6 years ago, I made a wedding vow to raise a family and bring my children up in the church.
4 years ago, I ordered a personalized baby onesie to use one day to tell my husband we were pregnant.
3 years ago, I bought a dress to save and wear as a maternity one.
I have hangers for baby clothes stored in my closet- waiting to hold little pajamas and Easter outfits.
I have a list of baby names so long you can see the trends in popular ones from over half a decade.
Yet, here I am, 2,190 days later with baby hangers, a maternity dress and onesies- and nothing but confusion and faith to fill them.
Being a superstitious person, I have technically done everything under the sun to jinx myself.
I allowed myself to hope.
I still grapple with the fact that 1 in 8 couples suffer from infertility, and infertility does not discriminate. It plagues people of all ages, races, economic status, and religion.
With each passing year and as I grow older, the more my desire for motherhood has turned from duty, to curiosity, to excitement, to an ache I can’t begin to describe.
I turned 30 years old on April 12, and on April 11, we found out our third intrauterine insemination (IUI) attempt failed. Thankfully, we were in California on vacation and I had plenty of sunshine, beach, and amusement park rides to distract myself. I thought I was OK. I thought I was so used to that lonely, single pink line that it didn’t affect me as much this time.
But, I was very wrong. As the week back from vacation started to wind down and the excitement of birthday fun dwindled, I could feel my heart breaking. That kind of sorrow that you can feel in your veins, shooting down the sides of your body.
I usually keep my darkest feelings private because I don’t want to place the burden of them on friends or family, but I was truly struggling.
I was so convinced that this time was the time it would work. We had doubled my dose of letrozole and the ultrasound showed that both of my ovaries would probably release an egg. They even mentioned a 5-10% chance of twinning. My heart soared. Twins. Even at that low percentage of a chance, the possibility of twins meant the possibility of even just one.
This round I felt twinges and pinches I hadn’t felt in the previous two treatments. Everything felt different.
I, again, allowed myself to hope.
Our diagnosis of “unexplained infertility” holds me hostage in the gaping limbo between hope and hopelessness. Unexplained could mean there is something just slightly off and easily fixed with a little bit of help, or something hugely wrong, and we just don’t know why or what it is. After this third failure, the light is beginning to wane.
At this moment, I am drowning in denial. Denial that IVF is our next step. In my heart of hearts, I didn’t think it would come to IVF. And I have no idea how to mentally end this part of the journey and come to terms with the potential beginning of the next, much scarier one. I’m not even sure if IVF is right for us.
As much as it seems overly personal and what some might think is a cry for pity or attention, I choose to speak about our infertility struggles because I can’t imagine fighting this alone.
Knowing there are support groups, conferences, and grants to support families in their fight is sometimes the only source of comfort I have.
So, whether it’s by coincidence or luck, this week is National Infertility Awareness Week and the Kansas City Infertility Awareness association is hosting a Family Building Conference with presentations and seminars to support and educate struggling families like us in the KC community.
If you are 1 in 8 that has seen the light at the end of the infertility tunnel, know that my heart is overjoyed for you and your miracle.
If you are 1 in 8 that is still navigating the infertility journey, know that my heart hurts for you as much as it hurts for me. Because trust me, I know.
Sometimes, hope can hurt.
Dedicated to our god-daughter and niece, Earley King, who keeps our hope alive.
For more information:
Infertility Awareness Organization: https://infertilityawareness.org/
Kansas City Infertility Awareness Association: http://www.kcinfertility.org/
KCIA Family Building Conference: https://www.facebook.com/KCInfertility/