Warning – I share my full infertility story here, including miscarriage details. This may be too emotional for some people and disturbing for others.
If you have not yet read Let’s Talk About Infertility – I encourage you to read that first. I said in my previous infertility post that “Sometimes we don’t like to make others feel uncomfortable by discussing our own struggles.” But by sharing about our own struggles, we open the door for others to feel brave enough to speak up and share. We also help each other with the comforting fact that we are not alone. My story is actually about secondary infertility but I hope that it feels relevant to anybody experiencing infertility of any kind. Here is Part 1 of my own infertility story (I’m too wordy as usual and had to split into two parts – Part 2 has been published).
My Infertility Story
We didn’t have any fertility issues as far as we knew before having our son. We did wait a few years as we were busy finishing college and working full-time. When we were ready to try to have a child, I got pregnant without any issues and had no complications during the pregnancy. The only crazy thing that happened was that he arrived exactly four weeks early! (So the whole relaxing while taking four weeks off from work before giving birth was not to be. Thus I had a messy house, nothing prepared, and was completely exhausted!)
We didn’t give much thought to when we should try having our next baby. We figured it would happen when it happened. I was so busy taking care of my son that I didn’t think too much about it. When he was between one and two years old, I experienced some strange spotting, unrelated to my monthly cycle. I spoke with a friend who said she had experienced something similar and that it was the fertilized egg implanting. I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I began the process with my medical provider – an official urine test, paperwork, a class I had to attend, etc. But sometime after that I had a menstrual cycle and wondered what was going on. A followup test revealed that I was not pregnant.
What had occurred is that I had conceived, then began the process of miscarriage early on (the spotting). I tested positive for pregnancy at that time because I still had high levels of the pregnancy hormones. What I thought was a menstrual cycle after that was actually the miscarriage finishing. It was very disappointing news, but we assumed it was a fluke thing and tried not to dwell on it.
I experienced more of these early miscarriages but did not go to the doctor each time because I was able to recognize the signs on my own. Eventually I went to a fertility specialist. We completed paperwork and they ran all sorts of tests on both of us. One of those tests was to check my uterus and was much more painful than I anticipated. But thankfully all tests came out perfectly fine/normal. We made the decision to move forward with taking the mildest fertility drug which would just increase my natural ovulation and allow us to have better timing.
That was a rough few months. Taking the drug for infertility was similar to having pregnancy hormones all the time, so I was stressed and emotional. I had to go in regularly to see if I was going to ovulate. If I got my menstrual cycle after that, it was assumed that I had not conceived and the cycle started all over again. We had a couple of disappointing months with nothing happening or eggs ready but then not conceiving. Then we were informed that there were four eggs ready to drop at once.
This completely stressed us out, because it meant a possibility, no matter how slight, that all four eggs could be fertilized at once. That would mean quadruplets! I did not feel ready for quadruplets. The doctors told us not to worry about it as we could simply choose not to carry all four if that happened. Our personal beliefs were against that, so we knew if we had four fertilized eggs, then we would carry all four babies!
We started to wonder if we were doing the best thing by taking this medication. We were stressing out about possibly having multiple babies but the multiples were only occurring because of the drug I was taking. We thought maybe it would be better for me not to take the drug. After all the stressing out, I had what seemed like a normal menstrual cycle, which meant I was supposed to start the next round of medication. I started the medication again, as usual.
About a week or more later, I had more bleeding. When I went in to get checked, it turned out that I was pregnant after all (and the medication should never be taken if pregnant). What had most likely happened was that I had three fertilized eggs and miscarried one baby, then lost another shortly after. I had one baby left, but we were excited about that!
I started going through the required pregnancy appointments and classes. Unfortunately at my next checkup, the doctor determined that the baby was too small for its age and that it was not thriving. I was told that I would miscarry. It was my choice whether to end it then with a procedure and lower the risk of hemorrhaging or let the miscarriage happen naturally at some point. I chose to let it happen naturally.
As difficult as it is to have an unexpected miscarriage, it is almost worse walking around knowing that at any moment you will miscarry. I miscarried a few days later. This had been the longest of my pregnancies since our son was born, but had ended at about eight weeks. At that point, we felt that taking the fertility medication while pregnant may have led to the miscarriage. So I decided to stop taking any medication.
It was at this time that we decided to look into adoption – mainly adoption through foster care. We did thoroughly look into it, but I’ll leave that part of the story for another time. We made the decision not to adopt at that time. That decision caused me to experience guilt, which added to the level of stress. It was also stressful listening to my son praying for a brother or a sister and explaining to him that not every family has siblings.
For a year or two, I counted days of cycles and tried ovulation prediction tools. Every time my monthly cycle was a day or two late, I started wondering if I was actually pregnant. If it went longer than three days or so, I took a pregnancy test. The tests were always negative. I had one to two more very early miscarriages, but didn’t go to the doctor for those. I didn’t hold out much hope that I would ever have another successful pregnancy.
I finally made the decision to stop worrying about it and stop counting days, etc. I focused on the blessing we already had – our amazing son, and the many ways our little family was blessed. And then, out of the blue, we were surprised by a pregnancy. My cycle was late and I took a test which turned out positive, much to my great surprise! We thought we would finally have another baby, since the pregnancy happened without us stressing or any help from medication. The baby checked out okay at our appointment as well, so we were cautiously optimistic. Everything changed just a few weeks later…
I’ll publish Part 2 of my infertility story as soon as I finish it. Since I don’t know exactly when I will publish it, I recommend that you click here to sign up and receive my blog posts by email. Then you don’t have to wonder if I have finished the story – you’ll be in the know!
Thank you for stopping by to read my story. If you are experiencing or have experienced infertility, I would love for you to share in the comments. It helps us all to know we’re not alone in our struggles as well as to share encouragement.