People have different opinions about motherhood. While some dread the experience and would rather not have children, many women dream about the day they would become mothers and would do anything to get that wish. Pauline Ann van der Meijs belongs to this latter group. She has always wanted to be a mom but she also had a fear of being infertile. She wasn’t sure what exactly was responsible for her fear of infertility but she suspects it has something to do with the movie Dumbo.
“This beautiful Disney classic opens with all animals in the circus receiving their babies delivered by the storks, except for Dumbo’s mom. She and only she stays childless and had to watch all her fellow elephants cuddle their little ones. How ironic that this same thing would happen to me later in life. But the movie doesn’t end there. Dumbo’s mom receives her wonderful baby through a special delivery a little later on in the story and thanks God the same thing would also happen to me later on in life,” she tells explained to Love What Matters.
Shortly after Pauline’s father passed away, she decided together with her husband that they should start a family of their own. But there was a problem, she was diagnosed with endometriosis which presented some problem.
The couple tried without success for about nine months but when it wasn’t working, they decided to visit a fertility doctor. That was the beginning of bouts after bouts of hormone treatments and intrauterine insemination just for Pauline to conceive. Pauline says she was shocked. This was her wildest fear coming true like a bad horror movie.
“I couldn’t believe it. My lifetime fears that I would struggle to conceive just became reality,” she said.
Gradually the problem got really complicated. It was like it got a little worse the more she tried.
“After doing three IUI’s and more importantly after having three monthly emotional breakdowns in the bathroom with blood-stained toilet paper in my hands, we decided together with the doctor it was enough! We were going to start IVF,” she explains.
But even IVF wasn’t working as well. It was a difficult period for her and involved a lot of nerve-wracking moment when she was simply unsure if was going to work or not. But Pauline was determined to see it through. Despite suffering through several miscarriages she decided to fight on until she was diagnosed with Auterine Arteriovenous Malformation (AVM).
“That same night after we heard the cause of the miscarriage I bled, way too heavy to be normal. I went to the doctor’s office the next morning to the same ultrasound technician and again she was too quiet to give me the good news. ‘Something wrong with the machine?’ I asked after 20 minutes of silently looking at the ultrasounds. ‘No dear, I think there is something very wrong with you.’ An hour later I was in a specialists’ office in another hospital because they suspected I had Auterine arteriovenous malformation (AVM).”
Pauline almost lost her life due to the extremely heavy bleeding. She had lost more than a liter of blood on the way to the ER and her saving grace was probably because she was already in the hospital.
“In the ER they shot me up with medicine and they decided to treat me with medicine first instead of performing a hysterectomy right away. ‘She doesn’t have kids yet.’ I heard my doctor say to the other doctor in the hallway. For some reason, I already knew this was the end of the road for me. This was all too much to handle, I was going to give up,” she explains.
But Pauline wasn’t ready to give up on being a mom yet. She decided to try out a different approach entirely. They decided that they would have a surrogate carry her baby for her through IVF. Pauline ended up with an ectopic pregnancy after her surrogate was impregnated.
“This time I think was the worst part for me. That my stomach had scars on it for the rest of my life while I haven’t even carried my own child. I have accepted them now but this took a while for me to recover from.”
Despite her scars and all the painful memory, Pauline would finally receive some comfort when just like Dumbo, the elephant her child is placed in her hands also.