It's National Infertility Awareness Week!
What is that you ask?
It's simply a week to raise awareness of an invisible disease that affects so, so many people...like me.
Before my husband and I started the process of seeking medical help for our journey....everything was hard.
Seeing friends become pregnant was hard.
Going to a baby shower was hard.
Hearing the wonderful news of a birth was hard.
Watching a nature show was hard.
Going shopping was hard.
Holidays were hard.
Nephews birthday parties were hard.
Going to work was hard.
Truly enjoying ourselves was hard.
We waited much too long before getting help. But there were reasons for that.
Infertility (no matter who is at fault, the man, the woman or both) is a cold disease. It can wear you down quickly, build you back up with one good appointment and then rip your heart out with a negative test result.
It not only strains your body, it strains your marriage, your finances, your other relationships...and your soul.
Treatment was not a conclusion we could have jumped to lightly.
We knew it would test us. Test our patience, test our commitment, test our trust, test our hope.
This is why it took 5 years for us to get through the door of our infertility clinic for our first appointment.
At 35 weeks pregnant thanks to an IVF treatment with ICSI, it's surreal to sit here and think about where we were 5 years ago....where we were even a year ago.
As part of Infertility Awareness Week, NPR hosted a panel on the Trials and Tribulations of Assisted Reproduction (http://thedianerehmshow.org/shows/2012-04-23/trials-and-tribulations-assisted-reproduction) and it both broke my heart and lifted my spirits.
If you listen to the replay, at 29:40
one of the panelists says "you're experiencing infertility in a largely
fertile world"...it made me remember how truly alone I felt in a massive, massive world...because everything around me seemed to be reproducing....except me. My family members, the birds in our yard, the ridiculously gross-looking spiders on the Discovery channel........everything.
I remember feeling so alone (even though my family, friends and husband loved me incredibly well) that I wanted to just run away and disappear.
I know people that are at that stage now......they've admitted it to themselves that they are infertile....and they're not quite sure how to proceed....but they are sure of this....they feel incredibly alone.
I want so badly to be a resource for those that have questions about this disease...but I also know you can't force this information onto someone that isn't ready to receive it, or isn't willing to accept it.
We have many wonderful friends that helped pave the road for us by being open about their infertility experiences. I can never thank them enough for that.
I only hope I can return the favor by being open about our story and possibly helping to pave the road for someone else.
I've said it before and I'll say it again....
Infertility is a bitch.
Let's tell the world.