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Primary Infertility & Our Little Miracle

Image provided by Author, Monique Gaudry.Image provided by Author, Monique Gaudry. 

Things in life had for the most part come easily for my husband and I. We had successful careers, purchased our first home, renovated it and got married. We, therefore, both felt that the next step of starting our family would be just as ‘easy’. I expected that I would stop taking the contraceptive pill and then not long after we would have a baby in the pram, right? We both yearned for a baby, probably more so me than my husband to start with, but in time I knew he wanted a baby just as much as I did and it hurt him just as much as me each month when it didn’t happen.

A year went by of trying to conceive, we had moments of hope when my period was late, but we both knew that things weren’t going to plan as we had hoped; each negative pregnancy test reminded us of this. We were referred for tests by the GP which included blood tests, and semen samples, but nothing showed up as an issue. We were presented with two options from our GP, go straight to an IVF clinic or investigate with a Gynaecologist but was reminded by the GP that we still may end up down the IVF path if the Gynaecologist couldn’t help us. We were both pretty shattered that this was what we were presented with -we were 25 years old, how could it be that we needed help?  From what we knew at that stage IVF was mostly for older couples; it all seemed a little bewildering. When I think back now, in the grand scheme of things those options are hardly awful, at least we had options! I was oblivious to the fact that there are husbands and wives being told far worse news than that and I was in a state of ‘woe is me’.

Fast forward to our first appointment with the gynaecologist, an interesting soul he is, very blunt, quite non-sympathetic and slightly intimidating - just the kind of personality we needed when feeling so low. However, I must say we have grown on each other now and am ever grateful for his care.

Again we were sent for more tests, repeats of the same tests only to be given no real answers other than a diagnosis of ‘Primary Infertility’ (‘Infertility’ means you cannot get pregnant (conceive), ‘Primary Infertility’ refers to couples who have not become pregnant after at least 1 year of having sex without using birth control methods). So that’s ambiguous right?

We visited the gynaecologist monthly for a year, each time hoping that we were getting closer; each month was a regime of charting my temperature, attending blood tests and eventually taking medication. At the six month mark it was suggested that we trial Clomid (medication), this would help to regulate my ovulation cycles. As it seemed I was ovulating irregularly and sometimes not at all (there are no answers as to why) making it difficult to predict that ‘perfect window’ to conceive in each month. We were so hopeful that this was our golden ticket, we were told we could try 3-4 cycles and that usually you would fall in 3, if not then IVF would probably be the next step. How exciting that there was a possibility in 3 months we could have a baby on the way!

We reached 4 cycles, we had no such luck, the doctor suggested we try another month, but suggested we heavily consider IVF and make a decision by our next appointment so that the referral could be drawn up and we could move forward from there.

We returned for our monthly appointment, we had had 5 cycles of Clomid by then and no baby. Christmas was approaching and the gynaecologist suggested we look at IVF in the New Year. If we wanted to continue Clomid cycles until then we could, but he was not hopeful that we would have any success given it hadn’t worked yet. We left his office with the referral, holding back the tears in my eyes and the biggest lump in my throat as I felt I had failed at the one thing a woman should be able to do naturally.

My husband and I discussed IVF, it was something both of us were hesitant to contemplate in the beginning but after nearly 2 years of trying we both decided we would book in and see the specialist. I rang the IVF clinic, there was a 3 month wait to get in, my heart sunk again- another 3 months of waiting.

Christmas and New Year’s rolled by and we decided to continue the Clomid medication, but we were not hopeful. However, Australia Day past and I still had not had my period. Whilst this was not unusual as I had irregular cycles due to inconsistent ovulating, the Clomid ensured ovulation would occur regularly – so it seemed strange that I had no period by now. I had grown used to disappointment each month so I was no longer sprinting to the chemist to buy a pregnancy test in the hope that those two lines would appear. In fact, I would set myself dates that I could test if no period arrived, for instance, if I haven’t got my period by next, I could test. But, each month that period would come…

Except in January, I was more than a week late, I had told myself if I got to a week late I could test. The week rolled past and I was still too nervous to test, I again just didn’t want to put myself through the disappointment. We had a funeral to attend the last week in January; I decided that I would take the pregnancy test on the day of the funeral. Why? Because undoubtedly a negative test  would make me upset, but attending a funeral would put things in perspective and would make me realise that my day really wasn’t so bad and that there were far worse things happening to other people in the world. Some may think that was in poor taste but I needed perspective, I would spend 1-2 days each month being disappointed, sad and teary each time we were unsuccessful, this I know was not healthy but honestly it’s hard not to be upset when that is what your focus is constantly.

I hardly slept that night, nervous and excited to take the test in the morning. After hours of tossing and turning I got up just after 5am and took the test. I followed the instructions and left the test in the bathroom - I couldn’t watch. I waited and waited for what felt like a lifetime. To my surprise, when I went back and checked the test, TWO lines appeared!  I finally was able to cry the happiest of happy tears. I jumped on top of the bed and woke up my husband; we cried together with so much excitement, we had finally succeeded! That 6th cycle of Clomid had worked!

I sit here today as I write this just over nine months later in between feeds, cheeky smiles, dirty nappies, crying, and ‘gooing’ and ‘garring’ in awe of the miracle we created, our daughter. We don’t know what the future holds, we don’t know if we will have trouble conceiving again and whether we will be able to give our daughter a sibling. But at this stage, we are just eternally grateful for what we do have and realise that being told that we were infertile was not the end for us. Our journey resulted in a happy ending, I am not unrealistic and know that this is not the case for all, but if sharing our story can help inspire other husbands and wives to keep going and chase their dreams of a family, then I can’t ask for much more.