I was on the fence but posting but if it even helps 1 person it will have been worth my time and so I decided to write my story here. There is so much secrecy and shame to this journey, which only makes a difficult path even more difficult. I am lucky to have had close friends and family to lean on throughout this process not to mention a loving and supportive husband. If you’re struggling with loss or infertility, my best advice is to try to find people to confide in and not travel this road alone.
Back in July, at 18 weeks, we lost our first pregnancy. The sadness we experienced during the weeks that followed went so very deep. In summary, even a rainy day was enough to put me over the edge not to mention the countless images you see between social media, strollers on the street, family life on television, etc. It was the most challenging time in my life and it was constantly in my face.
By September I was physically healed and cleared to start TTC again but my cycles hadn’t resumed. We turned to the help of an RE who had us try chlomid, letrezole, and letrezole + IUI. Each month I ovulated, each month I was 100% convinced I was pregnant (CM, sore boobs, vivid dreams, etc) and each month I got a negative pregnancy test. I guess it really is true that symptom spotting is a waste of time... thanks progesterone!
Test after test came back with no explanation. How could this be happening? The first time around, when we were just thinking about starting a family, I got pregnant the first month I got my period after going off birth control and now, when i wanted this more than ANYTHING, it wasn’t happening. With much hesitation, we turned to IVF, mainly to take advantage of PGS to increase our chances. It was just too hard at this point to accept a 20% chance per cycle and implanting a PGS tested embryo at our clinic had a 60% chance or so of pregnancy. The scariest part of TTC for me anyways was the endless abyss. Would this be over in a few months? A year? What if I never got pregnant again?!
I had no idea what to expect. I pause here to say I was truly blessed to be living in NY with and unbelievable doctor and staff (I went to RMA of NY). They made the process as absolutely painless as possible. They took the time to explain each step, carefully monitored my body so I knew I was safe, and were so compassionate and supportive at both my retrieval and transfer.
For me, the scariest parts and the parts I was least prepared for were the waiting times. The day the huge box of medications arrived I was petrified. Am I really going to be able to do this? I need ALL these meds? Did I make the right choice? What if i screw it up? Then the waiting from when we did the retrieval and successfully got 17 eggs until we got the count that made it to day 5 (we ended up with 5 blastocysts) and then the waiting time for the PGS results (2 healthy males and 1 healthy female). Lastly, the waiting time for the pregnancy test. At each step of the way I had fully prepared for the worst. After so much disappointment, you sort of can’t even imagine anything but more bad news, right?
I finally got a positive result and am now 7 weeks pregnant with all positive results along the way. Hopefully, smooth sailing from here!
I don’t know if any of this made a difference but here were some things I did:
1 - at the instruction of my clinic, I made no changes to my diet. You’ll find a lot of sites talking about restricting gluten and dairy but I was told that making severe changes would put additional stress on your body. Note: I had tried, within reason, to limit alcohol and caffeine, only eat animal products from responsible sources, and avoid manipulated or processed foods (such as low-fat dairy, “skinny” foods, frozen foods etc) throughout this process.
2 - I basically cut out any intense exercise and tried to engage in more natural exercise such as walking, taking the stairs, etc.
3 - acupuncture. I’m still on the fence if this actually did anything for my body, but there is no question that during an insanely stressful time, this offers a wonderful stress release. I generally went once a week. Twice a week for the 10 days I was on stims, and made sure to go the day of my transfer. This took my mind from 100 to 0. I slept like a baby that night. I went to YinOva in NYC.
4 - therapy. I am lucky to have great health insurance that offers covered mental health but having a professional you can confide in and say all your crazy thoughts and fears to is extremely helpful. Given how difficult this can be discuss with friends, it helps take the burden off of your partner to be a therapist, too. Not that my husband wasn’t willing to help but I’m sure many of you can appreciate how old it can get to have a single topic of conversation at home. I found with therapy I was able to make room in my life for other things again.
5 - distraction. While I appreciate the precaution they take, for my personality it is definitely a challenge to have all of these additional milestones (frequent monitoring, multiple beta tests, early ultrasounds, etc). Each scan and blood test has come back normal and each time I find myself waiting for an issue. I spotted after my first ultrasound and prepared for the worst... turns out it was nothing at all. My point is, you can’t think yourself pregnant. All of my worry so far has been a total waste. Do your best to just stay neutral and wait for the results. For me, this meant staying busy. Making sure to have plans to look forward to. If you can, a quick weekend away while you wait for results, binge watching a TV show you’ve been meaning to watch... anything to quiet the mind.
As much as the stories and responses on these blogs created some panic along the way, they have been a wonderful resource for the questions that are hard to even ask out-loud so thank you for posting.
I truly hope this helps someone. Feel free to reach out if you have any other specific questions. You can’t have a rainbow without a little rain. Best of luck to each and everyone of you reading this. Sending you lots of “baby dust”, BFPs, and healthy babies!