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Life After Infertility

{May 2, 2017}

Life after infertility. Is there one? If you would’ve asked me 5 or 6 years ago, I probably would’ve never believed that there was. Nor that there would be moments that didn’t entirely orbit around the subject. But, the reality is that just as the sun rises at the beginning of each day, life holds the promise of more than the pain of infertility.

What does that life look like? That’s where it’s hard. Because you can’t predict it. When I started TTC, what I envisioned (i.e. getting pregnant the first — okay, maybe the second month after the most amazing and intimate time with my husband … we’ll stop with the details there) obviously didn’t happen. And, if we’re being totally honest, life after infertility hasn’t panned out the way I planned either.

After my first successful IVF cycle and the birth of my first son, I had this hope. Okay, more than just a hope. Maybe more of an all-encompassing dream that I would be one of the “ones” who, after having her first baby, would “poof!” just turn up pregnant unexpectedly. I mean that’s what everyone tells you, right? That once you stop thinking about it … once you finally have that baby all of your infertility woes will just go away. I mean everyone has that friend that did IVF once and then got pregnant at the drop of a hat. I wanted to be that girl. And, you know what, some of you will be THAT girl. Some of you will do IVF and then get pregnant 2 months after you deliver. Some of you may have a failed IVF cycle and then — bam! — get pregnant on your own. Some of you will go in for your first lab draw to find out you’re already pregnant (yes, that happens, too).

I remember telling my sister on a walk with our babies that I just couldn’t do IVF again. I just couldn’t. It was too hard, and I needed a pregnancy to happen again — but this time on its own. My arms although full, still ached to have another one. I didn’t feel complete. I waited and waited, and the only reliable thing during the next 18 months was that my period came. Just as my heart broke as my dreams had to change in my initial attempts at TTC with baby number 1, I found myself mourning the inability to get pregnant with baby #2 without help.

This all sounds so negative and sad. And, in all honesty, there was some sadness and stress over the loss of control … but, this is exactly what I needed to begin living life after infertility. What I had failed to recognize during the previous 4 years is that life marched on with or without me. The sun came up each and every day. And, although the world wouldn’t stop spinning and pause to mourn my infertility, there was still so much life to be had.

This sudden realization led me to finally mourn my body’s challenges with natural conception.

I grieved the likelihood of never conceiving a baby in the privacy of my own bedroom.

I let go of the stigma I thought infertility gave me and I embraced my journey.

I stopped trying to forget that I was an #ivfmom and decided to use my power for good.

I found that as I stopped running from the things of the past, I became more authentic and better able to connect with women.

I found I understood heartache and longing in a way I could have never felt without this journey. The silly things mattered less.

I enjoyed my two miracle babies (yes, my arms were filled once more thanks to IVF) and found new hobbies.

I started running. I even ran a marathon.

I made new friends and traveled.

I began writing. Sharing my story.

My relationship with my husband grew. I started having intercourse with my husband for fun again … and not with the failed expectation to get pregnant every time (that area of our marriage had really taken a hit over the years).

Life was good. Life is good.

And, as I type this, I think of the twists and turns 2017 has thrown at us in regard to infertility/family planning. We’ve been given a new hand, so to speak, and one that’s taken some time to adjust to … and, once again, I realize maybe I’m not as in control as I would like. But, life is good. And, life is bigger and has more to offer than the 6+ years I’ve struggled with infertility. And, yours does, too.

What will your life look like after this treatment cycle? What will your future hold after this pregnancy? I’m not sure. I can’t even tell you where mine will be a year from now. What I can say is that it’ll be filled with some wonderful surprises and a few bumps along the way. There will be joy — if you’re willing to embrace it anyway it comes. And, the point is, there is life … I mean there really is life to be lived after infertility, and I hope you live it, friend, because you deserve to.

#Iam1in8
#FSTivfmom
#FertilitySpecialistsofTexas

Hi! I’m a proud IVF mom of two amazing boys, thanks to the expert care at Fertility Specialists of Texas. I know, first hand, how lonely infertility can be, which is why I write personal entries for the FST blog  — it’s my way of helping break through the isolation. To let you know you’re not alone. And, neither am I. If you ever want to chat with someone who’s had empty arms, who knows the heartbreak of this journey, I’m here. And, I’d love to connect: fstivfmom@gmail.com.

Brie Dance

FST Patient & Guest Blogger