The Raw and Honest Truth of Infertility
An Interview with Anna from 'Lunchbox Mini'
Infertility is close to my heart and a topic I’m passionate about raising awareness for. In this blog series, I have interviewed some amazing Mama Bosses who have also battled with infertility. These stories show us that women really are amazing. We can go through incredible pain and heartache, and still come out the other side more powerful than ever. Being a mum is a slippery slope of fiercely loving your babies, whilst having no idea what you’re doing (if only there was a mum manual!), and always trying to do the best for the whole family! Add to this being an entrepreneur and you have one hell of a woman.
Let me introduce you to Anna from www.lunchboxmini.com. Anna is a fellow Mumpreneur, who I met through the Social Method Society and a gorgeous mum to two beautiful children. Becoming a mum wasn’t as straight forward as she hoped and now Anna is sharing her story for you.
So read on Mamas and be inspired by this real story filled with month after tumultuous month of heartache and at last two little miracles.
Bambini Lotus: What is your infertility story?
Anna: At 23, my husband and I were almost ready to begin trying for our first child. I went off the pill to give my body a few “natural” cycles first. Except my period never came. I spent months going to my GP who assured me it was perfectly normal for the body to take a while to ovulate after being on the pill for a few years and to just be patient. I tried natural therapies, I tried acupuncture, I cut out dairy, sugar and everything else google told me could cause infertility. Ten months later I got a referral to see a gynaecologist. I spent another 12 months doing a mix of Clomid and IUI, before changing specialists and starting full rounds of IVF. My first egg collection was at 25, I had 9 follicles and not 1 egg inside any of them. I was beyond devastated. Three months later we tried again and it brought us Mason, my now 8 year old. I had no embryos left to freeze, but I was blessed with one, healthy baby boy that 9 months prior, I almost didn’t think would happen.
18 months later, we were back again trying for number two. With a combination of IVF and acupuncture, we fell pregnant first round with my daughter, Milla. Again, I had no embryos that made it to blastocyst stage that were suitable to freeze.
Two years later, I felt something was missing. I wanted the big family. I wasn’t done with being a mum. I wanted more. I thought the biggest hurdle would be getting my husband on board, and when he finally agreed I started preparing for life as a family of five. The bigger car, the extra bedroom, the baby things we’d need to keep and not pass on. Little did I know, it would be our longest road yet. Over the next 12 months we had multiple egg collections, multiple embryo transfers, a laparoscopy and two miscarriages. And no one could tell us why. I spent a whole year in and out of surgery, forever on IVF meds, with a 4 year old and 2 year old always in tow. It wasn’t fair on them, it wasn’t fair on us, and we eventually had to make the decision to stop trying. That was, by far, the hardest part of my IVF journey, deciding when to let go.
Bambini Lotus: How long did it take for you to get that miraculous positive?
Anna: 2.5 years:
1 year of waiting + natural therapies
1 year of chlomid + IUI
6 months of IVF.
Bambini Lotus: What is the hardest thing you heard from other people whilst going through infertility?
Anna: “Stop stressing, it will happen when you’re not even trying. I know “X” person who fell pregnant after they’d given up all treatment and hope …. “
Given I had no natural cycle, the odds of me falling pregnant unassisted were almost zero. I know it came from the best of intentions but I hated people telling me to stop treatment, to stop stressing, it would just happen on its own when you least expect it.
Bambini Lotus: If there is one thing you could tell others about going through infertility, what would it be?
Anna: Remember to stop. Remember to breathe. Remember to live a life outside of IVF. It can consume every single part of your life, and you need to take the time for you and your partner to just be you, to have fun, to still be the people you were before IVF became part of your story.
Bambini Lotus: What was the biggest thing that helped you through your journey to falling pregnant?
Anna: Hope. I was always hopeful. I’m a very positive person and wouldn’t accept no. That made it especially hard when we had to make the decision to stop trying for number 3, but it’s what made me so strong, so persistent and so focused on getting a positive test every round.
Bambini Lotus: How has this journey affected you going forward?
Anna: There are no words to describe how grateful I am to have two amazing, beautiful, healthy kids. When you think at the beginning that it’s just a matter of going off the pill, making sure your timing’s right and then doing a pregnancy test 14 days later, to suddenly finding out your body can’t do any of it on its own, it’s beyond devastating. Without IVF, I would never have known how strong, how brave, how determined I can be. I’ve had to learn how to deal with the most intense feelings of jealousy, disappointment, frustration and fear, but it’s only because of IVF that I’ve experienced the most amazing feelings of love and contempt and I would do it all over again in a heartbeat.
Anna I would just like to thank you for sharing your story. I hope it helps other women to know that whilst infertility is a hard journey, it is a journey shared by many. I truly believe that these journeys need to be shared and eventually celebrated. For without these journeys we would not be the amazing, strong women of today.
If you would like to know more about Anna and her amazing business Lunchbox Mini, head on over to her Instagram or Facebook. She is doing some amazing work, selling the best quality, on-trend products that help busy families pack fresh, waste-free lunches that will get kids excited! Anna would love to help you swap your multiple containers, missing lids, spoilt lunches and cheap, plastic imitations for quality products that will last, encourage healthy eating plus save you time AND money. It can’t get better than this! Who doesn’t want to make lunch organisation easier?!
Are you reading this and can relate to Anna’s story? Would you love to be a part of a supportive community of women, all who are going through (or have previously been through) infertility? Please head on over and join my Facebook group: Infertility Support Australia. I’ve created this group to take some of the pressure off women during this tough phase of our lives. I know personally, I would bottle up my emotions because I felt that I had no one to talk to who really understood what I was going through. Let’s support each other, cheer each other on and pick up the pieces when we’re having a rough day.