Have you ever met a person and thought they were cool, fun and that you would want to hang out?
Then when you do and you start to learn about "who" they are, you also learn that, they too, are fighting a familiar battle.
I find it amazing, no serendipitous that you were drawn to the person in the first place.
It's as if someone else knew that you needed to be their friend and that they needed you.
We all have been drawn to people in our lives for a reason, a purpose.
I believe that there are no happy accidents, no coincidences.
There is purpose in all of our relationships.
Sometimes that purpose is very much on the top, not too deep.
And sometimes the purpose runs deep.
Those friendships can either cement themselves as you battle your trials, or those trials will tear your friendship apart.
I find myself VERY blessed by the community I have been able to surround myself with since starting my own infertility journey.
Some friendships have fallen away.
Some have withstood and continue to hold deep.
Some are new, fresh and currently unraveling as we continue to get to know each other.
Not everyone has fought or is fighting the infertility battle, but recently I have found two friends - one old, one new - that are deep in the fight.
And when you are in the fight, you want to be surrounded by others who understand, can relate, can emphasize.
So I asked these two friends to write.
I hope through this posting they find some comfort and some peace.
I hope that maybe someone out there can relate to their story.
I hope that they can feel buoyed up and supported.
I hope so much for them.
This journey is not easy alone.
So I ask that you read their stories.
You put them in your prayers.
You hope for them.
You wish for them.
And that you be kind....because they are in the trenches.
That is how my day began this morning.
I started with so much hope. Over the past 2 weeks, for the first time in a long time, I felt hope that we may finally have some answers to our fertility issues. In January of 2011, I miscarried the pregnancy which I have been able to carry the longest. I was 1 day shy of my calculated 12-week mark—1 day shy of the alleged “safe zone,” of being able to move into the 2nd trimester. None of my other pregnancies have ever lasted that long, not before, and not since. My body did not evacuate the dead fetus on its own. So, after a week, I had to have a D&C. After the procedure, the O.B. said that my body must have absorbed it, because there was very little of anything that came out during the procedure. A week later, they drew my blood to make sure my hormones were declining. The next day, the O.B. called and asked me to get to the nearest ER, where he would meet me. My blood work indicated that my body thought I was still pregnant. They were concerned that the pregnancy may have been ectopic, though none of my earlier ultrasounds had indicated it. So they thought perhaps I had twins, and one was ectopic. In the ER, the ultrasound indicated that the original fetus was still there, in my uterus. This resulted in a visit to the O.B.’s office on the following day, with an ultrasound and a probe. Without being overly graphic, it was clear at that time that the probe and the fetus were in 2 different locations, separated by something. This resulted in a second, and successful, D & C, aided by an ultrasound. We were told that the pseudo-second chamber in which the fetus was located, was because my uterus was folded over, creating a 2nd chamber. We were also told that there was nothing that could be done about it. Later that year, we moved to CO. I miscarried in December of that year, and was evaluated at the University of Colorado Hospital, but the head of the endocrinology department. They ran some tests and determined no such uterine anomaly existed. Since that time, I have been unable to find anyone to confirm what we’d seen on the screen during that ultrasound between the 2 D&Cs of January 2011. Somewhere along the line, I just plain gave up trusting what anyone said. I know what I saw. My biggest regret has been not having a video of that ultrasound.
That’s what my morning turned into today.
In October of 2015, I was asked to help cover for a colleague that was going to be out on maternity leave. My initial impulse was to refuse. It wasn’t the job I’d signed on for, and it wasn’t a job I really wanted. But I felt strongly that I needed to accept. So I did. Because of that, I became better friends with this colleague and discovered that she, too, had struggled with infertility. Her pregnancy was a result of IUI. She told me of the fertility specialist she’d seen, and how positive of an experience it had been, after having had some less-than-positive experiences with other providers. Paul and I had set a timeline that in January of 2016, if we still had not had a successful pregnancy, we’d explore other options. We decided to schedule an appointment with this fertility specialist. My insurance does not cover any form of fertility, but I had a good amount of money sitting in my HSA that I’d been saving for the possibility of a high-risk pregnancy. I finally decided it wasn’t worth saving up for something that wasn’t happening, and smarter to use the savings to help make it happen (the pregnancy part, not the high-risk part). We met with the good doctor, and walked away with hope. For the first time in years, I’d found a doctor who believed me when I reported what I’d seen on that ultrasound. He explained that the tests that were previously done by other specialists in CO may have been inadequate to detect an anomaly because they were only 2D. He has a 3D machine that could be used to determine the shape of my uterus, as well as rule out possible blockage in my fallopian tubes (possibly dislodged scar tissue from the D & C procedures). In addition to adding a bunch of supplements to our daily routines, drawing copious amounts of blood, etc., etc., etc., we scheduled to have this 3D ultrasound (“Fem View”) done. That procedure was done this morning. The results indicate that there is no anomaly, no blockage, nothing. There is basically nothing there that should prevent me from getting or staying pregnant. It left me utterly confused. I was so hopeful that we’d finally found some way to get answers. The answers were not what I’d expected. I know that there are often no answers for infertility, but, in my mind, I really expected that they’d find that anomaly that we saw 5 years ago. I know what I saw then, and I know what I saw today. The 2 contradict each other, and I’ve been struggling all day to reconcile that.
Tears of confusion. That’s how my early afternoon went.
That’s how my mid-afternoon and evening ensued. I had to return to work for some previously scheduled meetings, and then had an event that I needed to attend so I could represent and advertise for the summer program I run for kids with disabilities. Then I arrived home to company. Paul’s mother and 2 of his sisters arrived today to attend a concert on Thursday, in which Paul is performing. The day ended with a lot of distractions, which was good.
That is how I feel as I turn to sleep. We will move forward. We will continue down this path. This will not beat me. One way or another, I will continue to move forward, with resilience, resolution, and determination. While I cannot predict the outcome, nor dictate the end result, I CAN determine my own response and resolve. I will live on, and live fully.
My husband and I decided we were ready to expand our family and would start trying in January of 2014. In our heads this was going to be easy, no one in our families have ever had any problems having a baby when they wanted. In February of 2014 that wonderful second line showed up on the pregnancy test. Things were great, I could feel my pregnancy progressing nicely. We were so over the moon happy and again thought nothing could go wrong. We decided we were going to tell our families on a Friday after our doctor’s appointment.
However, my sister dropped a bombed on Wednesday in a family group text that she was pregnant. This was great our babies would be 1 week apart! My husband and I decided we would wait another week or so to tell the family to let this shock of my sister’s news wear off as to not steal anyone’s thunder.
Well were we glad we waited. Something weird had started happening. Every time I showered my hair was falling out by the handful, and not just normal shedding girls get. Complete chunks of hair in my hands. I didn’t understand. Your hair is supposed to get full and strong during pregnancy, maybe I was just different.
At our doctor’s appointment, everyone was all smiles and the room was full of happiness. People were shaking my husband’s hand congratulating him. I don’t think I have ever seen him smile so big, other than when I walked down the aisle towards him. We started the ultrasound and the mood in the room quickly changed. I remember my doctor taking off his glasses and I could see his eyes water. I immediately knew the bad news was coming. "I’m sorry but there is no heartbeat."
It took a moment to process - "What do you mean no heartbeat!"
He explained to us that I needed to go next door to the hospital to get another ultrasound for a second opinion. I asked if they ever find a heartbeat when he couldn't. He said no, but you never know, it could happen.
They got us in for the ultrasound right away. I remember the lady turning the screen away. I knew she hadn’t found a heartbeat either, but she kept trying. I just wanted to get up from the table and go home. I wanted them to stop looking and just let me go home. She went and got her boss. She couldn’t find a heartbeat either. The next day we went in for me to have a D&C. My hair continued to fall out, as if everything we just went through wasn’t enough I still had the daily reminder that I was not having a baby. My sister kept sending updates about her pregnancy and I’m reminded that she is having a baby..... and I’m not.
After my first cycle post D&C, we tried again. We quickly got pregnant again, but this time there was no excitement. Will I never be happy again to see that second line? Will fear and nervousness always be my first emotion? I hated that my excitement had been stolen from me due to the harsh reality that this could end without me having a baby.
My doctor decided this time to monitor from the beginning. My betas were going up, but they weren’t doubling, yet he still remained optimistic. I went in for a beta draw on a Friday. I knew I wouldn’t get the results until Monday, but I didn’t need them. I already knew what it was going to say.
That morning in the shower my hair started to come out in chunks again just like before, I knew I was going to miscarry. Over the weekend I started to spot and went to the emergency room since I have A- blood I have to get a shot within 24 hours. The ER doctor, checked me out and told me I wasn’t having a miscarriage. Oh ok. Sigh of relief. Maybe everything is going to be okay. My doctor called on Monday. My HCG level had plummeted and I was, in fact, having a miscarriage. Well here we go again. This one didn’t seem to hurt as much as the first which made me feel guilty. I should be more upset. This just seemed to be the norm.
We continued to try. I became a master at tweaking pregnancy tests. Turning them upside down. Holding them up to just the right light and taking them apart. Anything I could do that would potentially give me a glimmer of a second line. I’m horrible at waiting to test. I always say I wasn’t going to test early, but boom 9 DPO and I’m testing every day.
One month we got a positive for 3 days in a row! The line wasn’t getting darker so I knew it wasn’t going to stick. A chemical pregnancy? Or had my crazy line eyes imagined the line because I so desperately wanted it to be there.
I just don’t understand.
All my sisters are just popping out babies no problem.
WHY NOT ME!
After 2 years and no success, we finally admitted defeat and decided to see a RE.
Our first appointment was Tuesday, March 1, 2016. The day before our appointment I got a text from my mom that my little sister is pregnant with twins. Of course she is. Why wouldn’t I need a daily reminder of my struggle, while others get theirs in the first month they try.
I’m feeling like a complete loser.
A total failure.
I can’t give my husband the one thing he deserves.
I feel he should have married someone else, someone who could give him a family.
He would be the best father and I’m keeping him from that.
I hate myself.
So far I have only been through testing and I’m currently waiting for our results so we can regroup with the doctor to get our plan in place. The testing is unpleasant, but I kind of feel as if I deserve it, as if I should be punished for being a failure.
Our journey is to be continued as we hope for our miracle baby.
Any one of us that has had to fight to have a baby knows all of these feelings.
They store deep in your soul.
They occupy every thought.
They dominate your attitude.
They squash your hope, your dreams and they leave you dry.
I can remember constantly comparing myself.
Feeling SO behind.
Feeling SO inadequate.
Those feelings can eat you alive.
The tunnel feels long and it is dark.
But there is always a light.
There is always a light pushing you forward, leading you out.
You just have to keep walking.
Please feel free to leave comments or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org regarding Melissa or Rebecca's stories OR to share your own.
I promise to have them follow up.