Meetu and Aditya
Aditya and I both grew up in Mumbai – a big city in India. Being from different areas in Mumbai, we both did not know each other growing up. Being a bright/naughty kid in school with a keen interest in science/engineering, Aditya came to the United States to pursue his undergraduate studies. Aditya belongs to a close knit family of four. He is a very loving and caring son to his mom and dad and a very loving elder sibling to his brother, who is four years younger than him. I belong to a very close knit family of five: my mom, dad, sister who’s 3 years older than me, and my brother who’s 4 years younger than me. I did not have many friends while growing up as my family have always been my best friends. My mom and dad always made sure that there was always a very cozy loving fun atmosphere at home, so I never missed having friends growing up until my sister got married and moved away. The sudden vacuum created in my life by her move urged me to come to the United States for a master’s degree.
Aditya and I met at our workplace seven years ago. Our jobs got us to Chicago, and we both loved the big city. Being in the same company, in the same team, common friends at work and outside work, our lives fell together effortlessly. Aditya loves to cook, loves researching science topics, is a fitness freak, soccer player and is a big Hollywood movie fan, I on the other hand am a cleanliness freak, love watching Bollywood movies, love dancing, a big romantic at heart and a big believer of cosmic miracles and spirituality. We complement each just perfectly and have created our own small sweet world to live in. While we were extremely happy, there was always one aspect that disrupted our happy lives.
During ‘my time of the month’, I experienced unbearable pain and extremely heavy bleeding accompanied by nausea and a total lack of appetite. We got married in 2011, in the typical grand Indian way and predictably, our initial attempts to get pregnant were not successful. Post-marriage, my condition progressively worsened to the point that I had to be rushed to the ER almost every month (for almost an entire year) during my cycle due to uncontrollable heavy bleeding and unbearable pain. As I continued to suffer each month, we finally decided to get medical advice. Soon after I was diagnosed with a condition called Adenomyosis, in which the endometrium lining falls outside of the uterus. This condition causes a woman to experience extreme bleeding and intense pain during her ‘time of the month’, and can also lead to infertility. There is no cure for Adenomyosis, and the only way to treat it was to induce an artificial menopause within the woman by inserting an IUD in her uterus which would stop the periods altogether. It was pretty evident that we had to go outside the natural way in order to get on the family way. It was a hard decision, but we decided to start IVF treatments.
As my IVF cycle started, I was extremely concerned that my condition could lead to no viable eggs being harvested. However, to my great joy, they were able to retrieve 12 eggs that resulted in 3 extremely healthy embryos that could be used for implantation. My hopes and dreams were all coming true and could not wait to get pregnant. My mind was filled with beautiful images of my husband taking pictures of me at every stage of my pregnancy, with baby showers where all my friends gather to play those cute little games and get gifts for my unborn baby. I was over the moon and feeling truly blessed again.
My first implantation did not take, however after my second implantation, the doctor confirmed I was pregnant. This was pure and unadulterated joy. I called my husband and could not contain my happiness. It was the most unbelievable feeling I have ever felt. While women with Adenomyosis can bear children, the risk of miscarriage is very high. This is due to the fact that this disease damages the uterine muscles, causing them to lose their elasticity. As the fetus grows, the uterine muscles are unable to expand with it and this leads to a spontaneous abortion or miscarriage. I miscarried after 6 weeks of my being pregnant. Words cannot explain the despair and sadness that fell over me. I was inconsolable. All my hopes were dashed. My underlying condition made sure that I was admitted to the hospital to recover from this miscarriage. We tried another implantation, but that didn’t take. All this time, to facilitate my pregnancy, my IUD had been removed and I was no longer under the protection of my treatment. This led to my worst crash ever. I had to be rushed to the ER in the middle of the night. The pain was unbearable to the point that I could not walk and was vomiting continuously. My bleeding was so bad it soaked through my clothes and the wheelchair. This time the bleeding was unstoppable. The doctors had to do an emergency uterine embolization to stop the bleeding. My platelet levels dropped to dangerously low levels. I was in the hospital for a whole week, my poor husband by my side suffering through each moment with me. This is the first time I have seen him helpless as I cried in pain. This is when the realization hit that I could get pregnant and carry a baby to term. We both realized that my uterus was not capable to carry a child and I had a really difficult time accepting this bitter truth of my life. It is the dream of almost every woman to get pregnant and give birth, and the fact that I will not be one of them has left me deeply saddened.
To fulfill our desire to raise a child of our own and with our DNA, our doctor suggested we look into surrogacy. So we contacted Alternative Reproductive Resources (ARR) in 2016 and were able to match with a great surrogate and were blessed with our first baby boy "Arjun" on July 23, 2017. Little did we know that this joy of becoming parents would last only for a month and we lost our Arjun to Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS) on August 24, 2017. We both were shattered and devastated and our lives uprooted. I also had a hysterectomy in September 2017.
We both are now back with all the positive energy and vibes and have full confidence and faith that the universe definitely wants to see us smiling forever with our beautiful happy healthy long life babies in this lifetime. This is when we contacted ARR again in 2020. We want to be parents more than anything in the entire world. Our families could not be more excited for us to take this step and have been wonderfully supportive through this complicated time in our life.
Meetu and Aditya are recipients of the Deborah Frank Memorial Grant.