This is How We Conceived our Miracle Baby
I would like to share with you my story because I think it could help many women make an informed decision when it comes to infertility.
I never kept secret the fact that my child was conceived through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). It was a long process for both myself and my husband and not easy at all.
We both wanted to start a family but soon after we started trying to conceive we realized that it was not as easy as we thought it would be.
The pressure you feel when in that situation is overwhelming.
You ask yourself so many questions and many of them don’t really have an answer. I remember seeing family members getting pregnant. Friends my age all had children and they were so happy and there I was miserable because I couldn’t.
Couldn’t is the key word. I kept focusing on the fact that I couldn’t do what I was meant to do. After all my body as a woman is built to bear children . So why couldn’t I? What was wrong with me?I remember waiting every month and hoping for my period to just not show up. And sometimes it did happen that I skipped it but not for the right reason… I was just so nervous and anxious to be PREGNANT that my body just tricked me into thinking that I was.
How many hours spent crying and hoping for my time to be a mother. How many tests, questions, research, that lead to more questions and to more heartaches.
It was difficult and one of the hardest parts for me was the acceptance that the ONLY option for me was to get the help of a Fertility Centre.
I was upset and confused but most of all I felt defeated. At this point we had been trying for over a year so you may understand the frustration and the anger. We ended up waiting another 4+ years to be able to see our dream realized, so aspiring parents out there don’t be discouraged by the amount of time it takes. IT IS A LONG WAIT BUT WORTH IT.
My best advice would be to:
Select a good Fertility Clinic
In retrospect what made it worse is also the fact that we didn’t do enough research and select a good fertility clinic.
Our first clinic was not a great pick and soon after we selected it we understood that we had made a mistake.
It is extremely important that you select a clinic that has as a priority your wellbeing, both physical and emotional.
As I mentioned earlier it is a very difficult process and mostly it is emotionally draining, so make sure the clinic you select understands this and provides you with the support you will need. I remember feeling as if I were a cow or some sort of animal to be examined and used for some sort of research lab. It was HORRIBLE.
I won’t mention the first clinic because I don’t think it’s fair. After so many years many thing might have changed, so even if I provided that information it might not be accurate anymore.
What I’m going to do instead is tell you how awesome the experience at the Hannam Fertility Centre was because they made us feel as part of a family instead of treating us as numbers, and to me it made a world of difference. I will have to have a separate post for this so I can go into more details as of why that was and to also provide you with a list of questions you could and should ask when selecting a fertility clinic. So stay tuned for that.
All clinics have to go through preliminary tests to evaluate how to proceed, since every case is different. The difference between one Clinic to another is how they go about it and if they keep in mind that you are in a fragile state or not. Also keep in mind that this part (Here in Ontario, Canada) is mostly covered by healthcare. I say mostly because you might require some specific tests (Such as the one for the thyroid) that are not covered.
Once they have all the information they need they usually have a consultation with you, where they explain the procedure they believe best suits your case and at this point they also talk about the costs related to it. If you have questions for them this is the perfect time to ask them. Again this is a particular point where you can see the difference quality makes. A great clinic encourages you to ask those questions and are more than willing to answer them.
The choices you need to make
Once the procedure is decided and you agree to the costs you will also have to make a bunch of decisions such as:
How many embryos would you like them to implant right away? They will discuss with you the pros and cons and the risks involved with the different scenarios.
What would you like them to do with the remaining ones? “What ifs” and “in case ofs” are all covered and you need to provide your preference, so for each step they know what to do.
Remember: There’s no right or wrong answer here!!! The question is what is right or wrong for you! They’re not there to judge you they’re there to provide a service to you and that is all.
A big part of my reluctance for going to a clinic was because certain things were against my beliefs and it took me a long time to decide what I was comfortable with. Eventually my husband and I made our decisions confident the Hannam Centre would take care of everything in a smooth and hassle free process and respecting our beliefs.
Here is where you will need to visit the clinic on a daily basis. They will take a blood sample and do an ultrasound every day so they can monitor the progress of the ovulation.
You most likely will have to take hormones to stimulate your ovaries to produce as many eggs as possible (The higher the number of eggs the higher the chances to succeed).
For some women, the minority, this part gets really uncomfortable because when you stimulate the ovaries they get bigger and that could cause some discomfort (Just remember it’s temporary and it’s for a good cause).
This is the step where your eggs are mature enough to be fertilized so they need to be retrieved so the doctor can do it for you in vitro.
I’m not going to lie this part sucks(Literally!!!)
With the help of vaginal ultrasound they retrieve your eggs through a thin needle that gently sucks them out.
It is painful so you are required to take some pain killers before this fairly fast procedure. I must say that I was in great pain for about 20 min after the procedure, and keep in mind that I’m not a courageous person nor one that handles pain really well. Dr Redmond (The doctor that followed me throughout the whole process) was so gentle and and I remember feeling safe and somehow in control because she explained every single step with simple terms and in such a calming voice. Before I knew it the procedure was done and I was free to go home… Well back to work!
Once the eggs are placed in a culture dish the facility will proceed with selecting the most active sperm previosly collected from your partner or a donor.
The sperm gets either injected into the eggs or placed close to it to insure fertilization. Once this is accomplished they place them in a incubator where they get monitored to verify that healthy embryos develop from them.
After the fertilization the clinic usually calls you to inform you of the status of the fertilized eggs. Keep in mind that some will not make it, and this is absolutely normal.
I personally had 7 eggs retrieved the first time I tried (And that’s not a lot) and only three made it to the day of the embryo transfer.
Ok almost there… This is the final step and it’s where your embryo/s get placed back into the uterine cavity. This procedure gets done by using a speculum that gets inserted into your vagina while the transfer happens through a small plastic tube.
Once again I remember Dr Redmond being so nice and calm. She explained every step and made me feel great in a non so great situation. The anxiety I felt was almost overwhelming but the doctor and the staff made sure that I was pampered and that I would be as comfortable as possible. This is to me what makes the difference! The amount of care and tenderness they offer is unbelievably overwhelming in a nice way. It counterbalances the anxiety you feel and that makes a huge difference in your morale.
After the procedure is done a 24 hours bed rest period is often suggested.
This is your time to get pampered. Use it wisely!!!
The waiting game
Now it’s time to wait and see if the procedure worked. I know you won’t be able to think of anything else but it is best if you try to distract yourself.
After few weeks a pregnancy test is performed to confirm that you are actually pregnant. Remember that on average a couple goes through two or three attempts before succeeding, so don’t be discouraged if it doesn’t happen the first time.
I had to try three times before it actually worked.
As mentioned earlier the first time we tried I only produced 7 eggs and out of those only three made it. We decided to go ahead with the transfer of 2 embryos and it didn’t work.
A few months later we tried again with the only embryo we had left (That in the meantime had been frozen), so that we wouldn’t have to go through the entire process again. I mean you still have to go through some of the steps but at least it’s a bit easier from the physical point of view.
That didn’t work either and I felt so desperate and defeated.
I was an emotional wreck. I would start crying for no reason and got depressed by the fact that I couldn’t accomplish my biggest dream.
I had been dreaming of being a mother since I was a little kid and yet here I was… Incapable of conceiving. How unfair the world seemed then! What had I done to deserve it? I couldn’t shake off that feeling and ended up waiting for me to get better.
Once we decided to try again I remember thinking that it would probably end up being the same thing and that I would feel devastated by it.
I was petrified but I also tried to be positive about it. And so my new adventure began. This time around I produced three eggs (I almost fainted when they gave me the news!)
I thought to myself “This is not going well at all” and I guess I gave up. I told myself “Well maybe I’m not meant to be a mother”.
The day of the transfer came and we were informed that only one embryo had made it. They did the transfer and my hopes for it to succeed were at zero.
We waited and after the few weeks went back to do the pregnancy test which to my surprise came back positive. I was so excited! I mean I WAS PREGNANT!!!! For the first time in my life I was pregnant. And what were the odds?
To this day I don’t think that this would have been possible with any other clinic. The procedures they use to both freeze your eggs, preserve them and the embryo transfer are not all the same. The technology used is not the same at every clinic and that’s why the success rate varies from clinic to clinic. And also remember that your emotional status plays a big part in it, so if the clinic helps you emotionally as well as physically I believe that can make the difference as well.
I will always be grateful to the Hannam Fertility Centre for providing such a great experience even through the difficult times. The staff was absolutely amazing and supportive. I couldn’t have asked for more.
And thanks to them we were able to start referring to our growing baby as our miracle baby. For us she was and she still is. She will always be my miracle baby, even when she drives me up the wall!!!
How about you Mamas, or aspiring Mamas. What’s your story? Do you have an IVF story that you would like to share with us? Share in the comments below or send us an email! And don’t forget to subscribe to make sure you don’t miss our next post about IVF and the questions you should ask when selecting the right Fertility Centre
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