Apr 26, 2017

How Infertility Has Shaped My Life - NIAW 2017

This week is NIAW, or National Infertility Awareness Week.

To be honest, I didn't really want to participate. Being defined as an infertile and stumbling down this path to parenthood has, at times, broken me down so far, that sometimes I just want to pretend like it never happened.

Sometimes I would rather go back to before my biological clock started ticking so loudly that it all but consumed my every thought.
To go back to our wedding day.
When life was a lot simpler.
Back before fear and failure didn't try to choke me out in the middle of the night.

My husband and I have been together since 2005 and were married in 2010.
Shortly after my grandfather died in 2012, is when that itch started.
I wanted to be a mom.
I wanted us to be parents.

We started trying to conceive in 2012 and our rocky climb to parenthood has been the forefront of our lives ever since.
From going the old-fashioned way for about a year, to preliminary testing, temping, and Clomid...nothing gave us even a squinter of a positive pregnancy test.

We were referred to an RE (reproductive endocrinologist) by late 2014, with the hope that an IUI would do the trick. While prepping for our first IUI, our doctor suggested we get genetic testing, because more knowledge can only be good.

Our results both came back positive as carriers for MCAD.
The chances of us both carrying this gene and ending up together is roughly 1 in 289,000,000.
The chances of us birthing a baby with MCAD was 1 in 4.
IUI was quickly cancelled and we were fast tracked to IVF with genetic embryo testing.

IVF was a mess.
We spent all of 2016 working against the clock. On top of our genetic issues, I was also diagnosed with lower ovarian reserve, higher FSH, and low antral follicle count.
After three retrieval rounds, we only managed to collect five blastocysts that were mature enough for PGD and PGS testing.
Of those five, only two were considered normal.
We completed two transfers.
The first one failed. Beta was negative.
The second? Positive.
I was pregnant for 10 weeks with our little baby boy, and then miscarried at Christmas.

2017 has been spent healing, physically and emotionally.
I have been working very hard to regain a sense of self that I seemed to lose along the way, over the last five years.
I have been in therapy to work through all the emotions I am having.
My husband and I have been on rocky ledges at times.
Talk of divorce has been a very real conversation.

We know we are stronger than this disease.
We want US back.
We are reconnecting in ways I haven't felt in years.

It's not linear. It's very bumpy and we have both crumbled and rebuilt over and over and over again.
Work and life have not been rosy either, and we are doing our best to keep putting one foot in front of the other...even if it's slow going.

Infertility can easily rob you of the joys in life.
I am learning to sow it into my soul, rather than laser focus on it while letting everything else that makes me ME slip through my fingertips.
I am working to find better balance, to live in the day rather than focus on all the planning that has never come to life yet.

I don't know if I will ever be a mom to an earth-side baby.
I am growing weary of fighting for it.
When I set out to become a mom, I never dreamed I would be up against such a battle.
It's like a tsunami. The force against my dream has been so rough, and I am not really a good swimmer.
Sometimes I don't know if it's better to let go or keep fighting.
I have found true joy again in times away from thoughts of never becoming a mom.
Life WOULD be a lot easier.
I think.

But that nagging regret...that I might regret not trying again, is what keeps me perked to keep going.
That maybe this chapter isn't over yet.
Either way, I am learning to be able to accept both routes.
That whether or not I am a mom does not wholly define me as a person.

I will keep writing about my life, to spread awareness that women and couples in similar situations are not weird and are most definitely not alone.
It's okay to not feel like you want to be a warrior against this disease forever.
And it's okay if you're at that point of taking Infertility on by the horns.
I know I sure as Hell was last year.

If you're still reading, thank you for participating in my journey so far.

One of the beautiful things about this disease is the community I have connected with.
Those of you in the midst of fertility treatments, or with an earth-side baby in your arms...you can help.

There is a website dedicated to documenting real-life stories and surveys about our treatments called FertilityIQ. I took the time a couple months ago to rate and detail my journey with Dr. Jacobs.

During NIAW, FertilityIQ is offering a $10,000 grant for completing a survey of your doctor and facility. This helps so much when trying to decide what to do when you are faced with fertility treatments. I blindly chose Dr. Jacobs, and I'm so glad that just kind of fell into my lap, but not everyone is so lucky.

This website helps put real-life information at our disposal...and it includes everything from the specialist themselves, all the way down to the admin staff, labs, pricing...the whole deal.

If you complete your survey by the end of the day April 27, 2017, you are entered for a chance to win that grant. The grant can be used for future treatments, or gifted to someone in need.

The survey can be completed HERE.
Details about the grant are HERE.

Again, thank you for following along for so many years. I cannot see the final destination for this journey just yet, but I hope to better incorporate the bad with the good moving forward.

Take care, XO

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