For this month’s edition of The Bump, we’re featuring the gorgeous Martice Milton, a talented photographer and brand new mum originally from Canada. Martice conceived through IVF and shares her experience and advice for those considering the treatment, giving us an insight into her pregnancy.
What was your reaction when you first found out you were pregnant?
Our situation was a little different from your average pee-on-a-stick, wait one minute and shriek with joy when you see two pink lines. Getting pregnant was a bumpy road for us, so when our doctor called with positive blood test results, we were elated, relieved and excited! It was a long time coming. However, I had become so used to the idea of things not working out that I also felt scared, like it was too good to be true. It was an amazing moment with my husband though and I will never forget it.
Your funniest pregnant memory, thus far?
At 35 weeks pregnant, I was taking a bath and trying out a baby toy that indicates if the water is too hot. My dog came into the bathroom, spotted the toy and decided he wanted it. He jumped right IN to the bath and snatched up the toy! So there’s me, my huge baby bump and my dog, all in our bathtub. Needless to say, chaos ensued and the bathroom floor got soaked!
Did you suffer from morning sickness? What helped you cope with that?
I was one of the “lucky” ones who experienced severe nausea and vomiting well into the second trimester. I honestly don’t know why it’s called “morning” sickness because it can be relentless. I was bedridden for most of it and went weeks without any reprieve. Netflix was my best friend. Things like ginger and saltines did absolutely nothing and I think I could have slapped the next person who asked me if I’d tried them yet! I ended up having to take anti-nausea medication (Diclectin) all the way up until about 34 weeks and that was the only thing that took the edge off the nausea. I’m currently 37 weeks along and still experiencing occasional bouts of nausea.
Any great books or resources that prepared you for baby’s arrival?
I tend to overdo it when it comes to research and preparation, so I tried hard not to do that in this case. I think a lot of the preparation comes more from common sense than it does from answers in a book. Having said that, I have no idea what I’m talking about yet! I did read one book called The Sleep Sense Program by Dana Obleman that I enjoyed. It’s very concise and the program isn’t overly scheduled.
What do you think every woman should know before getting pregnant?
It ain’t for the faint of heart! While pregnancy has its fun and exciting moments, it can also be straight up gross, painful, uncomfortable and scary. It’s not something to be taken lightly, so just be certain it’s right for you and your situation. Also, whatever plans or expectations you have for your pregnancy, throw them all out the window! The opposite will happen. I planned on being that fit pregnant woman who ate all the right things and continued to exercise. Then at six weeks pregnant I got very sick and could only stomach carbs and had to stay in bed for months.
Lastly, make sure you’re mentally prepared to get pregnant immediately or for it to take some time. It’s impossible to know where on the spectrum you’ll fall until it happens and it’s good just to keep that in mind before starting the process.
You conceived via IVF, please tell us about your experience.
My experience overall was a positive one. That’s not to say that IVF isn’t tough, but you get through it step by step. It entails countless needles and injections, almost-daily appointments early in the morning, as well as regular ultrasounds and blood tests. Your life is basically put on hold and devoted to the process for about six weeks. While I was nervous to begin, I was also excited because I felt like I was finally getting some control back when it came to getting pregnant. When you experience infertility and the ability to start a family is taken out of your hands, it’s a tough thing to face and can be emotionally draining. Having a sense of control again gave me what I needed to get through IVF, despite its challenges. Luckily, the process went as planned and my doctors were fantastic. I have an entirely new appreciation for what fertility doctors and embryologists do! I will never forget my embryo transfer, which is the final stage of IVF when that precious embryo you worked so hard to create is placed inside your uterus. I watched on the ultrasound screen as this little white dot appeared knowing that this could one day be my baby! It was very emotional and not something I’ll forget anytime soon.
What advice do you have for women struggling with getting pregnant and considering IVF?
In my experience, it can sometimes feel like you’re the only one struggling to get pregnant because so many couples suffer in silence. It may seem like everyone around you gets pregnant so easily. Know that infertility is very common and many people are struggling alongside you. Don’t be ashamed to discuss your situation with people you trust. They may have even experienced something similar or know someone else who has. If you don’t feel comfortable sharing your situation with family or friends, but want to talk to someone who understands, there are fertility counsellors that can help. Also, websites like BabyCentre have group forums for even the rarest types of infertility, so there’s always people to talk to who can relate to what you’re going through.
For those considering IVF, it’s important to do your research on clinics or get a recommendation so that you know you’re in good hands. If you’re afraid of going through the process, keep in mind that hundreds of thousands of women have been through it (some multiple times), so don’t let fear deter you from your ultimate goal of starting a family.
Lastly, don’t give up hope. You will likely have days where you feel hopeless, but those will pass and you’ll eventually see the light at the end of the tunnel. There are so many fertility treatments out there, it’s truly amazing what science can do!
Biggest misconception about IVF pregnancies?
I think many people believe that IVF pregnancies almost always result in multiples. However, the number of embryos transferred is controlled, so while many women choose to transfer more than one embryo which can result in multiples, many opt for single embryo transfers instead.
Any fashion tips or tricks for maternity dressing?
Accessorise! I didn’t want to spend a lot of money on clothes I’d only wear for a short time, so accessories helped me change up the look of just a few maternity staples. If you’re looking to buy maternity clothes in Hong Kong, skip the overpriced boutiques and head to H&M on Canton Road where they carry their Mama line or check out Forever 21 for flowy tops and dresses. If you like to shop online, ASOS has affordable and stylish maternity options. Pregnancy is a fun time for fashion, so don’t shy away from it… show off that bump!
What are your thoughts about finding out the sex in advance?
I’m all for it! I simply don’t have the patience to wait and find out. Plus, I feel like there’s a bonding experience that happens when you know if it’s a boy or girl doing all those somersaults in there!
What kind of birth do you plan to have?
I’m going through the public system and giving birth at Queen Mary Hospital. So far my experience has been positive, so here’s hoping the birth will be the same!
Any local businesses or services which made your pregnancy journey any easier?
Annerley offers a free session for newly pregnant women where they discuss private vs. public healthcare and give you the chance to ask any questions you have. I found it informative and you come away with some helpful material.
Did you have any weird or wonderful cravings?
I’m such a foodie normally that it’s hard to know, but I did often crave celery sticks, grapes and glasses of milk. No clue why!
Have you come up with a name, yet? If so (you don’t need to tell us what it is) what was the process of choosing it, and your experience (did everyone try to give opinions)?
We have a couple of front runners, but won’t be deciding until the little guy makes an appearance. Finding names we both loved was definitely a challenge! I tend to go for more unique names, whereas my husband prefers classic ones. We scoured lists and lists of names online, but our favourites have remained from the beginning.
Anything you’ll miss about being pregnant?
I’ll probably miss being able to relax! I’m not normally one to take the time to stop and smell the roses, but pregnancy has allowed me to appreciate and be content with quieter activities. I know that once the baby arrives, relaxing days will be a thing of the past!
Thanks to Sabrina Sikora of First Wife Studios for these beautiful pictures of Martice and her bump!