October is Pregnancy Loss Awareness Month, which is ironic because I had my first miscarriage in October 2020. Everyone has a unique pregnancy experience and I am so relieved that my baby girl is finally here safely. It took a long time for me to get over my miscarriages and to cope with what would come next and I was too scared to put anything down on paper until my baby was in my arms, and that being said I am finally ready to share the ups and downs of my fertility journey.
In June 2020, my husband and I made the decision that we were ready to start our little family. We were so naive and little did we know that this would be the hardest year of our lives. No one expects to encounter problems, let’s be honest we all learned how to avoid getting pregnant in health class all those years ago, so to do the opposite didn’t seem like rocket science, if you know what I mean!
It was June 30, 2020, our two-year wedding anniversary I might add, when I went to my OB-GYN for what I thought was just some direction in coming off of my birth control pills and starting the fun part of “making a baby.” I left that appointment with a heavy heart, excessive tears, and the smallest amount of hope I could gather. I learned that I was born with non-fertile PCOS and currently had a vitamin deficiency that prevented a healthy environment for my child to grow in. I was sent home and was immediately put on injections that I had to administer myself daily for July and August to get my numbers up before we could even begin to decide the best fertility treatment plan. I did my best to stay positive as I injected myself every morning with hopes that this was the first step to getting pregnant.
Labor Day weekend finally came and I was so excited to be coming off of the injections. I had made the decision that this was my last hurrah weekend to enjoy a few cocktails before we started our fertility plans. After the weekend, I met with my new fertility doctor alone because my husband was not allowed into the doctor appointments due to covid. It was really hard for me to be going through something so important that affected both of us in such a big way alone. There are multiple routes to take when starting with fertility because every single person’s body is different and reacts to drugs in different ways, even if someone did have the same disease as me, it doesn’t mean our treatment would work the same. My doctor had me start our first round of treatment with a pill called Letrozole. We were told it could take three to five rounds of treatment before getting pregnant, so we did not get our hopes up.
On October 5, 2020, I took an at home pregnancy test. Not in a million years did I ever expect two pink lines to turn up on the test, but they did! I probably took another five tests between first response and clear blue just to be sure. Even though they all came back positive, I think I was still in denial and too nervous to tell my husband without a blood test. I was able to get into the doctor’s office that day while my husband was out golfing. When the doctor called, and said my blood test was also positive and that I was already five weeks pregnant, I immediately ran to the store, bought a balloon, onesies, booties, pretty much everything I could find to set up a cute surprise for him when he got home.
Since I was on fertility treatment, I had to go to the doctor weekly to monitor the baby’s growth. Like I said before we were so in denial that I would even get pregnant on the first round that I never saw anything bad coming after this. I thought my biggest problem was going to be getting pregnant, not continuing to stay pregnant. Well, my appointments were great, baby was growing as it should, until my eight-week appointment.
On October 29, 2020, we lost our first child. It and developed a heart that could not continue to beat on its own. I say we because it was both my husband and I who lost the opportunity to have this child, but truthfully I felt that I lost this child. I felt that I lost our baby and that it was all my fault. I felt like my body finally gave me hope and it was all taken away in the blink of an eye and that my body yet again failed me.
I spent two weeks in bed, in pain, miserable and trying to understand what happened. I remember saying to myself why me, what did I do wrong and how could I have done anything differently. The doctor tried to explain to me a million times that it was not my fault, that it happens to one in four women and the positive was knowing that I could get pregnant. I had a really hard time seeing the positive at the time.
Well, after the two weeks had gone by, I started Letrozole again to begin our second round of treatment. I honestly really had lost all hope. The feeling of knowing a due date and having it taken away from you in the blink of an eye was the most destroying feeling of my life and it was really hard to bounce back from that. Either way I obviously still wanted to get pregnant, even if I wasn’t mentally there.
Right after Thanksgiving, we came home from Florida and I took an at home pregnancy test. I had internally felt the exact same as I did before I took the test last time around and just knew I was pregnant.
I was so scared to tell my husband until I knew it was confirmed, so I took a test every day for three days until I could get to the doctor’s office for the blood test. Each day the test was getting lighter and lighter and I knew that meant something was not right. When I got to the doctor’s office for the blood test, they confirmed I was pregnant, but they said my numbers were abnormally low that we had to just wait it out. Everything appeared normal on the ultrasound, but each day numbers were dropping. Just in case things did go well, I still wanted to surprise my husband again. I used the backdrop from our New Year’s Card photoshoot to set up a rainbow baby display. As excited as we were, I just knew it was a bitter sweet moment because I really did not see this baby growing as planned.
At my five-week appointment, my numbers had completely left the charts and I miscarried again. This time I wasn’t just heart broken, I was lost. I did not understand how my body could fail me again. I was numb and not myself. I hit a point where I was too scared to be pregnant because I thought my body would just continue to fail me.
After reviewing both miscarriages with my doctor, we decided the best route to take was to start IVF treatment on January 4, 2021. She told us if we wanted to try for fun in December we could, but we had to prepare for IVF. We took a two-hour zoom course to be certified for IVF, 13 vials of bloodwork and order everything through insurance to start treatment in the new year.
I felt very stressed out during the month of December unsure of what we were about to start and how my body would react. I was honestly more nervous than I had ever been to start the IVF process. Obviously, we decided to try for fun anyway even though we had a plan in motion for the new year.
I am not sure what happened because on December 31, 2020 I had this weird feeling and just knew I had to take a pregnancy test. I think I took ten tests and each one kept getting darker and darker lines. I have no idea how I knew, but I just had a really good feeling about this. My entire mentality just completely flipped and I somehow was able to bring positivity back into my mind set. I remember standing in the bathroom as the two lines showed up with tears of excitement running down my face. Since it was New Year’s Eve, (and my parent’s anniversary), I could not wait to tell my husband and parent’s as we were in Florida visiting them.
When my husband got home from golf I took him into our bedroom and surprised him for a third time with an entire balloon, rainbow baby and scrabble set up. I had packed a few things for good luck just in case I really was pregnant, but never in a million years did I expect to get to use it. He was so surprised and excited. I could not even hold back my tears when I told him.
My parents have a Nixplay in their kitchen, so I decided to take our New Year’s card and add to it, “We are popping a different kind of bottle this New Year’s Eve!” While my parents and sister were standing in the kitchen at the Nixplay, I sent it via the app to surprise them. Of course, my mom knew right away, but my dad and sister missed it so we had to wait for it to come back around!
I spent New Year’s Eve with a smile from ear-to-ear on my face and just felt a huge sigh of relief that we weren’t going to have to start IVF when we got back from our trip. That Monday I went into the doctor’s office, had my bloodwork drawn as usual and even got to have our first ultrasound. It was hard not to feel nervous, but like I said I just had a really good feeling. My numbers came back and they were the highest they had ever been and my ultrasound looked perfect. I was five weeks pregnant and I got to see the heartbeat a few weeks early! Since I had miscarried twice, they had me come in twice a week for the first few weeks to monitor a little more closely. Every 48 hours my numbers were doubling to the point where I was nervous I was about to have twins!
I had severe morning sickness until about week 12. By week 14 I was starting to feel a little better to the point where I could finally get back on my Peloton and workout. As much as these were all good signs of pregnancy, I still was extremely nervous that this baby would stay with me. All I wanted was to be able to feel movement so I knew that it was going to be okay. At the 20-week anatomy scan I began to feel a little better because we passed all of the tests with flying colors! I could really see my baby and all of its bones and organs. I always loved hearing the heartbeat and I hated waiting for each appointment just to hear that sweet sound again. I started feeling rolling movements around 22 weeks and it was the first time I could finally breathe throughout my pregnancy. As soon as I felt kicks at the end of my second trimester I truly was at ease.
Around 31 weeks I started not to grow much at all. I was not gaining weight and my stomach continued to measure small. Of course, my mind went racing to every negative thing I could think of, but my doctor just kept telling me to remain calm that the baby looked good and we would monitor it over the next few weeks. By 37 weeks I had yet to gain any more weight or centimeters in my stomach, so my doctor scheduled an emergency ultrasound for the following week.
At 38 weeks, I went in for my ultrasound and as much as everything looked okay with Baby B, they were nervous that it would not be growing anymore by staying in the womb. I had fetal monitoring done immediately and it showed that I was having contractions, even though I was not feeling anything. I began to feel extremely anxious, my husband was not allowed in the room and I was panicking as I was on the phone with my Doula to get her opinion. Later that afternoon I went in for my appointment with my doctor who let me know I was 3cm dilated. She agreed with the ultrasound doctor that if the baby did not come out on its own within the week then I would need to be induced at 39 weeks to prevent baby from losing any weight since I was not longer gaining any.
I was really nervous, but I just knew that Baby B was going to come out on its own terms and not on anyone else’s. Labor Day weekend had marked one year since we started fertility treatment and it felt like a sign that I would not have to wait the week after to be induced. Within 72 hours, on September 2, 2021, this little Bien made her debut into the world on her own terms! She was safe and healthy in my arms and somehow every little thing that happened this year just drifted away. I felt a huge weight off of my shoulders float away as stared down at my little girl.
This year was a roller coaster to say the least. I have never wanted something so badly in my life and knowing my body was failing me made it even harder to picture the final outcome. I truly was unsure if the day would actually come where I got to hold my sweet baby in my arms and not just my belly. I am so lucky to have this rainbow baby girl in my life.
Like I said when I started my story, every single person has a different fertility journey, and every single person handles it differently. Just remember there is a rainbow of hope waiting on the other side of every storm.
“After every storm there is a rainbow of hope.” –anonymous