve got. Believe me, we are. We know we’ve been blessed. We know we haven’t had to experience the tragedy of a death, or the heartbreak of a life-changing injury to our child. We cherish every Mother’s Day and Father’s Day. We know God has given us a precious gift. We shower her with hugs and kisses every day. We are wonderfully happy with what we have got. But it doesn’t take away the hurt of knowing she will never have a blood sibling. (I hear that one a lot, “Well, you can always adopt!” A well-meaning, but painful comment) It doesn’t change the guilt I feel knowing that if my husband would’ve married another girl, he could’ve had the big family he always wanted. It doesn’t take away the pain we have knowing our parents are disappointed that they don’t have more grandchildren to dote on and spoil. It doesn’t take away my embarrassment of going to the fertility clinic or the women’s center and having painful tests and treatments that never work. It doesn’t take away the sting of ignorant comments by strangers, neighbors, nurses, and even family. And it does not take away the frustration of having a body that just won’t get pregnant and seeing other women that do and grumble about it! I have been fairly private about what I’ve gone through and it is hard to talk about anyway, and even more so after you get silenced. It is helpful to me to hear that others share this burden and know how it feels. I am thankful for a very sweet, understanding, and loving husband who somehow loves me in spite of my inability to give him a large family and wants to continue our life’s journey together even though the picture doesn’t look the same as it did when we began. I am thankful for a personal relationship with God that has deepened through this experience, and that I am finding a peace in my heart that I know only He can give. I am also thankful for finding people and stories like yours that tell me I am not alone and it is okay to speak out! Thank you again!

    • Nicole! Thank you for sharing your heart. I am so glad you are blessed with a child. Isn’t it funny how life turns out and the picture is how we thought it would look. I love your heart and love what you have shared. DON’T let the guilt eat at you. I’ve learned life is so much sweeter embracing God’s plans instead of mine, yet I love lending my voice and story to others who aren’t sure where to turn. It’s SO SO tough.
      I look forward to hearing back from you. πŸ™‚