Canada Day weekend 2007 found me in bed crying for three days as I miscarried at 10 weeks. My husband lied next to me, holding me the whole time. I felt so crushed, so broken, like my body and my life was betraying me. I had to undergo a D&C at the hospital. We had gotten pregnant after about six months of trying; I was 37 at the time, my husband almost 48.
My story starts on a sad note but it is a story with a happy new beginning because out of this sadness I rose up again like a phoenix from the ashes. And now, as I prepare to share my story in the hope that it will help you as you go through your own fertility journey, I hold my beautiful, healthy baby girl in my arms. We brought her home from the hospital on Easter Morning three years later. She was almost nine pounds and absolutely perfect.
If I had known how it would turn out, I would have felt very different over the years it took to get pregnant again. One of the hardest things about infertility for me was the uncertainty, and at times I thought I may never have a child. Following the miscarriage, I felt too fragile, too hurt to try again for the longest time. I wasn’t sure if I could handle another crushing blow. I wanted some tests to be conducted but my ob/gyn insisted that if we had gotten pregnant once, it was a good sign and that everything was all right. Somehow, I felt that we needed testing but went along with what he said.
My recovery was slow and I was hard on myself for feeling so sad a lot of the time. We went almost one and a half years with me feeling low, and trying only half-heartedly to get pregnant even though I felt like the clock was ticking away.
In November 2008, I knew that I needed to do something. I decided to go back to Acubalance for physical and emotional support. Acupuncture has always made me feel better in both my body and my spirit. I also felt that it helped me stay fertile while we were on this journey because I didn’t’ know how long it would take to get pregnant again. I began seeing Alda Ngo for weekly treatments. Quickly my body started feeling and working better. My periods became more regular, my mucus became abundant, I slept better, and my chronic constipation began to go away. At the same time, I returned to my ob/gyn and this time he agreed to testing. We found out that I was ovulating perfectly but that there was scar tissue that may have been there for a long time or could have resulted from the D&C. We also tested my husband’s sperm. It turned out that his motility rate was quite low, in fact so low that the ob/gyn wasn’t sure if we could get pregnant again. He referred my husband to a specialist for further testing. It turned out that he had two varicose seals.
I was booked for out patient surgery for my scar tissue. It was small but if we decided to pursue fertility treatments, this was the first step. In the meantime, my husband was on a waiting list for varicose seal surgery. The specialist however wasn’t sure that it would solve his sperm motility issues. In addition, we were told that his sperm production would be affected for 3-6 months following the surgery.
At this time, Alda, whom I continued to see every week, suggested that we meet with Dr. Beth Taylor at Genesis Fertility Clinic. She suggested I would greatly benefit from another opinion. My first meeting with Dr. Taylor was great. I felt that I was finally with someone who was looking at the whole picture and providing me with guidance as to what our options were. While she went over the opportunities available to us, she mentioned that we could try IUI first but that she wasn’t sure if my husband had enough mobile sperm for it to work. If it didn’t, then we would have no choice but in vitro as a fertility treatment. I went for out-patient surgery at the hospital and it went very well. Now we were waiting for my husband’s surgery.
Alda again had an excellent recommendation. Acupuncture has a great track record of helping men with all kinds of sperm issues so she suggested that my husband come for a six week program with Spence who works with many of the men patients at the clinic. My husband wasn’t too keen on the idea, so for my birthday, I asked him to come with me for six weeks as my present. I also thought that we had nothing to loose since the surgery didn’t offer any guarantees so I conducted research and we tried everything, all kinds of things simultaneously. He took vitamins daily, drank ginseng tea, stopped taking baths, began wearing loose underwear and got a new seat for his bicycle. He’s been an avid cyclist for 25 years, biking to work daily, which probably contributed to the sperm situation.
At this point, I was starting to feel very good physically and also emotionally. In parallel to my body work, I realized that what I was feeling was bigger than my wanting a baby. It had to do with being happy and content in my life no matter what I had or didn’t have. This was not the first nor would it be the last struggle I would encounter and I had to find a way to be at peace with myself. So for the first time in my life, I began a daily mindfulness meditation practice, went for weekly therapy sessions, and began making changes in my life to eliminate stress, situations, and people that didn’t feel right to me anymore. I also practiced fertility yoga and started seeing Sue Dumais at Family Passages, who provided much physical and emotional support. I also read two books that were extremely helpful. The first was Elisabeth Lesser’s Broken Open, which contained a spiritual and emotional breakthrough for me, and the second was A Few Good Eggs: Two Chicks Dish on Overcoming the Insanity of Infertility.
At the end of these transformative months, I had never felt better in all ways. I felt whole, healthy, sound, and strong. I still didn’t know where my fertility journey was headed and what lay ahead, but I was at peace not knowing. I trusted myself and my place in this world. The constant sadness, disappointment, feeling of having no control, lack of trust, and sense of being damaged and broken were gone.
At this point, I wasn’t sure which course of fertility treatment to follow. Taking fertility drugs did not seem like the right decision for me but I wasn’t ruling it out. I consulted with Alda, who made an excellent point: I was ovulating perfectly so why not try as naturally as possible? Of course if my husband’s sperm could work as well. We decided to try IUI at the end of his six week acupuncture protocol even before he went for surgery. We had everything to gain. We went to Genesis in June 2009. My husband gave a sperm sample and we discovered that his sperm motility had risen by over 50 percent (hooray!!!) and there were more than enough good sperm for IUI which I received later that afternoon.
Even though we had been told that our chances of success with IUI were 5% at best, we got pregnant on the very first treatment. The whole pregnancy felt like a miracle. A gift. I continued to see Alda throughout most of my pregnancy, and gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. We call her "Tiger" because she’s so strong. I look at her and feel the complete abundance of this world.
So I urge you, keep going even when it’s difficult. It’s not over until it’s over. Fertility success may be right around the corner for you. May you find peace in your journey. I send you many wishes for a beautiful baby.