“I’m sorry to be so brief but if you want to conceive, IVF will most likely be your only option. If you decide to go that route, we need to do it soon given your health history.”
After a miscarriage, being diagnosed with Stage IV Endometriosis and PCOS and three and a half years of trying to grow our family, this was now our reality. Never in a million years would I have thought I would be
handed a…er, correction… sucker punched with an infertility diagnosis. I can recall sitting in my Family and Child Development class in high school and going through the infamous unit on Reproduction and there it was. In my textbook, in black and white existed half a page, describing infertility. A small paragraph went further to explain In-Vitro Fertilization. At the time, I remember innocently thinking, “How unfortunate someone has to go through that just to have a baby.” Four or five measly sentences unfolding a complicated process. That’s it. Little did I know my life would revolve around those meager words just ten years later.
Infertility has taken over my life in both good ways and bad. I have become more conscious of my health and I’m learning things about myself and overcoming challenges
I never imagined I could. Another plus is having developed a sisterhood with fellow warrior women who are going through the same challenges as me and seeing strong female role-models face this issue head on. All while there are good experiences, this new phase in life hasn’t come without cost. Every day, I live in unimaginable pain that never goes away. Most people may not ever realize the severity of the pain as I do my best not to show it on the outside. Occasionally, I just can’t take the pain anymore and have to spend time at the Emergency Room trying to explain to ER doctors I already know what the problem is and I just need pain control. This is usually followed quickly with judgmental looks and I can see their first thought being I’m just trying to get a “quick fix”. Don’t overlook the occasional hemorrhaging cyst that cause me to end up being admitted for five days at a time and having unplanned surgery not knowing if I would wake up with all my “woman parts” or not. Or how about receiving a controversial treatment for six months to help control or “take care of” my Endometriosis because silly me, trusted a doctor and naive me didn’t think to get a second opinion or do my research? Later, only to learn mid-treatment the drug is used for instances like chemotherapy and has numerous life-altering side effects and even malpractice lawsuits to follow. In my case, it has potentially made things worse, not better and we are still awaiting to see what complications lie ahead. Finally, we can’t forget about the financial and emotional burden placed on my marriage and within our family just because I want a baby.
So here I am 29 years old (almost 30 ack!) and wishing the #StartAsking movement happened earlier.
I began to #StartAsking myself:
- What is infertility?
- Why is this disease just a blip on everyone’s radar?
- Why isn’t this talked about more in the media?
- Why is it so taboo to talk about the subject?
- Why must I live in pain day in and day out and people think it’s just “bad cramps”?
- Are there others like me?
- Why do insurance companies cover boob jobs but consider reproduction therapy “cosmetic/elective”?
- What are my treatment options?
- Should I get a second opinon?
- IVF is going to cost how much?!
- Why does it feel selfish for me to want to have and carry my own child instead of adopt?
- How do I talk to my husband/family/friends/co-workers about what I’m experiencing?
- Why can she have a baby and I can’t?
- WHY ME?
These are just a few of the questions I have experienced along my journey. Some of which I sought out and received answers. Some, I am still searching.
The importance of all of this is to #StartAsking. Whether you are the one struggling with this unfortunate mess of emotions or you are a support system for someone who has been effected, you have to #StartAsking. When you are asking about infertility it means you are talking about infertility. That is what as a community we really need to do. Our voices need to be heard. We need others to hear our stories so that others who are sitting in silence know they aren’t alone. We need the media and uneducated to realize this isn’t a taboo subject. Not anymore. Not when 1 in 8 couples are effected. Infertility is a disease. It doesn’t discriminate. Women and men, young and old, white, black, purple, green or yellow, infertility doesn’t care. It’s here to put up a fight but what it doesn’t know…it’s about to get sucker punched right back.