We knew before trying to get pregnant that we had some obstacles to overcome. I was diagnosed with a septate uterus and was told from a specialist that it was unlikely I would ever carry a baby to full term. There was no certainty, so we had to just go for it and see what happened.
After a few months of trying, I found out I was pregnant. We were excited and cautiously optimistic. It did not take long for the worries to begin. I started spotting at 6 weeks and went in for an early ultrasound. I was a nervous wreck. The doctor said that the pregnancy was progressing, but they could not find a heartbeat. She did not seem concerned because of how early I was, and said to come back in a week. The next week we had another ultrasound. Unfortunately, it was the same response. The pregnancy was progressing, but there was still no sign of a heartbeat and I was told to come back in another week. Finally, at the next appointment, we had some answers. It was not the answer we were hoping for. There was no heartbeat at 8 weeks, which meant the pregnancy was not viable. I was devastated and in complete shock.
They said I had already started bleeding out so I had a choice to get a d&c or wait for a natural miscarriage. I was hoping to avoid a surgery and start trying again as soon as possible, so I opted to let things happen naturally. I waited two long and emotional weeks for my body to recognize what had happened, but nothing was progressing. It was agonizing to try and go about my days as if everything was normal, but still know that this baby was inside of me. I chose to schedule a d&c so I could start moving on with my life.
We began trying again when we were physically and emotionally ready. Month after month went by and I continued to see negative pregnancy test results. At first, we were laid back about it, and tried to remind ourselves that everything happens when it's meant to happen. After a while, the desire to get pregnant consumed me and it was all I could think about. I spent endless hours researching different fertility tips. I tried supplements, fertility tea, yoga, meditation, Pre-Seed, ovulation sticks, fertility monitors, basal temperature tracking, a dream board, and baby dust by my bed (This was basically baby sequins that came in a package of something I ordered and it was supposed to bring good luck. It sounds crazy, but I was desperate). Nothing was working.
After a year of unsuccessful trying, we started clomid and progesterone cycles. On the fourth month of clomid, I found out I was pregnant. We were so relieved to know it could happen again, but of course had major anxiety about how things would progress. Right after the positive pregnancy test, I was asked to do the two day HCG blood tests to see if my numbers were doubling. They had not doubled, but had gone up significantly. We stayed hopeful. Our first ultrasound was at 6 weeks. The doctor came in the room and told us that the heartbeat was not found, but the pregnancy still looked viable at this stage. We were told to come back in a week. I could not believe that I was hearing these exact words again. This could not be happening.
Finally, we were given a blessing. At the next ultrasound we saw a heartbeat. It was the most amazing thing I had ever seen. The doctor was very open with us and said the heart rate was slower than they like to see and things could go either way at this point. The expected due date based on the ultrasound picture was October 17th. My husband and his dad both share the same birthday, October 18th. I knew this baby was meant to be, and meant to share an October birthday. I was so excited to have our first ultrasound picture to take home and show my close friends and my family.
The next morning, I woke up with heavy cramping and bleeding. I called my doctor knowing the worst but praying for a reason, and she said it was most likely a miscarriage. I tried to convince myself that it was going to stop and everything would be fine. I miscarried at home that night.
After that, I was an emotional mess and had a difficult time handling the pregnancy news and baby announcements from friends and acquaintances all around me. I avoided many situations out of fear of crying or reacting in a bitter way. Old friends would run into me and say they had heard I became a hermit. I was so sad and broken, yet also felt angry at myself and guilty for not being strong enough to share in the happy times of others. I kept wondering what was wrong with me. The close friends I had once relied on for comfort became some of the most difficult people for me to be around because they were fortunate enough to have healthy pregnancies and babies. For years, it felt like my life was on pause, while everyone around me was moving forward.
When we were ready to try again, my doctor referred us to a recurrent pregnancy loss specialist. This was where we really started finding answers as to what we were dealing with. After some testing and procedures, I was officially diagnosed with a complete uterine septum, a blocked fallopian tube, and Hashimoto's Thyroiditis. As much as I didn't want anything wrong with me, I was happy to have some answers.
I was given medication to help treat the thyroid condition. The complete septate uterus was more complicated. The doctors discussed information about the risks of surgery, as well as the risks of not having surgery. Nothing sounded ideal. While my husband and I were losing hope and trying to decide how we wanted to move forward, I found out I was pregnant.
This time there was very little excitement with the news, but mostly fear and anxiety. When I shared the news with others, I approached it in a very casual manner and told them not to get excited. I just needed prayers. I thought the stress alone was sure to cause problems with the pregnancy. Despite my feelings of panic, I was able to push through the stages one by one with the support of my family and friends. My HCG test came back exactly as they hoped. Our first ultrasound was amazing. There was a healthy heartbeat and everything looked great. I took one day at a time, making sure to feel gratitude for each moment I was given with this pregnancy. I also meditated every day to keep my anxiety level down. We were monitored very closely and only looked ahead to the next appointment.
Despite all of the possible negative outcomes, we were fortunate and blessed to welcome our baby boy into the world at 39 weeks. He was perfectly healthy. The only concern we had was his clubfeet, which we knew about while getting ultrasounds. This was corrected and he has no problems with his feet at three years old.
Two years later, we welcomed another miracle. She was a beautiful baby girl. I was so fortunate to conceive quickly and have very few scares with her, but even after having my son, I found it difficult to enjoy pregnancy. I continued to be filled with fear and worry and looked ahead to only one appointment at a time. I remember feeling sadness that my anxieties would not allow me to experience things that many blissful pregnant women do, like surprising my family with a big pregnancy announcement, talking with other pregnant moms excitedly, throwing a cute gender reveal party, or designing the nursery months in advance after finding countless cute ideas online. While these things seem trivial now, they were things I imagined and dreamt about long before trying to start a family and I was sad to have to give them up.
When I was holding my little girl in my arms at the hospital and my son was sitting next to me giving her kisses, the sadness washed away and I knew that those details were not important, and the only thing that mattered was having a healthy baby.
Our journey to parenthood had its challenges, and I often wondered if I would ever be happy again. Looking back, I see that the plan for me was different than anything I could have imagined. Life is not perfect, and will continue to have its ups and downs. I still deal with many anxieties that were established around that difficult time in my life, but this experience taught me to have more faith that the sun will shine after dark times.
Infertility and loss are painful to the core and will change you forever, but will also show you how amazing, courageous and strong you are. Reach out to others who are also struggling and share your story so you do not have to carry this burden alone.