In 2008, my husband and I had been trying to conceive for about 9 months when I sought info from another site with a message board. It frustrated me to be there because it was full of women who were complaining after TTC for a month or two and I could't relate because I felt like our nine months was forever! There was another member on those boards who suggested I take a look at ivf.ca - her screen name is DesignerBug.
For a few months, I would just dip my toes in the water of ivf.ca - I thought "I don't belong there, I haven't been through what those women have been through and we're not doing IVF". I was wrong. In Jan 2009 we did our first round of IVF and I dove in the deep end of ivf.ca through the New On The Block thread, started by my good Australian friend, Edie.
I had finally found home in a group of women from all over the world. I found women I could relate to, be completely honest with and lean on when I needed to but also offer support when they needed it and I could help. This site offers so much and I wouldn't have made it through the past few years without it and I certainly wouldn't be where I am today without it but for a much different reason than you would think.
Our first IVF attempt in Jan/Feb 2009 failed - we transferred 3 great looking embryos but none of them took and we got a BFN. I turned to ivf.ca to work through my feelings and to help build up the courage to try again. And we did - in May/June 2009 we made our second attempt with IVF. Our second attempt resulted in a BFP and it was celebrated it seemed as much by my friends on ivf.ca as my own family. I felt like I had a whole room full of people cheering us on as we went to our 13 week ultrasound, anticipating seeing our bouncing baby on the screen. But that exciting day turned into one of the worst of my life when I heard those words I'll never forget "I'm sorry, I have no good news for you today". Our baby had died about 3 weeks earlier, a missed miscarriage.
I was enveloped in sympathy, empathy and shoulders to cry on here on ivf.ca. It was the worst time in my life but I was completely supported and was able to work through that horrible time without judgement and I came through it as a whole person - a different person but whole.
After the shock of our miscarriage, I didn't know which way to turn. I explored every possible path to our baby - donor eggs, surrogate, adoption, all of it and all right here on ivf.ca. Other members shared their stories, answered my questions, pointed out when I was spinning myself in circles (thank you GoodFortune!) and generally held my hand through all of it.
In Jan 2010, we had decided to adopt. We just couldn't do IVF anymore for many reasons. Once again, ivf.ca was there for me with a whole section of women who were going through the adoption process or had adopted. And even though it seemed like I didn't really fit into the general areas of ivf.ca, I still found members who could relate. Who had been through failed attempts, miscarriages and worse, long waits that I could never have imagined in 2008. So for a year, I stuck around even though it seemed our journey was stalled (adoption in NS is a painfully slow process).
In Jan 2011, our story got really interesting. We were getting ready to leave on a trip south when I got a PM from a member I didn't recall ever 'meeting' on ivf.ca. She said she had read that my husband and I were planning to adopt but she wondered if we had considered donor embryos. At first I thought, "it's really nice of her to contact me but why does she think I haven't already explored every option?". I replied and thanked her for her input but her second message to me really astounded me. She and her husband had done IVF two years earlier and had boy/girl twins who were about to turn 2 and they had 9 embryos leftover. If we wanted them, they wanted us to have them!
Because of ivf.ca, this wonderful woman had felt like she had gotten to know me through my blog and my posts and she felt comfortable enough to offer this amazing gift to us! The feeling of being chosen without ever knowing we were being considered is indescribable. The idea that someone would make this offer to us was unfathomable. But there is was.
Over the next few months, we talked and worked out all the details and in June 2011, I travelled to Calgary and as further proof to the strength of the relationships developed on this site, I stayed with another member who I had never met in person but felt like I had known for years (thank you babatime and your amazing family for opening your home to me). On June 8, 2011, I had 2 gorgeous embryos transferred to my uterus. I even had the opportunity to meet our donors and their two beautiful children the day before.
One Father's Day, I took a home pregnancy test and when it came up positive, my husband and I just laid in bed grinning at each other. It worked! I was pregnant!
As I write this, I have just passed the halfway mark in my pregnancy. Some would say I am halfway to meeting my son but this journey started four years ago and we passed the halfway mark quite sometime ago without ever realizing it. It is Thanksgiving weekend and I have a list as long as my arm of what and who I am grateful for. Very close to the top of that list is Rick, the founder and keeper of ivf.ca and all the members who have made this site what it is - home, a refuge, and the place that made our miracle happen.
I am blessed in so many ways and becoming a part of ivf.ca changed my life in a way I could never have imagined when I was dipping my toes in the water.