Hi, my name is Jenn. I am an ART survivor. 😉
-Or maybe I should phrase that differently: my name is Jenn, and I’m an ART hero! 😁
Either way, the message is the same: I have personal experience with ART, Artificial Reproductive Technology; in other words, my husband and I weren’t able to conceive naturally.
Our journey begins
My husband and I gave ourselves three years of marriage before trying to grow our family. Those were three fun years! We traveled lots, slept in lots and had lots of fun, uninterrupted sex. Then I went off the pill, gave my body three months to re-regulate, and off we went.
First month of trying: no luck.
Second month: ditto.
Third, fourth, fifth, sixth……. hmm, still no joy; ‘Aunt Flo’ came as regularly as ever. We’d read that we should give it a solid year of trying naturally before seeking help, so that’s what we did.
And on it went….
Years two and three were a blur, but they included doctor appointments, reproductive specialists, sperm counts (and vitamin C, zinc & sarsaparilla supplements to help that along – and boy, did they!), hormone level checks and IUI, Intrauterine Insemination (the ‘turkey baster’ method). When that didn’t work, we turned to alternative approaches before pulling out the big guns; you name it, we tried it: acupuncture, chiropractic, homeopathy, allergy elimination, energy work, shamanic healing and past-life regression,…..
Still, month after month after bloody month, my period came; I was not pregnant. For someone whose ONLY career dream was to be a mom, this was downright disheartening. All was not lost, though: when nothing else worked, we agreed to try IVF, In-Vitro Fertilisation (what they used to call ‘test tube babies’). This is the process where they take dad’s sperm and mom’s eggs (having produced lots, thanks to drugs!), put them in a petri dish together and let them do their thing. We were offered ICSI, as well – Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection, where they take the best of dad’s sperm and manually inject them into mom’s eggs – but we decided that that would be taking it a step too far. We were in favour of taking advantage of modern technology to put the spermies and eggs in each others’ orbits, but ICSI felt like playing God, which is where we drew the line.
Much to our utter delight, it worked: we fell pregnant!!😀
Pregnancy as an ART patient
Aside from my bum feeling like Swiss cheese from the daily (twice daily?) intramuscular injections for the entire. first. trimester 😶, things were pretty normal for early pregnancy. I was offered more early ultrasounds than if we’d conceived naturally, but that’s par for the course with ART – primarily to make sure that our little one hadn’t embedded in my fallopian tube instead of my uterus; blessedly, it hadn’t. During another ultrasound we got to hear our sweet baby’s heartbeat for the very first time! 🥲 That’s when it really felt real. Now, with the green light on both counts, we excused ourselves from the doctor’s care and signed on with a holistically-minded, homebirth midwife.
As far as the rest of the pregnancy was concerned, I was blessed to have it be practically textbook-perfect. We were offered various tests but not pressured; we accepted some and declined others. With each offer, my husband and I considered the pros and cons, and we especially examined our hearts as to what we would do if the outcome was discouraging. We had no intention of terminating the pregnancy for any reason, so we passed on lots of tests; if having the test would allow us to change tack in order to provide for a better outcome, then we’d do it.
Fast-forward to the end of the pregnancy: I went into spontaneous labour a few days before our due date, my body and our baby laboured overnight like champs, and little man Zachary made his entry into this world in a beautiful, peaceful, planned home water birth, attended by our doula and our midwife.
What’s your point, Jenn?
What’s my point in telling you all this?
- Yes, I did blame my body for not getting pregnant naturally.
- HOWEVER, I still had full confidence in my body to birth!
- A complex conception does NOT mean that the pregnancy or birth needs to be complex.
That’s my story, and I’m sticking to it. – But don’t just take my word for it; do your research, listen to podcasts (including the Great Birth Rebellion podcast episode 51!) and make the choices that are right for you from an informed perspective.
Oh, and my last point:
- Having been through ART and IVF myself, I’m intimately familiar with the heartache of infertility and the trials and tribulations of artificial reproductive technology; I’m just the doula you want by your side, if this is the path you’re walking, too.💜
What’s been your experience with infertility and ART? Are you walking that path right now? Email me directly to chat more about having me support you through your birth and postpartum!
Doula Jenn B wrote this (and in fact has a longer version with more details; drop her a line, she’ll send you a copy, if you’re interested!). She is a birth and postpartum doula serving in Sydney, Australia with nearly a year of formal doula experience and heaps more births attended and babies held beforehand. Email her at email@example.com to book a free, no-obligation consultation.