Kristy #FlipsTheScript

Kristy is a fabulous blogger, she tells it like it is, but I didn’t meet her online. We met at our local Resolve infertility support group where I quickly discovered that she is relentless in her dedication to support couples struggling with infertility.

Kristy is here to #FlipTheScript for national infertility awareness week, here’s her story…

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First of all, tell us a little bit about you and your partner….how did you meet?!!

Dave and I met the summer before my senior year of college in 2001. He was in the Navy Reserves and also owned his own business. We didn’t hit it off at first, but shortly after we started dating I knew he was THE one…and then 9/11 happened. He left September 12th. I never thought I would see him again. He returned later that month, and we were engaged a few months later.  We both knew we wanted to spend the rest of our lives together. We got married in May of 2003 and talked about starting a family in the next year.

Kristy - April 20 2018

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?  

We didn’t realize we were facing a diagnosis of infertility for quite a while. During our first year of marriage, we weren’t trying to get pregnant and were actively preventing it. A year after we got married, Dave was called to active duty with orders to Iraq and we were moving states. We decided to start trying for a family before he left, but we were unsuccessful. When he came home, we tried again in between deployments and training exercises. We tried for years; charting, testing, plotting, taking temperatures, the whole nine yards!

I refused to get tested or even think about treatments. It was my belief that if it was going to happen, it would happen….it was out of my hands.  It took me over five years to accept the fact that getting help was okay.

We both got tested and had the results, but I wasn’t ready to move on yet.  I still had this longing and desire that everything would still work out. I didn’t want to mess with God’s plan for me. I thought it was too risky and something I wasn’t comfortable with, so we waited….and waited…and waited.  We waited a few more years.

We decided together that it was time.  I had accepted it, come to terms with it, and finally knew it was the right thing to do. We made an appointment at our local fertility clinic and started the process again.  The testing, the prodding and all of the ‘fun’ and uncomfortable ultrasounds, dyes and needle pokes. We had our diagnosis and we were ready to move forward. We were diagnosed with male infertility, but had options.  We were strong. We had a plan.

We jumped right in with three back to back IUIs (Intrauterine insemination), and then gave my body a break after all three treatments failed. We tried again with two more IUIs before we took another break. We then saved and fund raised in order to move on to IVF (In vitro fertilization). We tried IVF twice without success. We were devastated. We thought that our only hurdle in making a baby was male factor, but my body kept failing me over and over without reason.  We took another long break before trying another IUI, which failed again.

We were out of money, and out of hope. We decided to try again, but had to cancel two cycles because my ovaries were not responding to the hormones, so we waited again.  Finally, we tried again, one last time. We did 2 IUIs in 24 hours and we waited. Both had failed.

Where are you on your infertility journey now?

After 13 years of trying and countless infertility treatments, Dave and I have chosen to live childfree.  It was not an easy decision, but the best one for us.

We tried.  We gave it our all, but infertility treatments don’t work on everyone. We have come to accept that.  I never thought in a million years that I would be the one living childfree, but I am, and I couldn’t be happier and more content. 

I don’t regret all the years of trying, all the failed treatments, and all the money we spent. We truly gave it everything we had, but now we are living life differently. We plan differently.  We look to the future differently.  We love differently.  All because we tried and we failed, but we came out on the other end.

There is a different path. There is a different plan.  We are happy. We are enough.

Has infertility changed your relationship with your partner? 

YES!  Infertility almost tore us apart at one point.  Our first failed IVF was the hardest for me.  I pushed Dave away. I needed to grieve and couldn’t let him close because I thought I would break into a million pieces if he touched me. My body had failed us yet again, even with perfect embryos. I couldn’t look into his eyes thinking I would see his disappointment, but I was wrong. He needed me as much as I needed him.  We needed each other, because that’s all we had.

We are actually closer now more than ever.  We have our ups and downs, like any marriage, but in the end our years of infertility has brought us closer.  We love harder and don’t take anything for granted. We know nothing is guaranteed, even if all the stars align. Our love has grown, and nothing can break us…we have proven that!

How has infertility impacted you financially? Did your healthcare insurance provide coverage for infertility treatment?

Financially we feel like we are starting over from scratch. We have drained our accounts because even though we are covered with two different health insurances, nothing was covered except for a few doctors’ visits. We had to take breaks in-between so many of our treatments, just to save up to try again.

How have you taken care of yourself physically and emotionally during your struggles?

I love to do yoga, and this has helped me both physically and emotionally during treatments. I have learned how to center my thoughts and also clear my mind during each treatment.  I love to read and spend time at the beach just staring off into the ocean.

Physically, all of the infertility treatments have wreaked havoc on my body. The infertility drugs and synthetic hormones have done a number on me, and I’m working hard to get my “pre-IVF” body back! :).

How have your friends and family supported you through your journey?  Have you had any experience of lack of support or misunderstandings?  

Most of my friends and family have supported us 100%.  I have lost several friends, but in retrospect, that’s okay. It was very hurtful and sad when it happened, but they didn’t know what to say or how to be supportive when they were having kids and I was left behind still trying. I don’t blame them now, but I’m sad. They didn’t know what to say, or how to act when all of my dreams were being crushed and their life was moving on. I’m happy for them, especially now that I’m in a much better place.

Not everyone is going to understand our decision to go through infertility treatments, and more so now that we have decided to stop and live childfree.

For those of you that have been with us since day one supporting us and are still here supporting our decision to live childfree, I can’t thank you enough!

What has been the hardest point of your journey and how did you deal with it?  

The hardest point of our journey was every single failed treatment. The money that was spent, just for yet another failed result.  It was never ending. Dave was my rock and my inspiration and HE is what kept me going.  He never left, and was always there, even when I pushed him away.  He never gave up on me, and made it possible for me to never give up on myself.

If you could go back in time, what advice would you give yourself?

If I could go back in time, I would tell myself to not shut Dave out during our failed treatments.  He was grieving too, and I was too selfish to see it. I needed him and he needed me, but I couldn’t see it. I wanted to crawl in a hole and never come out, and I couldn’t see that he was hurting too.

I would also tell myself that it works out in the end.  It may not be how we planned or hoped, but it works out. You will be okay. You will be stronger. You will be enough.

As it’s national infertility awareness week, what message do you want to share about infertility to the general public? 

Infertility is a disease.  A disease that is treated like no other disease out there.  A disease that is looked upon as shameful or a choice. I wish that more people didn’t feel so ashamed of their disease and I hope they know that they are NOT alone!

Is there anything else you would like to share that I haven’t asked you about?

Choosing the childfree option as a resolution is NOT the same as a forced childfree option. 

There were many years I felt like I was being forced into a childfree option because we were out of money, options and hope.  This is not the same as where we stand now.  Choosing childfree is freedom. The weight and pressure has been lifted from us. We are happy, and are living life differently than when it wasn’t our choice.

Choosing childfree has been the best thing for us, and we haven’t regretted it for a single second. I know I’m happier. There’s been a weight lifted. I can finally look in the future and not wonder ‘what if’. We are starting to make new plans. New dreams. New adventures. New beginnings….together!

Kristy 2

You can find Kristy at TTCaTaxsonBaby.blogspot.com or follow her facebook page here.

Please leave a comment or message of support below for Kristy and Dave 🙂

A voice of the child free family

Yesterday I talked in quite some depth about our goal to become parents and how we are struggling with infertility with someone who lives child free by choice.  He is a very direct and to the point person (He is German after all and told me that there is no word in German for ‘Polite’ – he’s a funny guy). So, I tried not to be offended by his probing about why we want children.  He wasn’t trying to convince me that we shouldn’t have children like him and his wife, but he was pointing everything out about the benefits of being child free.

And now as I write this, although he was probing, blunt and direct about his thoughts and questions, I wonder if actually he was ultimately being kind and thoughtful to me.  He was trying to tell me why being child free is a good thing, he was telling me it’s OK if we don’t succeed at this.  Life without a son or daughter of our own is not going to be the end of the world.  He explained to me how their decisions have ebbed and flowed over time.  Although at first I was pretty uncomfortable talking about why Chris and I are ‘chasing’ fertility treatment, it was refreshing to listen to a different point of view.

He hasn’t changed my mind, but I thought it came at an interesting time, particularly after some of my recent blog posts have mentioned living child free (The childless analyst, The Uncertain Future of the World, Sorry, but being a mother is not the most important job in the world).

The big question – What if we can’t have children?

As we were about to head to bed for the evening, Chris quietly asked “What if we can’t have children?”.  This is a question we have discussed before – several years ago in fact.  It’s the kind of question you ask just after your boyfriend/fiancee asks you to marry him.  It’s one of those BIG questions.  And we had much time to talk about it back then.  Chris proposed to me just 1/2 hr into our 4 day hike in the remote Italian mountains, the Dolomites.  Of course I said yes when he asked me to marry him (If I had said no it would have been a rather awkward four days in the mountains 😉 ), but this left four days of ‘just us’ to talk about ‘the big things in life’, to double check that we were in fact right for each other.  Well probably more of me doing the double checking, after all, he had been planning to propose to me for months, he had all that time to think about it.  We concluded that love conquers all, you couldn’t really argue with that logic.  Oh so naive?

This time around, Chris asked the question with a genuine sadness in his eye.  With a little bit of wine in me, my eyes welled up instantly and hit some kind of nerve.  Because yes, love does conquer all, but it hurts to think that this could be a reality in the not so distant future.  I have thought about it a bit, but I haven’t really looked into it in depth.  We discussed potential future options of donor eggs. donor sperm, gestational surrogacy, adoption and being ‘child free’.  These discussions were brief and emotionally fuelled, with neither of us having much understanding about any of them.  We concluded that we do not both agree on each of these options, we have our differences of opinions, however we recognised that these feelings are likely to change dependent on our situation and once we have done more research together.  We did agree on one thing – that we would use all of our savings if we had to, but we would not get into debt.

The discussion was brief, we were tired and emotional, it was not the best time to ask this BIG question.  But it is a question we need to be prepared to think about more if round 3 of IUI does not work.  This doesn’t mean we are not hopeful about round 3, far from it, it’s just something we might want to start smarting up about.  Education certainly never hurt anyone.