I ran into someone the other day who excitedly announced that they were trying for their second child. I smiled and (with less enthusiasm) responded, “us too” . . .
Why the lack of emotion? Well, for me, “trying” means a team of medical experts. A reproductive endocrinologist to carefully follow my ovaries via ultrasounds, a nurse to perform said ultrasounds, another nurse to take blood to give to the aforementioned endocrinologist to analyze, another nurse to coordinate treatments, a pharmacist with enough storage space to hold my ever growing supply of medicine, a geneticist, and finally the ladies who schedule my inevitable next visit and stamp my parking card.
The process of infertility is exhausting, frustrating, demoralizing, and expensive, and I’m not alone. There are a tremendous amount of women in Charlotte who understand the above list all too well. I know they are out there. I see them almost daily in the waiting room, and we wave at each other in an “I’m hopeful for you” kind of way. Some of these women are familiar faces who I know from other areas of my life (i.e., preschool, volunteer organizations, YMCA, Dean & Deluca), and still others are complete strangers. Yet, I’m pulling for all of them; wishing I never see them in the waiting room again, signifying that they are enjoying the joy and excitement pregnancy brings.
Many of these women do move on, but not me. I joke with the nurses that I’m like a “bad cough” . . . I never go away. My husband and I are blessed to have a beautiful little girl named Sutton, who came to us with the help of the wonderful team at The Women’s Institute at Carolinas Medical Center (CMC). Sutton has a personality that is magnetic. It’s almost as if she knows she might be our only child and plans on making it one heck of a ride for us.
We started “trying” for another child almost two years ago and the process proved to be more difficult the second time around. Among my amazing group of friends (thank you for your support during this phase in my life), I was the first to start trying for a second child, and I’m currently almost the last one standing. Most have had their second child or are pregnant, and I’m thrilled for them. I’ve loved watching my friends hold their new bundles of joy and being a part of their pregnancies even though I deeply long for my own. Only a few times have I felt down about being “left behind.” When you hear the announcement of a due date you would have shared if not for a miscarriage it’s tough. This is just the downside to infertility in a young and vibrant Charlotte; you’re constantly surrounded by reminders of what you can’t do.
The upside to infertility in Charlotte is that we live in a city with some of the best fertility clinics in the nation. Few cities have nationally ranked doctors only minutes away from each other and ready to take a peak at your ovaries at any time! I simply can’t praise the staff at The Women’s Institute at CMC enough. The team at this practice is like family to me, literally. I have met some fantastic people such as Dr. Bradley Hurst (thank you for the gift of my daughter) and nurse Joanna McCall. These two people have seen me at my worst and talked me down off the proverbial ledge when I failed to see two lines on a pregnancy test . . . or worst, when one line disappears.
REACH clinic (only miles away from The Women’s Institute) has a level of advanced technology which is truly impressive. The staff is friendly, the facility is top notch, and they have enjoyed a relatively high success rate. REACH has a program called the REACH Refund in which you participate in six in-vitro fertilization treatments for one fee. That’s not it; if you don’t take a baby home from the hospital they refund seventy percent of your investment.
Each of this clinics also offers counseling for those dark moments when your urge to hold a baby of your own is incapacitating. Or, your husband can reach out to when he thinks you have completely gone batty from too many hormones! There are also several organizations for women battling infertility such as Hannah’s Heart that meets the third Tuesday of each month at 7 PM at First Presbyterian Church.
Infertility isn’t the taboo subject it once was. It’s a topic of conversation you can overhear at any Starbucks in Charlotte if you just listen hard enough. It affects a lot of women and breaks a lot of hearts. It’s also something that even your own family can fail to understand. Husbands sometimes struggle to comprehend the procedures and emotions infertility can evoke. Fortunately for me, mine has held my hand throughout the process like a seasoned expert (thank you). Infertility is a scary process and not one you should endure alone. It’s recommended if you don’t conceive a child after one year of trying, you should go see a doctor. And chances are; I’ll wave at you in the waiting room.
*Thanks to Nicole Rogers Photography for one of our favorite family photos!
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