Six hundred and three. No, that is not the cups of coffee I consume each year (though close) or the items on my poor husband’s “honey do” list. It’s the number of injections to my stomach and hips that stood in the way of me becoming what I always wanted to be—a mother.
Had I known it would “happen” after all of it? The pain and emotional turmoil wouldn’t have been so bad, of course. However, nearly 500 needles pierced my skin before I ever even received a positive pregnancy test.
In the very beginning of our infertility struggle, I was an open book. I told anyone and everyone what we were going through. Why? I guess because I was naive enough to think that it would be a short struggle. We would have our perfect little family on the first try. In the years that followed, I began building walls and shutting people out from what was going on. It wasn’t that I didn’t want people to know. Every time I “failed” it just got harder and more debilitating to face the questions. I didn’t really have any answers.
With each passing “sorry it didn’t work” phone call I received, the feelings of embarrassment and disappointment mounted. I mean, women have babies. That’s what they DO! I buried my feelings of resentment toward my body and wondered what I had done so wrong that I was being subjected to walking this path. I cursed under my breath when people gave me their words of wisdom. “If it’s meant to be, it will” or “just relax” or “my sister’s best friend’s cousin’s wife gave up trying and got pregnant naturally.” My all time favorite? “Everything happens for a reason.” I knew they meant well, but what I really wanted to do? Scream obscenities at them at the top of my lungs.
There were VERY few people who knew what we were going through, and even fewer who REALLY knew. Truth be told, it became the best and the worst time for our marriage. I ruined the “honeymoon” phase of our marriage. I became so hyper focused on becoming a mom. And I just couldn’t turn it off. My husband bore the brunt of my crazy, medicated mood swings and rarely flinched. (Can you say Clomid?!?!) Once I knocked an entire box of Cheerios from his hands because he simply said he didn’t want me to make pizza for dinner. It went everywhere! I walked out and left him to clean it up. Which he did. But, year after year, cycle after cycle, heartache after heartbreak, he stood by me, and we pushed forward. I realize now the pricelessness of foundation it gave us.
Since our insurance did not offer any sort of provision for infertility, the burden of having a child of our own fell on our shoulders, as it does for so many. They told us that pregnancy was an “elective”procedure—not treating something life-threatening—and therefore not covered. So…let me get this straight. I can “electively”smoke my entire life, and you will cover my lung cancer? Yes. Did you know that only fifteen states have mandated infertility coverage? With 1 in 8 couples struggling with infertility, it’s heartbreaking to think that for so many, the cost is so insurmountable.
In June of 2013, our prayers were answered and our blessings came in the form of our boy/girl twins Bexleigh and Braxton! We have since dedicated ourselves to raising money and awareness for a disease that many keep hidden from the world. While I hated every injection I took, I’m also truly grateful for each and every one. Not just because it gave me what I always wanted in motherhood, but something else I didn’t even know I was looking for—a purpose.