Expecting as a member of the infertility community

While my ‘infertility story’ officially began 15 years ago with a childhood diagnosis, it wasn’t until about two years ago that my husband and I began the process of trying to have a baby. Those years felt like decades. There were a lot of tears, sleepless nights, and blaming myself. We burned through a considerable chunk of our savings and had no idea if any of our efforts would work. Infertility consumed us. Not a single day of those two years went by without lengthy discussions about embryos, IVF statistics, surrogacy matching, and more. The only solace we found during this time was the infertility community.

Our friends and family are supportive, but save for a few people couldn’t really relate to our experiences. Building friendships with people who were also in the trenches of infertility and surrogacy truly got me through the worst moments. It’s funny, these friends came from all over the world and every walk of life, but the shared experience of longing for a baby and dealing with uncertainty and continued disappointments bonded us in a way I can’t describe.

Flashback to one year ago. I had a conversation with someone on Instagram who had been through secondary infertility and all of the hardships that came with it. She was finally pregnant, expecting her rainbow baby, and expressed a sentiment I had never heard before: the feeling of being shut out of the infertility community. Her pregnancy was a miraculous thing, and her infertility friends were obviously happy for her, but understandably it must have become difficult for them to watch her achieve what they were dreaming of. She said she understood, but that she hadn’t expected it to hit her so hard.

I watched a number of friends in the community reach milestones and have babies ahead of me. It took a ton of patience and reflection not to compare myself to them. There were days I did a great job of it, reaching out and congratulating people on positive pregnancy tests, ultrasounds, and more. There were also days where I would see a post and quietly think “Why can’t that be me?” and close my Instagram app and call my dog over for some therapeutic puppy snuggles. Both experiences were valid – infertility, and the infertility community, is complex. I learned that you can be incredibly happy for your infertility friends, but simultaneously not have the strength to show up for them to celebrate all of their wins.

Fast forward to this fall when we found out we were expecting. Celebrating our experience openly was a no-brainer. After all, we’ve been through so much. I’ve been vocal in sharing every aspect of our journey, including very low points, and so sharing our excitement is also part of that. What I did notice though, is that for the first time in my blogging journey there were a handful of treasured infertility friends who found it just a little bit harder to show up for me.

At first, that stung. Haven’t I been close to these people for years? Haven’t we been weathering this storm together? It wasn’t until I reflected on the conversation from a year ago that I had that lightbulb moment. It isn’t for lack of them caring or lack of excitement for me that I’m hearing from them less. It’s the same feelings I had before we were expecting. Sometimes, despite our best intentions, it hurts to watch other people hit milestones ahead of us. This community is about supporting one another, sure, but it’s also about just doing your best every day.


Surrogacy Update: Nine Weeks Along

Note: this ultrasound image is from our 8 week scan, and the image of Ashley and I is from transfer day.

This past weekend we officially crossed the nine weeks threshold in Ashley’s pregnancy and we are so excited! The end of the first trimester is so close, and Ashley only has a few more weeks of shots before ‘graduating’ from the fertility clinic. People are constantly asking us how she is feeling, so I’ve actually asked her to share in her own voice – it’s easier to hear her words than to have me try to describe her experience.

Ashley: I feel great! Small spells of nausea here and there but nothing too crazy. No food aversions/cravings, although nothing I eat is satisfying which is really disappointing. I thought giving up coffee would be hard but similar to my other pregnancies I have no desire for it in the first trimester so I really only have a few sips before I’m over it.

Ashley is amazing at communicating her experience with us, which I am so grateful for. Unlike many of the couples who turn to surrogacy after experiencing a pregnancy (secondary infertility, loss, pregnancy or delivery complications), I have no lived experience as a pregnant person and so being kept in the loop on all of the little things helps me feel connected.

What happens at the end of the first trimester?

Graduation day! Graduating from the fertility clinic is a big deal – it marks a new milestone in our journey where our fertility doctor can confidently hand Ashley over to her OB/GYN. While we’ll miss the warmth and encouragement of Dr. Glass, we are excited to meet Ashley’s next care provider and to move onto new phases of this journey.

Our fertility clinic is in downtown Toronto, about a 40 minute drive from our house and several hours from Ashley, but we’ll be flipping the script in the next phase. Ashley’s care will be much closer to home for her, and Zane and I will be driving to London for the second trimester, third trimester, and birth. We’ve heard wonderful things about the hospital she’s planning on delivering at, and know several other surrogates who have delivered there. While surrogacy adds an additional layer of potential complications to labour and delivery, we are hopeful that the hospital and its staff are prepared to handle our experience with compassion and understanding.

We still have a long way to go between now and meeting the baby, but we are so excited about what each new day brings!


Baby on board – we’re expecting!

An image of Baby Colt from our first ultrasound at just shy of 6.5 weeks.

The moment we’ve been waiting for is here: Ashley is pregnant and we are finally expecting Baby Colt! While we announced on Instagram about two weeks ago, I’ve been reserving my more intimate thoughts for here. After all, it’s on our blog and not on Instagram that we began our surrogacy storytelling journey.

Feelings of relief and of gratitude have been washing over me constantly since we found out. It’s been years of waiting to get to this point. Years of having to hear ‘why don’t you adopt?’, ‘maybe G-d just didn’t intend for you to be a parent.’, and ‘don’t worry, if this transfer doesn’t work there’s always the next one.’ Countless nights laying awake wondering if this would ever happen for us. Tears and frustrations. Heartache and envy. Guilt for feelings these emotions.

Now I’m faced with a whole new set of questions. Will I be a good mother? How will my husband and I transition into our new roles as parents? What baby products best support their development, and which are total garbage? Where on earth are we going to fit so much stuff in our house! I think these are are normal things to think about, but it’s still a little overwhelming.

We’ve got lots of time to learn and to gain confidence between now and the baby arriving, so right now I’m focusing on gratitude. We’ve made it to a point that we thought may never have been possible. Baby Colt is growing strong, and Ashley is feeling good. That’s all I could dream of at this point.