31 Days of CF: 29 Years of CF Treatments Prepared Me for Infertility

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by BNS Staff |

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Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month | Cystic Fibrosis News Today | graphic showing a photo collage of members of the CF community
CF and infertility | Cystic Fibrosis News Today | Joanie and Jorge Santander stand on a deck overlooking a river in a wooded area and hold a photo of an ultrasound.

Joanie and Jorge Santander. Photo courtesy of Joanie Santander

 

Day 10 of 31

This is Joanie Santander’s story:

While everyone around me was having what we in the cystic fibrosis (CF) community refer to as a “Trikafta baby,” I felt left out. Why wasn’t my body responding to this new treatment in the same way? Why wasn’t Trikafta the key in my fertility journey to unlock the coveted pregnancy door, as it has been for others?

In fact, for me, it took a heck of a lot more than just Trikafta to get pregnant. While some people make getting pregnant look easy, and even accidental, I had to run metaphorical marathons for this pregnancy.

It took me a solid five years — three years of hormone treatments and two years of Trikafta — to get pregnant. Those five years also included countless shots, an endometriosis surgery, a hysterosalpingography (an X-ray test of the uterus and fallopian tubes), multiple losses, and probably some of my sanity.

When I felt done — absolutely done — and never wanted to do another treatment again, the pregnancy test was positive.

Nothing has better prepared me for this fertility journey than cystic fibrosis. My daily CF treatments for nearly three decades gave me the discipline to be consistent with fertility treatments in ways nothing else could. The emotions of isolation, hope, grief, excitement, disappointment, distress, and hopefully elation, month after month, leave you exhausted.

I am so grateful to finally be carrying my Trikafta baby. As I write this, I’m halfway through my pregnancy. Every day I’m amazed that this is really happening, that the baby is healthy and hopefully happy, and that this body covered in scars and imperfections is the one carrying my baby.

Cystic Fibrosis News Today’s 31 Days of CF campaign will publish one story per day for Cystic Fibrosis Awareness Month in May. Follow us on Facebook and Instagram for more stories like this, using the hashtag #31DaysofCF, or read the full series.