My IVF Story
By Nicole Wanamaker
We are 1 in 6.
That is the Canadian statistic of infertile couples. We were married in 2007 and in 2010 we decided that I would go off the birth control pill and if I got pregnant, I got pregnant.
In 2011 I had a miscarriage, I didn’t know I was pregnant until after the fact. It was a shock and a devastation, but we kept trying. In 2012 we started tracking my cycles and basal body temperature to try and pinpoint ovulation. A year later our doctor referred us to a fertility specialist because most couples get pregnant within a year of trying, I was beginning to wonder if something was wrong with me.
At this point I was starting to feel uncertain about my fertility and I started questioning myself as a woman and a wife, what if I couldn’t give my husband children? Would he want to stay with me? Would it be fair to expect him to? Why was my body having a hard time doing what a woman is designed to do? We were placed on the waiting list to see the fertility specialist. The specialist order many tests for us that took months to go through. It was found that both of my fallopian tubes were blocked. A surgery was scheduled to take out my left tube (which was severely damaged and blocked with scar tissue that had built up over the years) and they would attempt to clear my right tube, if not it would be removed as well, leaving me infertile. This was the hardest information to process, I once again started to question who I was and what my future held. I started losing faith in my marriage, I was heading down a path of negativity and I was starting to push my husband away.
May 20th 2015 I woke up from surgery and started sobbing, a cry I had never cried before.
I knew, I just KNEW, both my tubes had been removed.
They came in to talk to us and sure enough they were unable to clear my right tube and it was removed as well. Just like that, I no longer felt like a woman.
I had this literal and metaphoric hole in me that nobody could see or understand, that’s when the question “when are you having kids?” really hit hard under the surface and made me feel like I was suffocating.
I started isolating myself, distancing myself from friends and loved ones, I couldn’t attend baby showers, be around pregnant women or even bring myself to be happy for those around me that were pregnant. It was lonely. People made comments that had the best intentions like “you can always adopt”, “at least there is IVF” and “take my kids for the weekend, you’ll change your mind about wanting kids”, but they still stung.
After my surgery we got a call from the Fertility Centre with a consultation appointment to discuss our IVF options.
It was 4 months away, but it felt like forever. When your infertile or struggling with fertility everything happens at what seems like a snail’s pace, nothing is in your control and you are on someone else’s schedule. You learn a great deal about patience.
During this time I started an Instagram account solely for our journey, to capture this process like a diary. I tagged all my pictures with #ttc, #ttcjourney, #infertilitysuck and #ttccommunity and a world of support opened up to me! I started connecting with women who were going through the same challenges and emotions.
I connected with women all over the world who truly understood my struggles and I felt a place of belonging. Knowing I wasn’t alone made a huge difference in my mental state.
It softened the blow that infertility delivers and we supported each other through all our vulnerabilities, stresses, losses and successes. Our appointment came, we discussed our options and decided on a protocol for in vitro fertilization. I had to self inject a hormone that would make my ovaries produce multiple eggs and another injection that would hold off ovulation.
I started this process in November 2015.
I was monitored every day with an ultra sound and blood work for follicle growth. Once my follicles were ready I did another injection to tell my body to get ready to ovulate. 36 hours later we arrived at the fertility center for them to collect my eggs. My husband was sent off to do his part in his process then returned to join me for the collection of the eggs. Once over, we headed home and were told we would get a call in a few hours with our report.
The call finally came, they retrieved 16 eggs and a total of 7 eggs were fertilized and growing. On the day of transfer we chose to have two embryos transferred into my uterus to give us a higher chance of getting pregnant. We ended up with only one healthy embryo to freeze for possible future use.
Next came the dreaded two week wait for blood work to see if I was pregnant or not. These two weeks were full of both hope and doubt. A few days before my blood test I couldn’t take it anymore, I cave and took a home pregnancy test. I waited and waited then I saw two pink lines! The two pink lines we had hoped for, dreamed of and fought so hard for. I was pregnant and my blood test confirmed this!
We had an ultrasound two weeks later that revealed that we were pregnant with twins, both embryos had implanted and were growing beautifully.
On June 5th 2016 our boy/girl twins were born 10 weeks early and had a month long stay in the NICU, but the day we brought them home was a real celebration, we had beat infertility. It was freeing of something we had carried heavy in our hearts for 6 long years. However we both had the yearning to bring our 3rd embryo home.
When the twins were 16 months old we did an FET (frozen embryo transfer) whether or not we got pregnant our embryo was home, where it belonged. To our delight that embryo stayed with us and is now our beautiful 6 month old baby girl.
We are now a family of 5 after a long journey.
They were worth every heartache, stressful day, sad night, moments of doubt, every test, my surgery, every needle, every dollar. They were worth it all.
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