Navigating along through this long, confusing, journey has allowed me to not only learn so much about myself, but learn about what other people have gone through. In my head, I'm constantly discussing my battles with myself and conversing phrases like what I've learned, what I feel I'm becoming, and oftentimes (but really should be more often), what I'm grateful for. What better way to write this all out? If one single person finds this post and understands my struggles on a more personal level, this post will have been well worth it. I think I'm willing to take that risk.
One thing that I know to be true is...that every infertility journey is different. I haven't come in contact with one person who understood each of my trials. That being said, I'm no expert in infertility. But these are my personal experiences. And these are some things I want to share.
A Learning Curve
At the beginning of this process, I knew what IVF entailed....and that's about it. The human body is absolutely amazing. Modern day medicine is inspiring and incredible. The things that I have learned through this journey have been nothing shy of overwhelming, yet pretty cool too. You guys..there is a whole world of acronyms. Hundreds of thousands of acronyms. When you get into an infertility support group, each post goes something like this:
"Help! I'm 12DPO and on CD26. What days would you think BD are the best to get a BFP?"
I literally took that post from an infertility page I'm a part of. If you too are about to start infertility treatments, you're gonna want to know these fancy schmancy acronyms. I'd recommend The National Infertility Association. I even made it as an app on my home screen. I'm telling you. I use it almost more than text messages.
I am a needle hater. In fact, it's a pretty large phobia. But I got over that pretty quickly when I had to inject myself like mad. At first, I made Mr. Schroeder do the first few injections. I recently did my first one and am feeling like I just gradated with a doctorates or something. I called my mom on cloud 9 because I INJECTED MYSELF WITHOUT ANY HELP! (I should have rewarded myself with a Kit-Kat or somethin). It's the little things, guys!
Ha! This is actually how infertility feels. There are ups, what? There are lots of ups! The months that you found out your body actually produced a follicle on its own? Or the months that you actually have a menstrual cycle so that you can start a new treatment cycle? Those are little blessings that you absolutely have to find in each moment. Otherwise, you'll drown in your own sorrows. It is all an unexpected journey. Just this week, I went in...expecting to have another treatment. But my body didn't react. Instead of waiting until the next month, my doctor said, "We just need to keep pumping your body full of medicine until it responds!" It's hard. It's really really hard.
TMI. Too. Much. Information.
Guess what? There's no such thing! You want to talk about your man's sperm analysis with me? Hit me up! Want to talk about how many times this week you bruised your swollen stomach due to the injections and feel like Bloat (from Finding Nemo). Wanna talk about how many burritos and kit-kats your medicine pretty much forced you to devour? Let's chat.
Infertility is crazy strict on timing. You have to take some injections to. the. hour. You can only be intimate on certain days. A few weeks ago, I was panicking because I wasn't sure what days Mr. Schroeder and I were and weren't supposed to you-know-what. I remember barging through the doors at my doctor and pretty much yelling, 'WHAT DAYS ARE WE SUPPOSED TO HAVE SEX AGAIN? BECAUSE WE DIDN'T YESTERDAY, BUT WE DID THE DAY BEFORE AND NOW I'M WORRIED!" The nurse immediately said, "Go do it...like right now. Don't even wait 60 minutes." I then look to my right, and there were a good 12 people just listening in on that fun discussion. It gave me a good laugh.
There's no such thing as too much information when it comes to infertility. Make it comical. Otherwise, you'll be uncomfortable constantly. Ha!
Part of the struggle with infertility is talking to people. I'm a people person and I enjoy chatting. But at times, it's hard to even talk about. For a lot of reasons. (Especially the point above regarding TMI). I'm not one to boast about my trials or even bring it up out of the blue.
It's not only hard to talk about our own struggles, it's hard to understand others at times. What I've learned is that everybody defines 'infertility' in a different way. Some define it as "I've been trying to get pregnant for 3 months and it hasn't happened for me yet." While some wait to call it infertility until they have gone through infertility treatments. It's been eye-opening for me to be sensitive to others struggles, regardless of what stage they are in. I'm a caring person, but it has allowed me to see in others lives in a different light.
I've said it twice before, & I'll say it again. People. Mean. Well. But the amounts of advice I get is pretty astonishing. What I'd love to stress is "What worked for you probably won't work for me." Our bodies are different. You have no idea what diagnoses I've been given. You don't even know what issues I'm facing. While I'm grateful that you care enough to let me know what you believe WILL work, please just spare me. I've heard some crazy stuff.
- The core of a pineapple has bromelain in it! Bromelain helps your uterine lining thicken so that the embryo can stick and it makes you not miscarry!
- (Said to my husband): If your wife just washes herself out with warm water and honey, it'll help!
- Just have sex like every day. That's what we did (they have like 8 kids) and it worked every time!
- Stop trying, or adopt, and then you'll get pregnant.
This one is a constant message that I'm receiving. I understand that many have been in this scenario, but it does not mean that I will be. And how in the heck am I supposed to stop trying when that's what one of our biggest desire is? Whatevs.
Regardless of what, I receive crazy amounts of advice each week. But the thing is...I have medical diagnoses that are the reason for me not getting pregnant. My doctor is doing the best she can. And that's all I'd love advice from.
Feelings that you never thought you'd feel
One of the most common feelings that come along with infertility is being extremely uncomfortable. These last few months, I have felt feelings I never imagined I would feel.
This is probably one of the feelings I have been experiencing the most lately. I am typically not an angry person, but lately, I can't help but be extremely frustrated. Frustrated toward those who get pregnant without having solid support such as marriage, job, etc. Frustrated toward those who don't want a baby and get pregnant. Frustrated toward any thought whatsoever about abortion. It seriously seems like everywhere I look, there are pregnant people that may not make great mothers. Though that sounds a bit harsh of me, and though I will certainly not be a perfect mother, it has caused a lot of anger as I stand on the side line and watch a pending disaster.
Today, I read a post about a mom who had 3 boys and was pregnant with her 4th child. She said she was so nervous to go to the ultrasound because she didn't want it to be a boy. She also said she was worried she wouldn't feel a connection with her baby if it was a boy because she wanted a girl so bad. I completely understand having a preference and being a little sad if you don't get what you want. But this infuriated me. So many women want babies and could care less what the gender is. The fact that she said she wouldn't feel a connection with her baby because it's a boy is one of thee most selfish things I have ever heard. Rude? Yes. I'm sorry. I haven't walked in this woman's shoes. But quite frankly, I'd give up many things to do so.
My mother received a letter in the mail from her insurance carrier that stated that they now cover gender reassignment surgery. In my eyes? This. Is. Not. Right. The insurance is going to pay for a sex change, but won't cover help for something your body should do naturally? Give me a break.
Going along with the above point, I'm so confused. I don't understand why the big man upstairs doesn't have this plan for me but has this plan for other people who could potentially destroy their babies lives. Though it has been extremely challenging for me to keep the faith, I've realized that I have a decision: to let it destroy me, or to let it better me. I choose the latter. Infertility brings confusion. But it can (and will) increase faith, if you just allow it to.
- Sick Sick Sick
I fainted at my work the other day. That was an adventure! Woosy, grumpy, and again, feeling like Bloat..it's going to happen pretty much the entire time you're on treatments. Expect it!
The amount of support is overwhelming
Infertility is a journey that most people don't necessarily want to share the details on. If you're going through infertility, I beg you to join a Facebook Support Group (as long as the negativity is kept to a minimum), go to Live Support Groups, look through support forums.
There is a plethora of support groups out there and I don't think I'd be where I am at in my journey without the support. Girls are constantly striving to give each other advice, discuss different ideas, and help each other out. You may be surprised once you realize how many women really are struggling the way you are. They may not understand exactly what you're going through, but it's extremely helpful to talk through the steps of your journey, get advice, and have listening ears.
I'm 1 in 8. You may be 1 in 8. Let's step it up & talk.