Kelly opens up today about donor eggs and the challenges of secondary infertility. She is currently in the midst of her journey so I am so humbled that she was willing to share her story for this important week. Kelly worked with my husband Chris, it can be scary to talk about infertility with work colleagues, but it is amazing how many people around you have probably been affected by the disease that is infertility. It does affect us at work, it’s always there, you can’t put it aside, and yet no one can see it – it’s silent. Let’s break that silence.
Kelly is here to #FlipTheScript for national infertility awareness week, here’s her story…
First of all, tell us a little bit about you and your partner….how did you meet?!!
Brad and I met at a Warrior Dash mud run. I was with my girlfriend and her husband and he was with his friend. I had noticed him at the merchandise tent and he had apparently noticed me at the finish line jumping over the flaming logs and flinging myself into the mud! He managed to find his way to where we were standing and strategically placed himself next to me. The band started and we kind of had a conversation…it was very loud. Then he left to get beer and my friends decided it was time to go, so we left. On the way out they convinced me to go back and give him my phone number and of course give a shameless plug for our roller derby league. I found him in the beer line, walked up to him and said, “I don’t normally do this…but this is my number if you’d like to call me or maybe if you need a partner to run another race and I play roller derby if you’re ever interested. My name is Kelly, what’s yours?” He looked up at me, took the piece of paper, and responded “Kelly. Uh, I mean Brad.” I told him it was nice to meet him, made a comment about his OU hat and left. He called me the following Tuesday and we’ve been together ever since…going on 6 years.
When did you realize that you were facing a diagnosis of infertility, how did you find out and what were the issues that you faced?
I’ve struggled with fertility, since always. I have a seventeen year old, but she was hard to come by and I think only came about due to very good timing. Now that I’m older and my partner and I have been together for quite some time, without even an oops how did that happen, we decided to have things checked out. That, and I was 41 when we started seeing fertility specialists. We went through several IUI’s that did not take and once fertility specialists we had seen pretty much said out of the gate my eggs were too old and I should seek donor eggs.
Where are you on your infertility journey now?
We are working through the donor egg process now. We have a donor and we’re in the whole cycle alignment process, but things are moving along fairly well and in less than a month we should be undergoing IVF.
Has infertility changed your relationship with your partner?
Not in a negative way. I think it has brought us closer in some ways.
How has infertility impacted you financially? Did your healthcare insurance provide coverage for infertility treatment?
The financial perspective is completely different. Fertility treatment ain’t cheap!! When we started the process everything was out of pocket because I did not have insurance that would cover any part of it. Now we have new insurance and they cover a portion. Insurance will not cover the donor portion, so we’ve been setting aside savings, tax returns, bonuses, etc., so we don’t have to break the bank. We are still unsure what our portion of the costs will be, but hopefully our hard earned savings should cover most of the donor costs.
How have you taken care of yourself physically and emotionally during your struggles?
I try to work out on a regular basis. We get up in the morning and take the dogs for a 30 minute walk and then I walk them again in the evening. I have a PIYO DVD that I really enjoy and we have a home gym. I have a whole slew of vitamins that I take every day and due to other health related issues, I’m on an Autoimmune Paleo Diet. I’m very specific about my meats and purchase from a local butcher who only sells organic meats. I purchase no hormone/antibiotic/free range/organic as much as I can from the grocer or the farmers market. We also grow our own vegetables, so I try to eat fresh as much as possible. I quit drinking all together, but have partaken on several occasions after we realized we would not be able to use my eggs – I try to keep it to a minimal. I also cut out the caffeine.
How have your friends and family supported you through your journey? Have you had any experience of lack of support or misunderstandings?
My friends and family are great about things. My dad does tease me about my age and questions if all my oars are in the water, but it’s more from a place of jest than being serious. I’ve not had many negative experiences. I would say the one negative experience that stands out to me was actually how one of the fertility specialists communicated to me that my eggs were not of good quality and I should just skip to the donor eggs. She was very compassionate, but I was not ready to hear that message at the time and in my mind it was very premature. Needless to say, we are not working with that fertility specialist any longer.
My former boss and his wife have been supportive and have provided insights on their experiences, which has been helpful 🙂
What has been the hardest point of your journey and how did you deal with it?
I think the hardest part was finally accepting that I was not going to be able to use my own eggs for this pregnancy and really opening my heart and mind to using donor eggs. My biggest fear, even though I do not believe it will ever be realized, is something going wrong in my relationship with my partner and he would have (in my mind) greater claim to our child since it would be his biological DNA and not mine. My other fear is having the child that I carried and bonded with as their birth mother wanting to seek out the donor.
One of the things that has helped me get over the second fear is my girlfriend. She’s adopted and while she has sought out her biological parents, she remains very close to her adoptive parents and maintains that bond. I found this to be very reassuring.
If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?
Freeze your eggs!! I’ve always wanted more children and I wish that I would have retrieved some of my eggs and preserved them for when the time was right to try again.
As it’s national infertility awareness week, what message do you want to share about infertility to the general public?
Be supportive of friends and family who are going through an infertility journey! It’s not easy and we need your support through this.
Is there anything else you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?
Don’t forget to unplug. I am the worst about playing Dr. Google and looking at every symptom to find what it correlates to…you end up working yourself into a panicked frenzy. If you and your partner are going through fertility treatments, take it easy on yourself and your partner. Panicking over every symptom or every Google search result does not help anyone.
Please leave a comment or message of support below for Kelly & Brad 🙂