Getting pregnant sounds easy enough right? All we have to do is do the deed during the right time of the month and boom! Well, it isn’t as easy as they made it seem during sex education class. I would just like to take the time to share my journey to conceive with you.
How It Began
My husband and I had been together since 2002 and we never really discussed having kids. We traveled a lot and attended a lot of festivals (music and booze) and enjoyed our “get up and go” lifestyle. Later in our relationship (say 2004ish), we stopped using condoms and I was never on any birth control. We always knew there was a risk of pregnancy. I say “risk“ because at the time, we really didn‘t want to get pregnant. Since I had so many different gynecological procedures due to irregular menstrual cycles, I just assumed it would never happen and it never did. After my last abnormal pap and procedure in 2009, my cycles began to regulate, but still no protection.
My husband and I got married in May 2010 and honeymooned in Maui. I don’t know if that is really relevant, but I wanted to share it because it is safe to say that I conceived a honeymoon baby. I truly believe that being away from all the stresses of day to day troubles and being able to just enjoy my husband is what got me pregnant after all that time of being together. Well that, and, well you already know. Man I really miss those days, but anyways…
I was back at home and still on cloud nine and going about my daily business not really remembering if or when I had a period for June! I was just so focused on not having a period during my wedding and honeymoon, I didn’t think of when it was due the following month. I didn’t really have any symptoms other than hunger. Oh! I also got carsick once and had to vomit, which had never happened to me.
I remember visiting my cousin who recently had a baby boy. He seemed very comfortable with me and my cousin mentioned something about his clinginess. I had always heard the old wives tales about babies being able to sense pregnancy, but really never paid too much attention. The tale had mention that if a boy clings to you, you are carrying a girl and vice versa. Anyways, I decided to take a test! Four positive pregnancy tests later, I finally believed I was pregnant!
I was full of emotions initially, but I couldn’t make them all out. I knew I was scared, happy, nervous, and a little upset all at once. I got confirmation by my gynecologist and was referred to an OBGYN for my 8 week appointment. In the meantime, I decided to go pick up “What To Expect When You’re Expecting,” to figure out what was going on with my newly changing body. I would later find out that I needed a manuscript on What You Didn’t Expect during pregnancy to deal with what was coming.
My Pregnancy Experiences
My father-in-law was diagnosed with lung cancer and it had began to spread. My husband was under a lot of stress and so was I. We traveled back and forth to help his father out. However, we still did the summer family functions as normal. During the Fourth of July, we decided to announce our pregnancy and my family picnic. Everyone was ecstatic as you can imagine. We also told my father-in-law the news to get his spirits up. I know that it is considered “bad luck” to announce a pregnancy before 13 weeks, but who cares! We were excited to share the news to everyone.
I was still reading “What To Except When You’re Expecting” religiously and found it funny that I didn’t get morning sickness. However, I did get a lot of acne and always had a constant feeling of wetness going on down below to which I was assured was normal. I continued to eat the best I could (he he). I laugh because I was eating everything I could get my hands on. I am normally a picky eater, but enjoyed the changes that pregnancy did to my taste buds.
Foods that I thought I would never try suddenly were delicious to me. In fact, I don’t really think there was anything that I didn’t like. I love and loved hot sauce, but would get terrible heartburn so I was prescribed a heartburn medication that I was reluctant to take. I also got constipated which started early on by my second trimester. I drank tons of water and even started using Metamucil, but that didn’t seem to work.
Finally, I got a hold of those Fiber One bars. Man, those things taste so good I think I ate the whole box in one sitting. The day after I did that, I had been out somewhere I can’t recall, but I remember I was at least ten minutes from home when all the sudden…You guessed it, those fiber bars started working. I hit a red light which seemed to take forever. I began to sweat and my heart began to race because I just knew that if I passed gas, I was going to lose it in my car and my newly purchased maternity jeans. It’s bad enough I could barely control my bladder, now I felt I couldn’t control my bowels! I just wanted to cry. I wanted to drive as fast as I could, but didn’t want to cause a wreck. Needless to say, I made it home clean and dry! Note to self: never eat a whole box of Fiber One bars as they do what they are supposed to do.
Anyways, enough about my poop. I felt the baby move at nearly 17 weeks. I remember that it woke me up early in the morning and I was so excited. I called my granny (what I call my grandmother) immediately to tell her the news. Not that I wasn’t already in love with my baby, but feeling the movement really had me hooked. I would just sit around and wait for a kick and have my husband touch my stomach. I think he almost got tired of my excited “ooh, come feel this” statements.
Nonetheless, I would tell him every time and he would rush over to touch. We initially didn’t want to know the sex of the baby, but after thinking it through we decided to find out. I wanted to know for the sake of decorating. This was our first child and I just wanted to be over the top with everything. We found out that it was a little girl and I decided to name her after my late father-in-law. That’s right, he did pass away in his home in August, but died knowing he was going to be a grandfather.
What I Didn’t Expect While Expecting
My 20 week checkup occurred sometime in October and it was pretty routine: weight, urine, ultrasound. However, I did notice that I had been leaking but couldn’t tell if it was just urine or vaginal discharge. Due to the hour wait before seeing my doctor, I was so impatient that I just wanted to get out of there so when he asked if I had any concerns I said “no,” and went on my way. Everything seemed fine and normal so I decided to attend a friend’s 30th birthday party at a bowling alley.
The night of October 20th I awoke in the middle of the night with terrible stomach cramps. It felt like diarrhea was kicking in from all the crap that I had been eating. I sat up in bed to see if it would pass and I could go back to sleep. Twenty or so minutes later, I began to feel that same urge to go to the bathroom so I got up to go but nothing was coming out. At this time, the pain was getting worse and I woke my husband up. I explained to him that I had horrible cramps like I need to poop but nothing was coming.
We decided to go to the ER nearby just to be on the safe side before trying to take anything to calm my stomach. At the ER, I described what I was feeling and the doctor suggested a quick pelvic check. I will never forget the look on her face when she told me that I was in labor and needed to be transported to a different hospital. I was only 21 weeks and knew it was too soon. I was scared, delirious, and in pain all at once. I asked her if everything was going to be alright and she told me she honestly didn’t know at this late in the game.
I finally arrived at the hospital where my OB was waiting for me. I was so out of it, I honestly don’t remember if my husband rode in the ambulance with me or if he followed it to the hospital. There were just a million thoughts going through my mind, I didn’t really understand what was going on with me. I know that I was examined and told what to expect. I remember asking if the labor could be stopped. My husband could tell you this part of the story better than I could, but I believe they said they could try to put me on bed rest, but since I was leaking amniotic fluid there was a risk of infection to me and the baby. The infection could kill us both or it could ruin my chances of having children in the future.
My husband then decided that we should go ahead and deliver because the latter was just to risky and iffy. Anesthesia came in to perform the epidural. My doctor suggested this because I was already in enough pain physically and emotionally and that I shouldn’t have to go through the rest of the labor painfully knowing that my little girl wasn’t going to make it. I completely agreed with him. Now, I cannot give you a time frame on labor as I said I was out of it, but shortly after the discussion of my options, I delivered my little girl. She weighed 1lbs and survived for an hour.
The reason I told you those little details that might not have seemed relevant, like announcing to my family and father-in-law, my 20th week checkup, and my friends’ 30th birthday is because all of those thoughts came into my head afterwards. I felt horrible that I told my family. I felt ill telling my father-in-law before his death and now I didn’t even have a baby and he wasn’t a grandfather. I felt like a liar. I blamed myself for being so impatient at my 20th week checkup because perhaps if I had mentioned it, something could have been done. I felt guilty that I attended my friends 30th birthday bowling party because maybe that might have triggered the labor.
All of these things crossed my mind over and over again. No matter how many times the doctor said there was nothing I could have done to prevent this from happening, I needed an answer. I needed justification. Was it all the times I over indulged in food that I shouldn’t have? Could I have been being punished because I announced way too early? I know it may sound like nonsense, but believe me, you just want answers, and for me answers would come.
What Caused My Misfortune
After the delivery and all the examinations, the doctor found that I had a grapefruit sized fibroid that caused the placenta to detach and cause premature labor. They had done several ultrasounds during my check ups, but believe as they baby grew it hid the fibroid and there was no way to see if the fibroid was even there or even growing. My doctor suggested that I recover from the delivery/loss and we remove the fibroid via myomectomy in December.
Once released from the hospital, I would have to attend several follow up doctors’ appointments for labs. It was mostly testing for infections, and the normal postpartum exam. They wanted all of this complete before my scheduled surgery. Most of my tests were normal except for my liver enzyme test. Those came back elevated so I was then scheduled for a liver ultrasound. What more could be going on, right? Well, turns out everything was okay and my doctor believed my liver enzymes were elevated from a slight infection during delivery. So I was good to go for my myomectomy.
My myomectomy went as planned and I was in the hospital a couple of days. I was in pain physically, but it wasn’t anything compared to the pain I felt in my heart and stomach from the loss. I was grieving and trying heal it the same time. I didn’t really see how I was going to make it. I felt like I was losing myself. As the days passed, I just started thinking of when I could try again. These thoughts consumed my mind.
I began losing focus at my job and started hated going in. I didn’t really care for that job to begin with and then to return a month after my loss to everyone telling me how sorry they were just brought up too many emotions. I was just crying all the time, when all I wanted was to move on and try again. I appreciated the concern, but every voiced concerned seemed to make me relive the incident over and over again. I often wondered if I would still be upset if no one said anything about it. Well, that is neither here nor there and needless to say, I didn’t have that job for much longer. I needed a knew start. I took some time off to heal emotionally or at least I thought that is what I was doing.
The Road To Recovery
During my recovery period I still continued with my medical appointments to figure out what was going on with my body. My OBGYN said that I needed to give my body at least six months to heal before I could even try again. I just knew it was going to be the longest six months ever. He also said that I had PCOS and was insulin resistant so he recommended the South Beach Diet along with Metformin to get the insulin resistance under control. However, I was ovulating regularly on my own, had regular 30 day cycles, and at a healthy weight.
It was his opinion that regulating my diet and taking Metformin would keep fibroids from developing and also assist in stabilizing my liver enzymes. He also believed that my insulin resistance could be linked to the elevated liver enzymes. I wanted to have a healthy pregnancy so badly, that I would do and try anything to make it happen. So I did the diet and took the pills which irritated my stomach so much, but I would do anything to get better.
During this whole process it was as if everyone around me was getting pregnant. I saw so many pregnancy announcements and pregnant women that it made me sick. I wanted to be happy for these people, but was jealous perhaps and just downright angry. Looking at a pregnant woman kept reminding me of what I once had and didn’t have now. I could feel myself getting bitter and angry and I knew it wasn’t right. I guess in the end, those feelings are normal and it was okay that I was angry. I just had to remind myself that in due time, I would be able to try again.
Trying To Conceive
Time passed and I was finally given the okay to try again. I really had no idea where to begin considering that we weren’t even really trying to get pregnant the first time. I didn’t know about ovulation, OPK’s, basal body temperature (bbt) charting, and I most certainly didn’t know how hard it could be to get pregnant once we were actually ready to try to conceive. Since my doctor had diagnosed me with PCOS, he prescribed Clomid and recommended I use an OPK so I can track ovulation. So I purchased OPK’s, but my doctor wasn’t sure if those would work since he diagnosed me with PCOS. With PCOS you may have elevated LH in your urine making it impossible for an OPK to pick up a surge prior to ovulation.
I was able to use OPK’s and found that I preferred Clearblue Digital so I didn’t have to compare line colors. I did get the solid smiley letting me know that it did detect a surge. However, we didn’t get pregnant that cycle. The next Clomid cycle was monitored by my doctor to confirm ovulation and to check my FSH and Estradiol levels. Everything was normal and I was ovulating! However, I still didn’t get pregnant! My doctor decided to try another round of Clomid and said we would try an hCG injection (aka trigger shot) followed by an Intrauterine Insemination (IUI).
During the IUI my doctor said that I had “hostile” cervical mucous and that was likely why I wasn’t getting pregnant. Clomid can mess with your cervical mucous, but I wasn’t informed and I didn’t think to research that (I was knew at this after all). I did this twice, but the second time around I took gauifenesin (cough syrup) a few days before I was expected to ovulate to loosen the cervical mucous. After all of that, I still didn’t get pregnant! So I decided to do some research and really figure out what was going on. I came across a supplement called FertilAid that had awesome reviews for women trying to conceive and was even a great supplement for women with PCOS.
FertilAid contains fertility boosting supplements that help regulate cycles and promote ovulation. I even added Ovaboost as well to improve my egg quality since I was now in my 30’s. I got pregnant on my second month using it and we were psyched! I stopped taking the supplements as soon as I got my positive test as instructed by the manufacturers label. I also contacted my doctor right away because I was considered high risk due to my loss and my myomectomy and was scheduled immediately for a blood draw and ultrasound.
I went to my appointment as scheduled and got my ultrasound and initial lab work. We were able to see the yolk sac, but it was too early to detect a heartbeat (I was approximately five weeks along). I came back two weeks later for another ultrasound and check for a heartbeat. We were so excited to see that little flicker of a heartbeat on the screen. Everything seemed to be going great and I was scheduled to come back in two weeks. Two weeks passed and I went back to my appointment only to find out I had a missed miscarriage. We decided to take some time off.
Our Decision To See A Specialist
In 2012 I was working for a company that had fertility benefits and covered IVF so I my husband and I decided to see a Reproductive Endocronologist. We both went through a series of testing. Not only did the RE tell me I didn’t have PCOS, he also told me that I wasn’t insulin resistant. I don’t know if I was misdiagnosed or if the FertilAid worked for me, but I was happy. We were scheduled to come back and begin the process for IVF and we were just over the moon. It was like a weight was lifted and it was covered by my insurance!!!
I was so excited about my upcoming appointment and all of my plans for my knew family, that I didn’t realize I hadn’t had my period the month of May in 2013. I suddenly realized this the day before my appointment with the IVF specialist. So I decided to take a test and I was indeed pregnant. I called and canceled my appointment in excitement letting them know that I would not be proceeding and called my OBGYN. Rather than get into the details, I will just let you know that I had a miscarriage and would have to have another D&C in June.
My Rainbow Baby
After I was healed emotionally, I decided that I wasn’t going to pursue IVF. It seemed that I really didn’t have any real problems getting pregnant. My problem was staying pregnant. So I decided to start back on my FertilAid and watch my stress levels. We didn’t know why I was miscarrying, but thought it could be due to low progesterone. However, I started taking progesterone my last pregnancy and I still miscarried! I was frustrated and just wanted answers. I got two different opinions from two different doctors about stress and miscarriage. So I started doing acupressure and yoga stretching to relieve stress. I found out I was pregnant in September 2013. This time it stuck!