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F is for...

Today I would like to talk to you about the F word. No, not that one.
I'm sure you've heard that one enough for today.

This F word is different. This F word is personal. It's raw. It's real. It's painful. It's not talked about enough. Or, when it is talked about, it's dirty.

No, it's still not *that* F word.
Today I want to talk to you about FERTILITY, or rather about those who struggle with fertility. An even dirtier word. INfertility.

There. I said it. Infertility. "Not getting pregnant despite having carefully timed, unprotected sex for one year." Yep, it happens. It happens a lot. 1 in 8 couples is diagnosed with infertility. Look around. Did you struggle? Did your parents, siblings, friends? No? Congratulations, because you're the lucky ones.
I can tell you first hand, #infertilitysucks

It sucks EVERYTHING. The fun. The happiness. The hope. The future. Everything is sucked into the black hole that is infertility.
Why am I bringing this up now?

National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) is April 22-28. #niaw18
This week also marks 3 years, 6 months and 2 weeks since we started trying to create a family. That's 184 weeks. 30,960 hours. 1,857,600 minutes. That's a lot of time. A lot of heartache. A lot of questioning. A lot of pain.

So why now? Why did it take me so long to share this with you? I've felt embarrassed. I've felt alone. I've been ashamed. I'm happy to say that I have finally broken through those feelings, and am ready to #flipthescript

Resolve.org has made it their goal to change the conversation around infertility so the public, media, insurers, healthcare professionals and lawmakers understand:
--The scope of the problem and who is struggling to build a family. (hint: it’s not just older women who waited too long to start a family)
--There are many barriers for millions of people who struggle to build a family. These barriers include: lack of insurance coverage, out-of-pocket costs, faith and religion, sexual orientation, and state and federal laws.
--The impact of infertility is far reaching—it impacts family, friends, co-workers, and employers.

So, you know what infertility is. What does it involve?
I can't speak for everyone, but I can tell you about us.
Our journey began with lots of poking and prodding. Testing, medications, more testing, countless office visits, and tons of trial and error. After 3 years with no success, we were referred to Oregon Reproductive Medicine in August of 2017.

After having our medical records sent over, we met with Dr. Barbieri. We were told our only chance of starting a family was In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). It was a blow we weren't expecting.

It's painful. It's emotional. It's involved.

Anyone who knows me knows I hate politics. I don't bring it up. I don't want to debate. I keep quiet....much like I have with this journey until now. Today's the day to squash that bug too.

Let's talk insurance.

Only fifteen states have either an insurance mandate to offer or an insurance mandate to cover some level of infertility treatment. 15. Out of 50. That's 30% for you math folks.

Only eight of those states mandate qualified employers to include IVF coverage in their plans offered to their employees: Arkansas, Connecticut, Hawaii, Illinois, Maryland, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Rhode Island.
That's 15%.

Those of you who know me, also know that I don't live in one of those 8 states. So, no coverage. Yep.

ALL. OUT. OF POCKET.

Oh. Em. Gee. Now she's talking about money. That's dirty too.

It's EXPENSIVE. Like, really expensive. I don't even want to talk about how much this journey has cost us up to this point. Lets just leave it at a lot. Like, well into five figures.

So we got the blow that IVF is our only option. We start injections on October 21st. That's the day after my car accident (where my 2 year old car was totaled) by the way.

So I'm emotional already, sore as hell, can't take any pain meds, and here I am being pumped full of even more hormones, with the goal of making my body produce 20 eggs. A normal body produces ONE egg every month.

So we start injections, with blood draws and trans-vaginal ultrasounds every other day. After 9 days, we were ready for the "trigger" shot. A giant dose of hCg. Super fun.

Actually, here's a fun fact:
Your ovaries move. They aren't attached to your fallopian tubes, and they move around inside you. Mind Blown? Me too.

My right one was a bitch, and decided to hide during most of the exams and on egg retrieval day.

Halloween. We had to be at the clinic at 6am on Halloween. I was given anesthesia (my first ever) and wheeled into the operating room, by a nurse dressed as a cat. I will spare you on the specific details of how they got those 12 cooperating eggs out, but if you want to learn more, here you are: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mXFUN9ZnngI

I spent the next few days high as hell on pain meds, chillin' in a recliner, watching netflix, complaining about my pain and sleeping.
We found out we had 5 embryos make it to the final stage. They were sent out for genetic testing (yep, that's taboo too) and 3 came back "normal" with 2 that will need further testing later on.

On January 5th, we began injections to prepare for embryo transfer. This process also included a fair amount of poking and prodding, but was a welcome process, getting us one step closer to meeting Baby Dragon.

On January 24th of 2018 we transferred one perfect little embryo back home, but found out 9 days later that (s)he decided not to stay. Hormones and emotions were high, and a lot of wine was sacrificed to appease my broken heart.

We are currently waiting for the stars to align so that we can begin the process to transfer embryo #2.
..............................................................................
This is officially the longest post I have ever written. It was also the hardest. I'm tired of being embarrassed. I'm tired of being ashamed. I'm tired of excuses and I'm tired of hiding.

I took the pledge to #flipthescript and this is my (our) story.
Feel free to reach out. Feel free to ask questions.
Feel free to learn more. Feel free to spread #fertilityawareness

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