Colleen wanted to be a mother for as long as she could remember. Like most teenage girls, she dreamed of how her life would unfold.
"I joked with my friends that I had a year to find a guy, get married and have a baby. The timeline I set out as a teenager said baby at 26," she said.
Unfortunately, life didn't go according to plan. She passed the age of 26, and was unwilling to settle down with any of the men she met. As she got closer to her mid-30s, it was time to make a decision. That being said, she knew one thing for certain: She still wants to be a mother.
Colleen had to make a choice. Would she continue trying to find the right person? Or would she have to opt for another route?
Becoming a mother
When she turned 34, she decided she would try artificial insemination. But doctors told her that her fallopian tubes may be blocked. Her chance of having a baby through this method was less than 5%. This was devastating news, but she wasn't ready to walk away just yet.
Colleen was given another option: In Vitro Fertilization (IVF).
Artificial insemination involves having a donor's sperm inserted in the body, while IVF is a process by which an egg is combined with sperm outside the body.
"This threw me for a loop," she recalled. "It was one thing for me to do artificial insemination on my own, but the leap to IVF was more than I was prepared for. It was scary to think of all the needles I would have to give myself and didn’t know if I could do it."
Colleen thought about it for four years, and then she finally made a life-changing decision.
There was truly no stopping Colleen from becoming a mother. After four years of careful consideration, she decided to bite the bullet for a few weeks so that she could spend the rest of her life as a mother.
Doctors taught her how to administer the injections, they checked her hormones, and began ultrasound tests. The process took a couple weeks, and became a regular part of her life, until her eggs were considered ready.
Luckily, all seven of her eggs survived, so they transferred the "rock star egg" and froze the good one.
But then came heartbreaking news a day later: her remaining eggs would not survive freezing.
"My egg had been downgraded and was no longer freezable," she remembered. "I could only afford to do this once. My eggs would literally now be in one basket. After a good cry I picked myself up and said, 'I have to be positive, this is going to work.'"
She was sent home and told not to buy a pregnancy test. When that day finally came to get tested, she recalled that it felt like the longest few hours of her life while waiting for the news of whether she's pregnant or not.
Hearing that her IVF treatment was successful was one of the happiest moments of Colleen's life. But then came the time to share the good news with her loved ones.
"I thought the clinic instructions were hard, that was nothing compared to what came next, I now have to share the news with my old-fashioned father," she said. "Needless to say, he wasn’t overly happy but was accepting of my decision to become a single-mom by choice."
While Colleen's sister and mother joined her for her regular appointments, she didn't announce on social media that she was going to become a mother.
"I didn’t want to answer questions I just wanted to enjoy my pregnancy and would deal with the questions later."
The best decision of her life
Colleen gave birth to a healthy baby boy named Alexander. The moment she held him, she knew she had the love of her life in her arms.
Now two years old, Colleen relishes the moments that her son makes a positive impact in her life.
"The first time he said mama ... a little piece of me will always remember that moment," she said. "He is my world, he is my life, I've never been happier than I've been in these past two years with him in my life, and I wouldn't change a second of it."
Now that she's living a happy and healthy life with her boy, Colleen can't help but feel grateful for where she is now.
"I don’t believe I would have ever been as happy as I am now if had I not done this. I also know how lucky I am. The average number of rounds of IVF before being successful is six, and my chances of success were 30%.
"Sometimes in life you just have to take that leap of faith and believe it is meant to be."