National Infertility Awareness Week

April 23 through 29 of 2017 happens to be National Infertility Awareness Week.

This week will also mark the “official” start of my journey through IVF.

Over the last few months, my husband and I have talked over options, done all necessary blood work, and checked with our insurance and pharmacy to try and gather an idea of what kind of bill this process would include. After much prayer, consult and thoughtful consideration, we are on the calendar to begin labs and stem this May! It’s crazy to think about the last two years, how this entire journey even began.

If you haven’t read my other post on the NFL Wife Handbook, you can go there and play catch up. If you have, bear with me while I refresh you with the short version.

In 2013, my husband and I began family planning and I came off of birth control, which I had I been on for about seven years. I struggled with hormonal acne and P.M.D.D. Yes, that’s a thing.

Month two of being off the pill, I got pregnant with my daughter.

Wonderful pregnancy, healthy delivery and postpartum from what I knew.

We decided to start thinking about baby number two and that’s when things went awry.

The Want for a Child

After over 18 months of oral medications, scans, blood work and lots of crying, we found ourselves in the chairs of a local fertility clinic on the forefront of other major life and career changes.

April 23rd will mark the official start of this very long journey. However, after much research, I know that I am not alone. I see the office filled with women coming in for the same thing. The want for a child. The willingness to go to all extremes to become a parent. I scroll the pages of the clinic’s website and see the beautiful faces of healthy babies and families who had their dreams finally come true. Often times I feel guilty and selfish for feeling the way I do about the process we are about to start. Many families have waited and tried for YEARS without success, and to those, my heart goes out to you, because I have had an opportunity to take a glimpse into your pain. I am beyond blessed to have a child. Whatever steps are necessary to grow my little family are the steps my husband and I are willing to take. Each journey is so different and each story holds heartache and growth and happiness. This story just happens to be mine.

Women having gone through infertility treatments, you are strong! What a story you have to tell.

When talking with my fertility doctor one afternoon, I asked about my particular situation. Did she see a lot of infertility in the second attempt at pregnancy? She affirmed that I wasn’t alone, but my scenario wasn’t as commonly talked about. Women in my shoes often felt guilt, and then, because they had a successful pregnancy, seeking assistance often times takes longer. Honestly, I felt that guilt! I sat at home and cried over the decision to move forward. I had a beautiful healthy baby girl, so why not be happy with just one? Why move forward? Every “why” is different. This is just my “why.”

When we made the decision to grow our family, I opted to document my entire process. All the highs, all the lows, all the medications, all the feelings. I don’t care about the stigma.

I am making myself vulnerable to the public with a very personal situation. However, I KNOW in my heart this is a story to be shared. My refrigerator is covered with perfect little birth announcements and my social media feeds are full of excited parents-to-be announcing their pregnancy. What I don’t see is conversation about infertility. It’s such an emotional process, couples or individuals are so reluctant to share for fear of shame or stigma.

Honestly, that’s so wrong. One of the greatest strengths we have as individuals is our power in numbers. The amount of people that struggle with infertility would blow your mind. We are 1 in 8. Every story is different. I know mine can’t compare to a family that waited 8, 10, 15 years for their first child, but we are only as strong as our village. So, if you are reading this because you too are facing infertility, you are not alone!

I plan to share my experience as a method of therapy for myself. Hopefully it helps someone out there to not feel alone. Who knows, maybe it’s a way we can all cackle over the idea of shooting ourselves full of medication leaving us feeling bloated with a face full of adult acne. *Raises hand* I’m your girl!

This is happening. It’s real and I’m talking about it. I most certainly find a way to see the humor and find a way to sarcastically convey my thoughts. So, don’t anticipate these following post to suck the life out of you mentally. Today I actually begin my first acupuncture treatment. I hear they just chill you out. I’m pretty pumped, but I’m interested to see how making myself look like a full size voodoo doll is going to “chill me out.”

I really hope to see you back here again soon. No worries, I’ll be posting updates, videos and photos. Well, less photos of me specifically. I hear that I’ll get to start these fantastic hormone shots and they make you swollen, but It’s going to be a great time y’all!

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Jessica McClendon

This is me, an East Tennessee transplant to Los Angeles, California, wife to Jacques McClendon, my handsome better half and mom to baby girl Madison who is two.

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