I met my now husband in 2006. At the time I was 6 months into a Master’s in Occupational Therapy Program at the University of Western Ontario. We dated through long distance, meeting each other for an occasional weekend, when I found out I was pregnant. It was a surprise because I was on birth control and we had only been dating for 5 months. We talked about it and decided we were both mature enough and invested enough in our relationship to “handle it”. It turns out we didn’t need to. I lost that baby at 9 weeks.
We went for an ultrasound and there was only silence where there should have been a heartbeat.
We mourned, we healed and we moved on.
We were married in 2011. We immediately started trying for a child. I was 31 at the time and my husband was 38. We started by simply stopping birth control. We progressed to cycle monitoring and scheduled intimacy. After a full year of trying I decided to seek help from my family doctor. He was a doctor that worked out of a drop in clinic that I had signed up with out of convenience because I had no real health issues.
The doctor had no idea how to cope with a fertility request.
He sent me for an ultrasound to check for anatomical abnormalities, but nothing else. Once the ultrasounds came back he said that I could qualify for referral to a fertility clinic but that he didn’t believe in those clinics, and that things would work out on their own.
I tried to get a new doctor.
It is very difficult to get rid of a doctor and to get a new one without gross malpractice. Fortunately, my husband and I moved from Erin to Grand Valley in 2013 and at that time I qualified for a new doctor through Health Care Connect because I had moved to a new health care region. I was put on a wait list and eventually I was taken under the care of a doctor here in Grand Valley. She ordered more tests (ultrasounds and blood work), tried ovulation stimulating drugs, and ultimately referred me to an OB in Orangeville who ordered more tests (more ultrasounds and blood work).
When the results came in they were bleak.
At this point I was 35, had been trying to conceive for 4 years, and the OB informed me that I had less than a 5% chance of ever becoming pregnant, even with significant fertility intervention. I was finally referred to a fertility clinic. We began our assessment at the clinic in August of 2015. I underwent a very intense round of investigations that included blood draws at least once every 2 days, thrice weekly vaginal ultrasounds, a sonohystogram, laparoscopic surgery, diet analysis, and counselling. My husband also had to endure multiple sperm donations and blood work. I took a leave of absence from work during this whole process because of the appointment schedule and because stress could affect results. We were finally told by our doctor that we could have a child but only through Intrauterine Insemination and/or IVF (this was before the approval for provincial funding for this program); a process that would require months of preparation, hormone therapy, and a lot of money. We signed up.
Things changed in October. We got a surprise.
Pregnancy tests are performed before each cycle of investigation and treatment and lo and behold my October test came back positive. I was warned that a follow up test would be required to ensure a viable pregnancy. The second test came back with higher Hcg levels. I was pregnant, and without the invasive treatment. It was at that time that we decided that I would not go back to work during my pregnancy. My cargo was too precious. My little girl was born happy and healthy on July 2, 2016. It does happen.
Karla was born in Charlottetown, PEI and earned her Master’s degree in invasive species ecology at the University of New Brunswick. While working alongside a co-worker who had Multiple Sclerosis, she was exposed to the work of an Occupational Therapist and she was hooked! She began the Masters in Occupational Therapy program at the University of Western Ontario and met her husband Dennis while she was there. Dennis & Karla married in 2011 and immediately began trying to build a family. They now live in a small community north of Grand Valley with their daughter, dog, and miscreant cat; surrounded by farms that remind her of home.