We had been trying to get pregnant for almost two years before we met with Dr. Roberts at the Pacific Centre for Reproductive Medicine (PCRM). We had a daughter who was also a challenge to conceive but nothing like what we were about to face. When I got the call that my appointment was scheduled, I was so excited, I thought “Finally someone is going to help us.” I remember walking in to the clinic with my husband and thinking how lovely the waiting room looked. My best friend, Tricia was my confidante, among many others, who helped me through the process. Having someone to confide in, without judgment, is likely the only reason I came out the other side without losing my mind. My biggest piece of advice to anyone facing infertility: Find a way to talk about it. Friends, support groups, therapy. It’s hard to have pain and feel like it’s not valid. I already had a daughter and so many times people would say “at least you have one” and I’d think maybe they’re right, maybe I don’t have a right to be sad. I couldn’t hide from it all though; I still had to do preschool pickups and see the pregnant moms and newborn siblings. As beautiful as it all is, it can be terribly heartbreaking right after a loss or failed treatment. Trying to explain to our daughter why mommy was really sick (during the ectopic pregnancy) or answering other tough questions was difficult, nobody can prepare you for that.
We started with the least aggressive treatments where I took medication to help my body ovulate and used ovulation predictor kits to ensure we were trying at the right time. After those failed to work, we eventually moved to intrauterine inseminations (IUI) and eventually IUI’s using more aggressive injectable medications. Injecting myself for the first time was the hardest part. It’s hard to override the biology that says don’t stick needles in your skin. But once you do it, you know you can do it again and you just push forward. After two rounds of IUI treatment, one of them resulted in an ectopic pregnancy. I could write a whole book on that, but instead I’ll summarize by saying it was the most terrifying, guilt induced time of my life. After I recovered from that, we decided to move forward with in vitro fertilization (IVF). The process was made so easy by the nurses and doctors. It’s not like the movies at all; I didn’t get moody, I didn’t get confused by my medications (there are instruction videos on the PCRM website that became regulars in my browser history). I did injections for a couple of weeks accompanied by the tiresome early morning monitoring ultrasounds and blood work. The egg retrieval was a breeze. Thankfully PCRM uses mild sedation, so to be honest, I only have snippets of memory from that day. When I was ready for the embryo transfer two months later, the process again was a breeze. The nurses and doctors take care of everything. I could also write a whole book about them, but I’ll summarize with they’re amazing! We did our embryo transfer in January, 2019 and we are currently 14 weeks pregnant as I type this. The treatments were hard mentally but nothing compared to the battle it took to get there.
The hardest part of it all was learning how to sit with sadness and still be a functioning, productive adult. It’s an internal struggle that anyone going through infertility can relate to. Luckily for me, I had friends and family and a benefits package that allowed me to see a counsellor to cope with the stress. I hope that by talking about it, we can normalize infertility and make it even easier to talk about in the future.