Infertility. Hmmm. For me, that’s a multilayered, crazy, long series of stories, emotions, and experiences.
I started talking about infertility before I truly knew I was infertile; when it just was an abstract fear.
I documented the process of finding out I had endometriosis on this blog. It was a rollercoaster that involved seeing numerous doctors until eventually, in 2011, a laparoscopy revealed I had severe Stage III endometriosis. We had been casually trying to get pregnant for a couple of years before my endometriosis diagnosis in the hopes that maybe it would randomly happen. We all know how that turned out.
After the endometriosis diagnosis came a period of trying naturally, followed by visits to a naturopath, an acupuncturist, and a couple of different reproductive endocrinologists. There was one IUI, two IVFs, the birth of my daughter, followed by another IVF, and a chemical pregnancy. In between all of that, there were a few mental breakdowns, a diagnosis of generalized anxiety disorder (me), depression (me), and Hashimoto’s thyroiditis (me).
Our most recent IVF cycle was supposed to bring us resolution. Instead, it has brought up more questions than I ever could’ve imagined. It has torn me up and sent me back to therapy. We are healing and trying to figure out what comes next. I am learning to accept a future where our daughter is an only child. I am working on trying to really be present for my daughter and my husband.
So what do I want others to know about infertility?
- I want them to know how hard it truly is. Duh. But, it really is hard. However hard you might think it is – times that by ten. And then times it by ten more for each year that goes by that you are trying, but don’t get pregnant.
- I want them to know that everyone’s story of infertility is different. My infertility is due to the fact that I have endometriosis. I was in a fertility doctor’s office at age 28. I was young and didn’t wait too long to try to have kids.
- I want others currently struggling with infertility to know that while infertility is common (1 in 8 couples have fertility issues) it is still okay to feel alone, scared, isolated, and rejected at times.
Infertility is exhausting. It ruins self esteem. It costs a lot of money. It’s often not covered by insurance. The list goes on. I read stories all the time of couples in the trenches of infertility for years. Some never experience pregnancy. Some end up adopting. (Please, don’t ever tell someone infertile to “just adopt”!) Some decide to live their lives without children. All personal decisions that are mostly likely made with heavy hearts and not without a lot of tears shed.
Bottomline: If I could choose, I wouldn’t choose to be infertile. I’m deeply, madly, in love with my little girl. But, infertility is a hard road to travel and there’s no getting around that.