NIAW 2020: Honor Your Story

Monday, April 20, 2020

It's National Infertility Awareness Week, and I'll be participating in Resolve's 5 Day Photo Challenge.

Day 1's prompt is #HonorYourStory.

We began trying to conceive 9 years ago. Six months in, I experienced a hysterical pregnancy, which wasn't only heartbreaking, but changed the way I saw myself (and not in a good way -- treating myself with kindness wasn't my forte at that time). As time went by and I still wasn't pregnant, I began to feel worse and worse about myself.

When I was finally able to bring myself to seek medical help, I was diagnosed with PCOS. We found out that I don't ovulate on my own. We tried various combinations of oral medications (including metformin, clomid, and femara), with and without trigger shots (have you had to pull your pants down to have a nurse give you a shot in the buttcheek as an adult? Because I have).

I ovulated once. I didn't conceive that cycle.

My doctor thought we had reached the end with oral meds, so he recommended injectables. However, since very few insurance plans cover infertility (ours certainly didn't), it was going  to cost us $1500+ out of pocket every month for meds alone, let alone all of the appointments and procedures (he also wanted me to have a procedure done to check for blockage, but that wouldn't be covered by insurance either). At that point, we felt it was necessary to stop medical treatments because we just couldn't afford it.

My heart was broken.

We had talked about eventually adopting children who needed homes, and we decided that was the time.

Our foster care journey is an entire other story, but 10 months after we stopped medical treatment for infertility, our boys came to live with us. We adopted them 9 months later, and they've been filling our lives with joy and chaos ever since.

But the love we have for our children doesn't take away the sting of infertility. It doesn't take away the pain of giving away the baby clothes I started painstakingly collecting nearly a decade ago. It doesn't erase all the negative thoughts I've a had about myself, my body, and my inability to properly function as woman. It doesn't take away all the crying, anxiety, and depression. It doesn't take away the shattered hopes and dreams. And it doesn't take away the fact that I still desperately want to experience pregnancy and childbirth. And for a really long time, I felt guilty about these things. I felt like being a mother and having children meant I didn't have a place to still want a baby.

I know now that's not the case.

I know that I may never get to experience pregnancy. And for many of the 1 in 8 couples who experience infertility, their story ends the same way.

But every infertility story is different. This one is mine.

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