#StartAsking My Personal Story of Asking

I seem to be just getting started, however I know the week is about over.  To those of you who stayed with me this week, thanks for your abidance.  I felt as if I spent the week with some of you in a way, and I liked it!  It also goes without saying I admire your endurance:-)  So just one more post……..

Coming Out to the Band

A few months before we did our first round of IVF, I joined a symphonic band.  Having played flute since I was ten years old, and having made a living teaching lessons and playing weddings for the first portion of my adult life, (about 15 years), it was a quaint notion to be able to “just sit and play” after my years of hustling.  And better yet, I was second flute for the first time in my life, a position that averted me the pressure of solos and afforded my playing to be “off” when I was on hard hitting meds.  Plus I was thrilled to be playing harmony for the first time in my life, also a quaint notion, this time for the big fish in the little ponds who always ended up in the developmentally limiting position of first chair.

One of the things our band director does is send both birth and death e-mail announcements to the group, the death announcement subject line reading “regret to advise”.  People’s joyous and heartbreaking life events would be acknowledged over and over again as I tumbled through round after round of failed IVF in silence.  In this experience I observed rage, loneliness, sadness and disenfranchisement. (more…)

#StartAsking Reproductive Medicine to Prioritize Patient Care

Dear Reproductive Medicine,

I’m one of your patients.

I went through five IUI’s (all done with injectables), one hysteroscopy/laparoscopy surgery for stage 3 endometriosis, four fresh IVF cycles and one frozen.

I also, during my four year trying to conceive trek, unexpectedly dealt with PTSD that went undiagnosed for quite some time and entailed panic attacks, many of which took place in your waiting rooms.

My husband and I have now embarked on the third year of grieving and mourning the loss of our children, notably all by ourselves.  And no, we don’t consider our departure from reproductive medicine and the pursuit of a family with children a “choice” upon which our grief can be blamed.  It was, rather, the only sane and responsible action to take under the circumstances.

Yes, I’m one of your patients.  A patient who, two years and three months out of her final treatment is disturbed by many aspects of the care she got….and didn’t get…..while in the care of reproductive medicine.  Prompted by this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week theme, it’s time to #StartAsking. (more…)

#StartAsking For Support From Family

Guest Post – My Mom

I’ve been noticing that it seems our family members need to speak on our behalves a lot more.  I envision a future where people speak up for family members dealing with infertility as much as they do for any of life’s other crisis and unexpected heartaches.

I know that eliciting support from family is not always feasible.  Not everyone has a parent, parents or siblings within reach, due to death and other circumstances.  And, since we have about as much of a choice of who our parents are as we do over our reproductive situations (please read: none!), some of us are dealing with more astronomical levels of crazy than others.  Please know that I abide with these circumstances too.

The path to incorporating the hardship of treatments, the losses brought by infertility and the needs that arise because of them into my extended families’ reality has not been an easy one.  But we all persisted and I’m glad we did.  It touches on a spirit present in some of my other posts, which is that one doesn’t matter less in any given equation because they couldn’t have children easily or at all.  So, with that said I’ll turn things over to Mom. (more…)

#Startasking Eight Reasons Why Asking is Hard

I’ve done my share of speaking out on my trip through infertility and now involuntary childlessness.  I’ve asked my family and friends for support.

I insert my truths in conversation when I’m able.  I educate when I can.  In doing these things I’m habitually asking people for acknowledgement and to be informed themselves. (more…)

#StartAsking Ok, I’ll Ask the World

7 Things To Know About Infertility

 

Dear People in the World,

In the spirit of this year’s National Infertility Awareness Week #startasking theme, I’m asking you, people in the world, heck, I’m imploring you, once and for all to please take the disease of infertility seriously. (more…)

A Week in the Life of an Infertility Survivor Pt 1

Hi All –

Wanted to remind those of you in the IF community about Justine’s #MoreThan1in8 project over at Ever Upward.  She’s asking for our photographs and stories of surviving and thriving that she’ll compile, in some surprise way I hear, for National Infertility Awareness Week.  Which is next week already!

I submitted mine a little over a week ago.  I wrote whatever came to mind (shocking, I know) and focused more on the survival aspect as I myself have barely entered the thriving part.  I sense I’ve got a ways to go before that takes hold.

Like Justine I do believe we have power and voice in numbers, and that it is past time for us to be seen.  So if you are in the place of being ready, have your submissions in by this Friday the 22nd.

My writing this week comes in a few parts, so buckle your belts and off we go……

 

The Pause

Musings of an Easter Scrooge

“Cover your left nostril with your right hand ring finger.  Inhale to the count of five through your right nostril.  Pause for one.  Cover your right nostril with your thumb, release your ring finger from your left.  Exhale through your left side to the count of five.  Pause for one.  Inhale through your left side to the count of five……”

I’ll never forget the first time I was instructed to pause between the inhales and exhales of my alternate nostril breathing.  The suspension, for me, was unquestionably luxurious.  I thought I had been introduced to a utopia of sorts, where neutrality and all else that is coalesced, emerging as the perfect cocktail.

In my current life, I’ve been having a decent stretch lately.  I have regained some of my ability to see into the future, at least a few months into it anyway.  What an oddity to have my future vision yield something besides dull blobs of blankness.  I’m slightly busy again, busy for the first time in six years with something other than baby making, surviving and grieving.  And more importantly, it seems I’m actually ready to be. (more…)

You Are Not Alone – An Infertility Awareness Quiz, Research and Awesome Bloggers

Welcome to the 26th National Infertility Awareness Week! After you’re done breaking out the confetti, hopefully you can benefit from my following humble offerings.

FIRST, you have an infertility awareness quiz to give to others, courtesy of yours truly, Infertility Honesty. If you’re too exhausted to explain infertility, or if you generally fear your own spontaneous combustion in trying to do so, I did some of the work for you. Feel free to hand over this quiz to anyone, and if you want to even blame some of your own snarky-ness on me, I offer myself up. As we are saying this week, you are not alone!

SECOND, we do have a collection, though all too underground, of research that validates many aspects of the infertile experience, as well as some basic statistics available. I used and referenced both in my quiz as often as possible. What a luxury to have this slowly growing body of research to fall back on. For me, it’s especially useful to reference in conversations where people have trouble wrapping their heads and hearts around the truth that going through one surgery and ten fertility treatments to the end of no child is – like – HARD. I now have PROOF it’s not just me, and I feel much less alone as a result.

And, THIRD: Although there is much work to do to make infertility a part of the human conversation and basic social protocol, there are many wonderful bloggers out there paving the way for such a thing, post by post. Many of the ones I have chosen to highlight center around my child free not by choice klan, however, whether it’s that or the experiences of recurrent pregnancy loss, pursuing treatment or adoption, we as a community are writing and speaking. Make no mistake about it. Hopefully one day we can freely turn to the outside world for support and compassion. Until then, we have a warm and passionate (albeit at times turbulent) community to turn to for support and information to remind us that we are not alone.

INFERTILITY AWARENESS QUIZ

(Includes General Knowledge Section, Infertility Etiquette Section, and Answer Key)

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