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Bailey Johnson's Infertility Journey

☀️ CLICK HERE to buy the Slice of Sun's beautiful products like pajamas and socks! A portion of every sale will go to women experiencing infertility. Wear to your own appointments or while cozy at home to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you and that you're not alone. You are incredible, sister. They make the perfect gifts, too!

CLICK HERE to join our safe, private Facebook group to meet other incredible women who are walking your path. ☀️

Read Bailey's story here:

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Every muscle, every fiber of your being urges you to fight, so you do. You claw your way to the surface, taking in the smallest gasp of air before you’re thrust under again. There is no time to scream, no time to call out for help, just enough time to pull in a breath, and fight for the surface again. You are utterly alone.

Eventually, your body begins to fail you. The constant barrage is just too much to take, and the fatigue is setting in. Your instinct to fight has long since turned into a feeling of defeat, but your heart won't let you stop. So you break for the surface one last time, your hail Mary, and you call out. You reach for something, anything, and a hand pulls you in.

Suddenly you're not drowning anymore. You're linked to a chain of people who've been thrown overboard by the same storm. There's no life boat to rescue you, you're all treading the same water, but you're no longer relying on your strength alone to keep your head above the waves. When you start to falter, they tread for you, giving you a place to rest your weary head. And when the moon is highest, and the storm reaches its worst, you can look out across the lifeline that's holding you, and you can see the eyes of those who surround you, those who've come before you. They communicate the deepest sense of acknowledgement, the most sincere form of empathy. They see you, they understand you, they are you.

And this is what it's like as you stumble through the hell that is infertility. I pray you find your lifeline, your human chain that validates your every feeling and holds you up on your worst days. I found mine through a simple hashtag on Instagram, and it changed my world.

For a long time I was content figuring things out on my own. I knew so little about infertility, and the doctors preach that a normal healthy couple can take up to a year to become pregnant, so I pushed aside that nagging thought that something was wrong, and just carried on alone. I did the only logical thing a person does, and turned to Pinterest for easy fertility remedies. I tried seed cycling, I ordered herbs in bulk for teas that I never even made. I switched to an organic pillow that was so uncomfortable I quickly gave up on it. I tried ovulation tracking, I got a temp drop and an Ava bracelet and drove myself crazy trying to consolidate all this data and form a routine all while working shift work that didn’t actually allow for a schedule.

Once we hit eleven months I had had enough of trying to figure it out on my own, so I scheduled an appointment with an OB and hoped to get some answers. You wanna know what that OB told me? Come back next month when you’ve been trying for a year, I bet you’ll be pregnant by then. At this point, I knew it was something else. I knew there was something going on with my body, so I requested blood work instead. She acted like I was being a pain, like she was annoyed I didn’t believe her, but ordered the tests anyway. It came back showing I was anovulatory. When the clinic called back to schedule a follow up to go over the tests, I was half tempted to show up and give that doctor the lecture she had coming to her, but instead I told them I would not be returning to her care.

The next doctor I saw ran even more tests and used the ones from the previous doctor to diagnose me with PCOS and suspected Endometriosis, she suggested we start with medicated cycles to induce ovulation. It was at this point I realized I needed something else too. My anxiety and depression were at their worst, and I had never felt so alone. So I started an Instagram account to document my journey. I thought I would use it as a blog, that it would be more of a place to process through everything that we were going through. But as pills and timed intercourse quickly changed to injectables, and IUI’s and surgeries, I found myself diving deeper into the infertility community to find solace, and camaraderie. Soon I had found a tribe of people who weren’t just empathizing with me, but going through it all with me. It was so freeing to have a space where I could be transparent and broken and be lifted up and carried through some of the worst days. 

And the worst days just seemed to multiply after getting a referral to move forward with IVF. I remember wondering what I had done to deserve these struggles, trying to find a reason for all the bad that just kept coming at us. Once we signed the paperwork and dove head first into IVF treatments, nothing else really mattered. My whole life became focused on the medications and the procedures. I put friends on standby, canceled vacations, made very little time for my husband, who was nothing short of amazing during this whole process. I lost myself a bit in the waiting. Waiting for results, waiting for the next visit, waiting for meds, waiting for the right numbers. All the waiting was quickly dragging me down, I was so focused on things I couldn’t control, trying to will them to go the way I wanted them to, that I didn’t realize how much of myself I was losing.

It took sheer luck and a successful embryo transfer for me to realize just how much I had let infertility change me. I’m honestly not sure I would have made it through such a downward spiral without the infertility community supporting me. There was so much I didn’t know about infertility when we started this journey, and having people who had gone through it and were going through it helped me realize just how normal all of my emotions and feelings were. I feel incredibly blessed to have such an amazing tribe online and in person, especially now as I find pregnancy after loss and infertility just as difficult as the journey to get here.

The trauma of infertility doesn’t just go away and I’m stuck in a constant flux and flow of dread, excitement, anxiety, and joy. I’m still holding my breath wondering if this is really real, waiting for the other shoe to drop. With a February due date, I’m now just weeks away from holding my long awaited baby and I am terrified. I’m scared of what could still go wrong, scared I won’t know how to be a good mom. After all, I was so focused on getting here, I never stopped to make plans for if we actually got here. I never thought to look up accounts for motherhood after infertility, I thought once you got your miracle, things just went back to “normal.” As if being pregnant or having a healthy baby would erase the years of endless tears and mend all the broken pieces. But I’m finding that pregnancy and motherhood after infertility are hard. The trauma triggers still crop up, the second guessing and waiting and yearning and jealousy don’t just go away. It’s an entirely different ball game that we are expected to navigate through as if everything were fine. 

That’s why I share my story. That’s why I’ve documented all of the good things and all of the bad things, because infertility and loss and everything that comes after shouldn’t be taboo. It shouldn’t be shushed at holiday dinners, or compressed with pretty little packing once our goals are realized. The hurt and the struggle is all real, it’s all valid, and it all deserves to be seen and heard. So while I can now use and appreciate the hashtag, “infertility survivor,” I still consider myself a warrior. There’s no cure, I haven’t magically been made whole, I’m still fighting, still navigating through the storm, but things have been made a little brighter. I’ve found that I am stronger, more resilient and I plan to continue sharing my struggles, and helping others through theirs. Because life is hard enough already. No one should have to go through this alone.

Instagram: @batstitchbailey

☀️ CLICK HERE to buy the Slice of Sun's beautiful products like pajamas and socks! A portion of every sale will go to women experiencing infertility. Wear to your own appointments or while cozy at home to remind you that you have this community of women linking arms with you and that you're not alone. You are incredible, sister. They make the perfect gifts, too!

CLICK HERE to join our safe, private Facebook group to meet other incredible women who are walking your path. ☀️

 

To read DeeJay Winter's infertility journey, click HERE. 

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