We Are Knoxville – Infertility Awareness, Struggles, and Hope

In the spring of 2011 I was sitting in my home office sad, mad, and anxious — there wasn’t an emotion I wasn’t having at the time. A few minutes later I ran upstairs to tell my husband that I had been researching a trip to Paris. He stared at me crazily because there was no way we could afford a trip to Paris. I had just been through a miscarriage when I thought I should have been in my second trimester, an ectopic pregnancy which left me in the hospital getting a chemo drug, and a failed IUI treatment (intrauterine insemination).

All I wanted to do that very second was something that I couldn’t do if I was pregnant. Or something I couldn’t do if I had kids.

When I think back to 2010 and 2011, I find myself in a place of a lot of pain and sadness — it is there that my story of infertility begins. I felt alone a lot those days, but the truth is I was never alone. There are hundreds upon thousands upon millions of women who struggle with infertility of some kind. There are years of pining for a child to hold at night. I know that feeling all too well.

Through my struggles, I’ve learned that the women of Knoxville are strong and brave.

I learned that they can fight through endometriosis, laparoscopies, IUI treatments and IVF successes and failures. They can power through pregnancy struggles despite Graves’ Disease or thyroid complications. They can suffer the loss of conjoined twins and find the courage to keep going. They can suffer from secondary infertility, ectopic pregnancies or male factor infertility. They can lose an infant within an hour of its little life. And they can give all of themselves and love a child through foster care or adoption. I learned that through all of this a woman can be loved. Because I too was once loved in all my sadness.

If you are in the depths of your struggles with infertility I want you to know this: YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

You are loved, you are prayed for every day, even if it is not by name. You are not to blame. You are a fighter and an advocate for the family you so desire. And there is hope. I hope you see that in the stories of these women who can now share their struggles. They all came out on the other side with beautiful children and families.

The women of Knoxville can even adopt an embryo, which is not something with which I was familiar. Did you know that Knoxville is home to the National Embryo Donation Center? This makes Knoxville the only place in the country where you can do everything in one place. I found this (taken from their website completely fascinating):

Now in its fourth decade, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and other assisted reproduction technologies (ART) have been the answer to many families’ baby prayers. However, this success has created a surplus of frozen human embryos. That surplus is estimated at 700,000 to over 1,000,000 in the United States. Many biological parents store their frozen embryos for future use. But when those parents have completed their families, they must decide what to do with their remaining embryos. Donating them to another infertile couple is an increasingly popular option. It benefits both the genetic family and the recipient family.

Visit www.embryodonation.org to learn more.

The reality of having babies is that some women will struggle with infertility and some women won’t. So, if the women who don’t can support the women who do, we can all be in this thing together. Moms loving other moms, whether they have 25 kids or they just yearn to hold one baby in their arms.

2010 is where my journey with infertility began, but 2012 is where it ended — that’s when I gave birth to twins: a boy and a girl. They’re truly the loves of my life and the kids I was always meant to have. I like to think my journey made me a better parent in the end. Looking into the little eyes that stare up at me in amazement every single day reminds me that the fight to have them was hard but worth every bit.

I’m by no means a perfect parent who never gets frustrated or mad with her kids — I’m far from it in fact. But maybe this was a journey I needed to take so that I’d soak in as much as I could with these kids I love so dearly.

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