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Meet Amy & Brett

I am a registered nurse, and my career has been in women’s health nursing, more specifically, labour and delivery nursing along with fertility nursing and primary care. Outside of work, I love to be active, golfing, biking, exploring nature or in the gym training. I also love to cook and bake healthy meals for myself and my family.

My partner and I always knew we wanted to have a family. With my background in women’s health nursing, I opted for a fertility workup prior to trying to conceive. I have a history of amenorrhea – no period - and a family history of type 2 diabetes; PCOS (polycystic ovarian syndrome) was a diagnosis that concerned me. At the time of my fertility workup, my family doctor reported all my results to be ‘normal’ (FSH, LH, Prolactin, Day 24 Progesterone, TSH, Testosterone, HgA1C and pelvic ultrasound with AFC). Unexpectedly, that month on cycle day 24 I ovulated, and we conceived (I feel a huge part of this conception was my de-escalated stress levels after my results came back ‘normal’). We were very fortunate to have an uncomplicated pregnancy resulting in the birth of our daughter.

We knew we wanted to have a second child and were open to start trying to conceive when our daughter was a year old. When our daughter was 8 months old, I finished breastfeeding and my menstrual cycle had not yet returned. My family doctor advised me to wait three months post breastfeeding and in that time my cycle should return naturally. Unfortunately, it did not. My family doctor ordered a basic workup and when those results came back normal, I was referred to an endocrinologist. With more extensive testing I was diagnosed with insulin resistant PCOS and sub-clinical hypothyroidism. Even though we led a very active lifestyle and ate a well-balanced diet he recommended I start a medication to control my insulin levels and a thyroid medication to get my TSH levels into a more ideal range. On top of these medications, he recommended I cut out certain foods in my diet. This was not realistic long-term, and it did not bring back my cycle!

After waiting 3 months for my cycle to return naturally plus an additional 4 months working with an endocrinologist, I was still amenorrheic, I requested my family doctor refer me to a fertility clinic. At this point I felt very defeated, I was taking medications regularly, plus extreme dietary changes and no results. My stress levels were through the roof.

Our fertility doctor reviewed all my previous testing and confirmed the diagnosis of PCOS. They recommended to maintain a balanced diet and active lifestyle but not to go to the extreme measures that I was. They also prescribed a medication to help induce ovulation. I started at a very low dose and successfully ovulated that cycle. We did not conceive this cycle; however, we regained some hope. The following cycle I did not ovulate on the initial dose, so my dose was increased, and another random start initiated. I continued this cat and mouse game of ovulating during my second cycle of medication until I hit the max dose, this was a six-month process. After hitting the max dose, we sat down with our fertility doctor and decided to try three more cycles of max dose (as I was intermittently ovulating) and if we were not to conceive to discuss next steps.

Infertility is a lonely journey and is rarely openly discussed. Even if you have the most supportive partner, which I am so grateful to have, they cannot understand the constant daily thoughts; assessing for cervical mucous or blood every time you use the washroom; eating a cookie or bowl of chips then feeling remorse for throwing your insulin levels off; crying alone when you see others post their pregnancy announcements on social media because you so badly want a baby. For myself, I found fertility podcasts to help. They also made me feel less alone. These podcasts inspired me to make changes to my lifestyle that if anything, helped my mental health through the daily chaos that is infertility like walking over my lunch breaks and decompressing with a cup of tea at the end of every day.

Like the previous 13 months, I followed my physician’s recommendations. During the second last month of the ovulation-induction medication, I ovulated on cycle day 21 and we fell/got pregnant! I didn’t tell my partner I was pregnant for 2 days (it seemed like an eternity) because it felt surreal. As I write this post, we are very grateful to be 38 weeks pregnant.

Our fertility journey has taught me that even with our strongest efforts and determination, we cannot control every part of our fertility, or the challenges along the way. What we can do is educate and empower ourselves to work on the areas we can control for the best possible outcomes.

- Amy & Brett


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