The plan was simple, I thought: get into the state university, take that business course I wanted, enjoy college life, graduate cum laude, get a corporate job, get my masters, marry my high school sweetheart and have kids, be the best mom and wife, and oh, stay fit and fab!
Life couldn’t get any sweeter after college graduation. And why not? I accomplished my goals and was about to start a career at a prestigious international bank. I was all set.
During my much deserved vacation prior to starting my job (my folks rewarded me with a trip to Europe and the US), I decided to make a side trip to Cedars-Sinai in California. You see, there was this little thing that kept bugging me my entire college life. I had severe dysmenorrhea every time I had my period. It got to the point that I could not even stand up during my heavy days. The doctors here said it was just a normal phase, but I knew there was something seriously wrong.
It was then that I learned that I had severe endometriosis. "A case of a 40-year-old woman" was how the OB-Gyne said it. He said that if I wanted children, I had "about one year to get pregnant." I was dumbfounded. I thought, "This is not happening!" I asked my doctor if he could surgically address my condition, but he told me point-blank that I was already barren, and that a laparoscopy had to be done to create that window of time for me to get pregnant.
I was humbled by what the doctor said, and I prayed for guidance as I knew things had to change. My parents were very supportive, and I am eternally grateful for this. I have always loved kids and known that one day I wanted to be a mom.
Suddenly, I had to prioritize and reflect on what I valued most in life. I found myself making this life-changing phone call to my high school sweetheart who told me he literally fell off his seat while I proposed over the phone. There was no denying we weren’t ready, but we were sure we wanted to have kids and grow old together. And so it was decided. We would be married within a year, working within the timetable my doctor set.
I was scheduled for laparoscopy the week after I made the phone call. The operation was successful, but my condition had to be managed to ensure I would get pregnant. I was put on medication, which made me miss my period for six months, but it wasn’t until the month of my wedding that my cycle resumed. The drugs essentially had me go on menopause. At the age of 22, I was experiencing hot and cold flashes. Boy, were those months difficult! The mixed emotions that came with hormonal changes were quite overwhelming to my fiancé and family. I would get so angry for no reason at all, and these outbursts were uncontrollable.
As our lives took an unexpected turn, we had to focus on wedding preparations and planning our new future together. I had to pass up on the job offer I so wanted, as I could no longer stress myself once I got pregnant.
Ten months later, our little bundle of joy came. I embraced motherhood with all my heart and enjoyed every moment of it. Fortunately, my doctor said only the first pregnancy was “make or break,” and subsequent ones would be easier if my condition was managed. And as I was taking my MBA, we decided to get pregnant again.
It’s funny how we plan our lives so much, only to have fate decide on things anyway. Yielding to destiny was the best thing I did. The reward of having a loving husband and the privilege of caring for and being with my three beautiful children is truly unquantifiable.
(First published in Good Housekeeping Magazine; Blessings section as "Sifted, Shaken, Stable" in November 2008; adapted for use in Female Network)
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