1) What is your personal experience with infertility/miscarriage?
I’ve had 5 of them. It’s hard to know where to start the story with so many to be honest. All my losses have been early, before 9 weeks. When I went off the pill, my cycles were weird – like, 60-90 days long. After about 8 months of trying, I got a positive, but didn’t have a lot of symptoms and didn’t feel good about it. I had a natural miscarriage around 9 weeks.
I got pregnant the next cycle, and that was an “anembryonic pregnancy”, or “missed miscarriage”, where the tissue stopped developing. For that one, I took Misoprostol at home to facilitate passing the tissue.
Anyway, I had another, and then got referred for testing at a recurrent loss clinic in Toronto.
Hooray! I thought this meant they would find out something was wrong with me, which was great because then I’d at least have an explanation and be able to do something about it. I had 17 vials of blood drawn at that one visit, but the results came back with no clear answers. The doctor put me on progesterone and aspirin, but it didn’t help and I had another loss.
I was eventually referred to a fertility specialist in Oshawa, and we tried using an oral medication (Letrozole) to help ovulation. 6 cycles of that didn’t help so I moved on to injectables, to help grow the egg, then a trigger shot to release it, combined with sperm injection.
With that cycle, I got a positive test. I didn’t have any symptoms, so wasn’t hopeful. I had come to peace with whatever was going to happen. At the 7 week ultrasound we were told it was twins. We were in shock. But, it didn’t last long. At the 9 week appointment, we were told there was only one. It was bittersweet, because today I have an 18 month old who is a joy and a handful!
2) How has it made your life worse? How has it made your life better?
It was a very isolating experience and really brought out the worst in me in many ways. I used to see people with kids and judge them harshly if they were yelling or not being as good a parent as I thought I would be. It just seemed so unfair that THEY would get kids when I didn’t. It’s made my life better in that I am a much more considerate, compassionate person. I’m more aware that I don’t know what others are going through, or have gone through. I have also, through internet support groups and message boards, become infinitely more aware of the extraordinary kindness of strangers.
3) When and how did you realize that you were going to be able to carry on after infertility/miscarriage?
I don’t think I ever really thought there was any choice but to just keep on keeping on. I kept giving myself limits, like “I can handle two” then after that, “I can handle 3”. I reached a point where I realized that I have a great life and would be able to be happy with whatever happens, whether it’s raising a family or travelling the world or both.
4) What have you learned through this experience?
You never know what others are going through, so don’t judge others. I also learned that I can get through difficult things.
5) What do you hold on to for hope/courage/strength on your bad days?
I think I just kept on going because I didn’t really know what the alternative was. I think it helped that I’m a fairly scientific person and always thought of my losses in a very detached kind of way.
6) How do you feel about your experience with infertility on your good days?
I’m OK with it most of the time – it’s just part of my story now.
7) In three words describe yourself before/during/after miscarriage (in miscarriage specific situations)?
Before – Naïve
During – Bitter
After – Peace
8) In what ways has your experience with infertility/miscarriage changed you as a person?
It’s made me a more compassionate person, for sure. Do I wish I’d had an easier road to get there? Sure, but it is what it is. I am more open to accepting what comes my way.
9) 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?
I told hardly anyone for years. I “came out” last spring and the response was overwhelmingly positive. I was saddened by the number of friends who reached out telling me that they had experienced one as well. I think the most hurtful or useless thing was “things happen for a reason.” No they don’t! There isn’t some great plan for me, things just happen because they happen.
10) Tell us about you. What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
Running, hiking, camping, being outdoors, eating carbs and drinking craft beer.
11) What is your favourite quote?
“You demonstrate, by your very existence, that it is possible to survive this.”