This is Our Life -Our Infertility Journey

Pin It
If you are new to my blog, been here before but haven’t started from the beginning, this is a post of “Our Story.  It is about the road that Craig and I have travelled together to become parents to our 3 Divas. You can get the jist of it from reading through my blog starting at the beginning but if you are new to reading me, you may not have the time or the desire to start at square one.  And that’s okay.
Craig and I bought our first house together in June 2000 and a month later we brought home our first Labrador Retriever, Molson, fresh from the litter. We couldn’t wait to fill our home with the pitter patter of little feet… but we were not quite ready to start having kids. Molson was enough while I finished Law School and Craig cheered me on.
Craig and I were married the following summer on July 14. The same year that I turned 25 and he turned 30. We were so young and just starting out. Especially me, since I had just graduated from Law School but we were still pretty naive and we were in love. That’s all that mattered (and that is all that ever matters).
A few short months after we were married, the world was changed by the events of 9/11. Craig and I were no exception. Almost immediately, companies began cutting back and laying off employees, even in Canada. The company that Craig was working for was no exception and in October, Craig was laid off. As a result of that (and the lack of jobs where we were living) Craig returned to work with a company (and some friends) that he had worked with in the past and that resulted in our first big move together.
I would be lying if I said that we flourished in our new surroundings.  I wanted to be flourishing, I really did. The truth is I was down right drowning. I was immediately terribly homesick and missing my family. My sister was pregnant and expecting in July 2002 and I was missing it all. I was pining for my family and despite Craig being right there for me, I felt lonely. Visits were few and far between and they required a 2.5 hour plane ride or 23 hour drive. I was articling in a very negative atmosphere where I was treated terribly. I’ve never been in a job before that made me want to leave and never look back. I dreaded the mornings.  I dreaded getting up and going to work. It was horrible and an experience that I would never wish upon another human being. I became anxious and depression was seeping in. I hated where we were and I had such guilt for feeling that way.
My anxiety and depression peaked in July 2002 when my sister’s son, Logan, was born sleeping.  I never got to hold him.  The only time that I saw him was while he laid in his little coffin at the funeral home.  This impression has never left me.  I have never forgotten.  My arms were aching to hold him.  They still are.

Although, we were able to get “home” and be with my family for a short time, it was not enough. I was stressed out with the distance from family, my work atmosphere and the Bar Admission Course. I have never gone into detail how I was feeling for those few months after Logan’s death but it was not pretty. Craig was such a rock for me but nothing he did helped. I was depressed and did not know how to get out.  I was treading water like crazy and barely keeping my head above it.  I saw my family doctor about it and went on medication for a short period of time but it was exactly what I needed. It helped me to cope with my final few months at the horrendous firm where I was working. It helped me to cope with Logan’s death, my sister’s grief and my worry about it all.

It was right around this time that Craig and I had set a “start date” for starting our family and when we suspected that I had polycystic ovarian syndrome. I was gaining weight despite our efforts to lose it. Craig and I joined a gym and had sessions with a personal trainer… I managed to drop less than 10 lbs. We saw an article in the paper about polycystic ovarian syndrome and I immediately diagnosed myself. I had many of the symptoms! I had hair growth where no woman should. I was gaining weight that I couldn’t lose. I had irregular periods. I just had a hunch. When I talked to my doctor about it, she told me that she did not believe I had that and thought that perhaps I was developing diabetes. (It took me a while to get a proper diagnosis but that woman was an idiot!) Needless to say, my polycystic ovarian syndrome went undiagnosed until well into our trying to conceive journey.
A year after Logan’s death, Craig and I made the life saving decision to look for work closer to where my parents live (it is no joke that moving back West, saved me). In the meantime (2003) we started trying to conceive our first baby. I started to feel like me again. In January 2004, we moved back to the prairies and settled in a little city. We were still about 8 hours drive from my parents but this did wonders for me, even in the midst of our infertility.
I spent the better part of the first half of 2004 peeing on sticks. (Who am I kidding, I spent the better part of 7 years peeing on sticks!) I wasn’t cycling and I had no idea why. In our naivety, we thought we were pregnant. Almost immediately after our move, I was seeing a new doctor.  She was so optimistic that I would become pregnant and I would leave her office on a hope high. I wanted to be that optimistic! At that point, I had no reason not to be, well except that I kept getting negative results on my home pregnancy tests. I wasn’t feeling devastated with the results, just very confused. Of course, we had no idea how often, in the years to come, that we would stare down the results of a negative pregnancy test.
Despite the low that infertility was in our life, Craig and I were happy. I was feeling good and being closer to my family took away the lonely feeling that had been lurking. I was working in a small firm and enjoying it. Things were good. Life was good.
Shortly after our move, I began seeing an OB/GYN who wasted no time and diagnosed me with polycystic ovarian syndrome and infertility. Despite this diagnosis he was confident that we would become pregnant. He prescribed progesterone, metformin and weight loss. Weight loss that came much easier once I was taking metformin. I had ultrasounds and tests. I gave blood. Then gave more and then gave some more. When five months went by and I still was not pregnant, he prescribed clomid.  At the same time he made a referral to a fertility clinic.  Since the wait to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) could be a while, he was hopeful that all I needed was a little clomid to give my eggs a boost.  It did work.  I did begin to ovulate but we went months without any positive results.
It was in the fall of 2004 when I discovered the value, the information and the support in online message boards. I met other women who were also dealing with infertility. I had places to go to ask questions and talk about how it was consuming me. It was all that I could think about.  It was my life.  I was living infertility.  I was letting infertility make decisions for me.  Trips were dreamed about and vacations not taken because we did not want to interrupt any chance at getting pregnant.  Or maybe it was just me.  I don’t know but Craig supported me without a word otherwise.  On our quest for a baby, I had forgot to live.Then we conceived.  I peed on a stick and instead of seeing a glaring negative test staring back at me, it was positive.  It was gorgeous.  I was elated, excited and satisfied.  All our struggles were finally going to pay off.

And then we miscarried… and we cried.  We were devastated and broken.  We wrapped ourselves up in each other and spent two days in bed.  We watched television and we talked.  We cried.  It was the first time in all of this that Craig cried.  We found comfort in each other and after we spent that time grieving the pregnancy that ended and the baby that would not be… we found a renewed hope.  Up until then, getting pregnant had been our problem and now we knew that we could.

Despite the grief that the miscarriage caused me, it restored me.  It gave me some strength and the knowledge that we could conceive and I began to feel that it was going to happen for us.  I just did not know when and this continued to be a very difficult thing for me to accept.

Early in 2005, The Rumour Mill came to be.  At first, I was just writing for me.  I just put my fingers to the keyboard and did not give it much thought.  Then I realized how much I enjoyed it.  How therapeutic it was.  How often I would go back and read some of my own posts (and I still do) and how all of the emotions are still so real and so raw.

Four months after our miscarriage, we had our first appointment at the fertility clinic. Leading up to this appointment, I was excited.  The anticipation.  The hope.   The worry. Our first appointment swept us off our feet.  We went in not knowing what to expect but having expectations all the same.  My RE wanted me to take a break from clomid, increase my metformin intake and lose some more weight.  To say that I felt like we were back at square one is an understatement.  Since seeing my OB/GYN, I had already lost 30 lbs.  I was still carrying more weight then I should have been but I only had about 20 or 30 more lbs to lose.  So we walked out of that appointment in a bit of a haze and not overly hopeful that we would be pregnant by our next appointment two months later.

Much to my surprise, the next two months were regular cycles for me.  It could have been the effects from the clomid or it could have been the metformin.  I didn’t know but I was cycling and that was all that mattered to me.  My OB/GYN was still watching my progress and checking my progesterone levels and confirming that I was, in fact, ovulating.

Then in July of 2005, we took a week long camping trip together.  We soaked up that week like we had never had a vacation.  It was just Craig and I and our beautiful black lab, Molson.  It was the best camping trip we had ever taken together even though we did not travel far.  We did not pack much.  We did not do much.  It was bliss.

Shortly after that trip we saw our RE for the second time.  This time, we went loaded with questions.  Armed with information and focus on what we wanted to do.  So we talked about procedures and success rates and cost.  We set up a time line and gave ourselves an end date.  We decided that if 2005 came to a close and we were not pregnant, we would move ahead with invitro fertilization.  I left that appointment on cloud 9.  I felt certain that things would be okay and our dream to be parents was going to come true.  I felt like it is was within my grasp.  I was comforted.

So, it was no surprise to Craig when the first thing I said to him was, “Can we go buy a pregnancy test?”  I was at the tail end of my cycle and being the stick addict that I was, I wanted one.  I wanted one bad.  I fully expected Craig to reign me in and tell me to wait until we got home (which was a three hour drive) but he didn’t.  He said yes.  So we went to Costco and bought two packages of two (to give me four), stopped at a Tim Horton’s where I peed on a stick in the bathroom.  I didn’t look at it.  I put it in my purse and went out to the car.  Craig was waiting for me to tell him the news and I suspect that, when I didn’t blurt it out right away, he thought it was negative.  So we looked at it together and were absolutely shocked and awed when it was positive.  I could not stop looking at it.  I held onto that stick for days (despite how gross that might seem to some of you).  We were pregnant.

That pregnancy went on and my belly became swollen with the wonder of the first miracle that Craig and I would be a part of together.  I felt good.  Proud.  I had very few complications aside from a few episodes of spotting and then the gestational diabetes that found me around 32 weeks.  I had been eating well, resting whenever I could and taking good care of myself and our Sweet Pea.  So it was quite surprising when my waters broke and I went into labour at exactly 36 weeks and our Piper was born.

I went into my labour experience with a fairly open mind about how I wanted things to happen.  I had wanted to labour naturally for as long as I could.  I did not rule out the possibility of an epidural, and in fact, I fully expected that I would probably have one.  I was open to the possibility of a Cesarean section.  After all, my mother had three and my sister had one.  Even though I thought that I was prepared or open minded about how I would bring my baby into the world, it hardly played out the way I wish it would have.

My first experience with a cesarean section, was much less than ideal (and you are welcome to read more about that here ) and I have never really gotten past that.  I wanted more out of my experience of having my first baby.  I wanted to hold her when she was first born, see her face and listen to her cry.  I wanted to kiss my husband and cry tears of joy at the wonder of it all.  I didn’t get to do that.  Then Piper spent the first two weeks of her life in the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit (NICU), another unexpected bump in our road.

Our NICU experience was positive.  Despite the long days, the exhaustion that came with our desire to spend as much time with our baby that we could and the reality that we left the hospital without our baby.  For twelve days, we went home while she rested at the hospital.  I know now that our stay in the NICU was brief and uneventful compared to those families who babies are born much, much earlier.

The summer after Piper was born, Craig and I made one more move.  It was a hard move to make and it was difficult to leave our little city behind.  The home that we had struggled to start our family in.  A home we created many memories in.  Laughter, talking, and crying.  We opened that home to a hockey billet from Finland and his teammates.  It was hard to say goodbye.

In the first six months after Piper’s birth, I stopped cycling and started worrying that conceiving again would be just as hard for us… or that it might not happen at all.  So I went back to my RE who put me on birth control pills so that I would start cycling.  When we were ready to get serious about trying again, I would stop taking them and start seeing my RE again.  I really did not want to get back on that roller coaster, but I knew I would do whatever I could to have another baby.

We got serious about trying to have another baby when Piper turned one.  I was on the same doses of metformin that I had been on when I conceived Piper.  We conceived within four months (much to our excitement and surprise).  We suffered our second miscarriage in our 9th week.  Again, devastated and broken.  I did not want to believe that this could be happening to us again.  With a one year old at home, my mind was mostly preoccupied and I was thankful for that.  Thankful for her.  Craig was my rock.

Then to my amazement, I found myself so in tune with my body.  For the first time, ever.  I knew that my body was fertile and we conceived our Bugaboo in October 2007.  Even though we were cautiously optimistic, we celebrated and again my belly became swollen with the wonder of the second miracle that Craig and I would be part of together.  My pregnancy with Davilyn was not without it’s complications.  I had spotting and then bleeding in my second trimester.  Gestational diabetes also found me around 32 weeks.  I was a nervous wreck about it but the ultrasounds that we had always showed a healthy baby.  It was no surprise when, at 33 weeks, I started having contractions. Davilyn arrived six weeks early.  My delivery experience this time was much more to my liking.  I was able to enjoy the process, see Davilyn when she was born and hear her cry.

We were also much more prepared for the NICU experience.  Even though it was a different hospital, we were ready for the experience and eight days later our Davilyn came home.  We were a family of four.  Life was good.

After Davilyn’s birth, and how quickly I adjusted to having two children, I knew that I wanted at least one more.  I was not ready to give up on my childbearing years and I did not feel that our family was complete.  So, when Davilyn turned one, we got serious about having number three and three became our new four.  Life never ceases to amaze me and we conceived our Squirt immediately upon trying.  For the third time in my life (and most likely my last), my belly again became swollen with the wonder of the third miracle that Craig and I would be a part of together.

I knew my pregnancy with Squirt would my most difficult.  After Davilyn’s birth, I was diagnosed with Type II diabetes, so I knew that I would be monitored very closely by my Endocrinologist.  I was also on insulin by 14 weeks.  I struggled off and on with keeping my blood sugar within the appropriate range.  They spiked too high and they fell too low.  I was very careful about what I was eating and, in fact, lost weight in the first trimester.  In my third trimester I started having lows in the middle of the night and visited obstetrical triage three times.  I started having contractions at 30 weeks and spent a few nights in the hospital when I was 34 weeks.  I hoped to make it to 36 weeks and I was so close.  I prayed that my last baby would come home from the hospital with me, when I did.

Our third, and final, baby ( another daughter, named Quinn ) arrived at 35 + weeks.  For the first time, Craig actually held one of our babies in the delivery room.  Although another NICU stay was not avoided, I was elated and over the moon when Quinn was discharged 5 days later when I was.  This was a dream come true.  I was on cloud 9 the whole ride home.  I sat in the backseat with Quinn, while Craig drove, and I just stared at her.  Thankful that I did not have to leave the hospital without her.  We were now a family of five.  Life is good as we raise our 3 Divas.

Follow Me on Pinterest

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Terri November 7, 2010 at 1:07 pm

You express yourself very well Nicole. You have a very beautiful family. I think it is so touching the way you share your life and the life of your family with everyone. Your family is very fortunate to have you.

It is also very touching the way you express yourself in your letters to your daughters. Undoubtedly, they will always know that they are loved.

Reply

Denise T November 7, 2010 at 4:01 pm

WOW Nicole!!! I never knew the jist of what you were going through or went through before I met you. You say Craig is your rock and I believe he helped you through alot but you yourself are a very strong, determined person. My hat goes off to you! Well to both of you. I’m so very happy that your little Diva’s are here and you are enjoying life to the fullest. I look forward to following your stories! Thanks for sharing and opening your life. You truely are an inspiration!

Reply

Nicole November 8, 2010 at 10:11 pm

Nicole,

You are truly an inspiration! Thank you for sharing your experiences! You have such a wonderful family, and we are so glad to know you all!

Reply

Sophie March 22, 2012 at 9:53 am

I am 25 years old, and was recently diagnosed with PCOS. I have never menstruated regulary, and as i grow older, it began to alarm me more. I also have a co-worker who went through In-Vitro so that drew my attention to fertility as well.

I just completed my second round of blood work, and will meeting with the fertility doctor again to go over my results, and what steps will need to be taken next.

I am already on progesterone, but it all makes me very weary. I really dont know if its the turning 25, or seeing my co-workers struggles, but i have this almost hunger to become a mother.

Your blog has really given me strength, and your girls are beautiful. Wish me luck!!!!

Reply

Samantha July 28, 2012 at 10:37 pm

What a beautiful story! I was diagnosed with PCOS before I was married, which made my decision to start trying to conceive immediately when I was 23 years old in case I had years of infertility ahead of me. We tried naturally for a year, during which I don’t think I ever ovulated, and then went on clomid – I was pregnant by month #2 – I was lucky! I am now expecting my second daughter in October of this year! I know how hard those months were when I fully expected to be unable to conceive – I feel so much for families who wait much longer… Thank you for sharing this story!

Reply

Leave a Comment

CommentLuv badge