By Candace and Chris Wohl, recipients of the 2014 Hope Award for Best Blog
Published in Resolve for the journey and beyond, Winter 2014
If someone would have told us seven years ago that we would become parents through surrogacy, I probably would have laughed and given them their ticket for the crazy train. Just like many of you, when we first said our “I dos” I envisioned white picket fences, picking out maternity clothes and of course, yelling at Chris to drive like a racecar driver to make it in time to the hospital for a delivery. You know, the “normal” path to parenthood. Surely not our case. I will never experience the physical act of pregnancy. For those riding pine on the bench of infertility, it is hard to figure out the best option. Thanks to modern technology, science has entered into our bedrooms and given us hope again. But how do you decide what is best for you and your partner?
Just like we do in our blog Our Misconception, we will both write from a his and her point of view. That being said, I will turn it over to my dearest hubby to share his manliest of perspectives on how to decide on those next steps of family building.
Remember those plans for that three week European vacation? Cancel them… or don’t. Deciding what to do based on your financial situation is aggravatingly difficult. Financial infertility, where you cannot take the next step simply because you cannot afford it, plagues so many folks in the infertility community. At the same time, right after a failed procedure, you may feel the need to take a sanity vacation. Collect yourself so you can plunge back into the infertility world. So, what do you do? Well, Candace and I faced this very dilemma as we realized that having a child through IVF was not possible and we started researching adoption and surrogacy.
We made a list of our debts and cut them down. We cut our cable, reduced our cell phone plan, and refinanced our house. We fundraised, put donation jars out, and had a few charity events. Crowd-sourcing, social media campaigning, and garage sales were words commonly thrown around our house. It was tons of work, but incredibly gratifying and we saw so much spontaneous beauty in strangers. If a similar path is for you, great! If you feel your path is to save money over the next six months on your own, great! As long as you are comfortable, financially speaking, you cannot make a bad choice.
Of course your health is huge. Not only is infertility difficult on your psyche, but it is certainly difficult physically. Going through IVF stimulation and retrieval requires lots of medications and can be (will be) taxing on you. Candace did six IUIs and six IVF transfers. She developed precancerous uterine cells, lost weight/gained weight, lost sleep/slept too much, overate/lost her appetite. You get the idea. When we decided to do our sixth IVF transfer, we discussed the impact this would have on Candace. Would the medications be to taxing to maintain a healthy pregnancy? Would this irreversibly change Candace’s life? These difficult questions are so important to discuss. If we had not, deciding whether Candace should have a hysterectomy or not would have been much more difficult. So, as you are deciding what to do next, ask yourself:
First thing, ask Dr. Google! Just kidding. Although there is useful information on the internet, you must closely consider the source before buying in. I would more likely trust information from RESOLVE, a fertility clinic, or a medical research journal before trusting “Mimi’s Do It Yourself IVF Transfer” webpage. There was a time when we did not have an internet. Gasp! What did people do then? They talked. Yep, talk to your doctor. Talk to other doctors. Get second, third, fifth opinions. Join a Facebook group or local RESOLVE support group and send them questions. If we knew all that we know now before our first IUI, we would have done things differently. This knowledge is powerful, and it can make your family building wishes come true!
One theme runs through all of these topics … Communication. It seems silly that talking can be so challenging when dealing with infertility. But that is the best thing you can do. Talk to your significant other most of all. Talk to family, friends, close co-workers about your situation; chances are, people in their lives are going through similar difficulties. Talk to nurses and doctors, mentors, preachers, life coaches, counselors for guidance and support. Talk to yourself and remind yourself that you can do this, your dream is achievable, and that regardless of what decision you make, so long as you are comfortable with it, you made the right one!
After ten years of marriage, two brain surgeries and a seven year battle with infertility, it has not been an easy road for Chris and Candace Wohl. That is when they decided that in order to overcome adversity, you must stare it directly in the face with humor and positivity. The Our Misconception blog, co-written by the couple since 2012, shares both a male and female perspective on the daily struggles of living with the disease of infertility and was recognized with the 2014 Hope Award for Best Blog. Chris and Candace were featured on MTV’s True Life, “I’m Desperate to Have a Baby,” a documentary on couples who struggle with infertility. Candace hosts a local RESOLVE peer-led support group in Hampton Roads Virginia. As a freelance writer and infertility advocate, Candace has written articles featured on The Huffington Post, Still Standing Magazine, FertilityAuthority.com and Adoption.Net.