Infertility Warrior: Lauren

Today on the blog I want to introduce you our infertility warrior Lauren. Lauren is endometriosis fighter as well as infertility warrior who after a few years of trying to conceive has embraced her childfree lifestyle. Lauren lives happily with her husband Chad in Orlando and is an inspiration to those grappling with the decision to live childfree after infertility. We are thrilled to have her here today to tell her story and answer a few questions. 

Q: Tell us a little about your infertility journey.
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Where to start?? I was diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis in early 2016 after a laparoscopy.  My pain and symptoms retuned rather quickly, and we were referred to a reproductive endocrinologist who would help preserve my ovaries if another surgery was warranted. (Spoiler: It was!)  We met with RE in fall 2016 and we had all the bloodwork done and an HSG.  I had low AMH on top of the endo. At this point my husband and I knew we were most likely going to need some help, but we wanted to continue to try on our own.  We did have a very difficult conversation as to how far we were going to take this.  We agreed we would try medications and IUI’s, but we would not move onto IVF.   So, I started taking supplements and we went full baby making mode.  I had surgery #2 in May 2017.  We met with my RE again post op and decided to try our first IUI.  IT was unsuccessful and we would continue treatments for the next 16 months.   We did 4 IUI’s and nothing was successful.  Our last IUI was unsuccessful in December 2018. We have been embracing our childfree life since 2019.

Q: What has been the hardest part?

The vicious cycle of hope and heartache.  Forget what my body had been through.  Month after month after month of negative pregnancy tests made me feel so broken, so defeated.  But every month we would try again.

Q: What has been the best part?

It has brought my husband and I so much closer.  It was so hard while we were going through it and there were times when I didn’t know if we could take anymore.  But we could.  Lots of tears were shed on my end and he was always there to wipe them away.
Also, I have met some of the STRONGEST women through Instagram! Before our infertility diagnosis, I had no idea the infertility/TTC community existed.  Now I have a circle of infertile besties that I can talk to and who get it.

Q: What is one question you wish people would stop asking?

Why don’t you just do IVF?
Why don’t you just adopt?
*insert eyeroll*
We discussed our options early on in our journey and we agreed neither one was for us.  Both are very expensive and not guaranteed. 

Q: Where are you now on this journey?

Living my best childfree not by choice life since 2019!!

Q: How and when did you know you were ready to stop trying?

Chad and I had talked after our first few appointments with our RE and decided that we wanted to (and could safely afford) 4 IUI’s and some medicated cycles.  So, we always had a hard stopping point.  But as each IUI failed, I would go back and forth about wanting to do IVF.  When our last IUI failed, I was ready to stop.  When I saw that last BFN, I actually felt relief knowing that it was the last time I would HAVE to take a test.  I was ready to be happy again.  That was in December 2018 and we haven’t looked back!

Q: What has been the biggest shift in your life after deciding to live Childfree?

I think my biggest shift has been in my thinking and perception of how my life is now versus how I thought it should be.  A lot of people in my life have kids and I always assumed that I would have kids and be a mom too.  That just isn’t how it played out for me.  The universe has other plans.  I used to think my life was less because I wasn’t a mom and now, I know that it’s not less by any means.  It’s just different and that is ok.  It has also been letting go of one dream and creating new ones. 

Q: any advice for those grappling with the decision to be childfree after Infertility?

My biggest piece of advice would be to take as much time as you need to come to the decision BUT start working on shifting your thinking as soon as you make the choice.  The longer you hold onto the *chance* that you may get pregnant, the harder it will be to let go completely.  There will definitely be highs and lows after making the decision because of the finality of it but once you see life as childfree (and all the things you can and will do) it gets easier! And remember childfree, does not mean you don’t want a child as bad as the next person, it just means you are being self-protective and opening yourself to a new way of life.

Q: What is the best part of your childfree lifestyle?

AH! There’s so much but I would have to say the freedom.  I enjoy being able to take a 2-week vacation when I want to and sleeping in on my days off.  Spending money on concert tickets for bands we have always wanted to see.  We are Orlando locals and we love going to Disney on random weeknights just because.  I love that I don’t have to share my husband lol.  We can have date night on Tuesday and get drunk on a Thursday without having to worry about any littles that depend on us.  I also really like that I have been able to connect with other childfree woman and chat about the good things and how we lift each other up while embracing our childfree lives!

Q: Anything you have learned that you would like to pass along?

Have the hard talks with your partner early on and continue to discuss as you go through treatments.  It doesn’t do you any favors to hide your feelings or hide from them. 
Be honest with how far you are willing to go to get a baby.  Ignore the societal pressures and do what’s best for you and your partner.  As much as we wanted a baby, I also wanted to see the world, go back to school, buy a house, etc.
TALK ABOUT IT.  I guarantee you will know someone in your life that has been through something similar.

Q: Anyone or anything that has inspired you along your journey?

Does myself count??  I am in awe everyday of where I am now and how much I have overcome.

Note from Editor: YES GIRL! You totally count and you’re a badass warrior!

 Q: Any resources or other accounts you would like to share that you found helpful during or after your journey?

I have been following her since she was @foreverorchard and starting on her childfree not by choice life and she was one of the first women that helped accept the end of my ttc journey.
Katy keeps it real and I love her messages!

This story was submitted to The Infertility Chronicles.
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