Patient Spotlight: Jan and Tim

My husband and I married later in life and decided that if kids were in our future, we needed to get started right away. Very quickly we learned that we would need assistance to have a baby.

My sister is a fertility nurse and was able to start the conversation with us about fertility treatment. We did the testing and found out that we would need help for both of us. We did complete 5 IVF cycles (fresh, FET, and embryo adoption) and finally ended up with a beautiful baby girl. She is now 5 and plans to rule the world.

At the beginning of our journey, when we realized that we both had issues to overcome, we had a very pointed conversation. We needed to make a plan about how much we would share with family and friends. We were very vocal about our desire to be parents but when it was not happening, we had to decide our response. Obviously, my sister would know every step of our journey but what would we tell everyone else?

We both came to the realization that we wanted to shout our journey from the rooftops. We wanted everyone to know what we would be going through for a couple of reasons. The first reason was the more people that knew of our struggles, the more awareness we would bring to infertility as a whole. Infertility is a large problem and affects more people than you know. It was shocking to realize there was a large community of people experiencing infertility that we had no idea existed. The second part was the more people that knew about what we were going through, the more prayers would be given. We knew we would not be able to traverse this path without relying heavily on our faith and our church.

It was truly amazing the different responses we received. Almost all the people we shared with were supportive even if they didn’t know how to be supportive. Of course, we had the people who said things that were not particularly helpful, but we just remembered that they truly did want what was best for us.

Many of our friends and family would ask us frequently about the next step or how we were doing. I would simply ask if they wanted the long or short version. If they said short, then my response was a simple answer with the next thing we are looking forward to, either a test or result. If they wanted the long answer, I would give them the details of that week’s events or how I was feeling with all the medications.

For example, my father did not want any details, just the next test or result and the date to pray for. My stepdad on the other hand (my sister’s father) wanted to know every little detail. It was very fascinating for him as his daughter was helping his stepdaughter with a very complex medical journey.

It is hard navigating the emotions that come with infertility. I am not going to lie. I did struggle. I cried. I screamed. I cried some more. At the end of the day though, I had my husband and my family I could talk to and lean on.

Since then, I have found a Facebook group that offers great support to women who are going through this journey. It is a hard journey and not for the faint of heart. I learned that I am, and you are too, stronger than ever imagined. If your desire is to be a mom, then pursue your dreams with everything you have. Find a support group in person or online that you can talk to. There will be hard days. There will be great days. Some days will be great until you walk into the grocery store and EVERY SINGLE PERSON had a baby or three. You need a place to vent and cry to. Find it. Then chase after your dream.