I started my journey to parenthood two and a half years ago. For many of my friends, they were married and within three months were announcing they were pregnant (or in several cases “ooops” and baby came before the “I do’s”). I was okay with it taking a little bit longer and knew it could take up to a year – I am a realist after all. On some level, deep within my subconscious… I always knew that getting pregnant would be hard for me. My deep-seated belief likely grew from my parent’s own struggle 30 years earlier having a second child. I have a brother, but we were an adoptive family…so I know firsthand that there are different ways to grow a family. Adoption will always be an option for me, but selfishly I want the experience of carrying a child too.
The first year of my fertility journey was mildly disappointing, but not the heart wrenching journey the following year and a half were. The first month we tried, I thought I was pregnant…it was my first introduction to the ‘two week wait’ and I noticed a strange body reaction that I have since chalked up to bloating after coming off the pill…or maybe I was pregnant and it just didn’t pan out (who knows!). My first emotional breakdown came after seven months of trying when my husband didn’t feel like running off to bed on day 14. Little did I know the stupid 10, 12, 14, 16 schedule would haunt us for months to come and there would be many times neither of us felt like putting out. At the time, I wasn’t a crier but that day I was, I crumpled on the floor and became a sobbing mess with big tears running down my face. I broke my husband’s heart that day and it was the first sign that each month’s disappointment was adding up to much more.
I am a problem solver, I am not one to sit around to wait for a solution…so from that month on I began to project manage the process beyond keeping track of days. I started small with daily body temperatures, gave up caffeine and artificial sweeteners and became a pregnancy tip junky reading article after article. I slowly started to drive myself and my husband crazy. There are literally thousands of tips and recommendations out there and it is physically impossible to do them all without paralyzing your normal life. It’s beyond humorous to look back and see the lengths that can be taken to start a family.
After a year, I reached out for medical intervention as I was 35 and I felt like my window was getting smaller. It took three months to get into the clinic in Calgary, and I have to say, I am so grateful l that I live in a city with a fertility clinic just down the road (with a short wait list too!). I took the convenience of our clinic for granted at first, today I don’t…I thank god regularly that it is so convenient. I hear and see more and more stories of people travelling from all over Alberta and Canada for help. I can’t even imagine the added burden, stress and cost of having to seek treatment from the other side of the province or country. Infertility is challenging enough, adding distance to treatment options must turn up the heat on the fertility frustration tenfold.
With this first post, I am marking my one year anniversary this month with the fertility program. The last year was full of drugs, depression and many tears…but I also believe from this pain there is a lot depth, growth and humor from those horrible moments. There were definitely more downs than ups as there is no sign of baby yet….but I try to remain positive. It’s not true optimism as there are shadows of doubt that creep into my mind. I like to call it “uncomfortable optimism” because as much I try to paint a rosy picture in my head and believe it will happen next month…I find myself squirming in my chair. It would be easy to slide into negativity, but I know now that is only a defence mechanism protecting myself from the raw emotion that this journey is.
So as the first and last post of 2014, I want to take all the pain from these last few years and turn it into purpose. There are so many couples facing this journey and we all face it quietly because no one likes to talk about the inability to have children at a cocktail party. I need to share my journey. I am fortunate to have a wonderful support system, but I know there are still times when they just don’t “get it.” So for anyone looking for someone who gets it, I am sharing my experience to provide support, understanding, and my ‘uncomfortable optimism’ with a bit of humour along the way.