Apr 23, 2014

Something to get through

As you know, it's National Infertility Awareness Week, and I am interviewing three marvelous women, all in different stages of their journey with infertility. Today I'd like to introduce you to Katelin from Pretty Sandy Feet. You might as well just call her my brain twin because I swear every comment I leave on her blog starts with "I agree," or "Yes, exactly!" She is spirited and funny and oh so brave, and I am humbled to welcome her to this blog.

What's the first thing you think of when you hear the word infertility? Has that changed over time? Road Block. Obstacle. Pain. Okay, that's not really one thing that comes to mind but rather three. I always thought of infertility as a road block, something to stop my plans. But then my best friend amended that by reminding me that it's only an obstacle. An obstacle that may cause pain, but an obstacle is something you can get through.

What does infertility mean/look like for you? If you had asked me five years ago what infertility was I would have said something along the lines of "older couples that can't have kids so they do IVF instead and voila, twins!" I know, this sounds so naive and so lame but it's true. I only knew of IVF and I only pictured couples that were in their 40s trying to have kids late in life struggling. Instead, I've realized that it's something that can affect anyone and as much pain as it can cause, it is an obstacle we can get through.

For me, infertility has been 16 months of mysterious blood work, misbehaving ovaries, and negative pregnancy tests. Infertility has been a dip into our savings, putting other plans on hold, rounds of medication hoping they help and crying unexpectedly. Infertility has been spending more time at the doctor's office than in a movie theater and feeling like I learned nothing in human anatomy. Infertility has been going gluten free and learning the difference between and IUI and IVF.

What has been the best/worst thing said to you about infertility? There really hasn't been one thing to stick with me, rather a lot of little things. Little notes from friends telling me they're thinking of me, or a card from my mom reminding me to keep my head up.

However something I do always try to remember, although I'm struggling with trying to get pregnant and start a family, I'm not going through this alone. To know that there are people rooting for me and Matt and care about us, that learn about PCOS and IUIs so they can understand our situation better, those are the people we keep close and the reminders I tell myself.

Do you have a coping technique that works for you? For a while I was feeling really down and struggling to make it through the day, especially when my Facebook feed was littered with pregnancy and birth announcements. On those days, I would cry as I drove home (probably not the safest), and at the same time belt out the happiest songs I could find. My favorite is "Keep Your Head Up" by Andy Grammer. That song has seriously saved my sanity, my happiness, and my relationships.

Also, I journal. Besides writing on my blog about our struggles I have been keeping a written journal for a little over a year documenting our journey and it's been a great space to vent and reason and even pray a little bit. Sometimes I've written a slew of profanities and other times I've been so optimistic, hoping for the best. It's been a true testament to my state of mind and it helps keep me going.

I can't survive without humor - so to find a little bit of that, what's been the most ridiculous moment of your infertility journey so far? Oh man. There have been so many ridiculous moments it's hard to pick just one. However, when I started having to do shots the doctor said to make a smiley face under my belly button to find the best spot to inject. I told this to Matt and he started cracking up. He was the one giving me the shot so we had to wait until we both stopped laughing to finally do the shot. Afterwards I grimaced a little but then we both ultimately started laughing again, reminding ourselves that it was worth it.

What would you like people to know about infertility? I want people to know that no two women have the same experience with infertility. Although it is comforting to hear that other women with PCOS have successfully had children, it doesn't make my experience any less difficult or painful.

I want people to know that women struggling with infertility would most likely do anything they could to have a baby and sometimes finances get in the way. Infertility treatment is not cheap and rarely covered by general insurance. I want people to be aware of the women in their life who want to be mothers, who have been mother, and strive to expand their family.

"No two women have the same experience with infertility." So incredibly true! Thank you so much for sharing part of your story today Katelin. If you want to keep up with her you can find Katelin at her blog, Pretty Sandy Feet, on Facebook, or Twitter.

Not sure how to help spread awareness for National Infertility Awareness Week? Head over to Resolve and see what you can do! 


Kelly (She Wears a Red Sox Cap) said...

Becky, thank you so much for all these posts. I think it is so important for everyone to learn about infertility because if it doesn't affect us directly, we will have friends (like you) and family members who will struggle with it and if we can do ONE less insensitive thing (usually by accident), it's worth it.
I feel really sad when I read how much Katelin was affected by the pregnancy and birth announcements in her facebook feed. I struggle with this when I post about Max both on my blog and on facebook. I know the answers to others infertility is not to never post anything about Max, but I never want to be the reason someone is crying in their car, if that makes sense.

Nora said...

Thank you for sharing, Katelin and for featuring her, Becky! Obviously I dislike the underlying reason for these interviews but I am learning something new everyday and finding it eye-opening, too.

Katelin said...

Thank you for sharing my story Becky, xo

Katelin said...

Also, "brain twin" is the best thing ever. I totally agree! :)

Nilsa @ SoMi Speaks said...

This was a great interview, Becky. And, I'm with Kelly and Nora - it's important to learn about infertility and even more important to put a face to it. Your interview series introduces the human emotional element to infertility. Thank you.

Sizzle said...

Thanks for sharing, Katelin. Even though our infertility paths are different, so much of what you say rings true for me. Hugs lady. Big hugs. xo

Ashley // Our Little Apartment said...

So this week is like the who's who of really freaking awesome human beings...who just happen to be touched by this same f*cking terrible situation. Seriously - you've had such a stellar line up (and are such an amazing human yourSELF), that it makes me angry all over again at the unfairness of the touch of infertility. There is no rhyme or reason. Otherwise you, Katelin, and Sizz would ALL have little babies by now.

I am glad you guys have each other. It's a shitty group to belong to, but you have some fantastic company who will stand by you. I find you all so inspirational, even though damn it, I wish you didn't have to be!

Okay, I'm gonna stop leaking emotion into your comments section now. XO

Stephany said...

While I hate the fact that you & Sizzle & Katelin are all dealing with infertility and belong to this "club," I am glad to read these stories. I'm glad that you are putting a face to infertility and sharing these stories. The pain and loss and heartbreak makes me so sad but you are all strong, brave, beautiful, wonderful souls and I am just happy to be a listening ear whenever. I may not understand, may not be able to offer advice, but I can sit here and tell you that yes, THIS? This is really, really shitty.


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