As I stare at my precious 10 month old baby, a wave of emotion comes over me. Peyton is the definition of a miracle; a child who no one thought had a chance of survival. Yet here she is, closing in on a year, with very few developmental delays. My one pound, “22 weeker”, looks like your typical baby…just small and petite, not yet rolling over or crawling. As we get closer to her first birthday, it’s hard not to look back at my journey of becoming pregnant with triplets.
Last week was “National Infertility Awareness Week”, a week dedicated to raising awareness about a condition that so many of us are faced with. While it seems like a taboo subject, I was never shy about my desire to become a mother. Because of several health complications, I knew getting pregnant on my own would be difficult. Thus began many years of heartache and sorrow as my husband and I tried everything to have a child.
Last year I went public with our infertility struggles, sharing my darkest moments with thousands of people on television. As I soon found out, I wasn’t alone. The endless nights of crying over another negative pregnancy test was something that so many others went through. The jealousy I felt seeing Facebook posts about pregnant friends, was an emotion that a lot of people experienced. The more I shared, the more people contacted me with their own personal struggle. And while it was scary sharing such a personal journey, my story began to help others. It let them know they are not alone. It showed people that even when pregnancy seemed unimaginable, the impossible can happen.
Fast forward a year and my world has been turned upside down. A year ago, I was pregnant with three beautiful children. Today, I have one surviving triplet and two precious angels that I miss every single day. But even though my pregnancy didn’t turn out as I had planned, my dream of having a family, finally became a reality. It’s been exactly a year since sharing my story on television and I still receive emails weekly from people across the country. People ask me for advice on how to get through the difficult days. Families ask me how I was able to finance the thousands of dollars it costs to go through IVF. In a sense, I’ve become an advocate for the infertility community.
Just last week, I spoke in front of a group at the fertility center my husband and I went through to become pregnant. After more than a decade in the TV news business, public speaking has become second nature. But this speech was different. While I have been open about my journey, I have never spoken about it in front of a live audience. My story isn’t the perfect happy ending. After dealing with the heartache of infertility, I was faced with one of the worst possible things a parent can go through, the death of a child. For much of the past year, I have tried to balance the sheer joy of having a survivor with the grief of burying two children. It’s something I struggle with daily. But, I wasn’t going to pass up the opportunity to help others. My purpose in life has changed dramatically and I truly believe I can use my story for the better.
As I stood up in front of the group of 30-40 people, my husband sat in the audience tearing up in anticipation. I began to share the raw emotions I went through, the physical and emotional pain I experienced going through in vitro fertilization and the frustration I felt about stigma surrounding infertility. I realized the people in front of me were just like me; many with children of their own thanks to the same fertility center. By opening up to them, I hope some will begin to share their stories with others, building an infertility support system. It wasn’t until I went public that I realized how many friends also had trouble becoming pregnant. It’s more common that you may think. And the more we talk about it, the less taboo it becomes. I was meant to be a mother and was willing to explore every option to become one. In the end, Peyton is not only a miracle child, she’s a poster child for the infertility community…showing families who dream of having a child, that it is possible.