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Welcome Back to Warrior Women Wednesday!

As promised we’re continuing the conversation here in support of Infertility Awareness Week later this month, shining light on the faces of women all around who are rising about the challenges that infertility has brought them. Today’s gem is no different!

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Erica is a local San Diegian as well, and a passionate fitness and foodie who relishes in healthy living and finding joy in life even when it seems like there isn’t much to be joyful about.

Please welcome the wonderful Erica Friedman to the community here at Bumps to Baby!

Meet Erica Friedman

For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a mom. At the age of ten I declared I’d be married with a family by the age of twenty-five. Well, sometimes things don’t always turn out according to plan. I never envisioned having difficulty conceiving and had done zero research on infertility and my own body…until recently.

Tell your story. What was your fertility diagnosis? Did you have one?

At the end of 2016 my husband and I were excited to start trying for kids. Married for a little over a year and approaching thirty, we were ready. But after five months without a period I decided it was time to seek additional support from my GYN.

I’ve been irregular for as long as I can remember. I grew up playing competitive soccer. As an athlete, it was normal. But now – no period, no ovulation, no pregnancy. My GYN quickly referred me to a local Reproductive Endocrinologist for support, as my “condition” was beyond her level of expertise. We quickly felt at ease with my RE, but I can’t say I had ever anticipated being there.

My diagnosis was a bit of a mix: PCOS and hypothalamic amenorrhea.

How many years did you try? Ovulation calendars? IUI? IVF? 

My husband and I tried naturally for under a year. Although I recognize this isn’t a significant amount of time, I was told I would not be able to conceive without a “bit of help.” So, we went straight to the RE.

We tried timed intercourse for a few cycles, with no luck. We then elected for an IUI cycle, but I progressed too quickly with medications. We opted to turn my IUI cycle into an IVF cycle, and through retrieval got twelve fabulous embryos.

Our first transfer was in November 2017. We were ecstatic to learn we were pregnant a few weeks later – a pregnancy that resulted in a miscarriage in December.

How has infertility changed you?

I’ve felt very alone through our fertility struggles. Every time I get the “when are you two having children?” question my heart sinks. Rather than unleashing our history to everyone I simply take a deep breath and respond with “hopefully soon.” I used to ask couples that question all the time without thinking. But now I am very aware. You really just never know.

Our miscarriage in December was devastating. I felt helpless, cheated, and alone. Weeks of pills, injections, appointments, and then – loss. My husband and I attended a holiday party a week later and almost every woman there was pregnant or running after a toddler. After thirty minutes I begged my husband to leave. I was just completely overwhelmed.

Our fertility journey has made us stronger. I know that experiencing loss will make us better parents when we are blessed with a healthy baby.

I find that most people struggle with infertility privately, as we have. But it’s way more common than most people think. My journey has introduced me to amazing women and I’ve learned that seeking support is crucial.

What advice do you have to women with infertility?

I would strongly encourage anyone struggling with infertility to find a support system. Whether that’s a friend, a support group, a health coach, or your next door neighbor, find someone you can talk to openly. Although my husband and I talk, it’s been very helpful to connect with other women going through treatment at the same time. They get it.

Body love: This has been the hardest part for me. Over the course of 18 months I’ve been on and off hormones, undergone IVF cycle/retrieval, experienced a miscarriage, and been on an emotional rollercoaster. I’ve seen my body morph, and as a former athlete this has been mentally taxing. I highly encourage you to do something for yourself every week to find calm: meditation, yoga, a hike. Something just for YOU. And stay focused on what you seek: a beautiful healthy baby <3

Favorite Warrior Song?

“Praying” by Kesha. This song really spoke to me while going through my miscarriage and treatment. I felt very alone. Kesha wrote the song for very different reasons, but as she says, “I’ve overcome obstacles, and I have found strength in myself even when it felt out of reach. I hope this song reaches people who are in the midst of struggles, to let them know that no matter how bad it seems now, you can get through it.”

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