By nature, I’m a rule-follower and am generally someone who avoids conflict like the plague. A grade-A people pleaser to the nth degree. So, when my husband and I decided it was time to try and start our family, I followed all the “rules” of getting pregnant. I used ovulation predictor kits and took my basal body temperature, but I had trouble pinning down when I was ovulating. That, coupled with months of horrible acne, my hair falling out, and sporadic, unpredictable periods after going off of birth control, I knew something wasn’t right. So, I went to my OB/GYN with my fastidious notes and data about what was going on, only to be completely brushed off.

I can’t snap my fingers and make you pregnant,” she said. I was horrified and wanted to cry.

I’m not asking for that. I’m telling you I don’t feel well, and I think something is wrong,” I replied.

Begrudgingly, she agreed to do an ultrasound and basic blood work. Again, as a tried and true conflict-avoider, I didn’t want to argue with her or cause a scene but, I just couldn’t shake the feeling that something wasn’t right. She told me everything looked fine and to just keep trying.

After we discussed my results and I left the office, I couldn’t get this entire interaction out of my head. Standing up and advocating for myself was HARD, but…I was proud of myself at the same time. In my mind, if one thing was worth fighting for, it was my health and my family. Little did I know that this entire interaction was just the beginning of a long journey with infertility that would forever alter who I am as a person.

I’ve told many people that advocating for myself in that doctor’s office was step one of becoming a more “boundaried,” fiercer, and stronger person. I’m more open and honest about how I expect to be treated by others and less willing to tolerate when they don’t respect the boundaries I’ve set with them. There aren’t many blessings to be found while in the throes of infertility but, for me, that has been one of them. I’m more empathetic and prone to try to find the silver lining in the clouds. It has taught me to control the things I can and let go of what I cannot.

Infertility is, by far, the hardest thing I’ve ever dealt with, but I am grateful for some of the ways it has changed me. Sometimes, I’m an angry, ugly version of myself, but most days… I do think infertility has made me a better person.

Eventually, I switched physicians and found someone who actually listened to me and my concerns. It was through that experience that I was given my infertility diagnosis and referred to a reproductive endocrinologist. We are still waiting on our miracle as we head into our second IUI cycle, but I’m hopeful. I am strong, powerful, empathetic, hopeful… and incredibly proud of myself.

Lauren K., KY

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