Rachel James, a 38-year-old entrepreneur from Buford, Georgia, and her husband, Terrence, welcomed their daughter, Reyna, in August 2019. Their beautiful baby girl is the rainbow after the storm they braved in order to become parents. “A year into the marriage, we noticed that we weren’t getting pregnant,” Rachel remembers. “I went to the doctor to see what was going on. That’s when [I discovered that] I had ten fibroids.” Though her physician maintained that the fibroids were harmless, Rachel insisted on getting them removed to increase her chances of getting pregnant . Over the course of three years, she underwent three operative hysteroscopies to remove the fibroids, which had grown back after each procedure.
After the emotional toll of trying to conceive naturally, Rachel and Terrence realized that they needed medical intervention. “We went through five fertility clinics until we found one that was right for us, because I was very big on a compassionate bedside manner and customer service,” Rachel says. Her first four rounds of IUI were unsuccessful. Though the recurring fibroids hadn’t responded to surgical treatment, on the fifth try in December 2018 Rachel did conceive.
Throughout the pregnancy, she suffered with complications, including cysts and pain due to three fibroids surrounding her placenta and one underneath her uterus. “I was on bed rest for the first 14 weeks and was at the doctor three times a week for my entire pregnancy,” she says. Rachel tried to remain resilient as she fought for her miracle baby, but the medical challenges got to her. “I lost faith,” she says. “But my husband had enough hope for both of us. He was constantly praying for me [and reminding me], ‘We are so close. We cannot quit.’”
The seeds of faith the couple had planted sprouted a mighty blessing when their daughter, Reyna, was born healthy. Looking back at her journey, Rachel hopes her story will encourage women struggling with fertility issues to treat themselves with care. “I felt inadequate while going through this,” she explains. “But I had to realize that we’re human, we’re flawed, and everything is not going to work perfectly every time. I had to give myself grace.”
This originally appeared as part of a feature article inside the March/April 2020 issue of ESSENCE