The best way to spread holiday cheer, is telling your truth for all to hear. For our final blog post of 2018 rather than hear from one of our staff members, we wanted to share a story from former patient, Carrie Van Steen. We hope you have all the magic of the holiday season, and that reading this story will help give you the strength to not only survive this holiday season, but to thrive.

During the 2002 holiday season, Beverly Barna published the very humorous book titled, Infertility Sucks.  This book basically sums up everything we go through on this journey. Infertility sucks 24/7-365, but there is a certain time of year where it REALLY SUCKS, and that my friends would be the dreaded holiday season.

Here is the thing, every day of this journey is a roller coaster of highs and lows, but the Holiday season, that’s just a downhill spiral.

It was December when I was told that our third IUI failed, and it was also December when I was told by a second opinion consult that IVF was our only chance to have a baby. I bet you are thinking, “wow, that does suck”, but wait there’s more. My insurance didn’t cover IVF, or the IVF medications. We were looking down the barrel of at least 20k when it was all said and done, and there was no guarantee that a baby would be in my arms 9 months later.

Instead of the holiday spirit, I was suffocated with sadness, worry, anger and resentment every single day. I didn’t know how to bring this discussion up with my family because I felt like a complete failure, and I didn’t want bring it up to my husband’s family because they were busy anticipating and celebrating the impending birth of my nephew, their first child and the first grandchild in the family.

So I pushed through like we all do during these trying times and I tried to find the good in things. We realized that we had enough in savings and credit cards to pay for our IVF cycle. So we started to plan, it felt good to have a plan in place, but a part of me was still in denial. So much so that I found myself praying every single night that there would be some Christmas miracle, that I would wake up Christmas morning with a positive pregnancy test. Maybe Santa would bring me those 2 lines I have been longing to see, maybe this was all a bad dream, and I realized that I still had hope.

Well Christmas came and went, and I spent the holiday smiling through the pain and crying in random bathrooms. Just a few days later my nephew was born, and I remember locking myself in the bathroom in the hospital lobby while having my first panic attack. I was grieving the possibility of never being able to experience the feeling my sister-in-law was having at that moment, and I felt so much guilt that perhaps I was being selfish.

The next day was a new day, and I was faced with a decision to either keep spiraling, or to go meet my nephew and trust in the process laid before me.  So I decided to trust the process, and I walked back into that hospital that was closing in on me just a few hours earlier. When I held my nephew for the first time, I realized that Christmas miracle wasn’t the 2 lines, in fact it was even better, it was strength, it was courage and it was amazing.