Anyone who knows me knows that I am usually a glass half empty girl. I am a skeptic. I hope for the best, but plan for worst-case scenario. So when it took my husband and I over three years to have a baby, I’ll be honest. I focused on the negative. I remember the negative pregnancy tests. We both remember the many tears we cried in a urologist’s office when he callously told my husband, “I think you were born this way. I don’t think you’ll ever be parents.”
I remember the year I took my husband out for his birthday dinner and found myself on the floor of a bathroom stall crying because I saw a baby across the room from us. I remember the winter day I cried while waiting to pay for Christmas gifts at a store because the line was stopped for way too long in front of the baby section. I remember the skipped baby showers or baby showers from which I had to excuse myself early. I remember all of the emotional days of taking medications and shots. I remember feeling like a lab rat and having many doctor’s appointments.
Those emotions are still raw. Throughout my pregnancy, I felt like I could not take a breath or be happy until I finally held my daughter in my arms for the first time. As we think about expanding our family, I made the decision to see the silver lining in our infertility journey. Our daughter is the biggest silver lining from this experience, but there are many others.
The silver lining in my infertility journey:
- I have met some of the strongest people from this experience. I recognized one woman from work when I saw her leaving our infertility doctor’s office one hot summer day three years ago. Little did I know, she had just suffered a miscarriage, and little did anyone know that my fourth Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) that day would be the one that would work for us. She and her husband have been through so much, including a cancer diagnosis for one of her sons at three months of age. She is the strongest woman I know and is always positive, encouraging and brave. While I do not like that infertility brought us together, I love that we get to be friends and moms together. As I think about the other friends I have—the moms who have lost babies, the moms with adopted children, the moms with foster children, the ladies still waiting to be a mom, the moms that waited years before being able to have biological children—thank you for teaching me what true strength is.
- My relationship with my husband has grown. I think back to the sleepless nights and countless hours on the bathroom floor crying and holding each other. We wondered if we would ever be parents and if our marriage would even survive. I am thankful that I married one of the most loving, patient, caring and sensitive men I have ever known. I am grateful he was the one to experience this with me.
- I found a determination deep inside me that I never knew I had. One of my youngest childhood memories is playing with my Cabbage Patch dolls. I had a bed for them to sleep in, a highchair for one of them to join me at the dinner table and many clothes for them. I always wanted to have children and be a mom. This only grew with time. My desire to be a mom was so strong that I was willing to do whatever I needed to in order to accomplish that dream. I am glad that I did not give up but persevered.
- I have become closer to my cousin. She and I did not always have the best relationship, but she became my rock throughout the journey to parenthood. When other family members did not talk to us about our struggles, she would text me all the time just to check in on me. She and her husband prayed for us constantly. I told her I was pregnant before we told anyone else. My cousin helped throw my baby shower. She came to the hospital after I gave birth and brought me my favorite food and gave me a pedicure. She snuggled my daughter and told her “Happy birthday!”. My cousin is due with her first child in April. I am so blessed to have her as such a good friend.
- I have more of an appreciation for science and medicine. Working in the healthcare field myself, I witness what science and medicine can do for others. I never thought it could work for me. Now I have far too much knowledge about sperm and eggs and fertilization and medications and how important timing is. I have met some of the nicest doctors, nurses and other healthcare workers. I know that science and medicine can help infertile couples with what they want most—having a family.
As I prepare myself for more medications, shots and doctor visits, I am reminded of all the good that came out of this experience. I will focus on that.