You Guys – I’m so honoured to be sharing this post with you. I met Carianne back in my Zumba days. We met at a class, started hanging out and haven’t looked back. Cari is one of the strongest, most resilient women I know. In the time I’ve known her, she has been through so much (including her story below) but she handles it all with amazing grace and clarity.
I asked her to share her story about infertility because I know there are so many women who experience this either publicly or in silence. So I just want you to know that you’re not alone. Enjoy.
1 in 6*.
I’ve seen statistics like these my entire life, and never connected with or thought much of them.
Until I was that 1.
Growing up, all I ever wanted to be was a mom. Sure, I also wanted to be a ballerina, a lawyer, a zoologist and a whole list of other careers… but the only constant was a Mom. I had my whole life planned out. I was going to get married before I turned 25 (check!) and then have at least two babies before I turned 30. That’s where my plan came to a screeching halt.
My husband and I couldn’t wait to have kids, and started trying right after we got married in May of 2009. Fast forward one year later… still no babies. After many doctors visits and painful tests… came the even more painful news. We had less than a 1% chance of conceiving a baby naturally. Talk about a punch to the gut.
Our fertility specialist talked about our only option being IVF, with an additional protocol called ICSI, which stands for intracytoplasmic sperm injection. The main difference between standard IVF and ICSI is how the sperm fertilises the egg. With IVF, the eggs and sperm are put in a dish together and left to fertilise on their own. With ICSI, one sperm is directly injected into the egg. She went through all the details, costs associated, and next steps in great detail. My husband and I sat in silence, holding hands, and walked out of that appointment numb, and in complete shock. I saw the one thing I had dreamed of my entire life, being ripped away from me. The approximate cost of our IVF protocol would be nearly $25,000… how would we ever be able to afford that? The negative thoughts started to creep in. Why us? This is so unfair. What had I done to deserve this? Was I ever going to have a baby? Would I ever get to hear someone call me mommy?
A super long story, super short, my husband was diagnosed with Lyme disease shortly after we received that news, and all of our plans of going forward with IVF were put on hold… for 5 years. I watched many friends get pregnant in that time, and with each baby born, the knife in my heart cut deeper, and twisted harder. I was genuinely happy and excited for each person and celebrated their babies with a smile on my face, but inside I was dying. I would come home and weep in my husbands arms, and each time he would comfort me and say “they aren’t having a baby INSTEAD of us, our time will come”.
I firmly believe that everything happens for a reason. For nearly 7 years of our marriage, I questioned things on a daily basis. Why did he have to get sick? Why couldn’t I pregnant? Why, why, why?
In the winter of 2015/2016, the Ontario government announced that OHIP was now going to cover one full round of IVF per couple.
The dark clouds were starting to part, and I could our sunlight starting to shine through. With the clearance from my husbands Lyme doctor, we called our fertility specialist and began to make plans to proceed with IVF.
No one could’ve prepared me for what that was going to look like. In short, painful! The endless medications, needles, daily trips to the clinic for blood work and ultra sounds, needles, extremely painful egg retrieval, more needles, the slightly less painful embryo transfer, then even more, even larger and even more painful needles. This was hardly how I had imagined conceiving my first child, but at least we were getting to try.
This is where I started to believe that maybe something would go right for us… that all the pain, tears, and hurt wouldn’t be for nothing.
I was right. We were blessed with 6 healthy embryos, and have had 2 successful IVF transfers. In the world of infertility, we hit the jackpot, and have been extremely blessed with two beautiful, healthy daughters… our little rays of sunshine through the dark clouds.
I am 1 in 6, but my heart is full, and I finally get to hear someone call me Mommy.
*1 in 6 couples in Canada experience infertility.
Follow Carianne on Instagram @mrssherriff