“No one tells you what the risks are when you set out to have a baby,” says Olive patient Myriam Steinberg. @catalogue_baby
“Specialists told me that assisted reproduction, for me, had a 25% chance of success. What they didn't tell me is that the 75% failure rate doesn't just mean no pregnancy was achieved. I found out the hard way that it could also mean miscarriage, chromosomal problems with the baby, physiological issues with the uterus, ovaries, eggs, or other reproductive necessities, or any number of unforeseen events during the pregnancy.
When I got pregnant from my first IUI (intra-uterine insemination), I was over the moon. When I miscarried two days before my 8-week ultrasound, a new reality started settling in. In the end, it took 7 rounds of IUI, 3 rounds of in vitro fertilization, 2 rounds of donor eggs and donor sperm, and 5 pregnancies before Isaac and Abegail were born.”
Myriam is writing a graphic novel about her fertility journey as a single woman in her 40s.
My journey to parenthood was not an easy one. At 40, I still didn’t have the partner I’d dreamed of having and with whom I could start a family. That’s when I decided to become a Single Mother by Choice. My journey took 4.5 years. After multiple rounds of IUI, IVF, and the first cycle of double donor embryos failed or resulted in loss, Dr. Taylor, from Olive Fertility, threw the proverbial sink at me, and I was finally pregnant with what would be my twins. They were my fifth pregnancy.
You’d think I’d finally catch a break and have an easy pregnancy… but no. The water broke for twin A at 18 weeks and I went on bedrest for 4 months. For the first trimester, I was very closely monitored by the doctors at Olive. For the 2nd trimester, I was under the constant watch of my OB, midwives, the maternal fetal health homecare nursing team, and, finally, BC Women’s Hospital.
Against all odds, both twins survived. They came early – 32.5 weeks. We spent two months in the NICU as Twin A grew and strengthened his lungs.
Coming home from the hospital was a glorious day. Learning to raise two children on my own has been an incredible adventure and the most fulfilling thing I have done in my life. 2.5 years later, they are incredible, sweet, curious, adventurous, challenging, exuberant, kind, and, occasionally, mini-demons-with-big-feelings-and-hearts-of-gold.
It’s not always easy, but becoming a Single Mother by Choice was the best decision I’ve ever made.
I wrote a graphic memoir about my experience! Catalogue Baby: A Memoir of (In)fertility, is a graphic novel that I hope will help break the silence and taboos around miscarriage, infertility, and the choice to become an SMBC. I hope it brings hope, solidarity, and much-needed information to folks going through their own journeys as well as to their support networks. You can find it at www.cataloguebabynovel.com.
(As a side note, I am now working on its sequel! It’s called Stick, Stay, Grow and follows the life of the twins from conception to the first months at home.)
Inclusion of all gender and sexually diverse people is an important value of Olive Fertility Centre. We are continuously striving to create an environment of compassionate belonging where all of the 2SLGBTQIA+ community are supported, valued and respected.
Olive Fertility Centre resides on the traditional, ancestral, and unceded territory of the xʷməθkwəy̓əm (Musqueam), Skwxwú7mesh (Squamish), and Tsleil-waututh Nations (Vancouver and Surrey clinics), of the Lekwungen people (Victoria clinic), of the syilx/Okanagan people (Kelowna clinic) and of the Lheidli T’enneh First Nation (Blossom Fertility clinic in Prince George).
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