In the spirit of the New Year, I thought I would compile a list of things that 2015 taught me. I hope some of you find these helpful if faced with a similar journey.
- I am not alone in this. 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. That statistic was astounding to me! I know more than 8 couples, and therefore I know of other women going through similar journeys. I have connected with so many women over this issue – friends, friends of friends, women met in the waiting room, couples on infertility forums, etc. What sets us apart from other couples is what brings US together. Sharing my story and hearing theirs reminds me that I can do this.
- I picked the right partner.Not that I didn’t already know this, but my choice to spend my life with Nick has been reconfirmed this past year. He has stuck by me through all of my crazy (and there has been some REAL crazy) days, without judgement. He holds my hand when I am sad, knows not to touch me when I am angry, and always manages to find the silver lining. He helps to keep me from falling apart and I can’t imagine going through this with anyone else!
- It’s OK to FEEL. Throughout most of my journey I have tried to put on a brave face wherever I go. I tried to hide the pain I was feeling. But over the past couple of months I have come to realize that it is OK to feel emotions, and to be open about them. I am allowed to have bad days where I don’t want to talk to anyone. It’s normal to feel jealousy after a pregnancy or birth announcement. Who cares if I want to sit in the bathtub and cry for 20 minutes uninterrupted? It is better to let the emotions out than to keep them bottled up inside. I will not let anyone else tell me how I SHOULD be feeling or how I SHOULD be coping. This is my journey, and I will go about it as I see fit.
- It’s OK to talk about it. The world is always evolving and infertility is not as taboo as it used to be. Thanks to activists and celebrities (shout out to Chrissy Tiegen) talking about the subject more openly, I now feel free enough to share my own story. Starting and sharing this blog has been some of the best therapy for me. We should not be ashamed or scared to talk about this disease. Letting others in has also provided a great support system filled with people praying for us on a daily basis.
- Not everyone is as lucky as we are. Nick and I are lucky enough to be able to fund our dream of having a family. No it hasn’t been easy, we have emptied our savings, received help from our parents, and had to cut back on our spending. But we are able to do this. There are so many others in the same boat that just cannot afford the ghastly expenses of infertility treatments. I hurt for them, and hope that someday soon employers will offer full coverage for infertility treatments. No one should be denied the right to a family.
- Your body will change, even if you aren’t pregnant yet. If you are going through fertility treatments, your body is bound to experience some changes as a result of all the medication and stress. I have gained weight, lost sleep and broken out like a hormonal teenager. And don’t even get me started on the ever-fluctuating size of my boobs. I am trying to embrace these changes (as hard as it might be to buy “fat pants”), and to look at the big picture.
- Enjoy the time before baby. Most of my time is spent completely consumed by the idea of having a baby, but I won’t let that dictate my life. I have still found time to take vacations (Mexico!), go out on the weekends with friends, splurge on the cute purse I want and take advantage of being spontaneous. Once a baby does come along, opportunities like that will be few and far between. I am going to enjoy it while I can!
- This is not the end of the road. Finances aside, we still have several more options to consider, and one of those options will bring us our child, biological or not. We will have a baby.
- Don’t let the lives of others dictate how you are living yours. For the longest time, I set my expectations for my family based on those around me. Most of my friends have already had children, or are currently pregnant, and I felt so far behind in life. I didn’t want to be the last one to have a baby! I thought if I was last, it wouldn’t be as special, or would be overshadowed by all of the existing babies and pregnancies. But now I realize this is my life to live, and we can write our own rules. I am married to a wonderful man, we have a home, two dogs and great jobs. What comes next, and when, is up to us. In the meantime, we have so much to be proud of and thankful for.
- Don’t let “trying” (or lack of) impact your relationship. I will admit, there were times when the planned baby making seemed like a chore (OK, it was all the time). It was not fun, and it was so scheduled. There were a few months when we had scheduled it for every other day! Now we are faced with not being allowed to “try” because of surgeries, transfers, swollen ovaries, etc. But we do not let that get in the way of our relationship. Besides my occasional bat shit crazy moments, I don’t believe our relationship has suffered at all. We love each other more, still spend a lot of time together, and are more open about our feelings. Just remember to always be there for your partner, because a strong relationship is very important. It could be the one guarantee you have throughout the entire process!
2015 was quite an eventful year for us. We went through four rounds of clomid, had an HSG, two semen analysis, met with our RE for the first time, had a cervical dilatation, went through our first round of IVF and began our second round of IVF with egg retrieval for FET. It has been so busy and I have learned so much. I look forward to the New Year, with (hopefully) fewer procedures and more ultrasounds (because there will be a baby on the way, of course).
Cheers to a fruitful 2016 filled with babies, love & laughter! xoxox