Raw. Ugly. BAM. #InfertilityUncovered

It’s still raw.  We are still infertile.  Infertility hasn’t suddenly left us.  It has left a horrible wound and it hasn’t healed.  We have not resolved our infertility.  We struggled to conceive Aviana for 2.5 yrs and now she is 2.5 yrs old.  We loved, cried, hurt, struggled, laughed, loved some more and lost.  We may not be on the ‘infertility roller coaster’ right now as we wait.  We don’t really know what we are waiting for, but infertility has STOLEN the freedom from us to build our family in the way we want to.

It’s ugly. We know what that roller coaster is like.  We are not naïve newbies to this gig, it’s not any ordinary theme park roller coaster.  It’s the roller coaster of your nightmares.  It’s fast, it’s slow, it turns you upside down, it spins you around until you scream to let you off, it drowns you, it makes you sick to your stomach, it takes you high, it takes you low and deep underground, it transports you to another world, you are trapped and don’t know if you will ever get off.  But we made it off that ride. So why would we want to get back on it knowing what we know today?

It affects our decision making in all things family building.  I mean, most couples face the challenging question “Should we grow our family?” fertile or not.  But add on the ugly that is infertility and it seriously warps your perspective in answering that question.

For this National Infertility Awareness Week, I want you to know that it still hurts and it will keep hurting, so please don’t forget us.  For me it hurts in a different way than before.  It can be so easy to forget my infertility….then suddenly BAM, a pregnant woman complains about her pregnancy, or BAM you find yourself staring at cute tiny baby outfits wondering if you will ever get the chance to fill your basket, or BAM someone asks you when you will give your daughter a sibling.  BAM, it just comes out of nowhere.  And that’s one of the differences of infertility second time around. Sometimes, it just doesn’t phase me, but other times it really does and it surprises me every. single. time.

This is #InfertilityUncovered. This is a side to infertility that can easily forgotten.  So if you are out there, with a child already but your family incomplete because of infertility, you are not alone and your feelings matter.

For more information about Resolve’s National Infertility Awareness Week see: www.infertilityawareness.org

 

Kelly #FlipsTheScript

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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

Candace and Chris #FlipTheScript

I have no idea where Candace & Chris get their strength from, they have been through hell and back, and back again…and again.  Candace is our local Resolve infertility support group leader, she has helped me and so many, many others in our community survive at our lowest moments. 

Candace and Chris are here to #FlipTheScript for national infertility awareness week, here’s their story…

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

Chris:  It turns out that we met in college … FYI college relationships can work.  We were both working at a restaurant.  We both went to a colleges close to each other. Candace likes to say that she is a way bigger college football fan than I am, that is probably true.  I was a cook and Candace didn’t know my name for the first year we worked together.  We started dating thanks to a school bus hitting Candace’s car.  She missed several weeks of work and I asked where she had been when she came back.  Once we started talking, we realized how similarly we saw things and, clearly she was immediately smitten. Plus I had sweet dance moves. It was probably the dance moves that roped her in.

Cue wedding bells, doves and white picket fences.

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?  

Chris: We always kind of had an idea that we weren’t going to be overburdened with abundant fertility.  We had prophylactic mishaps and similar situations that resulted in no unplanned pregnancies.  We tried to get pregnant for about a year to no avail.  After that, we started getting serious with ovulation kits, various Olympic-level feats of post-coitus positioning to improve the change of pregnancy, still nothing.  That is when we decided it was time to seek professional help and started with Candace’s OBGYN.  After calling on that doctor several times, we had a “getting to know you” meeting with our eventual RE at the infamous Jones Institute.

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Where are you on your infertility journey now?

Chris:  Well, we have gone through years of fertility treatments including 6 rounds of IUIs, IVFs, and IOUs with no success. Candace actually had precancerous cells detected in her uterus requiring a partial hysterectomy.  We had 2 frozen blastocysts left after the surgery and our “Wonder Surro” said she would carry for us.  We were terrified on the day of that transfer but, after 9 stress-filled months, welcomed our daughter.

(Here is a link to Candace and Chris’s amazing video of how their daughter came into their lives -**trigger warning** – and you will also need some tissues)

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Now, we find ourselves in limbo yet again.

We had another gestational carrier come to us out of the blue and offer to carry a sibling for us!  Contracts signed, psych evals completed, Candace drugged, stimmed, and extracted, I did my part with my plastic passion cup to provide a sample, blastocysts grown and frozen + PGS tested per request of our gestational carrier… then out of the blue and only a few days prior to CD1 to transfer, she backed out.  We don’t have the faintest idea how we will move forward and we have 3 amazing, genetically screened and given a grade A health, ready to give life a try.  But, they have nowhere to attempt that reality. We are just now picking up the emotional and financial pieces.

Has infertility changed your relationship with your partner? 

Chris: Absolutely.  It has changed how Candace and I interact in different ways at different stages of our infertility journey.  When we were trying to conceive, everything was for a purpose.  Passion, romance, and intimacy had to wait outside the door.  It was clinical.

Now, with our little one through surrogacy, we are working to balance the feeling to grow our family with the feeling to “be” a family and that has been tough. 

Through all of the struggles, we have decided to use them as opportunities to grow stronger instead of apart.  Although we haven’t completely gotten through the storm, I hope we are nearing a place where our worries and confrontations will be on more mundane topics like dinner and laundry instead of whether or not to try to create life when the “normal” routes simply aren’t an option.

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

Chris: Simply put, we would have a second child either now or soon if finances weren’t central to the issue of infertility.  Our surrogate that backed out was planning on being a compassionate surrogate, meaning there was no surrogacy fee, however we would cover everything else.  Even so, we completely tapped out our resources to get to the point that we have blastocysts to transfer.  Now, with her backing out, we are completely incapable of supporting a compensated surrogate and really don’t have any options.  If we could cover the surrogacy fee, we would have moved forward long ago.

We have sacrificed so many things to pool resources for our various procedures through the course of our infertility journey.  Vacations, our home, cars, loans, a myriad of other ways that we would be in a very different financial situation had it not been for our fertility issues. 

That being the case though, if it took all that we did to get our daughter, I would do it over 100 times. Family is more important than our financial status.

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

Candace: Wine. Copious amounts of wine.  Kidding..kinda. Honestly, our journey has been so long that what may have worked at the beginning of our struggles is much different than what works now. I am older, I have more scars since my first IVF and I have parted ways with few more tears since then.

Through it all, finding support in others, with others and for others.

I got involved with online communities, we began a blog, I started a local RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association support group. We both go as a couple each year to Washington, DC for Advocacy day and fight for better legislation and fight against anti-family building legislation so that the next us has less barriers to overcome. It is taking something so incredibly negative that has happened to us and flipping it into something positive and change issuing.

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How have your friends and family supported you through your journey?  

Candace: We were silent about our struggle for many years until the levy broke. We felt like other people had to feel the way we were feeling and there was no way were alone in our infertility diagnosis. We started our blog and cervical mucus, broken lady bits and plastic cups because it was a topic we talked about regularly. A weight lifted and something transcendental happened, people stopped asking when are you going to have a baby to how can we support you? They helped us fundraise, sent wine and ice-cream on beta days. They started to get a clearer glimpse into our struggle.

Have you had any experience of lack of support or misunderstandings? 

Candace: We had a daughter through surrogacy. Let that sink in for a moment. If you think IVF is misunderstood…. Whoa the comments that flooded in when we announced we were expecting through surrogacy.

Did your husband sleep with your gestational carrier? No- because um, science.

Does your gestational carrier have visitation rights? Also no—because um, genetics and legal paperwork. (our bun, her oven type of arrangement.)

Although the questions we received were crazy and bizarre and throat punching worthy, it was an open door to educate people on surrogacy and infertility.

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Have you lost any friends along the way?

Candace: Yes. But now most of our friends that were lost have been re-found. Mostly many of them didn’t know what to say, or do.  They were also off being Duggars and Chris and I were all like “hey look at this sweet Halloween costume we bought for our dog.” The gap of where were in life was growing.

Infertility is the thief of joy and it robbed me of celebrating amazing events with close friends. At the time it was self-preservation, most of my friends understand that now.

Are there any special messages to any friends or family who have been your rock that you would like to give a shout out to?

Candace: Goodness. There are way too many and at some point this post will have to end.

–you all know who are, love you, mean it.

I will say, having a husband (yeah, I am talking about you Chris) that is all in, all the time no matter what our circumstance, is what has kept our foundation rock solid.

In something like infertility, it is a couple’s disease and it is lonely. I have never been alone because of him.

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

Candace: We’ve had so much failure. So much.

We have experienced everything from brain tumors (Chris), cancer scares, and infertility.  All have sucked lemons in their own unique way. I think we really took our recent surrogacy failure hard. It wasn’t because it didn’t work, it was because we were led down that path, and I went down that path with hope and reckless trust. We created a new set of embryos with the promise of a few tries if the first transfer did not take. Now, we are faced with a decision we never thought we would have, which is donate them to another infertile couple and let them have a chance at the child, the sibling, we so wanted or do we put our financial future at risk. Apart from that, I felt blindsided through it all.

What was your inspiration to keep going?

Candace: Time. Time heals but it leaves faintly visible forever scars. I am OK with that. Because now that I am a mother through surrogacy I am proud of them and I know where they lead.

So what is my inspiration to keep going? Hell hath no fury like an infertile woman who wants a child.  Let me be clear though, that keep going push doesn’t always lead to a dirty diaper.

It may also lead to resolution of your fertility journey and resolution no matter what it looks like is a good place to get to.

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

Candace: Advocate for yourself.

No one knows your body and future family like you. Ask questions, second guess answers. Take control of your infertility. It took a long time to get there but I wish I would have had a DeLorean with a full flux capacitor to go back in the future and pimp slap my past self.  I also would have probably invested in Apple. Hindsight, amaright?

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

If you know someone who is struggling to conceive, hug them, send them a card –check out what Celmatix is doing in trying to help people “say the right thing” via card. Be there.

If you are going through infertility, find a tribe. Find people who get it. Get support.

If you have resolved your infertility don’t forget your tears. Remember what you felt like before them. Give back so that the next 1 in 8, our future has less of struggle.

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You can find Candace and Chris at www.ourmisconception.com, follow them on instagram @ourmisconception (by the way they are taking over Resolve’s instagram this week so watch out for them!) andfacebook here.

Please leave a comment or message of support below for Candace & Chris 🙂

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.

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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!

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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 🙂

Re-blog: Share Your Story!

Day 6 of the Bloggers Unite conference!!! Whaaattt?? Time is flying by for National Infertility Awareness Week…! Morgan from onprayersandneedles.com tells us about opening up about her infertility journey with her blog.  It’s a brave thing to do, but some days I wonder how I would have managed to make it through this infertility journey so far without my blog and meeting so many inspirational women.  Read more of Morgan’s story below!!

Hey Girl Hey! My name is Morgan Libero and this is my blog to help promote awareness and provide support for all things infertility related, with a whole lot of realness and a little bit of humor (believe me, every bit counts). We’re surrounded by the most loving and tight-knit support system of family and […]

continue to read more here… #niaw – Day 6, Bloggers Unite Conference – Share Your Story! —

reblog – Let’s Break The Internet With Infertility Awareness! —

I totally missed Day 5 of the Bloggers Unite Conference – bad Dani!!! I was exhausted driving back from DC yesterday (I know, excuses excuses!!) :-s

Day 5’s topic is about #StartAsking for insurance coverage.  As I have the best insurance coverage, I think, in the whole of the US (I have a worldwide insurance policy) I can talk about the benefits that everyone should have available to them – I have coverage for infertility diagnosis and infertility treatments (IUI, IVF, ICSI etc), including medication – I even have coverage for Genetic testing.  There is no $$$ limit, but I can only have 6 life time IUIs and IVFs. It’s quite amazing really!  So I have already used up half my life time allowance.  I still have to pay the 10% copay…but it is no comparison to those couples who have to pay the full amount.  Infertility is stressful enough as it is without the added financial burden and bills to track and pay.  It makes me mad that infertility treatment is seen to be ‘an option’ like cosmetic surgery is ‘an option’.  You can read more about this at missconceptioncoach.com below

In a perfect world, the tens of thousands of women and men suffering from infertility who consult reproductive specialists every year would know that their medical treatment would be covered by their health insurance. Infertility is, after all, considered a disease as stated by the World Health Organization. Yet the establishment of an “Essential […]

keep reading more here…via Day 5 – #niaw, Bloggers Unite Conference – Let’s Break The Internet With Infertility Awareness! —

Reblog – Start asking friends and family for support —

Day 4 of the Bloggers Unite Conference at missconception.com!  I don’t know who this lunatic blogger is, she is harping on about something for infertility awareness week…..oh wait….it’s me! I’m excited to be part of the bloggers unite conference this year, and very grateful to Miss Conception for hosting it!

I discuss how we opened up to our friends and family about our infertility journey and yet had never actually asked for support from them.  I assumed I didn’t need it.  But I was wrong. People find it hard to know how to help their infertile loved ones, so if you ask, they will leap, I have no doubt about that as we have experienced.  I suggest ways you can ask for support from your friends and family.  You don’t need to be as open about your infertility journey as we have, but knowing when and how to ask for support will help get you through those tough days. Click the link below to read more!!!  XXX

Hi! My name is Dani. My husband, Chris and I, have been trying to conceive (TTC) since December 2013. We were diagnosed with ‘unexplained infertility‘ in January 2015. I decided to blog about our journey of TTC as I quickly realised that talking to friends and family about our situation can be difficult. It can be hard for them to […]

…..read more of my blog post here via #niaw – Day 4, Bloggers Unite Conference – Start asking friends and family for support —

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Reblog: Be your own advocate. Listen to your gut. Know your body —

Day 3 of the Bloggers Unite Conference and Bri from dreamingofdiapers.com explains the importance of being our own advocates and asking questions to our OBGYNs and Reproductive Endocrinologists.  For me I certainly have learned that Doctors can get into their set ways of thinking and have certain biases (I wrote about this a while ago), sometimes they simply forget you are first time IVF patient, generally forget things, or apply a ‘catch all model’ to your infertility treatment.  So asking the right questions can help us all move forward on our path to our long desired babies.  Bri is currently pregnant with her sister as a gestational carrier/surrogate, she has some amazingly interesting perspectives… so you should go check out her blog! But first read her post for National Infertility Awareness Week link below….

There are so many topics that we could talk about with the hashtag #StartAsking but my focus will be about being an advocate for yourself and asking questions to your ObGyn or Reproductive Endocrinologist. When you are trying to have a child, many questions go through your mind. Some of you ask and some […]

continue to read more here…. #niaw Day 3, Be your own advocate. Listen to your gut. Know your body —

Why can’t we make a baby? #NIAW

Why?  Why me?  Why can’t I make a baby like all my other friends and family? I have so many questions about why after almost 2.5 years of trying to conceive and failing miserably, month after month.  What have I done to cause this?  Why won’t my body just get pregnant? What am I doing wrong?

It’s human nature to want to know why things happen.  But these are the type of questions that run through my head round and round, continuously ever since we decided to grow our family.  I have yet to answer any of these questions.  It is exhausting.

Chris and I are 1 in 8 couples of child bearing age in the US that struggle with the disease that is infertility.  We tried the good old fashioned way – sex – for 11 months before we went to seek specialist help from a reproductive endocrinologist doctor after we discovered that Chris’s testosterone levels were “below normal”.  It turned out for us that testosterone levels do not actually matter that much when it comes to fertility.  Chris actually had super sperm, and lots of them!  But it did lead us to start the typical tests for diagnosing infertility.

We thanked our lucky stars that all our test results came back normal – there was nothing seriously wrong with either of us.  In fact, we passed all our tests with flying colours, we were top of the class!  But this put us into the category that 20% of infertile couples are diagnosed with – unexplained infertility.  This meant that the doctors could not tell us why we hadn’t been successful so far in trying to conceive the way they teach you at school.  We were about to embark on a journey that was going to take us beyond what they taught us at school – we were going to try to get pregnant with medical assistance.  We were heading into the world of the unknown.  We knew little to nothing about infertility.

At first it was difficult to explain to our friends and family why we were seeking treatment, because there was nothing ‘technically’ wrong with us.  The infertility was inexplicable!  It was embarrassing, it was awkward to explain.  So this is why I started this blog, to help us get over this difficulty in explaining what we were doing and why, as well as helping to explain our feelings about our disease in general.

Unexplained infertility in someways has been a good thing – there is always hope that this treatment will work.  But ultimately it is difficult to accept that there is just no known reason that this isn’t working for us.  In some cases, going through medically assisted treatment for infertility can reveal the explanation of a couple’s infertility.  But in our case, after 3 IUIs (Artificial Insemination) and 3 cycles of IVF (In-Vitro Fertilisation), 1 suspected ectopic pregnancy,  and over $90k of medical bills we are none the wiser as to why we do not have a baby in our arms yet.

Conception is a wondrous act of nature, but it is also an incredibly complex process  – there have to be many stars in line for a healthy baby to be born.  For something that is the very basis of our human race’s existence, we still know very little about the disease that prevents us from growing our families.  It’s incredible, right?

I am currently in the dreaded two week wait of our third (and final) IVF cycle.  If this cycle fails, apart from being devastated, I do not know how we will ever be able to move forward without knowing why this has happened, why medical treatment didn’t work for us.  Our infertility will never leave us.

For National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), the national non-profit infertility organisation Resolve is promoting this year’s theme #StartAsking.  The theme is about promoting the questions that we want to be answered, whether this is asking for our Employers to provide insurance coverage, asking for legislation that supports family building options or asking our friends and family to support us.  For me, the one question I have and want to raise more awareness about is to:

 #StartAsking for more targeted research on unexplained infertility.

Perhaps if we can understand more about how or why some couples are infertile, then better focused medical interventions can be developed to defeat infertility.

I want answers!!!! But we won’t ever get answers if we don’t talk about infertility and unexplained infertility.  It shouldn’t be a secret.  We can do this by speaking openly about infertility, by getting organisations like Resolve to help raise our community’s voice and build awareness.

If you would like to know more about infertility, please visit Resolve.org.

If you would like to help, you can contribute by fundraising or donating for Resolve.  Or just comment below with your questions and thoughts to join in the discussion!

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National Infertility Awareness Week #StartAsking

It’s almost National Infertility Awareness Week here in the US, 24-30 April 2016.  I don’t know if there is an equivalence in the UK, Canada, Australia, NZ or wherever you are in the world, but seeing as my blog lives in an international community I believe it should be an International Awareness Week (So doth Dani declares!).  So join us!

Here are some ways you can ALL get involved to help spread awareness of this disease, whether you are infertile or an infertile loved one’s supporter.

Learn more about infertility.  Because knowledge is power.

If you are family or a friend of an infertile loved one then change your facebook profile picture to this.  You can download the picture from here.

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If you are 1 in 8 couples you can change your facebook profile picture to one of these:

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or my favourite…..

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Let people know that infertility is a disease by using the phrase, “the disease of infertility” whenever you talk or write about infertility.

If you don’t know what to say to someone who has infertility, then you can read this article: “25 Things to say (and not to say)” from Resolve.  If you are finding that some friends just don’t understand your infertility and are saying unintentionally hurtful things – share this link with friends and family so you can help them to help you.

Infertility is a couple’s disease, there is a mis-perception that infertility is a woman’s disease, this is not true.  So don’t forget all the men who are affected too.

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So what am I doing for National Infertility Awareness Week?  I have been prepping some microblog posts, one-a-day, on the subject of this year’s theme #StartAsking – I will also be posting on my personal facebook page – eeeeeeek!!!!

I am participating in Miss Conception Coach’s Bloggers Unit Conference!!!!  Watch this space for my article!  You can follow her on wordpress and see all the inspiring articles for the conference, her instagram is @missconceptioncoach – she posts lots of beautiful and inspiring words of wisdom 🙂

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My local infertility support group is running an information desk at our local clinic throughout the week, and I will help man it for a few hours to make people aware of who we are and what the support group does 🙂

As part of Resolve’s Advocacy day some members of my local infertility support group are visiting Washington DC to talk to members of congress about important family building issues.  I can’t go because I have to work (Boooooooo) but they will be taking my letters I have written to our Senators and Congressman with them!

And of course I will be doing all the social media stuff too.

 

OK that’s a lot for now!!!! TTFN!!!