Resolve to know more. The theme of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week. This week is very important to me. Every year since I received the diagnosis of “Infertility”, I have vowed to raise awareness and share all I can about this disease.

While I stare at my video monitor at a beautiful, healthy ten month baby boy peacefully dreaming away, I have to pinch myself, as if I am in my own dream. How did I get so lucky that I get to have this baby boy is in my life?

I try to forget about those painful years, but I can’t. All the doctor’s appointments, the tests, the blood work, the ultrasounds, the disappointment. The best way for me to raise awareness is to share my difficult, heartbreaking journey to motherhood.

Children were the furthest thing from my mind when I was in my early twenties. However, when I was married at age 22, I knew that I wanted children with my new husband. We decided the time was right a year and a half after we were married so we ditched the birth control and gave it a try. After about 6 months, I went to the doctor after not having a cycle for a few months, and she basically said, “come back when it’s been a year, here’s some pills to make you have a period.” I was frustrated and felt alone. That is when I started my own research. I used google every day, read blogs, became followers to TTCers on YouTube. I tracked my temperatures, cervical mucus, and any signs of ovulation. That is when I discovered I was not ovulating. After two doctors, tons of tests, 3 rounds of Clomid, 2 rounds of medicated IUI, and $7000, I was at my wit’s end. We were coming up on 2 1/2 years of trying and I had never felt so defeated.

I hated the comments from people. “If you would just lose ten pounds, I bet you would get pregnant” or “If you would just relax, it will happen.” My most favorite was “Why don’t you just adopt, everyone I know who adopted a baby, got pregnant right after!”. I dreaded going to baby showers or doing anything “baby related”. Don’t get me wrong, I was happy for those who were expecting children or had children, but the pain and longing for my own was so deep, it made it difficult. I felt so alone, despite the love and support of my close friends, family and amazing husband. I cried almost every day. I prayed and wished on shooting stars. I was angry that my body could not do what it was it was SUPPOSED to do. I was afraid my husband would leave me because I couldn’t give him a child. As I write this, I fight back the tears from all the pain I felt during that time.

After falling into a deep depression after our last IUI failed, in early April 2012, I decided to make a change. I was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (See my other posts about that horrible condition) which caused my infertility. After some lifestyle changes, I decided to see another physician, an OB that was recommended by other friends with PCOS. He gave it to me straight. I had less than a 5% chance of conceiving even with treatments because my PCOS was so bad. We decided to try 2 more rounds of medicated IUI’s before considering moving on to In-Vitro Fertilization. So in September 2012, we decided to jump in. I was very pessimistic, I had already had too many heartbreaks, why would this cycle be different.

The cycle I got pregnant with my little, I will never forget. I went into my cycle day 12 follicle check and once again, I didn’t have any sizable follicles. I was so disappointed. Then, that same day while I was in class, I found out a coworker was pregnant, and it took every bit of me not to lose it. On the way home, I cried, screamed, and prayed. I questioned God and asked him why I had to go through this! I just wanted a child, something so simple. I had done everything “right”. I had my life together and we were ready to accept the responsibility. It seemed so easy for everyone else. As I went into my last follicle check at 14 days, I was not hopeful. I had done way to many of these already. I know what happens. Then, the words I had waited for came out of the doctor’s mouth, “We have a good follicle, maybe two!”. By day 20, we were ready to trigger and get this show on the road. He reminded me that I still had less than 5% chance of conceiving, but I at least there was a little hope. Ten days later, I took a pregnancy test and for the first time, after over one hundred negative tests, I saw two lines. After over 3 years, I finally got my positive.

Remember when I said I questioned God why? Well, this is why. So I can provide hope. So I could share my story in hope that it may help someone like the numerous blogs I read helped me. The blogs I read, the vlogs I watched, and the forums I followed all helped me cope. When a person in the infertility community found out they were pregnant after 5 years of trying, I secretly celebrated with them. Or when someone made the heart-breaking decision to live child-free, I secretly mourned with them. It’s what got me through the roughest of times.

Resolve to know more. Inform yourself. If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, the greatest thing you can do is educate yourself properly. If you are struggling, seek out the many, many resources. I could have saved lots of money if I would have educated myself more in the beginning. Know your options. There are many ways to achieve the family you dream of. Be your own advocate. If you know someone who is struggling with infertility, do the same. All we really want is someone to listen. We don’t want unsolicited advice. By educating yourself, it shows us you care.

Raise Awareness. 1 in 8 couples are struggling with Infertility, yet we still act like it’s not a disease and it’s something that should be kept hidden. My insurance company told me they didn’t cover Infertility treatments because it was a personal choice to have children. That is so wrong. I didn’t choose to have this disease that prevents me from conceiving. I pay hundreds of dollars to a company, and when I really need them, they aren’t there to support me. Contact your representatives. Let them know that WE won’t be pushed aside anymore.

Lastly, the pain of infertility never goes away. Someone recently asked me why I cared so much about this cause, I had my baby, I should be happy. I will fight for this as long as Infertility is treated like it is today. What happens if I want more children? My doctor already told me I have less than a 1% chance of conceiving without fertility medication. That is always on your mind, my friends. A person without infertility is not limited to how many children she may desire to have, why should I be?

Thank you for sticking around and staying with me this long. My Infertility story was the best way for me to share with others the side of this disease that is not revealed very often. This journey will always be apart of my life, and while it was the toughest road I have traveled so far, it made me a stronger person and a better wife and mother in the end. And my journey is not over yet.

Start here by following these links. Educate yourself.
http://www.resolve.org/infertility101
http://www.resolve.org/national-infertility-awareness-week/about.html

~ BelleStarr

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