Today we are honoured to share Crystal’s story. Through her struggles she has taken her battle scars and learned new ways to take care of herself and support other women on the infertility journey. While Crystal is still figuring out where her journey will take her, she is developing programs to help others with Fertility Blooms and Blooming Hopes. Thank you, Crystal for sharing your story and being so open and giving of yourself!
Check out Crystal’s work at:
on Facebook: Bloomiss
on Instagram: @bloomissnaturals
on Twitter: @bloomissnaturals
1) What is your personal experience with infertility/miscarriage?
I was referred by my family doctor to a fertility clinic because of my age (36), seven years ago. They gave us medication to clear up any bacteria issues that we may have had (I wish I knew what it was now) and Poof! We got pregnant on the first try. I really took it for granted. I went in for my first ultrasound at six weeks and that is when my life changed forever. I didn’t even bring my husband as it was early and I thought there would be many more. As I was laying waiting to hear the heartbeat, the voice of the technician said “Oh no, oh no, please get up and get dressed.” I had no idea what was going on, I was at a satellite office and there was no doctor on site. The nurse sat me down, I was full of tears and she said “There is no heartbeat, please come back in two weeks to confirm. Two weeks is Christmas Day, so come any time after the 27th”, so casually and with no understanding of how my world was just flipped upside down. I was devastated. I kept going over everything that I had done, the foods I ate, the exercise I did, what I did wrong. Since then I have had two more miscarriages, at least five chemical pregnancies and, the icing on the fertility cake, the rare occurrence of an ovarian ectopic pregnancy. I have taken a couple years off but now am ready to try again, with a different understanding of fertility and what I can do to take control and not put it all in the “professionals’” hands.
2) How has it made your life worse? How has it made your life better?
The highs and lows over the last seven years have definitely changed my life. I have gone through so many changes and feelings that, if asked this question a couple years ago, I would have said it ruined my life. Today, I see my infertility as a blessing and I know that I will have a family when the time is right. In the last couple years I have become very involved in helping others with their fertility journeys by starting a non-profit to raise awareness, provide resources, and to help financially when needed. I have also taken the Fertility Specialist Certification to help more women feel empowered over their journey, which is the one thing I didn’t have when I was first going through this.
3)What have you learned through this experience?
The biggest thing I learned is to trust my instincts and that we do have control over our fertility. My doctor used the fear approach to influence my decisions, which impacted my fertility and led to my greatest regret in life. She would say things like: “If you don’t do this you won’t have a baby, if you don’t do that you won’t have a baby.” There were several cases where this happened at my fertility clinic, where things just didn’t feel right, but I felt pressured by the doctor because they had a medical degree. My big regret is that I had my tubes blocked. The reason for that decision was because the doctor kept telling me that an ectopic could happen again, although it didn’t entirely make sense to me because, as mentioned, the ectopic was on my ovary, and the surgeons were so happy that they had saved my tubes. Now, having had my tubes blocked, the only way for me to get pregnant is with IVF. Through the years I have learned so many things that we can do to improve our fertility and I get so frustrated not being able to try in a healthy, natural way. This is why I am so passionate about helping others have the best access to resources and options available.
4) What do you hold on to for hope/courage/strength on your bad days?
On the bad days I just keep believing that I will have a child in my life when the time is right. I try to take my mind off my fertility journey by helping others, which is one of the reasons for starting Blooming Hopes and Fertility Blooms.
5) In what ways has your experience with infertility/miscarriage changed you as a person?
This is a big question. I have changed so much during this journey and am still changing as each day goes on, learning new things that can help me and others with infertility. I have become absorbed in the world of natural alternative health in all aspects, not just fertility. I make better choices with what we put on, and in, our bodies. I found and fell in love with yoga and have finally figured out how to meditate.
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?
My mom has been my go-to person for support during this journey. She has been there to just listen, come to appointments, or helped me try to find alternative solutions. I would love nothing more than for her to have a grandchild one day. Through the years I have heard all sorts of hurtful things from friends:
Why don't you just give up?
Are you sure you want to have a baby? They are so much work.
I got pregnant just like that. Just relax, it will happen.
(Here is where I love telling them that they blocked my tubes and relaxing won't help.)
And probably the best one: It's just a miscarriage, get over it.
These people are no longer in my life.
7) Tell us about you. What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
My passions now are about helping others on their fertility journey with programs I am developing with Fertility Blooms and the non-profit Blooming Hopes. I love being able to help others with all the things I wish I would have known, which helps me on my journey as well.
8) What is your favourite quote?
Don’t let go of the dream based on how long it takes to get there. Remember to be open to the different shapes a dream can take.