We started trying to conceive in January of 2012, with high hopes that it wouldn’t take long. We were anxious, excited, and ready for whatever God had ready for us – or so I thought. We were heartbroken when a year later I was still only seeing one pink line on countless pregnancy tests. We were facing the harsh reality of “infertility”. That word. I hate that word. It makes me feel broken.
Soon “not trying, not preventing” turned into “trying”. Ovulation tests, basal body temping/charting, learning to read “signs” from my body more carefully, taking prenatal vitamins, and putting my hubby on vitamins, the list goes on but I will spare you. In November of 2013 I had a laparoscopy as more of an exploratory surgery due to a year or so of ongoing debilitating periods, and pain I endured on a regular basis. As expected endometriosis was found, as well as a large cyst on my left ovary. I was fortunate in the sense that the amount of endo found was mild. Along with intense pain, endo can also make it more of a challenge to conceive.
In December 2013 a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) in Houston performed a number of blood tests as well as a hysterosalpingogram, say that 5 times fast. Hah. I guess that’s why they call it a HSG for short. A HSG is a procedure that flushes dye into your uterus and through your fallopian tubes to make sure your tubes are open, not blocked. Results were great, all clear. I had one tube that took longer for the dye to pass through than the other, so it could be possible that I had some scar tissue blocking that tube caused by endometriosis. All our tests came back with good news, which was a relief but also left us without many answers. The doctor recommended placing me on a fertility drug called Clomid, a trigger shot, a follow up ultra sound to check for follicles, and then IUI (intra-uterine insemination). We had a plan of action but it was easier said than done. We weren’t actually living in Houston at the time, we were in a small town without the resources available to us. So we left Houston just before the start of 2014, and headed back home.
January 2014…my first ever positive pregnancy test. Just about knocked me off my feet. It couldn’t be real! I was shocked, excited, a million emotions all wrapped into one. I waited 3 loooooong hours before Logan got home from work to tell him the AMAZING news. This was it, our first pregnancy. We were going to be parents. I’m so happy we got to experience that moment together, because it’s a memory and a feeling we will never get back. It was our first. Sadly 5 days later I started bleeding. After a visit to the OB, everything appeared to be ok. After weeks of mild cramping, waiting, spotting on and off, multiple ultrasounds, doctors appointments, and despite the multiple beta HCG blood tests that were rising, I miscarried just shy of 9 weeks on February 9th. I was shattered.
The months following our first miscarriage we continued trying. The doctor put me on Clomid to induce ovulation. I wasn’t ovulating after our miscarriage. Sure enough the first round worked, I ovulated but negative pregnancy tests were staring back at me by the end of the month. Round two of Clomid was in May 2014. Same story as before. I had blood work done 7 days after expected ovulation to check my progesterone (progesterone levels rise, indicating ovulation, without a rise ovulation most likely hasn’t occurred). After the second round of Clomid in May, we decided we wouldn’t do any more fertility hormones until we were in a bigger city and could do further treatments as well.
July 2014 I saw a faint second pink line! Once again I thought this was it. After what we went through in February we were both hesitant to celebrate. I was even afraid to say the “p” word. I went in for beta’s (hcg blood testing for pregnancy), but the results were inconclusive so we would have to wait until the next test results 48 hours later. My heart sunk when the phone rang, and sure enough the levels dropped instead of increasing. I was pregnant, but it was clearly a failing pregnancy. A few days later I started my period. This was diagnosed as a chemical pregnancy. I tested positive before my period, but the embryo failed to implant properly. Had I not been testing, I would’ve never even known I was pregnant. Many women experience chemical pregnancies. Ladies, don’t ever let someone tell you this isn’t a loss. Don’t ever let a doctor tell you it doesn’t “count”, It does. Any pregnancy is the start of a new life that God created, and every single one of them count. Once again, I couldn’t understand, I felt helpless. Thankfully I have an awesome hubby who held me while I cried a huge puddle of tears. I love that guy.
In September 2014 we moved to Dallas, Texas. We were getting settled in and I tried my best to just put TTC (trying to conceive) out of my mind. I figured if it’s God’s will this month then wonderful, if not that’s ok too. Well…surprise! After what I thought was a new period and the start of a new cycle I was having some mild cramping which is unusual for me. I decided to take a pregnancy test, why not I’ve taken probably a million others, whats one more? I really expected to just throw it in the trash after one line popped up, but I watched a second line get darker and darker. WHAT?! It was undeniably positive. I had taken a test before what I thought was my period and it was negative, how was it now positive? Once again the fears set in and I was hesitant. I thought I just had a period? We weren’t even trying? I have an appointment at the RE on Tuesday! I immediately called an OB since we just moved here and I had no doctor yet, I found one who worked me in the next day. A long story short, the pregnancy tests seemed to start getting lighter. Yes, I’m a pee-stick-aholic, don’t judge. I was nervous. My first beta came back at 24. I was preparing myself for the worst. In my personal experience I knew the number was still in range, but it was on the low end, especially if I was roughly 6 weeks pregnant at this point. Sadly, 48 hours later my number was 20. Complete heartbreak. I found comfort in knowing I’ve been through it and I know that God will get me through it again. I know He won’t leave my side. I can’t say I understand why He has chosen us to go through this, but I do know He gives everyone different trials. This is ours. It’s mine, it’s part of my story that makes me, me.
October 2014, we saw a new RE in Dallas. He was fantastic. He was the exact doctor I had been waiting for. I am thankful God has planted us here, and led us to the doctor we needed. We were diagnosed with “RPM” or recurrent pregnancy loss (3 or more losses), and had to figure out what was causing the pregnancies to fail. Finally, we found a doctor who took the the time to listen, to explain in detail what we need to know, and he was compassionate and sensitive to the emotional journey we had been on for 3 years. It took 2 years to get pregnant the first time, and then I was pregnant 3 times in 9 months none of which were successful. The RE ordered another round of lab work one particular was going to test for Natural Killer cell hyperactivity. These NK cells are like white blood cells in your uterus. Despite their name, they are actually the good guys that fight off foreign bodies. Normally then a woman falls pregnant the NK cells are suppressed and the embryo can implant properly. I tested positive for NK cell hyperactivity, meaning my NK cells go into overdrive when an embryo is trying to implant and basically attacks it. This is treatable, but through Intra Lipid IV transfusions coupled with IVF. This blog is about our IVF journey that led to our beautiful miracle baby boy.
If God has brought you to the journey of infertility, miscarriage, pregnancy loss, endometriosis, or IVF I am praying for you and know that you are not alone.