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A MAN’S VITAL ROLE THROUGHOUT AN INFERTILITY STRUGGLE AND PREGNANCY


I’m nearing the very end of my pregnancy journey (YIEEEKEEES!!!) It’s been a wild ride, I must say. These 9 months have been nothing short of a rollercoaster ride. But it hasn’t been solely about these 9 months of pregnancy. It’s been the pregnancy journey and my years long infertility struggle as a whole that’s made me so emotional these days. Now in 2022, statistics show that more and more couples go through infertility struggles than not. That means that most of you reading this will most likely understand what this blog post. If you’re about to go through fertility treatments, I totally understand your sadness and frustrations, especially in the waiting game as it can take up to a year to wait for a fertility doctor to first see you, then a year until you actually start the treatment, and so on and so forth. And let’s not forget the disappointment and anger that comes every month when you try for a baby the natural way during your menstrual cycle.

I never opened up about this before, but I had a miscarriage last October, right before I started my egg retrieval procedure. If we look at it from a technical, scientific term, I suffered a chemical pregnancy. I didn’t even know I was pregnant until the pregnancy ended. It was a heavy period that never seemed to end. It was absolutely painful, both physically and emotionally. It was a crippling experience as I couldn’t even get myself food out of the fridge because I was bleeding so much. All I could do was lay in bed and cry for a whole week. Luckily, though, I had my husband by my side to be a helping hand.

That’s what they call husbands – a helping hand. But they’re much more than that. They’re in it with you together. That’s why my husband is now known to me as my partner instead of my husband. It wasn’t a realization I made because I got married. I didn’t need to get married to understand that my husband is more than just a husband. Instead, I needed to go through a disability, a health struggle, infertility, and pregnancy to truly understand how vital my husband’s role in our relationship has been and always will be. They say that, in life, everything happens for a reason. And so, based on my own experiences, I wanted to make my own private analysis of the vital role a domestic partner has in those four departments. This blog post covers infertility and pregnancy.

Infertility

Infertility is extremely tricky to explain to someone who hasn’t gone through it. Most people just assume that the procedure is just easy as having sex. If they do know that it’s a tough procedure to go through, they assume that it’s only a woman’s struggle. I admit, I used to be one of those people who thought it was just an easy procedure where an egg and a sperm are mixed together by an embryologist. I also used to think that going through the procedure was a guarantee to have a baby. To say just how shocked I was at how wrong I was once I started treatments would be an understatement. And no, I’m not even talking about the financial burden fertility treatments can bring to a couple.

I can’t even put into words just how painful that whole IVF experience was for me when I was going through it. The fact that my fertility doctor told me there was only a 60% chance the procedure would be successful didn’t make me happier either. Nonetheless, I kept my hopes up because expanding my family was so important to me, no matter what it cost me. I didn’t care how IVF cost me my health or money. IVF is considered to be an extremely high risk procedure for women with epilepsy, and of course, it costs a ton of money even with government funding half of the cost. My husband and I were first told that we’d be spending $5,000 CAD out of pocket, but ended up paying about $8,000 CAD. Some couples would’ve said, ‘F*ck this, we’re not paying more than we were told.’ But for us, having a baby wasn’t much of a question. We were having a baby no matter what.

Luckily for us, IVF treatments didn’t have much of a great affect epilepsy wise. What was hard for both us was the unexpected hardships of going through the process itself. First, I had to take hormonal medication to prepare my body for the egg retrieval. I was a a complete mess – an emotional wreck. It was as though I was on my period every single day. That period lasted for about 6 months until the actual egg retrieval day. The shots I had to intake before the egg retrieval were tough, but not as tough as the PIO shots before and after the actual embryo transfer. My husband and I were told that the shots would be painful, but we didn’t expect them to be AS painful as they were. We weren’t mentally prepared for them.

As I took those shots, my husband was nothing short of supportive. First and foremost, he was the one was injecting them in me every single evening. That’s a big one in itself. The more days passed, the more painful it became. My butt became absolutely numb and more purple with each day that passed. I couldn’t get into bed or out of bed without my husband’s assistance. I couldn’t walk without assistance. I couldn’t get off the couch without assistance. I couldn’t get myself food without assistance. I couldn’t go to the washroom without assistance. I was living taking Advil at least 6 times a day throughout the whole entire period that I was taking the PIO shots. My husband would only be at the office for half a day when he was obligated to be at the office because I wasn’t able to function as a person while home alone.

Pregnancy

The embryo transfer ended up not working, and thank goodness for that. My husband was very upset that the procedure didn’t result in a pregnancy. He felt like it was all for nothing – the pain I was feeling throughout, as well as the emotional distress. I, on the other hand, saw it as the best rgung that could’ve happened at that time. Maybe we it just wasn’t in the cards for us. So as soon as we got the word from the fertility doctor that the transfer didn’t work, my husband and I made the conscious decision to take a breather from IVF, enjoy a childless life for a little while longer, and focus on what we needed to do and what we needed to achieve in our marriage and individually. Our plans didn’t fall through, though, as we ended up getting pregnant on our own in February of this year, which was practically as soon as I got back to my absolute normal self following the IVF procedure recovery period.

It wasn’t like we were trying for a baby, but it wasn’t that we weren’t NOT trying either. My fertility doctor told me there was little to absolute zero chance that my husband and I would ever conceive naturally. Hence, we didn’t feel we needed to use protection. We’d been together for more than a decade, and we knew we were safe and sound in the sexual health department. The pregnancy was a complete shock and a surprise, but we were happy regardless. We weren’t prepared for it whatsoever, but of course, decided to keep the baby. I personally don’t feel you’re ever prepared for something like this to happen in your life when you don’t actually expect it to happen.

The pregnancy was, and has been since it’s not over yet, has been anything but easy. The first half of the pregnancy was a breeze. It was easy, and I was practically glowing, and no one understood why. It was the best secret I ever hid. At 18 weeks, my husband and I were involved in a minor car accident. No one was hurt, but because of my trauma from the car accident I was involved in in 2015, my brain just took over the matter completely. It was 2015 all over again, and I had no control over anything or anyone.

At 21 weeks, I had a grand-mal seizure at home while I was working on the blog. It was the scariest moment I ever experienced in the pregnancy. I was afraid I’d lose the baby for good. As soon as my husband got home, he drove me to the hospital. Once there, the nurse conducted an emergency ultrasound. For a while, she couldn’t find the heartbeat, and it was only when a second nurse was called by my husband for a second opinion that any sign of a baby’s heartbeat was heard. All was good again until I hit the 33 week mark in my pregnancy. This time, the grand-mal seizure happened at a Babies R Us store. It was a totally random occurrence that happened while looking to purchase a car seat and a stroller for the baby. Luckily, I had my husband by my side to save the day. He kept me safe and made sure that the seizure didn’t physically hurt me. We went straight to the hospital where I was being checked on for practically 5 hours, mainly playing the waiting game with the doctor and nurses (due to Covid-19 shortages). When my husband felt that I was forgotten about, he’d go talk to all the nurses on the floor telling them I needed to be looked after.

Conclusion

He was my absolute rock that night. He’s been my rock throughout the entire process, really, and I don’t know what I would’ve done without him and his support. He’s been there for me and has supported me emotionally, mentally, and physically. He’s there at every doctor’s appointment even when he’s not technically needed there. He change his entire schedule to make sure he never misses anything; to make sure I’m safe and taken care of. That’s why I can’t tell you enough how important a man’s role is throughout a woman’s infertility struggle and pregnancy. That’s why I stopped saying it’s the woman who goes through infertility and pregnancy, but rather both parents.

A man and his role throughout should never be diminished just because he’s not physically going through the infertility struggle and/or pregnancy. It’s an equal struggle and an equal struggle – no pun intended.


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