Our 1 in 6 Story
Jul 8, 2015
|Our 1 in 6 Story
Since July 2011 when we were married Jason and I have, on the face of things, led a pretty charmed life. However, when we were alone at home and it was just the two of us, we were both doing the best we could to keep it together and paste smiles on our faces.
6 months into our marriage I was theoretically diagnosed with endometriosis. With pregnancy as a suggested method to deal with it, the diagnosis didn’t faze us as that was our intent anyhow. Unfortunately, a year and a half later there was no respite from the constant pain or any positive pregnancy results. In August 2013 I had a laparoscopy to remove the tissue and confirm the diagnosis. While most experience relief, I felt no change whatsoever- the pain actually got worse for the following 6 months. When I say pain, I mean imagine a fist inside your abdomen squeezing and twisting for several days at a time.
Coming home from our annual Kelowna holiday on my birthday in fall 2014 I started a cycle of pain that wasn’t a cause for concern until 1.5 weeks later I still wasn’t feeling ‘normal’. A visit to the doctor and some blood tests confirmed our first miscarriage. We’d been talking to Dr Hitkari at Olive Fertility Clinic for over a year at that point and immediately decided we were done with the waiting and were ready to go through with IVF. Insemination, while much less expensive, was not suggested because we’d already been trying for so long and the problem was more than the 2 components not meeting. I had no blockages and hormone levels were all normal so given our young age, all signs pointed to a successful process.
While emotionally exhausting and financially overwhelming, our IVF round in November 2014 resulted in 5 high grade blastocysts (what a fertilized embryo becomes after 5 days) and with great results from the hormones and next to no side effects, we were planning how to rearrange rooms in our home for a nursery with no reservation. Sadly shortly after the transfer, I was found to have had our second miscarriage.
At this I feel strongly- no person should feel embarrassed by their reaction to a miscarriage, regardless of how early in the pregnancy it occurs. When you have hoped, prayed, saved and sacrificed for years to be ready- mentally, physically, emotionally, financially- to go ahead with the decision to start a family and you’re given the news that once again, it isn’t your time… your heart is ripped out of your chest and an aching crater is left in its place.
I did feel embarrassed by my reaction given I’d been let down on a monthly basis for years and it made the ache worse because by trying to keep it together all day around coworkers, friends and family, it meant when I was finally alone I’d release all the anger and sadness I’d been feeling, only to repeat the process the following day. Speaking openly about daily heartbreak isn’t natural and by not knowing anyone else who’d dealt with our situation, we were left to cope with a lot of these emotions on our own. We are grateful for those that were supportive in speaking with us when we felt comfortable to do so but in the end, only someone who has waged this battle really understands what it does to you as individuals and as a couple.
This past Christmas was horrible and got worse with every social media post of babies with Santa and we continued to avoid friends and family who’ve had babies recently. Every connection on Facebook was given a prompt unfollow, following the announcement of their expected child. That’s another thing we never planned on-becoming so angry and sad at seeing others happiness that we would choose to stay at home and avoid situations where we might see young children or pregnant mothers. Simple things like going to a grocery store were a challenge when I was forced to stand in line behind a lady with a baby or worse an expectant mother.
This past March we did a frozen embryo transfer. 4 days later I ended up in the hospital with the worst pain I’ve ever experienced and were faced with another failed round shortly after.
Jason and I joked about how our life would look without the disruption and expense of having children but then the smile would slip because that’s really not how we saw our lives. At this point we had 3 embryos left with only 2 real options regarding hormone and medication adjustments. We decided to do a completely natural cycle leading up to the transfer with ‘only’ daily shots into my backside to ideally maintain a pregnancy if it were to work. We also decided to use two embryos as at this point, we’d had no real success and were simply exhausted from the clinic visits, blood tests, injections and overwhelming way it slowly but surely had taken over our lives.
At the beginning of May we went ahead with the transfer and by the beginning of June we were having our first ultrasound and being blown away by two little dark circles on a monitor. We still can’t believe it but as I’m just starting to show it’s becoming a lot more real!
We wanted to share are story because we felt alone and helpless and with so much confusion and fear already to deal with throughout the process, being isolated didn’t help. There are limited support groups, no funding in British Columbia and navigating all the medical information thrown at you is completely overwhelming. Add in the financial cost (which for us was approximately $25,000) after only 1 full IVF round + two frozen transfers, it’s understandable why most people who go ahead with IVF have borrowed money from family, taken out a loan/2nd mortgage or racked up their credit cards. That is unnecessary stress to go through when you’re already going through the most stressful situation you can imagine.
We’d appreciate any help in getting support for what could one day very well be your friend or family member, by clicking on this link and sending a letter to our government to encourage funding. In BC this can quickly and easily be emailed to email@example.com.
Thank you in advance for your help!
Jacqueline and Jason