In 2010, my (now) husband and I began trying to start a family. With a family history of Premature Ovarian Failure, I knew the sooner we started trying, the better chances we’d have of getting pregnant. We talked about it for months, and decided that we could wait to get married but couldn’t wait to have a family.
Fast forward six months, a Costco collection of BFNs (Big Fat Negative pregnancy tests) and several visits to the local fertility clinic for testing and blood draws and we discovered that it might already be too late; I’m going down the road to Premature Ovarian Failure. This stage is known as Decreased Ovarian Reserve. My ovaries were confused, and while I was only 28 at the time, they were acting like I was closer to 45. There were 11 antral follicles in my ovaries when I was tested, there should have been 25. A year later when I was tested again, there were only 3. The numbers vary month to month, but the picture is pretty clear. Our reproductive endocrinologist said it wasn’t impossible for us to get pregnant, but it was highly unlikely. Less than 1% likely.
We went through several rounds of IUI, several IVFs, and several other treatments involving DHEA, vitamins, exercise and green tea. We went through more than $70,000 in savings. We are the fortunate few whose families could contribute. I had RRSPs I could pull money from. It was emotionally debilitating and financially draining. In fact, it still is. We never got a BFP (Big Fat Positive) throughout the whole treatment process. All we got was an empty bank account. We cried so much we should have invested in Kleenex to help us recover some money.
We spent the next three and a half years being happy for everyone else who got pregnant and had a family. Many of them got pregnant again and welcomed their second child while we still waited for our first. But behind closed doors we cried. And cried even more. It’s hard for people to understand our emotions and reactions just like it’s hard for me to understand true poverty or starving kids in Africa. Until you’ve been down a road, there is no way to understand it and I’ve learned it’s just as unfair to expect understanding from anyone.
We’re going to be celebrating our third wedding anniversary in July this year. My husband will tell you I don’t know which day, but I do. I could never forget that on July 8, 2011 I married my best friend. He’d tell you it’s because I regret that day. To annoy him I usually agree when he says that, but that’s not the case. After the experiences we’ve had with infertility, we’ve only gotten closer.
Why is this part of my first blog post? Because we just sold our house. We’re building a new home – our dream home. It’s a beautiful semi-estate (that’s what the builder calls it) with plenty of space and a walk-out lot onto a pond. With the profit from our old house, we can now afford to travel to Washington, DC for pursue Shared Risk IVF. We’ve been waiting for 2 years to find the money to go. For a flat fee, we get a number of attempts and frozen embryo transfers. If we don’t bring home a baby after all those tries, we get our money back. If we decide half way through those tries that we’ve had enough, we get our money back.
This is not how we wanted to create our family. We wanted to do the same thing as everyone else and have that happy surprised moment when we got a positive HPT (Home Pregnancy Test). We’ve sacrificed so much to get to this point. But now, knowing we’ll have the money to go to DC, it’s becoming a reality that we may finally have a family in our new home. That next spring we will be travelling to Washington for the purpose of medical treatment that could change our lives and give us the one thing we can’t just “work harder” for.
There are still a lot of emotions to deal with. There’s saying goodbye to the way we hoped to start our family and the privacy in our bedroom. It’s more complicated than the fertility treatments we’ve done before. But for us it’s the only option if we want a family. And we want a family. SO BAD that we are willing to do whatever it takes. I have a lot of soul searching left to do before we go to DC. And a lot of soul searching to do during treatment. It’s hard to explain to people why it’s different to have gone through this, and to be resorting to a clinic across the US from where we live. And we don’t want to. There are details about this treatment and past treatments we don’t want to share with anyone, because the details are very private. But acting like life has been fine and dandy while we struggled with infertility would be an outright lie, so we can’t do that either. We’ve become more vocal about infertility, but we’ve also become more aware of other kinds of struggles. Instead of offering advice, I try to bite my tongue and listen. I think of all the times people said “just relax”, “stop trying and it will happen”, “why don’t you just adopt” or “did you know you can only get pregnant on certain days each month”. Wait, WHAT? OMG that’s what we’ve been doing wrong. So I try not to be that person about things I don’t understand, even though I realize sometimes I don’t do the best job of keeping my mouth shut.
This all ties back to selling our house because it was the first step to building our dream, a family. OUR Family. Our new home is a place for our family. Every day we get closer to DC and the chance that our dreams might come true. There is no guarantee DC will be successful, but at least we know that we can use that money for other options if we choose. Right now, we aren’t willing to look at other options.
We want DC to be successful, and to bring our baby home to Legacy Green.