As told to Brandi Lytle
As so often occurs, I connected with Catrina on Instagram. A fellow wife, dog mom, and aunt, Catrina’s CNBC story involves infertility and life after… But why don’t I let Catrina tell you how she is Creating a New plan Bravely & Courageously…
The Story of Catrina . . .
You are so much more than childless not by choice. Tell us about yourself!
I’m Catrina, and I’ve been married to Randy for almost 20 years now. We have two dachshunds, Twix and Paisley. I work full time at a dental office, and I’m also a rep with Monat Global. I’ve always been into hair. I was the girl who braided and curled my friends’ hair. Randy is an outside salesman with Summit Electric. He basically supplies all things electrical to new builds, offshore, and land rigs.
Randy and I met online in 1999 in a yahoo chat room. (Yup, we’re that old! There were not dating sites at that time!) We chatted via phone for two weeks. Then, he drove the four hours from South Louisiana to North Louisiana to meet me in person. We hung out all weekend, plus he met all my family & friends. The following weekend, I drove down to meet his friends & family. One weekend as he was driving up, he said we needed to talk. I thought for sure he was going to break up with me, due to our long distance relationship. Nope! He wanted me to move in with him!
So, six weeks into our relationship, I packed up my life and moved South. Nine months later, we eloped & got married in St. Lucia! We were blissfully married and kids were not on our radar.
How did you become childless not by choice? (Infertility, chance, circumstance?)
Trigger Warning: Candid talk about infertility treatments
When Randy’s brother had their first and chose us to be the godparents, we were elated! We had been trying low key for a year or two, but nothing happened. My ob/gyn kept saying you’re healthy–just keep better track and take these supplements. Even though we had been TTC, we hadn’t been trying consistently. Knowing we had a vacation coming or an event, we would plan to not get pregnant during certain months to accommodate our plans.
In my mid 30s, I finally switched doctors. My new ob/gyn ran all the typical tests and wanted to start me on Clomid. Randy had a gut feeling it was him because, in his previous marriage, they had briefly tried and nothing happened. He was tested, and we discovered his male factor infertility. Also, no one ever said by 35, I was “advanced maternal age,” as far as fertility is concerned. Yes, I knew I came into this world with a set number of eggs, but never dreamed I’d be considered advanced maternal age.
When we got in with the RE, more tests were run. Randy was referred to a male infertility specialist in New Orleans, two hours away. Long story short, after months of trying to get healthier sperm and eggs, ICSI was our only option. At 30k and 5% chance of success, we walked away childless. I went into a deep depression, contemplating suicide. Because of this, I went through two years of grief counseling. Adapting to a new life plan takes daily work.
How are you Creating a New plan Bravely and Courageously?
It took me a few years to be able to fully open up and share about our journey. I grew up in an addict home with domestic violence, and secrets are the first thing you learn to keep. You learn to not talk about yourself and what’s going on with you. It was HARD for me to open up and talk about something so intimate and private. I had never known anyone in my close circle to speak of infertility. But I felt like I needed to share–to show that we were figuring out life after infertility, life being childless.
Have you figured out your Plan B? If so, what is it?!
Plan B is to live our best life! Our marriage took a toll through our infertility journey. So, we wanted to enjoy our relationship again. Now, we are better than ever! We can even joke about our infertility. Though, we still cry about it, too. We are more communicative with our feelings. Also, we are getting our spontaneity back! We have a Jeep that we love to take on sunset cruises around the back-country roads. We are very present in our godchildren’s lives, as well as our other nieces and nephews.
It will always be an ongoing work in progress to keep moving forward when your life’s plans totally get changed! We have days we wobble. But we also have incredible days! We focus on having the best life we can.
Thank you for bravely sharing your truth, Catrina!
Catrina recently started a blog, sharing her life after infertility story. Check out “Celebrate with Catrina” here.
Fabulous one, if anything Catrina wrote resonates with you, please tell her about it in the comments.
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Featured Photo: Created by me, using Canva