Did you know that April 22nd kicks off a week long awareness about infertility? I didn’t either, until 13 years ago when my husband and I were declared “infertile” by our doctor. The word infertile literally means, “unable to reproduce.” Other words that come with the term: sterile, barren, unproductive. Words that up until then, meant nothing to us. Words that now haunt us day and night, mocking us from every corner of life. Words that have the power to radically change our lives.
Infertility is a club my husband and I never imagined we would be a part of. We were high school sweethearts, each other’s “firsts,” and no one else in our family had a hard time conceiving. Research told us that we weren’t alone and that 1 in 8 couples deal with infertility. If that was true, where were they? No one was talking about it. When we learned this information, there were more tears shed than humanly possible, and long nights were spent trying to decide what route was best for our family, even if it would just be the two of us. We felt so alone. We really could have used a community to belong to. To talk and ask questions, and to not feel so alone in our journey.
That’s where Conceive Nebraska came in. Conceive Nebraska is a non-profit based here in Omaha that supports “individuals and couples facing fertility challenges in the greater Omaha area by increasing and improving educational resources and by raising awareness and changing the conversation surrounding infertility.” With over 38,000 people experiencing infertility alone, they sure have their work cut out for them!
My husband and I became acquainted with Conceive Nebraska by chance. A mom talking to another mom about her struggle to get pregnant was overheard by a friend of mine who introduced us saying, “You’ve got baby issues to talk about.” We knowingly shared a “look” and dove into each others’ stories. I then met another friend of hers who was a board member and quickly became involved in Conceive’s mission to help increase resources and change the conversation about infertility.
Many life events brought us to Conceive Nebraska. My husband had complications due to a botched surgery in high school. I was diagnosed with Endometriosis and had half my reproductive system removed. After my surgery, several medication trials, and four different doctors treating my poor hubs like a lab rat, they finally determined that we would have to go through IVF. It’s been recorded that over 5 million babies world wide have been born through IVF. Our daughter is one of them! Eloise was born on the hottest day of June. Everything about her was and is perfect. She’s the reason I get to call myself a mama! This last year we tried again and failed. This fall we used what was left of our “snowflake babies” (frozen embryos) became pregnant, and lost two months later. We now carry the title of, “Unexplained Secondary Infertility.” Our journey, like many others, is not over. We are still navigating this world of expanding our family and are forever grateful for the community we have found in Conceive Nebraska.
Conceive Nebraska has provided both my husband and me a place to belong. This is a group of like-minded people with whom we can share our struggles, local resources, and the occasional night out. Conceive hosts several events throughout the year, and we have taken part in as many of them as we are able to–book club, writer’s workshops, infertility yoga, etc. Friends and family will join us in participating in the Walk for Infertility Awareness, which is their campaign towards Omaha Gives! and look forward to their main fundraiser: a Tailgate Party on October 6th.
Walk for Infertility Awareness
Through the years, we’ve cried with strangers, learned about our own families, and stood beside friends who now bare the title of Mommy and Daddy. This year, as board members, we are walking alongside those in our community who want to remove the stigma and barriers that stand in the way of building families.
If you or someone you know is dealing with infertility or you would like to support those who are, I would like to personally invite you to Conceive Nebraska’s 2018 Walk for Infertility Awareness on Sunday, April 22nd, at Turner Park in Midtown Crossing. All proceeds go to increasing our resources to help individuals and couples dealing with infertility. This is a family-friendly event from 12:30-3:00, with free activities on the lawn for children until 2:00 and resource tables to see what’s going on in the Metro area. For your chance to win two tickets to the walk, comment on this post and consider sharing! For more information about the event, please visit our Facebook page.