Share Your Story: Meet Donna Nguyen

Welcome to the Share Your Story series on InfertileAF, where we feature women and men willing to boldly share their personal insight into their diagnosis or their journey alongside Infertility.

Want to share your story? You can complete your interview HERE!
Without further ado, please meet Donna Leiter Nguyen

Name: Donna Leiter Nguyen
Age: 43

Location: Columbus, OH

Give us your quick bio: 

I remarried in April 2017. We actually met through mutual friends when I was married to my ex but we didn't start dating until well after my divorce in 2012, around 2014. I feel lucky to have met someone I feel so compatible with at this point in my life. He's truly the person who understands me the best.
What is your personal experience with Infertility?
We started trying December 2016. Because I was already 40 they put me on clomid for a few months and then we went straight to IUIs due to "unexplained infertility." We did 3 IUIs, and the last IUI we did in Feb 2018 I added injectables and none of it worked, although I did respond well to the medication. I went through so much physical and emotional turmoil that I knew I couldn't put us through IVF, spending anywhere from $12,000 - $24,000 (basically draining our entire savings) for one shot at something that had a low likelihood of working. I already had horrible guilt from the failed IUIs that I knew I couldn't contemplate the failure of an IVF cycle. That's when my husband said he wanted to quit and I did too

I am a South Korean adoptee and we looked a little into adoption but I didn't feel called to it like many people are, and again, it felt like a gamble to spend upwards of $30,000 for an international adoption and possibly not be placed. 
So after all of that, we decided our best option was to be IF Childfree

At your lowest point, how did Infertility impact you?

I fell in a depressive state from December 2017 until just this past March. I had suffered from depression before when my first marriage failed but this felt different from that depression. I went from feeling completely worthless and hating myself to just feeling neutral - not happy or sad about anything. My husband and our delayed our honeymoon to December 2017 and I honestly couldn't enjoy any of it which I deeply regret. 
I cut ties with someone I thought was a good friend who showed me zero empathy or understanding after she knew my trials and tribulations with infertility and yet sprung an announcement on me in public, catching me off guard. When I tried to explain to her that I just couldn't be the person she went to about her pregnancy discussions, she completely blew up on me. I'm kind of glad it happened because infertility has shown me who my true friends and allies are and she wasn't one of them. So while infertility has been one of the lowest points in my life, it has also helped me see things more clearly, too.

What was the turning point in your mindset? What helped you find happiness outside of Infertility?

When I started going to a therapist this past March and got back on a good birth control pill to regulate my hormones and periods. My doctor had put me on one type of pill, but it didn't work well for me at all and then I asked to be put back on my former pill and that worked wonders for me. I feel almost like my old self again. Having said that, I still have trouble seeing announcements or hearing about pregnancies in general. I'm trying my best to go back to my old attitude of "oh well isn't that nice for her" but I have a feeling that either is a long way off or I may never quite get there.

What actions did you take to help you heal?

Going to a good therapist and going back on the pill for hormone balance. It literally has changed my life to nearly what it once was before infertility.

What would you tell other people facing an Infertility diagnosis?

I was one of those women who did not dream of having children. I actively avoided pregnancy my whole life and during my whole first marriage. So when I finally started trying when I was 40 with my husband and was unsuccessful, I felt the irony of suddenly wanting something I have actively avoided and have dealt with a lot of bitterness and resentment that I didn't even want this to begin with and now I feel inadequate as a woman because I simply can't do what nearly every other woman takes for granted. While I feel nearly like my old self again, I will never be my old self again and that's been a hard pill to swallow.
Find your tribe. Find the people who support and embrace you. Cut ties with the ones who don't and won't understand you. Life is too short to be hanging onto any - family, friends, coworkers - who cannot show empathy and understanding in the face of someone else's pain. 

How do you views align with the InfertileAF Mission?

I definitely align with the idea of breaking down societal stigmas. That's why I am sharing my story :)


~Thank you, Donna, for sharing you amazing words with our audience. 

If you would like to be bold and share your perspective, be sure to submit your story HERE!