I could write several volumes of our (in)fertility journey, but there are moments that I relive more than others. Those early days of finding out that this would be our story. That actual, awful, dreadful day, where our world was walloped. We had stopped using birth control late 2014 and started actively trying in early 2016. My husband worked at a mine on a fly-in fly-out schedule, so we were a bit more patient as we did not get to “try” every month. But by August 2017, we had recorded 12 failed cycles and had started doing the generic round of fertility tests.
I remember everything about the day we found out we were infertile. It was December 4th, 2017. Our appointment was at 3:35 p.m. At 3, I was putting my boots on and saying goodbye to my colleagues. They were all well aware of our struggle. They were teasing me that I would be pregnant with triplets by the time the new year rolled around. I told them I had a speech prepared to convince the doctor to let me try Gonadotrophins with an IUI rather than Femara or Clomid. Being the Type A that I am, I knew we would be categorized somewhere in the unexplained infertility category, given the research I had done. I also assumed that they would propose an IUI with Femara.
I remember the way our OB/GYN’s face changed when she sat down and pulled open our file with all of our test results (Sperm test, hysterosalpingography, blood work). I remember feeling like someone had suddenly strapped a heater to my face. My cheeks were red, my heart was pounding through my chest. My husband’s sperm test was perfect. Tears welled up in my eyes, before she could even begin explaining my results. It was obviously bad, but how bad? She told me that my bloodwork showed I had an extremely low AMH level (0.22) and an abnormally high FSH level (11). I had no idea what those numbers meant but she told me someone my age (barely 27) should have at least a 2.0 AMH and a 6 or 7 FSH. So much for my speech. By this point, my shirt was soaked from the tears, and I was gripping my husband’s hand so tight as if it was the only thing keeping me from falling unconscious. Diminished Ovarian Reserve. No time to lose, IVF is the best option. Consult a Reproductive Endocrinologist 1000 km away from our tiny rural town. Follicle count ultrasound right away.
I remember calling my mom from the elevator and frantically telling her I could never make her a grandmother and was heading for an ultrasound to check my egg count. She was by my side 30 minutes later. I remember begging my husband to divorce me, on the drive home, so that he could find someone who could give him biological children.
I remember my first consult with my RE who told me the most important number was my age and that we had that on our side. I remember wincing as my husband injected me with stims when we began our first fresh IVF cycle. I remember my best friend handing me my first ultrasound picture after our embryo transfer. I remember the disbelief of the first, faint positive pregnancy test and the agony that ensued for two weeks as we slowly watched my levels climb but not double.
I remember seeing her heartbeat for the first time, seeing her wiggle for the first time, the first kick and the first but not last trip to the high-risk pregnancy ward.
I remember hearing her sneeze and cry as she made her entrance into this world, 4 weeks early (Type A like mom). I remember crying with my husband as we held our 4lb miracle and thanking him for not giving up on us, on me, on her.
Every part of this journey is tough and more often than not it is unbearable. We are thankful every single day that we beat infertility. If you are reading this and are one of us, the 1 in 6; I see you, I am sorry this is happening to you, do not lose hope.