For National infertility week, we wanted to share our personal stories in hopes to give some insight into what we experienced and maybe help some of you who are also going through the same pain and struggles. We know that miscarriages are not often talked about and there is nothing that really can be said to make it better. But miscarriages are very very common (about 10%-20% of pregnancies end in miscarriage). Each of our stories our different. You never know what someone is going through, so please always remember to be sensitive when asking a personal question about pregnancy, about having a second child, or why someone might only want one child. All choices are personal and should be respected.
My story (Jessica): Getting pregnant this time wasn’t as easy as I thought it would be and I am sharing my story to hopefully help other hopeful moms or soon to be moms that there is a way and there is always hope!
We got pregnant with my daughter July 2016 the first time, literally. My husband was joking the day she was conceived rubbing my belly saying there is a baby in there, little did we know it worked! Two weeks later at a tequila trade show, yes, where I was tasting alcohol for three days, I learned I was pregnant…it was crazy but it was what we wanted. We heard it wasn’t always that easy the second time and that was that right in our case, and took longer then we ever expected!
My daughter was one and a half when we were ready to try again, tried and it worked! Got pregnant at the end of September 2017 and by mid October learned it did not work out, I was between 6-7 weeks. It actually had a heart beat at a Doctor’s appointment, but by the next appointment it was gone. It wasn’t growing like it should be according to when conceived and how big it should have been at the time. By the second sonogram, we learned it didn’t make it and I would have to have a D&C. My time knowing it wasn’t viable, to the D&C planned was one week, so for a week I had a non living baby in my belly…that was very hard. I want to believe they were hoping I’d pass it on my own by making me wait a week. The “surgery” is pretty quick, but the before and after of waiting in the hospital felt forever. After it was over, I felt a million times better. I think the thought of knowing it’s gone is a lot better then having it in you. I looked at it like “ok everyone has a miscarriage, this was my one. We will try again when we can!” I also thought that the timing wasn’t right, I was busier then ever opening a business and we were starting FairfieldMoms, going from meeting to meeting, demo to building every day, even though I was trying to “take it easy”, I thought I just was too busy!
My period took about 5-6 weeks to get back and after that when I started ovulating again we tried again. No one told me we couldn’t try, so why not get back at it! We tried and got pregnant! This happened around Christmas and by January I knew I was pregnant. This was a good one, strong heartbeat at two appointments, looked good and was growing in the sonogram, it felt promising! Between my second sonogram at 8 weeks to 11 weeks things didn’t feel right, mothers intuition they say. My signs of being pregnant weren’t the same; I all of a sudden wanted salad and had 3 during these weeks, usually I only wanted carbs. My naps weren’t as good (I noticed a pregnant nap is way different then a normal nap) and silverware went back to not having a funny taste (was a weird thing I noticed when pregnant I feel our silverware tastes like metal, weird I know!) I called the Dr. once a week explaining why I wanted to come in to check on the baby and because I wasn’t bleeding they didn’t want me coming in. By the third week I said I’d pay out of pocket to come in for a sonogram and they finally let me. When I came in I apologized to one nurse who always answers the phone for calling often, concerned she said it was OK and understandable. The Dr, when she came in asked why I had so much anxiety over this and didn’t seem to understand my reasoning of having a miscarriage a few months before. So they went in and they listened for the heartbeat and there wasn’t one and said sometimes it’s hard to find. I was already crying. Went for a sonogram and nothing there. This sucked and I was alone. This baby passed sometime in between 8-11 weeks, I will never know when. I was a mess and they planned for a D&C the following week. I was not waiting a week to get this out of me, I found a new Dr. the next morning who does D&C’s in the office and I was so grateful. I was thinking about switching Dr’s before this, so this helped with my decision of leaving a practice after 11 years. This was the end of February 2018 so we decided to wait a few months before trying again. Some say I shouldn’t have tried so quickly, some say it doesn’t matter. When they did the D&C they didn’t do the genetic testing. I don’t think I was asked if I wanted to and they say now they probably didn’t ask because it was only my second one. I wish I knew about it, we would have done it to figure out why this happened.
During the months of waiting to try again I went to a Naturopathic Doctor and started taking a ton of supplements. Changed my diet up a bit to figure out if this could help. They thought my white blood cells were low meaning I have a low immune system and that’s why maybe the baby wouldn’t live past a certain time. I didn’t totally believe this since I don’t get sick that easy so that was confusing, but I took the supplements anyway. They also put me on a progesterone cream since that was also low and could be a reason for losing it. I used it everyday for months and it went back to normal! This Naturopathic Doctor was not covered by insurance so was a lot to pay out of pocket, but I thought if it works then its worth it! Summer came and went, we had a few trips planned so we figured we would wait till we were done before trying again!
We tried in October and I got a very light positive line so just figured it didn’t work. Went to the Dr. that week for a routine appointment and I actually was pregnant. I really didn’t believe it because of the very faint line, but did the blood tests. We checked my HCG levels it went from around 50 to 30 in 2 days, its suppose to double in 48 hours. When I was waiting for the Dr. to call I was thinking is he going to say come in for a D&C or see if it will pass? He said it should pass but gave me a number for a fertility Dr. It passed on its own.
WHAT??? Never thought that’s what he was going to say. But because I had 3 in a row we had to figure this out. They recommended RMA (Reproductive Medicine Associates) and we got an appointment that week. Loved the Doctor and the office, so clean and efficient and fast. We wanted to figure out why this was happening so let’s do whatever it takes we figured! My husband and I both did the blood work (both came back fine) I did a saline sonogram to see if there was anything wrong up there or any “debris” from the past D&C, and they didn’t see anything. I thought they definitely would and that was definitely going to be the problem. The Doctor said how you want them to find something so then they could figure it out and fix it. It is harder when there is nothing wrong up there to find out why this is still happening. We discussed IVF and how they recommend this so they can take the good eggs and sperm and put them together to avoid these miscarriages. We chalked it up to all of these pregnancies must have had chromosomal issues. But we will never know because they weren’t tested.
While waiting for the blood work to come back (takes 2 weeks or so) when I was ovulating I asked if we can try, they all said why not. Because what if everything is fine but we weren’t sure everything would be but let’s see. We tried and again it worked. You can tell we haven’t had a problem getting pregnant, I use an app to tell when I am ovulating and have been pretty regular for years. I bought the ovulation sticks but wasn’t that good with them. This time though my HCG levels doubled so I felt good about it, went from around 50 to 100 (from all my research as long as they double that is what they are looking for but I still wish was in the thousands!) by the next week I went in for an ultrasound. I didn’t go to RMA for this since we did it on our own and was so excited I just made an appointment at my regular doctor. The ultrasound didn’t show the sack and by that time it should have had one. They did the blood work and after 48 hrs the HCG levels had dropped. I lost another pregnancy. I literally miscarried the next day.
These miscarriages were never anything other then a period because they weren’t that old at the point of it happening. So from mid December on, we discussed IVF. I never thought I’d have to do IVF, why should we, we can get pregnant but why couldn’t I stay pregnant. I consider myself pretty healthy, but at this point I am 37 so maybe that? People recommended estrogen and progesterone when trying but the Doctors didn’t see a need for it because those levels were normal. I went to the class to learn about the needles, how to fill the needle, how to care for them and when to do them. Within an hour I feel like I should have gotten a degree for being a nurse, but wasn’t. How could they let me do this to myself so quickly? I left crying not sure if I was ready for this. From there I went to a second opinion because so many said to get one. We went to Greenwich Fertility and I loved her. I asked because I needed to know from a women what she would do if she was in my shoes? She would do IVF and had to for similar reasons three times. From there I spoke to a friend who just did IVF in October and was pregnant, she explained more to me and I was sold. OK we are going to do this, checked with insurance discussed it, even found someone to give me the needles everyday (of yea I hate needles so that is probably why I was so scared of all of this).
We figured we can try again, why not and if not we are going on a vacation just the two of us and then we will start at the end of February! I finally came to terms with all of this, when I found out I was pregnant. I called RMA immediately and from that day on would go in every week for a sonogram and blood work in the beginning every 48 hours. They were so good at letting me come in when I wanted too for blood work because they knew I was so nervous. The blood work was in the thousands and kept rising, the baby kept growing and by week 10 I graduated and was allowed to go back to my regular Doctor. They say this happens often.
What I changed in hopes this would work. One of the fertility Doctors said to get rid of everything toxic, so I switched a few brands up immediately. I started meditating every morning since October to calm my nerves, I use the Calm app and highly recommend it. I get up early anyway so would just set my clock 10 minutes earlier to do this when all was quiet, I still try to do it a few times a week. I was using an essential oil recommended for this on my wrists every morning, used it till I was 10 weeks pregnant, now passing around to friends trying. I was seeing a therapist to talk about it other then just friends. We started going to church every week. I figured we grew up going every week we should still be going, plus my daughter loves Jesus so we went as a family…we have a lot to be thankful for as it is. We took the month of January off from drinking so when we conceived we hadn’t had a drink in only a few days (they say this doesn’t matter but the last two times we did conceive were drinking on the weekends). Started acupuncture (right before I knew I was pregnant) and continued to I was 10 weeks.
But I finally was OK with doing it. I talked to enough people and had enough research to do it and I knew it was going to suck probably for a bit but it’s what we wanted. I also planned it out for two months out so I would be even more ready and wasn’t rushing it (there were times I was thinking I will start next week, but I needed the time). It was on my mind since that first RMA appointment in November but it took talking to a second opinion and a friend to get me to really understand what I’d be going through and I was ready.
My story (Amber): I experienced my first miscarriage before I had my son Camden, in January of 2014. We had just gotten married, and weren’t trying, so the pregnancy came as a big surprise. We were filled with so many emotions, but excited! However, at around 7 weeks, I started to bleed while I was at work and rushed to my doctor’s office for blood work, but deep down I knew this couldn’t be a good sign. We had miscarried and we were devastated. What did I do wrong, why did my body do this? We took some time off and tried again in the summer of 2014 and got pregnant! Not wanting to get excited because of what had happened previously, I was a nervous wreak until around 12 weeks when my doctor said the chances of miscarrying go down. I ended up having a very healthy pregnancy and Camden was born in March 2015.
After I had him, something about my body was not right. I didn’t feel right, was extremely tired, crying all the time, and working out 5 days a week and I was not losing an ounce of weight – I was so frustrated. When Camden was about 8 months old, I went to my OBGYN and they suggested I get my thyroid checked out. I knew what this was because both my twin sister and mom have a hypo-active thyroid. They tested my levels and couldn’t believe the results. A normal active thyroid is between 0.4 – 4 TSH. My level was at 36!! They immediately put me on Synthroid and diagnosed me with postpartum hypo-active thyroid. They kept having to adjust my levels every month to help bring my thyroid back to normal and this took about 3-4 months.
After all of this happened, we were also starting to think about trying to have another baby. We started trying in March of 2016 and I got pregnant right away (I used ovulation tests and my period was now back to normal). We were so excited. But that excitement faded when around 6 weeks I started to bleed again…and I just knew. I was able to pass naturally and the Doctor said we could try again. For the next few months we tried again, would get pregnant (positive pregnancy test), and would lose the fetus around 6-7 weeks every single time – we had 3 miscarriages in total. We were devastated. My OBGYN suggested I go to a specialist and gave me a Dr. in Greenwich. This Doctor was the least personable doctor I had ever met and even criticized me that I probably didn’t have any miscarriages because I had never gotten blood work done and that I was exaggerating…with a little laugh in his voice. I was mortified and I started to cry right in front of him. I was very close to telling him to “F off” and I stormed out of the office hysterical and called my husband. We had a very deep conversation that night and I knew in my heart that I should get a second opinion. My friend suggested RMA (Reproductive Medicine Associates) and I met with a doctor (Dr. Murdock) there the next week. It was like a 180 experience! She was so amazing and talked us through everything. We both got a ton of blood work done to make sure it wasn’t a chromosome issue and she told us that week we could try again. We tried again and they put me on progesterone. A few weeks later I got a positive test! We were excited, but still nervous. I went in every other day for blood work and my HCG levels were rising and doubling. Around week 9, they felt very positive that this was a viable pregnancy and I “graduated” back to my regular OBGYN. I was still considered high risk because of my 3 previous miscarriages, so I went in for more ultrasounds than normal. At week 12, they were able to tell through an ultrasound what our baby was and we soon learned that we were having a girl. I will never forget that moment with my husband…listening to my gut, getting a second opinion, and having the Dr. tell us to try again gave us the ability to get pregnant again with a healthy baby girl.
Fast forward 3.5 years later and we began talking about having a third baby. 2020 was a whirlwind of a year for us all and being home all the time we really were thinking about adding another baby to our family. This came with a lot of fear and the unknown of how another pregnancy will go given my past experiences. I met with my Endocrinologist to go over my Thyroid levels and made sure that body was in the right place to start trying. I became pregnant in early 2021 and was considered hi-risk and also “geriatric” (which is absurd and needs to be removed as women have babies well into their 40s and sometimes 50s) throughout the pregnancy because of my age (36 at the time), my previous postpartum hypo-active thyroid diagnosis and each and every ultrasound I held my breath. Unfortunately, Cliff was not able to come to any scans except my anatomy scan at 20 weeks so carrying all of this anxiety by myself to every single Dr. appointment was very scary. I feel very lucky that in the end, I was able to have a successful pregnancy and was able to deliver Hudson ‘very quickly’ with 3 pushes at 41 weeks. We had a few scares after he was born because he came out so fast, he had swallowed a lot of fluid and was kept for observation (Cliff didn’t get to hold him until a few hours later for the first time in my recovery room). But we are very blessed and were so happy to bring him home to his two older siblings.
After this experience with both of us, we understand how devastating it is for woman who are struggling to conceive, who have experienced miscarriages, who maybe can’t ever get pregnant, who have to go through IVF or who prepare to adopt. Everyone has a story…and we send out our hearts to every single one of you. <3