Infertility affects 1 in 8 couples.
Infertility is a disease or condition of the reproductive system often diagnosed after a couple has had one year of unprotected, well-timed intercourse, or if the woman has suffered from multiple miscarriages and the woman is under 35 years of age. If the woman is over 35 years old, it is diagnosed after 6 months of unprotected, well-timed intercourse. (Resolve)
Today is the first day of National Infertility Awareness Week.My advice to women suffering with Infertility is Don't Ignore Your Emotions. The longing to conceive a baby is something that many women desire. From a young age, I always knew that I wanted to be a mother. When dating my husband, I made sure that he too wanted to become a father. Once we were married, we waited about a year and began trying to conceive a child. We had seen other people in our lives have trouble, but never thought that would happen to us.
I cannot even begin to count how many OPKs and HPTs that I used during those first 10 months. I took my BBT each morning, tracked my cervical fluid patterns, recorded each and every little symptom during my two week waits, drank grapefruit juice, bought PreSeed, took Evening Primrose Oil, and tried Fertility Blend vitamins. We gave up any shred of romance in our intimate times together, and I had them marked out ahead of time on a calendar. Today, we have been trying for 1 year, 8 months 4 weeks, and 1 day. That's over 600 Prenatal Vitamins, but who's keeping count ;).
My emotions have been all over the place throughout this journey. In the beginning I was let down each month when I saw countless negative tests. Once we began seeing a Reproductive Endocrinologist, I felt my hope restored and renewed. From there we found more disappointments through many tests, procedures, and surgeries. When you're told that there's a relatively low chance that you'll ever conceive on your own, it's devastating news. When you're told that you will need surgery to be able to safely carry a child, it's heartbreaking. When you're on the table about to undergo your first IUI and the doctor says that it will be a miracle if you become pregnant with the state of your husband's sample... there's no words to describe your pain. (We did have a chemical pregnancy that cycle.)
Infertility is a hushed subject. Many people freeze up and don't know what to say when you tell them that you've been trying to conceive with no luck. I've met many of those people, but I choose to place more emphasis on those who have helped me throughout our journey. My husband has been amazing. He has carried me. He has prayed over me with every injection and surgery. He has been my rock. He endures the wrath of each negative test, mood swing, pregnancy announcement, and bad office visit. My sister-in-law, Sheri, also suffered from Infertility for 4 years. She has understood each and every bit of emotional turmoil I've had to endure. She has shared my pain from day one. We were great friends before I started trying to have a baby, but our friendship and love for one another has grown through my struggle as well.
I started writing this blog to have a safe place to talk about my emotions. I was afraid of bombarding my husband with my sad thoughts each day. In the beginning I was selective about who knew that we were trying to have a baby. My coworkers knew from day one because I always had my endless supply of OPKs in my purse! As time went on, and we began seeing the Reproductive Endocrinologist, I opened up more. We joined a new church in October 2011 and we've both shared our struggle with our faith family. The men and women in our church have been great to pray for us and encourage us along the way.
In a way, it was hard to open up and admit that we were having trouble starting a family. It's not something that many people are comfortable talking about. To all of you reading this, I apologize if I have ever made you feel uncomfortable about our Infertility. We chose in the beginning to share our journey with others. I would never want to see another couple go through this, but I want them to know that they don't have to battle this alone. We have both been on an emotional rollercoaster for almost two years. There are ups and downs, twists and turns, but the end is always in sight.
If you too are suffering, don't ignore your emotions. Don't bottle them up. Find a safe place to talk.
Basic understanding of the disease of infertility
About NIAW (National Infertility Awareness Week)