The Month of August (give or take a little) 

Before my last (cancelled) fresh cycle, I had made a conscious decision to schedule plans for the remainder of summer; some that I wouldn’t have been able to follow through with had our cycle been successful. With that, I can’t say enough how amazing the last month was for me. I took a forced break from infertility treatments so I decided to follow through with all of my scheduled plans to the fullest – I ate delicious food, drank yummy drinks and focused on me for a little bit.

In Canada, the last weekend of July/ first weekend in August is a long weekend. My husband had to work so I took the weekend to just relax with my puppy. Sometimes, all I need is a little down time to help me re-center.


The first full  weekend of the month, we had a girls day at my friend’s house, poolside.

 We indulged in strong drinks, great food and some awesome adult games.By the end of the night I was convinced that if I walked home (across town) I would have a much clearer head. My loving husband showed up and drove me home after I had walked approx.15 minutes – and was barely any closer to my destination! Thank goodness he knows me well – haha. The next day, we finished off the weekend by having a staff get-together at a co-worker’s house which was lovely. I chose not to have anything to drink as I still wasn’t feeling great from the night before but enjoyed a delicious potluck dinner.

The second weekend in August, my girlfriends and I attended Foam Fest, a 5Km fun run at Wasaga Beach. After an extremely hot and dry summer, it was the first weekend of rain we had. The run was rain or shine so we woke up early that morning and drove the 3 hours to the run location for our 10:30am start time. The run was fun and we then checked in to our super sketchy motel to have a fun night. We had planned to spend the day on the beach but due to the ongoing rain, we only managed about an hour of sand time. We ended up just having drinks in our room and catching up on each other’s lives – for the most part – though I didn’t share about my fertility journey as not everyone is in the loop.


The third weekend in August was spent camping with my husband and our puppy. It was an amazing weekend away. We stayed at a Provincial camp ground and our site was fairly isolated from anyone else. We went for late night walks under the stars; and on the second night, we were able to listen to the final Tragically Hip concert that was being broadcasted from a number of different campsites. The weekend was hot and dry until we woke up to rain on our last day. We packed up our tent in the pouring rain and headed home before breakfast.



The fourth weekend, I travelled to 6 hours to Montreal for my sister’s bachelorette party. We spent two nights in a gorgeous condo (Airbnb), enjoyed champagne, had some delicious food at amazing restaurants, went dancing, and toured around Old Montreal. It was wonderful; unfortunately, the drive was very long and due to having limited sleep, I had to pull over on the side of the road for a twenty minute nap. All in all it was a great weekend with a great group of girls.
Although last weekend was technically not a part of August, it’s still worth adding to the list My husband and I, along with his family and another close family that he grew up with, stayed at an island cottage in the 1000 Islands, about 2.5 hours away from where we live. It was an amazing long weekend. It’s was so relaxing and I couldn’t have thought of a better way to wrap up such an amazing month/summer.


Now I sit here patiently awaiting CD1 to arrive (literally could be any second now…) as we jump right back into our first FET cycle. I’m trying to keep some of my positivity from the last month going although some of the anxiety is starting to creep back in a little. But I’m ready to finally be moving forward again after our wait. Fingers crossed my lining will co-operate and we will be able to go through with transfer this time!

Normalizing IVF & Egg Donation

As we have navigated rather blindly through this IVF with Egg Donor process, we have had many conversations about telling our hopefully future child about how they came to be in this world. My husband was always under the impression that he wanted to tell him/her when they are older and mature enough to understand; whereas, I had always considered telling him/her when they were still a child. After speaking with our donor and her husband, our counsellor and others along the way, we have decided that we are going to work hard at normalizing this egg donation process; with our future child, as well as those around us.

Our future child will know from the very beginning that it takes three things to make a baby – sperm, and egg, and a uterus; and unlike some other families – I was not able to provide both the egg and the uterus. We will be open with our friends in our endeavour to normalize our situation as it is our hope that by the time they are 12+ years old – they will be at peace with how they came into this world. Although I do not have a genetic tie to our children, I am hopeful that I will be able to carry our child to term and that will be the bond that will make us inseparable. Genetics only play a small role in the big picture and although I will never be able to look at our future child(ren) and pick out which features are from me, I will be able to pick out which facial expressions he/she has learned from me, or how we laugh, or how caring and loving he/she will be. It will come down to nurturing our child(ren) and watching how he/she develops emotionally and mentally. I hope I will see myself in how caring she/he is for others, how they are inclusive of the other kids when they play, and have a huge heart that they want to share with the world; because with that, it won’t matter one bit that my freckles, or my family’s height (I’m 6’3″), or my blue eyes weren’t passed on. Not one bit.

MOTHER

One in SIX couples struggle with infertility these days and before we know it, our children’s classrooms will be filled with little boys and girls that were created with the assistance of one form of fertility treatment or another. We need to take the shame out of infertility so that the shame is not passed down for our children to carry. If we work at normalizing IVF and donor required reproduction we take the advantage away from future bullies and from people who just don’t understand.

So for us, we will normalize our journey from the very beginning and our future child(ren) will have nothing to be ashamed of. They will have full knowledge of their beginning and it can be a part of their self identity; which we will teach them to foster and love for all that it is. #noshame #infertilityawareness #eggdonor

A little panicked, a little overwhelmed, and a lot jealous.

After speaking with our Donor coordinator, we have finally set up our appointment with the Doctor who will complete the egg transfer process for us. She sent me an email with all of the initial information outlining the IVF process…oh, and the cost list. Talk about scary. We knew this would be a very expensive process but man oh man is it ever feeling real now.

I’ve written letters to government officials in hopes of getting some answers regarding IVF coverage in Ontario, Canada. Although they have all responded and my letter has been forwarded to the Minister of Health and Long Term Care, I am no closer to finding out more information or having the concrete answer that I was hoping for. This leaves me with searching for a part time job, to supplement my full time employment. I never thought I would say it but I really hope to be working around 60 hours a week soon. We need it. My husband already works a part time job (approx 35 hours per week) and another contract position which fills up most of his time but it’s just not enough. We’re really trying to avoid this process putting us into debt but at this point, I’m not sure if that’s possible.

Anyway, back to the email we received from the Donor coordinator. In addition to the letter outlining the process and costs, it also included two questionnaires for our donor to complete and return ASAP. I forwarded the email to our donor and fingers crossed she will return it soon. We have an appointment set up for Friday Sept 25 to meet the Doctor and discuss everything with him. We were also asked to research the list of counselors and pick one as we will have to sit down with one of them as a part of the overall process requirements. So, we chose one and now we just wait for an appointment.

Sometimes it feels as though the ball is rolling but it’s really, truly not. We are STILL waiting for our donor to be done breast feeding. It’s terrifying though because I don’t want to be pushy – she should be able to do what she wants for her own children – but on the other hand, we just found out that the donor age range is usually between the ages of 22-32. Our donor is already 33 and if we wait too much longer, I don’t know if she’ll make it through the screening. If that’s the case, we’re officially out of luck, back to the beginning and facing twice the cost of this process.

Yesterday, I received another email from the Doctor’s office with an attachment that included another questionnaire; this one for me and my husband to complete regarding all of the nitty gritty details about our sex life, sexual and medical history, as well as family health history. TWENTY ONE pages. After calling my mom multiple times to answer various family medical history questions and filling out the remaining questions on my own; two hours later, I was finally done everything and sat down to relax. I picked up my phone and noticed I had a new email from my mother-in-law…”EXCITING NEWS! Your cousin and his new wife are expecting!! YAY!”

kidding me

…please excuse me while I ignore this email and take some selfish time to myself before I share in this exciting news. Sometimes your timing sucks mom-in-law. Just saying.

Careful! Don’t sneeze – you might get pregnant!

Oooooooh how some days are easier than others. If you are, or have ever struggled with infertility you know what I am talking about. Some days you can give yourself so much credit for being level headed and patient with the process and with what life has laid out for you. AND then there are the days that make you want to pull out your hair in frustration, cry yourself to the bottom of a container of ice cream and get mad at anyone who crosses your path; and those who are pregnant: BEWARE…I’m a ticking time bomb.

I love sharing in the joy of my friends pregnancies and subsequent children. My godson is one of the biggest joys in my life and I wouldn’t trade his sticky kisses for anything but there are days when one more pregnancy announcement might just send me over the edge. I have a girlfriend who was married in March and literally was pregnant the first night of their honeymoon (AKA the next day!). Another just confided in me that, despite her strict and dedicated efforts to prevent pregnancy, is 5 weeks pregnant – completely unplanned and possible unwelcome. I have to say, I’m not sure I can console another friend through termination. All debate aside on the right and wrong of abortion; I struggle with the fact that I have been the one people turn to in such a time of need, especially when they are aware of my situation!

[NOTE: I work in a field where I see unwanted and uncared for children on a daily basis. Whether or not you agree with abortion is a very touchy subject and one that I don’t fully know my own stance on. What I do know, is that I support people who need support through a difficult time; whatever the circumstances. Please do not use the comment section as a platform for your opinion of abortion, there are many other places on the internet that will be more welcoming for that topic.]

I have sat through friends discussing fears on whether they struggle with fertility because it has taken them two months to conceive….give me a break. I know that most people don’t understand the real struggle of infertility and that they are allowed to have their own fears and concerns; but to me I feel they are positively clueless. I do not hide my infertility from my friends and I refused to be ashamed of the hand I have been dealt; therefore, I share my situation with my friends. Yet, it seems as though I might need to start laying down some rules. Let’s see…

1. Don’t complain to me when you are not pregnant after your first month of trying. Medical advice suggests trying for at least a year before being concerned or seeking advice from a Doctor. I have wanted to be a mother since before I can remember, I have been with my husband for over 6 years and still get to play the waiting game before I can even START TRYING to have a child, in a Doctor’s office. Think twice about who you are complaining to please.

2. Caution yourself on how much you complain about your pregnancy symptoms to me. I can tolerate a lot, but please have consideration. I understand you are going through a lot of changes and uncomfortable things. I would trade you in a heartbeat. Not to mention, I know all about those hot flashes you are experiencing, the bloating, the weight gain and many other symptoms; however, mine don’t result in a child – just more agony.

3. Once you have your beautiful little rascals, please don’t spend all of your time complaining about the difficult challenges of being a parent. I, again, understand that you are exhausted, frazzled, overwhelmed, stressed out and exhausted…again, I would trade you in a heartbeat. I daydream about having to wake up in the middle of the night to a child crying, to falling asleep with their warmth on my chest, to changing diapers, hearing their first giggle, and all of the other difficult and wonderful moments that having a child brings. Appreciate the life and love that you were able to create and enjoy all of the challenging moments that the amazing ones bring you.

4. Please don’t tell me that it will happen when it happens, that when I get my own experience I will be overjoyed, etc. I know I need to be patient and I know that I will be so appreciative of everything if things turn out one day. BUT I still don’t know that egg donation will work for me, that I will be able to successfully conceive and carry a child to term….and unless you’re my doctor, you don’t know either.

5. Please don’t ask me to attend your friend, sister or second cousin’s baby shower with you just because you don’t want to go alone. No matter how happy I am for those who I love dearly in my life, it takes A LOT of strength for me to attend their baby showers, let alone someone I’ve met twice.

6. When having a tough day…don’t under whatever circumstances  sarcastically utter the words “oh, I bet you just can’t wait to have a toddler of your own one day after seeing this!” Just an FYI, I really can’t wait. It sucks waiting.

Please don’t think that I’m oblivious to how hard parenting is, how difficult it is to be sleep deprived and dealing with an infant screaming the top of their lungs but unable to verbalize the reason. I understand this just as much as I understand that I don’t fully know the difficulties parents face on a daily basis because I am not a parent. I just hope that one day I will have the opportunity to better understand.

Some good news!

So after the anticipated six week wait to get our results from the Geneticist….we heard nothing. We continued to wait nearly 10 weeks before finding out the good news that my husband is NOT! a carrier of the Cystic Fibrosis gene; thankfully, that is one more thing we do not need to worry about.

Although it feels to me like this process is taking forever, things are processing a little bit at a time; and who am I to complain about forward momentum, regardless of the speed. So for now we must patiently waif for our donor and her youngest son to stop breast feeding before we can proceed any further. I wouldn’t dare try to pressure that situation for my own benefit but a part of me hopes that he will self-wean by the time he is two years old…I am constantly learning new levels of patience that I didn’t know I was capable of. At least in the meantime, I continue to grow and become a better person for this experience; if nothing else.

Yours Truly,

The Queen of Patience

The Genetics Game

Genetics play such a huge part in every aspect of our lives. It controls how we develop as babies, how we grow, the food we eat, how species evolve and even whether or not humans are able to reproduce. I, myself, have not been graced with the genetics that allow me to have biological children of my own. I can, however, carry a child as far as the Doctors are aware at this stage of the game.

Currently, we are waiting to hear back from the Geneticist to find out if my husband carries the gene for Cystic Fibrosis. This is not something that couples usually have to endure when planning to start a family. It may be something that sits in the darkest corners of their minds as something they many have to think about down the road, if given reason to do so. We have been forewarned by our donor that when they were conceiving, it was determined that she is a carrier of the gene which causes Cystic Fibrosis. I am happy that it is something we know in advance; however, it is now necessary to find out if my husband is also a carrier. You see, one parent can genetically carry the Cystic Fibrosis gene safely and their children will not be at risk for developing the disease. Now, if both parents are carriers, it causes the pregnancy to be at extremely high risk for developing Cystic Fibrosis. It wouldn’t be a 100% guarantee, but the odds would not be good.

So now we wait. They said it would take six weeks until the results would come back.The majority of the time, I am able to push any thoughts of it to those dark corners of my mind; however, the rest of the time, I start to think about the ‘what ifs’. What if he is a carrier and we aren’t able to accept donor eggs from our donor when the time comes? What if we now need to spend the $45,000 (which we don’t have) to get a donor egg in the US? It’s overwhelming but for now I will push those thoughts down, back into those dark depths and breathe; find the distractions that work, have patience and trust that if it is meant to be it will work out.

Oh, the emotional whirlwind.

Is it possible to experience the feeling of emptiness when you’ve never had the pleasure of fullness? I sit here watching TV, nothing of consequence and suddenly I realize that something I have wanted for so long has been delayed yet again. For quite some time, I had ‘planned’ that once our donor was done breast feeding [October ’14] we would probably have to wait three to four more months for her cycle to regulate and then we could proceed with starting the egg donation process. With my excellent math skills, I had figured that if everything works out the best possible way, we could be looking to get pregnant by February or March ’15. I had been counting down for months while simultaneously trying not to rush through life.

Once we talked with our donor and her husband, it became clear that we’d be waiting much longer than I was hoping. Turns out she nursed her first son until he was 20 months old. We’re now looking at possibly waiting another year or more until she will be done breast feeding her littlest. I would never dream of rushing her. She is doing something so amazing and selfless for us that I wouldn’t even consider wanting to force or pressure them into changing how they want to raise their own children.

I do have to admit that it’s painful. Having such little control over a phase in your life. Wanting something so badly. Something that so many people don’t think twice about, something they regret, fear or cause simply by forgetting to take measures to prevent it. I feel empty every time I see someone who is with child. Every time I see a baby. My feelings quickly turn to shame as I do have so much to be thankful for.

I have a husband who is amazing, understanding, passionate, caring and attentive.
I have my silly and affectionate fur-babies; a Great Dane and the ever elusive cat.
I have a wonderfully supportive family; both biologically and through marriage.
I have a job, a roof over my head and food in my fridge.
And we have an egg donor; in a country where donors are not able to be compensated. We have two amazing friends who have so selflessly offered to provide us with a life-giving gift for nothing in return. They have come to us, without being asked and offered to help us grow our family without hesitation.

I realize that I need to have patience and remember that everything happens for a reason. That everything I have faced has taught me something and has made me who I am today. I have been given this challenge because I am strong enough to endure this hand that I have been dealt.