Flip the Script — that’s this year’s motto for National Infertility Awareness Week (April 22–28). Resolve is the national infertility organization and this year, they’re challenging people to “flip the script” and openly share their infertility stories. I’ve been sharing my infertility journey pretty openly — and it’s fitting that my daughter’s first birthday is during National Infertility Awareness Week.
I know everyone’s experience/journey is different, but for me, holding our baby in my arms erased a lot of the pain I’d been holding onto from our infertility challenges and my miscarriage with my first pregnancy. It was pretty crazy how immediately this happened.
For some reason in the U.S., people ask you if you’re going to have a second baby pretty much as soon as the first baby pops out (clearly I’m using my nursing degree for accurate medical terminology). This question is a toughie for us, and I imagine for a lot of people with infertility issues. Having a baby isn’t as easy as drinking a few glasses of wine, putting on some Boyz II Men, and getting knocked up. For me, it involves needles, emotional stress, lots of meds, a petri dish, a miraculous combination of art and science, and lots of cash money.
We’re lucky enough to have one frozen embryo remaining from our last IVF cycle, so it’s currently (and literally) chilling in our IVF doctor’s lab. The temptation to add a sibling into the mix one day is there, especially since that future baby could be the embryo that we already created. Also, it’s pretty trippy that the frozen embryo was conceived in the lab at the same time as our daughter. So I guess it’s her medical twin? Sounds like a Black Mirror ep — but it’s our life.
But then I’m brought back to reality. The fact we have our daughter is truly miraculous — and there are no guarantees the implantation of another embryo in the future would work. Also, do we even want a second child? Our daughter is pretty much a Buddha baby — super happy, zen and relaxed. What if another baby was like Junior from Problem Child (I know, he had a soft side, but he also lured a bear to a camping trip to attack everyone).
Even though we love Lil’ Wayne’s catalog, we aren’t in fact, cash money millionaires. This is another huge issue with the idea of another child. IVF is super expensive and we already have a mountain of medical debt from the first 2 rounds of it, plus more medical debt from a prophylactic mastectomy I had 4 years ago. This country has pretty horrid maternity leave policies compared to a lot of the world, and daycare & diapers ain’t cheap.
There’s a lot to think about, and infertility forces you to think about these things pretty far in advance of making any plans. But the truth is, we have our miracle baby, and that makes a lot of the other concerns a little less scary.
For anyone going through their own infertility journey right now, please know you’re not alone. I was told I was close to menopause when I was 32. It was pretty shocking and caused a lot of heartache, but we got through it. Luckily, I have a very supportive husband, family, and friends who I could be open with about the sh$tstorm I was going through. If you feel alone, try to talk to someone and I guarantee more of your friends and family have gone through infertility than you think. It’s not a topic a lot of us openly talk about because there’s still a weird stigma about it, and I know I personally felt like something was wrong with me that I couldn’t naturally get pregnant. It took my family, friends, creating an anonymous infertility Instagram account, some therapy, and lots of Beyoncé for me to realize that nothing was wrong with me — this is just how I was made.
If you need support, Resolve also has some great resources.