Infertility: Getting a Second Opinion
Ask and it will be given to you; seek and you will find; knock and the door will be opened to you. Matthew 7:7
“What has God told you about seeking medical help for conceiving?” was the question that prompted me to finally take the step in getting a second opinion from a fertility doctor. A few weeks prior to being asked that by my best friend who has also trekked this road, I participated in 40 days of prayer and fasting with a support group that I belong to for women dealing with infertility, miscarriage, and/or loss called Psalm 113:9 Ministries. During this season of prayer and fasting, I was asking God to work a miracle for us in getting me pregnant. I knew what the doctors had said, but I was believing in God for a miracle. I was in limbo because the last bit of instructions I received from the Lord was to wait and He would tell me what to do next, but I felt like it had almost been two years and I hadn’t received a word yet – at least not the word I wanted to hear. Throughout the 40 days, the words “obedience” and “action” kept ringing loudly in my spirit. Whether it was in a bible verse, the passage for the day or something I saw on IG – those were the words that always seemed to stand out, but I really didn’t put much thought into it as the reasoning wasn’t revealed until after the fast.
As it relates to “seeking medical help”, I hadn’t even thought about going back to a doctor for treatment because I was believing in God for what my plan was for myself, a natural pregnancy. I didn’t want any of the treatment options the previous doctor suggested, saying to myself “that’s not my path” and I had faith that God was going to not only bless me with the desires of my heart but the way I wanted Him to do it. I hate anything medical related and did not want to have to go “the medical route”. While I stood my ground in my faith, my best friend encouraged me to seek a second opinion and to not be dismissive to medical treatment. She said, “sometimes God works miracles supernaturally and sometimes He works miracles through His people, like doctors, that He called for this purpose.” She went on to say, “just like God calls pastors to ministry, you to social work, He has called some to be doctors just to help people like us, don’t dismiss it just because it may not be part of your plan.” Y’all she was preaching to me! It became clear at that moment that the words obedience and action were what God needed me to do – obey and take action. If I hadn’t done the prayer and fasting, I wouldn’t have gotten my next set of instructions.
I believe it was the next day after the prompting I did a google search for “fertility doctors in Huntsville” and the first one in the search results was Dr. Davenport at the Fertility Institute of North Alabama. I went to the website and felt this immediate calmness come over me. The website was amazingly detailed and informative about all the treatments they offer, the various testing they perform, all the information about fertility, and many of the frequently asked questions. Those who know me know that I need all the details, so based on the detailed website I was already sold. Then I read their about page, learned the meaning behind their name FINA, it means “He shall add” in Hebrew, and just knew God sent me there and that was the place for me and Joe. I called to schedule a consultation and the receptionist was
Going into FINA for our consultation was nerve-racking, to say the least. However, walking into the clinic, I felt that same calming spirit that I felt when I visited the website fall over me again. We were greeted by the receptionist, checked in and was soon after called back by the nurse. She briefly reviewed our medical history, asked a few questions and then told us the doctor would be in with us shortly. Dr. D came in for our consultation. We went through our medical history, focusing on the pelvic pain I’ve been experiencing, the possible endometriosis, and the past testing that I’ve had. Based on our conversation Dr. D suspected that I might have endometriosis and first suggested a saline ultrasound and then the laparoscopic surgery. I remember thinking to myself, “see this is why I didn’t want to seek medical help! I don’t want surgery!” Tears began to fill my eyes, my heart started beating so fast and it soon became difficult to breathe. Dr. D immediately noticed the emotions and asked me what I was feeling. (Side note: One thing I appreciate about our new doctor is that he’s been so attentive to me and my feelings and often asks, how I’m feeling, if I have questions, what are my thoughts. It just does my little social worker heart good to know that he truly cares. Kudos again, FINA!) I told him I was very nervous about the surgery and he calmed my nerves by explaining to me what the laparoscopic surgery was and how the procedure is done. In my head, I imagined a Chicago Med type surgery where I’m cut open, bleeding out, the doctor and nurses in panic mode, the whole nine. Well, nah. It’s nothing like that. Joe, of course, turned it into a joke and we all just laughed until I was okay with moving forward (thank God for Joe).
Dr. D let me have my moment, told me that his first concern was addressing the pain I’ve been experiencing saying that I should not have to suffer. The first step was to address the issue, the next step to get us pregnant. I felt immediate relief. Thank God for a doctor who cares. Dr. D made us aware of all the possibilities moving forward. He said one possibility could just be endometriosis and he goes in, remove it and then we would be able to try to conceive on our own for a few months. Another possibility is that if it’s endometriosis it could come back and make conception difficult and then we’d have to explore other options. Another possibility he mentioned was tubal damage which can be caused by endometriosis and depending on the severity would lessen our chances of conceiving naturally. He said IVF may be our option, but he wouldn’t know until surgery. I have to admit that all the possibilities gave me anxiety initially, but looking back I’m so thankful he started to make us aware of what we could face so that I wouldn’t be taken by surprise by the outcome. God knows what we need ?
The next step was more blood work – I hate getting shots. (Another side note: one of the reasons, probably the main reason, I was so against medical help was because as a child I watched my grandparents go in and out of the hospital so much due to various illnesses and disease. My cousins and I would often accompany my grandmother to doctor’s appointments, watch her get blood work done, visit her at the hospital when she had to stay for treatment. In some ways, it’s traumatic as a child watching your grandparents in and out of the hospital for years until their passing. I’ve been apprehensive of anything more than a check-up or urgent care visit for a cold. So, as it relates to anything beyond that, I go back to that place as a child with fear of something being wrong.) After the bloodwork, Dr. D told me he wanted me to get on birth control (ugh!) and then we scheduled the appointment for the saline ultrasound.
I remember walking out of the clinic and into the parking lot and falling into Joe’s arms in tears. “I don’t know if I can do this”, I told him. That consultation was a lot and I was so afraid of what was to come. Joe reminded me of everything we’ve been through and overcome together and assured me that this wouldn’t be any different. He said, “your favorite thing is to have a plan, and look, we have a plan! We didn’t have anything before this.” He was right, we had a plan. I like plans.
Prayer and taking it one day at a time has been our way of handling things. Apparently, God thinks we are more than capable of weathering all that’s to come, so we are choosing to trust Him through the process. We’ve decided to share our journey to pregnancy every step of the way. Not only is it therapeutic but we believe that God is going to get the glory from this situation and someone needs to hear what we’re going through while we’re going through. Until the next post…