I’ve never gone into detail about my infertility struggles, but I’ve wanted to share my story for a long time…I just haven’t had the guts to do so. I also try to keep this blog on the light upbeat positive side, but this is a real/sad part of my life that I want to talk about.
When most people think of infertility, they think of an inability to get pregnant. That’s not my problem. I suffer from recurrent pregnancy loss, and I recently miscarried. Again. All the feelings, hormones and emotions have flooded back and I think it’s time I tell my story. I’m nervous about ‘throwing this out there,’ and I’m not looking for sympathy. I’m doing this for myself (it’s a bit like therapy) and hoping that maybe this will help someone else.
I have been pregnant 13 times and we have 1 biological child. I debated whether or not to post that number. It seems surreal and shocking, but it’s the truth. Whenever you fill out paperwork at the doctors office, you are asked to list your pregnancies, so I can’t forget the number, even if I wanted to. Every time I visit the doctor, I have to provide (and relive) the following list:
01. August 2001: Miscarriage (shortly after we got our dog, little Rukkus)
02. January 2003: Avery was born (premature)
03. July 2004: Miscarriage
04. December 2004: Miscarriage (D&C)
05. May 2005: Miscarriage (D&C)
06. August 2005: Miscarriage
07. March 2006: Miscarriage (D&C with genetic testing) – we saw a heartbeat for 2 weeks
08. August 2006: Miscarriage
09. April 2007: Miscarriage
10. November 2007: Miscarriage
11. April 2008: Miscarriage (shortly after, we adopted Aiden who was born in June)
12. August 2008: Miscarriage
13. March 2010: Miscarriage
We have done extensive testing with multiple specialists to try and solve this problem, but have had no luck. We’ve tried everything from progesterone in all 3 forms (pills, suppository and injections) to heparin injections to chromosomal testing on both of us and on fetal tissue to an angiogram, etc, etc.. Through all this, we have received no answers. Nothing. Which is probably the most frustrating part of it all.
Miscarriage is something most women don’t talk about, but when it happens over and over again, you need to talk about it. It’s such a roller coaster of emotions and hormones that if you don’t talk about it or have a great support system, you can feel so alone. I have been blessed to have such great support from Kyle, both of our families and a few close friends.
With each unsuccessful pregnancy, we wonder if we should shift our focus to preventing. I can’t continue on this path much longer. Permanent contraception during the most fertile time in your life is not an easy decision to make. It might be the hardest decision I’ll ever have to make. Being pregnant and having babies is such a big part of being female. Also being a Mormon living in Utah doesn’t help. Everyone around me seems to be pregnant all the time. I know I should be so happy for them, but I have to admit that it’s hard. They have the one thing I want; the one thing I can come so close to, but can’t seem to have. I would give so much to experience a normal pregnancy. Just to find out I’m pregnant without the attached anxiety…I have no clue what that would be like.
Even though my pregnancy with Avery was successful, it was far from ‘normal.’ The truth is that Avery is a complete miracle. If it wasn’t for early and frequent ultrasounds (the benefits of having an OBGYN father-in-law and Kyle having a client who does ultrasounds), we never would have known that she was IUGR (intrauterine growth restriction) and had stopped growing. Most pregnancies receive one single ultrasound around 20 weeks. Had that been the case with me, they would have simply determined that my dates were wrong and pushed back her due date. She wouldn’t have made it. It was only through 3 months of bed rest and steroid injections to help her lungs develop that she was able to make it as long as she did. Weekly stress tests finally indicated that it was time to induce labor 5 weeks premature. She weighed 2.5 lbs at birth and was in the NICU for 5 weeks until her original due date.
The fact that we’ve experience a miracle (Avery) gives me hope for another miracle. With this most recent pregnancy, we saw a heartbeat at 6 weeks. Then it went away…again. This was the first time in a while that I really let myself get excited and it just made the loss that much harder. Since we adopted our son, I had finally been able to relax and essentially let go of the wanting another biological child. But this last pregnancy brought back all those same hopes and excitement.
As much as all of these losses are such a big part of my story, I can’t let myself think too much about each one as an individual child in our family… I think that would send me straight to the looney bin.
I want to keep hope, but I can’t keep doing this. If someone could tell me right now, what is causing this problem and that I could never have another child, I would almost feel relief just to have an answer to all of this. Even if the answer is no. A big loud “NO”, would be so much better than a no with a question mark.
As hard as this trial has been, I must admit it has had a silver lining. In fact, two. Not only have we had the opportunity to experience adoption resulting in the most adorable little boy we could ever hope to raise, but we also have our little miracle girl.