Our Struggle With Infertility

It’s been 8 long years since we were 1st diagnosed with “unexplained infertility”. After 12 miscarriages, 16 different doctors, traveling thousands of miles, We still continue to fight for our dream to grow our family. We’ve faced many obstacles & have learned so much along the way. We’d love to share our story with you in hopes that it will support & guide you along your own infertility path. We look forward to learning from you & your experiences as well. Please join us on our long awaited journey to parenthood.

Moving on to IVF

With all of our failed attempts with IUI our Doctor suggested we move on to IVF so that we could have our embryos biopsied. She thought by doing this we could see if maybe there was a chromosome issue that was affecting the pregnancy & causing our miscarriages. At 1st we thought it was odd that we would need to go that route if I was getting pregnant naturally on our own, but the more we thought about it we thought it would be a good option so we could get more answers as to what was going on.

By the end of 2014 we had our 1st visit with our IVF clinic, HRC Fertility Pasadena. It was a great visit & we immediately fell in love with our Doctor, Dr Jeffrey Nelson. He was very genuine and really cared about our situation. After he reviewed our medical records he suggested we 1st make an appointment with the Dr Alan Beer Center in Los Gatos CA. before going thru with IVF. They are a research center and they mainly work with patients with auto immune diseases. He thought maybe by going to the research center they would be able to find something new that other doctors weren’t catching.

Our lab work was completed in November 2014 & by the end of December 2014 we took off for a long road trip to Los Gatos, CA to visit the Dr Alan Beer Center to find out our results. Not the way we planned to celebrate our New Years Eve but it was definitely an new adventure.

After 6 hours of driving, we finally arrived in Los Gatos and settled into our Hotel Room for the night.

Ectopic Pregnancy

By early June 2014 we were pregnant again. We conceived naturally and I was eager to find out how the pregnancy was going. I called my Doctor right away after taking a home pregnancy test. They wanted to keep a close watch on me due to all of my previous miscarriages.

A few days later my 1st Beta HCG was taken & my level was only at 12. I knew the pregnancy was very early so I tried not to worry. I was very anxious for the next test day to come. Our Doctor scheduled it 6 days later. I was trying to keep busy to keep my mind off of things, but I couldn’t help but do calculations in my head to figure out where my levels would be. I knew HCG levels were supposed to double about every 48 hours, so I expected the numbers to be well over 50. When my 2nd Beta HCG came back it was only at 44. She asked me to go back the following day for another test. The following day my 3rd Beta HCG came back at 30. My levels were dropping. We tried to stay hopeful, but the Doctor already advised us something was not right. She thought we might be having an Ectopic Pregnancy. That’s when the baby grows in the Fallopian tube. She said if I have any sort of pain to go to the ER so my tube doesn’t rupture.

In the following weeks we continued to have Beta tests done because the numbers were fluctuating. This is how the tests went:

  • 4th (6/30) Beta HCG 19
  • 5th (7/3) Beta HCG 26
  • 6th (7/7) Beta HCG 29

By the time July rolled around our Doctor suggested we do a shot called Methotrexate to kill the cells in order to save my Fallopian tube. We were devastated. We were going to loose another baby. I knew things weren’t going well in the pregnancy, but I still held out hope for that small chance things would come around.

That afternoon we ended up having Methotrexate injection. During the week following the shot we continued to do regular Beta HCG tests to make sure my levels were going down completely. By the end of July the Beta levels were back down to 1 so we knew the Methotrexate had worked.

Due to the severity of the medication we now had to wait 6 months to try to conceive again. Six months seemed like eternity. So here we are heart broken all over again as we sit here & wait for the long months to pass.

 

 

Infertility Sock Kit Giveaway

I have 2 Inspirational Infertility Sock Kits to give away to 2 lucky winners. It includes a Pair of socks to keep your feet warm during your fertility treatments, A bottle of baby dust for good luck & a cute little inspirational message to go with the package. All you need to do is sign up on our home page by opting in to receive our latest posts & we will enter you into the drawing.

The drawing will be held on Aug 31, 2018.

Good Luck

Finding Support

I had become a member with Baby Center several years back, but never thought about joining a support team through their site. I would typically just browse thru interesting threads, but never commented. I thought how on earth would I connect with people who don’t even know me & how do I trust random strangers from the internet. I think we would all feel that way right? Well little did I know reaching out to them would be the Best Thing I could have ever done. I have connected with so many amazing women from all over the world. They are the ones who have inspired me to start this blog. We all come from different backgrounds & all of our infertility stories are different, but some how we have connected on a larger level and have become so close, like sisters. We understand each other & support each other in ways nobody else would understand.

So many women who struggle with infertility don’t talk about it. They get embarrassed or feel ashamed. I know because I was one of them at one point. I felt like how could this be happening to me? Why is my body failing me when this is something women are naturally supposed to do? I played the blame game. Blaming myself for all the things I’ve done in my past,  or that this is happening because I’m too old & I waited too long to have kids (I was in my early 30’s), or maybe it’s because I used to work at a tanning salon & I would tan all the time. I thought maybe I fried all my eggs, no pun intended. Excuse after excuse. I would find any reason on how it was MY fault. Well guess what I threw those excuses away & decided to find the solution. How could we fix this & move on?

I started opening up about it more & more and found it very uplifting. I felt like a weight was lifted off my shoulders and I started to connect with more & more people. I had no idea so many women were going thru the same thing. We all just wanted answers. I started discussing it with co-workers which was very uncomfortable to do, but I just knew I needed to get it out there for what I was going thru. When I had friends from work around me getting pregnant I remember a specific co-worker saying “Your BFF is pregnant, I thought you wanted kids too, why aren’t you pregnant?”.  I just starred at her as the tears filled my eyes. She looked at me horrified at what she had just said & she instantly gave me a hug. She apologized numerous times. She was not being malicious by any means. She seriously was just thinking I’d want to be pregnant with a good friend. I know people just don’t think about infertility so they don’t think when they ask those types of questions.

Once I really started discussing it with co-workers I found out several women in my office had gone thru infertility treatments to start their family as well. I learned so much from them. Who knew I would have a great support group in my office? It’s a place I come to everyday & if I didn’t open up about it I would have never known about some of the most amazing stories of success with infertility.

From then on I’ve been an open book about it. I’ll discuss it with anyone who will listen, you never know who you might inspire. I don’t mind being asked a million questions & I don’t get offended. I feel like the more I can share the more it can help others out there going thru the same situation. I’ve talked to the most random people about it, from the person sitting next to me on an airplane to a Grandmother at a department store who was asking for her own son & daughter who were struggling with infertility. This was just a reminder to myself that We are not alone. If you feel like you have no one to talk to, please reach out to me. I would love to hear from you. I will support you any way I can.

The Outsider

As months went on I began to feel like an outsider. I distanced myself from friends and family. I just couldn’t take it anymore. I was so over the comments like “Don’t worry, it will happen”, “Oh just relax it will happen when you stop stressing about it”, “Have you tried…blah blah blah”… YES we’ve Tried it! Whatever it is you are about to tell me the answer is YES we’ve tried it.

I avoided Facebook like the plague. I just couldn’t handle seeing everyone with their happy little families. It wasn’t that I wasn’t happy for them, but it just made me feel more sad for us. It wasn’t their fault we were going thru this, but they just didn’t understand because THEY weren’t going thru this. They just didn’t get it. Some of our friends would be heart broken when they didn’t get pregnant the 1st or 2nd try. They would literally tell me “Oh maybe I should see a specialist”. Seriously?!?!? Why would you even think to tell me that of all people.

We missed birthday parties, gender reveals, baby showers etc. I just didn’t want to be around it. I thought out of sight out of mind right? Well it just really doesn’t work that way. I started really missing my friends. The ones who I used to hang out with on a day to day basis. I just felt abandoned. I just wanted to crawl in a hole and pretend this really wasn’t happening. It was all so very depressing & that just wasn’t me. All the feelings were so very new to me & I wanted to snap out of it, but just needed to find a way.

Uterine Septum Surgery

It was now Jan 29, 2014 I went in to have my 1st Hysteroscopy to have my septum removed. The night before my surgery I was given a pill called Misoprostol which is generic  for Cytotec. Typically this is given to patients to abort the baby instead of performing a D&C (Dilation &  Curettage). It’s to soften the cervix so that when the procedure is done the cervix would be dilated.

Typically the surgery is done in an operating room under general anesthesia, however because of scheduling in the OR I would have had to wait 4 months. I didn’t want to waste any time so I opted to be awake & have the procedure in her exam room.

The surgery is not what I expected. It only took about 30 minutes & the worst part of the surgery was just the prepping. It was actually very fascinating to see what exactly the septum looked like. The tissue reminded me of cotton candy. It was quickly removed and she said I should heal just fine. Some women get a balloon like catheter placed after their surgery, but because mine was so small & everything went smoothly I did not have to have one. I was so glad to get the surgery over with & I looked forward to moving on to the next step & hopefully TTC again right away.

We waited a month after the surgery to start over again. In March we decided to do another IUI, but this time without any medications. We were advised to do a home ovulation kit & they would also be monitoring me with ultrasounds. Right before ovulation I would have the IUI procedure. The day came for the IUI & when our Doctor did the ultrasound she noticed I had already ovulated. The IUI was canceled. It was another kick in the gut to say the least. So now what’s next?

2nd Opinion

I gave my body time to rest & I enjoyed the holidays. In Jan 2013 I switched insurance companies thinking I would have better coverage & a new set of Doctors for the next phase of the journey. I scheduled an appointment right away with a genetic counselor who did a new panel of lab work & ultrasounds. He wanted a fresh start with us. He also referred us to another RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) to review our situation.

The RE provided us with a plan. She wanted us to start infertility treatments. The first step was to try Clomid & IUI (Intrauterine Insemination). Even though we were getting pregnant on our own she wanted us to be “in her hands” regarding my cycle. She would do a baseline ultrasound day 3 of my menstrual cycle & then I would start taking the medication. My hormone levels would be monitored and while taking Clomid she would monitor the size of eggs. When the eggs get to a certain level/size they give you a shot of HCG (Chorionic Gonadotropin Huma) known as a “trigger shot” which causes you to ovulate & that’s when they would do the insemination.

My husband & I thought “Well if nothing else is working, it wouldn’t hurt to give this a try”. We did 3 rounds of this & for the 3rd round she even increased my dosages to 100 mg & included Menopur 150 IU, but never once did I get pregnant. We were completely devastated! How could I get pregnant on my own, but now when I’m being monitored with drugs & I’m producing multiple eggs at a time, they are placing the sperm right where it should go &then Bam …Nothing! Why was this happening? Was this really “MY” life. I just wanted a baby so bad & would do anything to make that happen.

They sent my husband off to do a sperm analysis thinking that might be the problem, but nope that wasn’t the case. Instead I felt even worse when the Doctor told him “Sir you have the best numbers I’ve ever seen.” What a way to kick a girl while she’s down! So right then we knew 100% it was me, but what about me was the problem.

We did another Sonohysterogram and she discovered I had a 9mm Uterine Septum. It’s also known as a heart shaped uterus. Basically there is a small piece of tissue at the top of my uterus, that she thought maybe the baby is trying to attach itself there & there is no blood supply. Maybe that is the reason for my miscarriages. Typically they do not remove the septum unless is larger than 1 inch, however in my situation she wanted to have it removed right away to see if that was the problem

It was a lot to take in. I felt like a guinea pig being poked & prodded. They were just “guessing” as to what the problem was with no definitive answers. I didn’t know what to think about the situation, but I was getting desperate & wanted to do anything to have a baby… so I scheduled the surgery.

 

A Nice Distraction

Following our latest miscarriage I decided to just relax, take time off of TTC (Trying To Conceive) & work on myself. I  wanted to focus on the positive things in my life. What better way to do that than running. I found myself running almost every day. There was something about the quietness & just being out & about with nature. Just getting out of the house & going for a nice long run really made me feel energized and focused on what’s really important in my life. I wasn’t going to give up on my dream of starting a family and running really helped me stay on track and focus on those dreams.

Some co-workers of mine started a little running group & they asked if I wanted to join them in running a 1/2 Marathon in Huntington Beach, CA. So I thought what better time than now. I decided to join them & I signed up for my first 1/2 Marathon. It was something on my bucket list, but just never got around to training for it. This was a great opportunity to for me to complete that goal. I had just 3 months to prepare, but I was set on doing it. The marathon would be on Feb 3, 2013, which also was Superbowl Sunday. I love football so I thought what a great to way celebrate after the Marathon. The weather was perfect for February & the scenic ocean route was absolutely beautiful. I completed my run in less than 2.5 hrs & I was so incredibly proud of myself for getting it done. It was the most amazing feeling!

 

Time For A New Doctor

As time went on we had a few more miscarriages in the first year of our marriage. My Doctor at the time said “Miscarriages are common so we don’t test you until after you’ve had three.” Wait What?!? Did she just say I had to wait for 3 miscarriages to occur before they would do anything about it?!?! I was blown away.  Well #3 came & went. There was absolutely No Sympathy from her what so ever. She basically handed me a pamphlet & said “You may want to call this infertility center and they will be able to help you out.” At that point I KNEW it was time for a new Doctor.  I immediately started researching other OBGYN’s in the area. I found an amazing Doctor in June 2012 who treated us with compassion. He was very genuine and concerned for what had occurred. He did a a full panel work up for us from blood work to ultra sounds. He was ready to concur the issue.  Several vials of blood later,  I was dianosed with with a condition called Methylenetetrahydrofolate reductase (MTHFR for short) which is gene mutation.  I was immediately prescribed Lovenox which is a blood thinner to help with the mutation. I was also referred to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) for further evaluation.

In the upcoming weeks I had my appointment with the RE. I had a procedure done called Sonohysterogram.  Which is basically a catheter that is inserted through the cervical canal into the uterine cavity. The catheter is held in place by inflating a balloon  at the tip. The doctor injects fluid through the catheter into the uterine cavity, and then an ultrasound is done to see inside the uterus. The fluid may either be saline or a special fluid which is designed to show up well on an ultrasound. During the procedure they found 2 large Fibroid’s inside my uterus. Together they were the size of a softball. The Doctor advised me not to worry about it & that he did NOT think the Fibroid’s were the problem for my miscarriages. He encouraged me to continue trying without having the Fibroid’s removed. Hmmmm really?  I was so confused. How could it be okay?!?.

A few months went by and I found out I was pregnant again. This time I didn’t tell my husband because I had this feeling once again it wasn’t going to work out. I continued with the normal routine Doctors appointments, but I just didn’t want to get too attached. After passing my 10 week mark I thought for sure I was in the clear. We had a tripped planned for Aruba so I thought it would be the perfect way to tell my husband about the baby.

I surprised him on the beach with a t-shirt from his favorite footbalI team that read “Buffalo Bills Dad”. His eyes filled up with tears & we were beyond ecstatic. Everything was going smoothly until week 13 when we went in for our next check up. This time my Husband came with me. We were so excited to hear the heart beat. As the ultrasound took place I took out my phone so I could record the whole thing. I had my phone ready to go, but I could see the look on the Doctors face as he searched & searched & searched again for the heartbeat…Silence filled the room & I just burst into tears because I knew our fate. There was no heartbeat. The Doctor called it a Blighted Ovum. Its where there is a sac but no baby inside. We were devastated! They thought for sure the blood thinners were the solution, but here we were once again. The empty feeling took over and I was hysterically crying. I knew I needed to continue to fight. I was not about to give up. I knew the struggle was going to be difficult, but we were at the place once again…Time for a new Doctor & I went to seek a 2nd opinion.

 

After Our Honeymoon

My Husband & I were married in August 2011. We had an amazing time planning the Big Day & setting up all of our adventures we would go on during our honeymoon in the Bahamas. We were so excited to get our lives started as Husband & Wife. We knew we wanted to start a family right away & wasted no time in trying to make that happen. A few short weeks after our honeymoon we found out we were expecting. We didn’t find out the good ole fashion way like missing a period or having symptoms. I started bleeding in the middle of my cycle & I couldn’t figure out why, unless something was wrong with me. I decided to schedule a Doctor appointment to find out what was wrong, when my husband blurted out “maybe you’re pregnant”.  I hadn’t even thought about that.  So I took a pregnancy test & sure enough it came up positive right away. I couldn’t believe it, but then the nerves set in. I knew the bleeding couldn’t be a good sign. My Dr couldn’t get me in until the following week, She said the bleeding is normal & not to stress over it. Well the bleeding didn’t stop & by the time my appointment came I knew I was clearly having a miscarriage. I was in such shock with the whole situation. I never thought “I” would have a miscarriage. I thought that was something rare. Why would this be happening to me?

Having Faith
Having Faith

As we left the appointment I felt very sad and alone, but at the same time I felt like maybe it was a sign that we just weren’t ready yet. I also felt this weird sense of relief as in “Well I got the miscarriage out of the way, what are the chances of that ever happening again?” I thought I was in the clear. I was so naive & I had NO idea this was about to be my new norm. My life would forever change.