I started dating my ex husband when we were 16. In our early 20’s we couldn’t even fathom having a child. It was so far beyond our priorities. I was close to graduating university when his sister got pregnant. I remember the joy her and I had as we jumped up and down in the bathroom when looking at the positive pregnancy test. Awesome. I’m gonna be an aunt! I went out that afternoon and bought her a baby Disney onesie. I was over the moon. I figured having nieces and nephews would be enough for me. (It was great. I could return them at the end of the day!). I laughed about how I never wanted a family. I even laughed and remember saying to her… Watch I’ll decide one day to want kids and I won’t be able to have them. I never dreamed it would be true.
I got married at 30. Why we waited so long I have no idea. Then we decided we wanted a family. We loved all our nieces and nephews and we wanted to be part of that family life. Our friends were all having children and we decided this was the right time. I wanted to be a hockey mom I wanted to go to parent teacher nights at the school. I started to get that “biological” clock feeling.
We went on a trip to Cuba and I was right in the perfect time of my cycle. I even bought a cute wooden piggy bank from the trip just in case we had planned it perfect. Then that time of the month came as ordinary. And it continued for 6 months. Then a year. Then two years. People in our lives were having children left right and center. People who had only begun trying. All I could think of was why isn’t it happening to me. The more I thought about it the more stressed I became. That can’t be good right?
My family Dr referred us. The referral took forever. It was a 6 month wait. When we saw the fertility specialist she sent us both for wave of intrusive tests. They were shameful, they were embarrassing. I told no one. I did all of mine right away. Anxiously waiting to get started. My husband dreaded his and avoided it. It took him over a year to finally give a sample. It was a huge stress for us. It caused a lot of arguments. I never understood if I wanted this so bad why didn’t he?
Everyone always gave us advice. Ahhhh you need to relax. Stop trying so hard. Go on vacation it will happen then. Ahh everything happens when it’s supposed to. All advice I dreaded.. I hated to hear. Advice that put me in tears. I had done all those things. And at the end of the day if everything happens for a reason why was someone not wanting me to be a mom. People told me it was because I was a teacher. I try to hard to have everything planned just relax. I was trying.
My husband at the time never really seemed to be on board. I did most of my appointments alone. I started the journey alone. Injections pills early morning internal ultrasounds. Even on days that required his help he sent me on my way with a cup in hand that should have been in his and I went through the IUI alone. The IUI was so awkward. It was awkward afterwards. I wanted to stay home and not move. I was afraid to live. I wanted to just give my body the chance to do what it needed to do. The suppositories they gave me for the week after were awful. They were blue. I felt disgusting. But it was gonna be worth it. I had bruises on my stomach from injections, blue underpants but it didn’t matter. Cuz this was gonna work. No one prepared me for the what if it didn’t.
I had finally told my parents and my friends. I was seeing a fertility Doctor and we were going to do our first IUI. What a mistake. On the day I went in for my blood work to see if I was pregnant I waited anxiously for the call to confirm I was finally gonna be a mom! It wasn’t the traditional way I had wanted it to happen but I was okay with it it was worth it! $2000 and lots of appointments and pills and injections but it was worth it. I was going to get pregnant! I got the call at work. I was devastated. It was a no. I went to my office and cried. I felt like a piece of me was gone. After my treatment I had experienced so many different symptoms of what I had positively convinced myself were signs of pregnancy but they were more likely the side effects of the hormones. It was like piece of my heart was gone. The baby I had so desperately wanted was gone yet was never there to begin with. So started the disappointing phone calls. To my husband. To my parents. It was heart wrenching. It was something I wasn’t sure I wanted to do again. It’s amazing how friends just brushed it off. No big deal. It will happen another time. I didn’t feel like anyone got it. It was like a death and no one wanted to grieve with me. I was alone.
So back to the Doctor, her response was well what do you want to do now? Ummmmm get pregnant? Isn’t that the point of going for fertility. She was awful. She would make you wait in the Doctor’s office. She never seemed to respect anyone’s time. She often cancelled appointments when you were already there. The nurses were not very compassionate, always making me feel like they wanted me in and out. The best part was when I went for a second treatment about 6 months later she was about 6 months pregnant! That’s great fun to see when you’re going in to try to conceive, a glowing pregnant doctor. At the time I hated her for it. With no real reasons of why we weren’t getting pregnant we decided to try again. I almost wish we had a reason. Unexplained infertility was an awful term used constantly in my visits. It felt so empty. Like I was broken and we didn’t know why and there was no way to fix it. It was going to have to be luck. Soooo the process began again. My husband even less engaged this time. Another round. Early morning ultrasounds. Needles and pills. Another disappointing phone call. The Doctor told me she would do one more round and that was it. Then we needed to look at more intrusive options like IVF.
I can remember people expressing their opinions. “IVF is wrong. It’s killing unused eggs” (this coming from someone with 3 of their own children) “If it’s meant to be it will happen”. “You should just adopt”, like we’d only tried twice. People have no idea the emotional damage they do to people with infertility with ignorant comments. No one ever said to me this must be so painful. So stressful etc. It was all about what I was doing wrong. No one got it. No one understood. Two colleagues of mine who started treatments the same time as me were now giving birth to their children and that devastated me even more.
So we tried once more. I told not a single soul. It didn’t work. It was just as devastating. My husband said its done. We’ll see what happens on our own. I’m not spending $10000 on getting pregnant. I hated him.
So two years later we separated. I started the process at 30 everyone said I had time on my side. I’m now 39. I don’t anymore. I threw the piggy bank out when I left. I figured that was it. My marriage was over and so were my chances of having a baby.
My heart aches when I see people with new babies. I don’t go to baby showers I can’t. I have cried the entire time I have written this.
I never wanted anything more in my whole life then to be someone’s mom……
I’m an only child. I haven’t been able to give my parents a grandchild. I see the hurt in their eyes when their friends have their grandchildren with them.
It’s hard. Maybe someday. I met someone new. My hope rekindled. Maybe with my new partner who I love and adore. He has four children. He has no idea how I feel. But he tries and I see the heartbreak in his eyes when I talk about it because he knows how amazing it is to have your own children. He told me he would be willing to have one more for me. How amazing. I try not to consume my life with it but it does. It’s all I think about. It’s been a 10 year journey. The good news is that no one has ever said to me you can not get pregnant. So I hold onto hope every month. It’s only the hope that keeps the journey going. A journey I hope will one day have a happy ending. When I look to the future I wonder will I have to start the journey in fertility treatments again and it terrifies me. Only those who share this story will understand. Xo – Carrie
Thank you Carrie from the bottom of our heart for being brave enough to share your story. We hope that it will let others know that they are not alone. This week is National Infertility Awareness Week and these are the people we need to remember, support and care for. Take Carrie’s advice and don’t tell them what their doing wrong, just LOVE them! If you have a story like this that you would like to share, we would love to hear from you! Please send it to firstname.lastname@example.org