Monday, March 25, 2013

Walk of Hope recap

Saturday was RESOLVE's Arizona Walk of Hope, and it was an awesome experience. I knew I was excited, but wasn't entirely sure of what all to expect. My mom and MIL walked with me, as did my beloved puggles, Paisley and Clover. We left a little later than intended, and got a tad lost, which stressed me out. But we finally made it. The dogs were jumpy in a totally new situation, but about 1/4 mile in, they calmed down and it was really very nice that they were there. The walk was really nice. It was a leisurely pace, and there were about 220 walkers. There were IF graduates there with their hard-won children, and a lot of other people brought their dogs. There were both teams and individuals. Thanks to the generous support of our family and friends, I ended up as the second highest fundraiser, and I was so proud.

As we walked, there were signs with facts about both IF and about how the money raised at the event could help, such as "$500 provides training and support to start a new group." Tucson is getting it's support group up and running in April which will be a couple's group led by Denny and Lisa - Denny wrote Almost A Father about his IF journey to achieve pregnancy with their daughter, Elliana. So the timing felt especially poignant. It was kind of amazing how my mom and MIL were unfamiliar with some of these stats. I've been spouting them for what feels like forever now, but they had a hard timing believing that 1 in 8 couples is affected. Well, it's true, folks, which is why we need to raise awareness. Not only so people realize what a very real problem this is for so many people, but so that we can start to teach compassion and etiquette and feel that our disease is accepted and cared about and not minimized or viewed as being on par with wanting a nose job.

After the walk, I got to meet Denny, and there were awards for the funniest shirt ("My Baby Survived the Ice Age"), best group name, the most money raised (yay, Tonya!) She led my group before I did, and moved to CO so it was great to see her), and a raffle drawing. Arizona Senator Linda Lopez was honored for her pro-family work in Arizona and her impact on our community. Representatives from fertility centers were there, and they were thanked - along with our community advocates - for stopping the advancement of SB 1376. After the formal stuff, I had the opportunity to meet Betsy, whom I've been corresponding with in regard to my desire to be a more formal advocate. I also got to meet other members of Resolve's team, and I'm looking forward to joining their efforts and making an impact in Arizona.

All in all, it was a terrific experience. It's amazing to be among a large group of people who understand where you've been and there was a feeling of being at home with them, even if I didn't actually meet them. I  encourage everyone to particpate in a walk in their area. If there isn't one, and you'd like to spearhead the planning of one or even just find out what would be involved in helping to start one, feel free to contact me.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

No longer screaming

** Loss mentioned (not mine) **

I wrote this almost exactly a year ago. It's incredible how far we've come. We're not without trials and heartaches, and there are certainly moments where I wonder if I will ever find my center again. But the good days far out-number the bad. I remember the time so vividly when I would cry silently at my desk literally every day over something and hope no one came looking for me. I won't lie. I get stuck on some things here and there. Certain thoughts cause a lump in my throat or put a damper on a day. But I am - over all - something I couldn't see myself being a year ago: happy. I am, truly. I feel a sense of purpose. I feel loved and secure in my marriage. I feel over-whelming support from family and friends.

One story feels especially poignant and representative of where I am now compared to then. Recently, a coworker, E - who had baby #1 through IVF - lost her spontaenous baby #2 at 20 weeks. She wasn't someone I'd ever really talked to. I sat near her, and was able to hear conversations she had about going through IVF for #1, but I was never actually introduced to her and so I never really talked to her. (I know. You're thinking this is weird. But this is coming from someone who didn't speak to her dorm neighbors until Halloween-eve because they didn't talk to me either. And then I became besties with them. I'm just weird with social stuff sometimes.) A coworker, S - with whom E shares a baby-sitter - had told me she lost Baby D because I'd asked HER (not the expectant mom, of course) only weeks prior if E was pregnant again after over-hearing a conversation between the two of them. E asked S to tell people at work about the loss so they wouldn't ask her when she returned to the office. For whatever reason, I decided to sack up and offer my condolences to someone I didn't even really know and I confided in E that while I didn't know about child loss, I knew the struggle of infertility and that I was just so incredibly sorry. And then we had, like, an hour-long conversation. About all of it, totally comfortably, just like I would with the girls of my Resolve group. I'm not sure of what her support system entails, but I got the impression that she hadn't been able to discuss the loss with someone who knew the IF side. I felt so thankful for the progress made over the last year that allowed me to put myself out there and be a comfort for someone else.

Point is, I no longer feel like I'm screaming. I'm sharing, shouting, informing. It feels amazing to be a year out from Screaming Underwater.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013


I woke up excited yesterday. Really excited. The Walk of Hope is this weekend, and NIAW is about a month away. These events just have me in a great mood. I'm excited to meet people I've been corresponding with at Resolve, and the Walk of Hope feels to me like a celebration. This is OUR day. There are cancer walks, and March of Dimes walks, and fundraisers for all sorts of different causes and issues and illnesses. But this one is OURS. NIAW is OUR time to show how many of us there are, how we feel, what we think, what issues pertain to us and how others can support us. It's OUR time to show we matter, and that we aren't taboo, and that everyone out there knows and loves someone who's struggling with infertility. It's liberating to feel free to talk about it, and to be passionate about making a difference. I can't wait for OUR Saturday, and for OUR awareness week - to stand with and to share facts and messages of hope (however that looks for everyone) with other people who know what it's like. I'm just so excited!

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Why I Walk

**Sorry about the formatting - I give up on you, Blogspot.**

On March 23rd, 2013, I am participating in RESOLVE’s Walk of Hope. My mom is joining me, and I’m excited to have her support. So why am I walking?
-          Because I remember what it was like to feel alone
-          Because people should be made more aware of our feelings as infertile couples
-          Because 12% of Americans deal with this
-          Because everyone knows someone who’s struggling, some most likely in silence
-          Because infertility is not shameful
-          Because legislation is being considered in our state that would restrict or even end Arizona
      couples’ options to build their families and I want them to see the impact and strength of our
-          Because myths and misperceptions about fertility treatments persist
-          Because there is strength in numbers
-          Because I am a RESOLVE peer-led group leader, and I am proud to represent them and the  
      other women of our community who need support
-          Because currently, support groups only exist in the Phoenix area and I hope that resources from
      the walk can be allocated to help bring support to Northern and Southern Arizona
-          Because I believe in RESOLVE’s mission to bring about awareness and support of couples who 
      are pursuing their dreams of building a family or who have resolved their fertility by other
-          Because no one should walk alone

I am proud to walk in the Walk of Hope, and I would be proud to have your support. If you find yourself able, contributions can be made here.