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national infertility awareness week

I Am One in Eight…

“I’m so infertile, Nick Cannon couldn’t get me pregnant!” I cracked this terrible joke a couple of weeks ago to the nurse who was in charge of intake at my last egg retrieval.  It’s what I do, make dumb jokes when I’m stressed out or nervous. I always feel like the nurses and doctors are relieved when they finally put me under so I will shut up.

I’ve spent a lot of time in doctors’ offices these past few years. I’ve lost count of how many needles have been injected into my body. I used to be terrified of needles, and now it’s nothing to get a 1 1/2 inch needle into the backside.  I even got over the fear of injecting myself.  When you have to do three shots a day, and you husband is working late, and you HAVE to get that shot in before 6pm, you get over it.

Really, for as much as Gonal F and Menpur cost ($4350 this last round WITH insurance) the least they could do is give you a buzz, right?

Nah. I just get bloated and emotional, and I break out in cystic acne. It’s so freaking rude.

I am one in eight that suffers from infertility.

Infertility affects one in eight couples worldwide, and it’s something my husband and I have been struggling with for most of our sixteen years of marriage. Of course, I’m the problem. Severe endometriosis has basically fried my eggs, and although I make a lot of them, they’re all bad quality. (I’m like the “Forever 21” store for eggs. Lots of inventory, but all crap quality.) And there I go with the dumb jokes again…

I figured, like most people are able to do, that I would get pregnant easily. I’m healthy, strong, and in great shape.  And we did get pregnant on our second try when we were 28. I had a miscarriage six weeks later, and I figured that we could just get pregnant again. Ha. No. After ten years of trying to conceive- at first naturally, then with Clomid (the Devil Drug I call it), then with IUI.  After three failed rounds of IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) we had to finally go the IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) Route. That in itself is a HUGE undertaking. And it’s crazy expensive and most insurances don’t cover it.  Thanks for nothing, TRICARE!!! It’s tons of expensive injected medications, doctors’ appointments every other day for two weeks, then the egg retrieval. THEN they inject the eggs with your partner’s sperm, and you hope an embryo comes out of it. THEN you get the embryo placed into your uterus and hope it takes.  And then if it does take, you get another 8-10 weeks of progesterone injections into your backside. So, with all of this happening, you get to be a hormonal mess.

We were lucky. Our lone embryo took in 2021, and now we have a gorgeous 18-month-old son.  It was worth it all.

So, naturally, we had to try again, right? I mean, it worked once, so let’s give it another go.

Two unsuccessful IVF rounds later, I’m done. We’re done. At forty, having another baby on my own is clearly too much to ask the universe for.  Last Fall, we did IVF and got one good embryo- a girl this time. We had her transferred in February, and she didn’t take. We did another round this past month with the eggs retrieved a week ago, with four fertilizations- but no embryos yielded.  So, this is the end of the road for us. Maybe a donor egg could be the answer, but that’s another $40K investment with no guarantee that it will work.  Again, I am so lucky to have Brandon, and I have a wonderful life. I just want to let go and enjoy it, which has been really hard to do this past year with the barrage of hormones going in and out of my body. I’m looking forward to getting myself back.

One of the hardest things about being infertile was the constant unintentional emotional grenades. From being asked “When are you going to have babies?” to bosses (yes, plural. Kid you not) who told me NOT to get pregnant to seeing new stories about people abusing their children, every day is a minefield.

Again, one in eight Americans are affected by infertility. I ask you to remember this before saying something potentially insensitive. And use this as a reminder that you never really know what someone is going through, so please be mindful. And to all who are suffering, I see you, I hear you, and I am you. Stay strong.

And to all of you who are able to conceive easily, know how blessed you are!