Our Infertility Story

I tried to write this blog post several times over the last 10ish months and also wrote it in my head at least a million times. But I just couldn’t bring myself to share it until I had my baby in my arms. A part of me still didn’t believe that we were really getting a baby after all we went through even after seeing her on the ultrasound machine and feeling her move. Even as my belly grew bigger and bigger and bigger. Even when I went on maternity leave from work for a year.

But now I’ve had a sweet sweet baby girl in my arms for 12 weeks and sometimes I still have to squeeze my eyes shut super tight and wonder if this is real or not. But I finally feel ready to share this story. 

And, today (February 19) is also the one year anniversary of our IUI procedure which gave us Olivia, so it seemed like the right day to finally share this. 


In January 2015, after 10 years, I stopped taking birth control. We weren’t quite ready to start trying for our family yet, but I wanted my body to get ready. As some of you may remember we went on an amazing trip to Maui in April 2015 and that is when we officially started trying.

Since stopping my birth control in January I hadn’t had a cycle. However, we knew that sometimes it takes the body time to get regulated, especially after so long on birth control. We were trying to be patient. In May of that year I started having other symptoms – terrible hot flashes and night sweats. Basically like I was going through menopause. It was awful.

After multiple visits to my family doctor and blood tests to try and figure out what was going on I was referred to an OBGYN in the fall of 2015. The OB sent me for MORE blood tests and in November 2015 I was given the diagnosis of Premature Ovarian Failure (POF) and referred to the fertility clinic in Kelowna. The way they come up with this diagnosis is based on hormone levels. My FSH (Follicle Stimulating Hormone) and LH (Luteinizing Hormone) levels were at post-menopausal levels.

We were still living in Kamloops at this point so this clinic was about a 2 – 2.5 hour drive away from us. We were referred in November 2015 and had our first appointment at the end of January 2016, at that point they tested my AMH (Anti-Mullerin Hormone) level, which gives an estimate of remaining egg supply. A normal range is 1.5-4 and my number was 0.08. Translation: at the ripe ‘old’ age of 27 I had very, very, very few eggs.

The recommendation from the fertility clinic was to move directly to donor eggs. They didn’t believe there was any point in even trying with my own eggs.

I’m sure you can imagine how devastating this news was. We decided to take a few months to process. Only a month after this appointment an amazing career opportunity was presented to me and we decided to make a big move. The fertility stuff was placed on the back burner for awhile.

During the summer of 2016 we were finally ready to start trying and I started my first cycle of medications with the goal of trying an IUI. After 6 days of injections my hormone levels indicated that nothing was happening so we canceled the cycle. Well, 12 days after my last injection my body was showing signs of ovulation and I got blood work done and sure enough the tests indicated my body was recruiting follicles and about to ovulate.

This seemed promising so we headed into another round of medications right off that cycle. However, my doctor was pretty sure the high estrogen / cycle starting so late after stopping the medications was just a coincidence. And sure enough, after another round of medications my estrogen was still super low and our second cycle was canceled.

At this point we decided to take a break and regroup. I requested a referral to a clinic in Vancouver. The Medical Director at this clinic is one of the most renowned IVF doctors in Canada. I was so excited and felt sure she would be able to help me. I was putting all my eggs in one basket (pun intended).

After waiting over the month for a phone consult I ended up devastated. Once she heard my very high FSH numbers I was basically written off. I was told that no amount of drugs could make my body make an egg and when I told her about success stories I had read and heard about online she said they were hard to believe… I remember I ended that call feeling so defeated.

This was in early October and I spent about a month moping. Mid-November I had a skype appointment with my old doctor from Kelowna and they agreed to try one round of IVF with me. It would begin in February as I wanted to spend the next 3 months taking my vitamins and getting my body as healthy as possible. I have a whole list of vitamins and supplements I was taking daily after doing lots and lots of research. I won’t list them all here but if anyone reading this post is in a similar situation and wants to know just leave me a comment and I’ll email you directly 🙂

I tried to put the infertility stuff we were dealing with out of my mind for those three months and just enjoy life. In December we traveled to Kauai, Hawaii for Christmas. While it was a wonderful holiday it was definitely tainted with sadness. I had decided that I would make this one last attempt to get pregnant with my own eggs and if it didn’t work I would spend the rest of 2017 saving money and getting in the mindset to move forward with donor eggs.

When we returned from Kauai I went on the Whole 30 program (to this day I have no clue if this had anything to do with us conceiving or not, but I think it’s important to note that I followed Whole30 strictly from January 9 – February 9, 2017). On January 24, out of the blue, I got a cycle on my own.

After 11.5 days of injecting myself with hormone medication four times per day my estrogen was still extremely low and the cycle was canceled. I was heartbroken but ready to move on. I did ask to go for follow-up blood work one week later just to see what was happening considering what had happened the previous summer. My doctor seemed skeptical, but agreed.

One week after my last injection I went for blood work. I remember I almost skipped it. What was the point? But I went anyways just to close the final door on this journey. Because of living in a remote community my clinic didn’t receive the results until the next day. What do you know – my estrogen was high. High enough to indicate my body was creating a follicle. I made plans to travel to Kelowna. The next day I used an at-home ovulation kit (one of the fancy, expensive ones) and it indicated that my body was at ‘peak ovulation’. Eric and I flew down to Kelowna at the last minute and spent the weekend in a hotel.

It turned out I had one follicle. And it wasn’t even that big – only 16 mm. I still remember when I ovulated because I felt some cramping in my right side that night. The next day the follicle had collapsed and they told us we could do the IUI if we wanted but they weren’t sure it would work. We opted to do it, we’d already spent so much money traveling down there and on all the medications, what was an extra $400 for the procedure?

I spent the next two weeks in agony waiting for the day I would go for my beta test. I was scheduled to go on Tuesday, March 6 and that Sunday night I couldn’t wait any longer so I dug out an old home pregnancy test I’d had from when we very first started trying.

I started shaking when I got a positive. I continued to be on edge for the entire first trimester and most of the second. As mentioned above, I honestly had trouble believing it was happening until I held our baby in my arms.

That small follicle became our healthy baby girl. Against all the odds, it worked. I still can hardly believe it myself.

The total cost of conceiving our baby (including the first two failed cycles and all costs associated with travel i.e. plane tickets, meals, hotel, car rental etc.) was just shy of $12,000. Luckily our extended health benefit plans through work covered the almost $6,000 worth of medications. The other half was travel, procedures and appointments and was paid for out of pocket because as great as our healthcare is in some ways, it does not cover appointments or procedures related to infertility.

So today is Olivia’s day. One year ago today, against all odds, she was conceived. And I will spend the entire day feeling immensely grateful for that.

She is perfect.

16 Responses

  1. Lori says:

    Something I appreciate about life is you never know when someone else needs to hear your story because it’s just what they will need to continue believing for their own miracle. It’s so brave to talk about something so close to your heart and so very personal! She is without a doubt perfect! Hugs!

  2. Emilie says:

    Oh, Amber! Thank you for sharing such a personal and emotionally charged story with us. It is devastating that you had to go through so much turmoil to get your sweet Olivia, but the one thing that struck me while reading this is that it definitely appears SHE was meant to be here. All the odds stacked against you and it all miraculously worked at the right time to bring Olivia into the world. Your strong, beautiful, 16mm follicle was absolutely meant to be in your arms today. As hard, draining, and frustrating life is at times, it’s also so beautiful. I’m not saying everything happens for a reason (I actually don’t like that saying!) just that Olivia is a very, very special girl who no doubt brings immense smiles to everyone around her, knowing just how wanted and loved she is. Your story has touched my heart. I am so happy you get to celebrate such a wonderful day with your girl today!

  3. Lisa of Lisa’s Yarns says:

    I hate that you had to go through so much to get your sweet, perfect, baby girll!! But I am so glad this story has a happy ending! I can totally understand how this hasn’t felt real all along, though, since you were told it wasn’t possible to have a baby with your own egg. I am so glad you proved the doctors wrong and got your miracle baby!

    I was just going through photos on my computer yesterday and found the photo of your positive pregnancy test. I remember how elated I was for you and how nervous I was as I just wanted everything to go smoothly for you after all you had been through!!

    So so so happy for you guys!! Xoxo

  4. Susan says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. It was a long road for you and Eric and I am so happy you have your healthy miracle baby now. 🙂

  5. Kelly says:

    She IS perfect! I don’t love the story, but I love the ending. I still remember so clearly waiting during that two week wait… and then you started to say you were tired and sick and I was like PLEASE let her be pregnant! <3 Olivia is such a little miracle, and I love to follow her and see what she is up to each day! Perfect that she gave you the laugh, in my opinion the best baby first, today!

  6. Lindsey says:

    Thank you for sharing Amber 🙂 I find so many medical professionals to be so skeptical of our own thoughts and knowing our bodies. OR skipping straight to fertility treatments without a full picture (my case). I am so glad you pushed through and kept up your hopes! Look where it got you!! She is such a beautiful miracle – happy Olivia day 🙂

  7. mousearoo says:

    Thank you so much for sharing your story. I’ve gone through two rounds of IVF and two failed transfers, and can appreciate how hard it can be to share information like this publicly. Thank you for being brave. I am so glad you made it through the other side and have Olivia.

  8. San says:

    I just love success stories like yours! They give so much hope! <3

  9. Alison says:

    I LOVE Olivia Day! Ihope you had a great day with her! I love these happy endings. She is so beautiful and so worth waiting for!

  10. That is amazing. Sometimes one follicle is all it takes, I guess!

  11. This is an incredible story Amber! She is definitely a miracle, and one that you will treasure forever. I don’t think you’ll ever take a single moment for granted with your precious girl, and that is a beautiful thing. I am so happy for you and Eric and your lovely Olivia <3

  12. Sam says:

    Oh Amber, this is so beautifully written. Like all the sentiments above, thank you for sharing your story. Not going to lie, the part about the Vancouver clinic irked me so hard. I can’t imagine how devastating that call must have been, and how wonderful the Kelowna clinic, while kind of sounding indifferent, was willing to trust in your and Eric’s wishes. February 19th is totally Olivia Day. You three deserve all the good fortune that continues to come your way. Lots of love from Kamloops! xoxo

  13. Stephany says:

    This story gives me such goosebumps. Olivia is a true miracle and I can only imagine how you feel holding her in your arms after years of struggle and heartache. <3

  14. Marie-Christine says:

    Thanks for sharing!!! This is such an emotional post, beautifully written! You surely know how to write.

    You are lucky to have an extended health benefit plan, I didn’t think it was so expensive!!!

    You had such a big year (IUI treatments, new house, traveling to London/Iceland & Olivia!). I’m so happy for you!

  15. Leigh says:

    Thank you for sharing your story Amber. I knew that you guys were going through it, but didn’t realize the depth of it. So glad you have Olivia 🙂

  16. […] a tumultuous year that included Eric being laid off from his job twice and our infertility diagnosis we made the huge, huge, HUGE decision to rent out our house, for me to quit my job and for us to […]

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