Wednesday, April 27, 2011

busting a myth

Myth: Infertility is Always Hopeless

So let's scroll back 3 1/2 years, shall we? Joey and I had been married for a yearish and were anxious to add a baby to the mix. Things weren't happening as one might think they would. Our main issue was the fact that my cycles were lasting 60+ days. There was no predictability to anything and it sort of felt like we were driving on foreign roads with no map.

I'll spare you the boring details that culminated nearly a year later with a diagnosis of Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS). This is a fairly common condition, affecting as many as 1 in 15 women, and presents itself in different ways. My main symptom was that I was completely anovulatory. Meaning: without help, the likelihood of us having a babe to dote on was practically nonexistent.

Our help came in the form of metformin. (Which is also the same medication Joey was later put on for his diabetes... I was well versed in its side effects by then - the humor was not lost on us. :) The met and I became besties. It evened my hormones out and for the first time in maybe 10 years (since all that girl business began), I felt really... normal, and balanced. And lo and behold, this wunderdrug also made me ovulate.

We were very, very lucky. We found out B was on the way just 2 months after starting the metformin.

If infertility is a spectrum, we're so far on the "easy to manage" side that we're about to fall off the spectrum entirely. However, without the met, I truly believe there would be no B, and no Baby J. I think it would have taken many more medical interventions to get to our kiddos.

Three and a half years ago when things weren't going so well on the baby front, I found a little community of blogs of women dealing with infertility. Many of them are linked over on the left on our blogroll because they have become my friends. Most of their stories would take your breath away with how hard they fought, or still are fighting, for their babies. Most of them fall much further along the spectrum than we do, but there's this common thread that infertility weaves, so here we all are.

If you know me, you know I'm forever an optimist. I never reached the point of feeling hopeless about not having kids; I just wanted to push through the roadblock and try the next thing. Once we found our answer, our wait was short. B was so wanted, so very much dreamed about and prayed for, as was his little brother (we had the benefit of knowing what worked by the time we thought about #2). These boys are a beacon of hope and every day remind me what it means to persevere. We could have just let things be when we found out that babies were going to be hard to come by, but it goes without saying that I'm so glad we pushed forward.

I didn't "cure" my PCOS, there is no cure. I will have it forever, it's just a matter of management. It's a complicated disease with lots of little tentacles to be mindful of. I have an increased risk of uterine cancer and heart disease. Interestingly, studies are showing that my dad and mom have an increased risk of cardiovascular disease as well, simply because they have a daughter with PCOS. (Truly the gift that keeps on giving...)

It's National Infertility Awareness Week, and Joey and I wanted to share our story. Infertility sucks, there's no sugar coating it. It affects 1 in 8 couples, most likely some of you reading this now. But it doesn't have to be hopeless, our family is one tiny example of hope realized.


  1. Beautiful words. I'm so glad your struggle has brought your miracles to you.

    Thank you for being one of the best supporters that I know!


  2. Sharing your story was so brave and amazing, such a beautiful tribute to HOPE, to not giving up, looking for the light.

    I love that you busted this myth. May all our sisters in TTC, find their own familes, hold their babies soon too...and until then, never ever give up hope. :)

  3. Thanks for sharing--and for all your support of others!

  4. I am happy to say we are one of the lucky ones too....and I will never forget it.

    Thanks for sharing!

  5. this is a great post, Alison.

  6. I didn't know this was national infertility awareness week, thanks for sharing lady. I think I may write a bit about infertility myself, it's not something I even talk about much anymore...


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