As you probably already know, my part 2 has a happy ending.
However, re-reading part 1, I really had no idea what was in store for me. All I knew was that I had to share my story and that I was optimistic things would work out for us.
Lucky for us, they did! I am more grateful than ever now that we have our sweet baby girl. But I am getting ahead of myself, let me back up a bit and pick up where I left off.
My Fertility Story – Part 2
After sharing my Fertility Story Part 1 last year, I received an overwhelming amount of support from friends, family, people I hadn’t heard from in years and people I didn’t know who found my blog! I’ve made so many new friends since opening up and it was probably one of the best things I could have done in that moment.
The month after opening up, I made a lot of other important changes to my lifestyle, which ultimately led me to become pregnant. I know there have been a lot of questions about what I did (or didn’t do) to help me get pregnant so I am going to list them here briefly, but if you would like more detail, I’ve shared them on several podcasts including:
- The Own It Babe podcast
- The Mother Yourself First podcast
- The To Birth and Beyond podcast (coming out in early March)
Here is a list of things I changed before I got pregnant: (this is my own opinion and should not be taken as medical advice, nor I am telling you to do this because what worked for me, may not work for you).
- I switched doctors and went to a doctor who was closer to where I lived to reduce the time and stress of having to drive to Toronto every other day
- On my doctor’s advice, I doubled my dose of Letrozole and did an unmonitored cycle (only coming in for blood work on day 21 and 28).
- I stopped using ovulation predictor test strips
- I stopped taking my temperature
- I stopped taking pregnancy tests
- I stopped getting acupuncture
- I stopped taking all supplements except my prenatal vitamin
- I stopped drinking fertility teas
- I stopped worrying about what I was eating and/or drinking
- I started taking an anti-anxiety/depressant medication (Cipralex) on my family doctor’s recommendation.
- I started speaking to a therapist
- I started a local fertility support group
- I continued to meditate and journal most days
- I continued light exercise that felt good for me (like walking, light yoga and Pilates)
- And probably MOST IMPORTANTLY I started to really focus on MYSELF and did my best to stop trying so hard to get pregnant. I focused on living my life again and looked for all the joy and goodness that was already right in front of me.
As you can see, the month I got pregnant I just stopped trying to get pregnant. (Well, we were still trying, but you know what I mean ;)) I can hear your eyes rolling as I write this; it’s the same terrible advice you hear from friends who never had any issues getting pregnant about “just relax” or “just get drunk, that worked for us”.
But I’m not one of those friends. I’m a friend who did have a hard time getting pregnant. I went through the shitty times and I know just how freaking hard it is to just let go of something you want so badly. It’s almost impossible.
But, YOU. HAVE. TO. LET. GO. You have to let go of trying to do everything in order to make room for that baby and give your body a chance to get pregnant. And I’m not just saying this to make you feel better, I’m telling you this because physiologically, it WILL help you get pregnant.
Hear me out. When your body is under stress, the last thing it wants to do is reproduce. Read my article all about stress and infertility/Hypothalamic Amenorrhea for more info. And stress can include things like:
- Working long hours/demanding job
- Blaming yourself for your infertility
- Thinking that you can control your body
- Believing you need to do it all
- Not sleeping
- Not taking time to rest
- Not trusting your doctor (I had such a hard time with this one)
- Constantly researching ways to get pregnant/conditions that are preventing you from getting pregnant
- Comparing yourself to others on social media
- Putting things off because you are waiting until you are pregnant.
As you can see, stress comes in so many different forms. And everyone has a biological threshold to what their body can handle before it’s too much.
For me, my stress threshold was pretty low and I needed to take medication in order to let go of a lot of the stress and guilt I was holding onto. That doesn’t necessarily mean you need medication, but healing your mental health is the first step to decreasing your stress.
I could go on and on about how much stress negatively impacts our bodies and for some reason society has glamourized the “hustle” and praises people for overworking and being tired all the time. It makes no sense. Why are we working so hard to build a life we can’t even enjoy?
OK, I digress. Moving on with my story: I got pregnant the same month I made all of these changes. Unfortunately I cannot tell you exactly what it was that worked, but I can tell you for sure that my lowered stress levels played a HUGE part.
It was when I finally let go of trying to control my body that it was able to do what I had been asking it to do for so long.
I know this may sound crazy to you, but just trust me. The more I am able to reflect on this experience, the more it makes sense. The universe works in very mysterious ways and I truly believe I needed to go through this in order to gain perspective and grow to be a better version of myself, and ultimately, a better mother.
So once I was pregnant you might have expected me to have cherished every moment… well I wish I could tell you I did, but pregnancy wasn’t exactly what I had expected… I always thought I would love being pregnant but the truth was… I didn’t 😐
That’s right, the girl that longed for so long to be pregnant actually didn’t like it all that much. I still struggle with feeling guilty about sharing this because I know how many people would kill to be in my shoes. But I need to be honest. I felt grateful every single day and wouldn’t have traded it for the world, but I didn’t feel great every single day and the changes in my body got the best of me.
If you also struggled to get pregnant and didn’t enjoy pregnancy that’s OK. You are allowed to have those feelings! You are a human and pregnancy is freaking hard! You feel sick, bloated, tired, none of your clothes fit, you have terrible acid reflux and heartburn that keeps you up all night, insomnia, the never-ending urge to pee and you get out of breath just walking up the stairs. And on top of all that you can’t eat a lot of your favourite foods and alcohol is off limits 🙁
If that doesn’t sound super enjoyable to you then, I mean you must be crazy right?! 😉 It’s ok. It’s ok if you LOVED being pregnant and it’s ok if you HATED it. Everyone experiences pregnancy differently and it doesn’t make you a bad person if you didn’t like it. So let’s all stop being so hard on ourselves, ok?
Having said all of that, I was incredibly lucky to have a very uncomplicated pregnancy. I have heard of so many stories of people having heart-breaking complications arise during their pregnancy, so I am thankful that we did not run into anything major.
Besides a preterm labour scare at 32 weeks followed by a bed rest sentence (which I will admit was a lot harder than I thought it would be) and my water breaking in the middle of the shopping mall with my dad at 36 weeks, everything was great.
And now I am so incredibly happy to announce the birth of my daughter Rachel Cecelia Dalliday. She was born healthy on December 14th, 2019 weighing 6lbs 0oz. A day that has forever changed my life.
She was born naturally with the help of an epidural (praise the Lord for epidurals!!) and Mike was even able to catch her as she came out! It was quite the scene haha.
Ps. for those of you who haven’t given birth yet, I’m not going to sugarcoat it – it’s no joke. I went from 4cm to 10cm in under an hour while they were inserting the epidural. And although I was trying to reframe the pain, it came on so fast and so intense I was not prepared to handle it. I can’t remember exactly what it felt like now because my brain has erased all memory of it, but I remember wanting to marry the anesthesiologist. 😉 After getting the epidural, the pushing was still hard, but it was a dream compared to before. For all you mamas out there that didn’t an epidural or just couldn’t for whatever reason, you have my utmost respect.
Having a baby has changed me so much already. I will admit that I was pretty nervous and wasn’t sure what I had gotten myself into when they told us we could take her home, but all that fear went away pretty quickly (It’s amazing how good you can get at changing diapers in such a short time…).
All jokes aside I love being with her and I miss her so much (even when she’s sleeping) that it’s kind of scary… Sure, she sucks all of my energy (and whatever she doesn’t get Allen does) but man she is cute and I don’t mind one bit.
Being a mom for the first time makes you realize how much you can really love someone. Not to say it’s not without its challenges (which I plan on writing a blog post about what it’s like to have a newborn because more people need to warn you!) but there is just something so wonderful about watching your baby grow that it makes up for all of the hard stuff.
So there you have it. Part 2 has had a happier ending than I could have ever imagined. If you would have told me this ending last year at this time, it would have made things so much easier. But that’s not what life is about. What would we learn if everything came easy? Life is about making it through the hard moments and trusting that there is something wonderful on the other side. Trusting that everything is happening for a reason. I have changed for the better because of my struggles with infertility and I know I was meant to go through this so that I can be the mom I am today for my daughter.