This post is dedicated to National Infertility Awareness Week.
All week long I have been thinking and debating about writing a post. It's personal and quite frankly not very easy for me to talk about. Well, it's the last day of NIAW and I decided to take the plunge.
Did you know 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility?
I sure didn't until I realized that our journey was going to take this path.
Aaron and I got married in 2006. Everyone knows right after marriage, the next question is..."So, when are you having children?" We both had decided that we wanted to enjoy our marriage and each other for a couple of years before children entered our lives. Little did I know how long of a road that would take us.
Late 2008/early 2009 we decided that we would like to add to our family. Honestly, being naive I thought it would happen the first month. Well, the first month passed and I thought it would for sure happen the second month. Each month I would get my hopes up only to see a big fat negative on the pregnancy test. I remembered my doctor mentioned it can take a healthy couple under 35 a year of trying before they considered any red flags. So, after over a year of no success, I scheduled an appointment to see my doctor. Once we had a visit, she referred me to another clinic.
My hands were shaking when I called the clinic up to request to been seen for infertility issues. Those words are scary to say. My emotions were raw. The woman on the phone asked me if I had a preference for a doctor. I mentioned I would like a female doctor, and the first doctor she said was "Dr. Mericle." PERFECT! Sold! I love her name and also believe in miracles, so it was meant to be.
Dr. Mericle instantly made me feel at ease. She explained the steps we would need to take to get more answers. After countless doctors visits, blood work, and analysis we had a diagnosis. We had a triple threat....Annovulatory, hormonal deficiency, and also Male Factor Infertility. I am not going to go into detail on what all of that means, but essentially we were told we would likely need medical intervention to have a baby.
After finding this out, I was scared, angry, frustrated, and sad. Aaron was extremely supportive and was a shoulder for me to cry on. I didn't want to tell anyone. It was just too hard. Every time I talked about it I would cry. But after much thought we decided to share this news with a handful of family members. I also shared this news to a couple of friends that I knew would be supportive. No one else knew about what was going on and I wanted it to remain that way. Why? Because family planning is very personal and I am an extremely private person.
I quickly learned the ropes of insurance. My insurance would only cover the diagnosis and everything else would be out of pocket. Infertility treatment is expensive, very expensive. Aaron's insurance was much better but still didn't cover everything. I was told that getting diagnosed with infertility is not "life-changing" by our insurances, so I would have to wait until open enrollment to switch. Well, it sure felt life-changing to me! We use missed Aaron's open enrollment a month earlier, and it ultimately meant that we would have to wait to start treatments for another year.
In the meantime, I decided to research, research, research. There had to be other alternative solutions while we were waiting. Aaron started on fertility vitamins, and I started going to a chiropractor that specialized in assisting woman experiencing infertility. I also started focusing on my diet and vitamin intake. I stuck to my plan. I went to the chiropractor 3 times a week, took my vitamins 2-3 times a day, and increased my protein. For the first time in a long time I felt as if I was in control of something. We prayed as a couple each day for a family. By doing all of this it made me feel as if I was FINALLY in control. After 3-4 months of sticking to this routine, my cycle started to get more normal and I was really hopeful. But, months kept going by and still no baby.
Now lets fast forward to December 2010. Aaron and I were hosting the Ugly Christmas sweater party at our house and the night before we were cleaning and getting everything set up. I knew I would be drinking the next night and thought I needed to be safe and take a quick pregnancy test. I was prepared to get disappointed since that is what always happens. Well, the digital test kept blinking and blinking and blinking. It felt like an eternity and out of the blue the words "PREGNANT" appeared. To say I freaked out would be an understatement. I did not deliver the positive pregnancy test in a cute fashion like many do. I was screaming, crying, and shaking while yelling for him to come upstairs. Aaron thought there was a mouse or fire upstairs. He ran upstairs and just stared at the test. He was beaming but saying "Are you kidding me?!?" Nope. Not all all. Our prayers were answered.
I contacted Dr. Mericle right away. I remember her telling me that we were so blessed and this was a miracle. She was so surprised this happened without medical intervention. Since I was high risk, I was going to be monitored closely. There was a scare at first, but we quickly realized that I was carrying a healthy little baby!
We were blessed on August 23, 2011 with our little miracle that Dr. Mericle delivered. :) Evelyn is the light of our life and we are so in love with this little lady.
Aaron and I would love to have more children, and we have no idea what our future journey will be. It is very likely that we will have to have medical intervention, but miracles happen and they can happen again.
I know this post is long, but I want to share my story with you because you likely may know someone that is experiencing infertility. Or, you may not even realize that someone close to you is experiencing it because many of us experience this disease silently. I suffered in silence for so long prior to letting others know. I still have a hard time talking about our struggles, unless it is on my terms.
Thank you to those family members and friends that were so supportive during our struggle to have our baby. Your kinds words and listening ear meant the world to us.
When I share my story many people have said, "I don't know what to say." Guess what? You don't have to say a thing. Just listen. Be supportive. That's it. Advice is not needed unless you are a doctor or you have personally experienced infertility.
Also, think before you speak. Next time you want to ask someone, "So, when are you going to have children?" Think twice. It is a personal question and you have no idea what could be going on. I was guilty of asking others this question before, but I now realize the family planning is personal and it is not my business unless someone decides to share it with me.
My advice to anyone that might be struggling with infertility. Don't be a silent sufferer. You will be surprised by how many people will open up to you regarding their struggles to have a family. Remember 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. Rely on those you can trust to listen to your story and know that miracles happen every day.
To be continued....