The Journey to Baby #2
Yes, it's true ... we are having Baby #2!
As most of you have seen from my recent social posts, we are excited to be expecting baby #2. I was very open about some of the complications we had and I have received some questions about our journey. I wasn't planning on sharing the story in more depth, but I realize now that talking and writing about it has a way of helping me heal and become stronger too. It was a very emotional few months and I'm relieved that chapter is behind us.
One and Done!
Harper is a few days away from turning 5 years old and if you asked me 5 years ago if I wanted to have another baby, I would have given you a confident NO. I used to pride myself in saying, "One and Done". I always believed that having one child was all I ever wanted. Fast forward to August 2016 and things had dramatically changed. I was pregnant. We weren't trying and so this pregnancy came as a surprise. I shocked my husband (and myself) with being so excited about giving Harper a baby brother or sister! However, this excitement quickly turned to sadness at my 9-week ultrasound when I was told that there was no fetal heart beat. Within 24 hours, I had a D&C and was without a baby in my belly. From that moment on "One and Done" became "Two and Through".
Baby Fever on Fleek!
I figured that having another baby would be easy since we never had issues trying for Harper and clearly, the second happened naturally too. I had heard about secondary infertility, but never believed I would have struggles trying to conceive myself. But months went by peeing on ovulation sticks, being disappointed by negative pregnancy tests followed by obsessively checking my period tracker on my phone. Then I introduced a naturopath and spent a sh*tload of money on supplements coupled with regular acupuncture appointments. I also met with a Chinese herbal doctor, religiously boiled the herbs I was given and sipped the dark concoction during and after my proposed ovulation. With all of this said, I was still not getting pregnant.
My Fertility Clinic Experience
I was scared during my first few visits to the fertility clinic I was referred to. I was overwhelmed with the amount of young women sitting in the waiting room scrolling on their phones while nurses and doctors hustled back and forth from exam rooms to the reception desk. I spent a lot of time at the clinic since I had to visit almost every morning before 9:30 a.m. to get blood work and a transvaginal ultrasound done. This was all part of the cycle monitoring process. After a couple of months of cycle monitoring, I learned that my believed 28-day cycle was in fact a 52-day cycle. Whoa. I also discovered I was not ovulating some months. How frustrating! My doctor worked very closely with me monitoring my follicle growth, prescribing me with Clomid to help me ovulate, as well as giving me hCG shots and having me commit to daily progesterone suppositories. Needless to say, "timed intercourse" was not so romantic (even with a few glasses of wine). After all was said and done, after nearly 9 months of "trying" I finally got pregnant again! Unfortunately, it was only weeks after that I had miscarried naturally.
Was IVF The Next Step?
I was feeling hopeless and tired of everyone telling me to just "relax". I knew myself that I was stressed out. I was having trouble juggling my full-time job, day-to-day mom life, No Tummy Mommy, and "baby-making" was emotionally exhausting. Truth is, I had baby on the brain all day, every day! My doctor suggested to have my husband tested and furthermore, for us to start thinking about the next step. This was likely going to be IVF. We were open to this idea, but given the stress and sadness I had been experiencing we decided to book a family trip and join some friends on their vacation to Europe. It was right before leaving for Italy that I told my doctor we would take a break and start the IVF process when we came back from our trip. Sure enough, after our relaxing and amazing vacation I came home to discover I was pregnant!
Let the Testing Begin
It was hard for me to get really excited because I'll be honest, I was downright scared AF that I would miscarry once again. It also didn't help that they discovered a subchorionic hemorrhage early on, which caused a lot of bleeding and had me fearful to even walk. I was placed on bed rest and given strict instructions to not do much of anything. That meant no exercise, no lifting Harper and no work whatsoever. The pregnancy already seemed to be off to a rough start, but I stayed hopeful. I opted and paid for the NIPT test, but despite it coming back normal I was informed that the fetus had an elevated NT. This triggered numerous ultrasounds and I was then moved to Sunnybrook Hospital for further genetic testing.
There it was discovered in another ultrasound that in addition to the elevated NT, the baby also had a cyst on its neck and a spot in its heart. I was given two further options at this point: an amniocentesis or a chorionic villus sampling (CVS). With both there was a risk of miscarriage. After lengthy discussion with my husband we opted for an amnio. Although the procedure was quite quick, I found it painful and I cried the entire time. I was told that a miscarriage could happen over the next 2-3 weeks following. Once again I was nervous and had to anxiously wait around for results to come in. During this wait, I was also given a fetal echocardiogram where I was told everything in the heart appeared normal as well (Phew!). Now it just came down to waiting for the results from the amniocentesis. Tick, tock. Tick, tock. As an aside, I was also having trouble connecting with the growing little babe inside me at this time. It did help that I met with a family counsellor weekly to help me work through this detachment. I guess I was nervous to connect out of fear that I would get a call that something was terribly wrong and that the pregnancy was not a viable one.
Fortunately, I was wrong and the initial results from the amniocentesis came back normal! I was relieved, but had to continue to wait for results for Noonan Syndrome. This took weeks ... over a month! Sigh! The wait was worth it because these results also came back just fine. Thank you, Lord.
It feels like it was a long journey to get here and I still pray hard every day that this baby is healthy. I still have moments of nervousness about not feeling the baby move; I admit, there are have been more than one occasion where I've dropped into a walk-in clinic just to hear the heart beat. This week I was also informed that results from my glucose test were high, so I'm scheduled for the second test to make sure I don't have gestational diabetes. Fingers crossed that everything is okay.
I know that nothing is ever guaranteed and the only thing I can do is stay positive, keep healthy and focus on one day at a time. Seeing Harper excited about becoming a big sister is my driving force because I know she will be a good one. She is already helping to pick out names for a baby boy or girl. Psst ... we decided to keep it a surprise!
Today I am feeling connected to this baby more than I ever have been. I know in my heart that this baby will complete our family and I can't wait until he/she arrives!
Photography by: Leon Chai
Location: Leslieville in Toronto