Don’t Ignore

by Jen on April 27, 2012

These last two years have taught me a lot about dreams and fears and hard work and hope and loss.  I’ve wanted a family my whole life, and when George and I set out to build one, we found ourselves fighting tooth and nail to obtain something that appeared to come so easily to others.

We are infertile.  Or we were?  We still are?  I’m not sure anymore.

I have a handful of minor medical afflictions that complicate our chances of reproducing.  For 21 months, we followed a sometimes simple, sometimes complicated, sometimes emotional, often frustrating, and consistently disappointing theorem of optimizing our fertility.  I never ovulated.  I never fertilized.  We never succeeded.

Until we did.

We gave up trying.  We called in the big guns.  We met with a highly recommended, well-respected, and über qualified New York City Reproductive Endocrinologist.  In that meeting, he discovered that somehow, in a miraculous, completely shocking, totally thrilling way, we were already pregnant.

I spent nearly two weeks trying to rationalize how, after all our efforts, it just happened.  Like magic.  I was overflowing with the kind of happiness that would bring me to tears.  I had graduated.  I was infertile no more.  I could move on with my life without fear.  The family I dreamt of was within my reach.  In fact, it was within my belly.

I felt excitement and wonder and optimism and… guilt???

I’d made such friendships during my time as an “infertile”.  I learned about women who struggled much longer and much harder than I did.  I learned about women who knew they never had a fighting chance of ever conceiving.  I learned about women who’d attempted eight failed in vitro fertilizations and women who’d miscarried up to six times.  I learned about women who spent years undergoing operations and procedures, spending their last dollars, struggling to keep their marriages strong under such difficult circumstances, and never finding the happy ending they’d hoped for.

And there I sat.  A pregnant infertile.  My two years of painful infertility proved too heavy a cloak to shed even when I’d found myself face to face with a toilet during a blessed moment of morning sickness.  I was pregnant, but I knew I shouldn’t be.

I wanted to shout my victory from atop Rockefeller Center, yet I couldn’t escape the survivor’s guilt.  I deserved this baby.  I did.  Building a family had become our top priority.  We had savings.  And stability.  And more love than anyone could ever hope for.  But I knew I was no more deserving than any other woman who yearned for this experience.  So why me and not her?  Or her?  Or them?

And more importantly, why was infertility creeping into my pregnancy?  Infertility had been my enemy for two years, so how did it still manage to tap me on the shoulder while I relaxed in the stirrups and watched our baby’s heart beat on the ultrasound screen?

Because it’s a disease.  An evil disease.

It affects your mind and your body, your hopes and your dreams.  It’s an affliction that I’ve learned affects women even after they’ve persevered and built large, beautiful families.  Infertility is the fear that your lifelong dream may never come true.

I miscarried my baby at ten weeks and two days.  Not a day has passed that I don’t wish I could go back.  Not a day has passed that I don’t wonder if that was my only shot.

One in eight couples struggle with infertility.

One in eight.

Our stories vary.  Our experiences vary.  Our timelines vary.  And our reactions vary.  But we are all fighting the same fight.

And even when we think we’ve won, we realize infertility never really goes away.

In honor of National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW), I support Resolve’s efforts to educate the masses with this year’s “Don’t Ignore” campaign.  For more information on this disease and how you can help or better understand, please visit www.resolve.org.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 runnermom-jen April 27, 2012 at 2:27 pm

One in 8?! I had no idea it was that many. It's so heartbreaking…I can't imagine.
I hope beyond all hope your dreams come true.
xoxo

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2 ace1028 April 27, 2012 at 7:32 pm

As always your way with words is critical. You're sharing so much and I continue to send you much love. And I thank you for sharing. Huge hugs.

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3 Alana April 27, 2012 at 11:19 pm

Very powerful, touching words. I won’t ignore.

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4 Rach DonutsMama April 28, 2012 at 10:32 pm

Thanks for this post Jen. I know a lot of people don't talk about this and I've seen a good friend of mine IRL struggle with this. It really is heartbreaking, esp when you see a couple who want it so badly and would make such terrific parents. I hope you get the happy ending you so deserve.

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5 Dawn@LightenUp! April 29, 2012 at 9:13 am

Thinking of you every day, Jen, and hoping and praying for you. I won't ignore. Luv ya, girl. 🙂

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6 Tess April 30, 2012 at 1:18 pm

It is heart breaking.

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7 katieross83 May 12, 2012 at 9:38 am

1 in 8? I had no idea. Jen, I think of you often. I think of your strength and resiliency, and I hope and pray that another blessing comes your way.

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8 sales_associate July 3, 2012 at 1:17 am

Very touching story Jen. I'm happy for you and your family, but for couples who don't have the same happy result, hope isn't loss. Surrogacy is always an option thanks to science.

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