Conceiving my first wasn’t too difficult. It only took about 4 cycles. Most of you have read my not so great labour experience blog. As a naturopathic doctor, I always feel like I must have it all figured out. The truth is, even if you do everything right, making a baby is quite the miracle. There are so many things that can go wrong! That perfect timing of healthy sperm and healthy egg meeting in the perfect location with a thick uterine lining to allow for the blastocyst to attach and grow into a fetus. Not to mention the perfectly orchestrated hormonal balance to make it all happen.
When pregnancy doesn’t happen (and you’re trying), it feels like a huge failure. What is wrong with my body? Losing a pregnancy is even worse. After having my daughter, I had 2 miscarriages. The first was a so called chemical pregnancy because I tested positive and then got a period a week or 2 later. I thought, that was probably just a fluke (15-20% of pregnancies end in a miscarriage).
My second miscarriage was worse. I had all the symptoms of morning sickness and was getting excited. I had an early dating ultrasound at 9 weeks. You know something is wrong when the ultrasound technician gives you the, “you’ll have to discuss the results with your doctor” spiel even after you ask if there was a heartbeat. It turns out there was no heart beat. After watching the 3rd 50 Shades of Grey movie shortly before hand, I knew that there should have been a heartbeat! (Hey! Sometimes you remember interesting facts from movies!). Needless to say, I was shocked and very disappointed. At Grand River hospital I was prescribed vaginal Misoprostol to expel the non-viable blastocyst (at 11 weeks it’s called a fetus). I lost a lot of blood from that medication and quickly became anemic. I decided to give myself plenty of time to recover and try again. Mourning the loss of what could have been takes time. I realize it’s not something women talk about much. I started confiding in some of my friends and realized how many of them have suffered a miscarriage.
After a 6-month break, I wasn’t even getting pregnant this time! 6+ months of trying I’m thinking I’m possibly too old. When you cross that infamous age of 35, your chances of pregnancy diminish. Along with all of the beautiful alternative modalities like acupuncture, energy work, naturopathic medicine etc, I decide to get some cycle monitoring at Juno Fertility Clinic with Dr. Bentov at the Boardwalk in Waterloo. That experience is quite interesting but also very exhausting. They take your blood every few days and do an internal ultrasound to see how your follicles are developing and whether you are ovulating. Of course, they also do a sperm analysis (it’s so easy for the guy). After 2 weeks of being poked and prodded you are given the verdict. You’re wondering why you can’t get pregnant and/or why you had those miscarriages. The body is so mysterious sometimes that, it can’t always be explained by science. It’s especially frustrating when all of the tests come out normal and we are left with a shoulder shrug and more questions than answers.
Every time they draw blood they do an ultrasound of your ovaries:
How my story turns out will be revealed in a future blog. Until then, I want to share with you what I’ve learned in my journey so far. It’s important to love our body just the way it is and to really listen to our intuition (gut feeling). Are there subconscious fears that may be inhibiting conception? My fear that I’ll have another miscarriage or a birth experience to forget. These are all things to consider along with a lot of stress reduction! Some of the greatest advice I got was just to sleep more. Of course, meditating is VERY helpful (I strongly recommend it) but even just going to bed earlier makes everything more bearable.
If you need support in your fertility journey, feel free to book a confidential appointment with me. I’m here to listen to you, to cry with you and give you my best advice. You’re not alone.
Dr. Cecilia de Martino, ND