My husband and I were married in 2008. I like to think that we have an amazing story. We met through mutual friends, and I’ve always wondered how our paths didn’t cross earlier. I had just graduated college and wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my life. I had big dreams of moving to NYC or Chicago, and wanted to work in an ad agency, but was having a hard time taking that plunge. Getting married and starting a family was quite possibly the furthest thing from my 22 year old mind, but when I met my husband, I fell in love.
I had quit taking my birth control pills a few months before we were married. I was so busy with last minute details of our wedding, the wedding itself, and life as a newlywed that I didn’t realize until Christmas time that I hadn’t had a period since I’d stopped taking the pill. A gigantic red flag went off, and I saw my doctor right away. I wasn’t pregnant, I knew that much, but I was back to square one: without BCP, I didn’t have regular periods. My doctor explained that you can ovulate without a period, or have a period without ovulation.
We were left wondering if I was even ovulating so I was sent for blood-work. Six months of an unexplained missing period isn’t a good thing. My blood work came back normal, so we were stumped. We’d been trying for about six months at this point, and we needed to have a year of documentation before my insurance would cover infertility treatments. A wrench was thrown into our plan in December 2008, though. My husband had an accident that landed him three surgeries and a two month long stay in the hospital. He subsequently lost his job and was home on disability for six months. We didn’t get back on our feet until summer of 2009. We were determined to move on and start our family, though. My husband found an amazing new job, and we bought a house at the end of that summer. We started our journey toward a family once again.
My gyne referred me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist. The first step, for us, was to have some routine blood work done on me. The blood tests were two-fold. The first was a set of routine blood tests, where they did a complete blood count and tested things like my thyroid and metabolism. She also tested my follicle stimulating hormone (FSH), luteinizing hormone (LH), estrogen, and prolactin levels. The second needed to be done after my period had ended to see if I had ovulated. This seems simple, but was a huge setback for us. Since my cycles were so irregular, it took me two months before I actually had this blood test done. I was also sent for a three hour glucose test to see if I was diabetic. My routine blood tests and fasting tests came back ok, but my other bloodwork indicated that I did not ovulate, so a Sonohysterogram was ordered.
Since the test was done with my RE using ultrasound, I was able to have the results read to me as soon as she saw them. We discovered that I had a string of pearls around my ovaries. She instantly diagnosed me with PCOS.
The good news was that I finally had a conclusive diagnosis. This meant we were able to come up with a game plan and hopefully conceive. The bad news was that my sonohysterogram wasn’t covered by insurance, like I’d previously been told. My RE’s office policy is that all balances must be paid in full before you can be seen again. It took us two months to pay our bill which means that even though we had a diagnosis and treatment plan set in October 2010, we didn’t actually start a cycle of Clomid until December 2010.
Our first cycle with Clomid wasn’t successful, but our second one was. On October 21, 2011, we welcomed our daughter Chloe into the world.
We always knew we wanted more than one child, but weren’t in a hurry to expand our family. I had a c-section, and my doctor didn’t give me the ok to start trying again until I was 14 months post-partum. We knew we wanted to go back to the same RE as before, so I made an appointment for March 2013 to get the ball rolling. It was a quick and easy consultation. We already knew what protocol worked and that’s the regimen we’d be doing again. I left with a set of instructions and felt great knowing we had a plan. We were ready for another baby.
My brother was getting married in the early summer, and for quite selfish reasons, I didn’t want to start trying until after his wedding. My husband and I decided to start trying ourselves and see what would happen. I went back off birth control pills in the mean time, but had every intention of calling my RE in July to start a treatment cycle if it was necessary. It was so easy getting pregnant with Chloe and I knew in my heart it would happen again for us right away. It had to, right?
In early July, my husband was away on a business trip. He was gone for a week and I was home alone with Chloe. A few weeks prior, I started feeling like I was pregnant. Part of me thought it was all in my head. We weren’t sure if or when I even ovulated, so I tried not to get my hopes up when I started feeling nauseous. Then sheer exhaustion kicked in, so we decided to take a pregnancy test. The first one read negative. The next morning, though, we got a very, very faint positive. We agreed that we’d test again in a week and decided that we wouldn’t tell anyone until we knew for sure. Based on our calculations, I was about five weeks along.
Calling my husband, and being alone, when I found out I was having a miscarriage was the hardest call I’ve ever had to make. It was the longest, lonliest week of my life.
My OB said it was likely due to chromosomal abnormalities and we could try again right away, so try we did. I found out I was pregnant again a month later. We were giddy with excitement but nervous. Five pregnancy tests confirmed it, and my OB sent me for blood work just to be safe. My levels had dropped, and I was miscarrying. Again.
We were at a total loss. We decided enough was enough, and we called our RE. I was put back on birth control to help regulate my cycles & we set up a tentative cycle treatment for October. I was prepared to start Clomid and thought I knew what to expect. It wasn’t easy for me, though. I started showing signs of OHSS, or ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome, half way through my treatment. My RE ordered me off the pills & I went in for monitoring. I never developed OHSS, thankfully, but my blood work wasn’t that great so we added in the trigger shot that month. I didn’t get pregnant.
We started our second cycle of Clomid in November. My blood work looked perfect and I was feeling just fine. My RE added progesterone into my regimen this month to help prevent another miscarriage. We learned mid-cycle that we were at a higher risk for twins, so we had to decide if we wanted to move forward with the cycle. We decided that we did and started fantasizing about life as a family of five. I tried to convince my mom to quit her job and move in with us if I really did get pregnant with twins. I was feeling so hopeful when I started experiencing pregnancy symptoms and took a test on Wednesday morning, the day before Thanksgiving. I was pregnant and we had so, so much to be Thankful for. I took a few more tests, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday, because I was so nervous. The positive tests were so reassuring.
We were understandably nervous, though, and didn’t want to tell anyone just yet. We talked about waiting until we were twelve weeks along, or maybe even more, but we never got that chance. Five days after my first positive test, I started bleeding. I took another pregnancy test, and it was negative. I was having my third miscarriage.
I have my good days and my bad days. It’s hard to put a word to what I’m actually feeling. I heard this song on the radio once, and these lyrics stuck out at me:
It’s too cold outside // For angels to fly // Angels to fly
I cried and cried and cried when I heard this song. It’s not FAIR that this keeps happening. My heart aches because of what has happened, but it hurts even more knowing that I’m not alone. I am so happy that so many of you feel comfortable in telling me your story, but so, so sad that you’ve had to experience this.
I’m not telling you any of this so you feel sorry for me. I’m sharing my story because I want to raise awareness about infertility and loss. I really, really debated on whether or not I should share our journey so publicly, but I was surprised to see how common this is & how silently we suffer. It’s like we are a secret club made up of women suffering in silence. Please, know that you are not alone. You are loved. The impossible can happen. After all, the word says I’m possible in itself.