By Maria Hjort Guiney
I was one of those girls.
Those girls who knew from the age of six that I wanted to have kids. Little did I know that it would take until I was thirty-six for that to actually come true.
My husband and I had agreed to “pull the goalie” as it were once we’d been married a little over a year. I was thirty-one and he was about to celebrate his sixth 29th birthday. SO while we weren’t in the ‘danger zone’, we weren’t in our mid-twenties either. There wasn’t panic, but still…
The first few months drifted along without much thought. When we hit month five and then six, I inched up on the stress meter. As we approached months eleven and twelve and onward, I found myself in tears when it was evident that it wasn’t happening this time either. I tried to relax about it.
Well, let’s be honest. I told myself I was relaxing, when really, I was probably doing the exact opposite.
Friends and co-workers were having kids, inviting me to showers and the like. Most of the time I could handle it, but some days they’d stop by work for a visit. People would make a point of telling me babies were in the building because they knew how much I loved kids, but sometimes…I just couldn’t do it. I actually found a reason to be busy or out of the office just at that time.
I couldn’t understand why. Anything and everything I read was about how to conceive. I followed any and all guidelines on what to eat (beans good, peas bad), quit drinking pop, and tried way to many things I don’t even want to think about. I started seeing a Naturopath. Paid for private lab tests to check all hormone levels, had a sack full of supplements with me wherever I went. I could rival Santa Claus. Oh, the amount of times I packed a bag and hoped there wouldn’t be any problems with airport security!
And still, nothing. (Though my Naturopath managed to sort out some other issues for me.)
Finally, I started the process with my doctor to begin a more in-depth investigation. Never have I seen a stack of papers to read, forms to fill out and requisitions for lab work. I wondered if I’d have any blood left once they were done.
The initial results showed all my levels were good. I had no immediate reasons showing why this wasn’t happening. Great.
My doctor referred me to the Fertility clinic in Calgary. They contacted me within a month or so of receiving our packet. We were invited to come down for the initial meeting/tests/extravaganza. After nearly getting a concussion from being hit across the head with cost of it all, and still having no guarantee…this became my reality. I soon had the clinic’s phone number and our file number memorized. And for once, I couldn’t wait to get my period!
Because, that meant I could call the “Period Hot line” ! You can’t make sh*t that up. That was the signal to start! A regimen that was all-encompassing, involving a number of supplements, a baby aspirin, and then…the shots. Oh, the shots. Became somewhat skilled, I must admit.
Finally, it was time to start my 7-10 day stay in Calgary. Every morning started out the same. A slew of women waiting outside the building to open. Rushing to grab a number from the lockbox (not kidding) to get their appointment order. Then upstairs to the clinic to sit and wait for our number to be called. And then we’d do some blood work, an ultrasound and so on and so on. By the end of day five, I believe, I laid on the exam room table only to be told there was only about five eggs. This was very low and likely not enough to complete this cycle. I’d come this far, done all this and the threat of cancellation and starting over was just unimaginable to me.
Perhaps after seeing the look on my face, the nurse had a suggestion. Why don’t we try a few more days of injections and see what that gets us? Yes, please!
It took a few extra days but they finally confirmed we had enough to go through with the retrieval. So yet more poking of an IV and lovely hospital gowns and into the room we went. Kind of weird to have things vacuumed out of your lady parts, but oh, if you want, you can watch on the big TV on the wall there. Um, no thanks. I’m good.
Then the waiting begins. They call you to say how many they retrieved and after they’re mixed together how many were viable. And then each day they call you with how many survived another day. By the way, the number keeps dropping. So encouraging!
And then, five days later back to the clinic. Time for the transfer. After all the work, stress, pills, shots, tears. Today was the day. Back in the same procedure room as the retrieval (maybe they’ll name it after me?) I was again, invited to watch on the TV (still good, no thanks!) as they transferred in one, single, solitary Grade A++ (their words, not mine) embryo.
Let me get this straight. We’re pinning all our hopes (and money) on one little embryo? Okay, no pressure, but you find a good spot in there and you stick. Hold on tight and never let go (well, until you’re supposed to). One? Just one?
Oh, and then more waiting. Two weeks. Longest. Time. Ever. And then, back at work my phone rings with the clinic on the call display. Hard swallow. “Hello?”
“Congratulations, you’re pregnant!” I’m not sure if I vomited, passed out, or managed to stay seated. I think I did okay because they gave me my due date and advised that I’d be going for an early ultrasound to rule out an Ectopic pregnancy. Are you freaking kidding me? You tell me I’m finally pregnant and in the same breath tell me it might be Ectopic? Deep breaths.
So, I’m pregnant. But not getting excited. Nope. Can’t get excited. Might be ectopic, which would mean no baby. So….just gonna continue working and not thinking about it. Nope. Just going to think about nothing else.
Yet another fashionable gown, yet another cold, sticky exam table, yet another internal (ugh) ultrasound. The tech confirms my details, yes, first pregnancy. Yes, IVF. Yes, they transferred one embryo. Click, click, click. Taking pictures. Good news. Not ectopic. And, exhale.
Then she says words I never thought I’d hear. “Here’s the heart beat.” I look at the screen and see a little pulse of light. “And here’s the other heartbeat. Congratulations, you’re having twins!”
Mia is a mom of two boys that are growing up too fast. You can follow her (mis)adventures at www.mariaguiney.ca