I walk beside you on my own fertility journey
The SUPER Coles Notes version of my fertility journey is the fact that I’m also an:
Where It All Started
The First Time
I was 12 years old and on my second period EVER.
My mom found me on the bathroom floor in fetal position in excruciating pain.
This scenario repeated every month for 3-4 days from then until I was in my mid-20s.
I found the courage to tell my pediatrician about my pain.
He told me “Your periods are supposed to be painful. It’s normal. Just take a Tylenol and stop exaggerating.”.
I refused to return to his office ever again.
Begging to be spayed
I was 13 years old and DESPERATE for a solution.
I begged my parents to get spayed.
I was 18 years old.
She suggested birth control or surgery, and I declined.
She said “Please come back as my OB patient. You have labour pains for 3-4 days a month, so having a baby will be a breeze for you!”.
I discovered Naturopathic Medicine in my early 20s.
It took a few years of hard work to determine what worked for me.
And I’m happy to report that I’ve had pain-free cycles since my mid-20s!
Trying to Conceive
We decided it was time to “casually start trying”.
To be honest, I had a timeline in my head.
I wanted to get pregnant 1 year after we were married.
Month After Month
I over-analysed ever possible “early pregnancy symptom”.
I was completely devastated every time my period would arrive.
It was a vicious cycle of soaring hopes and crushing defeat, over and over.
We finally landed at a fertility clinic.
I should have listened to my own advice.
BUT I was stubborn and hindsight is always 20/20.
We did all of the testing.
We were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”.
Our options were continue to try naturally or move forward with an IUI/IVF.
The Second Opinion
We got more advice and we decided to do an IUI.
We were SUPER excited (look at how adorably naive we were!).
We were full of hopes & dreams of being the 5-15% who had a successful IUI.
Where It All Went Sideways …
Severe Food Poisoning?
We went out to dinner for my brother’s birthday 2 days after our IUI.
I landed in the ER the day after with severe abdominal pain & a high fever.
We ruled out appendicitis.
Unlucky 0.016% = 0.16 in 1000
It took 3 weeks to diagnose my PID from the IUI.
For 8 weeks after our IUI, I went through:
- 3 visits to the ER
- 2 hospital ward admissions
- 13 days in a hospital room
- 21 days of a high fever
- Endless needle pokes
- 3 pelvic ultrasounds
- 3 x-rays
- 2 CT scans
- 120 bags of IV fluids & meds
- countless meds including hydromorphone & percocet!
- 1 NG tube for 4 of the most uncomfortable days of my life
- 1 large dumbbell shaped abscess that wrapped around my intestines
- 1 full intestinal blockage
- 1 drain installed into my pelvis for 6 weeks
- 700 mL of infected material drained from the abscess
- 35 lbs lost over 3.5 weeks
I developed bilateral hydrosalpinx.
I needed to have surgery to remove both of my Fallopian tubes.
Naturally getting pregnant was NEVER going to happen and I was devastated.
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Our Last Hope
I was terrified to restart.
BUT I didn’t have a choice.
I had a massive amount of anxiety sprinkled with a lot of hope.
We only retrieved 9 follicles despite seeing 24 viable options.
I was devastated again.
We agonised as we waited to learn that FOUR embryos survived to freeze!
I then had laparoscopic surgery to remove my Fallopian tubes.
I was finally officially diagnosed with stage 4 endometriosis.
My entire pelvis was littered with scar tissue and adhesions — it was a MESS.
Our FET serendipitously fell on the 1 year anniversary of “that dreaded summer of 2017”.
We agonised through our TWW.
It actually worked and we officially graduated from our fertility clinic!
I HEAR you. I SEE you. I AM you.
I’ve been drawn to fertility patients since my internship in 2002.
My fertility story is full of twists and turns but we made it through our fertility tunnel with our happy ending.
And now I’m passionate & dedicated to help my fellow #fertilitywarriors feel fully supported on their fertility journeys from start to finish.
Another Big Decision
We decided to try to add to our family.
It was a very big decision for us.
With a worldwide pandemic thrown into the mix!
We did it all over again.
And it actually worked!
We were shocked, thrilled and exuberant.
We’ve struggled to conceive for years.
The joy of a BFP is always marred with a lot of trepidation and worries.
I was waiting for “the other shoe to drop”.
Unfortunately, our pregnancy ended in a loss.
I was devastated.
I took a long time to mourned the entire life that I had planned with A + my new little.
One Last Try
Our Last IVF
We tried one last time.
Unfortunately, it didn’t work out as we had hoped.
This was the end of our fertility journey.
The Ending to Our Fertility Story
My infertility has gripped my mind, body and soul for the last 10 years.
It’s quite jarring when it finally comes to an end.
I didn’t actually know how I felt when it was finally over
I journaled about it.
I wrote A a letter explaining everything that we did to get him and try to give him a sibling.
And I’ve realised that I’m filled with much relief, gratitude and peace knowing that it’s finally “over”.
One and Done
Not By Choice
I’m embracing the “One and Done” life.
And I’m incredibly grateful for being able to do so.
I can’t wait to share some of the fun things that I have in the works for this!
I decided that I wanted to do something to honour and memoralise all of my embryos/babies.
So I got a handpoked tattoo:
- 5 buds = the five embryos that never made it to blast
- 3 light blue flowers = the three 5 day embryos that we lost
- 1 bright blue flower at the top = my little A
- Forget Me Not flowers so that I would never forget any of them
What have you done to mark the end of your fertility journey?
I AM You
I can genuinely say that “I understand”.
I know first hand the toll this journey takes on your physical, mental & emotional health.
I get it.
100% I get it.
Now let me support you through your journey so that the mountains that you’ll have to climb won’t seem as high.
We can do this together.
Frequently Asked Questions
However, my patients also bring with them other concerns including bloating, headaches, constipation, etc
The best suggestion I have is to book a free 15 min meet & greet appointment and we can chat it out to see if we’d work well together. If I don’t think that I’d be able to help you, I can always send you some suggestions for colleagues who’d be better suited to support you to reach your health goals.
My patients tend to love it because it’s a great efficient use of your time with zero commuting involved!
- Forest Hill at St. Clair & Spadina
- Burlington at Appleby & Harvester
However, I’m only available for these injection appointments on specific days of the week. This means that we must schedule the injection appointments ahead of time.
Sometimes my patients bring in their blood work results with them.
Other times, my patients decide to go ahead with blood work after we have a full discussion about what the results would mean when it comes to our treatment plan for their specific case. They then decide if they want to run their blood work through my requisition form or if they want to have a further discussion with their MD instead.
However, naturopathic consultations (including acupuncture) is regularly covered through extended health benefits.
I’ve thoroughly enjoyed my experience of working in various multidisciplinary clinics in downtown Toronto over the last 12 years that also included family doctors, dermatologists and sports medicine doctors as my fellow colleagues.
I’m also currently working closely with a fertility clinic and their REIs in midtown Toronto.