Tuesday, 25 April 2017

1 in 6

It's gonna be hard to actually press publish on this post, so if you're reading this now, please take a second to virtually pat me on the back.

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) in the US; a week in which couples all over the country hope to raise awareness of the often unspoken grief they're living, and with this year's theme being 'Listen Up!' I thought it was time I shared my story.

As many of you are probably aware, infertility does not discriminate but what you probably don't know is that if affects more people than you realise - a massive one out of every six couples in the UK and one in eight in the US struggles to start a family and, I hate to say it but, Hubs and I are one of those couples.

Just typing that sentence has sent the blood coursing through my veins rushing to just below the surface of my skin; there's a lump forming in my throat and tears burn the back of my eyes, but we're actually hopefully one of the lucky ones. You see, my current infertility looks curable, but it's not that way for many others, which is why I simply had to join in with this conversation this week; if my story gives just one woman hope, then it's worth the time taken to find the right words when there are none that truly capture the despair of facing infertility.

The National Infertility Awareness Week website rightly states:

"You never know how badly you want something until you are told that it may not be possible."

Six months ago, I was convinced I was suffering from early menopause, or premature ovarian failure (POF) to give it its proper name. You see, I came off my birth control pills a month after we moved house (which was 19 months ago today) and have not had a period since. 

After three months, I visited my doctor and was shockingly told by a patronising female GP that I just needed to give it time (a year to be exact), but I knew something wasn't right. However, being the obey-the-rules type of girl I am, I waited... 

and waited... 

and waited. 

And nothing happened. 

Things got dark and I struggled with the prospect that never becoming a mother would become my reality; I've always wanted children but have very much been in the 'one day' camp, which is why, aged 31, I felt it was time to at least come off the pill in order to get it out of my system, so my body would be ready as soon as my mind was - patience has never been my forte. Turns out life had other plans.

In early November 2016, I dragged myself nervously back to the doctors and thankfully this time I was taken seriously. I was tested for all sorts of problems, including POF and PCOS, which luckily both came back negative, however, after a couple more tests, a problem with my pituitary gland (known as Prolactinoma) was identified.

I don't wanna get into the science of it all in this post - but if you'd like to read more about Prolactinoma, click here - but just know I am undergoing treatment and Tom and I both have our fingers (and toes) crossed that my periods will return before the end of the year.

I couldn't let this week go by unacknowledged on my blog. I try to write what I know, be it mundane and ordinary or exciting and life-altering, but this post has been hard to write. I've told very few people about our current predicament - I've been told I'm not the sharing type - I often play my cards close to my chest, but I can now see light at the end of what has been an extremely dark and long tunnel.

Despite having a loving and supportive partner to walk this path with me, it's been lonely and the scariest thing I think I have ever faced; before my Prolactinoma diagnosis, some days I felt positive - 'early menopause surely can't happen to me, I'm sure my periods will come back if I just stop thinking about it' - and others have been super dark - I remember crying in the toilet at work after a throw away comment from an unknowing colleague about 'having a tropical moment' when I was hot and the weather was anything but. I spent a good portion of 2016 grieving; grieving the loss of my imagined future, grieving the loss of a child not yet created and grieving the loss of the journey to motherhood, a right-of-passage that so many take for granted.

Despite all this, I truly believe I have gone through this life-altering experience for a reason and I hope by sharing my story I can provide some comfort to someone going through the same.

If you'd like to know more about NIAW, click here.
If you're currently struggling with infertility, please feel free to get in touch.

1 comment:

  1. Well written. I am glad to see others writing about infertility. I am doing lots of guest posts for #NIAW. Would you be interested in writing for me? http://scantilydad.com/

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