Originally Featured on HuffPost Canada- Parents (Edited by Isabelle Khoo)
Krista George lost her first baby when she was 11 weeks pregnant.
Name and partner's name: Krista & David George
Occupation: Registered acupuncturist and founder of Positive Conception
City: Kitchener, Ont.
Years trying to have a baby: Four
When the "mom gene" kicked in: I always knew I wanted to be a parent, but it became much more apparent as our friends began having children. The importance of being a parent for me has always come from the idea of being able to share the experiences I had growing up with children of my own. I have a lot of love to share, and as much as I love my dog, he would never fill the void of not having children.
The infertility diagnosis: We had been trying to conceive for just over a year when we first suspected something could be wrong. That year mark is often seen as the tipping point from normal to infertile. Just as we began contacting our family doctor to run preliminary tests, we found out we were pregnant. We were so excited to finally see those two lines after all that time.
"The pregnancy didn't last though, and we miscarried our baby at 11 weeks."
The pregnancy didn't last though, and we miscarried our baby at 11 weeks. After having a D&C [dilation and curettage, which is a procedure where uterine tissue is removed], we were told that we were young and would get pregnant again soon, but after another eight months of nothing, we sought out our first fertility clinic. We never got a formal diagnosis over the years, instead we were just classified as unexplained infertility.
The reaction: Having fertility issues was definitely surprising to us. We had always thought that since we were young and healthy, having kids would be easy, so coming to terms with the fact that it wouldn't be that simple was very hard.
When we had first been referred to a fertility clinic, I remember thinking of myself as a failure. I felt sad and guilty that I couldn't get pregnant again on my own. I was still dealing with the emotions from our miscarriage. That, along with the years of trying just left me feeling stressed and overwhelmed.
The plan B: Through our four-year fertility journey, we have taken both eastern and western approaches to treatments. As an acupuncturist, it was important for me to try traditional Chinese medicine to help us conceive. Although it alone didn't solve our problem, it did help improve my cycles and support me through my western treatments.
"It was recommended that we go straight to an IVF cycle with ICSI, which is what finally got us our BFP (big fat positive)."
We have been to two different [fertility] clinics. At our first, we went through cycle monitoring, both medicated and unmedicated, as well as two unsuccessful IUIs [intrauterine inseminations]. After this we took a much-needed six-month break. When we decided to go back to fertility treatments, we began at a new clinic. After reviewing our treatment history, it was recommended that we go straight to an IVF cycle with ICSI, which is what finally got us our BFP (big fat positive).
Reaction to conceiving their rainbow baby: Joy and excitement! She was our second embryo transfer from our IVF cycle, the first of our frozen embryos. Right from the time they thawed that special little embryo and it started to divide right away, I had a feeling this was the "one" I would get to meet.
The call to tell us our bloodwork was positive was just the confirmation of my gut feeling she was there. When I called my husband at work to tell him, a man of few words, his only response was, "It's about time!"
Meeting their daughter for the first time: My daughter was born at the end of July, almost two weeks overdue. I can tell you those extra two weeks, when you have already waited so long to meet them, seemed like forever!
Overwhelming love hit me hard and fast. She was most definitely worth the wait.
When I finally got to hold my baby girl for the first time, it just felt right. I felt like she was meant to be there with me and it made the four previous years melt away. Everything we went through — the emotional roller-coaster, the needles and the waiting — were all worth it. Overwhelming love hit me hard and fast. She was most definitely worth the wait.
The biggest challenges: Coming to terms with our situation and not letting the infertility world swallow us whole. The first couple years were particularly hard with the loss of our baby and the stress and pressure we put on ourselves to try and conceive again — it wasn't easy to handle.
Moments are what you make them, and after two years we really came to recognize this. We changed our focus and began enjoying life again.
The bright side: There have been high points along the journey, not really anything spectacular, but just enjoying the little things like going on vacation, celebrating anniversaries, or just enjoying a day poolside with friends. Moments are what you make them, and after two years we really came to recognize this. We changed our focus and began enjoying life again.
How their relationship changed: Going through these experiences will always have some kind of effect on your relationship. In our case, I think that it changed how we interacted with one another. We are two people with very different ways of coping with both grief and stress. Early on, especially after our miscarriage, this caused a lot of tension between us. Learning how each other coped was an important lesson to learn, but once we did, it allowed us to support one another better.
How they coped: The infertility world is a lonely, secretive place that takes hold of you. It wasn't until after our second failed IUI that I had my 'ah ha' moment, if you will. I had had enough. I was tired of being miserable, stressed and unhappy, so I decided it was time to make a change.
"It brought us closer and really minimized the stress once we chose to live our life with infertility instead of letting infertility be our life."
This is where Positive Conception [Krista's website for people facing infertility] was born. It is a philosophy of choosing to live your best life in the wait. It seems like a simple idea, but it isn't easy to make the transition to live this way. It probably took us another six months to fully embrace the concept, but it made a world of difference.
We were choosing to do things we enjoyed and that were good for both of us. We took time for each other, friends and hobbies, which we hadn't been doing previously. It brought us closer and really minimized the stress once we chose to live our life with infertility instead of letting infertility be our life.
Looking ahead: Our fertility journey was over four years long before we finally had our daughter through IVF. Even though we have her now, you never really leave that experience behind you. We have two more embryos frozen, so we will be back to the clinic when we decide to try and expand our family again.
Talking about infertility: What I wish people would say: "I am sorry you are going through this" and "I am here if you need to talk."
"Please don't tell people experiencing infertility to just relax, that maybe it's not meant to be or that things happen for a reason."
Now for things I wish people wouldn't say (I preface this by saying that I don't think many people say these things to be intentionally hurtful): Please don't tell people experiencing infertility to just relax, that maybe it's not meant to be or that things happen for a reason. Also, please don't ask if we considered just adopting (it's not that simple even if we did) and please, please don't complain to us about being pregnant or your kids.
What she wants other couples to know: My advice for other couples going through fertility treatments would be two-fold. First, don't feel like you need to go through this alone. You may not want the whole world to know, but having some close family or friends to lean on, or an online community, makes a world of difference.
My second piece of advice is to make time to do things you enjoy and for self-care. So much time is spent at the clinic for appointments, but it is worth it to find time for the good stuff in your life. Balance is the name of the game.
Final thoughts: To any women going through their own infertility journey, you are not alone! It may often feel that way, but if you find the courage to reach out for support, you will find it. I run a private group on Facebook, TTC Tribe, and I invite anyone looking for support or a place to share your story to join us.
Note: This interview has been edited and condensed for clarity.