It's National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW) in the US.
Facts from Resolve:
"1 IN 8 COUPLES STRUGGLE TO BUILD A FAMILY.
The CDC tells us that is 15% of couples in America. Infertility does not discriminate based on race, religion, sexuality or economic status. You never know how badly you want something until you are told that it may not be possible."
Motherhood is difficult. But for some the path to motherhood is even more difficult. I was born with MRKH, which means I have Ovaries, but was born without a Uterus, Cervix, or the top portion of my Vaginal canal. My path to motherhood included an IVF cycle to retrieve 11 eggs, which turned into 8 fertilized embryos, a gestational carrier/surrogate, inducing lactation to provide milk to my baby.
My infertility story starts at birth. I was born with a vascular malformation in the left side of my abdomen. Over the years, through puberty and hormonal changes, the malformation grew. It grew so big that it eventually took over half my abdomen. My spleen, the outer lining of my stomach and all of the abdominal muscles, both internal and external, were taken over by feet of extra veins. Growing up I'd have outward bleeds regularly just from playing as a kid does. Eventually it was removed from the surface, but it continued to grow inside. It got so large that in my 20's I looked to be 9 months pregnant on half of me, the other half being a size 5.
Our adoption story didn’t go as we had planned. As a matter of fact, it didn’t go like anyone had planned. It was the worst and best time of our lives. Cameron’s story (our adoptive son) has changed my life forever and has given me a clearer and better picture of my purpose than ever before.
I won’t divulge too much into my MRKH diagnoses so I can tell more of our adoption story. I was diagnosed at the age of 18. Mine wasn’t an awful experience. My doctors were smart enough to know they were unable to diagnose me and therefore sent me to a specialist at the University Of Minnesota. Dr. Nagel was a kind and caring doctor who told me I wouldn’t be able to carry my own kids. The news was hard to digest but growing up with five brothers, I learned to be a fighter. It was a struggle more from the outlook of; I am the only one with this and what kind of freak am I. It wasn’t until I found other MRKH sisters, that I was able to accept that this is who I am and these other sisters, are amazing and I can be too. That is the very short version, but I believe the most important and best part of my MRKH story, is Cameron.
Heidi Ritter of Courageous MRKH
I was born the middle child, and I have 2 brothers. I was the first girl born on my dad’s side of the family in 5 generations – so I was a very welcome surprise to my family. When my younger brother joined our family I was 5 years old so the PERFECT age to play with a real life doll and wanted to do everything I could to help my mom with my baby brother. My entire childhood was spent playing with dolls, sticking my tummy out to be “pregnant" and planning names for my future children. I was, of course, going to grow up, get married, and have 3 kids of my own and my life would be perfect!
Most teenagers are not thinking of the future. Most are day dreaming about Friday night football games, the newest fashion trends, cars, and prom.
At 17, that all changed for me.
It was then I had my first gynecologist appointment. And as the doctor began to push around on my stomach, I just knew something was wrong. (I was too naive to ask questions, and they didn't offer any words of encouragement.) I was immediately sent for an ultrasound. I laid clueless as the first...second... and then a third person came into the room.
Bram's Birth Story
Ways to Save Money
Things not to say to IPs
Tips for newly diagnosed
Mothers with MRKH
Our Gender Reveal
2000- Chrissy dx w/ MRKH
2002- Chrissy & Lee meet
2007- Chrissy & Lee Marry
2009- Chrissy 'hysterectomy'
2013- Awarded Cade Grant
7/3/14- IVF egg retrieval (5)
1/18/15- Embryo Transfer (1)
9/29/15 - Bram born!