1) What is your personal experience with infertility/miscarriage?
My husband and I went off birth control in late 2011 and we really started trying for baby #1 in October 2012. It is almost 5 years later and we still do not have a child.
In 2014 we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility and were told we would require fertility treatment to conceive our baby. At the time, I had just started a new job and was also contemplating law school acceptances. Fast forward to 2016, and we decided it was time to start fertility treatment and finally start our family. As it had been two years since our original diagnosis, we had to complete the testing all over again. In late 2016, we found out I have low AMH (a diminished ovarian reserve) and shouldn’t put off treatment any longer.
We started IUI in March of 2017 and also learned my husband suffered from male factor infertility in the form of a rare testicular disease. After 3 failed cycles of IUI (with injections), we moved on to IVF in July. We went through a 5 day fresh transfer after my egg retrieval and I got pregnant! For the first time in 5 years I saw a positive pregnancy test (okay, more like 10 positive pregnancy tests because I peed on so many of them in disbelief). Unfortunately the pregnancy was short lived as it turned out to be a chemical pregnancy. We have taken the last month off to allow my body rest from the egg retrieval and fresh transfer cycle and will proceed with a frozen embryo transfer this year.
2) How has it made your life worse? How has it made your life better?
I wouldn’t say it’s made my life worse. I mean, it is hard. My life revolves around appointments and injections and all things fertility. I’d say 90% of my friends have kids so I feel like I don’t have as much in common with people anymore but no one ever intentionally makes me feel that way. As much as this all sucks, it also has made my life better. I am stronger, I love myself more than I used to, and I try really hard not to blame myself so much anymore. My husband and I are closer than we have ever been (we have discussed it could potentially just be him and I forever) and I have a wonderful support system of family and friends.
I started blogging our story in August of 2016 which has also been a great outlet. Earlier this year, I was asked to blog for a national organization which has been a huge resource for me since starting this journey. As a result, our story went public for everyone to read. This has helped me as it’s connected me with a network of people I would have never known had I not been going through this. It’s also assured me, time and time again, that I am not alone.
3) When & how did you realize that you were going to be able to carry on after infertility/miscarriage?
I can’t say that I’m quite there yet. We just lost our pregnancy 6 weeks ago [at time of interview] and I still have days where all I can do is cry. I know I’ll move forward in time, but I don’t think I’ll ever really get over what we’ve gone through.
4) What have you learned through this experience?
That every single experience is individual. There are no right or wrong ways in how to handle infertility and loss, you just have to do what’s best for you. I’ve also learned that not everyone will understand what you are going through and that’s perfectly okay as well; it’s not for them.
5) What do you hold on to for hope/courage/strength on your bad days?
That I was pregnant. In terms of our fertility, it was the closest thing to a right decision my body had made in the last 5 years, so I have hope that since it has done it once, it can do it again.
6) How do you feel about your experience with infertility on your good days?
That no matter how much pain I feel on the bad days, I always pick myself up and we will never give up until our family is complete.
7) In what ways has your experience with infertility/miscarriage changed you as a person?
Infertility has definitely made me a different person. I’ve learned more about myself in the last few years and have really connected with my feelings on a deeper level. I put myself first in a lot of situations now and I’ve also learned to say no. I feel stronger than I thought was possible and I believe I was given this challenge to conquer it.
8) How have others responded to your infertility situations? Has it impacted your relationships? What are some things you’ve been told that have been helpful/harmful?
The response has been overwhelmingly positive. We have been truly blessed by the amount of love and support we’ve received once we went public with our story. I’ve only really had one relationship negatively impacted by all of this and I can truly say that person probably doesn’t even realize why we aren’t friends anymore. I have also had people reach out to me I would have never known went through any sort of infertility troubles, or conceived via assisted fertility, so it’s been nice to have those shoulders to lean on. We’ve received more helpful than harmful advice but the typical statements like “just relax and it will happen” or “why don’t you just adopt” will always make my eyes roll. Just knowing we have people who are there for us even if we just want to vent (or in my situation, cry) is so very helpful. Sometimes it’s not about what people can say to make you feel better, it’s just about them being there.
9) Tell us about you. What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
I am a corporate securities law clerk by day in Toronto. My job has always been very important to me because I love what I do. My team at work has been incredibly understanding and accommodating throughout all of my testing, appointments, and procedures that I never have to worry about a thing when it comes to time away from work. In my spare time, I volunteer for Crohn’s and Colitis Canada as York Region Chapter President, and I also blog for Fertility Matters Canada. In 2017, I started working towards my 200 hour Yoga Teacher Training certification and will have completed the first 100 hours by the end of this year.
10) What is your favourite quote?
I stumbled across this one on the internet recently and it’s sort of stuck with me: “You've got to take the good with the bad, smile with the sad, love what you've got, and remember what you had. Always forgive, but never forget. Learn from mistakes, but never regret.” Christine J. Collins.