ROANOKE, Va. – 10 News is taking an in-depth look at infertility - sharing the new treatments, struggles, medical technology, cost of infertility and more. You can find more of those stories by clicking on the Only on 10 tab at the top of wsls.com.
One in eight couples suffer from infertility. Chances are you know someone suffering, but they may not be sharing their struggle publicly yet.
For me, and so many other women, infertility is a silent struggle.
I didn't want to be silent about it. I wanted to tell people... But I only told a few close friends and family members because it's so personal. I didn't know how I was going to react when someone asked me about it. I was afraid I was going to burst into tears at any moment. It already stung enough when people asked, "When are you going to have kids?" I wanted to tell them, "We're trying! We've been trying for years and it's just not working."
I'm so proud of other couples who are open about their journey to have a baby while they are going through the process!
It took us about four years to finally have a baby. Over those four years, I had so many doctors appointments, tests and more shots than I can count. It's safe to say, I'm not afraid of needles anymore.
We ended up working with a doctor in Charlottesville who diagnosed me with Stage IV endometriosis, the most severe stage on a scale of one to four. You can read more about that here.
I had surgery to clean out some of the tissue from endometriosis and had a short window to get pregnant or the tissue might grow back.
We started pretty aggressively with infertility treatments... But it didn't work. Then we quickly moved to IVF because of that short time frame we had. That was a scary decision because of what is involved mentally, physically and financially. You're putting a lot of medicine into your body — and that comes with unpleasant side effects like hot flashes. IVF medicine costs $3,000 to $4,000 and that doesn't include the medical procedures to harvest your eggs after taking the medicine. Thankfully, my insurance covered a lot of it. But many insurance plans in Virginia don't cover infertility treatments because it's not a requirement like other states.
After more testing to make sure your body is ready for the IVF process, you start taking medicine. So much medicine I had to make a check sheet of what I was taking every day and when I was supposed to take it. I would check off each pill and each shot so I didn't miss anything.
It all has to be done at a certain time every day. My first shot for the process came as I was a bridesmaid in a wedding. In between the ceremony and pictures, my husband snuck into a bathroom to give me my first shot. In the days that followed, equally crazy stories came about. The doctor called to say I needed more medicine as soon as I could do another injection. So I finished up my meal, drove home to get medicine and then drove to meet my husband at work because I could never bring myself to give myself the shots... He always had to do it. And so here we were, in the middle of the street, with him giving me an injection.
These are funny stories now because we have a beautiful baby girl — our miracle baby. It made us stronger as a couple. I'm so thankful for our little family.
I'm so grateful the process worked for us and I'm hoping by sharing our story, I can help another woman struggling, silently with their own journey.
Share your story with me.
There is an infertility support group that meets in the Roanoke Valley. Contact Laura West at (540) 312-2409 or email@example.com for more information.