(Guest Blog) Celebrate National Infertility Awareness Month: My Personal Journey

Infertility – it affects 7.3 million people…that’s as if infertility took over New York City.  That is how big it is!

This is  a special post to honor to National Infertility Awareness Month.

It is a time to dedicate a post to all those currently dealing with infertility and for those who have overcome their infertility to reflect back, and remember how that time has forever changed you.

When you experience something powerful in your life, like infertility, it leaves a mark with you.  You aren’t the same person that you were before.

And that can be a good thing.

I’ll admit, sometimes I can be a bit stubborn, especially when it comes to goals and reaching them.  I truly believe that if you put your mind to something you can achieve it. Getting pregnant and the dream to be a mom however is different.  It is a goal that you can work at and work at and still never achieve [without needing help, or rewriting what the journey looks like to reach that goal].

I thought I did everything right.  Got married, worked to feel stable in my career, lived a healthy lifestyle, and truly waited until I was “ready”.  I stopped taking the pill and we tried [and tried and waited and waited] and nothing happened, no period and no pregnancy.

Things weren’t happening according to “plan”, which for me as type A person wasn’t ok.

My husband and I  went to go meet with a reproductive endocrinologist to formulate a plan.  I had to get my period coming regularly before we could even discuss trying to get pregnant.

Fast forward one year, FINALLY after every hormone drug you could think of, my stubborn period came.  It never stayed, I always had to be stimulated to get it, but once I finally got it we could start taking the next step in the plan, trying to get pregnant. At this point I was still strong, pushing forward trying to achieve “the goal”.

Fast forward again several months, we had tried several IUI [that came with a cancelled cycle, a failed cycle, and a chemical pregnancy].

After our IUI tries we were starting to feel defeated. I started making back-up plans to our alternative plans, it became obsessive. We decided to move forward with IVF.  IVF felt more serious, there were more drugs, more monitoring appointments, more everything.  

I was starting to feel the effects of the two-year plus on this journey.  My body, my mind, everything, my body didn’t feel like me anymore, I was bloated all the time, stressed out, and frustrated.

But we kept pushing forward, and thank god we did, our first IVF attempt was a success. The moment my doctor called to tell me we were pregnant will be a moment that I will remember forever [vividly, down to the very last detail].

It made all the struggles, all the doubt, all the everything worth it.

So if you are reading this, just starting out on your journey, know that the journey may be hard, it may be stressful on your mind and body, but you will get there, the path may take a couple different turns, but it will end, and you will be stronger than you ever thought possible before you started!

By: Katie O’Connor, Founder of the non-profit Shine: A Light on Fertility: inspiring fertility empowerment by sharing the journey.  We provide free support, mentoring and advocacy for fertility health.

Photo Credit: Alaina Bos Photography, Face of Infertility

*Join Shine Fertility for in-person meet-ups in Chicago at Pulling Down the Moon the second Tuesday of every month!  The next Shine Together event will be on Tuesday, April 9th at 6pm!

*Join Katie on Thurs, April 25th at 6:30pm for Shine Fertility’s NIAW Panel Event!

 

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