What I Didn’t Tell You About My Pregnancy and How It Led to My Passion for Treating Infertility

 

Getting pregnant for me was no problem, for which I am very grateful.  In my practice, I see a lot of infertility and know what a struggle it can be for some couples.  During my pregnancy, my first ultrasound went great. Soon enough we had passed the first trimester, and, like many families, we were relieved to get through that period with no miscarriage.  Aside from some awful all-day morning sickness, we figured it would be smooth sailing from there.  

We went in to our 18-week ultrasound excited; we weren’t going to find out the sex and I had my wedding shower that evening. It wasn’t until the doctor got quiet that my heart sank.  It hadn’t even crossed my mind something could be wrong.  

Our baby had a Congenital Diaphragmatic Hernia. A what? His diaphragm was not fully formed, allowing much of his abdominal contents to enter his chest cavity. This would impact his lung development, and potentially his heart.  We had to go to the IWK for further testing. We may not have a baby. We were devastated.

Thankfully after testing, we found out odds were in our favour. We were told our little boy (we chose to find out the sex as we decided we’d had enough surprises with this pregnancy) had a 70% chance of surviving and having good quality of life.  We would take those odds. I will never forget what our neonatologist told us: he said he hates to give people percentages, because you never know which one you will fall into. If the odds were 99:1 against, you could still be that 1. For the rest of my pregnancy, I did everything in my power to give our boy the best fighting chance I could. I ate very well. I walked in the woods regularly with my dog. I visualized his recovery. I practiced gratitude. I laughed with my husband and with my family and friends.  

On January 22, 2016, our little guy was born at the IWK via c-section. He was a sick little boy. I held him for the fist time when he was 9 days old. He went in for his surgery the following morning at 10 days old.  After his surgery, he slowly but surely got better. And after 43 days at the IWK we went home as a family of three. Today, Neil is a thriving toddler, talking, running and throwing tantrums just like other little boys his age.  

Why do I share this story? Because of what it helped me learn:

1. Getting pregnant can be very hard. Pregnancy can be very hard. Parenting can be very hard. Life can be very hard.  But we are resilient.
2. Modern medicine is an amazing thing. We will be forever grateful to the staff at both the Saint John Regional and the IWK.  
3. Getting back to the basics can also be amazing. I like to hope that by taking care of myself, maybe it had an impact on how well Neil recovered. At the very least, it helped me mentally and physically throughout my pregnancy and my own postpartum recovery.
4. Enjoy the little things and try to be present. I am a worrier. I can stress about “little” things. Neil has helped me gain perspective and to have more fun.
5. Be a fighter. Try your best and do what you can. You never know when youwill be that 1%.
6. Even after all of the stress that our sweet Neil caused us, I remember looking at my husband at around Day 25 of being in the IWK and saying “I want another one.” It was a love like no other. It has since become my absolute passion to, as best as I possibly can, help others who also wish to have a baby.