There’s a path for each of us on this journey to parenthood. We just have to trust ourselves to take it and not be afraid.
Twenty years ago in high school French class I had no idea I was sitting next to my soul mate. Neither of us did. Patrick and I were high school classmates and I knew him as a shy quiet guy and he knew me as a sweet girl too cute to talk to. Fast forward 15 years later and on a whim I decided to message him on Facebook to catch up and one date was all it took for us to know that this was meant to be.
Everything fell into place. We fell in love, we bought a house, we got engaged and were married…life was so good. We were a little older than when most of our friends were married, but we both knew it was so worth the wait! Of course, the next natural thing we expected was a baby to add into our little family. Around us families are everywhere. Our friends are having babies and everyone’s family is growing. There’s just this part of you, a part of many of us, that wants to create this other being and watch him grow and guide him. It’s having a family. And it just wasn’t working for us.
We did a lot of soul searching and introspection. Patrick and I as a couple really do work so well together. We both are pretty easy going, take life as it comes and try not to let things upset the flow of a good time. But we realized time was flying by and we knew we needed to take some action. I decided to make an appointment with Dr. Susan Conway at Fertility Answers.
After my first appointment and preliminary testing everything came back completely normal. No real problems were found, so I took that as a reassurance that it would happen. But the months and years rolled on. Each negative pregnancy test just took a little bit more of my joy, my heart, my hope. Patrick, the eternal optimist, would say, “We’ll get ’em next time.”
We started going to a support group and it really put things into perspective giving me insight, gratitude and information. Seeing other couples struggling for a variety of reasons and dealing with it in different ways helped us realize there is no one path you have to follow. And sometimes you have to try several.
In silent moments alone I thought about what it would be like leaving this life and not ever having a child and it made me feel scared and helpless. We only live one life and I didn’t want to let life go by and not know the feeling of growing, nurturing and loving another tiny human. I’ve never loved someone like my husband. He deserved to hold a tiny human that was part of him. Patrick is amazing, and some baby deserves so badly to have him as their daddy. It broke my heart.
I would look in the mirror and wonder, what’s wrong with me? Was there something about me that I shouldn’t have a child? Was some greater force telling me that I didn’t deserve to have the family I had always dreamed of? Maybe I expected too much? Maybe things had come too easily and this was just how the universe was putting me in my place? After three failed IUI’s we both felt so lost on our journey.
We realized we had to take charge of our journey and make a plan.
That’s when I realized that our journey WAS going to have to be different. This was going to take work, this was going to take not LETTING life just happen. We had to take charge and make a plan. God has given us so many blessings and really many things came so easily. He was going to test us and put us to work. We had to show that we were willing to fight for our dreams.
That’s when we decided to go through with the IVF process. I didn’t want years and years to go by and regret not doing the hard work when I had the chance. The only thing we CAN’T get back in this life is time. And the only thing worse than facing failure head on is living with regret.
The IVF journey can be so scary that you don’t even know where to begin. But we took it in smalls steps, breaking down the process and only focusing on what was directly in front of us. Every step of the way there were phone calls, with us waiting on the other end hoping to hear good news. Did we retrieve any eggs? Did they fertilize? How many embryos are growing? How did the genetic testing go?
Not only was the process scary, but we questioned if financially we were making the best decision for us. Patrick really put it in perspective. He said, “Crystal, we spent this much on our wedding and we are worried about spending this much on our baby?” And I realized this was part of the journey too. The discipline it would take to find a way to make this work was what God was calling us to do. And we did.
Hindsight is always 20/20, but looking back I don’t know why I was so scared.
The process takes work but you don’t do it alone. Dr. Conway and the staff at Fertility Answers were there every step of the way. Lauren, our ultrasound tech, always had such a calming presence during those nerve-racking follicle counting sessions. Amy and Frieda answered all my questions. They laughed with me when I needed a laugh and let me cry when I needed to cry. And nothing ever shakes Dr. Conway. She always made us feel that everything was going according to our plan and that everything was going as it should. It sounds funny to say but she made us feel like we were just like any other mom and dad to be. There was nothing wrong with us; we just had to become parents in a little different way.
During the egg retrieval process I found out my sister was pregnant. She is just a bit younger than me, but had sworn off having kids. Her and her husband just never saw themselves as parents and I always hoped they would change their mind! Well they did, and I couldn’t be happier that I was going to be an aunt! I remember laughing and crying at the same time. This is the life of someone who struggles with fertility. You put on a smile while your heart hurts so bad but is still so full of love and gratitude for your life and everyone around you.
After our embryo transfer I had a dream or some vision, I’m not really sure, but I saw our baby. He was letting me know he was there in some way. It was amazing and I cherish that still so much. But the waiting was so hard. You’re heart is just so tied up in knots!
By some miracle each step of the way was another blessing….until finally the call from Frieda that we were pregnant. As soon as I heard her tone I just knew it was good news. My heart dropped and I just took off running. I couldn’t believe it. I called Patrick and we just couldn’t even speak. Just to say how much we loved each other. Over and over. It was the best day ever.
I wish I could go back and tell the old me and tell anyone struggling with fertility issues don’t stop hoping and dreaming and trying. Don’t bury your sadness or grief. Don’t let the what-ifs of the journey scare you. There’s a path for each of us. We just have to trust ourselves to take it.
Baby Jacques was born in May 2019.