A Very Special Thank You

Throughout this infertility journey, we have been extremely blessed to have an amazing support system of family and friends around us. I am not just referring to this past year, I am also referring to the 6 years prior to it.

Recently, it has been on my heart to write a little something about these wonderful individuals (initials are used to maintain their privacy), & thank them for all they have done for us.

Mom-My biggest fan. My truest friend. The person we can call at anytime and know will be there for us no matter what. The person who feels this pain in a way similar to what we do. The one who instrinsically motivates me to be a mom because of the mom you have been to me.  We are so blessed to have you in our life everyday.

NRH-our IVF go to person! Before we got on board with IVF, we were completely overwhelmed, scared, & lost, with no idea what to expect. You were literally there 24/7 to answer all of our ridiculous questions.  I honestly don’t think we would have ever done IVF if we hadn’t saw the miracles in your lives.  You gave us hope then, and you still give us hope now.

LS-Your outlook on life amazes me. You are such a great daughter, friend, sister, mother, and wife, and you know what matters most in life…family!  Throughout all of this, you have not only reached out to me, but also to my mom. You prayed for us consistently, and you never forgot about us.  You remember every appointment we have which isn’t an easy thing to do when there are so many!

AA-I never knew you to be much of a “softie”, but this has showed me that you do have it in you.  I look at the joy that your children and grandchildren have brought you, and I strive to give that to my mom one day.  You are not only there for me, you are there for her too.  You speak confidently that we will be parents one day, which in turn, helps us keep our faith that we will be.
MS-I don’t know where to begin….what would I do without you, my dear lady?  You have been here through everything.  Year after year, you have watched it all unfold.  You truly know me inside & out.  You never judge, and you let me be me.  You have seen us at our worst, and at our best.  You let me be angry when I want to be, sad when I need to be, and push me to get back up and try again.  You have shown me the meaning of a forever friend.

NKH-At times, I feel like we have so much in common that you could be my long lost sister! We both endured a horrible experience that ended up bringing us closer together than we had been in years.  When I try to find a positive in that 2nd loss, our friendship is what I see. You understood what I was going through at that exact moment, and vice versa.  The constant conversation between us helped me get through many days, nights, and appointments for that matter.

JS-If it wasn’t for you, I would have not only lost my job, but my mind too.  You went above & beyond for me many early mornings and late afternoons, when you never had to do a thing.  I’m sure there are things you did to help me that I still do not know about till this day.  Your thoughtfulness is so refreshing.  The heartfelt notes and cards, and other presents always came right when I needed them the most.  You make me smile.

CBJ- I know you will always be there for me. You are so considerate with your words and actions because you know first hand how hard this all is. You are never pushy.  You never make me feel uncomfortable or foolish for our decisions. Most importantly, you have shown us what true love is through your family.

AB-I can count on you to tell us how it is.  You don’t sugarcoat anything.  You have made me realize that if we can’t see the positives in all this, and actually have a positive outlook, then we shouldn’t be doing it.  You are always interested in the little details of our journey, which a lot of people might find boring. You ask important, intelligent questions, you give me great ideas, and make me think things through.

NR-You are such a genuine person and great listener. You give us words of encouragement, & never seek to gain anything at all from our conversations.  You have offered to help us time and time again as we have gone through these tough times.  It is obvious that you put others before yourself, and I admire the love you have for your family.

JD-We have shared both laughter & tears.  We understand each others journeys, because we have walked them together.  You have helped me to not feel alone when I have been in great despair.  When I isolated myself, you continued to reach out to me.   You made me see how strong we really are.

KW-You live life to the fullest.  You have shown me how to relax more. When I just want to chill out, or take my mind off everything, I know you will be there for me.  You make me laugh, and we have fun no matter what we do.  You point out the good in me, and uplift me when I’m feeling down. You remind me not to be so hard on myself, and not to care about what anyone else thinks.

TTC WordPress Sisters-you all have made me realize we are not alone in this journey! It is truly amazing how people who do not even know each other come together & form a loving community like this one.  You guys are the best!

There are so many others that have supported and continue to support us. For that, we thank you so very much. We appreciate the fact that you care enough about us to take time out of your busy days to read our story.

We have so much to be thankful for regardless of what we have recently endured.  This is simply 1 chapter in our lives.  We had plenty chapters before this, and we will have plenty after it.  Whether or not that involves having children, we do not know; only God knows that.  But this I do know…we must show gratitude for what we have right now. Look at all the amazing people God has brought into our lives!!!

This is What it Feels Like When Dates Collide

As I sit at Quest this morning, waiting to get more tubes of blood taken, I cant help think of all the dates starting to collide. Every day is a now a day that could have been, or should have been, something special in one of our babies journeys.

Exactly a year ago today, we were undergoing our first egg retrieval for our first IVF.  A few weeks later, we celebrated the news on Easter Sunday that we would be having our family finally.  Well, the due date of our first child passed on Christmas Eve 2014, the same day we celebrated the news of our 3rd pregnancy.  If our first pregnancy would have continued, as we dreamed it would, our baby would be 3 months old today.

The due date of our second is now slowly creeping up, in early May to be exact.  Just in time for Mothers Day.  I would soon be taking my maternity leave. This is around the time that all of my pregnant friends will start delivering their babies (I have 9 friends in my life currently pregnant-save that for another post).  Their deliveries range anywhere from May to September.

If our last pregnancy would have continued, we would be more than half way through it by now.  My mom, aunt, & cousins had already begun planning our baby shower, looking at places to rent & food to have.  We intended to put all the finishing touches on it this month while they are in town. But all that baby shower planning has been thrown to the wayside.  Instead, everything beautiful that could have been, or should have been, has been replaced by serial betas, hysteroscopies, blood tests, and Aunt Flow among so many others.

And the kicker to all this… the lady who just drew the first round of my blood (I’ll be here for a few hours), started talking to me about her prior pregnancies as if I was pregnant. No, ma’am, sorry, just because I get all the blood tests pregnant women do, doesn’t mean I am actually pregnant! So, please don’t assume in a carefree laughing matter that I am. Or, you might just get hurt.


Why did we keep miscarrying was now the question on our minds 24/7.  I have always been one to ask the question, “why?” about everything and expect a clear answer.  I like to call myself a curious person, my husband likes to say I over think things. Probably a bit of both.

According to my mom, I have been asking why since I could speak.  I ask my students “why?” when they give me an answer, looking for an explanation to their reasoning. If a friend tells me a story, I ask why numerous times throughout it.  Annoying as it may sound, this is part of who I am.  I like to understand things thoroughly.  So not having the answer to our why was literally driving me insane.

And, how could we not be asking why at this point anyways? Here we were, 1 year, 3 pregnancies, and 5 embryos later (I won’t even say how many dollars) with no child.  We wanted some solid answers, dammit!  Was that too much to ask for?  I knew God had been teaching me patience throughout this whole process, something I never had before.  But now he was showing me I couldn’t always have an answer and be in control either.  When is enough, enough?

I was so sick of hearing how strong of a person I am.  Yes, I understand this is a compliment, and no harm is intended when saying it.   However, if this is what being strong in life gives you, then I didn’t want to be strong anymore.  Let me be a weakling I thought, so I don’t have to go through this anymore.

Since we were now officially labeled as “habitual aborters,” or “recurrent miscarriers” the doctor provided us with a RPL (recurrent pregnancy loss) handy-dandy fact sheet https://www.asrm.org/FACTSHEET_Recurrent_Pregnancy_Loss/  This list was put forth by the American Society of Reproductive Medicine (ASRM), who are the most well-known and well trusted “go to” source in the world of infertility.  If it applies to you, I highly recommend reading through it.

Here’s where we are in our investigation of the possible proven causes of recurrent miscarriage according to ASRM:

  • Chromosomal/genetic causes 
  • Age 
  • Hormonal abnormalities 
  • Metabolic abnormalities (we will be checking my insulin resistance levels tomorrow!)
  • Uterine abnormalities (SIS & HSG already done; hysteroscopy this week)
  • Antiphospholid syndrome  (was on Heparin last pregnancy)
  • Thrombophilias 
  • Male Factor (we know this is an issue, but doctor says it would be related to chromosomal, which was not the case)
  • Unexplained!!!

This leads us to believe we may officially fall into the dreaded, “unexplained” category within the next few weeks.  Don’t get me wrong, miscarriage is never easy anyway you slice it, but for us, it would be easier to identify a fixable cause rather than no cause at all.  This is despite the fact that statistically speaking (you know how I feel about stats), the ASRM says that 60%-70% of recurrent miscarriers, with unexplained miscarriage, will go on to have a normal pregnancy resulting in a live birth.

We are praying that the metabolic panel, and/or the hysteroscopy show something fixable.  But at the same time, we are well aware that they may not.  So the question then becomes, what do we do if we get no answers to our why?


We Earned the Title

After the genetic testing came back normal, we decided we would move forward with a hysteroscopy, or HS of my uterus.  In the past, we had done diagnostic tests on my uterus, such as the HSG, and SIS, all of which came back normal.  A hysteroscopy is done between days 6-9 of your cycle, and sees things that these other two tests can’t pick up on.

There are 2 types of hysteroscopy-diagnostic and operative.  You are probably wondering why we waited this long to do the hysteroscopy, right? Well, doctors do not like to do this test until you are classified as a, “habitual aborter,” or “recurrent miscarrier.”  And after 3 losses, we had officially earned the title.

We will be starting with the diagnostic in-office hysteroscopy.  For this, I will receive a “twilight” anesthesia. From what we have been told, the doctor inserts a tiny camera into the uterus.  The camera sees things like uterine abnormalities, scar tissue, polyps, fibroids, etc.  My doctor also recommended we do a biopsy of my uterus to test for any (undetectable by pap and/or blood) low-grade infections that could be causing me to miscarry.

If she was to see a major problem during the diagnostic hysteroscopy, she will not remove or fix it then since I would only be in a twilight state.  Instead, we will schedule the operative hysteroscopy for the following month, where I will undergo general anesthesia at the hospital (aka place of death).

We were ready to do this procedure weeks ago, but we couldn’t until my beta reached 0, or I got my first period.  Just another waiting game in the lives of an infertile couple.  I hadn’t had a period since November.  In fact, in the past year, I had only had 6 periods due to my on and off again pregnant state of living.

I got my beta drawn every week after the d & c, for 8 weeks.  Here is the timeline of how it dropped:

  • Day of miscarriage-over 100,000
  • 1 week post- 33,500
  • 2 weeks post- 3,000
  • 3 weeks post-300
  • 4 weeks post-36
  • 5 weeks post-15
  • 6 weeks post-7 (weird brownish spotting this week, thought it was my period, but it wasn’t)
  • 7 weeks post-4
  • 8 weeks post-0!

So here we are.  This brings us to the month of March, the present time.  It has now been 8 weeks since we lost our little angels. Aunt Flow finally came just 2 days ago, bringing her vengeance.  I don’t know how I feel about my level being back to 0, or the fact that my period finally came.  Yes, many people say it’s good, and I get that.  Obviously, it’s over and things must go back to normal.  But, at the same time it is all more confirmation of what was lost.

This being said, getting my period was an extremely rough day.  This wasn’t part of the plan a few months ago.  I knew if we were still pregnant, we would be getting our anatomy scan done this very week, confirming if we were having a little girl or boy.  The scan was going to be followed by a small gender reveal celebration with our family, who will be arriving in town this week.  Instead, this week we will be getting a hysteroscopy done to find out what is wrong with me.  Or so we hope.


Baby Steps

I bled for 2 weeks following the d & c, and the torture of the beta testing began just a week after.  When we found out we lost the pregnancy, my beta came back over 100,000.  Unfortunately, at around 10 weeks, the HCG levels are at their peak. Since we lost the pregnancy at this “peak” time, the doctor told us it could take anywhere from 4 to 8 weeks for my levels to reach 0 again, or a non-pregnant state.  What that equated to was at least 8 betas. Fantastic.

It was now mid-February, also known as “crunch time” in the world of teaching.  We had our state writing exam coming up in within days, with reading and math not far behind.  Both physically and mentally, I was spent to say the least.  I had been pumping my body full of hormones for 10 long months.  We had been pregnant 3 times in just 9 months.  In total, we had been pregnant for 21 weeks with only broken hearts to show for it.

My doctor recommended I take a medical leave from work.  With the help of my mom, I started investigating what the process would entail. I met with my principal and assistant principal who supported me 100% throughout this whole process.  They secured a long-term sub for my class, and helped me get all of the tedious paperwork started.

Even though almost everyone I knew (my husband, my mom, our doctor, close friends, and co-workers) all thought I should take the time off, I was still hesitant deep down inside.  Taking a leave from work was a huge deal to me.  People who know me well know that I am an overachiever, and at times, a workhorse.  Over the years, I hated getting subs probably just as much as my students hated having one.  My class ran smoothly, and the thought of handing it over to someone else frightened me.  I had worked so hard to get it the way it was.  But at the same time, I knew there was no way possible I could give 100% to my students through this loss like I did the other 2.  I couldn’t sleep, I couldn’t eat, I couldn’t think straight.  I was a total mess.

So in the end, I took the advice, and put in for a month’s leave.  Soon after my leave started, I went to a grief counselor.  I learned that what I was feeling was normal, anger included.  Slowly, I began to open up about what we had been going through the past several years.  We couldn’t keep it a secret anymore, nor did we want to.  When we started sharing our pain, an enormous weight was lifted off our shoulders.  And I started talking to God again.  I knew he knew my heart, even though I wasn’t able to pray to him like I had been before.


When I was pregnant, I was scared to death to do anything.  I decided it was time I started doing things for myself again that I hadn’t done in months.  This was not an easy decision by any means. Most days, I didn’t want to get out of bed at all.  And for a few weeks, I didn’t.  When the time was right, I got myself up and ready and out of the house.  I got a manicure and a pedicure. I bought a tanning package. I cut my hair, and got bangs.  I got back into yoga.  I did some retail therapy.  I cleaned my house, and walked my dogs everyday.  I had a glass of wine and ate sushi.  I took hot showers and bubble baths that I hadn’t been allowed to take.  I even carried in the grocery bags after I went grocery shopping!

While I was off, my husband & I did little things to honor the babies we had lost the past year.  I got a Pandora bracelet, and we picked out all of their beautiful birthstones as charms, one for December, May, & September.  I soon decided that it was time to have a scar on the outside like the one we were carrying around silently in our hearts.  I searched for a few weeks, and finally found the perfect design for a tattoo… the pregnancy loss awareness ribbon shaped into a heart.


We were starting to heal little by little, day by day.  But no matter how hard I tried not to dwell on things, my mind continually went back to getting the results from the d & c.  We wanted some type of closure, and prayed it might provide us with it. Finally, a little over 2 weeks later, the doctor called with the results. The tests showed that our baby had no genetic anomalies.  In other words, our baby was genetically healthy.  I was speechless.  This was a huge blow.  Everyone, especially the doctors, believed that the loss would be due to genetics. According to statistics (HA!), over 60% of early miscarriages are caused from genetics.  We were actually at the point where we chuckled at these ridiculous statistics comments.  What a joke they are.

We had a really hard time swallowing the results.  In our eyes, it meant that my body just terminated the pregnancy for no apparent reason.  I was devastated even more than before, if that was even possible. My hubs tried to focus on the silver lining, pointing out that at least we knew we had the ability to produce a healthy child.  After the 3rd loss, we started thinking that maybe all of our embryos were just plain bad or something. These results proved that wasn’t the case, which gave us a tiny flicker of hope when we thought about our 3 remaining embryos.  Now, we just had to figure out what was wrong with me.

The Aftermath

My mom drove me home from the ultrasound appointment as she tried to hold herself together.  I told her to text the news to friends or family members we had excitedly told about our pregnancy.  I couldn’t believe I was telling her to do this. Instead of our pregnancy going public in 2 short weeks, we would be suffering yet another loss.  Celebrated by serial beta testing.  I hated the world.  And I despised my body for failing again.

When I got home, I started throwing things away immediately.  This was not like the last loss when I asked my husband to put all of the “stuff” away nicely for me.  I started pitching medications, cards, maternity clothes, positive tests, books…basically anything I could get my hands on. GARBAGE.

When my husband arrived home that night, we both just laid in bed and cried.  There was NOTHING to say.  We stared blankly at the ceiling, just as I did at the doctor’s office earlier that morning.  I didn’t sleep that night, I sobbed.  And from time to time, I shoved my face deep into my pillow and flung my fists.  My entire face was pretty much swollen red for days.

The d & c was set for 1 p.m. that Friday afternoon, just 2 days after the ultrasound that changed our lives.  Like any other surgery, I couldn’t eat or drink after midnight Thursday night.  The eating part I was just fine with.  In fact, I had barely taken a bite out of anything since we found out we lost the pregnancy.  I went from literally eating non stop, to not eating at all.  It was the not drinking part that was a problem for me.  Mostly because I had come down with a terrible sore throat and headache Thursday.  My throat was as dry as a bone and my head was throbbing.

I stayed up all night, tossing and turning, in true despair and pain, starting to feel like I was being punished.  Or tortured for that matter.  I had a lifeless child inside of me.  I couldn’t have water, and I couldn’t take anything for my headache.  I guess the truth of the matter is, that many people, even children, all around the world, experience this torture everyday.  No water or medicine to help them feel better.  For some reason, in my darkest moment, my heart actually ached for them and not for us.

We made it through that night, and the next day arrived.  That day was the day of the d & c, the day I should have been 10 weeks along.  Part of me wanted to get it all over with right away, but another part of me wanted to hold on to what was left. The doctor thought it would be in my best interest to undergo general anesthesia, so I had no recollection of the event.  But general anesthesia or not, the day of the d & c was plain awful. And when I say awful, I am not by any means exaggerating.

We got to the hospital at 11 a.m. thirsty.  After checking in, we went into the waiting room.  Of course, there were babies everywhere and wouldn’t you know it, a very pregnant woman directly in front of the empty chairs we had to sit in as we waited.  They took me back, and as usual, got more blood (honestly surprised I have any left).  I undressed, put my belongings into a bag, and slipped on the gown. Next, the nurse stuck the IV into my hand (worst place ever to get an IV).  I had bruised, greenish-yellow, swollen hands 3 days later. This nurse was not my doctor’s nurse, and not very gentle to say the least.

She asked me to confirm why I was there, and I (literally) choked on my tears.  I mumbled the answer.  She simply looked at me and said, “OK” in a perky voice and she walked away.  Not, “I’m sorry to hear that,” or “that’s very sad,” or anything.  I was simply another patient in this place of death.  No longer was this hospital looked at as a place of life.  I guess it can be viewed either way depending on who you ask.  If you asked me a week earlier, I would have told you I was excited to take a tour where we would have our baby.  Now, I loathed the place with everything in me.

Around noon, my mom requested the anesthesiologist give me something so I would calm down.  He did, even though I still continued to cry long after it was supposed to have “kicked in.”  My doctor came in a little after 1 pm and talked with us.  She informed us that the POC (products of conception) would be sent out immediately to the lab.  At the lab, the POC (real nice name for a life that was lost) would undergo genetic micro-array testing. The results would let us know us if the baby had a genetic anomaly, such as Trisomy 18 or 21, that caused it to just stop growing.  The results would take up to 2 weeks. Another 2WW.  FML.

My doctor gave me a hug, and a kiss on the forehead, and said she would take care of me like I was her own daughter. Then she said she would see me when I woke up to let me know how it went.  The nurses rolled me off to the operating room. Unfortunately, I still remember the room they took me in.  So large, bright and white, with metal instruments surrounding me. They rolled me onto a different bed than the one I was on.  Above me, I saw what looked like the small lamp a dentist uses at an exam, but instead the lamps were super sized and everywhere.  Creepy.  They strapped my arms down, and put the oxygen mask on my face.  The anesthesiologist popped in, and said it would be only a few seconds and I’d be out.  He was right.


I woke up as they were rolling me into the recovery room.  My first memory is throwing up all over myself.  After that, opening my eyes and starting to cry within seconds.  The little old lady attendant who was waiting to check me into recovery said, “Oh no! Please don’t cry!”  I was completely groggy, but still in a lot of pain.  The cramps were BAD.  My new recovery room nurse gave me Vicodin through my IV right away.  About 10 minutes later, the cramping started to subside.  As I tried to get comfortable, I felt gushes of blood.  I was disgusted in my half alive state.  Utterly disgusted.  This was not supposed to be happening.

I ended up staying in recovery for a few hours because I kept needing Vicodin. In turn, the Vicodin would make me sick, and I would need Zofran, which would knock me out.  It was a vicious cycle- Vicodin, puke, Zofran, sleep, repeat.  My doctor came  to check on me and tell us how it went.

She said she was able to clearly take our little angel out. That’s all I really heard her say.  At that moment, I wondered what he or she would have looked like, and what it would have been like to hold them.