“First Comes Love….”

Dealing with Infertility

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“…Then comes marriage…Then comes _____with a baby carriage.”

Many of us know that familiar little song from our childhood. We grew up singing it in an effort to embarrass friends (or perhaps enemies) on the playground or in the park. If only we’d known that having a baby is not always that easy…

A little introduction to my personal rollercoaster ride with infertility: My husband and I have been trying to conceive (TTC) since February 2007. We’ve tried timed intercourse (that sounds so clinical!) with me taking Clomid (that stuff made me CRAZY!) and doing a trigger Human Chorionic Gonadotropin (hCG) shot (6 times!). Next, we moved on to intrauterine insemination (IUI) with me taking letrazole and doing follistim injections- we tried that combination 5 times. We’ve now graduated to in vitro fertilization (IVF) with a clinic in our new town. Exciting? Yes. Scary as hell? Yes.  Am I alone in this? No.

Infertility affects approximately 6.1 million people in the United States according to , and there are several different causes of infertility. In my case, I have polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS) and Stage 2 endometriosis.  The PCOS causes me to ovulate irregularly, if at all, and the endometriosis has caused lesions on parts of my reproductive system. Fun stuff, huh? Thankfully my husband has perfect swimmers, something that has been confirmed many more times than he’s liked. ;)

In my first post here, I want to give you, my wonderful readers, 10 tips that I have found useful over the past 3.5 years:

1. As soon as you find out or think that you have fertility issues, start saving money for procedures. Many insurances do NOT cover infertility treatment or infertility medications.

2. If you are fortunate to have infertility coverage through your health insurance, be sure that you completely understand the policy and which doctors, clinics and labs that you can use. It can be confusing but calling your insurance and talking to the billing person at the fertility clinic can usually give you a clear understanding of your benefits.

3. . Do not depend on the doctors and nurses to tell you everything. Own your infertility, and educate yourself as much as possible on your diagnosis and treatments for it.

4. Be your own best advocate. Ask questions when you don’t understand something and speak up if you don’t agree with what the doctor wants you to do. Get second and third opinions if needed.

5. Seek support from others. Seriously, I cannot stress this enough. I have developed a wonderful support network online through Twitter and blogging. It’s amazing how close you can become to people that you’ve never physically met when you’re going through the same challenges.

6. Know when you need more help/support. I’m talking about therapy. Yeah, I know that many people cringe at that word but I am personally so happy that I started therapy a couple of months ago. Having an objective person to listen to me and support me is amazing.

7. Remember that sex is supposed to be fun. :) I know that scheduling sex (or having to avoid it for certain procedures/tests) can be a pain in the ass, and it can seriously hurt a relationship. Make time for fun sex! It will help your relationship and your stress levels. Plus, your partner will greatly appreciate it.

8. Remember that infertility does not define you. Find things that you enjoy doing and DO THEM. For me that happens to be photography and now Zumba. If all you do is eat, sleep and breathe infertility, I promise that you will become an unhappy, stressed-out person.

9. Communicate with your partner. Holding in every fear and angry feeling is exhausting – trust me, I know. Tell your partner what you are feeling, and ask him/her for support. Even though medically, infertility might be the issue of only one partner, infertility as a whole is the couple’s issue and it should be dealt with as a couple.

10. Love yourself. Do NOT blame yourself or feel guilty if you are the one with the fertility challenge.  Life is too short for that. Love yourself. Accept yourself.

Also, here are a few resources that I’ve found useful and want to pass on to you:

  • This is a great source of information related to infertility, and it has resources to help you find support in your area.
  • :  I cannot say enough good things about this company and their programs. I currently use their Natural Cycle Fertility Program to help me fall asleep at night. I will be downloading the IUI/IVF Program as well as the Pregnancy Program.
  • :  This a great website full of information, support and blogs.

In the next few months, while my husband is gone, I will be starting IVF using his frozen swimmers. I promise to be honest in those posts as well as all my posts. I am an open book when it comes to dealing with infertility. Over the past three years I have undergone five IUIs , numerous tests and have become way to familiar with needles and the ultrasound wand. Please, ask me anything, and I’ll answer it if at all possible. No one is alone in going through this.

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