Our Fertility Journey to Our Sunset and Sunrise Babies

Eloise Edington  |   28 Apr 2022

Fertility Help Hub wouldn’t be what it is without our wonderful fertility community and sharing the richness and diversity of pathways to parenthood helps to make FHH an inclusive platform.

Here, Shannon shares her and her husband’s story of trying to conceive, fertility tests and treatment, surviving the 2WW and their sunset and sunrise babies.

Over to Shannon…

From Fertility Tests…

Our trying to conceive story started about four and a half years ago. When I was 32 years old, my partner and I saw our first fertility specialist. We had fertility tests and although there was nothing alarming about the results, the doctor suggested we try a cycle of fertility treatment with a trigger shot. Sadly, we were unsuccessful but we kept trying naturally.

Then, in the summer of 2019, we had the opportunity to move from Canada to Abu Dhabi. We “stopped trying” while we settled in this new country. We never used contraception so after a while of “not trying” I began to really worry that something wasn’t right. In August 2020, we suffered one very early loss; I didn’t even know I was pregnant.

Once again, we decided to start actively trying for a baby, and after months of being unsuccessful, I decided it was time to see a fertility specialist in Abu Dhabi. So, in January 2021, we had more fertility tests.

We didn’t expect the results to come back as they did. Our fertility clinic in Abu Dhabi ran some additional fertility tests that we didn’t have in Canada. We were told we’re a couple with “combined infertility” and that we have a very low chance of conceiving naturally.

I’m so glad I had fertility testing as soon as I did because although I’m only 35, I have an extremely low AMH level for a woman of my age. (Low AMH is not a cause of infertility, but it is an indication of a decreased egg reserve.)

… To Fertility Treatment

In March 2021, we began the IVF process. From the egg retrieval, the fertility specialists retrieved eight eggs, three of which were successfully fertilized; two boys and one girl.

For various reasons, we had to cancel or postpone our embryo transfer twice, but by October 2021, we were ready. Or so we thought.

Before the ET, I needed a hysteroscopy which showed I had an issue with my uterine lining that needed to be resolved. The transfer was delayed until November. On November 28th, the two strongest embryos were transferred – we didn’t want to know the genders. I can remember that day as if it were yesterday. I was so nervous and my husband wasn’t allowed to come with me. After our two embryos were transferred we stuck to tradition and went for McDonald’s fries. Then the two-week wait began.

The Two Week Wait

I created a little bucket list of things to keep busy during the 2WW. The worst thing you want to do is start obsessing over symptoms; it will make you crazy.  Five days after ET, I took my first pregnancy test. I couldn’t believe it – I saw my first positive pregnancy test! My heart was so guarded and I kept telling my husband to not get excited.

Scan Trepidation

It wasn’t until I received a phone call from our fertility clinic that I actually believed I was pregnant. We went in a few days later for a scan and found out that both embryos had embedded. I was so surprised but I kept saying it was still early and reminded myself not to get too excited.

Twin A was growing faster than Twin B and at our six-week ultrasound, we could hear Twin A’s heartbeat but we couldn’t hear Twin B’s.  The sonographer said it was still very early in my pregnancy and suggested we listen again next week.

By week seven, Twin B was growing but was still smaller than Twin A. The doctors couldn’t detect a heartbeat, but we could see a little flickering on the screen. I was warned that Twin B may stop growing although there was a chance Twin B would surprise me in week eight.

Approaching our week eight scan, I noticed I had the slightest bit of spotting, but this doesn’t necessarily indicate there’s a problem with the pregnancy. This was honestly the longest week of my life and I was grasping on to every ounce of hope. As soon as we started the ultrasound, I knew what I didn’t want to hear. I could see that Twin B was nearly half the size of Twin A. I had lost Twin B in a type of miscarriage called Vanishing Twin Syndrome. Twin B would eventually absorb back into my body.

Sunrise and Sunset Babies

When one twin vanishes, they are called a sunset baby and the surviving twin is a sunrise baby. Our sunrise baby is due in August this year. It took us four and a half years – 1,640 days – 54 months for our sunrise baby to find its way to us.

I suffered in silence for the longest time and didn’t talk about it until last year. I even let myself fall victim to believing the unhelpful comments people make about conception and pregnancy. I needed to “just relax” (did I relax enough?!), remember “it just isn’t the right time” (when is the right time?!) and remind myself “you’re still young, don’t worry about it”. The comment about my age is the worst of all.

So, my advice to others trying to conceive is: Don’t wait, if you think you’re having issues getting pregnant, undergo fertility testing sooner rather than later.

Thank you, Shannon, for sharing your heartfelt story. We’re thinking of you as you approach August.

If you have a fertility story to share, get in touch with our Editor, Holly, on Instagram. We can’t promise to share every story, but we love hearing from our fertility community.

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