You could say it was love at first sight. We spent every day and every night together until eventually we moved in together…I say eventually…it was like two weeks. He proposed to me at 10,000ft during a total lunar eclipse three months after we met. There was no denying there was magic between us, no denying we wanted to do life together. We talked about our wedding, about the kids we would have, about the places we would go. We felt so alive, so adventurous, so happy. We weren’t in a rush to get married as we wanted it to be in the perfect spot where our family could all be together. A year went by and then another…we still didn’t have a date or a place set. Until one day we were reading about the Great American Solar Eclipse. That was it! We knew this was the perfect day but we only had six months to plan everything. The location was easy…the most center spot in the whole country was in the town my dad lived. He lives on a beautiful farm in Southern Illinois and was thrilled we wanted to have our wedding there. We were so excited!
I started to feel tired all the time in the months leading up to the wedding. I thought maybe I was stressed about moving into a new apartment, starting a new job and planning a wedding. It got so bad that I could hardly stay awake at work in the middle of the day. I was starting to gain weight, my hair was falling out, my nails were brittle, I was having hot flashes, my periods were late or not coming at all…I started to feel like a stranger in my body. I knew something was wrong so I made an appointment to see a doctor. My initial checkup came back clear and they recommended that I take some vitamins. Things kept getting worse and I knew in my heart this wasn’t right. My mom has a thyroid disease and I started to research that wondering if that could be what was going on with me. It made sense. I scheduled another appointment with the same doctor asking her to check my thyroid. I was naïve back then because I had never been sick before. I had never had to advocate for myself or get a second opinion. This doctor diagnosed me with Hashimoto’s Disease, prescribed me medication and sent me on my way. I took one pill and had a terrible reaction and couldn’t reach the doctor…for four days. This was two weeks before my wedding. I was covered in a rash from the medicine. I gained so much weight in a few months that I couldn’t fit into my wedding dress. I felt so alone and so confused. How was this happening so quickly? How was my doctor not supporting me and helping me to get well?
After the wedding, I was obsessive with researching what was happening to my body. I referred myself to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. At first, they denied me and said they needed a referral from my doctor. I had to explain everything that happened up until this point and why I was referring myself. Thankfully they accepted me. My first appointment with the RE I knew something was wrong. She was doing tests on my thyroid, my hormones, my adrenal system, genetic tests…so many things. She asked me about having babies and I couldn’t connected the dots as to why. As we were waiting for the test results to come back I was researching more about my thyroid and discovered that Hashimoto’s could make it hard to get pregnant but was totally something that could be done. We had just gotten married…we wanted to start our family. We had no idea what was to come. When my RE referred me to a Fertility Specialist we knew something was seriously wrong. The results came back that my thyroid wasn’t the issues but my hormones were crazy out of whack and my AMH was undetectable. I was 27 years old and going through menopause. Primary Ovarian Failure was the official diagnosis. What the f@%& !?! How could this be happening?
January 8th, 2018 was the worst day of my life. We met with the Fertility Specialist. He started chatting about the weekend and what our plans were... then he flipped a switch and things got serious. He started explaining my test results and what they all meant. He compared my body to a woman 60 years old. He said we had less than 1% chance of me having children of my own. He started talking about donor eggs, adoption. The rest was a blur. I don’t remember leaving the office that day or what my husband said. I know he held me. I know I was sobbing. I remember I felt sad and confused, angry and alone. Those feelings would only grow over the next few months as my friends stopped talking to me because they didn’t know what to say. My family tried to be supportive but it was a loss for them too. They were learning to cope as well. My body had betrayed me and reminded me every single day with extreme hot flashes. My moods were unstable, depression had set in, I was still gaining weight. I stopped practicing yoga, stopped crafting, and stopped hiking. I had lost my fire, my drive, myself.
I spent the next months in the darkest place of my life. I felt more alone than I had ever known possible. No one understood, people stopped asking if I was okay, and life carried on. My doctors had me go through a series of tests over the next few months. MRI & MRA scans, bone density, adrenal testing, hormone testing, genetic testing….again and again. They prescribed me so many medications but couldn’t tell me the long term effects. And when I started to opt towards more natural treatment, they abandoned me completely. I had no choice but to pick myself up and fight. I shook the darkness off and began to research more and more about natural ways to help me heal. Acupuncture kept popping up. I didn’t have any support from friends and family with this natural path because no one believed in it. My husband and I visited an acupuncture clinic and didn’t like the people at all. We were going in circles trying to figure out what steps to take and decided we needed to move home to be closer to our friends and family. That was the first step towards the light.
We moved home in the spring of 2018 and things were finally starting to look up. We had moved right down the road from an acupuncture clinic. The moment I stepped foot inside, I knew this was my place of healing. And it was. I met with the doctor and we made a plan. Within three months, my hot flashes were almost totally gone, my weight gain had stopped, my hair was falling out less, my nails were growing back, my energy was increasing, and I wasn’t depressed anymore. My family noticed the changes right away and started to support us more in the choices that we made for my health. Over the next year my symptoms fell away and I started to feel like myself again. My cycles never returned so we started to accept the idea of a donor baby and adoption. I really wanted to be pregnant so we went to a fertility clinic and things happened so fast. That was last month and we are scheduled for our first IVF cycle on January 23rd, 2020. We chose a donor the day before Christmas and are so excited for our baby to come home with us.
Talking about infertility was the biggest part of my healing. I didn’t have the support I needed from my friends or family so I turned to social media. There I found a community of warriors rallying around each other, supporting each other, hearing each other, loving each other. I felt at peace knowing I wasn’t alone…something I had felt for so many years. I am so thankful for this community; I only wish I had found it sooner. I will never be the same after going through infertility but I no longer let it define me. I am a warrior and I will do whatever it takes to have a family.
You can follow Alecks's journey on Instagram at _instructions_not_included_.