I walk into work at 7:20 a.m. and head into the break room to put my lunch away in the fridge. Oh look, some homemade scrumptious something on the table. That’s nothing new when you work with 25 other women. But this one has a lovely sign to go with it. It isn’t… it is… another pregnancy announcement. Greeeaaaaat. Another day of listening to: “So when are you due? Are you going to find out the gender? How are you feeling?” Blah, blah, blah. So before I see another soul in the clinic or put my happy smile on to go work with my first kid of the day, I have 8 minutes to silently cry in the restroom by myself. Why? Because infertility is not something people talk about. It makes people feel ashamed, uncomfortable, insecure, and subhuman.
As a person who has always worn her emotions and heart on her sleeve, it has been very difficult for me to not talk about the struggles my husband and I have been having. I certainly don’t have those feelings of shame and discomfort. But when I talk about infertility with many people, it is quite noticeable how uncomfortable they become. People don’t know what to say or how to react. They do their best and then try to change the subject. But for me, I have simply been longing to talk about how my family is being built. I don’t want my infertility to be given the 5 minutes of pity and then change the subject to something more cheerful.
I have been dreaming about building my family since I was a young child. I know many women do. So in October of 2011, I found myself eager to start my own family with my husband, but unwilling to do so in my current medical condition. I spent over 3 years working on myself physically and mentally to get to a point where I got the medical OK from my doctor to try and get pregnant. So when that time finally came, I was ecstatic and naïve. We excitedly bought the pregnancy test at a grocer on vacation even though we couldn’t use it for another two-plus weeks. Somehow I just assumed that it would be easy and simple for us to get pregnant. After all, I had just spent three grueling years losing weight and weaning off seven different prescription medications for this very purpose. When the test came back negative, I was bummed and a bit like, well duh girl, it could take some time!
But month after month, tests were negative, and I grew to loath my menstrual cycle even more so than most women probably already do. I started tracking my temperature every morning. Do you know what kind of torture it is to wake up to your alarm, and not be able to move or use the bathroom first thing in the morning, because you have to lie perfectly still and wait for a basal thermometer to beep before you can move a muscle lest you alter the correct reading by creating heat from body movement?!? So nine or so months pass by and nada. We set up a consultation with an OBGYN at my clinic to see if there was something more going on. We both got testing done and referred to specialists. We both got diagnosed with infertility issues. So we then went through a year-and-a-half of fertility treatments at a facility an hour and a half away from where we live. (Thank you southern Minnesota.) Without going into gory detail, let’s just sum it all up as NOT FUN!
In September of 2015, my husband and I were given the news that what we had been trying was not working and should not be continued. Our only real chance to have a biological child was through in vitro fertilization (IVF). After many long discussions and a lot of thinking for months, we decided IVF was not how we wanted to grow our family. And we came to the decision of adoption. We knew it wouldn’t exactly be any easier or quicker than fertility treatments, but we felt like it was the right path for us.
So we started on the adoption branch of our journey in February of this year. After a rocky start, and almost signing our life and money away to what is known as a facilitator in the adoption world, we are now working with a reputable agency based here in Minnesota. And we love this agency and the people that work there dearly! It feels like they have become a new extension to our family. But the best and most rewarding part of this step in the journey is finally getting to talk about it all and wear my heart on my sleeve again! It seems so small, like I shouldn’t really be this excited until we have a baby on the way, but seriously! Now when my pregnant coworker is asked a question about her pregnancy, I don’t cringe or hold back tears. Because quite often, she will then turn to me and ask if there is any news on the adoption front. And I get to talk about it! It’s not always exciting or riveting stories, but I get to talk about it!
So ask me about it. As a person who likes to talk, I am more than happy to share! I want to share our story of infertility struggles. Let’s not make it this shameful, taboo topic. Let’s make it something that more women and men are able to share and empathize with each other. Ask me about the adoption process and journey! Because I want to talk about it!