Saturday, April 25, 2015

National Infertility Awareness Week - My Infertility Journey

Every year there is a very short week that comes and goes that is frequently not talked about by people or in the media for that matter except for a few small things during this one week. It is infertility awareness week. This past week it has been so sad to watch infertility awareness be overshadowed by transgender awareness. Everyday this week The Today Show has done a transgender story without paying any attention to the millions of women around the world struggling to have a baby to complete their family. Because it is so rarely discussed, majority of people struggling with infertility keep it to themselves because they are almost ashamed or embarrassed as if it is something they did wrong. It is a genetic illness, just like cancer or diabetes and I wish people were more open to talk about it. I myself have struggled with infertility and have been blessed by God with 2 beautiful girls. I am still part of the infertility family and hope that one day my story will provide hope to someone struggling or at least reach out to me for advice or help during this difficult time.

David and I decided we were ready to have kids 5 years ago. Like any naive girl who was taught over and over how easy it was to get pregnant, I had it all planned out to the month of when I wanted my baby born and off we started on the baby making. Well it didn't happen that month or the next one and I was shocked. I had a friend give me a fertility book so I read it and started doing all different things. Charting my temperatures for a few months, doing ovulation predictor kits, handstands afterwards :), you name it. About 10 months later, I went to the doctor and started some testing to see if something was genetically wrong. Of course David and I checked out and seemed perfect, so I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. A few months later, we decided after 14 months of trying it was time to try some IUI's. On average if an IUI is going to work it will work within 3, max of 4 times. After 3 unsuccessful ones, I lost hope and decided to see a fertility specialist. The wait was a month to be seen by the Dr. so I decided what the heck lets try one more IUI while we wait. By what I now know was a miracle, I got pregnant and was blessed with my sweet baby Delainey Marie.

Fast forward to a year after Delainey was born, and we decided lets try again for another baby just in case it takes awhile again. I was hopeful it wouldn't though since a lot of people who struggle with their first have no trouble after that once there body gets into the baby-making mode. Of course we struggled again. After only 6 months I decided lets do what we know works and jump into the IUIs. 4 IUIs later and still not pregnant. Time to see a fertility specialist. It took 2 months to do all the testing and meet with him. At our appointment he went over all our results and said everything looks good so the only thing I think it could be is endometriosis. The problem with it though is you can't tell if you have it without doing surgery. I decided let's go through with surgery and find out once in for all. I did in fact have it and I had stage 3 out of 4 stages, 4 being the worst. He burned all the scar tissue off and we had a 6 month window until it grew back to get pregnant. Back to the IUI's! 4 more unsuccessful IUIs, and it was time to make plans for our next step which was IVF. I scheduled all the stuff for IVF and thought let's do one more IUI before its IVF time and maybe a miracle will happen again. It didn't! :( So last July, I went through the entire IVF process and implanted one embryo into my uterus and had the longest 2 week wait of my life to find out if I was pregnant. Thank the Lord, I was and just delivered my 2nd miracle baby Blakely Ann.

Moral of the story, infertility doesn't define you and it can be overcome. Just because it is not the way you envisioned having babies, does not mean it is wrong and you should give up hope. When I want to go back to work, my dream job would be to become a infertility counselor to help people understand the process and feel free to ask any questions. It takes someone who walked in the same shoes to fully understand how it feels and what all you are going through. I was lucky enough to have a friend who went through it before me to talk to and I hope that people who undergo this journey in the future will feel comfortable coming to me for support and help.

I do need to add the most important thing that helped get me through these past 5 years without losing hope was my faith and relationship with the Lord. When things seemed hopeless or I questioned why me, I often looked to a few key verses that helped me keep a positive attitude.
The verses are: Romans 5:3-4, Jeremiah 29:11, Joshua 1:9, Philippians 4: 6-7
The story of Job really resonated with me and changed my outlook on this entire infertility journey. What if God put this obstacle in my life because he knew I was strong enough to overcome it,  just like he allowed Job to endure such pain because he knew Job would stay strong in his faith no matter what the circumstances. What they says to me is I am a fighter who's strong will and determination won't let anything stop her from achieving her goals. It is almost a compliment from God that he knew I could handle this. It's funny that all the people I know who are infertile are some pretty fantastic ladies! Thanks for the compliment God!

What seemed like a horrible thing, has actually made me a stronger better woman who's faith and relationship with God has grown over the years. I know for a fact this had made me a better mother who appreciates my children more than I would have had it been that easy to get pregnant. I try my best to appreciate all the moments and when frustrated remember how badly I wanted this when struggling with infertility and to never take these babies for granted! I hope that everyone who is dealing with this will one day get to experience what it's like to be a mom, the best gift in the world! I hope this post can help just one person during their time of difficulty and know that you are not alone in this journey!

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