Welcome to the world Aria! This beautiful little girl was just welcomed into her parents’ arms and hearts and I’m excited to be sharing their family’s story as my 4th Extraordinary Love session of 2019. If you haven’t heard of these special new sessions that honour a family’s struggle with infertility, miscarriage, or infant loss please check out all of the information on my website here.

newborn baby wrapped in pink

Thank you so much to Aria’s parents, Amanda and Marcel, for sharing their story and their little girl with us in an effort to help raise awareness about the experiences surrounding infertility and also pregnancy after infertility.

For many couples that experience infertility they only learn that there is problem once they start trying to conceive and are unable to become pregnant. Amanda however had always been concerned that they may have issues conceiving because of the endometriosis that she had been diagnosed with. Endometriosis can be an extremely painful condition where the lining of the uterus grows outside of the uterus. The condition can often affect a woman’s ability to conceive and carry a child.

Knowing ahead of time that they may struggle to conceive the couple began trying to become pregnant several months before their wedding in December of 2015. After months without a positive pregnancy test and the symptoms of Amanda’s endometriosis increasing the couple began their journey with the Ottawa Fertility Clinic in October of 2016.

Navigating the road of infertility often ends in more questions than answers.

After multiple tests at the fertility clinic to try to understand why the couple was not becoming pregnant they were diagnosed with unexplained infertility. In March of 2017 Amanda underwent surgery to confirm and remove her endometriosis. After the surgery they felt hopeful that they would be able to become pregnant but were frustrated to find that they were still unable to conceive.  

The next step in their efforts to have their first child was going to be a fertility treatment known as an IUI (intrauterine insemination). But then they received a call that it would soon be their turn for a government funded cycle of IVF (in vitro fertilization). The couple was ecstatic and excited that they were chosen off the waitlist to undergo the treatment. IVF is typically an extremely expensive procedure with of course with no guarantee that it will work which means a couple’s one funded cycle is extremely valuable, yet also incredibly stressful.

The exciting news that they would be receiving a funded IVF cycle was met with feelings of uncertainty about whether they should go ahead with their scheduled IUI protocol or cancel it and go forward with their upcoming IVF cycle. Treating infertility and making the decisions about what treatments and when to undergo them is anything but straightforward. They opted to put off the IUI and go ahead with the IVF not realizing at the time that they could have gone ahead with an IUI in the meantime. When they learned that they could try IUI while waiting for their IVF cycle Amanda started preparing again for the treatment.

In December of 2017, while looking towards their first IUI, the couple was stunned to learn that they had conceived naturally! Amanda and Marcel were thrilled to have become pregnant without fertility treatments after all they had gone through up to this point.

After a whirlwind two weeks since finding out they had a baby on the way the couple was devastated to learn that the embryo had failed to implant properly. Amanda and Marcel were heartbroken.

The couple mustered the strength to try again and in February of 2018 they went ahead with their first IUI. The cycle was a success and Amanda and Marcel found themselves again staring at another faintly positive pregnancy test. But this time the couple had had a previous experience with losing a pregnancy. For many couples that have experienced a loss of a pregnancy a positive pregnancy test becomes only a glimmer of hope that there will be a baby to hold in their arms at the end of 9 months. Unfortunately their hope was again unrealized.

“We were so excited but so scared and hesitant to tell anyone. Fast forward a couple of weeks and we were now facing our second loss, another chemical pregnancy – it didn’t implant properly. At this point we were heart broken.  Now questioning what our future was looking like – we thought we couldn’t get pregnant, now we were afraid we couldn’t carry a pregnancy.” Amanda

In June of 2018 Amanda and Marcel started their first round of IVF. By this point the couple was hesitant but their doctor was positive and thought they had a chance of success. The start and stop rollercoaster of fertility treatments and emotions continued though as the night before their egg retrieval they had to make the hard decision to cancel the cycle. Amanda’s body wasn’t responding as they had hoped and they again had to make the tough decision to wait. This was an unexpected roadblock and it hit both Amanda and Marcel really hard.

The next month they reluctantly started the second attempt at IVF with much different emotions. The couple was becoming frayed from the ups and downs and the uncertainties that can go along with fertility treatments.  

“We were excited but this time felt like there was more fear then excitement and hope.” Amanda

Two weeks after their embryo was transferred into Amanda’s uterus they were yet again staring at a positive pregnancy test. But repeated pregnancy loss changes how you feel about a positive pregnancy test.

“We were petrified to go through all this again.” Amanda

newborn baby wrapped in grey in a wooden grey bowl

The couple was surprised when their doctor called them and gave them the news that the pregnancy was viable and that the embryo seemed to have implanted properly.

“We were so happy but still fearful. The next fourteen weeks were potentially the most fearful weeks of my life but we made it through…”Amanda

new parents with baby girl wrapped in purple

The couple made it through that incredibly tough time, hanging onto the hope that their baby would be finally joining their family soon. And on April 14th, 2019 their beautiful, perfect daughter Aria safely arrived into their arms.

Congratulations to this lovely family on their much anticipated and long awaited precious baby. We are so grateful to them to have shared their experiences with us in an effort to spread awareness and create a dialogue about infertility and pregnancy loss. Throughout their journey it has been important to the couple to be open about their story to bring awareness to the realities surrounding the experiences of infertility. Amanda would love to share with everyone what she found helpful as they navigated the uncertain road that is infertility.

Resources and suggestions from Amanda to those experiencing infertility:

Suggested books: “Taking Charge of Your Fertility” and “A Few Good Eggs”

For myself I found what really helped me was using our struggles as a vessel to share and bring awareness. I began volunteering with the organization Fertility Matters Canada and I am a volunteer on their events and fundraising committee. I also for a little bit did some work with a small business called TTC Crate who cater to women trying to conceive. I found throwing myself into this in a positive manner made it easier to navigate. I’ve also shared our story for awareness with a few initiatives and organizations. I have met so many incredible people and really learned how much infertility and loss affects our community and many people around us. I found there’s a huge infertility community through social media and I found it helpful to connect with others who were facing similar challenges.