No two journeys into motherhood are the same. For Ryan and Sarah Sklapsky the journey wasn’t quick, nor was it easy.
“It took us 4 years from the time we decided we were ready to be parents until Bodhi was born,” explained Sarah. “Going through that journey can only be described as painful, lonely and it seemed never ending. We went through many rounds a drug called Letrozole to try and improve our chances.” They paired research and testing as well to see if some knowledge could steer them into becoming parents. The rounds of drugs began to replay like a broken record all not producing them with the results they so desperately dreamt of. “Finally, in May 2017 we were able to get an appointment with a fertility clinic. Little did we know, it would be nearly a year before we would successfully become pregnant. It was shortly after the initial appointment that it was determined that Ryan would need to undergo a minor surgery in August 2017 in hopes to improve our chances to get pregnant.” By now the discouragement and fear crept into Sarah’s mind and began to consume her thoughts. Would she ever be a mother? Would they be able to become parents together as a couple? Was this meant to be?”
Sarah and Ryan relied on each other and stayed as hopeful as they could. “While we were waiting for Ryan’s surgery, we decided to try intrauterine insemination (IUI). IUI is a treatment used in fertility that involves placing sperm inside a woman’s uterus.” Hope was quickly restored but soon faded as they learned almost as quickly that the IUI could not be completed. “We were, once again, completely heartbroken. Our faith then landed on the surgery but soon after we learned the surgery was unsuccessful. We felt very defeated and lost a lot of hope for the future. It was at this point that we truly began to feel like parenthood wasn’t for us. As a couple, we focused on staying busy. It was almost that if we kept busy, we wouldn’t have the opportunity to think about it. Finally, in November 2017, we were placed on the IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) list for February. Scared, elated, unsure with wavering confidence, both Sarah and Ryan faced an ‘uncertain time in their life’.
The passion to have a family continued and time seemed to be speeding past. “February came quicker than I was prepared for,” Sarah recalls.
“Those 3 weeks of my life were, and still are, a complete blur. I do not wish that on anyone. At that time, those were the hardest weeks I would ever face (little did I know what would later come). For someone who is terrified of needles, the idea of having to give myself 4-6 injections a day seemed impossible. It’s amazing what you can do when you are determined. Those weeks involved countless injections, spending weeks in the city for constant monitoring, and constantly being uncomfortable. I was not able to sleep, eat or live my regular life. The fresh transfer at that time was unsuccessful. In April 2017, we decided that we would try a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) and that we would transfer two embryos.” Finally the next day Sarah new she was pregnant. “I knew I was pregnant,” she happily recalls.
“I had pings and twinges and eight days later (before any confirmation), I had extreme nausea. I knew I was finally pregnant!”
After years of ups and downs the transfer was successful and they did conceive twins. Unfortunately the couple wasn’t done facing adversity and after a few short weeks it was confirmed that they had lost one of the babies. “That was hard,” explained Sarah. “It felt like I wasn’t allowed to acknowledge or to grieve the loss of one. Many people responded with, ‘but your still pregnant, Sarah! That’s what matters.’ It did matter to us.” The couple supported one another through the loss and continued to focus on the remaining child they had hoped for for so long.
Finally after about 40 hours of labour, on January 15th, Bodhi Barry Sklapsky was born. A beautiful baby boy. Ryan and Sarah were elated but Sarah would be faced with an extra struggle when it came to healing. Just days after Bodhi’s birth a surgery was needed to repair damage from delivery and more nights spent in the hospital. “I constantly had to remind myself that, in this moment, the most important thing was understanding that I needed to take those first weeks of Bodhi’s life and focus on my health and recovery so that I could be the best Mom to him as he grew,” said Sarah.
“It was hard. Very hard. I struggled with getting out of my head and not letting my thoughts overcome me. There was very much a day to day focus that needed to happen. I also learned to celebrate the small things that I could do, when I was able to do them – carry him across a room, stand to change/dress him, make a meal, load the dishwasher, leave the house independently with and without Bodhi, and finally, walking and using my carrier to hold him.”
Now months post natal Sarah continues to work with health care professionals to recover from delivery while focusing on being a new mother. The journey didn’t come easily or without pain but Ryan and Sarah have stayed focused on each other and strong for their son. They give endless credit to our medical community in Lloydminster for supporting and guiding them on their entire journey to parenthood and they both are quick to agree it was certainly “worth it!”