This week, April 22-28, is National Infertility Awareness Week and "Don't Ignore" is this year's theme. I think this is such a wonderful thing, to spread the word about infertility and make people aware that many more people suffer with it than you would even imagine. This week, I will be sharing some of my friends' stories about infertility, and I hope you'll stay tuned and read them all. It's an emotional, heartbreaking issue that needs to be recognized. National Infertility Awareness Week was formed to make people aware that they aren't alone. If you are suffering from infertility of any kind, you are not alone.
I debated on whether or not to share my story here. My story is so incredibly minute compared to some stories I've heard and I'm not one to get personal about this stuff, especially on a public site…but the point of awareness is to share, so I am here to share. NIAW encourages everyone to not ignore opportunities to talk about infertility, so here I go….
When we were trying to conceive our first child, I had grand plans to get pregnant in July and have a Spring baby. I read up on how to prepare my body for optimal conditions and got off of birth control and all that jazz. I joined a site called Fertility Friend to chart my cycles and then the wait began. July came and went….then August…..then September. I was getting frustrated. Three months seems so extremely long when you're trying to get pregnant with no luck.
I found the message boards on Fertility Friend and began learning more and talking with others going through the same thing. I "met" women who had been trying for YEARS and boy did that put everything into perspective. Some women have been through so much pain and suffering, through many miscarriages, failed, expensive procedures like IVF and IUI and even women who had waited to get pregnant for so long that they were now waiting to adopt. My heart ached for them. I prayed for these women each and every night, and of course, prayed for my own little miracle.
More months passed and I spoke to my doctor at my yearly checkup. She said that they couldn't do anything until we had been trying for a year. But because of my charting my cycles, I knew something wasn't right. My cycles were becoming so irregular and I was waiting for an end to that cycle for a couple of months. The doctor gave me something to end my cycle, but said that was basically all she could do at the time. *sigh* I felt so discouraged after that doctor's visit. I realize that a lot of women come in after a few months and complain about not getting pregnant right away, but I just felt that the doctor was cold and impersonal and frankly, thought I was an idiot.
December came and went…..and I opened up about my issues with a coworker. As luck would have it, she was going through exactly the same thing. And it was so freeing to talk to her and commiserate with her. We laughed about all the ridiculous things that we tried, like a saliva microscope to see if we were fertile. Seriously, the things we women do to get pregnant is pretty insane at times!
Well, my sweet coworker asked if she could tell her mother, who worked in OB/GYN, about my problems. I reluctantly said yes and within a few days, I had an appointment with her. She and an infertility nurse took the time to listen to me and NOT brush me off. They realized that I knew what I was talking about and that I had been tracking my cycles, doing my homework, and they made a plan for us. They gave me some more of the hormones to bring an end to another extremely long cycle and said that we could try Clomid. This basically meant that on days 5-10 of my cycle, I would take a pill and it would make my body do what it was supposed to do…ovulate. Well, it was a hard time for me because of the side effects. I was cranky, but my awesome husband was supportive. The Clomid made my ovaries ache and my body extremely bloated. I went in for a progesterone test 7 days after ovulation. It was a 6. My heart sank. I'm not positive, but I think they say that they want the progesterone number to be over 13 with Clomid. (it's been a few years, so I've forgotten!) I was certain I wasn't pregnant, but the sweet infertility nurse told me not to lose hope. Ten days after ovulation, I had a feeling when I woke up one morning. I took a pregnancy test and it was positive! I woke up my husband and I cried tears of joy. I couldn't believe it. We were pregnant. And that precious, miracle baby was Baby Captain Fussybuckets.
So all in all, we only struggled with long cycles, not ovulating, and played the waiting game for only 7 months. But those were honestly the longest, most emotional, rollercoaster 7 months of my life. And when I think about women who have struggled for YEARS…..my heart just breaks. It is so unfair that any woman should have to go through that. It's so unfair that couples try to conceive for years and never have their own biological child. I thank God every single day for Captain Fussybuckets. And I thank God every single day for Baby D, who was conceived only four months, but just as much a precious miracle. We are EXTREMELY lucky and blessed and I count my blessing every single day. Even when I'm having a bad day, all I have to do is think about those feelings I felt during those 7 months and I kiss my sweet babies and thank God for them. I am indebted to those three amazing women who helped me get pregnant….my coworker friend, the infertility nurse, and the nurse practitioner who were all so sweet and supportive and took the time to listen. If I hadn't gone to them and if they hadn't listened to me, it could've been a lot longer before I had a child. There is a doctor or nurse out there who will listen to you, don't put up with people who ignore you…at all.
If you are dealing with infertility of any magnitude, know that there is someone out there going through exactly the same thing and there are people who will listen to you. If you are keeping it to yourself, please reach out to someone and talk about it. Infertility DOES hurt and it's hard to live with, and talking to someone helps so much, even if it's talking to people you don't know on message boards. Don't ignore your feelings.
I am still friends with some of the same women I met while trying to get pregnant with Captain Fussybuckets. These women and I have a special bond and I am overjoyed when they finally have their family…whether it's through natural conception, IVF, IUI, donor eggs, or even adoption. I am so thrilled to have met these incredible women who mean so much to me who were there in my darkest hours.
Here are a couple of helpful links for a basic understanding of infertility and information about National Infertility Awareness Week. There is tons of information about everything infertility related! Don't forget to come back here, to Life With Captain Fussybuckets, to read another story from other women who have dealt or is dealing with infertility. Thank you, if you've read this one! If you'd like to share your story here, please email me at firstname.lastname@example.org.