DEALING WITH THE IGNORANCE

 

Generally  with this blog I have tried to make it something positive, something filled with hope and a brighter outlook. However, today’s blog is brought to you by pure anger at the ignorance surrounding infertility. The amount of misinformation out there is astronomical and with today’s post I’m hoping that I can bring a little clarity and a little education on the subject. I’m also hoping that maybe just one person will change their thought process pertaining to infertility not being a true illness.

I’ve been pretty open for the vast majority of our journey. I shared about our miscarriage before we were ever diagnosed as a couple dealing with infertility.  Infertility affects 1 in 6 canadian couples. It’s not rare, it’s not uncommon and it’s not something to be ashamed of or be shamed about. Infertility isn’t just the inability to conceive, it’s also loss. 1 in 4 pregnancies has the capability to result in miscarriage and sometimes this is just due to genetic issues, or it’s due to an underlying cause, such as PCOS, Endometriosis, or other infertility related illnesses. I have never or will never be ashamed of the hand we have been dealt with this process. It has made me grow in to a strong, compassionate, empathetic and brave person. I have looked absolute heartache and despair in the eye and I have risen above. But, I do suppose I am naive to expect the same out of the rest of the population. Infertility is not something you can truly grasp until you’re going through it. It’s like trying to run a race in the ocean, when everyone else is running on solid ground. You in no way have the means to keep up and constantly feel as tho you are being left behind. It’s hard to grasp that unless you’re physically in it. So while I don’t always expect people to understand, I do expect them to be kind. To be compassionate. To not be cruel, just because it doesn’t affect them. I expect the same level of respect as I give out. While I don’t understand what it’s like to be a member of the LGBT community, and I will never understand the pain they face from those who are less than kind, I can be compassionate and acknowledge that their grief is real. Realistically you can insert anything in to that slot and it still makes the same sense. Disability, domestic violence, cancer, racism, religious persecution, etc… Just because I haven’t experienced it first hand doesn’t make it not real or not deserving of my compassion. But often times it feels, to me, and many others sharing my plight, that infertility is seen as less deserving because we’re making the choice to want a family of our own or because it has to do with women’s health or reproductive organs.

Now stick with me here, I’m not saying that my battle with PCOS and infertility is as dire as terminal lung cancer. We all know I’ve seen the lowest of lows of what that disgusting disease can do to the human body, mind and soul. I watched my mother become a shell of who she once was. I don’t believe the cancer was her fault, it was just some shitty luck, but she did smoke for close to 40 years, so we all can agree that definitely didn’t help the situation. Sure when she started smoking at 16 there were no concerns. I mean that was the same era that they said pesticides would have no negative effects on your health. And I also know that the addiction to nicotine that comes with smoking is a hard beast to break. But we know the risks, the potential outcome, yet people still choose to smoke. What I am trying to say is that my illness is real. It’s no less real than cancer, diabetes, depression, the list goes on. However, the second an illness correlates to a female reproductive organ, it immediately makes me lesser. A man with erectile dysfunction, which can just so happen to be a form of infertility, can go to the pharmacy, give his insurance card and fill his prescription for Viagra, and have his insurance cover it. Bing, Bang, Boom, erectile dysfunction all but solved and a baby he can make and no one bats an eye. A woman, who needs IVF to be able to conceive is out thousands of dollars, in most cases, and the second she looks in to getting a grant or tax breaks or asks to have it covered under insurance she is basically lambasted and told that it’s no ones responsibility but her own to create her family.

The reason this blog today is what it is has to do with the fact that yesterday, CBC published a story that those of us who are dealing with infertility can retroactively claim expenses from fertility treatment for up to 10 years prior and would be given a tax break. A TAX BREAK. Not a refund of all costs, not that anyone else would be taxed for our treatments, but that we’d be given a slight break in what we have to pay because our medical, yes, MEDICAL, expenses were higher than a great majority of other Canadians. Now you can just imagine how this was received by certain members of the populous. Those keyboard warriors who hide behind a screen and break down any little bit of positivity allotted to others were out in full savage force. And because clearly this is something that is very sacred and important to me, I got involved. I am open about what we’re going through, like I have said, I am in no way ashamed of it. So my hope was to educate some people on just how heartbreaking this whole process can be. My comment received a good deal of support from other women, who clearly are running the same ocean race I am. It also received a lot of support from people, men and women, who are just kind souls. People who believe that all individuals are deserving of compassion, whether they have walked in my shoes or not. It was, for a moment, truly inspiring. However, like anything on the internet, it didn’t take long for the negative to show. One guy told me that he shouldn’t be obligated to pay extra taxes for me to conceive(clearly he does not know what a tax break is and that it won’t increase his personal taxes), and to get over myself and to not have kids. Someone else made a comment that my infertility was a dysfunction, not a true illness. Another insinuated that my PCOS and my infertility are separate and should be treated separately, but the last time I checked, my PCOS is the CAUSE of my infertility. The same guy who told me to get over myself then threw out the “why don’t you just adopt then” line. This is something that EVERY and I mean EVERY person with infertility and undergoing treatment hears. However, most people have no idea just how hard this actually is. Adopting a child is not like going to the SPCA and getting a cat and a dog, where you leave same day with something in your arms. It can be years, and I mean years. I know people who have been waiting to adopt for upwards of 10 years. It can also be incredibly costly, depending on whether its public, private or foreign adoption. Lawyer fees, travel expenses, not to mention the fact that often times you truly don’t know what to expect, what that child has been through, emotionally or physically. So then people say well just foster and adopt that child. Again, not that simple. The wait lists for adoptions are so high that the chances of you being able to adopt the child you potentially spend years fostering is incredibly slim. They have a better chance of going back to an unfit birth parent than they do staying with their foster family.

I have PCOS. I did not choose for my body to not function the way it is supposed to. My ovaries don’t work the same as a healthy woman’s does. Due to this, my risk of developing uterine cancer is 3x as high as a woman who has a regular, monthly cycle. If I don’t receive medical intervention to force me to ovulate, my uterine lining builds up, causing cells to have the potential to overgrow and become cancerous. As a woman with PCOS, my risk of developing diabetes is higher, due to the fact that PCOS can make a woman insulin resistant. I also have an increased risk of developing heart disease. I did not choose to have any of those risk factors. I don’t smoke, I rarely drink, I try and live a healthy lifestyle, yet because of an ILLNESS, or if you prefer, a disease, as categorized by the WHO, which I did nothing to bring on, not only can I not have children the conventional way, I also have those lovely potential illnesses to look forward to on top of my current PCOS.

Another thing that my illness took from me was the child I was pregnant with before I even knew what I had. That child was 1 in a million, for me to be able to conceive naturally, and PCOS took them from me. I most certainly didn’t ask for that. I still grieve for that child today, for the what ifs, for the life that could have been. PCOS is also likely the cause of why I developed uterine polyps and was forced to have them surgically removed and then suffer through weeks of wondering if they would come back as cancerous. No I certainly didn’t choose that. And I definitely didn’t choose to be more prone to depression/ppd because of my infertility. A study done by Harvard medical has correlated that infertility and unsuccessful treatments are linked.

“But while the causes of infertility are overwhelmingly physiological, the resulting heartache — often exacerbated by the physical and emotional rigors of infertility treatment — may exact a huge psychological toll. One study of 200 couples seen consecutively at a fertility clinic, for example, found that half of the women and 15% of the men said that infertility was the most upsetting experience of their lives. Another study of 488 American women who filled out a standard psychological questionnaire before undergoing a stress reduction program concluded that women with infertility felt as anxious or depressed as those diagnosed with cancer, hypertension, or recovering from a heart attack.” Burns LH. “Psychiatric Aspects of Infertility and Infertility Treatments,” Psychiatric Clinics of North America (Dec. 2007): Vol. 30, No. 4, pp. 689–716. There it is, in writing, black and white. The stress and depression associated with infertility is comparable to that associated with a cancer diagnosis or recovery after a heartache. My illness is real. It is pain. It is anguish. It is despair. And it is tangible. It’s not something I made up in my head, but it is something that affects me every day.

So, to the people, who so cruelly say “just get over it” or “a child is a privilege, not a right” or “if you can’t have children naturally then you aren’t meant to have any”, I truly hope you someday learn the value of empathy. The value of the phrase “if you have nothing nice to say then don’t say anything at all”. Because, personally, I am stronger than your closed minded views, of your complete lack of compassion for something you cannot begin to fathom the anguish of. However, out there there is someone who your words will utterly and completely cause unimaginable harm. Your words could be the thing that sends that woman or man over the edge of despair, which they may not be able to come back from. Being kind take the same amount of effort as being cruel, but only one of those things will be of value and make this world a better place.

All things worth having take a little time!

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So it’s been a while since I’ve sat down and focused on writing an update. Life has been more than hectic since June and other things just always took priority. I had honestly hoped that by now I’d be making a baby announcement, but that’s not yet the case. While it’s hard to still be struggling I know we’re on a good path.

The last entry was just after my surgery was cancelled. I felt pretty low at that point. I had psyched myself up so much to finally be moving forward and then suddenly, once again, things weren’t going as planned. I like things to be consistent, but if the military life and baby making have taught me anything it’s that life has a way of throwing you for a loop.

Surgery finally went ahead on June 13th and it was a breeze. My recovery was so smooth and I felt fine from the second I was rolled in to recovery. I’m definitely very thankful that it was easy as it was, because I am a big baby when it comes to uterus pain. I’m sure pregnancy and labour will give me quite the run for my money. The couple weeks after surgery were really frustrating tho, there were a few miscommunications between our fertility clinic and myself and I felt really let down because we missed out on doing our first medicated cycle because my phone calls didn’t get returned or passed on to our doctor. The thing about fertility treatment is that it’s all very time sensitive. It’s not just a matter of “well you can just start tomorrow instead”. If you miss a day, you miss a whole month. a whole month of trying because of one measly day. However, rather than dwell on it and freak out I just let it slide. The next few weeks after that are sort of a blur, Aaron and I didn’t even really try, because you see, my grandmother passed away and all the BS of being forgotten by the clinic was overshadowed by a greater loss. She, aside from Aaron and I, was the person looking most forward to us having babies. Both our families are really excited about us moving forward with treatment in the hopes of making a baby Bell, but my nanny wanted it more than anyone. I mean as it is, she once asked me to just forget getting married and make babies instead. It’s been really hard these last 6 weeks thinking about bringing a baby in to this world without her. Losing my mom was hard enough, but to then lose nan too, within the span of 3 years, well, it’s been a lot.

But you see, as with anything else in life, I didn’t let it break me. I knew nan would want me to continue moving forward so that’s what we’ve done. And almost like she was pulling strings from up above, the Monday morning after she passed away my phone rang. It was our doctor finally getting back to me. He wanted to start us moving forward with medicated cycles. So on  August 9th I started my first Femara cycle at 2.5mg… I was excited and hopeful and cautiously optimistic. Unfortunately the hope was short lived. Over the last 2.5 years I’ve really gotten to learn my body and my cycles and I could tell that the meds weren’t working. I started researching and found that most women with PCOS don’t respond to 2.5mg, but I didn’t fault my doctor doctor starting us low, he was just being thorough to see if I was part of the minority it did work for. Aaron and I still “tried” like it was doing what it was supposed to do, but we didn’t stress or force it, if the mood wasn’t there then it wasn’t there and we moved on to the next day. He and I really talked things out a lot before starting the medicated cycles. We both agreed we’d be better about it all, not stressing, not forcing , just get back to having fun, like when we first started trying way back in 2014. Now that’s not to say we didn’t “do the deed” on nights we didn’t really want to, it’s a bit of a necessity, but we listened to each other and didn’t just brush off feelings.

See, one of the things about infertility is that no matter how much you “just relax” or “just have fun” that won’t fix an issue. The having fun is more for our sanity rather than our reproductive health.You cannot cure a fertility issues with fun and relaxation, the same as you can’t cure diabetes with hugs and kisses.

So, I had blood work done to monitor the medicated cycle, that way our doctor would know what was going on. My poor arms, let me tell you, they took a beating. Jokingly Aaron said to me “well it’s comforting seeing blood draws leave you in pain, now I know you won’t become a heroin junky”….. Ya, that’s my husband….. Blood work was done on day 14 to get a baseline reading and then again on day 21. Meanwhile I was doing my own tracking with ovulation tests and never once saw a positive. I would get “close” and then stay “close”, but the meds just didn’t push it over the edge. I opted to do blood work again on day 28, in case I was just a “late bloomer” and I stopped testing at home because I was making myself insane just seeing that test line never change, not to mention that the cost of the tests that work best for me are $40 for a pack of 9….. :-/…. Ya, making babies is expensive when it’s not easy. Anyways, that all gets us up to today. Our doctor is getting ready to go off for a bit on Paternity leave, but he made sure we were all squared away before he left. His nurse also gave me the game plan, and confirmed what I knew, I did not ovulate on the 2.5mg. So as of today, September 7th, we are getting ready to work towards another medicated cycle with a higher dose. And if this dosage doesn’t work our doctor has a couple more tricks up his sleeve.

I am NO WHERE near ready to give up. I am hopeful to move forward with a higher dosage with a positive heart and mind. While I will have down days, like any normal person, I will not let those days define the rest of my days. We will be parents when the time is meant to be.

Things don’t always go as planned…

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I haven’t been as diligent with this as I would have liked but then again, I have always been a procrastinator. I was “that student” who was writing a paper the day before it was due, but then I would get an A or a B, so I had no deterrents to make me want to do things ahead of schedule, because if the marks were good then why change the habit?  Anyways, back on track!

Well, this last month things have not gone as planned. A lot of days I feel as tho Aaron and I take one step forward followed by two very large steps back. Being a military spouse I have kind of learned to not plan things or get your hopes up because you usually end up having to cancel/reschedule and then you wind up disappointed. Well, in May I broke my own rule. I got excited about something! On May 8th I turned 30, and honestly, it wasn’t as bad as I expected. I was so focused for a very long time on how my life should be by a certain stage that I didn’t see just how great it was. On the 9th, Monday afternoon, I was scheduled for surgery to have the polyp removed as well as a D&C, so that, as my doctor put it, my uterus would be in “pristine condition” (I don’t think I can mention enough how much I truly like this guy). So on the Saturday we had a big family BBQ to celebrate my dirty thirty and just a nice evening before I went in on Monday. It was a wonderful night with Aaron’s folks, his brother and his wife and our nephew, who is pretty much the highlight of any get together, and I think we we’re all really excited that in a day and a half Aaron and I would have one more hurdle behind us on this crazy baby making journey.

So Monday morning we got up early, we had to anyways because our roof was being re-shingled, and there was no sleeping with that pounding right above your head. Aaron was happily sipping coffee, meanwhile, I was upstairs, taking my suppository to soften my cervix and secretly taking tiny sips from the shower since I wasn’t allowed to eat after midnight or drink after 8am, and because I wasn’t allowed anything obviously I wanted it. I had to be to the IWK for 12pm so in true Aaron fashion we were there shortly after 11:30. I checked in in the lobby and we were taken up to the waiting room on the 3rd floor. We only waited about 15 minutes in there before they took us back to the actual pre-op waiting area. I was excited! It was finally surgery day! Well, I guess I was as excited as I could be about having my uterus violated…. But I obviously wasn’t nervous because my BP was PERFECT! Like eerily perfect! If you remember from my pre-op appointment I was insanely high, but on surgery day I was apparently as cool as a cucumber! No complaints here! By 12:45 we were sitting and waiting, watching M.A.S.H in the waiting room. Surgery was scheduled for 2pm, so we knew we’d be waiting a bit and we even figured we’d be waiting past 2, but miraculously at 1:59pm our doctor called my name! This was it! I was finally going to take the next step we needed to take to make our baby! The suppository was doing it’s job, I was cramping, meaning things were ready for them to go in and do what needed to be done! But, as quick as my excitement came when he called my name, it was gone.

“They aren’t going to let me do your surgery today, there was an emergency case that came in and the OR is already running behind, so because you’re the last on my schedule today we have to send you home”. Send us home? But after all the trouble it took to get us to this point they couldn’t just send us home! Dr. Ripley felt awful and you could tell it was genuine. He sat and chatted with Aaron and I for a bit and said that even he feels like this whole process is taking too long and how he wants so badly to help us get pregnant. I couldn’t fault the guy, the emergency wasn’t his fault, and the booking dept not allowing him to do my surgery that day was completely out of his hands. I think he even hummed and hawed about just giving us the drugs to help with ovulation, but then he dropped that “pristine uterus” line again and said there’s no point in making us take meds that may be wasted if I can’t currently support a pregnancy, and without Aaron’s test results in hand as well, he’d rather we wait it out. So, home we went.

By the time we got home I had already had my cry and was going to drown my sorrows in some subway and soft cookies, but I was in pain. Not the emotional kind, but the physical kind. The medication to soften my cervix in preparation for surgery is also the same pill they give women to induce the body when there has been a missed miscarriage. That same medication that I had mentioned to the doctor before we left was making me have some bleeding and in his words “you may feel some slight cramps”. Ya, that medication was giving me my first taste of CONTRACTIONS! It was kind of like adding insult to injury… It wasn’t bad enough being sent home but here, have some excruciating pain that you weren’t expecting, and oh ya, it’s also the same pain a woman has during labour, but you don’t get a baby right now, sorry. Again, I don’t blame our doctor, when I took those pills that morning I was expecting to be dopped up and not feel a thing, and he was expecting the same. He didn’t expect me to go home without any pain management from it, it all just happened. I spent the next hour in the fetal position on the couch, drugged up on midol with a hot water bottle pressed so tightly to my stomach that I had white knuckles and ending us giving myself a nasty blister and heat rash on my poor belly. Once that first hour passed I felt “ok”, nothing worse than a period and within 2 days the bleeding and cramping were done, but I was still just sad…

By the following week we had a new appointment scheduled and were reassured 3 or 4 times that this time it WOULD happen, but I am still hesitant to get excited because, well, I learned my lesson last time. So, providing things go as planned, this coming Monday, June 13th, at 9:30 am, Dr. Ripley will be giving me that “Pristine Uterus” he promised me! I’m not a huge prayer but I am definitely sending out lots of good vibes that something doesn’t go wrong. As my mom used to say “so long as nothing blows up or burns down, I will be there”, so here’s hoping neither of those things happen to keep us from moving past this little stumble in our road to parenthood!

Our time will come, as will the time come for those of you who are going through this struggle with me. Keeping faith it will happen can definitely be very hard to do, day to day when you’re surrounded by disappointment, but only you can be the one to let a bump in the road stop you! This is far too important of a journey to just throw in the towel over a hiccup! So keep fighting even when no one would fault you for giving up! You can do this! Even on the days you don’t believe in yourself, I believe you can do it!

 

It’s ok to not be ok

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Last Monday was my pre-op appointment for the D&C/Polyp removal. I felt fine going in to the appointment. I had done my research, I knew what the procedure entailed, the risks, complications, etc… I felt really at peace with it. My blood pressure, however, gave me away. 148/90…. The nurse kept saying oh that’s ok, I’m not worried, that is until I told her I am normally 120/80, but we chalked it up to nerves. Basically all that happened was I met with the anesthesiologist to choose method of sedation. I opted for conscious mainly because it meant I get to leave sooner than general anesthesia, and the sooner I can get home to my sweet pants and netflix, the better.

When I was getting registered for pre-op the clerk who checked me in was also a patient at AART. It was really nice to have someone who understood what we were going through. As I sat waiting to register the room was a revolving door of pregnant women. Now there was a time not long ago that my heart likely would have shattered into a million pieces seeing this. I was sitting there waiting to register for a surgery because I can’t get pregnant, while they were registering for pregnancy related procedures. Seeing them didn’t phase me in the least, other than maybe a little baby bump envy. I love all things bump, I think they are one of the most beautiful and amazing things and I honestly cannot wait to have one of my own and be able to watch it grow and move, knowing that our little miracle is inside of it. The thing that stood out to me most tho from this appointment wasn’t anything the doctor or nurses told me about what to expect, or even those beautiful baby bumps. What stood out to me the most was the last thing the registration clerk said to me. “I truly hope this is your last mother’s day alone”. Such a small gesture of compassion meant so much. I told her that I hope the same for her.

It’s moments like the above that make you really realize just what a close bond you can form with other women who are going through the same thing you are. I don’t know this lady, and sadly I never got her name, but someone who had never met me before made an impact with such a small little exchange of words. I am not a huge prayer, but since I met her last week I have been including her in my thoughts, that she is soon blessed with what she wants the most.

Ok, back on track. The point of this post today is to prove that even tho most of the time I am really positive about our journey I do have bad days. I know it will happen for us, it’s just a matter of when, but Saturday I felt the weight of the world on my shoulders. I don’t know if it was hormones or just waking up on the wrong side of the bed, but everything got under my skin. Aaron made a completely innocent and hopeful comment about how after the D&C we will be on the right track to getting what we want and I snapped. We spent most of the day fighting with each other and even after a nap I was still a hostile bitch to him. And the worst part was he was only 5% of my anger, but he was the closest thing to take my frustration out on. Even after we have the D&C and polyp removed there are no guarantees. Even with the next step of medication to help with ovulation, that doesn’t mean we will end up pregnant, it just gives us a better shot. I think it was Aaron’s blind faith on a day that I just wanted to rage against the world that made me snap. I knew that deep down I felt the same way he did, that we were on a positive path, but it was almost like I was trying to self sabotage us. It’s very rare that he and I “fight”. Sure we argue and bicker, but Saturday was almost like we were intentionally trying to hurt the other, and I will admit, it was mainly my fault. I won’t go in to great detail because Aaron is pretty private about a lot of things, and even making a public blog I want to respect him as much as I can. I did deal some pretty low blows and he rather than dealing with the situation head on walked away a few times, which we both hate when the other does because it just drags things out even longer.We finally made up that evening (which was good since he sailed the next day and I hate leaving things unfinished when he goes away, because you just never know) after a very long talk on the front porch, where I was able to get out what I needed to say, that he needs to let me have bad days. I can’t be rainbows and kittens every day and he was able to tell me what really bothered him the most. It may have taken 10 hours of fighting, but we finally got back to a spot of mutual understanding and respect, and I did feel pretty bad about ruining our Saturday. Today I feel a million times better and I am looking forward to surgery, as weird as that sounds, and while I am nervous I know it’s another giant leap in good direction.

I think I needed Saturday, as awful as it was, to remind me how much better I feel when I dwell on the good and not the bad. Some days you have to let yourself feel all that pain and frustration so that you can then realize just how strong you really are and how much you have already overcome.

 

“Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” – Unknown

Letting Go

Letting Go

I’ve toyed around with the idea of doing this for some time now, but there always seemed to be something more pressing that didn’t allow me to sit down and really organize my thoughts in to something that made sense in print. Life has been busy and chaotic over the last 3 years. We got married, Aaron joined the Navy, my mom passed away, we sold multiple homes and moved more times than I would have liked, we were blessed with a sweet and funny nephew and most recently everything we’ve gone through with my grandmother. So ya, there was never really time to just reflect on our baby making journey. Not only that, but this is such a personal and raw journey I wasn’t sure if I was ready to share it outside of the bubble that is my little social media world. Starting a blog is something that reaches the potential masses, not just my facebook and instagram friends and family. It’s scary to think that more than just those people will see this, but at the same time, I am not ashamed of our struggle, and neither should anyone else be who is traveling down the same infertility road. I would love to be able to help encourage other couples who are going through this journey with infertility. Until I started opening up about what we were going through I felt so alone. It started with one instagram post, followed by a facebook status and it wasn’t long after that I started getting messages saying “Thank you for making me feel like I am not alone, like I am normal“. That in itself was like a euphoria, knowing that not only did I help someone else, but there were people in my life dealing with the same thing! How incredible is that! The more I wrote about what we were going through, the more I could feel a weight being lifted off my shoulders. I felt real release!

When I finally let go of the notion that I was somehow to blame for not only our miscarriage but also our struggle since it brought a sense of peace to my bruised heart. I embraced that! It took me a long time to get to that place.So bear with me, this may be a bit long.

When we started trying we were filled with nothing but positive thoughts (and maybe a bit of whiskey). Our nephew was 2 months old and seeing Aaron with him really made me want to see him as a father, and I think for him it was his love for Connor and the fun he had with him that really pushed him over the edge and aboard my baby fever crazy train. So we set a plan that on our weekend away in Toronto we would throw caution to the wind and try, but the weekend before, fueled by alcohol and video games we thought “what the hell, what difference will a week make”. I didn’t even know what tracking my cycle was then, I just wanted to “do it”. Then we were the “Lucky Ones”. We literally had beginners luck and got pregnant our first real try! The day I got the positive test I was too excited for words! I didn’t plan some great reveal for Aaron, instead I actually thrust a pregnancy test (probably still wet) in his face when he got home from work and said “LOOK!!!!”. He of course was a little grossed out and rather shocked. Neither of us thought it could be or would be just that easy. But it was and I was over the moon and he was terrified.

For me it was instantaneous love, for him it was gradual, but he got there. I knew we were going to be ok the night he started telling knock knock jokes to my belly. I started a diary where I wrote to baby, I bought maternity jeans (I may still wear them now on my fat days) and I bought cute onesies about poop & parties in cribs. But as quickly as our little love bug came in to our life, they were gone. I woke up on a Wednesday morning at 5am, just a little over 7 weeks. Nothing about that morning felt different. It wasn’t until I noticed I was bleeding that things felt off. It was a sudden sense of panic and dread. I told Aaron and in male stoic fashion he assured me it would be ok, but some things you just know and I knew that it wasn’t ok. I remember that whole day, or more correctly the next 3, like they were yesterday. Driving in to work early and bursting in to tears in front of my boss. She sent me home and then between Wednesday and Thursday Aaron and I spent a good 16 hours in the emergency room. “It could go either way” was pretty much all we were told but between the bleeding and cramping we knew which way it was going. They sent us for an ultrasound and they found baby no problem. They asked how far along I was and I said 7 weeks. “Hmmmm, your dates may be off, baby only measures about 5 weeks 1 day, but it’s common to be wrong”, but I knew I wasn’t wrong. “You can try again in a couple months” was the response we got when my blood work started showing a drop in HCG, but at that point we didn’t know how we felt about it. And the most unfortunate part was our family only finding out about our blessing as we were losing it. I spent a good 3 days on the couch, in sweats, crying and eating. On Friday June 27th, 2014 I passed our baby.

When we were finally back in a place where we felt comfortable trying again I think we were a bit naive. It happened so easily the first time, so surely the next time around would be the same, but month after month tests were negative. We so desperately wanted our “rainbow baby”, the baby born after the storm (loss). I was bitter, Aaron was mad because what had once been fun was now becoming a chore. Neither of us were really happy with any of that. We started trying in May of 2014 and by the time May 2015 rolled around I think we both hated trying. We couldn’t understand what could be wrong because if it happened once it has to happen again. It took 2 months of internal debate before I bit the bullet and made an appointment with my GP. It was set for August. I went in to that appointment thinking she was going to tell me all these positive things and that all my research about infertility and meds to help would wow her! Nope. It was awful. I didn’t even see my new family doctor, she happened to be on vacation so instead I saw her replacement for the week. She was nice, sure, but man did she not know how to talk to a woman who had had a miscarriage and who had since been struggling. “At least you can get pregnant and you really haven’t been trying that long”…. I spent the rest of the appointment choking back tears and I left feeling so defeated with blood work requisition in hand. I cried, Aaron joked and was sweet. “Roses are red, violets are blue, I think you shouldn’t be sad because I love you”. I made a follow up appointment with my actual GP once she was back from vacation, but at this point Aaron was deployed so I kind of just didn’t care. I had thought maybe by some miracle we would get this amazing surprise before he left but instead all I got were cramps and bitchy hormones. I was in such a dark place from all of the trying and let down. When I saw women I knew who were pregnant I felt so much jealousy. I knew that we would be parents, that was never in doubt, but it felt like the universe was constantly working against us and reminding me of what we had lost and what we still didn’t have. I was just mad. But when Aaron deployed the stress of trying for a baby went with him! There was no testing for ovulation, tracking my cycle, symptom watching, nothing. It was just life day in and day out.

When I saw my actual doctor in September the whole vibe of my appointment was completely different than it had been with her stand in in August. The level of compassion and general care for my situation gave me a renewed sense of hope! She was determined to go to all lengths that she could to make Aaron and I parents and she wanted to start it while Aaron was away so we had a jump-start on things when he got home! Instead of crying because I was sad and frustrated I was crying because I felt like we were finally on a path in the right direction. She ordered every blood test she had to capacity to, she put in requisitions for ultrasounds and referrals for a gynecologist and rather than just sending us to a regular gyno she went right to someone who specialized in infertility. I saw her a couple times over the next few months and all my blood work was great except for low progesterone, which I had self diagnosed myself with beforehand. Each time I saw her she asked if I was happy with how things were moving forward, if there was more she could do. I was a bit shocked, this honestly wasn’t anything I was used to in a doctor. She put me at ease and I think because of her compassion that’s what started the turn in my attitude from negative to positive.

Now being on the East Coast of Canada that means things move a little slower. It took 4 months to get in for my ultrasound and 5 months for my gyno referral, but hey, it’s all free so I am really not complaining. My ultrasound was fine but the doctor we were seeing at AART (Atlantic Assisted Reproductive Therapies)still wasn’t convinced that there wasn’t an underlying issue. My first appointment there was December 18th, 2015. Aaron and I went together because it was important to me that we were on the same page and you know how husbands can sometimes be when they “listen” to their wives….. I figured he’d hear a lot more from the doctor than he would from me. Not that he isn’t invested in our journey but in his words, I nag. I don’t see it, but oh well. Our RS (Reproductive Specialist) wanted to run some more tests, for both Aaron and I. He said that even tho everything for me on paper seemed great he still wasn’t convinced I didn’t have an ovulatory issue, like PCOS (polycystic ovarian Syndrome), which seeing as my cycle seemed to just shit the bed stood for reason. So his game plan was tests then drugs to induce ovulation. I actually had to start taking medication just to bring on a period. Most women would get excited over a late period, because there was likely a chance of pregnancy, but when your husband is just getting back from a deployment and you’re already “late”, there are no babies growing, and if there are babies growing, well, you may not have a husband anymore. We walked out of our first appointment there and Aaron actually looked at me and said “I like him, he’s a no bullshit kind of guy”. Well if a Doctor has Aaron approval then you hold on to that doctor!

So Dr baby maker scheduled me for a sonohysterogram, which is basically just a fancy dancy internal ultrasound with saline injected in to the uterus so they can make sure there is nothing blocking my tubes or any growths. He also wanted to take a better look at my ovaries, because like I said, he wasn’t convinced there wasn’t an issue there. I had myself so convinced it was going to hurt that I didn’t sleep the night before. I may have also been terrified at what they would find. I am going to be 30 in a month,  I felt like things that I had planned to happen before that point weren’t happening. It was a hard pill to swallow, the notion of 30 and no babies. My mom had me at 28 and when I was younger I said no way will I be THAT old when I have my first. Whoops. I was convinced that this test would only bear bad news and I guess in a sense I wasn’t far off. March 7, 2016 I went in for my sono. It was AWKWARD but painless aside from some cramping afterwards. They had a medical student visiting from Calgary, who ironically was named Brittany. “So Brittany what do you think we’re looking at here” motioning to the screen…… I am laying there dumbfounded (with saline running out of me, there’s an image for you) because I have no sweet clue what the hell I am supposed to see. “I don’t know, what is it”?…. “Oh, no, not you, sorry, I don’t expect you to know”…. Well that’s good because all I saw was grey and black nothingness…. But apparently they saw something, guess it’s why they make the big bucks. My blood work may have said No PCOS for you, but ultrasounds don’t lie. Dr. Baby maker started counting and counting and counting. Apparently you should only have about 10 follicles per ovary (who knew), me, I had 25+ on each. A “textbook” PCOS case. I had kind of already mentally prepared myself for that since ovulation issues were mentioned. So I thought great, give me all the drugs and I will be on my merry way. Nope, not a chance. As they checked my uterus something stood out, something I could actually see, so you knew it had to be kind big. A uterine polyp. I don’t remember the exact measurements but it was taking up a big chunk of a small space. No drugs, whomp whomp.

So I sat in a room afterwards waiting to chat with the doctor and get all the info I needed of where we go from here. Aaron was on a couple day sail, so I had gone solo to this one, not that I minded, I wouldn’t have wanted him being witness to my defiling, but it did suck having to send an email to explain the situation. Surgery is the next step, then the glorious ovulation inducing drugs…. But not real surgery. I kind of hate using the word because there are no incision, they can go in from and external source, which I know you all know what I am referring to. So even tho they call it surgery, I call it “surgery”…. Polyp removal surgery and a D&C (look it up), scheduled for May 9th, the day after my dirty 30. I stewed over that for quite a bit, turn 30, get surgery, feeling even further away from babies.

But here’s where things changed. I looked at it in a different way. Turn 30, get surgery, fresh start, no more polyp that could be hindering our ability to conceive. Turn 30, get surgery, get meds, make baby, officially become parents!!! In that moment I had a completely different outlook on everything. I had let go of few negatives a couple weeks before, so rather than turning this new situation in to a new negative, I turned it in to a positive! I am going to be 30 and am well on my way to being a mommy and making my husband a daddy! I am doing what needs to be done to give us the ability to get our rainbow baby! I let go of so much anger and jealousy and have spent the last 5 weeks being happy! HAPPY! I am genuinely happy for other people’s blessings and Aaron and I are in such an amazing place with each other. We haven’t been this good in a long time. All the stresses of everything just burdened both of us, but now with them gone, we just get to have fun.

So here’s where my journey with this blog starts, you’ve gotten nearly 2 years of backstory and I am sure I probably rambled in places, but it’s all important because it’s all what led me to this notion: Infertility is not my fault and it’s not anyone Else’s fault. There is no one to blame in this situation. You have two choices, you can either dwell on the negative or you can try and look towards the positive. I am not saying there aren’t days where it will be hard, heck, I have moments, but not letting that define you is the most important part! It’s ok to be mad and sad sometimes, but don’t live in that darkness. The sooner you let people in the lighter you will feel. Infertility isn’t something we should have to be ashamed of, we’ve done nothing wrong, yet still women feel like it needs to be kept as some big secret.I don’t know if it’s shame, thinking we are less of a woman because we cannot do what we are technically made to do, or if it’s the fact that maybe talking about infertility can make other people/society uncomfortable. But you know what, FUCK IT! No shame, not my fault, unfollow or unfriend me if you must, but this battle is part of who I am and I won’t drop the subject just because it may bother someone. For every one person who is “grossed” out by my posts there are likely a handful who it helped.  I know not everyone can feel the way I do, there are plenty of women who feel like they need to keep it to themselves, but honestly, I hope that through me and other women who write about their journeys, that you feel that sense of acceptance, knowing that you belong to a group of pretty bad ass tough women who have been handed a really crappy deck, but are still standing tall!

                    “When the world says, ‘Give up,’ Hope whispers, ‘Try one more time.'”

                                                                         ~Anonymous