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Life After Infertility – April 23- 29 is National Infertility Awareness Week

What does that even mean, “life after infertility?” Generally the phrase “life after” implies that you continue living on after experiencing something impactful. The word “after” usually implies an end, or something that is behind you.

I should clarify that “Life after infertility” is a bit of a misnomer. Please let me explain. 1 in 8 couples struggle to build a family.

Maybe that one isn’t you… maybe it’s a friend, a coworker, a niece, or neighbor. But my guess is you may not even be aware that many people around you are living “life after infertility.”

Take a look at my family for example:

I have two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. They also happen to be twins!! Rambunctious, curious, busy, twin toddlers who will be turning two in June.

When people meet my family for the first time, I often hear comments such as:

  • Oh your hands are so full.
  • One pregnancy and your done, that’s how to do it.
  • One boy and one girl, how lucky that you have one of each and don’t have to try for more.
  • Do twins run in your family? (This one is fun to explain)

What they don’t know is that my husband and I tried for 5 years to have children. We were given a 2% chance of having children on our own. It was a dark and devastating time for me.

Every month was another reminder that I failed, I failed at becoming a mother.

We talked about foster care, adoption, or saving for fertility treatments. We tried to make the best choice for our family. Whatever we chose we knew it would cost a significant amount of money and time.

  • The average cost for Adoption: Adoption Agency – $39,966; Independent Adoption – $34,093

  • The average cost for Foster Care Adoption: Total Cost of Foster Care Adoption: $2,744

  • The average cost for IVF including Medications: $12,000 – $20,000

We were so fortunate to qualify for a special program that helped us participate in IVF. It took a lot of meetings, documentation, planning, tests, a home study, and ultimately over a year before we got the approval that we would be able to try IVF.

Before I knew it I had a big brown bag of medications in my hand that cost us almost $5,000 and the realization that I needed to learn how to give myself shots multiple times a day, and manage an oral medication regimen.

I won’t lie to you, the shots hurt, there were times I had to lay on the floor to keep from passing out. Or having golfball size lumps where the shots would be given…

But let me tell you, it was worth it. Every bit. You see we were the lucky ones. We were successful with our first IVF transfer. A lot of couples aren’t lucky enough to have a successful pregnancy. We had two healthy, beautiful babies to take home. And I am thankful for them every single day.

So is that indeed “Life After Infertility?”
For us, No.

There are many questions that still surface to remind us our journey with infertility is not over.

Questions like:

  • Do I only get to experience pregnancy once?
  • What would it be like to have one newborn… and two other children at home?
  • We would love to be able to have more children, but will we be able to?
  • How much extra income will we need to save, (on top of planing for the normal expenses of a child) to expand our family?
  • Do you roll the dice and hope that 2% chance of conceiving on our own will happen within the next few years?
  • Do we start a new journey and look into other option, maybe foster care is the right choice this time around?
  • If we were to do IVF again, how many embryos would we transfer, and what would be the odds of having multiples again?

All these questions are not easily answered. It is at the forefront of my mind when I see a newborn, an expecting mother, or a pregnancy announcement on Social Media. It’s on my mind while I’m in the grocery store when people make comments about my twins, or at church when I watch families with their children. 

April 23- 29 is National Infertility Awareness Week. If 1 in 8 couples are struggling to build their families, just remember, the next time you make a comment… you might get a whole lot more than you bargain for. Because I might actually tell you EXACTLY what it took to have my hands so full. And maybe, just maybe, I’ll make a new friend and raise awareness along the way.

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