In October 2015 I went off the pill, we were so excited for what could potentially come over the next year. January 2017 and still no pregnancy so I went to my doctor. She was dismissive and belittling, which set the tone for all the doctors to come. She told me to come back in 6 months. Between July 2017 and October 2019, we sat on countless waiting lists. I really had to advocate for myself a lot along the way and demand certain referrals, which eventually led to our referral to Atlantic Assisted Reproductive Therapies (AART). We saw countless doctors along the way and not one treated us seriously or gave us the care we deserved. I got the call with an appointment for October 3, 2019, 2 weeks before our wedding.
It was the first time we felt like we were being heard and cared for. We were sent home with all kinds of requisitions for tests. I was a ball of stress, I wanted to get the tests done ASAP, but also was in the middle of putting a wedding together with no professional help. February 20, 2020, we got a diagnosis. One simple test told the doctors everything they needed to know. We essentially have no chance of conceiving naturally. Our only route was In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Intracytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI), which I was not expecting.
Most people will tell you their fertility journey started with Intrauterine Insemination (IUI), but it just wasn’t going to work with our diagnosis. IVF is incredibly costly, physically and emotionally painful, intrusive, leaves you with the difficult decision of what to do with any left-over embryos when you’re done growing your family, and the biggest fear of all - it might not even work. So, we spent the next month getting all the necessary tests to complete the IVF checklist, ran to the bank, booked the time off work and were all geared up to start mid March 2020. And then COVID hit.
It only ended up delaying things by 3 months, but those 3 months felt like an eternity with no end in sight. I fell into one of my deepest depressions to date, and I felt so much guilt over it because people all over the world were dealing with far worse. July 11, 2020, I started the dreaded injections. If you were to ask me prior to this what was my biggest fear, I would have said needles. I had a severe phobia. But exposure therapy is real, I don’t even flinch at the thought of a needle anymore. I have had so many injections, IV’s, and bloodwork.
July 22, 2020, I had my egg retrieval. I had 22 follicles on my scan, only 10 held eggs, only 6 were mature, and only 5 fertilized. We were told only 50% of that fertilized number will make it to day 5 embryos. On July 27 we went in for our fresh embryo transfer. We got the news that all 5 embryos survived! I could not believe it. 1 was being prepared for the transfer, and the other 4 were being prepared to be frozen. On August 3, 2020, I took a home pregnancy test and for the first time in my life I saw a positive pregnancy test. Just shy of 5 years after deciding we wanted children. The joy I felt over the next month was unmatched.
But it was not an easy month. I was faced with bleeding, ER visits, an early ultrasound that didn’t look too promising. But through it all my beta HCG numbers continued to double normally so I convinced myself all would be fine. September 10, 2020. The saddest day of our lives. The day it was confirmed I was miscarrying. We spent so long trying to get pregnant, only to have it ripped away from us. It’s not fair. I could either take the medication misoprostol or have a D&C surgery. Surgery came with risks of damaging my uterus. I didn’t want to take that risk given all we’ve been through. I had 4 rounds of the medication over the next couple of weeks, and every night of it was torture. I have never felt worse pain. It’s the pain of labour contractions, but without the joy at the end. Only to end up needing the surgery in the end. I was devastated.
October 5, 2020, it was finally over. Thankfully, there was no complications and my cycle started back up 2 weeks later. Even though we were still grieving, we knew we didn’t want to wait any longer than we had to try again. So, I had more required tests, and my body was ready to start again. I spent the month of December grieving what should have been the happiest Christmas season and full of new medications making me feel crazy. There were so many emotions it’s hard to look back on. Even though we had our transfer to look forward to, it felt more like a cloud over our head. What if it doesn’t work? What if I miscarry again? It was no longer a joyous time. It was full of uncertainty and fear, something we didn’t feel the first time around.
January 5, 2021, I had my frozen embryo transfer. January 8, I took a home pregnancy test that I had laying around. I fully expected it to be negative that early. It was positive. 3 days after my transfer I was staring at a positive pregnancy test. I didn’t experience the same joy as the first time. It just continued to feel like this heavy dark cloud. I now know what can go wrong. I was able to get an early ultrasound at 6 weeks 6 days to make sure everything was okay. I went into that appointment with so much fear, I’ve never had a happy experience in that room. My husband was able to come with me for the first time, through all of this he was not once ever in an appointment. Due to COVID he wasn’t able to be there when his future children were conceived, or when I was impregnated. The ultrasound tech put the wand on my stomach and immediately said “there’s a baby with a heartbeat”.
The best moment of our lives. Baby measured exactly 6W 6D and had a heartbeat of 146 and we got to experience it together. So far everything has been great, and each milestone makes it feel a little more real. It’s hard to fathom actually having a baby, but everyday is one day closer to that reality. Our rainbow baby will be in our arms September 2021 ❤️. I feel incredibly grateful to be where we are. One IVF cycle, 2 transfers, and 3 frozen embryos for the future. Even though we had our bumps, I read so many stories of people doing cycle after cycle. My heart goes out to them.