At 39, Cynnamon knew that time was running out for her and AJ to start a family. Thanks to the IVF treatment the received at Genesis, they now have beautiful twins.
“I started my current career quite late and knew we were pushing the limit for having a family. My husband is also 7 years older than me and was becoming apprehensive about being a father the older he and I got. After 2 years in my new career we decided to “pull the goalie” as it were…
As the months went on we were unsuccessful getting pregnant on our own and after exploring this fact with our doctors we quickly learned there were a number of things working against us and we were referred to Genesis Fertility Clinic. In my mind, I believed like so many – we would just do fertility treatments, get pregnant and start our family. Easy, right? Ovarian reserve? Poor egg quality and just plain old biology never entered my mind. The hard facts of what it actually means to “do fertility treatments” was becoming real very fast.
Dr. Kashyap and her team were incredibly supportive – and honest. The facts were this:
- My 39-year-old body was performing exactly as it was meant to at this age with respect to fertility
- My ovarian reserve was extremely low
- My egg quality was deteriorating
- My husband also had some contributing issues
And so, the fertility journey began. We were way past the early intervention methods and jumped right into the deep end of the pool with full IVF. The medications, the schedule, the timing, the appointments added up to a steep learning curve for both of us. Countless phone calls to the clinic to ask questions were all greeted with patience and kindness. The nurses were fantastic. We were full of hope and excitement as we reached the egg retrieval stage and got 3 eggs that were fertilized via ICSI.
We were given pictures of the resulting embryos and I can tell you that even a lay person could see these were not the best quality – borderline good enough to try though – so that’s what we did. After all, it only takes one embryo to implant and we were told science has seen embryos of this quality produce a baby (and really… weren’t we through the hardest part? – science helped us get embryos!). So, we stayed positive and pushed through our “2 week wait”. On blood test day, my nerves were all over the place.
It didn’t work. I was devastated – more than I had prepared for.
In time, we did it again… we were not successful. My confidence was shattered and the reality that fertility treatments are not a guarantee really sunk in at this point. I procrastinated and put off the third try at least 4 or 5 times – I could hold onto hope as long as the third try was still available.
Parallel to this journey I had been working with my own GP for over a year – insisting that my thyroid be looked at for a number of reasons… over and over again the same mantra of “your levels are in the normal range”… even though they had more than doubled in less than one year.
Somewhere between round 2 and round 3 of IVF – Genesis mentioned that my thyroid numbers were not ideal and started me on Synthroid right away…. validation!… although I really had no idea that the thyroid could/would be a road block to pregnancy – that never occurred to me.
Dr. Kashyap’s voice inside my head after the second failed round… “take some time, but don’t wait too long” [to start the last round]. The biological clock is very real and I was 40 years old. Our last try… financially and emotionally had begun in the fall of 2016. Obviously the medications affect everyone differently, but this time I felt like it hit me like a ton of bricks – more than the two times before – but we retrieved 7 eggs! 6 were viable and made it to embryos. 3 of the best quality ones were transferred and again – we were cautiously hopeful. AND we had 3 additional embryos that could potentially be frozen, just in case… more hope.
During the two week wait, the embryologist called to let us know the remaining 3 embryos did not survive. This phone call came while we were celebrating the life of a dear friend, Ray, who recently passed unexpectedly. My heart sank – I knew the little guys inside me had to make it – at least one of them. They were our last hope for a family. That evening we had dinner at our favourite Chinese food restaurant – My husband opened his fortune cookie and looked at me with a grin and said – You’re pregnant. “Next month will prove to be pivotal in your life” is what was written – hah! Of course, I held onto that like a life line… and I dared to allow myself to think it was possible.
On blood test day, I stood in line before the clinic was even open. The rest of the day was torture. I logged onto the lab results website over a hundred times – but I couldn’t click on the results. I knew that if the result was negative the journey was over. As long as I didn’t know, I could still hope. Genesis called – I couldn’t avoid this any longer. “I have the pleasure to tell you you’re pregnant!”. This was overwhelming news! It truly felt like a miracle. But our miracle was not over yet.
During our 8-week ultra sound at Genesis, Dr. Kashyap gave us more good news. The pregnancy not only survived to this point, but there were two in there! Holy Hannah…. I don’t know if the look on my husband’s face was joy or terror – sometimes these can look the same. For me, I never imagined this outcome and was happily preparing my mind for a small family of 3… but TWO?? this was amazing news.
It wasn’t until this meeting that Dr. Kashyap told us just how low our chances of getting pregnant were – less than 1%. Implanting more than one embryo was not her first choice, but as the deck was stacked against us for success, Dr. Kashyap took a chance and transferred all three.
The pregnancy was fairly uneventful, despite my age, and on July 23rd, 2017 at 38 weeks, I gave birth to a healthy girl and healthy boy via emergency C-section. Sophia Claire and Matthias Ray.
My husband and I feel so blessed and will never be able to thank Dr. Kashyap and her entire team enough. I know not all stories like this have a happy ending, but science and the stars aligned for us. Did my thyroid play a role in round 1 and 2? Was it just not going to work no matter what we did? Were they just poor cycles? I guess we’ll never know what combination of factors is perfect for each person… or why a perfectly good embryo does not implant and a lesser quality one may, but I do feel that Genesis looked at all the angles possible and did everything they could to stack the deck in our favor to get the best possible outcome. The rest was out of anyone’s hands and it somehow came together.
We are forever grateful to have these two perfect miracles in our lives. We are so in love.
When people stop to see our twins in public we often get the same question – “are they natural?”. If my answer indicates they’re IVF babies the conversation is quickly over with a look of “so they’re not natural” – like that makes them less of a miracle and just something fabricated in a lab…like anyone could do that?!… sigh. If I just smile and say “yes, they are natural” there are tons of follow up questions – do twins run in your family? Are they identical? I’m a twin! My aunt’s brother’s cousin’s sister in law is a twin, but I walk away feeling a bit guilty that I didn’t answer truthfully. I say this because I want to shout from roof tops that my babies are “natural IVF babies”.
The process was very real and fertility treatments are not to be taken lightly. My pregnancy was real. The birth was real. My recovery was long and real. My babies do not let me get very much sleep and that is very “natural” and real.
I want all women (who want a child) to know more than I did when I was 30… “the biological clock is ticking” is more than a cliché phrase. Please do not wait to look at your options. If life gets in the way – go get your eggs frozen at a young(er) age. Do not listen to people who say, “you’re young… you still have time” or “My friend’s aunt’s cousin was 47 when she had a baby no problem”… these are exceptions to biology. Make an appointment at Genesis to at least know your options. The heartache is real and success is much higher with younger higher quality eggs.
From the bottom of our hearts we thank you for the work you and your team do Dr. Kashyap.
Cynnamon, AJ, Sophia and Matthias ❤❤”