I posted this to my social media accounts on April 20th of this year and wanted to update my site as well.
Once you’ve safely made it down a long and arduous path, it’s incredibly difficult to imagine making the journey a second time. Paralyzing almost, the concept.
It’s National Infertility Awareness Week and this is my update.
So much of one’s infertility journey is deeply personal, and mine is no different. But as someone who has at least a small platform, I felt this tug to post a little more about my story. Maybe to let others know that we should talk about our struggles more, help each other out, and not feel the shame that sometimes overshadows everything. (I do want to offer a content warning that there are mentions of successes and failures ahead, which I know from personal experience can be hard to read about depending on what stage of the journey you’re on).
My son, who was born in 2018, has been the light of my life. As most of you know, it was a multi-year uphill battle to have him. Five IVF attempts that came with immeasurable heartache, physical strife, emotional torture, failures, multiple stays in the hospital, and surgeries, one of them major. It didn’t feel real when he was born. It still doesn’t. He’s a gift and it brings joyful tears to my eyes just writing about him now.
I couldn’t contemplate going through it all again once we were on the other side. I can tell you, however, the good that came of it all, my son, by far outweighed the strife. None of the hardship mattered now, because I had him. But there was this pull. This question mark that lingered as time passed. My siblings played such an important role in my life. A part of me was sad that he wouldn’t have that. But even more, there was this feeling that maybe my family wasn’t yet complete. But God, at the same time, I didn’t know if my heart could handle any more time on that path, or let me be perfectly honest, if my body could. Could I go back to the awful daily shots, the outrageous hormones, the ups and downs that come with IVF (the monster that delivers one devastating blow after another until you think you can’t take another moment)? I wasn’t so sure. Especially since there was no guarantee. And don’t even get me started on the money. The cost to achieve what a large percentage of Americans can do at home for free is obscene and quite frankly unfair. Let’s just say I hit my lifetime max on fertility insurance a LONG time ago.
But something wouldn’t let me give up. So, I went back on the path.
I found myself struggling with the same adversaries all over again: physical pain, shame, fear to hope, and a dwindling bank account. Time after time, I was told it wasn’t working. There was a lot of bad news. So much. Phone calls I dreaded receiving. Emails from labs that came with apologies. Tears. Hugs. A feeling of hopelessness. Covid hit in the midst of it all and I felt like the world was closing in. I cried alone, now in isolation from those I cared about, too.
One last try, we decided, after many long and difficult discussions. A hail mary and then we would make peace that it wasn’t meant to be and treasure Everett and how very blessed we are to have him.
I’ll give birth to my daughter in a matter of days. It’s surreal to me even now to type that to you. I know how unbelievably lucky I am. But I also know the path is different for everyone. If you’re on it right now, I hold out my hands to you in support. I’m here. Tell me your story. Tell your friends. Your family. Be there for each other, especially in this very unique and awful year that has separated so many of us from each other. Weeks like this (that remind us of each other) are important. We have to normalize these conversations. Share our experiences. The good and bad. There’s simply no reason to walk alone.