It's National Infertility Awareness Week. One in eight couples struggle with infertility.
That's 7.6 million people.
I guarantee you know someone (and probably lots of someones) who struggles with infertility. It's a silent epidemic that most choose to struggle with privately. I've chosen to share my journey, not for sympathy and certainly not for pity, but to let those struggling privately know that they're not alone.
The theme this year for NIAW is Start Asking. The goal is to encourage couples struggling to conceive to advocate for themselves in the doctor's office (something I'll be posting on later), for friends and family to start asking how they can support their infertile loved ones, for everyone to start asking our insurance companies and government officials why this financially devastating diagnosis of infertility isn't supported financially.
As I was reading blogs and Twitter posts and watching videos about NIAW, I couldn't help but think about where Michael and I have been this past year. It has, hands down, been one of the most difficult years of my life.
This time last year we were just getting ready to discover Dr. Schoolcraft and his amazing team at CCRM. We would soon be heading to Lone Tree, CO for the first of many visits.
This past year we experienced a lot of firsts:
My first time drawing up meds
My first experience with daily injections and the bruising that follows
My first 3am wakeup for a trigger shot
My first retrieval and the subsequent loss of embryos
My first transfer and seeing in person our beautiful babies as embryos waiting for my womb
We heard for the very first time the words "You're pregnant."
We also felt for the first time the pain of losing our sweet babies. The pain of that experience has dulled slightly, but I still cry and grieve their loss. Our counselor said in passing last week something about "our girls", and my heart caught in my throat.
I can't think that sentence, I can't type that sentence, without tears streaming.
In this last year, Michael and I have grown closer. We've had to really work on our marriage as this journey has challenged us spiritually, emotionally, and financially.
These are burdens no one should have to bear alone. That's why National Infertility Awareness Week is so important. There are people you love who have never seen two pink lines, who have gone into stupid debt to conceive, who have lost babies and continue to grieve, who don't know what to do next. You should know who those people are in your life and love them. Support them. Be there to listen to them and not to judge them.
This isn't a journey anyone should face alone.