Today is Day 0 of our infertility story, as you know it. For us, however, it is Day 1,398+. I’m going to write out what we have dealt with thus far and what we are anticipating, so that you can have a better understanding.
Bear with me as this explanation post is long.
The Beginning: October 2013 to 2017—MC #1
We have been married for 3 years and 10 months and our infertility journey started almost immediately. Before we got married, we agreed to give ourselves 5 years sans kids. I was 20 and headed into my last year of college and he was 22 and just starting his Army career. We knew we wouldn’t be living together for the first 7 months of marriage and in the 18 months of dating had spent more time apart then together. The first 5 years of our marriage would be spent learning with (and about) each other, traveling, dealing with jobs and deployments, expanding our fur family—we’d be enjoying life as a couple.
Then 6 weeks and 4 days later, we found out that the flu had turned into a baby. I was 6 weeks along. Obviously, that plan went out the window! 15 days later, 2 hours before our 8 week (and first) ultrasound, I started to miscarry (MC).
It was an incredibly painful and long process because I opted to MC naturally (no medication or D&C). I went to the doctor every 2-3 weeks from December 2013 to March 2014. After recovering, we decided to continue on our 5 year track.
From March 2014 to February 2017, a lot of life happened and we were enjoying it!
The Middle: January 2017 to August 2017—MC #2-3
In January 2017, Sadie—our beloved, rambunctious Australian Shepard—broke my foot in 2 places and messed up a tendon. What should have taken about 6 weeks to heal ended up taking months.
I’m telling you this because it plays into our fertility journey.
Anyway, long story short, I was referred to a Vascular Surgeon and Rheumatologist. The circulation in my extremities was less than great. The occasional numbness, cold, sometimes tingly sensation that I’ve lived with (for as long as I can remember) was finally diagnosed in February 2017. Raynaud’s.
Doctors started asking us if we had children and/or pregnancies, or were thinking of having a family. Our answers were always no, yes, and yes. They suggested that since we had miscarried previously and Raynaud’s had entered the picture we might want to consider starting our family sooner rather than later. We were also told that the second I got pregnant I’d be considered high risk. “Better safe than sorry,” as one doctor put it.
We discussed and decided that 2017 would be year of the baby! I was nervous of the worst case scenario, but still really excited.
In May 2017, I tested earlier than I probably should have and got a faint positive. Not sure what to think, I decided I’d test again in a few days to see if it got darker as time passed. The next day, and way earlier than I should have, I started bleeding. The following day (a Monday), I decided to go into the ER because I wasn’t feeling very good. The doctors couldn’t confirm whether or not I had miscarried. I followed up with my doctor 2 days later who thought that I had miscarried, but that because it was so early to get another opinion.
I was given a referral to a High Risk Obstetrician (HROB) and was given the okay to continue trying. The HROB later confirmed that this was a very early MC.
June Pregnancy readings: Negative
July Pregnancy readings: Negative
July 31, 2017 was my first appointment with the HROB. It was an hours long appointment and a lot happened. At that time, (for the last week or so) I was feeling horrible, but were still getting negative pregnancy tests and told the HROB so. Because I had 2 MCs and recently found out about the Raynaud’s, they did a blood workup and redid the results of the Autoimmune Diseases (lupus, scleroderma, etc.) panel.
Two days later (August 2, 2017), I got 2 positive pregnancy tests. I went to the doctor to get the confirmation test, estimated date, and my confirm my HROB.
On August 2, 2017, I was 3 weeks and 6 days. Due date was April and the HROB was confirmed. We were EXCITED and told our parents and siblings that night. We decided to tell them for 2 reasons. First, it was exciting! Second, if something happened we didn’t want to have to explain both a pregnancy and a MC.
The evening of August 6, 2017 (4 weeks and 3 days), I started spotting. We called the nurse line at the hospital and were instructed to head in, just to be safe. After 5 hours, they gave me a Rhogam shot (Rh blood factor shot) and told us to follow-up with my OB because (as they termed it) we were experiencing a threatened MC. My HCG levels were very low at 27 and because I was still early they couldn’t see anything during the ultrasound. By the time we left, I had stopped cramping and had no signs of spotting. I was to be in bed until the next doctors appointment.
August 7, 2017 (4 weeks and 4 days), 2 hours before our scheduled appointment, I started bleeding heavily. We went to the doctors, they checked my HCG levels again (down to 18), and prescribed Misoprostol and pain killers. After quickly being told what to expect, we went home.
The Now: August 2017 to Present
Almost 2 weeks later, we are waiting our next appointment (August 24) to discuss our options. Doctors, care and tests, timelines, etc.
We’ve done research to prepare ourselves and I have to say I’m incredibly disappointed in the lack of information on recurrent miscarriages. (Hence, this part of the blog.) There’s tons of information on what to expect, self-care, and positive mantras or thoughts for the conception journey for those experiencing a MC for the first time, but next to nothing for those struggling with infertility or multiple MCs, especially for those deemed high risk.
I understand that it’s most likely because every one is different and they can’t be too general, but it’s still frustrating!
Again, I’m hoping that this can be a space for people to come together and know that they are not alone during this very lonely time.
I’m currently making a list of questions to ask and things to know/expect going into your appointment after several MCs. Stay tuned as that will probably be up next Thursday of Friday.