We all have a fertility story.
And no two are the same.
If you’d told me five years ago I would have two little ones, 18 months apart, conceived naturally, I’d say you were nuts. You see, there was a period of time where I thought this had all been taken from me.
I’m going to share my fertility story & be completely vulnerable with you, and I have to admit writing this is equal parts upsetting and cathartic. It still hurts. It still feels raw.
My (now) hubby Dan & I had been together for 6 months. The best 6 months of my life! Oh my god, we were so in love. And everything was perfect! So. Freaking. Perfect!
Well, everything EXCEPT my cycle. For two months, I started bleeding every two weeks, and I had this annoying sharp pain in the right side of my abdomen that would come and go. I had some routine bloodtests, and then head off on holidays with Dan (it was around New Year) not thinking too much more about it. We were on our way to Marion Bay in Tasmania for Falls Festival, where we would be camping on the same property the festival was being held….in remote Tasmania…..with no phone reception.
It was awesome! But fecking freezing. Even in summer, Tassie you are damn cold!!!
When we made it back to civilisation the day after the festival, my phone started beeping – voicemails, messages – everyone that had been trying to get in contact with me for the past few days. Including my doctor. Just the tone in his messages told me something wasn’t right. I called him back and I won’t forget the feeling when he told me I was pregnant – elated, scared, freaking out…….but then the gut wrenching feeling hearing in that same sentence that something was wrong. I shouldn’t be bleeding like this.
The next few days of our trip away we were finding pathology centres and going for ultrasounds. I’d stopped bleeding, but my hCG levels weren’t increasing as fast as they should. The ultrasounds found nothing. I was feeling nauseous and so hopeful. I remember being so scared to talk to Dan about it – here we were on our first trip away, which should have been the best fun ever, and instead we were navigating some pretty heavy shit for a somewhat ‘new’ relationship.
We were going through the motions of getting the tests, going for the ultrasounds, calling my doctor for test results whenever we had mobile service. Pretending we were fine but seriously on the inside – I was FREAKING OUT. Anything but calm, cool or collected. One evening I finally broke down (I say I, I should say we), and I just sobbed telling Dan I wanted this baby to stay with us. He did too.
We cut our trip short to get to the bottom of everything – because let’s face it, climbing Cradle Mountain with a potential ectopic pregnancy would be pretty irresponsible. My mother would never forgive me!
The day after we got home we went off for the fateful ultrasound that found a sac, but no heartbeat, just outside my fallopian tube. Even though my head knew this was the likely outcome, my heart hadn’t been quite ready for it. I remember sobbing in the room with Dan until we were taken to see the doctor to discuss next steps.
We waited to see the doctor for more than half an hour…….in a shared room, sitting across from a woman in early labour. It felt so, so cruel.
I was asked if this was a planned pregnancy – it made me feel like this loss didn’t matter as much, because no, it wasn’t planned. But I can tell you whilst we hadn’t planned to fall pregnant when we did, this pregnancy was VERY much wanted. It feels so important to me for that to be known.
In the end, I was administered a methotrexate shot (in the butt!) as it was deemed this was the best course of action. I felt ill, out of sorts and a shell of myself for months.
I cried constantly, I was extremely emotional, and I suddenly became so focused on becoming as healthy as I could be to heal both my body and my mind, and to prepare for becoming a mum. We were told we had to wait six months before we could start trying for a baby, to be sure the methotrexate was well and truly out of my system (methotraxate is an anti-cancer drug, it effects the way your body uses folate, which is critical for fast-dividing cells, ie. Cancer OR an embryo). We agreed the day I got the shot, that we would start trying as soon as we were given the all clear. Yep – shit got serious in our relationship pretty fast after going through that!
Fast forward a few months, and I’m sitting in a gynaecologists office. I wanted to be proactive and do what I could to ensure the healty pregnancy we were hoping for. He reviewed my notes and looked at me, zero emotion, and told me it was unlikely I would fall pregnant naturally and I should start thinking about (ie. saving for) IVF.
Wow. That was a complete shock, and the thing that makes me the most angry is that a few months later – when I finally got out of the daze I was in and really started doing my own research – is that it was actually pretty fucking terrible advice! He had no idea if my tubes were in tact, he never ordered a tubal patency ultrasound, and he really was just a bit of an arrogant cock.
So, in the end, Dan and I ignored him. We decided we would try for a baby naturally and in the background, start putting aside some money here and there, just in casethings didn’t happen naturally.
For a few months (which honestly felt so much longer when we were in it) we rode the preconception roller coaster. It felt like 3 years. It was isolating, all consuming and had me stressed to my eyeballs.
It went a little something like this:
Bleed for a week……go at it like rabits for 2 weeks (which sounds great, but it becomes a bit mechanical and unsexy after a while)……….wait a week…..pee on a stick…….repeat. For months.
Until the final month I pee’d on the stick and saw the faintestpink line you could possibly see. I jumped around the bedroom, elated. Dan was so excited! And after the initial excitement – I just felt flat.
I had the most terrible morning sickness, and it took me until almost halfway through my pregnancy to really believe that this would stick. I was pretty convinced we would lose this bub too. My feelings about my treatment through the whole experience of having my ectopic pregnancy was never resolved, and it definitely affected how I felt about this pregnancy. I do feel a little robbed of a lot of that excitement and joy, because my anxiety was overwhelming.
Recently, Jade & I connected with Kathryn from Fertility Potentials, who offers coaching and guidance to women as they navigate their own fertility journey. I so wish I had known someone like her existed back then! I felt like this was somehting to suffer through and I could only talk about with Dan. I did confide in a few of my friends, who were absolutely fantastic – but what do you say to someone after an experience like this? I’ve lived it myself and I still don’t know that I’d have the right words!
This is why we’re absolutely thrilled to have Kathryn as part of our education series, as we know she will bring so much value to not only our preconceptions mama’s – who may be on the rollercoaster at the moment, but also to any pregnant mama’s or new mama’s that may have had fertility issues that they haven’t yet worked through, which are affecting their current pregnancy and early motherhood.
We hope you’ll join us and allow yourself some healing too, if it’s needed.
With love mama’s (& mama’s to be)
The Education Series, with Kathryn Grace
Fertility Coach | Fertility Potentials
Wednesday February 6 2019