We were 26 years old when we started the journey to build our family. There were many things I did not know. A few things I did know was: I had PCOS, I did not ovulate and I would soon learn that I had a blocked tube and a thyroid imbalance.
We both knew it would not be easy to have a family, so we chose to start trying before getting married or buying a house. We tried a year of several drugs, treatments, supplements, and therapies before deciding to do IVF in the fall of 2014. We had no idea what to expect but knew this was our dream and would do anything to have a child. We drained our bank account, worked around the clock, and poured everything we had into the IVF cycle. I transferred one Day 3 embryo, which is now my beautiful three-year-old daughter (you only need one!). We had one Day 5 embryo frozen for a later day.
We have always visualized two children.
This is how we dreamed our family would be. We always wanted to have two and wanted our daughter to have a sibling. This was a complete family to us.
Around the time our daughter turned two, we were ready to go for our frozen embryo cycle. We transferred our perfect little embryo in November of 2017 and to our disappointment, it did not take. We were both absolutely devastated. Not only had we dreamed about this little frozen embryo, but we still couldn’t conceive on our own. This means we will have to do IVF again, as we have no more frozen embryos.
We got on the IVF funded list for Ontario in July 2017, as we would find it very difficult now to pay another $10,000 out of pocket.
Here is where I struggle.
I have been completely open about my whole story, created a blog, and will share it with anyone. The people I have been able to connect with, help and even support has been so incredible and rewarding. So a lot of people knew we did IVF for our daughter, and knew we had a failed FET cycle. I know that a lot of people (especially ones who have not experienced infertility) do not know the right thing to say. You have to remember that they are trying to be supportive, so don’t hold it against them. But common things I would hear after my failed FET was: “well you should feel lucky to have your daughter,” “you should feel blessed with what you have”, etc. All these things are very true. We ARE blessed, lucky, fortunate, grateful, but are we not deserving like everyone else to have the family we always dreamed of? Why do I have to settle because I cannot have my children naturally? Sure we could have stopped with our daughter and been a happy family of three.
I began thinking: “Maybe I am being selfish for wanting more. Maybe I am crazy for wanting to go through this again.” I am sure there are women out there reading this trying for their first and hoping for that baby, and I am over here wanting a second. You know what we don’t say? We would never say to someone who conceived their second child naturally “you know, you already have one healthy child, you really didn’t need another one.” No! We wouldn’t! We would congratulate them and be ecstatic for them.
As women I think we carry around this weird, unnecessary guilt about a lot of things.
I know I carry it, because I am the sole reason we can’t have children on our own. It takes a long time to break that down and tell yourself it’s not your fault. Even as I was back in the clinic for the FET cycle and I had to do the awful exam where they push saline into your uterus and tubes to check for blockages, polyps, fibroids, etc. The tech had mentioned it would hurt and to lighten the mood (because it did) I said: “you know what hurts worse? Labour and child birth”. She responded with “well most of our patients haven’t had children before.” I know she wasn’t being malicious or trying to put me in my place. But in that moment, I let myself feel awful for wanting another child when many so desperately wanted their first.
I always tell the women I meet in my life to never give up. I tell them to never stop trying and everyone is deserving of experiencing pregnancy and having their own children, biological or not. No matter how you do this: IUI, IVF, surrogate, egg donor, sperm donor, or adoption—never give up. Lift the guilt on all of it. Don’t let anyone allow you to think you should settle for what you have, or it’s too much money, or it’s too difficult.
I needed to start taking my own advice and lift this guilt as well.
Infertility is hard, emotional, physically draining, financially difficult but it’s also beautiful and fulfilling and a wonderful gift. You can be given something you thought you couldn’t have. Whether your dream is one child or six, that’s how you want your family to be. Don’t let anyone, including yourself, discourage your decisions or wants.
I am looking forward to the adventure ahead and am very hopeful to add one more member to complete our family.
By Alyson Abbott, roadtobabyj2.weebly.com