1 in 6 stories



In July of 2011 we decided it was time to start trying for baby #2, with expectations that it would likely take longer this time. I quit the birth control I was on, Micronor I think, and I never got a period. I chalked it up to the stress of planning a cross province move, Paul resigning his job and my depression. I fully expected it would start in a few months. In January/February 2012 we moved from Edmonton to Coaldale and I managed to get a new doctor in Lethbridge thanks to my mom-inlaw and I transferred all my medical records from my clinic in Edmonton.

By now it has been 6 months of “trying” and me still not having a period. I still didn’t think there was a problem, we were starting over in a new town, new church, we were dealing with renters in Edmonton and we were renting in Coaldale. I had always been told that stress can stop periods, so I didn’t think there was a problem that I was edging closer and closer to a year without a cycle. Circumstances out of our control had us moving within 6 months, and in September 2012 we moved from in Coaldale to a lovely little acreage just outside of Coaldale. More stress, more depression, no cycle.

October 2012

Dr. B referred me to an OB/GYN, I was getting annoyed about no period and therefore no baby so I went to my new doc and she prescribed progesterone to start a bleed, and she warned me it would be bad as I hadn’t had a cycle for 16 months at this point. Well, if you have ever had a bad period that made you feel lightheaded times that by 10 and you might get an idea how awful it was. It takes a few days to work, so over thanksgiving at church the bleeding started and it was terrible. I think I bled for 10 days. One afternoon I woke up on the couch and my son was sitting on the floor beside me with a loaf of bread because he was hungry and couldn’t wake me up to get him food. I don’t know how long I was passed out for. The guilt I felt for that still haunts me. It took 9 months to get in with the OB…anyone else see the painful irony of waiting an entire pregnancy to see someone when you are trying to get pregnant? Ya, me too.

June 2013

I go to meet Dr. A, and she looks at me and says, “I don’t think you have anything wrong with you, I don’t think you have PCOS (poly cycstic ovarian syndrome) - you just need to lose weight. But I will take a swab of your cervix and check for cancer. I also don’t think that it is safe to prescribe clomid due to your weight and the complications that will happen”. I burst into tears. I had waited this long to be told I’m fat? What? I was so overwhelmed I couldn’t say anything but “thanks for your time, when can I see you again?” She writes me off and I say thanks? She then tells me that she will refer me to the Regional Fertility Program (RFP) in Calgary, and that I can book a follow up appointment in 5 months.

December 2013

I go to my follow up appointment with Dr. A. She asks when my last cycle was and I remind her that Dr. B gave me progesterone in October 2012 and again in March 2013 (this bleed wasn’t anywhere as bad as the first one) and that I don’t have cycles without the progesterone, but that I had had a bleed last month, but I don’t know if it was a period or not. Then she asks, “Did I ever refer you to the RFP in Calgary?” I looked at her and asked her, “You are asking me if you referred me? I haven’t a clue!” She gave me some blood work forms to do on day 2 or 3 and day 17 of my next cycle. I booked a follow-up appointment for late January 2014.

February 2014

I got the call from the RFP and we have an appointment in April, it will be a In Vitro Fertilization information session and then a sperm count test for Paul, an internal ultrasound for me, and then a consult with one of the 8 fertility specialists. I’ve had a 4 cycles in a row, 37 days long. I’m feeling more positive. Paul and I have blood work to do as a part of the appointment, I get a phone call telling me that I need to get my MMR (mumps-measles-rubella) again as I am not immune. I do that again and find out that I have a natural immunity and the vaccine doesn’t work on me. (I guess that’s a plus…)

April 2014

We head to Calgary for the appointment. 40 couples gather in a lecture theatre in the Foothills Hospital to take part in a 2.5 hour info session on IVF and the costs (up to $13,000) associated with it. Sigh, overwhelmed. Thank God for friends that welcome us into their home and offered wine to unwind. Day 2 sees us at the RFP getting Paul’s sperm analyzed and my uterus checked out. FYI - internal ultrasounds suck, but the techs there are excellent at their job. We get Dr.O as our doc, seems nice. Dr. O asks about my cycles and before I’m far along in my explanation he stops me and says, “you are absolutely right, you aren’t ovulating, you possibly have PCOS. We need to get you ovulating.” I burst into tears. He goes on to tell us that I have lots of healthy follicles (eggs) they just aren’t getting the message to leave the ovaries. He thinks that clomid might be all I need to get things moving. We’re stunned, an answer finally almost 2 years of trying and it might be something as simple as clomid??? I asked him “what about my weight? won’t there be complications?” he said “we will monitor you, but I don’t think there will be a problem”. What? Dr. O says we will work with you. Wow. So we get prescriptions for 3 cycles of clomid and prometrium so that I can have a guaranteed day 1 of my cycle. Dr. O also explains what will happen if the three rounds of clomid don’t work: We will do an HSG test, and we got the scripts for that too. Normally he would refer me back to my OB as that is protocol, but when I explained what had happened, he said that he would keep me on at the RFP (Thank God). Then we met with a nurse to explain more details about the clomid and finally we met with the clinic psychologist as part of the appointment. She was wonderful, we had a great conversation and we felt really supported.

At the end of May 2014, we can start the clomid: Cycle one Clomid, 50mg; take prometrium until period starts; take clomid from days 3-7.; have sex every other day from day 10 - day 20; blood test on day 21; if the results are poor, do another blood test again on day 28; if results are poor, wait for a period to start until day 35 and take pregnancy test; if not pregnant, start prometrium; and repeat. Cycle one doesn’t work.

June/July 2014

Clomid cycle two 100mg. Repeat all of the above. Doesn’t work.

August 2014

Clomid cycle three 150mg. Repeat all of the above. Doesn’t work. My depression spikes. I’m angry, frustrated, sad. I’m consumed by guilt that I am broken. I feel guilt that I am not satisfied with our wonderful son. I cope with more friends having babies, I’m sad that I don’t have a baby in my arms, my arms ache with emptiness. My guilt builds.

I’ve been trying a new lifestyle of eating through all of this: Trim Healthy Mama (THM). It is a great way of eating, but I have a hard time sticking to it. Nothing else has worked, why will this? But I lose some weight and I start feeling better. It’s a start. In the book it talks about natural hormone balance. I am struck by no one seems to care that my progesterone levels haven’t changed at all. I call the RFP to ask results for the last blood work and they tell me my progesterone levels are at 1. I finally am with it enough to ask what they should be to ovulate: 10. Wow. My hormones that help me ovulate are in the toilet. Thanks guys for telling this important information.

September 2014

My HSG is booked for Sept 30.

September 16, 2014

I’m in Superstore looking for Protein powder. I ask the woman restocking items in the aisle for a certain brand and we start talking. She asks why I am looking for the protein powder and some other items. I explain that I am trying this lifestyle to lose weight. She looks at me and asks “I’m being nosy, but is there something else you are trying?” So I told her my sordid fertility story (the condensed version of this). She looked at me and put her hand on my arm and said, “I have this overwhelming need to tell you that it’s not your fault. None of this, your weight, your infertility, it’s not your fault.”

I cried. I have been blaming myself for so long, and a stranger could tell that I needed to hear that it wasn’t my fault. She has a nutrition background, and she is passionate about helping women get pregnant with natural hormone therapy. She told me about a Doc in Medicine Hat who believes in Natural Hormone Therapy (my chiropractor has mentioned him before too, but I had forgotten). She tells me about a cortisol saliva test that can be done. She tells me that progesterone is also the hormone for metabolism. No wonder I struggle with weight loss… I get home and call Dr. W’s office I get an appointment for Monday.

September 22, 2014

I drive to Medicine Hat, I meet Dr W. We talk and he sends me for a full blood work up, testing my thyroid and other things as that might be an issue. He wants me to do the saliva test, he puts me on a gluten free diet as I have been getting itchy from white flour.

September 25, 2014

I meet G, the pharmacist who does the saliva test in Lethbridge. We have an hour long meeting looking at my blood work and going over the saliva test. I learn a ton about Hypothyroidism. My T4 levels are low, my T3 levels are low, my progesterone levels are really low. These combined are definitely a part of my infertility. I finally am feeling more positive, I have an appointment on October 1 with Dr. Woolf to go over our plan of action.

September 30, 2014

HSG in Calgary. 8:00am The HSG test is where they inject dye into my uterus to see if there are any blockages in my fallopian tubes. The worst internal exam ever. Cold speculum, strange man, dye and an X-ray. It was cool to see what my uterus looks like. This doesn’t work. The dye doesn’t reach my tubes and he adds more dye - still nothing. I have an “abnormal” uterus. Tell me, how many uteruses (is that a word??) look the same??

10:30 am

I meet with Dr. O to go over the results. I mention that I am looking into my thyroid and progesterone levels, as that is concerning for me. He nods, and then continues with the HSG results. Yup, didn’t work. He wants to do a laporoscopy & hysteroscopy on me. They go in surgically through a port in belly, just under the belly button. They scope my uterus and fallopian tubes to see any abnormalities like problematic fibroids or polyps.

They perform a D&C, dilatation and curettage, where they scrape the uterine walls to remove all tissue. Oh. Wow. There are risks involved when you are overweight. He checks my BP, pulse, heart and lungs. He checks my belly. Shocking - I’m perfectly healthy, just have fat. His secretary will call me to schedule the surgery, it will be a couple months. The nurse comes to go over paperwork. Appointment over. Nothing about my thyroid, nothing about hormones. More medical tests. Surgery. Overwhelmed.

October 1, 2014

So this afternoon I go to see Dr. W. I am hoping to have a plan of action to get me healthy. I don’t think I will do the surgery. But that might change.


I have confirmed Gluten Sensitivity, and Adrenal Fatigue (pending the results of the saliva test). The thyroid will wait until we have confirmed (or not) the adrenal fatigue. If I have adrenal fatigue messing with the thyroid could make things worse. I’m trying to focus on finding Joy in the Journey. I have felt both very far from God and close to God the further I go in this journey, so I need to continue to seek Him and draw closer to Him.

December 2014

I went back to the doctor in Medicine Hat, I have Hypo-Thyroidism. Something is medically wrong - AND THEY ARE FIXING IT!! I’m starting a combination of drugs and herbal supplements to repair the hormone balance in my body. It could be part of the infertility but it might not be. However, it will give me back my energy that I have been lacking for so long. I have adrenal fatigue and my cortisol (stress hormone) levels are all out of balance, THEY ARE FIXING IT! Do you know how long I have waited for someone to try something - anything, to fix what is wrong? To hear what I have been saying? Too long. This might allow us to conceive a baby, but it might not.

December 5, 2014

We decided that I would the surgery to see if there was anything wrong inside. I had a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy, and a D&C. My fallopian tubes were scoped, and my uterus was scoped, and they scraped my uterus to get rid of all build up, and to test for abnormalities. The scopes showed normal anatomy. No blockages. Now we wait to see if there were any odd cells in the lining of my uterus. All was clear. It isn’t a long procedure, but I still went under anesthetic. I was scared. I prayed that I would have peace before the surgery, I prayed that I would be ok with whatever happened. We had to be at the Foothills for 5:30am for day surgery registration. I was up in pre-op by 6:30, and by 7:30 I was waiting for my intern anesthetist to check in with me. During the pre-op part, the lovely nurse, L, was going over everything, and she was telling me who would be in the OR with me, my anesthetist, and she was struggling to say his last name. And I laughed - I asked if it was Dr. B, and it was. I knew my anesthetist. A sense of peace flooded over me, and I knew that God was letting me know I was in His hands, trust. The procedure went well, and I came out of the anesthesia well, and by 12:30 I was having lunch with Paul.

Recovery has been interesting. No one tells you that having a D&C leaves you feeling like you have had a baby. You bleed for 2-4 weeks following, you will have minor cramping. You can’t have sex until you follow-up with the doctors. I can’t pick up my son, it hurts to sit for long periods of time, I have to relax and take it easy…aside from the fact that I am not sleep deprived, I feel a lot like after my son was born. It is so wrong that a procedure that is the complete opposite of birth leaves you feeling like you have given birth. I am thankful that I have 2 tiny incision points, and that they are easy to clean and are healing well, but I hate that I feel like I had a baby. I know that my healing post-partum from my son’s birth was easy, I didn’t have an episiotomy, I didn’t tear badly or have a long recovery, so maybe I’m just lucky. But for me this feeling last time I had the reward. I had my baby to hold and this time all I have is empty arms.

February 9, 2015

During a conversation with a friend I had a realization: I’ve been really sick, and I didn’t realize it. As I heal my thyroid and learn more about adrenal fatigue and hypo-thyroidism I’m seeing how sick I was. I thought it was my normal and I was sick.

It is the beginning of a journey to forgiving myself for the guilt I put on myself over the past few years. I’m still learning a lot about myself and that won’t stop. I have been up and down emotionally a lot in regards to our fertility journey in the last few months. I have several dear friends who have been able to share their pregnancy joys with me. I am thankful that they are able to tell me about it, and I am excited for them. Babies are a blessing and I know how precious these babies are to each friend. The road to their pregnancies haven’t all been easy either. Some of their journey’s have been shadowed with loss, both with miscarriage and still birth.

I remember in one of my classes in Christian Spirituality I talked about joy. And I made a realization that joy doesn’t equal happiness. Joy can be filled with sorrow. Now that might seem impossible, but think about when someone dear to you is sick, and dying. When they die - there is joy that they are no longer suffering, but sadness as you now have to live without them. That’s how I feel when someone gets pregnant. I feel joy for them, and their blessing - but I am sorrowful because it isn’t me. The deep soul hurting joy that doesn’t mean happy, but that seeks to loves each person.

February 14, 2015

I had my follow up appointment in Calgary at the RFP . Dr. O confirmed again that I have normal anatomy and clear tubes. So that is great news. Anatomically there is no reason that I can’t conceive. We talked a bit about the Thyroid diagnosis and Adrenal Fatigue, and I was reminded that most mainstream doctors don’t think of adrenal fatigue as an illness. I’m thankful for my Pharmacist G and Dr. W and how they look at me and my body as a whole.

So then we talked more about how I’m still having irregular cycles (as in without added progesterone I don’t have a period) and that there is clearly something hormonal blocking ovulation. So we talked more about the potential of me having PCOS and how there were two options really: Metformin, or more clomid at the highest dose. Metformin is actually a Diabetic drug. It blocks the production of insulin, meaning that it stops sugars from being absorbed. It appears that I’m likely producing too much insulin, and that is giving me extra male hormones and too much insulin interferes with ovulation. So the drug will (hopefully) help to regulate my cycles.

On a side note, the very first time I met with the Lethbridge OB, I asked about trying Metformin as I thought there was something going on. Two years ago I suggested the very drug I am now going to be starting. Very FRUSTRATING!!! So I will try the Metformin for 3 months, and I will pray harder than ever that I get pregnant. If I don’t, we will continue the Metformin and add three cycles of clomid to the mix. If I am not pregnant after that, it is decision time for Paul and I. The next option gets expensive, it is hormone injections (that I would do myself), a lot of monitoring blood work and ultra sounds, and a lot of trips to Calgary. It is $1500-2000 plus $1000 for all the monitoring. It is also a balancing act of making sure I’m producing enough eggs but not too many. If I produce too many then we have to stop and try again the next month (twins I can handle the thought of but 3 or 4 or more I don’t think so!!). Therein lies ethical / moral questions of reducing eggs and all that. The last step is IVF (InVitro Fertilization), and we have decided already we are not going to do that. $10,000-15,000 (the cost of IVF and genetic screening**).

April 15, 2015

Baby announcements suck. Whining about babies sucks. Being ecstatic about your gorgeous new baby sucks. Remember that season after college/university where everyone was getting married? You had like 8 weddings/summer and were single. Remember how much fun that was when you were single and lonely? Multiply that feeling by 1000, and that’s close to how I feel. Our son is a month away from turning 5. This sucks. He is great. The reality that for 4 years we have been trying to conceive baby #2 and still aren’t pregnant sucks. Seeing baby #2 announcements with the older child holding cute baby things, or, wearing the “Big Brother/Sister” shirt makes me cry. Hearing complete strangers talk about how their son/daughter is “totally freaked out having an 18 month old and being pregnant again” makes me feel rage that they weren’t even trying, and whoops baby #2.

I mean really - what the Hell? Even if I were to follow the oh so helpful advice of - oh I don’t know EVERYONE - to “just stop trying, that worked for so and so”, - I don’t ovulate. My hormones are trying to paddle upstream a raging flooding river of “hell no we won’t go”. My cycle is non-existent. The majority of my doctor appointment these days are simply that - trying to get my hormones balanced. I would still be going to all the appointments if I wasn’t trying to have a baby. So - do I have any understanding for your shitty pregnancy feelings? Nope, not today. Awe, your swollen feet hurt? Bite me.

On most days I would feel great sorrow when I heard about a miscarriage - today my instant reaction is “at least you can get pregnant”. Then I feel incredible guilt, and shame for my thoughts. I long for a miscarriage so that I know that my body can work and get pregnant. I know that if that were to happen, the dark void would engulf me, much the same as it engulfs those who have walked that road in the past, currently, and sadly those who will walk that road in the future. But DAMN IT - why does your body work and why is mine broken?

I see the happy and beautiful pictures of a moments old infant and I feel a flash of joy for the family, I’m able to click “Like” on Facebook, type congrats (which I do mean) in the comments and then I remove the image from my feed. I can’t stand that you are feeling immense joy, and I sit here trying to understand why my arms are empty and aching. My son asks me “when is our baby coming?” because we have so many people having babies in our lives, and I have to explain to him that God has a plan that we aren’t aware of, and that we might never get a baby of our own. I have to walk away from him because “I just wish I had someone to play with all the time mommy, like a brother” completely devastates me and he doesn’t understand why that makes me cry.

I have had other feelings this past weekend/week about birth and babies, most of them downright uncharitable. So I will continue to ‘unfollow’ people whose news feeds are full of those smiling faces and babies because I cannot live my life in a jealous rage. Greed is the green-eyed monster, so what is jealousy and anger? Baby blue and baby pink I think…

April 20, 2015

I get asked every now and again (and my mom gets asked) why am I writing these notes? What is the purpose of the notes - well, here goes. There is a culture of silence around pregnancy loss, infertility and many other reproductive illnesses. I am breaking that pattern of silence. I was just barely three when my brother Randy was born and died. I learned then that babies don’t always come home. I was too young to know about the other miscarriage my parents suffered but I already knew about loss. I was 11 when my aunt experienced a traumatic pregnancy, and I learned that it can be dangerous to be pregnant - but I also saw how that baby survived and is now a healthy grown young man.

I’ve always loved babies, and have been intrigued by pregnancy. So I knew more than many do about the miscarriages in my extended family, and there have been a lot. Because of all this infant loss, I actually assumed I would experience a miscarriage at some point. I had no idea that infertility was in my family as well. As I have been walking this journey I am learning of fertility issues in aunts and uncles lives. It is a wonderful thing to learn that I am not alone in what I am facing and the path I am walking. But it is not just family that are sharing with me their journeys. Many of my friends have sent messages thanking me for saying what I have felt/thought. Many friends have suffered miscarriages, are walking their own fertility journey’s. I will continue to voice this journey for me, but also for you.

To my friends that are suffering primary fertility struggles - I am so sorry. I don’t know what that is like, and I know that am exponentially blessed as I have a wonderful child. To my friends who have suffered miscarriages and repeat pregnancy loss - I am sorry. I don’t know what that is like either, and your pain must be consuming. May you find your way out of the darkness and into the Light. To my friends who are suffering secondary fertility struggles - I am so sorry. I know that struggle, deeply to my core I know your pain.

Aside from breaking the silence around infertility, by sharing this story with you, I don’t get lost in depression. I don’t have to keep repeating myself. There is nothing worse than having to repeat awful news 10 times to make it seem 100x worse than it is. This allows me to get information out to all my friends and family. And I don’t have to pretend all is well if it isn’t.

April 17, 2015

We had another appointment at the Fertility Clinic, and in a few days, once I have had a better chance to process what we discussed I might share more. I feel like I am at a precipice and I am not sure which direction we should go. So I have to take some time before I share that stuff.

Thanks for reading.

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