Reflections of 2019- What a Roller Coaster of a Year!

I can’t believe there are so few days left in 2019. Before welcoming a new decade in, I’m taking some time to reflect on the past year. This is a lengthy post so be prepared. 🙂

2019 was destined to be a different year for my husband and I as we added a fur baby (a mini golden doodle) to the family. I believe all fur parents would agree- welcoming a fur baby at the end of January in the midst of a big snowstorm is not the best time to start training a puppy. Believe it or not but we potty trained our fur baby in the middle of winter with no help from pee pads. We were very dedicated and persevered as we took her out every 2 hours to let her relieve herself. We also worked very hard to expose our fur baby to all types of individuals be it socializing with babies, young children, young adults, adults and other dogs of all breeds. The more diversity the better. 🙂 We were also conscious of making sure that our fur baby was exposed to different scenarios (i.e. man or woman wearing a baseball cap, a man or woman wearing a toque, a man or woman wearing a hood) so that the fur baby would not be startled by such things. Luckily, we live in a very family oriented and dog friendly neighbourhood; golden doodles or poodle mixes seem to be the breed of choice so getting our fur baby well socialized seemed to be a very easy task to complete.  Like parents of human children, fur parents are equally just as eager to give tips and/or pieces of advice. As a first time pet owner, I am all ears and felt no annoyance.  My husband and I recognize that our fur baby is a well socialized dog and wants to love everyone but her level of obedience can improve (i.e. you call the dog’s name and say a command once and the dog does what you ask). Some people may say you don’t want a completely obedient dog as you may want the dog to remain somewhat doglike. There’s always two points of view right?

If anyone thinks that dogs will eat anything and everything, you’ve got to meet our mini golden doodle. Perhaps it’s because she’s more poodle than retriever but she sure is a picky eater. She doesn’t like her dog food so we tried switching brands. Switching brands helped for a little while but she quickly got sick of it. We generally have to cook her very lean cuts of meat (i.e. chicken, turkey). We will give her beef but if the beef is too fatty, she will have the runs. Thankfully she likes salmon so we will give her some salmon as well. Depending on her mood, she will also enjoy blueberries, apple, pear, carrots, cucumber and/or cheese. She may chew on a piece of swiss chard, kale and/or lettuce from time to time. Some individuals have said that this dog has us wrapped around her finger; however, we have also tried the “we will take away the food if you don’t eat and we won’t give you other options” method but our little mini golden doodle has the stamina to hold out for at least 2 days. When she truly does not like something, she will not eat. Her top priority in life is to play. Her next priority is to seek food.

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Our lifestyle definitely has changed. We don’t resent the change in lifestyle as our fur baby has added so much joy to our lives but naturally, you do want to stay at home more often and/or after a certain period of time out (i.e. my husband likes the time limit out to be ideally less than 4 hours), you start missing your fur baby and want to go home to hang out with her. I’ve never seen this side of my husband but my husband has become quite protective of our fur baby. He will not trust just anyone with her. If the fur baby can be included on a trip, he wants her to be part of the experience.

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If someone thinks that a dog just needs to be taken out to do their business every now and then; think again. Our mini golden doodle does best when she’s gotten a minimum of 3 hours of physical activity but due to working hours and what not, we generally manage 2 hours of physical activity per day with additional walks so that she can go do her business. Don’t forget that this type of dog typically needs grooming every 6-8 weeks. We push for every 8 weeks as we like the shaggy look. She’s worth it though and we wouldn’t change anything! 🙂

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We love you, Millie! 🙂

The year also started off with a very unexpected surprise; on January 9th, I found out I was 5-6 weeks pregnant via a pregnancy test.  My husband and I have been married for over 7 years now. We don’t have children so at this point of time, many individuals have assumed we don’t want children. Has anyone ever told you never to assumptions? Don’t ever make assumptions because when you spell “assume” out, it says ” don’t make an ass of you and me”. Personally speaking, it is a very strange feeling knowing that my husband and I were one of the earlier ones among our circle of friends and/or acquaintances to get married but yet currently, we are one of the last ones to have a child.

I can’t speak for my husband but I’ve always wanted to have children. My husband could go on in life without children  but if children is what makes me happy, he said he would be fine. I think this is the typical male response. The majority of males never seem to be ready for parenthood but once parenthood hits them, they wouldn’t change it for the world. I may not have been particularly vocal about this want but this is always something I thought that would naturally happen to me eventually.

As a female, I’ve never been on birth control and my cycles are very normal (it arrives 3 days early each month). As two healthy young individuals, I never thought fertility would be an issue.  My husband and I are not perfect but I can confidently say that our lifestyles (i.e. physical activity and eating habits) are much better than the average couple. Since December 2017, we have been actively trying for a baby. Say hello to ovulation strips and making dates for when the time is right if a baby is what we want. By June 2018, a friend suggested we go to a fertility clinic to see if there were any issues. After investigations, there appeared to be some issues with sperm shape but the doctor did say that it is possible to get pregnant naturally but why was nothing happening? During the later half of 2018, both my husband and I were going to acupuncture treatments twice a week in hope that these treatments would help with fertility.  My husband was also taking 300 mg of Coenzyme Q10 and 2000 IU of Vitamin D. I was taking 600 mg of Coenzyme Q10 and 2000 IU of Vitamin D as well. Apparently, research has shown that both coenzyme q10 and vitamin D can help with fertility. I also learned that to maximize the success rate, you and your partner must engage in activity every other day between day 10 and 18 after you have finished your menstrual cycle. Many individuals would say “Just have fun with it” but the truth is, when you have to map out a schedule every month, there is not much fun left.

Because my husband and I were having difficulty getting pregnant, you better believe how overjoyed I was when I saw that there was a positive sign on the pregnancy test. Over the next little while, I was on cloud 9. I couldn’t wait to meet my bundle of joy come September 2019. Sadly, 10 days later, I had a miscarriage at work. As a health care professional, I am no stranger to the hospital setting but 2019 was also the first year where I admitted myself into the emergency room to go under further investigation to confirm my miscarriage. Having gone into a hospital with a good reputation, I was shocked that it took them 6 hours to finally see an actively bleeding individual. Thank goodness I had a pad on me because I would have bled through my pants. After doing internal investigations and bloodwork, it was confirmed; there were no signs of pregnancy in my body at all.

From my husband’s perspective, 2019 was an emotional year for me. I know that it is common for women to have miscarriages. The miscarriage itself did upset me but what upset met me more was the idea that I would never be able to become a mother. The next few months were a blur as the fertility clinic asked us to return only to do more bloodwork to confirm what I already knew. They wanted to confirm that I truly had a miscarriage in order to advise us on the next steps. We were now candidates for intrauterine insemination (IUI) or in vitro fertilization (IVF).

In case you don’t know what IUI is, it is when the female is given hormones to manually create ovulation. Because the clinic will know when the female is ovulating, they can prepare what they consider is the best sperm through a sperm wash. Once they extract the best sperm from the wash, the clinic will insert the sperm into the female hoping that it will be a success! 🙂 The success rate for this procedure is, unfortunately, very low.

In Canada, we are very fortunate in the sense that we are eligible for one funded round of treatment. The only downside is that the wait time can be quite long depending on which clinic you are attached to. Being in the fragile emotional state I was in, I was all for paying out of pocket right away. If you are willing to pay for the IVF treatment, you could be well on your way once you get your next menstrual cycle.  My husband has always been the voice of reason; he asked if we could take a little time to do a little further investigation.

My husband was not convinced that the fertility clinic did a thorough enough investigation; therefore, he became a detective himself. He has always believed we can get pregnant naturally so he never liked going to the clinic from the beginning . He also did not want us to go through IUI because he did not want my hopes to go up only to come crashing down when it was another failed attempt at getting pregnant. He did not understand how two healthy individuals with no significant past medical history, who both work out regularly whether it’s lifting weights and/or cardio and eats better than most individuals could not get pregnant. We are social drinkers but are not heavy drinkers. We don’t use recreational drugs. Why is parenthood not happening for us? He went to seek the advice of a urologist. Through these appointments, he believes he discovered the root cause of why we were having difficulty getting pregnant. I’m not going to go into details but my husband was diligent and researched natural remedies which could improve his condition. All he emphasized to me is that he needs time for his condition to improve (if it will improve). You can imagine how frustrated, emotional and fragile I was as I continue to get my period month after month. How I long to miss my period for once!

As the months went by and as we hit the summer months of 2019, I truly began to  think parenthood was not in the books for us. I would be open for adoption but my husband is not open to adoption. From the outside perspective, my husband and I seemed to be “living the life” as per many friends who now have become parents as they say “Take your time. Enjoy your two people world. Having a kid and/or kids will change you forever. No need to rush”.

Little did anyone know but my mood was very unpredictable. An outing with my husband could start out great but due to some trigger (i.e. seeing a stroller, seeing a pregnant lady, the thought of not being able to become a parent) could set me off and I would dampen the mood for the rest of the evening and/or rest of the weekend trip.

Because of my unpredictable mood in 2019, my husband decided that a vacation to a beautiful destination is not worth it as my heart was clearly not in anything other than wanting to become pregnant. Even if I was far far away in a beautiful destination somewhere around the world, I could continue to be triggered and dampen the mood for the rest of the time.

Perhaps it’s because I hit rock bottom and truly started to accept life as two individuals with a fur baby but fate has given us a real special opportunity at becoming parents because come mid-July 2019, I found out I was pregnant again. I may not have gone through IUI and/or IVF but for those who are going through difficult times with getting pregnant, know that you can always reach out to me. I understand the hopelessness one can feel when pregnancy just does not seem attainable. With what happened in January, I was more cautious this time as I really knew that there could be a possibility a miscarriage could happen again but knock on wood, I’m currently 29 weeks and 3 days. Baby is kicking and doing well. We can’t wait to meet her come March 2020.

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Food For Thought: As much as I portray happiness and “life is all good” on the outside no matter what social event I go to, 2019 was a roller coaster year for me. Not only was it challenging in my personal life but work was also challenging as the role I am currently in completely changed. There were definitely highs and there were definitely lows. As a I sit and reflect, I realize my husband was the only person who saw how sad I was. I’m glad we came out with a happy ending but I continue to think of those who wish to be in our position (i.e. parents to be). May 2020 be a year where unexpected surprises continue to happen. May the next decade continue to be filled with positivity.

 

 

 

 

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