I always knew I wanted to be a mom someday when the time was right - when I'd met my forever person. I'm actually from a huge family – the baby of 10 - yes you read that right, I am the youngest of 10 children. To add an extra layer of irony - my mom was nearly 47 when she gave birth to me. So, with this in mind, I never could have imagined the struggles that I would face with trying to become pregnant.
I met my husband Josh in July of 2013. I was 29 at the time and he was 35. We quickly felt at home with each other, and I just knew deep down that he was my person. From very early on I envisioned our future together. Fast forward to the spring of 2016. We were finally in a place where we were talking about marriage and babies and what would come first. For us, we didn't feel like we needed a wedding to solidify our future together, and we knew with me now being almost 33, that time was of the essence as far as having kids was concerned. We decided to start trying as we knew we were ready. Much to our disappointment, we found ourselves nearing a year later wondering why not once had we found ourselves with a positive pregnancy test. In 2017, after a referral from our family doctor, we began visiting the AART (Atlantic Assisted Reproductive Therapies) clinic in Halifax.
Over the course of two years, we endured many tests and procedures including laparoscopic surgery for me. In July of 2018, Josh proposed and wedding planning became a welcomed distraction. By December of 2018, we were presented with devastating news - IVF was our best chance at pregnancy. I was crushed, to say the least - I still remember how the words rushed over me. I couldn't hold back the tears - they began flowing and I couldn't stop them. The option of IVF felt beyond reach for us - the costs involved were so high and how would we ever have the money to give that a fighting chance.
In the spring of 2019, with our wedding only a few months away - we received incredible news. We were inheriting some money and we knew right away what we would use it for. We decided that after our wedding we would do IVF. We were married at the end of August and by the beginning of November, we began our IVF treatments.
We had so much hope going into IVF. Thinking back, I realize how naive we were. Our cycle resulted in only 3 embryos. We completed 3 separate embryo transfers - November 2019, February 2020, and the final one in December of 2020 - all of which were unsuccessful. Each felt like an earth-shattering loss. Entering 2021 we were filled with sadness - we had no more embryos, and we had no idea where to go from here. After a consult with our doctor at our clinic, it was confirmed that using an egg donor would be our best option moving forward. After much research and networking, we determined that going to a clinic abroad would be the most financially feasible option. There was newfound hope.
In February of 2021, we had a virtual consult with a clinic in Prague. This clinic came highly recommended, and we were able to keep our local clinic involved as well. This consult gave us such a good feeling. The doctor we met with seemed very optimistic. We left that meeting feeling like this could be our new path. We made this our new goal. As we were deep in the middle of a pandemic at the time, we wanted to hold off on traveling until we were both fully vaccinated.
By July we were vaccinated, and we had a plan in place to travel to Prague in October. The clinic had secured us a great match with an egg donor. We cannot say enough good things about our experience at this clinic. They were very professional, and confident and made us feel so comfortable. We left there feeling so good about the possibility that our transfer would be successful this time. Well, 2 weeks later we found out we were pregnant! Finally! I'll never forget that morning we tested - we were in disbelief and full of emotions. We held each other and cried tears of joy. In 5 years, we had never witnessed those two lines.
I am currently almost 28 weeks pregnant. Honestly some days it still feels very surreal. Our journey isn't over yet, but we are pregnant and awaiting our happy ending all thanks to a generous anonymous donor. We will be forever grateful for our donor and also for all of the wonderful guidance from both clinics - we could not have gotten here without them. We also are so thankful to have such a wonderful support system - from our families, friends, and online connections we've met along the way.
We wanted to share our story to provide even a glimmer of hope to those who may still be stuck in the trenches of this very unfair journey of infertility. It is a journey that we would not wish on anyone and one that we feel is very hard to understand unless you've experienced it firsthand. It is filled with so many ups and downs that you lose track and the constant state of waiting and unknowns may be the hardest part. While it has been a very long road - it's taught us that not giving up can lead you to the most wonderful places. It's instilled in us a level of compassion and resilience we may not have known.
For anyone still longing to grow your family - please know that we see you, we're rooting for you, and we still are you. Give yourself some grace - do things that bring you joy, pamper yourself on the dark days, and allow yourself to skip the baby showers and send a gift instead. And if you have the courage to do so, please advocate and speak up when people make hurtful comments - people cannot learn or change if we don't have the uncomfortable conversations and help them see that becoming a parent is not always easy for everyone. Even with a baby due in only a few months, we are still very guarded and filled with many emotions, but we cannot wait to see what the future holds!
- Erin and Josh