Love, Joleen: National Infertility Awareness Week

Thursday, April 26, 2018

National Infertility Awareness Week

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week. Here are some fast facts about infertility. The word itself refers to not being able to get pregnant after a year of trying (or 6 months if your 35+). It can also refer to women who can get pregnant but are unable to stay that way. Approximately 10% of women of child-bearing age in the United States (6.1 million) struggle with infertility, according to the CDC. I've read 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. I've also seen that it's closer to 1 in 6. Approximately 10% of infertility cases cannot be explained. The most common cause of infertility is lack of regular ovulation and this accounts for roughly 20% of infertility cases. It's something that I'm struggling with right now. I thought this would be a great time to update those who've been following along with my journey the last couple of years. 

If this is the first time you've found yourself on my blog, here's a little history. After being diagnosed with PCOS in my early 20s, I was told that I'd likely never have children without fertility treatment. It was heartbreaking to say the least. Imagine my great surprise when I became pregnant with my beautiful blessing in 2011. My Sunshine Baby. Fast forward to 2016, my husband and I were ready to grow our family. I had gotten in the best shape of my life in the years before and many of my PCOS-related symptoms had subsided. I was so excited to get pregnant right away, only to miscarry in the early weeks of that pregnancy. When I was going through that, I wrote about hope after miscarriage. Then just months later I had another miscarriage, and wrote about feeling blessed after our second miscarriage. 2017 was really hard for me, emotionally, and I suffered from depression. Suffered. It was rough. I wrote about difficult times and all the hard things. I was inspired and encouraged to write one of my most popular blog posts to date8 Things You Should Never Say to Your Friend Going Through Infertility.
Shortly after I celebrated my 35th birthday this year, we met with our RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) to come up with a more aggressive plan. It's been nearly 2 years since I've gotten pregnant again, since my last miscarriage. My PCOS symptoms are worse than they've ever been. My cycles are irregular and very long (sometimes 60+ days), which means I'm likely not ovulating very often. This last cycle we started our journey with IUI (Intrauterine insemination). I took medications to bring on my period and to help with ovulation. I had labs drawn multiple times. I went in for 4 ultrasounds to measure my progress. But in the end, they missed when I ovulated, so we were unable to do the IUI. So many feelings and thoughts went through my head during and after my appointment on Monday. Frustration, a little bit of anger, despair... and still hope. I got on Facebook and saw a quote that stopped me in my tracks: 
Such a great reminder for me! It's okay to be sad/upset/angry/etc. but I have to choose not to dwell too long in that place. For my overall well-being;  for my family. I remind myself to count my blessings and to be a blessing. Going through infertility is really difficult and often lonely. I share my story to tell you that if you're going through something similar, you're not alone. The grief is real. Your feelings and your heartache are valid. But I would encourage you not to be blinded by it. Let's both take a few minutes today to meditate on our blessings. 
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