I just came back to Tucson after another emceeing another incredible Walk of Hope.
Once again, it was like coming home to family members you haven’t seen in awhile, but instantly pick up where you left off. There’s no awkwardness.
Only a kindred spirit and positive energy that comes from having had the courage, or presently summoning up the courage to search tirelessly for your soul baby.
I watched infertility doctors hold babies they had helped couples create with the pride of a mother or father.
I had the support of doctors 120 miles away–Dr. Timothy Gelety and Dr. Scot Hutchison–who donated to the event in the spirit of support even though they couldn’t be present to lead the walk.
I spoke to couples in various places in their journeys…struggling with when they would take a shot at that next IVF, that next FET, that next IUI.
All around me was passion.
Passion for creating life.
Doctors, pharmaceutical companies, different support providers, other authors, all with a passion for finding the best combination of medical science, drugs, products and support to ensure the highest odds of success.
Or volunteers and staff for Resolve whose passion brings them together every year to raise thousands of dollars–$42,700 this year alone–to keep expanding the support and further the mission of ensuring no one ever walks alone on their infertility journey.
Or Resolve’s lobbyist and vigilant bill trackers who make sure that insane proposed legislation like the embryo tracking bill of last year don’t suddenly come back to life.
Being at the Walk of Hope today made me wonder how any legislator could EVER want to make it more difficult for any of these remarkable people to pursue their passions. If ONLY they would just show up and see the hundreds of people with so much love and passion and hope for growing their families, or providing support, I can’t imagine they could ever draft such nonsense legislation in the future. At least if they do, Resolve has the resources to promptly do battle.
Most of all, I was moved by the couples with enough passion for holding their soul baby that they keep getting up the emotional, physical, spiritual and financial courage to spend 30 to 45 days of their lives for a CHANCE that they will succeed.
Ruth Abramson, Kelly Damron, Brooke Kingston, Betsy Campbell all did a remarkable job of organizing and running the event.
I felt so honored to be in the presence of so many heroic people.
I mentioned at the event that I always dreamed of being a hero when I grew up.
I remember Saturday mornings running around playing out scenes of feats of heroism as my own version of Superman.
Or annoying my uncles by pummeling their legs with a loud “Thwack” or “Pow” when my Batman phase kicked in.
I even used to hold my legs and arms in a certain running position at night, sure that I would wake up with the strength and power of the Six Million Dollar Man.
However today, I became a hero in an unexpected way.
Resolve honored me with their Hero Award.
I wore a gold medal around my neck with with the words “Thank you for being a Hero for the Infertility Community” inscribed on the back of it.
I guess I never really thought of myself as a hero.
Not that I had given up on the idea that could ever be a hero.
It’s just because the hero I’ve always hoped to model myself after is my wife, Lisa.
The truth is, Lisa is, and always will be my hero.
I was not a willing participant in our infertility procedures.
When people ask what the hardest thing was about infertility, she will unhesitatingly say “Denny”.
Lisa never backed down.
My little girly girl daughter, Elliana recently has gotten hooked on the Rocky movies.
In Rocky Balboa, when Rocky is talking to his son, he tells him “It ain’t about hard ya hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. How much you can take and keep moving forward.”
The truth is, Lisa took a lot of hits during our infertility, and never stopped moving forward.
There were times when I wanted to give up. Get lost in anger. Point fingers of blame at doctors and their staffs for not delivering on a desired outcome.
Sure, I knew the statistical odds going in, but it hurt like hell when it didn’t work. I didn’t want to move forward.
Until I realized that staying where I was, in that mad state of limbo, would never move us forward.
So I got up.
Started writing about it.
Started talking about it.
Started blogging about it.
I finally feel like I’ve become like Lisa.
There were a hundred times I could have quit blogging. Not finished the book. Stopped doing the support groups. Just left it all behind as other parts of my have gotten challenging.
But then I’d be giving up on something I love doing. Something I believe is worth the effort. Every time another couple finds out they are having their soul baby, or finds the courage to develop a plan after attending a support group, or tells me hearing our story gives them hope, I know I am doing the right thing.
I want to do more now–advocate for family building legislation that will provide financial relief for more infertility patients. For a living.
I am grateful to Resolve for honoring me with the Hero Award.
I am inspired by all the amazing people I got to be with again today.
And I am grateful to Lisa for giving me a shining example of what it is to be a hero during our infertility journey.