An Unexpected Blessing

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Status: Finished  |  Genre: Young Adult  |  House: Booksie Classic


A woman tells the story of when she received life changing news at age 16.

Submitted: May 16, 2018

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Submitted: May 16, 2018

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My whole life everything had been “normal.” I was a happy 16 year old girl who enjoyed spending time with my friends and family, going on vacation, playing sports and reading books in my free time. I had always been healthy and my annual physicals were always quite uneventful because I never had any major health problems, I was an active teenager and I tended to eat healthy. My doctor always praised me for being a “star patient.” By the time my 16th birthday rolled around I had come to expect my doctor’s appointments to follow the same routine, so it was quite a shock to find out that I needed to have an ultrasound after my physical. I figured that it was a formality, considering that I was getting older.

I walked into the kitchen with the biggest smile on my face, I had just arrived home from my surprise 16th birthday party that my friends threw for me. My smile quickly disappeared when I saw the concerned look on my mother’s face. She was reading a paper from my doctor’s office. She looked up when she heard me come in and said, “ The doctor has the results from your ultrasound. He wants us to come in to discuss the results. I made an appointment for tomorrow.” An uneasy feeling came over me, I knew that by my 16th birthday I should have had my first period and this note from the doctor gave me even more reason to be concerned that something was very wrong.  “Okay…” I mumbled, I tried to let my worries go for the rest of the night. That was not an easy thing to do considering my mind was ruminating on all of the things that could be wrong.

The next morning I could barely eat breakfast, It felt like I had butterflies in my stomach. My appointment was at 10am and waiting for the nurse to call my mother and I felt like an eternity. When she finally did she directed us into an office room where the doctor was waiting for us. After what felt like hours of “small talk” the doctor finally pulled out the results of my ultrasound, the doctor looked at my mother and me, and said, “I have never seen anything like this in all of my years of practice. The reason that you are not having your period is because you were born without a uterus. Only 1 in 5,000 girls are born with this condition and it is called Mayer- Rokitansky- Küster-Hauser syndrome, or MRKH for short.”  I stared back at the doctor with a blank expression on my face. I did not know what to make of this news. I had no idea that it was possible to be born without a uterus. At first I was angry, I was a healthy 16 year old who developed normally to this point. Suddenly a rush of thoughts. “What did I do to deserve this?” “Why me?” “This isn’t fair” Then a realization hit me, I would never be a mother. I was devastated and began sobbing. I was only 16 years old, I had taken to granted that someday I would have a family of my own. Now it seemed as though I may not have one.

When I arrived home I went straight to my room, I needed to be alone with my thoughts. More thoughts raced through my mind, “Would I ever find a boy that would like me knowing that I am incapable of having children? Am I even a woman?  What am I supposed to do when my friends talk about their periods?” Suddenly there was a knock at my door, both of my parents entered my room, I looked up and dried my tears. “Honey do you want to talk about it?” I knew that if I talked about my newly discovered imperfection I would just begin to cry again, so I sent them away for the rest of the night.

The following day I went to school. As I walked through the doors, I felt exposed. I felt as though everyone could tell exactly what was wrong by looking at my face. I lacked my usual smile and my eyes had bags under them since I had spent so much time crying. I did not want anyone to know about my condition because I was ashamed of it and figured that my classmates would judge me if they found out. I was emotionally exhausted and had no patience to deal with the stress of being a high school student and having MRKH. I sat down in my first period classroom and tried to tune out everyone around me. Slowly more students began to enter the classroom. There were a million different conversations going on around me but the only one I could hear was the one to my left. Two girls were talking about a baby shower that they went to over the weekend. I felt a wave of sadness come over me when I thought about the fact that I would never have a baby shower. The more I thought about my infertility, the more angry I got. I felt tears rush to my eyes, I would have started to cry had my best friend not sat down next to me, “Hey- how was your doctor’s appointment yesterday?” She said in her cheerful voice. I had told her that I had an appointment but I never specified the reason. I was torn between telling my friend the truth and risking embarrassment or hiding information from someone I shared everything with. I chose the latter and replied, “It was fine, thanks for asking.” I did not say much for the rest of the class since all I was thinking about was the fact that I could not cry right now even though that was the only thing I wanted to do.

Slowly, with time, MRKH did not consume my thinking and I was able to lead a normal life again. I got upset from time to time.  When I would see a pregnant women my heart would ache at the fact that I would never be able to carry my own children. My mother, noticing my labile mood, gave me the name of an online support group of girls with the same condition. She suggested that I talk to the girls when I feel upset.  I contacted the girls and told them how I always got upset when I thought about never being able to have a family of my own. My inbox was flooded with responses, these girls understood where I was coming from. I was so glad to be able to openly share my feelings. One of the girls told me that shortly after her diagnosis she felt the exact same way that I felt, but then she learned about all of the other ways to start a family. I could adopt a child or if I wanted to have children that was biologically mine I could use In Vitro-Fertilization (IVF) and a surrogate. Knowing that there were other ways for me to have children significantly improved my outlook.  I continued to talk with the girls whenever I got upset and they were always there for me. They became more than friends to me, we became like sisters.

Throughout my young adult years I came to accept my diagnosis, which enabled me to move forward and recognize my inner strength. Where am I now? I regard MRKH as more of a blessing, my diagnosis allowed me to meet some of the most amazing and supportive women and had I not been diagnosed I would likely not have adopted my wonderful daughter whom I adore. I also went through the process of IVF and my son was born via a surrogate, thankfully everything went smoothly and my son is growing into an kind young man. When I was sitting in that doctor’s office at age 16 I thought my life was ending and that I would never be happy again. That thought could not have been farther from the truth. Throughout your life you are going to be thrown into unexpected and scary situations, for me that was my diagnosis, it may have taken some time but in the end I picked myself up and made the decision to find the light during this dark time. The lesson I learned is that, even though life is unpredictable, we are all stronger than we know. With the support of others I was able to get through a very difficult time in my life. Today I stand here before you to teach you about this rare condition and how I was able to become a mother despite the obstacles that I faced. Thank you for listening.

Applause filled the room, all of the medical students gave me a standing ovation. The dean of the medical school came over and shook my hand then, she escorted me off the stage. When I got back to my seat I was smiling from ear to ear, I was happy that my speech was so well received but I was happier that I had just stood in front of a room of strangers and told them all my biggest secret. For the first time I was not ashamed at the fact that I did not have a uterus, I was proud of it.

 


© Copyright 2018 Hannah S. All rights reserved.

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