In 2013 it became apparent trying naturally to conceive was not working we had been trying for almost 2 years with no success. I went to a doctor and was told I had nothing to worry about I was 26 turning 27 years old at the time and right away body language from this doctor told me my concerns were probably not concerning at all.
I explained we had been trying to get pregnant and had no success for well over a year the doctor quickly made the comment “oh your fine I’d only be worried if you were in your 30s” I had a scan and was told everything looked “ok”, not long after I was prescribed some pills to help ovulation, given a new appointment and told not to worry. We had difficulty contacting the doctor, synchronizing schedules (Alex’s rugby schedules made him unavailable sometimes). I think in total I saw this doctor 4 times before realizing it wasn’t the right fit. A friend had a second doctor for us to visit and so we chose to change.
With hope in my heart we went to our first appointment, I explained my situation once again. I sat and shared how my monthly cycles were irregular sometimes it would be a 2 week cycle before the next period or sometimes it would be over 30 days. I explained how it could last for 2 to 3 days or as long as 2 weeks on and off sometimes heavy sometimes close to nothing. No sooner had I explained this the doctor said, “I think I know what the matter is but we need to be sure” and it would require a scan on day 3 of my cycle to be able to see how my ovaries were behaving clearly. As fate would have it our first appointment happened to be on day 3 of my cycle and so I laid for a scan the screen was turned to Alex and me and it was explained that I had polycystic ovary syndrome and a polyp in my uterus making it less than ideal for getting pregnant.
A little angry but more relieved I now had an explanation as to why things were not happening. A great lesson I learnt was,
if you’re not comfortable with a doctor or you feel something is not quite right get a second opinion, not all doctors are truly specialists in their chosen field.
We sat back in the office and began to plan a course of treatment. I first had a hysterosalpingography where my fallopian tubes uterus and polyp were looked at. This procedure helped determine that I did have fertility problems that would require treatment.
I was booked into the clinic where I had a curettage procedure to remove the polyp. Alex and I were both happy and relieved to be on the road to fertility success. It was a little scary being so far from my family and having to go through this, however Skype dates made them feel closer and Alex did really well at becoming my number one supporter.
We shared with friends and family and everyone was supportive, and had advice for me it came left and right. I learnt through this time the importance of listening to my doctor who said continue life as normal, and I learnt to listen to my own voice. I became very good at editing the advice given and use what I felt was right for me.
Remembering my own thoughts and ways of coping or dealing with life’s challenges was so important in keeping my version of normal sanity during this time.
I started hormone treatment and we tried to conceive naturally on 6 induced cycles this was sometimes made difficult because of Alex’s work schedule we had no success and so we decided with our doctor to take an interview with the fertility clinic in Montpellier, France. I was asked to do a pH test, this was to see if my fluids were creating favorable conditions for fertilization. Results showed I was too acidic making it very difficult almost impossible for an egg to be fertilized, and so I was accepted into the Fertility treatment program. Where we began intra-uterine insemination (IUI) we tried this process on 3 cycles, before deciding with the doctor to start the process of IVF.
IVF required larger doses of hormone injections with the hope of developing more than 1 egg and when the eggs matured to the correct size an appointment for egg retrieval was scheduled. The procedure took less than half an hour and I was home recovering within 4 hours. The pain was more or less manageable with hot and cold packs. The pain lasted no longer than 2 days for me, and I was back to feeling normal, walking the dogs, driving and doing regular exercise.
Because we were able to retrieve 17 eggs, half the eggs were placed into separate incubators with sperm and examined carefully at intervals to ensure that fertilization was occurring. The remaining half were fertilized using intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) basically a fancy way of saying injecting a single sperm into the egg. We were notified by the end of the day how many became successful embryos and Then notified each day over 5 days of the embryos success in cell division. We ended up with 8 successful embryos that were then frozen until the embryo, now a blastocyst was ready for transfer.
I continued to have regular blood tests at which point it was detected I also had adenomyosis which then required an MRI and then hysteroscopy to check my uterine cavity to determine the severity, thankfully it only required a single injection to clear the issue at the time.
By now the appointments seemed to be never ending and I struggled to keep level headed at times, however I was and am a great talker and so if you asked how I was I told the truth and each time felt a little lighter for doing so.
I did an endometrial biopsy before the 4th transfer where a sample was taken for a WIN test. This test is still very new and evaluates when the endometrium is most receptive to implantation of an embryo. From the information they discovered my optimal transfer day was 2 days later than the day we had been transferring.
With the new information we went ahead with a double embryo transfer we were slightly nervous at the possibility of twins but having had 3 previous transfers were wanting to increase our chance of pregnancy. The picture below was taken after the 4th double embryo transfer I was hopeful this time it would work.
The journey to a successful pregnancy took almost 2 years, we had our first appointment with the 2nd doctor on the 19th of December in 2013 and found out I was successfully pregnant on December the 4th 2015. we were so happy to finally be at the end of what seemed to be a never-ending journey. Knowing a little baby would finally be added to our relationship gave us teary joy I’ll never forget that day. Looking back on my road to pregnancy it was a little isolating, I didn’t have many friends who were able to relate, I was very grateful to have a husband who I talked to like a girlfriend a doctor who would explain every detail of any procedure and was amazing at reassuring me that everything would be ok. I also had the desire to continue experiencing life amongst the fertility chaos and I can wholeheartedly say, it was worth it.
I share my experience in hope those who maybe in the same position realize they are not alone in their journey to pregnancy through fertility treatment and although it may seem never ending
hold on to hope, a successful pregnancy could be 1 cycle away.
These photos were taken where we walk our dogs behind our home in Montpellier, France and I would literally run past as quickly as possible when Alex wanted to take photos here I wasn’t sure however I was wrong he was right I’m so happy with how they turned out. See the entire pregnancy photo album over on The Evolution Road Facebook page.
Related: Dealing with Infertility