Fertility. The word that most people who have dreams of raising a family hope to be blessed with. The word that I thought I’d never have to worry about once we conceived Finley after one month of not preventing pregnancy. The word that now makes me feel instant anger and despair. I am infertile.
I have been desperate to have a baby since shortly after Finley died. Almost four years ago. Four years. I’ve been wondering all this time if something was wrong, or if we weren’t timing things right, or if maybe the timing in our lives wasn’t right. I’ve been trying to convince myself that the stabbing pain I get near my ovaries around the time I ovulate isn’t indicative of anything sinister. I finally had to face the truth.
Last Monday, 18 January, my life changed in a big way. Again. I went for an HSG (hysterosalpingogram), which is when a doctor injects dye through your cervix and into your uterus and fallopian tubes and x-rays are taken to get a detailed image of what is going on. If the dye is able to flow free through your tubes, that shows that everything is clear. I could tell straight away as I looked up at the screen that that was not the case for me. One side showed a path that looked wider than I would have expected, and then it just kind of stopped. The other side showed nothing at all.
Even though I suspected that there could be problems, I was not prepared for what the doctor said to me. I was laying on the table, spread eagle, where the whole world (about 8 medical professionals) could see, and the doctor (who is not my doctor) says “let me explain what we see here. One of your tubes looks like there is some inflammation and swelling, and is blocked at the end. The dye did not spill out the end. The other tube isn’t showing at all, which tells us that it is completely blocked. Likely from scar tissue or past infection. This is why you haven’t been getting pregnant.”
The doctor then walked away and left me to absorb this information. I instantly began sobbing. I believe it was in part because of a realization of my fears coming true, and part flashback to the moment after Finley was born when I was told I may need to have a hysterectomy to stop my post partum hemorrhage. Back then I told Steve, through sobs and hysterics, “I’m terrified that Finley is going to die, and that I won’t be able to have any more children.” And then Finley died. And now I’m infertile.
Last Thursday, 21st January, I had a follow up appointment with my obgyn to go over our options after the devastating news of the HSG. She told us that she would refer us to three fertility clinics (Edmonton, Calgary and Vancouver) so that we could see who would get us in first. She said that she didn’t think that they would attempt surgery to unblock my tubes – the damage is pretty extensive, and the surgeries have a low success rate and can produce even more complications than they can fix. So that leaves us with one option – IVF. IVF to bypass my broken tubes.
She also told me that, as I suspected, this was almost definitely caused by my csection and the surgery I had for my post partum hemorrhage. Despite the obgyn who delivered Finley telling me that I would easily be able to conceive again, here I am broken. I have no history of STI’s or PID, no endometriosis, or any other reason that this would have happened. And so here I have another situation in which the doctors in Naples failed me.
As I’m sure you can imagine, this has been incredibly hard news to receive. I feel like my life has been stolen from me, in addition to the life of our son. We started out as happy newlyweds who felt grateful to be pregnant so easily, and now we have a dead son, and no hope of conceiving another child without spending a lot of time, money and enduring medical procedures. This isn’t fair, and I am struggling with trying to come to terms with it.
So now we wait. Wait for a call from one of the fertility clinics, wondering where this crazy path is going to lead, wondering what it will cost, wondering if at the end of it all, we will get to hold a baby in our arms.
In the meantime, I need to try to lose weight. Excess weight can affect fertility treatments, and many fertility clinics have weight restrictions in place. I was 75 lbs up since losing Finley – just another heavy reminder of what we’re missing, though since the beginning of January I have lost 7.5 lbs of that. The next few months are going to be hard: trying to stay focused, trying to work on our health, and waiting for that phone call that could define our futures. I’m going to need all of the support I can get, which is why I’ve decided to share this here, in such a public way. I’m going to need to be held accountable on my journey towards better health, and I’m going to need for people to be understanding as we begin the infertility journey. I would appreciate if you would keep us in your thoughts.