April 29, 2010

National Infertility Awareness Week

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week.  While I am so thankful that there is a week to spread awareness and knowledge about infertility, I am saddened that there even needs to be a week about infertility awareness.  It makes me so sad to think about all of the women that are suffering from infertility and that are still waiting to start a family.  I thought I would share a bit more of my struggle with infertility during this important week.

In 2008, after several complications, I had surgery and was diagnosed stage 4 endometriosis.  While starting a family had not been on our radar prior to my diagnosis, it became a priority when realizing what we were actually facing.  And so began our journey.  We tried on our own for a bit without success and then pulled out the big guns and scheduled a consult with a fertility specialist in town.

We began with test after test to see if we were battling anything other than just my endometriosis and thankfully, we were not.  We started treatment about 2 months after our initial consult with a fertility specialist.  Over the course of a year, I went through three failed IUI cycles.  There is nothing worse than spending thousands of dollars each month on medication, blood work, ultrasounds, and appointments only to be crushed at the end of a cycle when you find out that you are, yet again, not pregnant.  Repeat this month after month and it starts to wear on you.

After our third IUI cycle failed, my doctor decided that it was in our best interest to move on to In-vitro fertilization.  I was on board instantly as I was at the point where I would do anything to have a baby.  We saved for a few months as our insurance does not cover any type of fertility treatment and IVF runs about $15,000 an attempt.  In June of 2009 we started our first IVF cycle.

After surviving the process, I was elated to discover that we were officially expecting.  However, my excitement was short lived.  Less than two weeks after finding out we would finally have our baby, we learned that it was just as quickly going to be taken away from us.  I was now an unfortunate member of both the infertility category and the miscarriage survivor category - both titles I never thought I would hold at the age of 24.

After taking a substantial amount of time away from treatment to heal mentally and physically, Alex and I again decided to attempt our last round of IVF.  I started my medication while in Hawaii in November 2009 - what a relaxing start to a very stressful process!  The entire cycle was easier tht the time before.  I knew what to expect and I had already reached rock bottom - I didn't have any further to fall which made everything seem more relaxed.  I also was guarded and did not have the excitement and hope that I had during our first attempt.

On December 18, 2009 I saw what I was looking for - a positive pregnancy test.  I was very excited but very hesitant to get my hopes up.  After several rounds of blood work to monitor my pregnancy hormones, I was finally confident that I was indeed pregnant and things were looking much better than the first go around.

Everything was going well until I hit 9 weeks.  We dealt with some significant complications that I am just not ready to open up about.  Thankfully, sweet Kate was safe and sound and stuck around! 

As I sit here typing this, my little girl is kicking away and reminding me that she is a fighter and that her momma is a survivor of the painful label that is known as infertility and pregnancy loss.

I am so thankful to be on the other side of this horrific journey but, I am reminded daily that so many women are not blessed to experience the joys of the "other side".  There are currently 7.3 million Americans that are battling infertility.  If you have a spare moment, please take some time to educate yourself about infertility and treatment.  If you know someone struggling with infertility, send them a note to let you know they care, give then an extra hug, send them an e-mail - anything that will let them know you are pulling for them.  It really will mean the world!

And, if you are a Mom - squeeze your babies a bit tighter tonight, love them a little bit harder, and know how blessed you are to experience the joys of motherhood!

"He settles the barren women in her home as the happy mother of children.  Praise the LORD."  Psalms 113:9


Witty Gal said...

Oh, this post makes my heart sad for one of my best friends going through this struggle. But, your story brings me hope and inspiration that she too will be able to blog about a miracle baby one day. Britt and I are so incredibly happy for you and Alex!!

Erin said...

you make me cry :( but i am so glad both you and I have what we always wanted, can't wait for Kate to get here :)

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