What is your personal experience with infertility/miscarriage?
About 2 years ago, my husband and I decided it was time to grow our family. We were young, healthy, and could not imagine any obstacles or challenges ahead. To our surprise, we quickly became pregnant. A few days after taking a pregnancy test, I experienced complications and headed to the ER. That night, we were told we had a 'chemical pregnancy'. We were scared, sad and had to explain to our families that we weren’t pregnant any longer. We didn’t even have the chance to share our “good news” with anyone else yet.
After our miscarriage, we decided we would start trying again and learned that couples can sometimes get pregnant again quite soon after a miscarriage. And we did! A few months after our miscarriage, we were expecting again. Unfortunately, that pregnancy also ended in miscarriage. We were devastated, heartbroken and our spirits were crushed. How could this happen again? What was wrong with us? With me?
I felt defective. I felt guilty. I felt a spectrum of emotions that ranged from extreme sadness to full on rage. My doctor decided to run some tests to see if there were any red flags, but everything came back normal. There was nothing anatomically or biologically wrong with us. We were told “these things sometimes happen with no explanation”.
We got the all clear to start trying again and so we did. After months, we were elated to find out we were expecting again. Third time's a charm, right? We hoped. It was Christmas 2016 and we couldn’t have imagined a better gift. We were monitored early on by our doctor and OB, and everything was looking good. HCG levels were increasing, my symptoms more prominent each day, and we finally saw a heartbeat. We were beyond thrilled.
I was scheduled for an ultrasound at 11 weeks. We expected to hear a heartbeat and see a baby. We didn’t. The technician told us there was no heartbeat and the baby hadn’t grown past the 7 week mark. I remember blood rushing through my body and just screaming. I don’t remember what I was saying, it was just noise. Pain. Anguish. How could this have happened again? I didn’t have any complications. No signs. It was like my body played a horrific trick on me. We went through the roller coaster of emotions all over again. Grief, sadness, anger, depression, denial and finally, acceptance.
So here we are. Today, we are in the process of commencing IVF. We know our journey isn’t over and we remain hopeful that we will bring our rainbow baby home one day.
2) What have you learned through this experience?
I have learned that I am stronger than I give myself credit for. That my husband is the most compassionate, loving, and selfless man. He has held my hand every day down our winding path, never wavering. Always reassuring me that our story isn’t finished.
I have learned that our story is not something we need to hide or feel ashamed about. We know there is a community of people who have experienced what we have and our candidness helps others cope and navigate through their experiences with infertility/miscarriage.
3) What do you hold on to for hope/courage/strength on your bad days?
I hold on to the stories of other people experiencing infertility. The families that have come out on the other side of this. My family and friends give me strength and courage to stay positive and help us not give up on our dreams.
4) In what ways has your experience with infertility/miscarriage changed you as a person?
I definitely take more time for myself and put my health, both physical and mental, first. I had a hard time navigating through the emotions that came along with miscarriage and I had to learn to “let go”. Cry when I needed to cry, scream when I needed to scream, talk when I was ready to talk. I had to learn to let go of control over something I had no control over.
5) 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?
You learn a lot about other people when you are at your worst. Some reactions were sensitive and understanding. Others, ignorant and unnecessary. That’s why ending the stigma around infertility/miscarriage is so important to me. Educating others on how to/what to say/when to say something to someone who is experiencing this.
6) Tell us about you. What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
I love to cook, write, read, and spend time with family and friends. I am extremely proud of my career and the contribution I make to children with special needs and their families.
7) What is your favourite quote?
“Patience is not the ability to wait, but the ability to keep a good attitude while waiting” - Joyce Meyer