My name is Krystle Chavez and I’m 35 years old, born in Manila, Philippines, and raised in the USA since I was 1 year old. As an Asian American Filipina and my husband is Mexican American, both of our cultures taught us at a very young age that we don’t talk about our struggles out loud, or advocate for ourselves on a “taboo” topic that most people would find uncomfortable discussing. Infertility is really hard, and not being able to discuss the intensely personal issue with family or friends due to cultural beliefs can make the situation even more painful.
My husband and I have been TTC for the last 4 years. Three of those years we suffered silently, while this past year we decided to publicly open up about our journey to all of our family and friends. It was nerve-wracking at first, but to our surprise, most of them were extremely supportive. I also found the TTC community on Instagram and was welcomed by some of the most amazing warriors that have turned into close friends - things started to feel less lonely for us.
Before we got married we got ourselves checked out to make sure things were working right with our reproductive health. My husband checked out fine. I on the other hand, always had issues with irregular periods, sometimes going 6 months to a 1 1/2 without a period. I was then diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), and hydrosalpinx (blocked Fallopian tube) which entailed surgery of removing my right Fallopian tube completely. I was devastated by the news, doctors gave us a very low percentage rate in conceiving naturally. We never thought in a million years that we would have a hard time getting pregnant like we are experiencing.
We thought we could beat the odds and tried naturally for 2 years with no luck. In year 3 we decided to move forward with our first ever fertility treatments. We had 3 failed IUI cycles, none of them took. A part of me was so naive in thinking that because we are paying for treatment, this was going to work for us. Boy, was I wrong.
After my first two week wait, I saw the BFN (big fat negative) on the pregnancy test, I broke down so hard. Crying in the corner of the bathroom floor with all these racing thoughts that filled my mind, I felt like a failure as a wife for not being able to give my husband a child of our own. I felt anger and resentment towards my friends and family with their pregnancy announcements. And the strain that infertility had put on our marriage was extremely difficult. I put all the blame on myself, feeling worthless, broken, guilty, ashamed. I even questioned God, asking him if this was my punishment for my past discretions. After an hour of sitting in the corner crying on the bathroom floor, I picked myself up, looked at myself in the mirror, and wiped away the last few drops of tears in my eyes. I needed a break from everything, so I took some time off of social media, as I found myself comparing stories from other people to my own journey, which I learned rather quickly to stop doing, as it wasn’t healthy.
Some of the women in the TTC community called and texted me to check in and see how I was doing. That made me feel so good because it reminded me that I wasn’t alone. People were there to listen and lend out words of encouragement and that was just what I needed. I believe this entire journey and the warriors behind me have made infertility less scary for me. I’m grateful for this community and everyone I have met along the way who has welcomed me in with open arms.
During our break from fertility treatments, my husband and I had the opportunity to reassess our needs. We switched clinics and RE’s entirely and have decided to move forward with IVF - which will be taking place in March of 2021.
The main reason why I started to share my journey publicly is because I wanted to take control of the narrative, share my truth, normalize it, and empower others to do the same. Everyone’s journey to conceive will be different, but there are similarities in the emotional, mental, physical, and financial stress it puts on people. I was tired of feeling isolated, ashamed, and stigmatized - we as warriors, need better access to resources, treatment, and support. Overall, I want my story to be heard even if my voice shakes while sharing it.