I hesitated to write this post as it’s so personal but I wanted to share my story about trying to conceive as infertility affects so many women and can sometimes feel very lonely. I am writing this post to hopefully give some hope to everyone struggling to conceive but if this may be a trigger for you please feel free to skip this one as I know it can be a very sensitive topic. This is a long emotional story that spans 4 years so please bare with me.
Let’s start from the beginning
Becoming a mother has been a dream of mine for many years. My husband and I got married in the Fall of 2015 and I was ready to get started after the honeymoon! He wanted to wait at least a year so we could enjoy just being married couple. The year following our wedding ended up being a busy one. We bought our first home and adopted our dog Peter. That was enough change for me in one year!
Shortly after our 1st anniversary we decided to start trying for a baby. For some reason a part of me always thought I would have problems conceiving because I’ve had troublesome periods. I do try to think in a positive tone in order to manifest what I want in my life, but there was always this feeling that conceiving wouldn’t be easy. We had tried for about 2 years and then decided to see a Fertility Doctor. We did the first round of testing and everything came back normal except that I had a uterine fibroid. I had been diagnosed with the fibroid in 2014 so it wasn’t a surprise. It caused me to have horrible periods every month. Our Doctor suggested I have it removed surgically, as there just wasn’t enough space for an embryo to implant even if it was successfully fertilized.
Surgery and Next Steps
In May 2018 I went in for a Laparoscopic Myomectomy to remove the fibroid. The Doctor was able to remove about 90% of it and the difference in my period was night and day. It was a fairly easy surgery and recovery, although it’s still risky as there is always a chance for complications. I took the next few months to recover and then it was time to get back at it! I was tracking my cycle everyday to know when we would have the best chance of conceiving. It became exhausting. The disappointment each month was starting to weigh heavy and I didn’t want to waste any more time. We went back to the fertility clinic to get another assessment. Right away the Doctor suggested we start with Intrauterine Insemination (IUI). IUI is a procedure that puts sperm directly inside your uterus, which helps healthy sperm get closer to your egg. We ended up doing 3 rounds of this procedure. It’s a simpler treatment when compared to IVF but you still have to take fertility drugs ( via injections) and it’s still very expensive. I was making many early morning visits to the clinic before work doing ultrasounds and bloodwork. Luckily my co-workers, who are some of my closest friends, knew what I was doing and always did their best to support me through this.
We completed our last IUI in January 2019. When the results were negative the Doctor called us in and suggested that we start IVF immediately due to my age, I was turning 34 that May. The news was devastating. I never expected that it would come to this. My husband comforted me and we just decided to deal with it for what it was and accepted that this was the next step in our journey.
We started IVF my next cycle so there really wasn’t anytime in between to dwell on the situation. Back to the fertility clinic for many rounds of ultrasounds and blood work. More hormone injections were needed every morning to ensure my body would produce as many eggs as possible for the retrieval process. By this point I was so used to giving myself needles. It was a lot to remember every morning and was a little nerve wracking as I had to mix one of the solutions and just keeping track of all the doses was overwhelming. I read the instructions with every injection to make sure I was doing it correctly and then still doubted myself.
In Canada every woman’s first round of IVF treatments are covered by the Canadian government. This means any embryo’s harvested from the initial round of IVF treatments and used for future IVF transfers are covered. So thankfully the cost of the entire procedure was covered but the drugs were not. I didn’t end up calculating the total cost but I can estimate it cost us approximately $6,000-$7,000. My insurance plan only covered $2500 of fertility drugs per lifetime. This amount was long gone and was spent on some of the IUI drugs.
Egg Retreival & Embryo Transfer
Four days before my egg retrieval I got devastating news that my best friend had suddenly passed away. I was in shock. I had just spoken to her a couple of days ago. She was the type of person that always rooted for you and she always gave me such supportive feedback on anything happening in my life. She knew all about my fertility struggles and not being able to share what was about to unfold over the next few weeks was crushing. I miss her so much but I truly believe that she was there with me through this process.
The egg retrieval was very uncomfortable. I went into the clinic with a swollen abdomen from all the follicle stimulation (hormone drugs). I was given some anesthesia and the procedure lasted about 20 minutes. I was sedated but awake during the procedure. My husband and a nurse were distracting me through the whole thing but it was still very painful. After the procedure we went home with strict protocols to follow to ensure I didn’t develop Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome. If I did develop it that would mean we would have to wait to recover and try the embryo transfer on my next cycle. Now all we had to do was wait to hear how many eggs were retrieved. We got a call the following day, we had gotten 15 eggs! I was so happy as it seemed like that was a great number! As the days passed we were advised that only 10 of the eggs were mature enough to fertilize. It’s ok, 10 is still a good number we thought.
The day of the embryo transfer our Doctor told us that only 2 of our precious embryos had survived. That was a bit crushing. Not what I expected to hear but we only needed one to implant. The procedure was extremely uncomfortable mainly because I had to have a very full bladder so that the Doctor could see clearly on the ultrasound. I don’t know how to explain it but when the embryo was transferred I had an overwhelming sense that my friend was there with me and I was receiving life energy. It was unlike anything I’ve ever experienced.
14 days later, at the end of March 2019 I received an email after doing another round of morning bloodwork. The difference today was that this was our first pregnancy test. I got the email and waited all day to come home and read the results with my husband. I asked him to read the results as I was so nervous. Unbelievably they were positive! We were pregnant! We both broke down and felt a huge sense of relief to know that everything we had done had resulted in a positive.
We had a second test two days after to check my levels and we were still testing positive! It was surreal. We were so lucky to get these results our first try. I know it can take some couples many rounds and some couples will end up going down another path beyond IVF. Whatever the path is just know that it’s the one that was meant for you. I am so grateful for the nursing staff and my Doctor at the clinic for making our dreams come true.
If you’re still reading this thanks for sticking around, I told you it would be a long one. If you are struggling with infertility please feel free to reach out to me. I’d be happy to chat about my experience.