Be kind! Be supportive! Be present! One woman’s journey through infertility

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Guest Column by Tristin Huey

Over the last few days I knew I wanted to share our story, our journey and my feelings.  The problem is how to start? So I’m just going to put it out there – we just experienced our first miscarriage.

This is an experience full of mixed emotions, and I am still trying to work through them. I don’t share this to make anyone sad, empathetic or sorry for my family. I share this because I personally feel things like this are not talked about enough.

Riding the roller-coaster of infertility

Over the last five years having a family was one of the most exciting, challenging, rewarding and emotional journeys I have encountered. If anyone asks about having children we are very open about our infertility. It took us two years with lots of pills, ultrasounds, shots, procedures, money and more to have our baby girl. If you have ever experienced any type of infertility you know it’s a roller-coaster!

Each time you hop on and, as its leaving the gates, you are full of excitement and fear. As the roller-coaster climbs the hill and you hear the click, click, click of the track below. Your heart races. Your fear and anticipation climb, and as you reach the top you can see for miles. You can see the baby in your future. You’re able to imagine that little one growing up, crawling, walking, and saying their first words and more. Then as you find out another round did not work you start the slide down the hill. Inside you scream and cry with fear, anger, disappointment and more! You feel your hair blowing in the wind while the life you imagine flies right past. As the roller-coaster continues down the track you encounter the first corkscrew; you start to go in one circle then another, and another. As you try to gather your thoughts, you’re unable to because it’s going so fast you can’t think. Then you fly through a tunnel completely covered with no light, making you feel alone. Suddenly, a mist of water hits your face, leaving you in shock. As you finally gather yourself and your thoughts the ride is over. You are back at the station, and your partner is holding your hand saying, “Are you ok?”, “I love you”, “Are you ready to try again?” In these moments everything happened so fast, and all you can remember was the excitement and fear.

This was the journey we lived for years each time we tried to have our first child; the climbs became higher and the falls dropped harder.

Welcoming a new life into the family

After two years of this and our third or fourth round of intrauterine insemination (IUI), our family was finally able to step off the infertility roller-coaster. We welcomed our baby girl in December of 2015. As new parent’s we faced our challenges as every family does. How to balance our household, marriage, sleep, work, friends, family and everything else in the life we had created. My husband and I are both very independent; we enjoy our time together but also our time apart. Now we had to figure out what that meant with a little girl that needed us all the time. I would be lying if I did not say this rocked our world. It took me a long time to fully understand how this changed our family in such an amazing way. My husband always gives 100% to his family. He truly is amazing and after our daughter, I see this clearer than I did before.  

Without this type of support, I would not have been willing to try for our second child. As we approached the infertility roller-coaster again we knew what to expect or so we thought. We agreed that, after our daughters first birthday, we would start trying again. We scheduled our consultation appointment with Doctor James Young from The Fertility Center in Grand Rapids. This was the same doctor who helped us get pregnant with our first child. We enjoyed working with him and the staff at the center. After a brief conversation, we all agreed to start with the same treatment that had previously been successful.

Feeling like a failure when it’s not your fault

Over the next few months, we rode the roller-coaster over and over and over again with no success. As a family, we decided to take a break due to the financial impact of this treatment. We agreed to make some changes in our health insurance that would help cover these treatments as they did the first time. However, to make these changes to our health insurance we had to wait until the open enrollment period with our workplace which was about 10 months before it could be changed and used. So we waited. With this decision, I took on a whole new level of guilt. I personally felt like I failed my family. That it was my fault we would not have another child because we could not afford them. Did I mention that I chose to take on a new job which is why our health insurance was different and why it financially cost more for the same treatment? So, I felt, I was to blame, I failed our family, and no one could tell me differently. I struggled with this for a long time but because of the support of my husband, my daughter and our amazing friends and family we got through it.

Beginning the journey yet again

As we approached the infertility roller-coaster for the third time, we scheduled our consultation appointment with Dr. Young and agreed to continue with the same treatment. However, this time things were different our daughter was older and wanted to be a part of the journey. Some people will say this is bad, and others will say this is good to have them involved. However, I don’t care what anyone says because this is what our family decided to do, and we stand by it, good and bad!

As we started, and things did not work we explained: “It didn’t work, and we must try again”. We used the examples of falling down and getting back up. “Yes, it hurts but we have to keep trying,” we would tell our daughter.

After a few rounds and medical complications which caused our family to take breaks between treatments, we finally found success in mid-July from the IUI procedures, just like our first child. We were expecting the arrival of baby number 2 in March 2019.

Because of our infertility, they monitor your pregnancy closely, and we had an ultrasound scheduled. During this appointment, they will check the baby’s health and you get to hear the heartbeat for the first time. On the morning of the appointment, I had heavy bleeding and knew in my heart our baby was gone. At the appointment, my worst fears where confirmed, I had a miscarriage. I felt numb, I was not sure how to feel, how to talk about it or how to explain it to our daughter. I don’t pretend that I have the answers but because I shared my true thoughts and feelings with my friends and family they gave me what I needed, kindness, support and their presence.

Being kind, supportive, and present for your family and friends

I have shared all of this to remind everyone that you need to Be Kind, Be Supportive and Be Present for the people in your life. I also want to remind everyone that we all have our own journeys and they are all important. If yours is infertility, the loss of someone you love, medical issues, financial issues or something else it’s your journey it is important and let others be there for you!  If we share our journeys you might be surprised to find a connection and support from others just like you! However, you have to be brave enough to share and get back up to try again.

By sharing my story, I hope that it will remind just one person that you are never alone and we all need kindness and support from those around us. I want to personally thank my husband, daughter, family and our friends for giving me my strength each and every day! And yes, I will be getting back on the infertility roller-coaster for the fourth time! As I tell my daughter, “Yes, it hurts but we have to keep trying. We are all stronger than we know”!

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