Pic via seltzergoods.com
With infertility sometimes you don’t know what direction you’re going in and/or you’re being pulled in a million different directions. You don’t know which way to turn, left or right.
Lately, I’ve been connecting with so many women on social media who are courageous enough to share their infertility. Sometimes reading these makes me feel guilty because so many journeys are longer and harder than ours. That’s when I had an “aha” moment about our particular story and began to look at it through a different lense.
Now stick with me, but I’m visualizing a successful pregnancy/IVF/IUI as the middle ground. To the left is the journey to get there and to the right is the point past the initial positive test result or completion of IVF or IUI.
For all of us, the IUI or IVF is relatively the same-a conglomerate of injections, bloodwork, procedures, monitoring, doctors appointments, and waiting. Some might get more side effects. Some might suffer from Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHHS). Your trigger shot or protocol may differ. Yet, they all remotely resemble one another.
Our struggles, however, tend to vary greatly. Even if two women are suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) their journeys could look drastically different. Many of us infertility warriors struggle with infertility to the “left” or before we get to the point of IUI/IVF/conceiving some way; while others find their difficulty after, either with failed cycles, chemical pregnancies, miscarriages, etc.
In our case, obviously, the bulk of our infertility fight took place to the left. Us “lefties” might have to endure months, even years, of struggle to get to the point where IUI and IVF are even a possibility. For example, my husband needed to remain on medication for almost two years before IVF was in the cards and, even then [right up to his TESE procedure and my egg retrieval] we didn’t know if we’d make it to the point of having viable sperm for fertilization. Our extreme highs and extreme lows came before the initial BFP. The waiting and longing, tears and angst occurred prior to our IVF cycle. However the culmination of our struggle was the point in which our little Mikie “stuck” and , thanks be to God, stayed. The IVF and entire pregnancy were smooth sailing for us and as some might say, we were finally on the other side of infertility.
“Righties” have a different experience. They might get diagnosed with infertility and move forward with an IUI or IVF cycle within a couple of months. It all might seem like a blink of the eye, and before they know it they are Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise [PUPO]. That is, until the otherwise comes. Maybe the cycle failed. Maybe their beta confirms a positive pregnancy, but there’s no heartbeat at the 6 or 8-week ultrasound. Maybe this keeps happening time after time after time. Just like “lefties”, it’s not the injections and procedures that are the most painful for “righties”. It’s the roller coaster of emotions that’s associated with the ecstasy of hearing “You’re pregnant,” only to hear “I’m sorry for your loss.”
As a “lefty”, I cannot fathom the heartache that failed cycles and miscarriages must incur. It makes me feel so fortunate, and almost embarrassed in some respect, to ‘wallow’ in my struggle.
What I’m trying to get to is the realization that infertility is not a battle. Whatever your story is, first time success or multiple failed attempts, months or years, “lefty” or “righty” is really irregardless. Infertility is a struggle and the struggle is real.
While all of our circumstances and experiences differ, “lefties” and “righties” are still one in the same. We all cringe at the thought of hearing another pregnancy announcement. We all “trick” ourselves into believing we’re pregnant, even when it’s nearly impossible. We all yearn to rest a newborn on our chest and hear a little voice coo “Mama” for the first time. We all could write a book on trying to conceive and could pass a phlebotomist test with flying colors. We all cry and we all pick ourselves back up, with a little help along the way. We all have the same common goal: to carry, love, and raise a child of our own.