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If you would have asked me three years ago if infertility defined my life, I would have vehemently said no. I had just started an infertility blog and was about to start the process of invasive fertility treatments at my new clinic. At that point in time, infertility was an inconvenience, a setback I needed to overcome. It in no way described who I was as person.
But then those initial inseminations failed. And then the first IVF resulted in the loss of my baby. The next two IVFs resulted in negative pregnancy tests and so did my first donor egg cycle. It was at that point when my husband and I began the discussion that no infertile couple wants to ask themselves: How do we face the rest of our lives without a child?
Suddenly, our second donor cycle was successful and to my disbelief, one embryo stuck around and I am eight weeks from my due date. I am happy. I am so incredibly happy and excited and grateful and yet, I am still infertile. I am still dealing with the emotions that have stirred within me from the last six years trying to conceive a baby.
I hear from a lot of women that they are more than their infertility. Their infertility is a small part of who they are and it doesn't define them. I wonder, if my initial visit to the OB six years ago had triumphantly resulted in a child after that first round of Clomid, would have me agreeing with them. After all, I thought back then that infertility was a mere inconvenience.
Infertility wears on the mind and body. It doesn't consume me, but it has made me who I am.
But it became a part of my life. A huge part of my life. I can say honestly, it was the main focus of our marriage. And it wasn't all bad. I can't tell you how many women I have become friends with over the years because we all wanted the same thing. I have a big box downstairs of cards and trinkets I was given before each and every cycle. I can't tell you how many lives I have been touched by from complete strangers reaching out for advice and support. My life has been made both better and worse by infertility.
Infertility wears on the mind and body. It doesn't consume me, but it has made me who I am. I realize now, that everything I went through the past six years, every needle stuck in me, every negative test cried over, every tear wiped when I told my husband multiple times, "Let's try again," it was all for her.
I've complained a lot through this pregnancy but I am so blessed to be given this chance to watch the changes my body is going through. My past will make me a better mother to her. I am forever going to be a different person than the one who walked into the OB office years ago when I was concerned about my ability to get pregnant.
I am who I am because of my infertility. It's inside me and defines me and I think that is something to recognize. Years ago I was ashamed by it, and tried to pretend it didn't exist. Now, I use it to help other women realize they aren't alone. I blog very publicly about it in order to normalize it. I've deepened the relationship with my husband. My daughter will always know how hard we worked to bring her into this world.