The Luckiest

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Today is mine and J’s 4th wedding anniversary, and on June 7th we will have been together for a total of 8 years. This may not be long in comparison to some others, and we still have a lifetime to go, but I can’t believe it has been this many years already. By the time I turn 30, I will have been with J for over a third of my life. I met him when I was 19, and we got married when I was 23. I never imagine myself being one of those people who got married at such a young age. I was very independent, and a serial dater before I met J. We got to know each other as friends first, through mutual acquaintances, which I think helped. Plus he was so different from anyone I had dated. He was, and still is, a gentleman; opens car doors, pulls out my chair, holds my hand, tells me I’m beautiful and kisses me goodnight.

We will celebrate with a nice, quiet dinner out, not much pomp and circumstance. We never imagined we would hit our 4 year anniversary, still without children. As we celebrate 4 years wedded bliss, we will shortly be upon 2 years with the pain of infertility. Half of our (relatively) short marriage has been marred by this awful disease. We have struggled with it, but we do manage to enjoy the time we have with just the two of us, despite the fact that we are ready to grow our family.

I am so grateful to have met him. We have been through so much joy (and sometimes pain) over the years together, I can’t picture my life without him. I wasn’t always so sure I wanted to be a parent, but with J, I know I want to have children with him. Even if that day never comes, we have each other, and that can be enough. So to my darling husband, on this day I say thank you, because I am the luckiest.

I loved our wedding day, it was totally us, and although I try to keep this blog relatively anonymous, I can’t help but share some of our wedding photos. (I’ll probably take them down soon, so get your fill now).

*Sorry, got paranoid so the photos of us had to go. Thanks for the photo love for those who viewed them!

 Getting Ready Proofs (8) Getting Ready Proofs (9)

The Luckiest – Ben Folds (our wedding song)

I don’t get many things right the first time
In fact, I am told that a lot
Now I know all the wrong turns
The stumbles and falls brought me here

And where was I before the day
That I first saw your lovely face?
Now I see it everyday
And I know that I am
I am, I am the luckiest

What if I’d been born fifty years before you
In a house on the street where you live?
Maybe I’d be outside as you passed on your bike
Would I know?

And in a wide sea of eyes
I see one pair that I recognize
And I know that I am
I am, I am the luckiest

I love you more than I have
Ever found a way to say to you

Next door, there’s an old man who lived to his 90’s
And one day, passed away in his sleep
And his wife, she stayed for a couple of days
And passed away

I’m sorry, I know that’s a strange way
To tell you that I know we belong
That I know that I am
I am, I am the luckiest

Expression

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I don’t really know how to properly express myself. I feel so much, but I am very much in my own head. I am not creative or expressive. I am not religious or spiritual. I know some people see this as a life lacking but I prefer to leave out the things that I do not have the need or want for. I am very analytical and skeptical.

I read other peoples posts and poetry, about life and infertility, and I think to myself how amazing that they are able to express themselves so clearly, poetically, or poignantly. I so wish I could do that.

Sometimes I don’t even know what I’m feeling. I don’t know how to articulate it. It is frustrating to me, though I don’t know that being able to label what I’m feeling will make me any more apt at dealing with it. Sometimes I overreact, and over think things. Other times I think that I may be under reacting, or some things just don’t registry as hotly with me. And this is not just with infertility but life itself. Obviously infertility has brought out a lot of complicated feelings and has cracked most other aspects of my life wide open.

Sometimes I want to be introspective, and broody. Lie with my thoughts, and feel their weight. And other times I just want to slip out from under my worries and anxieties. Wear my shiny happy face (Which I do have, it’s not always “put on”, sometimes it’s really real). Laugh, and have fun. Convince myself that it will all be ok. Fill my mind with uplifting thoughts and know that I will get through because what choice do I have. Which is true. So perhaps my mind is just confused.

CIAW: Conceive the Dream

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I was happy to join the troops for NIAW in the US, but Canada does have it’s own (albeit with much less clout than Resolve) infertility awareness association as well, and our Canadian Infertility Awareness Week starts tomorrow! I wanted to put a post out today to encourage of my fellow Canadians out there to join in, because this one is for us!

The IAAC (Infertility Awareness Association of Canada) has issued a challenge for our CIAW that you can check out here. It is similar to Resolves campaign to know more, in that they are asking people to spread awareness. There are also events being hosted in cities across Canada. Unfortunately there is not much going on in my own city, but I am hoping next year to get involved earlier and maybe start something more here.

Although I do not share my infertility story publicly (with people who know me in real life at least), I do try to raise awareness in other ways. The IAAC offers several ways you can raise awareness such as using social media, blogging, dropping of information at a local doctors office or medical clinic, as well as many other suggestions. Here’s what I’ve been doing to help grow knowledge, understanding and awareness.

I recently sent a letter to my local MLA through the Calgary based organization Generations of Hope, as they have a tool to find your MLA and a standard form letter to use. If you live in Alberta (or even other parts of Canada, you can still use the standard letter, just adjust it to fit you province) I encourage you to reach out to your local representative. I sent this email in early April, not expecting anything of it, but it made me feel like I was doing something. Much to my surprise (and delight), a representative from my MLA’s office emailed me back, and here is what she had to say;

“On behalf of [name removed], MLA, thank you for taking the time to write us on this issue. [Local MLA] and NDP Opposition are in favour of including IVF under the public medicare umbrella. Our health critic, David Eggen, has brought this issue up in the budget estimates on health this past sitting. I have included the link below for the full context of the conversation (Dave Eggen’s question can be found on page FC406), as well as the excerpt of his question specifically.
“My second question is quite specific. I’m looking in this new
budget here for any new funding in regard to in vitro fertilization.
It’s a procedure that has been considered elective here in Alberta,
but I know that there’s been a lot of pressure across the country
and specific to Alberta to include it as part of our public health
system in some form. In vitro fertilization can have the benefit of
controlling this procedure quite a lot more and has shown a
demonstrable reduction in the requirement of using neonatal units
and extra care and other health benefits, that ultimately results in
economic benefits, too. I was watching to see, because just before
the budget there was some talk about this, and I just haven’t seen
where there might be even a pilot project to start to include in
vitro fertilization as part of our public health system.”

Thank you again for taking the time to write to us. Please feel free to contact us should you have any further questions or concerns.”

I am so happy to hear that, for one, my local MLA supports IVF coverage and that their political party is actively trying to do something about it. I know Ontario just approved coverage for (I believe) one cycle of IVF under provincial health care. It is a step in the right direction, even though it’s not in my province. Hopefully this will create a domino effect across the country, with mounting pressure on other provinces (including Alberta) to offer coverage.

Generations of Hope also has started a petition for government funding of infertility treatment, and they have the form available on their website, asking people to collect six signatures (or more) and submit it to them. If you live in Alberta, I urge you to collect as many as you can. I am going to try and put myself outside of my comfort zone in the near future, and ask some of my family to sign it for me (probably just those who know about our IF already, for now). But including myself, J, his parents and siblings, and my mom that’s 8 signatures. Hopefully someday (soon) when I feel comfortable being open about our IF I will hit up every person I know!

My employer also just recently issued their annual employee satisfaction survey, and there is a section asking about the benefits that my company offers. They have an option to comment after each topic and here was what I wrote in regards to insurance coverages;

“I feel that it is unfair and discriminatory that infertility procedures and medications are not covered under any level of [my employer] benefits plan. Infertility medications are in fact the only prescriptions that the benefits policy explicitly excludes. Even smoking cessation has some coverage; smoking, which is a personal choice, not a medical condition. The emotional toll of infertility has been compared to that of having cancer, and therefore would negatively affect an employees quality of life and mental wellbeing drastically. Infertility is a disease, and should be treated as such by not being excluded from coverage.”

I felt satisfaction over being able to give my opinion to my employer, even if they do just toss it. I hope that even one person reads it and takes the time to stop and consider infertility as a disease.

So let’s band together Canucks, and raise awareness in Canada, and our local areas!

50/50

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There is a commonly heard statistic that is thrown around, citing that around 50% of marriages end in divorce. This has always concerned me because I see it as myself and J standing next to another couple and thinking, one of us will end up divorced. I know it’s not that cut and dry, and anyways I usually I see J and I coming up as the “victors”, if you will. Obviously this is the way one would hope they view their own marriage, having the ability to withstand the test of time.

My brother-in-law and his wife starting dating very close to the same time and J and I did. They got engaged a few months after us, and then married a few months after us, as well. So we have grown as individual couples, together. On one hand, it is easy to make comparisons because of this side by side timeline. On the other hand, we are quite different. My brother-in-law (let’s call him Trey) and his wife (let’s call her Charlotte)* are very passionate, type A people and my brother in law can be a bit stubborn. (Ok I can relate to the stubborn part). They both have strong ideas of what they want from life, and I sometimes think they don’t necessarily jive together.

My brother-in-law is a doctor in residency, so he has essentially been in school since him and Charlotte started dating. After finishing his BSc, they moved cities for him to attend medical school. Luckily, they did not have to move again when he started his residency, but I’d imagine the situation on the whole has still been rather trying for them. In the time that Trey has completed medical school, and started on his residency they have gotten married and had two children, turning 3 and 1, respectively in August. Charlotte is a stay at home mom, and Trey works on call, and lots of crazy hours. He has also been working extra shifts lately, to provide for his family’s wants.

I can understand that this would be a trying situation for a young couple with two small children, but they seemed to be managing relatively well. Granted I don’t see them very often, but Charlotte is very strong-willed, and I know she tries to do and be everything for her girls. She is also one of the most cheery, and chipper (annoyingly so, sometimes) people I know. But obviously I do not see inside her home life, and I’m sure it is quite different from how I imagine her perky self to be. She tries to be open, and honest about her life, but truly, who would be open about serious turmoil in your marriage (especially with me, a sister-in-law she is not particularly close with)?

Yesterday, J was texting with Trey, who admitted that they were struggling. He told J that they were at a fork in the road, and apparently things have gotten quite bad. I don’t doubt that they have rough times (like anyone), and maybe more so because of Trey’s work situation. But I did not anticipate things being this bad. I don’t know that they’ve uttered the D word, which could easily lead to the beginning of the end, but it’s sounding like a separation may be on the horizon.

Trey might be coming to stay with us next weekend, I’m not entirely sure why, but he does come to visit every once in a while because all of his friends and family still live where we do. He is not seeing eye to eye lately with his parents (my in-laws), which I’m sure has also added stress from another angle, hence why he is staying with us, and not them. Normally him and his whole little family come, but not so this time. I feel badly for him, especially since they have such young children.

Now J and I have had our own issues, and some big ones at that. I considered leaving about 9 months prior to our wedding, when we were forced into dealing with his drinking problem, among other things. Neither of us had ever been in a long-term, mature relationship before and we kept sweeping things under the rug until it finally came to a head. But despite our problems, we still loved each other very much. So we went to counselling, we had lots of fights and arguments (to make up for the 3 previous years that we had just coasted along). We learned how to communicate with each other, and we undoubtedly strengthened our relationship tenfold.

As J and I were discussing Charlotte and Trey, I asked him if they had been to counselling. He said he wasn’t sure, but then J said to me, “Can we talk about things before they get too bad?”. I cannot tell you how much that makes me love this man. Before our counselling, J was very closed and did not like to talk about his feelings, so for him to say that to me just shows how far we’ve come. When we sought help previously, we were very close to being over. Dangerously so. We were saved just in time, and with that experience, plus infertility now, I don’t doubt we will work very hard to make things work when life gets difficult (which it inevitably will). We’ve put so much into each other, I know it would take a lot for us to just call it quits.

I truly hope, for Charlotte and Trey, as well as their children, that they are able to work things out. Although, I want to survive the odds of divorce, I hope it’s not at their expense.

*Why yes, you do sense a Sex and the City theme in my blog.

Beaut of a Ute!

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Happy long weekend to my fellow Canadians (and next weekend for my neighbors to the South)! I, unfortunately, have to work today but generally speaking long weekends are very quiet at work and so far that has held true (case and point, I am able to write this post).

I had my saline sonohysterogram this past Thursday, and it was the last diagnostic needed before I am officially set for IVF. I was a bit nervous because I had read some pretty awful stories about other people’s experiences, and that it was similar to the HSG, which was not a nice experience for me. I took two Advil before I got to the clinic, and I made sure to get there early so I didn’t have to wait forever like with my antral follicle count. The clinic was practically a ghost town. For the 20 or so minutes that I waited, I was alone practically the entire time. A few people came and went (mostly men, dropping off samples I’d assume).

When the nurse called me back I recognized her immediately, nurse T! She was the one who did my last IUI, and she was very sweet. She’s one of the younger ones there, and is really nice (although the IUI she performed was the most painful of the 3). Nurse T walked me back to the same area I had just visited last week for the AFC, and explained to me to undress from the waist down, wrap myself in the sheet and scoot across the hall to the ultra sound room. By now, I knew what I was supposed to do, after figuring it out on my own last time. Where was she last week!? Although, when I visited last time the nurses were trying to get through all of the people waiting, and I guess didn’t have time for pleasantries, or to explain whats what. I got to use a different change room, so I got to see another inspirational whiteboard (and I added my own message).

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That's mine!

That’s mine!

I headed across the hall and got comfortable up on the table. The nurse came back, and told me the doctor would be with us shortly. Luckily it was my own Dr. M that was performing the ultrasounds that day. I seriously love him, he is the nicest guy. He is always joking with the nurses, and giving them a (good-natured) hard time. He has an accent, and I’ve always suspected him of being South African. {Google update} He graduated from the University of Cape town, so I figure I was right about his accent. Gotta say, love that accent. I dated a South African guy, and his accent was partly what made him so alluring.

But I digress, Dr. M isn’t sexy per se but his personality is appealing. He is a shorter man, sort of impish/hobbit like (a cute hobbit, not a nasty one). That makes me sounds superficial, but I would take him any day over some hunky doctor, because I trust him (and who wants a hot guy who isn’t your husband up in your business…). He is so kind, and friendly and really tries to put me at ease. He always tells me how brave I am, and I usually just shrug it off. I told him I do what I have to do, to make this work. But he said, this is a choice and I am brave for making it, and he’s right (about it being a choice at least, I don’t know how brave I really feel about it all). Sometimes I feel like he is just coddling me, and trying to build me up (somewhat unrealistically) but I appreciate his efforts in reassuring me. I am extremely comfortable with him, and know he will do his very best for me, and I’m sure all of his other patients. I’m sure other doctors are just as proficient at the medical part of their jobs but he has bedside manners in spades.

Back to the SHG, it was slightly uncomfortable, about the same as an IUI. There were a few points where I had to take a couple of deep breaths. When the saline goes in it causing cramping, and Dr. M apologized profusely for hurting me. Once the catheter and saline were in, then it was time for the dildo cam. He took several different angles of my uterus, told me everything looked “beautiful”, showed me where he “is going to put the triplets”. I just scoffed at that one, let’s not get ahead of ourselves (and as if I would let him transfer three embryos! I don’t even want to do two!). He took a couple of pictures that he said were “for instagram”. Always the jokester. All in all, it was fairly quick. Just before he finished everything, he turned to wand to look at my follicles and remarked, “Look at those follicles! I hope you’re not letting those go to waste”. To which I replied, “Actually I am”. The nurse asked me where my husband was and I told her he is here, but I’m on birth control because I was tired of the “what if” every month.

After Dr. M finished, I mentioned that we would probably try for an August retrieval, as I was giving my hubby 3 months to clean up his system. I told him that J had recently quit smoking, and was using an e-cigarette. Even though it has a low dose of nicotine, Dr. M agree it is better than smoking real cigarettes, and a good start to get him completely off nicotine all together. I asked him approximately how long the stimming process would take, and he said generally 12 – 14 days from CD1 (wow that seems fast!). From what I understand, my clinic doesn’t do any sort of down regulation, you just call on CD1, come in for your baseline ultra sound and start stimming for retrieval.

I also asked him about the egg retrieval, and how the sedation worked; if it was light sedation or fully under? He told me they would put me out completely, which makes me happy and nervous at the same time. I have always been a very healthy person, and up until this past year I rarely saw a doctor for anything other than a regular check up. I’ve never had stitches, a broken bone, an IV or been sedated. I do not like needles. I don’t mind the slight pain but the sight of the needle in my skin and blood coming out, or something going in grosses me out. I have this phobia for IVs, they just gross me out and I really, really don’t want one but I am fairly certain that being put under, I will have to have one. It also freaks me out to be put all the way under. I don’t know what to expect from that, and I’ve seen people coming out of sedation and it does not seem nice . But at the same time, I don’t think I want to be conscious, even a little bit, when they are retrieving the eggs. I know I am being a sissy, when this is rather minor. I also realise I will have to stick myself for my injectables, something else I am not looking forward to. Might have to deligate that job to J, but I don’t know how I feel about him doing it either.

When we had our first consult with Dr. M about moving forward with IVF, he told me that more than likely I will have OHSS and that he would almost cause it intentionally (he’s ok with mild OHSS, not full-blown, really bad requiring hospitalization). He just wants to maximize the number of eggs retrieved, which I can understand and appreciate. At least that way, if our first IVF fails we may have more hope of having fro-yos than doing another retrieval. Now that I have seen how many follicles I had on each side in the AFC, I seem to agree that I may overstimulate. I just hope it’s not awful. Dr. M told me that I don’t need to take the next day off work after the retrieval but I guess that will depend on how I feel if I am mildly over stimulated.

He also told me that if I am over stimulated then they would just do a freeze all, rather than a fresh transfer, and that eventually he would like to see all of his cycles go to FET. He said it gives the body time to recover from the stimulating drugs, and the retrieval. Which again, makes sense, but the clinic’s fresh vs. frozen live birth rates are nearly identical, so if I can do fresh, I think I would try for that. Just to get it done all in one shot. Plus, it would work better with my schedule, as I have to go on a work trip in September, and would prefer not to have to worry about transferring that same month. But life does not go according to my plans, so I will roll with whatever comes.

So, basically I am all set (physically) to start IVF. I am going to try to get into a good routine of going to the gym, and obviously eating healthy as well. I am taking my prenatal, omega 3, vitamin B and, baby aspirin. J is on his multi vitamin with selenium, omega 3, vitamin E, and vitamin C. We are in preparation mode. He has still been applying for job transfers to the states but has had no luck yet, and frankly, I don’t think it’s going to happen. And I’m ok with it (now). If we can’t get out of here, I am happy to go forward with IVF. I think he still has hopes for a move, but we do talk as though IVF is happening so either way, I know he’ll be ok.

I would like to do the egg retrieval and transfer in the beginning of August, so I am going to use my birth control pills to modify my cycle slightly so that I can start stimming in mid July. As Dr. M said, the benefit to being on birth control is that we can plan for my start date. I can’t control most things in this process, so the things I can, you can believe I will take advantage. For now, that repetitive sentiment applies, we wait.

*Anyone who has any words of wisdom, advice, pre IVF prep tips, I welcome it all!

Update: my clinic just called me today because they were going over my file in preparation for our IVF cycle. They need J to update his blood work and SA. I am happy he has to redo his SA because I am curious what his numbers will be at, even though it hasn’t been long that he’s quit smoking and taking vitamins. His numbers got progressively worse since his first SA and through our IUIs. I also was planning on calling the clinic next week because I literally have no instructions on how to start my IVF cycle. The nurse told me to call in next week to pay the $200 deposit and they would send me a package. Things are coming together. It’s getting real, and scary!

Foot in Mouth Disease

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Not a lot of people know about our situation (read: almost no one except our immediate family), so there aren’t a lot of chances that people will ask us why we don’t just adopt. In fact I’ve actually never been asked, until now; and it was especially sucky because it was my mom who asked. My mom has a way of saying things that are sort of rude, without necessarily realising it, or putting her foot in her mouth without meaning to (I inherited this unbecoming trait from her, unfortunately).

She called me Saturday to confirm our plans for Mother’s day, and we got chatting about other things, such as my friend’s bridal shower/stagette. The maid of honor for said friend just recently got a boob job and my mom remarked how good she looked in a picture on Facebook, of her and her little 6 month old daughter. I agreed, and told my mom that she gets dirty looks all of the time because she has a slammin’ body and a young baby.

Now, I have to give you a little back story on the maid of honor for this all to make sense. The baby is adopted and this woman went through all forms of IF treatment, and hell, over several years before turning to adoption. She went to Mexico and did IVF, had OHSS but got a shitload of eggs, one successful embryo implanted but ended up as an ectopic. She had to have emergency surgery back home when they realised it was implanted in her tube (didn’t lose her tube but at that point she didn’t care), then proceeded to go back to Mexico for a hail mary where she put in all the rest of her frozen embabies (I don’t remember how many there were but looking back it was way more than is safe). None of them took. They then applied for adoption, and from the time they applied to the time they got their baby (brand new, as in they were at the hospital when she was born) was 14 months. A blink of an eye in adoption time frames.

I don’t think my mom knows the full detail of this back story, but the gist of it at least. She does know the baby is adopted (and the reason they chose adoption) and how seemingly quickly and easily it happened for them. When I told my mom about the jealous looks maid of honor gets, my mom replied with “Oh yeah, I always forget their baby is adopted”. The next thing she said was where things got dicey;

Mom: They got a nice white baby. Would you guys do that [adoption]?

Me (rather sharply): No! (In my head WTF! My mom is not racist, per se but I think in her mind if we were to adopt we would want a baby that looks like us. Also I’m not against adoption, but want to exhaust other options first).

Mom: Well, are you guys still trying?

Me: Yes. Well, not at the moment.

Mom: Oh, ok but no giving up?

Me: Um, no.

She then proceeded to tell me that people ask her all the time when we are having kids and she just tells them oh, I don’t know. My grandma apparently also asks a lot, which breaks my heart because I want her to meet our future baby(ies). She has early onset dementia and she is already very forgetful and repetitive, it is hard to watch happen. The way my mom was talking, it was almost like she felt bad for herself that she had to answer to my lack of children and it pissed me off. She is always very sneaky too, in the way that she tries to ask about our TTC situation, just casually slipping it into conversation because she knows I don’t want to talk about it. Cue awkward segue into next topic…

After this encounter I was upset, but at the same time it made me want to explain to her what is going on, and what she should and shouldn’t be saying to me. It’s partially my fault because I keep her in the dark. My mom and I are practically polar opposites so it is hard for me to talk to her. Then I started thinking maybe I should send her an email, putting it all out there, that way I can gather my thoughts, say exactly what I want to say without getting emotional or interrupted. In my head that seems really callous, to do it by email but I am seriously thinking it might be the best way.

But then today I’ve been thinking, I still don’t really want to tell her anything. I don’t want to tell her (or anyone else for that matter) when we are having IVF just because then there is that expectation afterwards of…so did it work? I fear J may have already told his parents when we are planning for IVF, and then we are sort of forced to tell them because they would be waiting with bated breath. I’d rather just speak to everyone in vague terms, so no one can get up in my business about the actual goings on of our process. Again, it’s all very complicated.

This got me thinking, if I drafted a “letter” to my mom, that I might be brave enough to send a private message to my Facebook friends (those whom I care to tell). Again, it seems impersonal using social media, but that way I can tell a lot of people at once, say exactly what I want to say, provide them with information, and resources of how to help (and what not to do). Then I’d just be done with it. I would still probably keep it pretty vague on the treatment side of things, but just to have it out there would feel like a burden lifted (I would hope, more than it would create more issues).

I know I can’t count on everyone to be understanding, empathetic or even to get it, but I’m getting closer to the point where I am thinking about sharing. Anyone out there have any insight for me; how did you “come out” to your friends and family? At what point in your struggle did you tell them (if not right from the beginning when you first started TTC)? Do you regret it, or feel relieved by it? I know overall it is a personal choice, different for everyone but I need outside input!

Hidden in Plain Sight

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*Let me preface this by letting you know this is not an M-day post. I have nothing to add to what everyone else has already said. It sucks to be ignored on a day we so desperately want to be a part of. So carry on reading!

To many, infertility is a taboo subject. It deals with strong opinions (on all sides of the matter, and related topics), fragile feelings, and sexuality so I can understand the hesitation to discuss it openly. In that same line though, there are so many other issues that are very personal and people have no problem discussing, or inquiring about (even if it’s not their business) such as; sexual orientation, marriage (or relationships), money, ect. Over time it seems that awareness is being brought to all sorts of topics that were previously discussed in hushed tones, with disdain, sympathy, or shame and I can only hope that infertility will soon be brought out of the shadows.

I, for one, am in no way embarrassed about our infertility, but I still do not disclose it. The pain, the lack of understanding, and the private nature of it all is more than I am willing to reveal while I am still living it. There are those that do communicate, to gain support, and build a network around themselves. This is not my way, but kudos to those who are brave enough to share your journey openly, and unabashedly. I know at times it must be hard, and you may wish you never said anything at all. But once that Pandora’s Box has been opened it is impossible to return its contents.

We are here, we walk among the general public, 1 in 8. Look around, and chances are you do know someone other than yourself who has been touched by infertility. We are here, but we are not seen. I have noticed more discussion of infertility in the media, whether it be celebrity pregnancies, or tv dramas, but it still feels restricted and unrealistic. It’s as though Hollywood cannot paint a real picture of infertility. They may start out on the right track showing the pain, and the heartbreak it can bring but in the end they always ruin the progress by ending with a surprise pregnancy or a breezy journey through IF treatment.

Sex and the City started out doing well, showing Charlotte struggle trying to get pregnant, natural and then with fertility drugs. How it destroyed her marriage, and put her friendship with Miranda on the rocks when Miranda became “accidentally” pregnant. I watched Sex and the City well before I had had any IF struggles of my own, so I didn’t pay much attention to the storyline than I normally would have. But after the show ended, and Charlotte had adopted a little girl from China with her new husband, they had to make a movie, wherein Charlotte (now 40-something) accidentally gets pregnant. Almost, S&TC, almost.

I find infertility is mentioned vaguely in lots of tv shows, books, and movies but never is there a true and real representation with an outcome befitting of real life. I am glad it is being talked about at all, but if the majority of people are getting their information about infertility from the entertainment industry then we’re doomed.

Obviously I notice infertility related subject matter a lot more now, as it relates to me. And I have to say I am pleased that there is more of it than I would have first thought. But that’s just it, when it wasn’t a priority to me I never even noticed it out in the world. I had been vaguely exposed to recurrent pregnancy loss, and surrogacy in my own family, and of course had that friend of a friend who had done IVF. If it doesn’t directly affect an individual, then it just doesn’t register. This is another reason why I have a hard time putting my IF out there, who is going to care? I know that’s a pessimistic point of view, and is not entirely true but it’s how I feel right now.

It doesn’t stop me from doing what I can to share information, and lend my voice where I can, because if I thought it was absolutely futile, I wouldn’t bother at all. But it is hard to put myself out there, and unfortunately a bit of a difficult concept for someone else to understand if they’ve never experienced such a unique loss of self, and mourning for something that maybe never was, or lasted only fleetingly.

So here we are, millions of us walking the same path. The rest of the world around us, unaware of our struggles and us wondering who can see through the facade.