My journey started in 2010 when, after about 9 months of marriage, Nick and I decided to have kids. We tried for a few months and quickly realized nothing was happening. After speaking with my OB, she recommended we see a fertility specialist. It was confusing since all of my levels were normal, yet I wasn’t getting a period. My follicles (I had so many) weren’t releasing. I was shocked. No one talked about this where I was from, nor did I know anyone under the age of 40 who needed fertility help. I was 26 and Nick was 31. But we wanted a family. So we made an appointment, sat in the waiting room with our heads down, and finally got our plan.
Successful IUI with Multiples
We were going to do a medicated IUI. We had no idea what that was, and just shook our heads and said OK. It was cheaper than IVF so we said why not try that first. After two weeks of menopur injections, we were inseminated. And two weeks after that we got the call (well Nick got the call as I was too nervous to get the call alone from our blood results). We were pregnant! Our levels were through the roof which the nurse said could mean multiples. My jaw dropped, there was no way. But after bleeding a lot and going into the clinic to make sure everything was ok, we saw them, all three of them! We were pregnant with TRIPLETS. I was so thankful we hadn’t miscarried that I didn’t even think about what this meant.
Facing the Question of Selective Reduction
A few minutes later our RE came in and suggested we get a reduction. He said it was the safest option for my health and the babies. That was the hardest decision we ever had to make, but we did it. We drove to Los Angeles, the closest clinic that performed this, and aborted one embryo. We drove home and didn’t say a word. We didn’t tell anyone for years. I felt ashamed, sad and confused, but I know now we made the right decision.
Birth and the NICU
My twins were born full term and I delivered them vaginally! We got to take one home right away and the other had to stay in the NICU for 11 days. It was the hardest 11 days of my life, and I felt so guilty leaving her in there while getting to bring the other one home. I visited her and brought her twin with me every single day. I fed her and held her, but I was so depressed. Finally we got to bring her home and she has been the strongest girl ever since.
Second Time Around
Fast forward 6 years and we were ready to try again. My levels looked great, my thyroid was in check and I even had a pituitary MRI done to make sure it was receptive so that I could try to conceive naturally. And just like before, everything was fine, but I wasn’t getting a period. We tried naturally for a few months but knew we needed to head into the fertility center. This time we would go straight for IVF since I still had so many follicles and didn’t want to have multiples again. We did two egg retrievals that year. That was September 2017, and each retrieval only yielded one PGS normal embryo. We did two transfers, each of which we did immediately after our retrievals. Both failed, and we were devastated. We didn’t have an answer so we then tried an IUI, which also failed. I started bleeding a lot while we were on vacation in Hawaii celebrating the twins birthday. I couldn’t shake this off, was so depressed, and had no idea what to do. We had spent a year trying, and were spent emotionally and physically. A break was necessary, financially and just for our own sanity. So we took the summer off. I started acupuncture (and haven’t stopped since then) and focused on me, becoming a yoga instructor and really focusing on my girls.
Coping with a Miscarriage
We decided to switch clinics, and in September 2018 we started another egg retrieval cycle. We got three embryos this time and decided not to test them. Our FET was December 2018 and we were pregnant! I couldn’t believe it! We told the girls once we saw the heartbeat at 6 weeks and then unfortunately on week 8 we faced the worst news we had in a long time. “I’m sorry but the baby has stopped growing,” the doctor told us, and we were devastated. I couldn’t breathe, the walls caved in and Nick (who was also crying) had to hold me up. We had to tell the twins that night that the baby had died in my tummy. I felt like the worst mom ever for making them go through this with us. I took two misoprostol tablets to induce a miscarriage. After the first I was told to run to the bathroom every time I felt tissue come out and attempt to “catch it” in a plastic container they gave me. This way they could possibly test it and see why I miscarried. That was so traumatic. The pill didn’t work as they planned the first time so I took another one. This time I bled through the night. I went through 4 pairs of pajama pants and our bed sheets. I cried the whole night and could barely walk the next day after losing so much blood. After all that, the tissue I caught wasn’t testable. And if that wasn’t enough, almost 3 months after the miscarriage they found more tissue in my uterus and had to do a D&C. Oddly I finally felt a little relieved once that was done. It was as if I could finally move forward.
Moving Forward with IVF
We tested the remaining two embryos and had one come back normal. We transferred that one and it too failed. I didn’t think I could keep going. But Nick reminded me of how much I wanted this. We went in for our fourth retrieval and ended up with 3 PGS normal embryos! Most ever! We transferred one in August 2019 and it failed. I was so confused. I had a pelvic MRI done and a uterine biopsy where they found some leftover inflammation from the miscarriage and a slight form of adenomyosis. I was put on antibiotics and letrozole to try and cure this for 3 months. The waiting was killing me. We were at 2.5 years of treatments now. Finally we were able to move to the next transfer in December 2019. We thought we had “fixed” everything so we were hopeful. But that too failed. We had one embryo left.
I decided to be my own advocate. I met with several RE’s and got second and third opinions. I switched RE’s (same clinic though) and I insisted that my lining be MUCH thicker. I double checked my vitamin d levels and my thyroid (as I have Hashimotos disease) and we were on our way. Transfer #7. Two weeks later we got the best news we could have gotten, it worked. We both cried for a while. Sadly because of how hard IVF was for me and because of my miscarriage I have been very anxious this whole time. I am 20 weeks pregnant and still worry at every appointment. Nick can’t come with me either because of Covid-19 which makes this so much harder. But we are blessed. I know I am so lucky to have had this finally work and I’m learning to trust my body each day. For anyone fighting, I see you, I was you, and I encourage you to not give up. I am proof that it can happen even after so much loss.