While I’m not one to keep up with the crazy debacles of the Kardashians, the recent revelations about Khloe Kardashian’s struggles with starting a family bumped the reality TV star up a few notches on my respectability radar.
Khloe, who is only 27, has focused recent episodes of her reality show about her life and marriage, Khloe and Lamar, on her fertility testing. While reality stars like Giuliana Rancic have also delved into the issue of fertility, what’s refreshing about Khloe is that she represents a woman in peak childbearing years. And, unfortunately, many women naively assume that fertility problems are something only to be faced in the late 30s or early 40s.
According to WebMD, “the chances of having a baby decrease by 3% to 5% per year after the age of 30.” An estimated 10 percent of couples suffer from fertility struggles. My husband and I were part of that small minority.
I was 25 and at a successful point of my career when we decided to start thinking about starting a family. We had been married for four years and had our share of couple time. The mid-twenties seemed like the perfect point for a baby. I assumed that, like everything else in my life thus far, the decision to get pregnant would easily equal a quick pregnancy. How hard could it be?
Six months and countless negative pregnancy tests later, I knew something was amiss. My mother-in-law, a registered nurse who worked for numerous obstetricians throughout her career, steered me to a friend of hers—a nurse for a reproductive endocrinologist.
Thus began our journey through all things infertile. There were invasive and embarrassing ultrasounds to check my ovarian follicles, tests to measure sperm counts, blood tests to measure hormone levels and a very painful procedure to verify that my fallopian tubes were open.
The result: I suffered from a luteal phase defect, which is a fancy medical term meaning that I ovulated before my eggs reached full maturity. The solution was fertility drugs to induce and stimulate a normal ovulation. Three months of a drug called Clomid failed. We were forced to move onto very expensive injectable fertility drugs called gonadotropins—drugs that frequently induce multiple mature eggs, raising chances for twins (and beyond).
For two months, I pinched a needle into my belly. Each tiny vial of drugs represented hundreds of dollars. For me and my husband, a baby was no longer a life-changing decision. A baby was an investment. An expensive investment.
On Nov. 7, 2004, I viewed my first positive pregnancy test. After a year of “trying,” we finally succeeded. Our son was born healthy and perfect. Ours was a success story.
Infertility and the chaos that it creates in a marriage isn’t a topic many women want to discuss openly. I certainly never liked to admit that my body was broken. But what I realized is that I wasn’t alone. During my struggles, I found solace in the stories of other women’s journeys through infertility. Blogs like “A Little Pregnant” and “The Naked Ovary” kept me hoping and laughing.
Any woman who has the guts to spill the most intimate details of infertility earns some degree of respect in my eyes. Even Khloe Kardashian. I applaud Khloe for keeping the cameras rolling and not glossing over her struggles. Maybe her journey will spark some hope in her viewers. She almost makes me want to keep up with the Kardashians.