A post on Sunday? I know its pretty rare around these parts but I feel called to dive into a theme this week.
This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (#NIAW) and this year's theme is "You Are Not Alone", as an infertility fighter for over 6 years I cannot tell you how helpful it is to know that I am not the only one. There is so much more research out there being done and with the internet and social media our voices are coming out and we are starting to be heard!! Chances are that you know at least ONE person who is fighting infertility. One in Eight couples are affected by this disease and so many are suffering silently.
Through the blogging world I have come across so many strong women who are sharing their struggles (and miracles) with infertility. Being able to "talk" with them and share our stories, feelings, emotions, trials, and hurt has been so healing for myself. Just knowing that there are other women out there going through a similar struggle and suffering losses along with me has given me a sense of community and strength. Of course in a perfect world I wouldn't be a part of this community and infertility wouldn't exist. I believe that going through this disease has made me a stronger person and also a more empathetic person.
Today I want to share my story in a condensed form. You can read the detailed version here.
My husband, Thomas, and I were married August 8, 2008. We knew that we wanted a family and talked about it while we were dating. We discussed that we would like to be married a full year before having a child but at the same time were ready to start our family. We started to seriously try in May 2009 and after nearly 9 months of no success we started to seek medical help. Of course they won't really do much until its been 12 months so we had to wait until May 2010 until they would make any treatment decisions. In July 2010 we decided to switch doctors. Our new doctor had me go in for an HSG that showed my tubes were "clear". Then a month later we started on Clomid. We got pregnant on our 3 cycle with Clomid in October 2010. We were ecstatic but kept the good news to ourselves since we are pessimists. Then at 6 weeks I had severe lower abdominal cramping and bleeding. At our doc appointment she let us know that my bloodwork had come back irregular and I was most likely going to miscarry. At 8 weeks I had more cramping that let to me fainting from the pain and a visit to the doc the following day. It was then we learned I had an ectopic pregnancy and my right fallopian tube had ruptured, requiring immediate surgery on December 6, 2010. We were advised to wait 3 cycles before trying again. After that we did three more cycles of Clomid with 2 IUIs that were unsuccessful. In December 2011 we started the adoption process. Then on March 5, 2012 I had our second miscarriage at 4 weeks and 3 days. We continued trying while going through the adoption process. On January 10, 2013 at 11pm I experience severe abdominal cramping similar to what was experienced in November 2010. We called the doctor and she made room in her schedule for the following day. After bloodwork and ultrasounds it was determined I had another ectopic pregnancy, which was weird because I didn't even know that I was 6 weeks pregnant. Luckily since it was caught early on, there was no rupture but the baby was gone. We waited the recommended 3 cycles and continued trying. We brought our adopted daughter home in May 2013. Then in September 2013 I took a pregnancy test. It was positive!! But then I started bleeding. I had bloodwork done and it can back very irregular and a week later all my pregnancy symptoms disappeared and I experienced severe lower back pain and according to my internet research that was a sign of miscarriage. At the end of October 2013 my pregnancy tests were negative. We have continued to try on our own since and each cycle I am presented with yet another negative pregnancy test.
The unfortunate thing about Infertility is that so many of us suffer and fight it alone. It is not a topic I readily discuss with others but I am in the trenches of the battle every single day. I don't think that a day has passed since November 2010 that I haven't been overwhelmed with emotion about this fight. I know that I am not alone and there are so many other women (and men) who are fighting this same battle. I don't have all the answers, hell I don't think I have any answers, but I know the pain. I feel it every single day. One thing I believe is that if we make this conversation become commonplace and we talk about it openly and honestly we can bring awareness to this disease. And maybe, just maybe, if we speak loud enough our voices will be heard. Our pain will be realized and understood. Our disease will be thought of as a health issue and Health Insurance companies will see the risk and cover our treatments. I know that is wishful thinking but the only thing that makes our Battle of the Disease of Infertility is the sting that we have to PAY OUT OF POCKET for all of our fucking treatments and it ain't cheap ya'll.
So if you do one thing this week, I am asking you to be mindful when talking about growing a family or you can talk about your own personal journey with Infertility. Let's raise awareness of this disease. Let's come together and support each other.