My Infertility Story
Thousands, more likely millions, of women and men have an infertility story. There are many reasons people share their stories – as a way to cope, to add humor or perspective to an otherwise solitary condition, or maybe simply to help someone staring infertility in the face. It’s taken me more than three years to grow the courage to share mine. Why now? I’m not sure except to say I think I’m ready and, just maybe, someone will benefit from it.
My Experience with Infertility
My journey starts and ends with a question. A question charged with various emotions as it morphed through my infertility experience. I first heard it asked as I was cuddling my newborn daughter in the maternity ward. “When are you going to have another child?” It was followed by joyous laughter and a few winks.
A year later the sibling question became an inside joke with the moms in my new parenting group. We could hardly fathom the thought of another baby as we finally came up for air from our first year with a newborn. We couldn’t imagine loving another creature as much as our precious firstborns and, more importantly, two children in diapers – what?!
About a year later, the question stayed the same but was charged with excitement and hope as I became ready to add a child to our family. “When are you going to have another?” was now answered with a hopeful response, “We’re thinking about trying soon.” As other moms around me got pregnant and started to give birth that answer haunted me. Because eventually people stopped asking the question and I faced that with mixed emotion. On the one hand, I didn’t want to burden others with my sadness but on the other I desperately wanted (needed) to share.
It’s here that the journey became lonesome and solitary. After nine months of trying, we were greeted with the best news. A week later we were hurtling through the empty void of a miscarriage. Doctors told us not to try again for a few months. “You need time to heal.” And we didn’t try but we didn’t not try either. All that ending up being irrelevant because my body healed but still I couldn’t get pregnant.
And the monthly roller coaster of hope and determination followed by disappointment and sadness took its toll. I put on a brave face but it was impacting my life and that of my sweet firstborn. That’s when the question became heartbreaking. “When will I ever become a big sister?” my daughter asked around her 4th birthday. It was an innocent question resulting from what was happening around her – many of her friends and classmates recently had become siblings. I answered as honestly as I could, trying both to be hopeful but also realistic and optimistic about how lucky she would be as an only child.
With her feelings to consider, my husband and I had the “now what?” conversation. Would we adopt? Would we be happy with one child? Now that we spent months figuring out our insurance coverage and finding a new fertility doctor, were we ready to try IVF? I wanted to adopt. My husband wasn’t so sure. We decided to try the new fertility clinic but also slowly started to accept that maybe we were just meant to have one child.
And then it happened. And it worked. And we feel so blessed every day for our sweet, charismatic son. But don’t think the question went away. It changed. “That’s the perfect age difference between your kids. You were so smart to wait.” That’s when I bite my tongue rather than scream, “It wasn’t a decision or even a choice.” Instead, I simply smile and say “Yes, it works for us.”