Number of children: 1
Age of child: 8 months
We started trying in January 2009. The global economy had melted down, Obama had just been inaugurated & I was 28. Seemed like a good time to try for a baby as we’d been together for 5 years!
Months passed. Every 29 days I’d wake up to my period. Finally, by August 2010 the doctor (our GP) FINALLY agreed to do testing (please note: Do not wait this long! A year of trying if under 35 or 6 months if over 35, then please get checked out). I’d tried running less, acupuncture, and the pink bible of fertility ‘Taking Charge of your Fertility’.
It turned out we were dealing with severe male factor. My husband had an undescended testicle at birth which turned into testicular cancer in 2005 – luckily it was caught early and was surgically removed with no radiation or chemotherapy.
To say he didn’t take it well is a bit of an understatement. I threw my hands up as he didn’t want to do fertility treatment, and I took a better job in a big city 7 hours away. After nearly 2 years apart, confirmation that IVF with ICSI – the process of finding the few good sperm and injecting them directly into the egg – was our only hope, I’d basically given up on the thought of having kids, but found a job locally and moved back.
Surprise! I was naturally pregnant! By accident! I had started gaining weight despite working out a lot and eating clean, and that was my tip off. We started getting excited and saw the local midwife as she was recommend. Unfortunately, she delayed the prenatal testing ultrasound (I had gone for the blood test), and we started telling people after 12 weeks. If I’d had the ultrasound I would have known the pregnancy wasn’t viable. At 15 weeks I started bleeding and it was confirmed it was a missed miscarriage, and the baby had stopped growing at 10 weeks. I was given misoprostol and laboured in the ER. It was heartbreaking. The fetus was a girl and had trisomy 22.
Now we wanted to have a baby and got a referral to the fertility clinic again. More tests in the spring of 2013 with an IVF start in the fall. We went for the seminar in August 2013 and surprise! Pregnant again!
But 4 days after the blood test at the clinic I started bleeding. A miscarriage at 6.5 weeks. Luckily the doctor thought it was weird considering there was no family history and everything looked good on my side, so she ordered the Repeated Pregnancy Loss testing.
I got 2 calls the next day after my blood was taken (12 vials), one from the specialist and the other from our family doctor. It turns out my feeling down, depression and weight issues that had cropped up in the last couple years were due to Hashimoto’s disease. It’s an autoimmune disease that attacks the thyroid and the most common cause of hypothyroidism in the West.
So I started on medication and started to feel better, lost weight. Unfortunately, between long term infertility, two miscarriages and thyroid disease my work and social life was suffering greatly. going from a great to poor performance review in one year. It’s hard to explain this in a professional setting.
I started the IVF medications in March 2014. It’s very expensive, stressful, and the side effects are crazy. I was monitored in a city 4 hours away at the satellite clinic, and had to travel to a bigger clinic 7 hours away for the IVF-ICSI. Waiting rooms at fertility clinics are silent places, despite everyone going through the same thing. The most support is made through online connections.
Everything looked great but despite having 15-20 large follicles during monitoring only 5 eggs were retrieved. I was heartbroken. We’d put nearly $10,000, 5 years and so much heartbreak. But they were good eggs and 4/5 went to day 5. We transferred one and it worked!
I’m sure at this point you’ve realized we have weird luck. There was a bleeding scare at 7 weeks due to the progesterone suppository. We chose the new NIPT testing due to the ease and accuracy – and decided we were okay with non fetal issues such as Down’s or Kleinfelters, but that I could not handle a fatal trisomy again. Everything came out fine, and we were told it was a girl. But at the 20 week ultrasound, it was noted the placenta was low and the umbilical cord had one artery instead of two.
So I was put on pelvic rest (and my small office shuttered down due to lack of work, this was a blessing in some ways, although not financially). I was running, swimming and lifting before the diagnosis and had to stop high impact and lifting more than 10 lbs. Oh, and no sex.
We’d been given the preemie speech due to both conditions, that she may not grow properly and need to come out early via c-section. The week before the scheduled c-section the placenta finally moved. I ended up overdue, and after 11 days over, 60 hours of labour and an emergency c-section due to DVT in my leg, we finally met our beautiful daughter. And she is so gorgeous, even as a newborn. And large.
I gained weight, lost muscle and my upper thighs and tummy have stretchmarks from the last few weeks of pregnancy (honestly by week 38, I thought I was in the clear for no stretch marks). My confidence in my body was at an all time low. It’s coming back now as I take my baby out in the stroller and hiking, and am back lifting, but it’s hard to accept at times, especially when it seems everyone else in town in back in shape so quickly with their tiny babies (lots of 6 lb newborns). But I can workout, see the dermatologist, etc. I know there are lots of women who would gladly take some weight and stretchies to have a baby in their arms, and I think about how lucky we are to finally have a beautiful baby after so much time and heartbreak.