1) What is your personal experience with infertility?
After trying for a year, we were referred to a fertility clinic to find out why we weren't getting pregnant. After much poking and prodding, we were frustratingly categorized as having unexplained infertility. As MBA grads, my hubby and I needed to put a plan in motion. We tried IUI and when that failed, we started doing IVF and were blessed with our son after a year and a half of fertility treatments. Within a year of the birth of our son, we started trying again (naturally). Many people were telling us about how they knew couples who had trouble having their first, but then miraculously became pregnant with their second. We hoped we could also be those people. We only tried for six months before going back to the fertility clinic. Surely, IVF would work for us again? Despite having multiple genetically tested “normal”, high grade embryos transferred, a uterus with a “thick beautiful lining”, taking drugs and doing an intralipid infusion to lower my immunity, fertility acupuncture, taking naturopath prescribed supplements, and refraining from picking up my beautiful son during my two week waits: our journey has ended with no second child.
2) How has it made your life worse? How has it made your life better?
I would not wish this rollercoaster ride of emotions on anyone. The incredible high of a perfect, beautiful, normal embryo, crushed by one failed pregnancy test after another. I’ve spent most of my 30’s on this ride. The experience, however, has made my marriage that much stronger. I think I am really lucky. My husband has been a rock for me. We’ve been partners throughout everything and I feel thankful for him every day. I also appreciate the miracle that is my son that much more. He made me a mom when I didn’t think it would ever happen. For that I am forever grateful.
3) When & how did you realize that you were going to be able to carry on after infertility?
Our fertility journey is over after six long years (two primary, four secondary). We can no longer handle the stressful emotions that come with each IVF cycle. I can no longer handle the numerous side effects that come with every pill and injection. As much as we want to grow our family, we also want to live a normal life again after so many years of fertility treatments. We want to spend our money on happy family vacations and not throw it into the seemingly impossible. I want to focus on the amazing family I have and not keep wishing for something I might possibly have. My family is what keeps me going and brings me happiness.
4) What have you learned through this experience?
I am a volunteer on the Advisory Council of Fertility Matters Canada. Through this organization, I started to share my story and spend a lot of time listening to other people’s stories. Everyone has their own vision of what their family should look like and just as importantly how they want to achieve that family. Everyone deserves a chance at this and I wish people wouldn’t question that choice. It’s ok if one person doesn’t want to adopt or one person only wants to adopt. It’s ok if someone wants to use an egg or sperm donor. It’s ok if you don’t want to use a surrogate. It’s ok if you don’t want kids. It’s ok if you want six kids. In this modern society, families come in all shapes and sizes and are formed in all different ways.
5) In what ways has your experience with infertility changed you as a person?
This experience has opened my eyes to what so many people go through. I’ve learned to be more sensitive to what a couple could be going through and not make unintentional hurtful comments.
6) 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?
People have generally been supportive and as I have shared my story with people, a lot of friends have opened up to me about fertility issues they have gone through but never shared. I think this experience has mostly brought friends and family closer to us. There have been some friends who became pregnant but were hesitant to tell us, not wanting to make us feel bad. At times this was awkward as I didn’t want people to feel that they had to hide their happy news from us, but I would be lying if I said the news didn’t remind me of my failures and my quiet sadness. It is a tricky unavoidable situation.
One of the most hurtful things we were ever told was when someone jokingly said, “We got married just after you did and we’re here with our baby. Where’s your baby?”. Not knowing that we had been trying unsuccessfully for two years already. We also have had a lot of people give us unsolicited advice all the time, not really thinking about how we have probably tried EVERY POSSIBLE THING and sought advice from actual experts! “Yes, why didn’t I think to try to just relax. I’m sure I will get pregnant now….”, followed by an epic eye roll.
7) What is your favourite quote?
“Yesterday is history, tomorrow is a mystery, and today is a gift... that's why they call it the present”
― Master Oogway (Kung Fu Panda)