Fertility treatment. It's one of those things that you know people go through, but hardly hear about the intimate details of the journey. Maybe a friend mentions, "Oh yeah, we did IVF." Everyone nods, eyeing each other knowingly. But this statement is immediately followed by "...and now we have Jackson and Olivia," and then chatter about breast feeding and cloth diapering. I never had someone share with me about the countless doctor visits, blood tests, external AND internal ultrasounds of your wife's reproductive organs. No one I knew was chattering about masterbating to shitty porno mags into tiny cups (I do spare you those visuals, however), and months of sticking your partner with 18 gauge needles in her ass. Because fertility treatment is commonly a blip in the conversation on the way to baby talk, actually experiencing fertility treatment can feel lonely and taboo.
In a nutshell, we experienced "unexplained infertility," which means that there was no identifiable medical reason for why we couldn't get pregnant. Nothing was missing, out of place, or deficient. At first, this diagnosis sounded promising ("Yay, there's nothing wrong with us!"). Eventually, it drove us absolutely crazy. We are super healthy adults in our early 30s. Why couldn't we just snap our fingers and get this baby show on the road? It seemed like our friends were looking sideways at each other and getting knocked up. Our Facebook feeds were littered with ultrasound pics and delivery room photos. Unexplained infertility literally meant we had no explanation. Not for our friends and family, not for ourselves. Our struggle was an unanswered "why?".
My way of coping with and making sense of our "why" was, as it always is, through photographs.
This is my visual diary of our fertility treatment experience. My hope is that these photos will help continue to demystify the process of infertility treatment and bolster support for other families who are fighting to grow.
I'll be sharing a bunch of new images along with a few words over on my Instagram account throughout the coming weeks.