Falling into the ranks of couples who struggle with infertility barriers, Ashburn author Lauri Velotta-Rankin tells about the fight of her life in Sheer Willpower: A Mutiny to Motherhood.

Living in Loudoun County is like living in the kid headquarters of the WORLD, and I should know -- I live here, too. When Lauri Velotta-Rankin -- author of Sheer Willpower: A Mutiny to Motherhood -- and her husband, Russ, married and moved here, they soon got the news they wouldn't be able to conceive naturally. Although they weren't alone (studies suggest that 15 percent of couples are unable to naturally conceive), they sure felt like they were.
"I want to ask about each neighbor's child, excitedly inquire about their personalities and interests, and swoon over their uncanny resemblance to mom or dad. But I can't. My mind is consumed by the challenges of growing our own family. I am an imposter in this environment, a scarlet letter C for 'childless' brands the center of my forehead."
Out of this isolation and heartbreak, Lauri and Russ embarked on a long, arduous journey to parenthood that included dealings with an international adoption agency's "flexible morality." They were told they'd be going to Morocco, after investing thousands of dollars and dotting all the "i's" with the paperwork, to adopt two babies. They returned home from their expensive and demoralizing wild goose chase two weeks later, empty-handed.
"Lying within [the nursery] are side-by-side cribs with matching, gender-neutral bedding draped over their railings.... A double jogging stroller sits vacant under a window and gifted clothing, in soft shades of blue and pink, hang in the closet.... 'Failed adoption,' the verbiage used to define our experience. But I find that term too soft, a sugar-coating for what was actually callous abandonment."
Slogging through grief and disappointment, Lauri and Russ decided to embark on the expensive and often cost-prohibitive procedure of in-vitro fertilization (IVF). For a procedure that has only a 32 percent success rate (according to 2015 studies), it can cost upwards of $20,000 in the DMV area when you include medications and frozen egg storage. And no, insurance won't cover it!
Twice Lauri and Russ attempted IVF, and twice it failed -- the second time being a long, overwrought, and even life-threatening emergency for Lauri.
"A foreign, sluggish sensation courses through my body. My mind is thick with sedation. The sound of crying babies fills my ears.... The face of an older nurse suddenly appears over my hospital bed....'Lauri, honey. I'm going to move your bed so you don't have to hear that.'"
[caption id="attachment_7694" align="aligncenter" width="650"]Sheer Willpower Courtesy, Lauri Velotta-Rankin[/caption] As her book's title, Sheer Willpower: A Mutiny to Motherhood, suggests, Lauri and her husband eventually do become parents. I won't tell you how; you'll have to read the book! But I will tell you, they have to overcome obstacle after obstacle, beat down their defeatedness, and summon perseverance time and time again.  Sheer Willpower is Lauri's story, but it's a story relatable to so many women. Over six million women per year in the U.S. have trouble getting pregnant or staying pregnant. Their fertility options are physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging and expensive. Their adoption options are physically, mentally, and emotionally challenging and expensive. While the obstacles are daunting, Lauri encourages women seeking fertility treatment or adoption to be gentle with themselves and keep moving forward.
"Don't hate your body for its struggles, and don't consume the failures outside your grasp. Your worth as a woman is neither defined by nor confined to the empty space inside your uterus. And remember that your strength is present even when you doubt, or outright deny, its existence."
To hear Lauri's message of hope and perseverance, and to get a little more of a teaser for the book, check out this book trailer in Lauri's own voice: [embed]https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C3VV0Q0tpRE[/embed]


You can find Sheer Willpower: A Mutiny to Motherhood at Amazon and Barnes & Noble,  If you're overwhelmed and wondering where to start in the fertility and/or adoption process, check out these websites for solidarity and information. RESOLVE Path 2 Parenthood Creating A Family Rainbow Kids State Department International Adoption Search No Hands But Ours The Archibald Project Are you planning a family? Let us know if these resources helped!

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