A 31-year-old woman who was born without a womb has shared how she struggles to have her own children even though she can never get pregnant.
Jaclyn Misch from Michigan was only a teen when she was diagnosed with Mayer-Rokitansky-Kuster-Hauser (MRKH) Type 1 – a rare condition that affects the reproductive system of females.
This means that she was born with an incomplete vagina and without a cervix or uterus.
“I was born without a uterus, cervix and an underdeveloped vaginal canal,” Misch shared. “At 16 years old, I really wanted to pretend that none of this was happening, so that’s exactly what I did.
“I’d been trying so hard to fit in with my high school friends, but as fate would have it, my diagnosis had a different path planned for me.
“I was now one in 5,000 women around the world diagnosed with MRKH Syndrome. The fundamental biological traits that made me a woman, my self-identity and the plans for my future had shifted
“I didn’t feel the same as other females and I frankly still don’t. I had to learn to become comfortable in my own skin again.”
Misch’s condition has caused some challenges for her. “As far as s*xual intercourse goes, I think it’s important to preface this by saying everything is ‘normal’ down there — on the outside.
“But girls with MRKH have a shallow vaginal canal, meaning in order to have s*xual intercourse you need to self-dilate (stretch the skin with a dilator for 20 minutes, twice a day by applying consistent pressure).”
Misch said she kept quiet about her condition but things changed when she met her now-husband in 2011.
“He encouraged me to enter my first pageant (Miss Michigan USA 2013) and I won,” she said. “I truly feel like I won as a way to use the platform to spread awareness about MRKH syndrome.”
Misch and Jonathan tied the knot in 2015. “My diagnosis affects our relationship emotionally in our journey to parenthood,” she expressed.
“Seeing our friends get pregnant so fast and easily will always strike a small chord in my mind. Of course, I’m happy for them but always wishing to have that ability myself.”
The couple started going through multiple rounds of IVF to harvest eggs that they could fertilize with Jonathan’s sperm and implant in a gestational carrier.
“After our three failed embryo transfers and parting ways with our previous gestational carrier — I was a mess,” Misch said.
“Instead of the path to parenthood being joyful and happy — ours is stressful, emotional, and draining both mentally and financially,” she went on.
“Our journey to parenthood is by far the most challenging. For the longest time, I’ve seen PGS “chromosomally normal” embryos taking on the first time.
“I’ve had (the carriers of) friends with MRKH get pregnant on their first transfer with their high-quality embryos — so naturally, I thought we would too as our embryos were perfectly normal.
“But that wasn’t the case — three times in a row. The waiting period is also extremely difficult. Between transfers, waiting for the two-week pregnancy blood test, building up excitement only to be completely deflated with the negative results.”
The couple parted ways with their first gestational carrier and when they managed to find a new one, they have experienced even more loss.
Misch received the heartbreaking news that their carrier miscarried at 20 weeks and their daughter, Harper Kelly Misch, was delivered stillborn. It was the ‘darkest 24 hours of our lives,’ she said.
“She had Jon’s lips and my eye shape and toes. We’re so grateful for the time we were able to spend with her in our delivery room, admiring every inch of her sweet little soul,” she said.
“Immense sadness & heartbreak, but so much love. The soft smile she had on her face will be cemented in my memory forever — a reminder that the first thing she felt was the warmth and light of God’s love. She only knew love.”
“Currently, we have a new gestational carrier and are beyond grateful that she and her husband have volunteered to help us start a family,” Misch said.
“I’ve found a lot of connection and support with other women via Instagram and it’s been so helpful, mentally, knowing I’m not alone in this journey to parenthood.”
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