Lots of years ago, the Hubs and I decided we wanted to grow our family. I was 24 and had no reason to think getting pregnant would be difficult. So I stopped taking the pill, started paying attention to my cycles and was convinced I was pregnant two months later when my period was late. You know that stupid saying that you’re over the moon? I hate that statement- but we were over the moon imagining how life was going to change with our little one. But the pregnancy tests kept coming back negative even though my period didn’t show for over 3 months. We just assumed it was my body’s reaction to going off hormonal birth control after so many years and didn’t get too concerned.
After a few more months though, we knew something wasn’t right. My cycles were crazily erratic, I was putting on weight rapidly and my skin was a disaster. Shortly there after, I was diagnosed with PCOS and we realized that our path to having a baby was not going to be an easy one.
This is National Infertility Awareness Week. Did you know that 1 in 8 couples deal with infertility? Think about that for a minute- 1 in 8 is a lot of people. It’s your friends, your family, your coworkers. It could be you.
When the Hubs and I first realized that having kids was going to be a challenge, we kept it to ourselves. I literally only knew of one other couple that had trouble conceiving and their child bearing years were 20 years earlier. I was scared and confused, ashamed and guilt-ridden. My body had failed me- had failed us– in a monumental way and I had no idea how to deal with that.
A year and 3 months after we started trying to grow our family, I got pregnant for the first time. We told everyone when I was about 5 weeks along. We didn’t think anything of it, we had never heard of anyone miscarrying. Then we became that couple who miscarried.
We were reeling and all the well-meaning people telling us that I’d get pregnant again soon just ate away at me. The dam broke and I told everyone everything. Words like PCOS, Clomid, IUI, Injectables and Reproductive Endocrinologist became a part of almost every conversation I had. Sadly, Miscarriage, Repeat Pregnancy Loss, Clotting Disorders and ANA did too as we dealt with 3 losses. (You can read how we eventually went on to have Scorch here.)
The crazy part was, the more I talked, the better I felt. No one could take away the pain, jealousy and heartbreak I was dealing with but the more I spoke out, the more people I found in the same boat as the Hubs and me. I found an amazing online community pretty quickly, but slowly I found local women in my life dealing with infertility. We called ourselves the Broken Vag!na and Limp D!ck Club. Not the most politically correct or medically accurate name, but it made us laugh. Our monthly dinners were sanity saving and one of the rays of sunshine during a dark time.
Eventually we all graduated from that club in one way or another. Some of us by having kids, some of us by living a fulfilling child-free life. Either way, we had each other.
It’s been almost 13 years since infertility reared its ugly head in my life. Since that time, at least a dozen women in my life have dealt with infertility in one form or another. The two kids I love just about as much as I love my own are IVF babies. I’ve held hands with more women than I’d like as they’ve mourned their losses. It’s been heartbreaking- but I’m so glad we’ve had each other.
Medical advances have out paced my knowledge and experiences, but I still share my story and lend an ear to anyone going through something similar. To know that you are not alone can sometimes be one of greatest blessing during a horrible time. The more I’ve talked, the less ashamed I am. My infertility wasn’t something I asked for, it just is- like my brown eyes and wavy hair. I don’t wish that journey on anyone but I’m so very, very happy that infertility and pregnancy loss isn’t a topic talked about in whispers anymore. No one wants to be part of the Broken Vag!nas and Limp D!ck Club but if you are, come talk to me. I’ll listen.