We are approaching the end of National Infertility Awareness week and I simply can't believe it's now been over 5 years since finally hearing the words uttered over the phone that I was pregnant. After 2 years of hoping, praying and trying... we were finally successful!
As much as I wanted to say that I would not make myself crazy while trying to get pregnant... that can only last so long. Especially when I didn't get my period for 6 months when we first started trying.... do you know how many pregnancy tests you can take when you think... well hey, maybe I miraculously ovulated and immediately conceived and that is why I still haven't gotten my period?! Yup... I peed on a LOT of sticks in those 6 months. After some testing, I was referred to an infertility specialist, but how could this be??? I was only 25! However, I consider myself lucky to have a very easily detectible problem because otherwise I would have had to try unsuccessfully for 2 years before treatments would be covered due to my age.
The majority of my battle was a very dark time for me. I grew up with a lifelong fear of doctors, needles and panicked at the thought of blood work. And now I was volunteering myself for frequent early morning doctor's appointments complete with internal ultrasounds, blood work and medication schedules to be followed meticulously. I felt sad, alone and completely violated by what I was going through. There was nothing remotely romantic about these methods of conceiving.
People who knew what I was going through were telling me not to worry that I had plenty of time to have a baby... I was young. I started absolutely dreading holidays or large celebrations of any type, because I had to put on a happy face and pretend that everything was fine since only those closest to us knew what was going on. As more and more seemingly well meaning people asked us when we were going to have a baby and I remember one drunk distant relative even jokingly saying.... you know how to get her pregnant right Jim?! I wanted to scream out we are trying! I was injecting myself (me... the person who hated needles) every day of each cycle with hormones that were making me even more of a crazed lunatic than I already was. What more could I possibly do!
I was so sad every time I heard of an unplanned pregnancy... because I had become so obsessed with facts about getting pregnant that I knew that a normal healthy woman only has a 20% chance of conceiving in any given cycle. 20%!!!! That probability made it so hard for me to fathom how a pregnancy could be unplanned. Looking back, I now wish I could have enjoyed the rest of my life more during this time instead of being so depressed and blaming myself for my infertility. I'm pretty sure that I cried just about every night for at least a year. I thought I was hiding this pretty well until my best friend told me shortly after I had the twins that she hadn't seen me that happy in a long time.
I now am very open to talking about my struggles because after 6 failed treatment cycles, we decided to make a big step and try in-vitro. I remember walking out of the doctor's office after sitting through a powerpoint presentation detailing the journey we were about to embark on. Jim was excited and I was terrified! It was INTENSE! Now not only did I have to give myself MORE shots and have almost daily blood work and then sit by my phone for the rest of the day for possible medication adjustments, but I had to get an IV and anesthesia and have a surgical procedure to remove my eggs. At this point I started talking to a friend that I had found went through the same process successfully and I talked to a relative that went through it unsuccessfully. Just talking to someone who really knew the path that I was stumbling down made me feel so much more positive and less alone. I went into that treatment cycle with a more positive outlook and told more of the important people in my life what was going on.... and I felt a weight off my shoulders. I no longer had to hide and pretend that there wasn't a problem.
Ultimately we were successful and now I am thankful for the struggles that I had to endure in order to have our twins. It made me a stronger person and ultimately a better mother because I had to work really hard to get those two little miracles.
If you are struggling with infertility... know that you are not alone. And you don't have to be embarrassed or be secretive about your struggles. Having someone to support you will help, whether it is someone you know, a support group or a professional.... it doesn't matter, just talk to someone.