A year ago our family attended the press announcement regarding Ontario’s funded IVF program by the Minister of Health Eric Hoskins. In December 2015 the funded #IVF4ON program began and we were thankful and excited to start a funded IVF cycle in January 2016. Now a year later from the announcement we remain grateful for the opportunity to be participating in #IVF4ON’s funded program although our life is a lot different from what we had envisioned.
I am not even sure when I was first introduced to the term infertility but I know that even as I became familiar with the word that I honestly had no idea what it could encompass. I didn't know that when living with infertility it has the capacity to creep into every aspect of one's life. As we continue to experience the highs and lows of infertility, I realised that I previously had a similar understanding about infertility as I did miscarriage. I knew what it meant but I had no idea what each looked like in real life.
My previous understanding of miscarriage prior to my experience with infertility included 2 primary moments in my life.
- In elementary school I had a teacher who had a miscarriage and I remember how hush hush the whole process was. Another teacher had informed us and we were not supposed to talk about it with anyone including the educator. After the discussion we were to resume our day to day activities and no one spoke of it again. Looking back I wish I would have given my teacher at the time a hug.
- My second encounter was during my placement during my bachelor of education. An educator was briefly sharing her and her husband’s desire for a child but had experienced many difficulties that included loss. At the time all I could think of is the question, “I wonder how she does it?” I never realized that she was sharing her story of infertility. Years later, I find myself wondering what her answer would have been because my husband and I have been in the world of infertility for 8 years and now are grappling with recurrent miscarriages.
During the summer we prepared for a second transfer from our funded IVF cycle. My husband and I quickly became aware that it was no longer the two of us invested in growing our family but so is our daughter. We have experienced many examples of how involved she is as we try to grow our family. When we arrive at the fertility clinic, our daughter announces loudly as we turn into the parking lot “We’re here!” Once we are in the clinic she knows the routine of where to go first and then can lead the way as I have bloodwork, an ultrasound, and a meeting with the nurse and doctor. She has sat on a chair and flipped through magazines as I have had procedures done. She has observed the posters and images in the clinic and when she sees the images of IVF retrieval, transfer, and implantation she shares with us “Baby Cece.” She is so aware. We are so proud of her story and now we see her pride in her own story.
Right: Flipping through a magazine at our fertility clinic
Left: Information poster that our daughter sees and says "Baby Cece"
In a moment of grief, our daughter came to me and asked “Mommy sad?” Before I could even answer she was in my arms giving me hug. “Why?” she asked. Such a hard question… and yet again, I was reminded we are all in this. “Because we would like you to have a brother or sister but we don’t know when that will be” is the only way I can think to answer her question. Together embraced we sat in silence.
We have had our daughter’s crib up in our baby room for a year now in hopes that soon it would be filled with a little one. Together my husband and I decided that it was time for us to take it down. We know it doesn’t mean children won’t be coming in our life but we know that it isn’t happening right now and we are grieving for what we thought would be.
We are fortunate that we do have frozen embryos and maybe we will get pregnant and deliver a healthy child or even children, and maybe we won’t. Maybe our other children will come into our lives in another way. We don’t know. We do know that our family will grow, not today, not tomorrow, but someday.
In this moment we are grateful for the love we share and our daughter before us. She reminds us in each moment what a gift parenthood is. As we continue our path to growing our family we remain incredibly appreciative to be participating in the #IVF4ON program that believes in creating healthy families even though it is an experience we never could have envisioned.
Your Woman with DIGITS
Over the summer we said good bye to our fertility doctor as he started his next adventure.
This photo of our daughter was our gift to him.