Lexi and I are part of a networking group on FB, so when she asked people to share her story I was happy to since that’s part of what I’m all about here. I am proud of her for being so brave in sharing something so personal.
Lexi is 27 years old and has way too many passions for her own good! Between working in healthcare, photography and her blog she stays very busy. She wears her heart on her sleeve and loves to inspire others! Some of her hobbies include cooking, jamming out to music, being social, going boating, and being adventurous!
Lately, I’ve been somewhat quiet on social media and there’s a reason for that. Life has been a little bit crazy and I’ve been having to make a lot of big decisions and I just didn’t have time or energy to put into social media. One of those big decisions is time sensitive, which was what lead me to finally doing this blog post.
Please bear with me throughout this post, it is not something that is easy for me to write, talk, or ask about. I’ve rewritten this post probably 100+ times over the last year. And here I am again, shaking as I am writing, but this time I have to muster up the strength to hit publish. I’m asking that if you aren’t willing to be understanding or take the time to try to see my perspective that you please keep your comments or assumptions to yourselves. I am going to lay it all out there and be the most vulnerable and transparent that I have ever been.
As some of you may know, I was diagnosed with endometriosis a little over a year ago, I was diagnosed after having surgery. You can read more about that here.
Post surgery I’ve had to make a lot of big decisions and it has been super stressful but I am beyond grateful for the diagnosis that I have now as opposed to not knowing for years from now.
Here’s what has happened since surgery, I hadn’t even fully woken up yet when my OB was telling me that I need to get pregnant sooner than later and that I had no choice but to start on medication ASAP. This was devastating for me to hear, how am I supposed to make that happen when I’m not married yet? I hadn’t even had two seconds to process the fact that I do have endometriosis and this is why I had been getting so many burst ovarian cysts. While I felt a lot of relief that I finally had an answer to my cysts and occasional pain, I immediately started worrying. It was explained to me that the medication I should be on was one that would put me into menopause, at only 26 years old. It would require 6 months of injection and once you’re done with the injections the medication can stay in your body for up to a year as time goes on and it gets out of your system you will begin to ovulate normally again. This did not sit well with me, so I got a second opinion from multiple OB’s and a fertility specialist because knowing my luck my body wouldn’t react well and it didn’t make sense for me to mess up my hormones when they are currently perfect and suitable for a viable pregnancy. I wanted to research all of my options, and avoid the whole ‘temporary menopause’ thing if at all possible. The second and third OB’s advised me in order to protect my fertility that I need to be on some sort of medication, whether that be Lupron or birth control, and that I should look further into freezing my eggs, just in case, because at this point I was 6 weeks post-op and had been having immense pain – worse pain than I had before my surgery. The surgery had removed most of the endometrial cells, but it exacerbated my pain.
I then met with the fertility specialist and I will never forget the feeling I had sitting in the waiting room. I felt incredibly guilty and selfish for being there, my eyes welled with tears as I looked around. Here I was, as far as I know, able to conceive and get pregnant on my own, waiting to meet with a specialist to talk about potentially messing up my hormones and my options for ‘what if I can’t get pregnant naturally’ when I haven’t even been in a situation to try. All I could think about were the other people sitting in the waiting room alongside me who were struggling to start a family of their own and how I felt so selfish for being there when I have a high chance of being able to conceive on my own as long as I manage my diagnosis. The thing that kept going through my head was, “You are so selfish for being here, you aren’t in these peoples’ situation, why are you here?”
But guess what? After speaking with the fertility specialist, I was gently reminded about how smart I was for seeking out her opinion and how proactive I am being for my future family. Especially with such a strong family history of severe endometriosis. Reality is that I don’t know what the future holds for me and being pregnant, I’ve never been in a situation where I have tried to become pregnant. As of right now each of my doctors believes I should be able to conceive on my own but are strongly advising that I begin other precautions as well. I do know that by choosing to manage my diagnosis, staying on birth control and freezing my eggs before the age of 28 (aka-the other precautions) I will have the reassurance that my mom, aunt, and grandmother didn’t have and I am being proactive about giving myself the best chance possible at having a family.
Currently, I am established with a fertility specialist and the first thing we spoke about were the serious issues that could occur if I am unable to get on top of my pain. I am unable to laugh, sneeze, move certain ways, breathe deeply, etc. without being in pain on my left side. Sometimes even walking will cause my ovaries to flare up on a bad day. The pain feels like someone is stabbing a knife into my body and twisting it repeatedly which in turn causes nausea a lot of the time. I am not the type to take pain pills every day, in fact, I only take them if the pain is bad enough to land me in the ER. As much as I try not to let it affect my life, it has. I’ve been living with it for a little over a year now praying that it will get better and more manageable as time goes on, but so far I haven’t had much luck. We discussed that at some point my left ovary may need to be removed. This does not mean I cannot get pregnant, it simply means my eggs are cut in half and it may be more difficult. I hope it doesn’t come to this, but if it does, it is yet another reason for me to take precautions and freeze my eggs.
The second thing we did was come up with a regimen of the medication that would put me into menopause that was pill-based, so if I reacted poorly to it at any point I could stop taking it. I was on this regimen for 9 weeks and had so many awful side effects that my dr. and I decided that for now, I am better off being on birth control and preparing to freeze my eggs.
Since making this decision I have felt immense pressure, physically, emotionally and financially. Enduring and learning how to live with this pain that used to only happen on occasion for me has been a major adjustment. The entire process has been so emotionally taxing and it’s only the beginning. I feel so much guilt about the fact that I am having to make these decisions by myself, especially because the decisions I make now are going to impact a man I’m not yet married to. Vulnerable because it’s not something I necessarily want to open up to people about, especially because I am still single and dating. I really hope that people won’t jump to conclusions or make assumptions about my situation. Also feeling vulnerable because this is the most important decision that I am making in my life and this decision will lead to the most important thing to me: creating a family. Guilt because I have friends who have struggled with infertility, whose hormones aren’t normal when mine are. Lately, I’ve been having panic and anxiety attacks anytime someone announces a pregnancy or has a baby because it’s a reminder about how I am on a time limit to freeze my eggs. Confused because although I love my friends and am SO happy for them, I still get sad. And I don’t feel justified in how I am feeling.
After I met with the finance advisor at my specialist’s office I was under a completely new type of pressure. The process of freezing your eggs is not cheap even with some things being covered by health insurance. I walked out of the office with a bowling ball in my throat and cried crocodile tears in my car for hours. Having a family means more to me than anything, and I know that I will make it happen, but after that meeting I was so overwhelmed. How am I supposed to come up with $14,000 when I’m only making enough to pay my bills and save a little here and there? Financially I have been under so much pressure to save large sums of money without the means to do it. Not able to qualify for grants or scholarships because I’m not in a ‘couple’ or I don’t have a ‘100% diagnosis of infertility’. In order to freeze my eggs within the timeframe suggested by my doctors, I need to come up with $14,000 in 12 months. I’m not in a spot financially that allows me to save a lot, I do what I can but I also have bills to pay. Racking my brain I constantly felt like it would never happen, I felt so defeated and anxious but knew that I would do whatever I could to figure it out.
Then one day I hosted a brunch with girlfriends and my friend Emily came up with the idea as I was telling her about my situation. She said, “Why not do a GoFundMe?” I told her I had thought about it but I didn’t feel right just taking people’s money. And then she said this, “Well you do photography! Offer people a service and have them pay the account instead of paying you directly.” I felt better about this but still wasn’t sure if it was something I wanted to do, especially because it meant I would have to open up about what I’ve been dealing with over the past year and a half.
But as you can see, here I am, telling all of you my story, opening up about the fact that I am hoping to begin the process of freezing my eggs before I reach the age of 28 which will be June 2020. As soon as I raise the money, I will be beginning the process. I am absolutely terrified of all of this. Of opening up, of asking for help, of going through the process of actually freezing my eggs. As terrifying as this all may be, I know in my soul it will be worth it. I will do whatever I need to do in order to have a family someday even if it means taking these precautions now and opening up to the internet. I’m not sure what all of the answers are, but I do know I am choosing a route that will be best for me in the long run and I am attempting to do it all while staying positive and vulnerable.
I want to officially announce that I have set up a bank account created for the sole purpose of paying to freeze my eggs. This bank account is also directly attached to a Venmo account if you prefer to donate/pay that way as opposed to making a direct deposit. All proceeds from photography sessions I do that involve anything regarding family will be placed or paid to this bank account.
These sessions can take place now, or you can donate and have your session take place at a later date (for example, you aren’t pregnant but you’d like to donate and receive a future maternity session, or you haven’t had your baby yet but would like to donate and receive a newborn session once the baby is born). I want my clients to know that they are contributing to a cause much bigger than my passion for photography, I want to give back to those that donate. You are helping me to be proactive about having a family of my own someday. To those that choose to donate without doing a session and those that are doing a session, there are no words I could say to thank you enough. Please do not hesitate to reach out to me with any questions you might have!
To see the type of sessions Lexi is offering and the price, along with how to pay/donate you can go here and scroll to the bottom.