Gessie Thompson calls her daughter Nia her miracle baby. Facing insurmountable odds to get pregnant, Thompson battled fibroids and won.
Fibroids are benign tumors of the uterus that can wrap around other organs and sometimes come back after they're removed. Thompson didn't realize she had them until a doctor's visit in 2001.
Armed with more than one doctor's opinion, Thompson had a procedure called a myomectomy to remove the fibroids. But five years later she still couldn't conceive. The fibroids came back.
Then she had another myomectomy in 2010. This time a portion of her small intestine had to be removed, too. Because of internal scarring she was told she'd need IVF to conceive.
Gessie's husband marc was convinced that with a little perseverance they'd be lucky. He called having a baby god's plan.
Cycle after cycle was unsuccessful. Finally the 5th time was the charm. But the battle continued.
At 21 weeks, baby Nia was severely underweight. The fibroids had returned with a vengeance and were siphoning off the fetus' blood supply. Gessie's condition, called fetal growth restriction, was severe. Finally Nia was born via C-section at 32 weeks. She weighed just 2.5 pounds.
Thompson says she realized how many other women struggled with fibroid issues when she wrote an article for Essence Magazine and received an overwhelming response. Now she and her husband have great advice for anyone in a similar situation: don't give up and stay around very positive people.
Gessie Thompson is a fertility coach and the author of the new book "Hope Beyond Fibroids," which chronicles her fertility struggles after multiple surgeries to remove fibroid tumors. July is Uterine Fibroids Awareness Month.