I am so happy to be writing about my story here on DeNae’s blog. You see, I’m one of the lucky ones… one of the women who have escaped the too long journey of infertility, the heartache, the sorrow, the pain, the misery, the depression and the anger. For some reason, I’ve been freed from all of that, but many, many, of my friends have not.
Rather than fill you in on the specifics of my particular story (I’ll send you over to my blog for that: Two Hearts and One Dream), I want this guest post to be more about infertility in general and specifically, what (actually, who!) got me through. I will say this though: I struggled with infertility for three years. I endured three IUI’s (intra-uterine insemination), four IVF’s (in-vitro fertilization) and one FET (frozen embryo transfer) in a matter of sixteen months (I was one of the “lucky” infertility women whose health insurance covered the majority of my procedures). With no luck from any of those cycles locally, my husband and I decided to go to the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine (CCRM, which many people associate with Giuliana and Bill Rancic, as that is where they went, too). We went from health insurance essentially covering our infertility treatments in full (we are beyond lucky for that), to paying for everything out of pocket, including travel, lodging, food, etc. We are in the hole, but it’s the best hole to be in because we are expecting our first TWO babies in July… TWIN BOYS!
So yes, my journey (so far) has a happy ending. I am elated. My depression has disappeared and rather than crying myself to sleep at night over such painful sadness, I now cry myself to sleep over sheer happiness and thankfulness for the two hearts that are beating inside of my womb. But, as I’ve begun to embrace the whole new wave of emotions that this pregnancy has brought about (I honestly think I had forgotten what it was like to feel true happiness), I’ve also felt very lost. You see, for so long I had been in the trenches of infertility with so many amazing women that I had “met” along the way. These women became my friends and I felt closer to them than I did to my real-life friends. They understood. They knew what to say. They knew how to console me after every bump in the road, every failed cycle and every day that I just felt alone, scared, confused and angry. So, now that I’ve crossed over to the “other side” – I don’t really know how to move forward. It’s very odd for me to be blogging about my pregnancy, but I want to savor these nine months, for I don’t know that I’ll ever get to experience them again. I want to read and research and network with other moms, but I’m finding that to be difficult as well. How can I be someone who is lucky enough to be able to do all of that?! On the other hand, it’s also hard to fit in anymore with my infertility friends who are still struggling in trying to conceive. I want so badly to be there for them, except I can’t help but to feel that my advice, comments and encouragement just don’t really mean anything anymore. I mean, I know if I were still struggling and someone told me to hang in there, that it can happen and that they’re proof of it, I’d respond with a big old eye roll! But I guess, even though I’m feeling a little out of place right now, that’s one of the wonderful things about infertility… the sisterhood that it develops… if you let it.
My story would not be the same if it weren’t for the women who truly came to my rescue. Initially, I was hesitant to share my struggles to conceive with anyone. But, then as I read others’ blogs about infertility, I felt less alone. I started to share my story with my family and a few very close friends. And I started to write about my personal journey as well. My blog was private for a little while and then I made it public. It felt therapeutic to write and release my true (mostly deepest and darkest) feelings. And it connected me to the women who, even though I hadn’t ever met most of them, became a big piece of my heart. I treasured every comment I received on my blog posts. I could not have made it through a total of six IVF cycles without my infertility friends. Their support will be forever cherished. Their random acts of kindness: e-mails of support, surprise deliveries of chocolates, books, cards, flowers, jewelry, fun socks for surgery days, and so, so much more – they knew how to put a smile on my face during a time when I honestly think I had forgotten what muscles to use to even turn my frown upside down. The sense of togetherness that infertility has created is now what I want to focus on. I will not forget the support that I received and I will forever pay it forward.
As the week progresses and you hear or see something about Infertility Awareness, here’s what I want you to know: these women are sad, but they are STRONG. These women are delicate and fragile, but they are STRONG. These women are heartbroken and angry, but they are STRONG. These women are faithful, they are hopeful and they are truly some of my best friends in the world. Struggling with infertility is something that no one should have to endure. It’s something that brings upon stress and depression similar to someone who has been diagnosed with cancer or PTSD. Infertility is real. It is painful and it is unfair.
My heart will always be with those who are still fighting their way through their journey to mommy-hood. Please open your hearts to these women as well and if you could, say an extra prayer for them tonight as you tuck your little one(s) into bed.