1) What is your personal experience with infertility/miscarriage?
There’s many things in life I’ve never been sure of, but having a family was never one of them. Since I can remember I’ve always wanted to be a mom. Figures, right? Since I can remember I’ve also had PCOS and endometriosis with doctors telling me I’d have a difficult time conceiving.
It wasn’t until 2012 that my official infertility struggles began. After trying naturally for a while and having no success, I went to my GYN who insisted the drug clomid would get me pregnant. 6 depressing months passed and each month resulted in a negative pregnancy test. I ended up being referred to a fertility clinic at the age of 23. The clinic doctors believed doing IUI should be our next step but testing proved otherwise. 2 completely blocked tubes and a heart shaped uterus later, I was left feeling completely shocked and in disbelief that my only option to conceive was through IVF.
To date, I’ve completed 7 laparoscopy surgeries, a hysteroscopy to reshape my uterus, and a bilateral salpingectomy – both fallopian tubes removed. I’ve done 2 fresh IVF cycles, 1 resulting in severe OHSS (daily monitoring, drainage, hospital visits, and complications for 3 months – all while pregnant), and I’ve completed multiple FET cycles - 3 failed, 1 cancelled, 3 miscarriages, and 1 success.
I’ve been with my husband for 10 years and I have 2 children and 1 rainbow on the way, all via IVF.
2) In what ways has your experience with infertility/miscarriage changed you as a person?
Infertility and loss has altered me as a person entirely. It's safe to say I'll never be the same. I've accepted this and try to use these changes for the better. The differences that infertility brings to one life often take place slowly over time.. every fail, every loss, every piece of bad news. It all adds up. Eventually you can find yourself looking in the mirror at a person you no longer recognize. This is why I'm constantly reminding others to always practice self-care. It's so important! It's easier to fix a few broken pieces rather than put all the pieces back together. Surround yourself with those who support you, let go of what you have no control over, stay present, and learn to be your biggest advocate.
3) What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
I love baking, going for walks with my family, exercising, writing, and researching anything related to health and wellness. I've always been drawn to helping other which is why it felt like a natural next step to launch The IVF Warrior and create a platform for women who are suffering from infertility, loss or dealing with pregnancy/motherhood after struggling for so long. I'm very passionate about this subject and hope to continue to connect with more women on this journey and inspire others to never lose hope.
4) What is your fav. Quote?
The way you speak to yourself matters the most.
Cheryl Dowling is the founder of The IVF Warrior. We hope you check out her AMAZING resources page: https://theivfwarrior.wordpress.com/ttc-resources/