So, I decided to start this blog as a way to share our journey to becoming parents and share my growing knowledge about fertility, infertility, Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome, Parenting and some of my favorite recipes. This will be quite the lengthy post but I want to share our story so others that may experience some of the things we went through can reach out for support and know that good things can happen.
We didn’t have an easy time trying to conceive. But we knew it wasn’t going to be an easy road. With a family history of multiple infertility issues, I always wondered if I was going to continue the tradition. I always had a suspicion that I had PCOS. (More on what that is HERE)
Long story short, I ended up finding out that not only did I have PCOS, I also had Hashimoto’s Thyroiditis, Hypothyroidism and a genetic mutation for homozygous C677T that causes fertility problems. It stinks enough to just have one of these diagnoses, but to be told I had all of them, just brought fear into my mind that I may never become the one thing in life I always knew I wanted to be….a mother.
When my now husband and I started dating and were quickly getting serious about having a future together, I knew I needed to explain to him about my suspicions and what it might entail as far as having children together. Not to my surprise, he took all of the information very well and wanted to know how he could help and what would be required of him. Knowing we would most likely need help from our local fertility clinic, Shady Grove Fertility, we decided to stop using birth control so we could begin our one year of trying time before we actually got married. We always knew that miracles could happen and we could become pregnant on our own but the chances of that were next to nothing. We got married and tried a few months longer than the year waiting process with no luck. So, I met with my OB and started discussing what we would do at SGF. I thank God everyday for my OB. She was gracious enough to start the testing procedures that we would do at SGF through her office, to get the process started and to save us some money in the long run. She even gave us three months of Clomid to try first before heading to SGF.
We ran through the beginning testing procedures, pelvic ultrasound, hysterosalpingogram, initial blood work and genetic testing. If you want to find out more about what these tests entail, check out THIS. We received all the results and when we were ready we made the initial consultation appointment with SGF.
We met with Dr. M and had our initial consultation. He went over all the test results and told us about the different options we had. First being a medicated cycle, second intrauterine insemination and finally in vitro fertilization. To our surprise and relief Dr. M said he thought he could help us get pregnant through just using the medicated cycle approach with timed intercourse.
We were excited and scared to start our journey with SGF. Cycle day three I had my “premed” appointment. During this visit, I had blood work and an initial ultrasound where they see what the follicles look like at the beginning of the cycle and measure the endometrium. Cycle day 3-7 I was instructed to take Clomid each evening. On cycle day 9 I was to start my follistim injections and to return to the office the following day to start my almost daily ultrasounds and blood work to track the number and size of the follicles as well as my hormone levels. Then one afternoon, I was waiting on the call from my nurse to tell me what dosage of my next medication, Ovidrel (trigger shot), I weak supposed to do that evening. Unfortunately, the nurse had a different plan in mind. She said that after that mornings ultrasound Dr. M and she would advise that my husband and I not use the ovidrel shot and avoid having intercourse the rest of this cycle. This was absolutely not what we wanted to hear, we were finally making progress and now they wanted us to not try this cycle? Well, it turns out the follistim and Clomid had put my body in overdrive and I had produced multiple viable follicles that could possibly all ovulate if we were to have intercourse. The doctors didn’t like the fact that we could possibly have multiples, making it a high risk pregnancy for both myself and the babies. I was shattered, in tears, they kept saying that we had the next cycle but I couldn’t just give up this one. My husband and I discussed the options at length and we both were completely open to the chance of multiples. We decided not to use the trigger shot but still try this cycle. Without the trigger shot, we couldn’t guarantee that the follicles would even ovulate on their own or when they would if they did. So, we figured if it was meant to be then it would be.
I was so nervous to call Dr. M and tell them of our plan. The nurse called and wanted to know which road we chose. Apprehensively, I filled her in and she said she understood our decision and would support us if something were to come of it and to test in two weeks and call them with the results. She also told me to take prometrium to help strengthen the endometrium for implantation.
Two weeks later, very much to our surprise, we had a beautiful positive pregnancy test. I didn’t believe the first one I took, so I took three more. All positive and a strong positive. We called SGF with the news and were brought in to have blood work done. Over the next couple days we had more blood work done to confirm that my beta HCG numbers were increasing like they were supposed to. Soon enough, we had our first ultrasound in office and sure enough, we had one wonderful little miracle baby in there, happy and healthy. They monitored me for the next couple weeks until I was released to my normal care by my obstetrician.
My OB was quite excited to hear of the news and to begin working with us. All was well for the first trimester. I had a normal nuchal translucency scan, baby seemed to be growing appropriately and all seemed healthy.
On to the second trimester. We were sent to the high risk pregnancy ultrasound office for our anatomy scan at twenty weeks. All organs of baby were developing perfectly and SHE looked great. That is right, we were having a girl!
My husband and I were discussing names and had decided on our daughters name. We were so ecstatic and so were our families. All would change very soon. I was twenty five and a half weeks when one night I went to use the restroom and saw that I had began bleeding heavily. I woke my husband and we called my OB after hours line. A different doctor was on call and he said to lay down and see if it stopped and to call if it didn’t. An hour later, still bleeding heavily and I was starting to freak out because I couldn’t feel our daughter move, we called the doctor back. He said to meet him at the ER. My husband and I were in shock and quietly hopped in the car. I called my mom in tears and told her we were getting ready to head to the hospital. While we were leaving, the doctor called back and said to skip the ER and meet him at the Labor and Delivery unit. In shock and denial, my husband and I sat in silence almost the whole car ride. In the car, I thought I felt our daughter move which brought us some relief.
Once checked in to the triage area, I met with a nurse and a PA from the ER who would check me out until the doctor on call made it in. The nurse hooked me up to the monitors. One checked for fetal heart tone which we’ve never been so happy to hear. It was a beautiful sound, our daughters heart was still beating strong but now to find the cause of the bleeding. They also hooked me up to the contraction monitor and it showed I was having contractions. They ordered an ultrasound, took blood and did an exam. Finally, the on call doctor showed up. He was quite alarmed with the amount of blood. He immediately started telling us that we may have to deliver the baby early due to contractions and bleeding- I was in preterm labor at twenty five and a half weeks. My husband and I were in shock and overcome by fear when he walked out of the room to check on lab work. It was like we were in the twilight zone. My mother had me via a emergency cesarean procedure at 25.5 weeks. It’s like we were trying to repeat history or something and boy were we NOT ready for that. I think adrenaline and fear were keeping me from completely turning into a basket case.
The doctor returned and put me on some medications to try to stop the contractions. I was admitted so they could monitor the health of the baby and I. Over the next couple days, I received a shot to help my daughters lung develop faster in case of delivery. We met with the NICU team and the high risk pregnancy doctor from the center we had gone to for our anatomy scan. I was diagnosed with a placental abruption where the placenta that feeds and nourishes the baby is trying to separate from the uterine wall. I was deemed a high risk pregnancy and once the bleeding had stopped, I was released from the hospital to stay at home on bed rest.
Long story short, we had two more episodes with hospital stays before we actually ended up having my daughter. We never had a hospital tour as we felt we knew the place enough already each time we came in for more bleeding and contractions. I was on bed rest through the rest of my pregnancy. I had to see my OB every couple weeks and was seen at the high risk center twice a week for monitoring and an ultrasound. Every Thursday we would have family dinner at our house with both of our parents to celebrate making it one more week into the pregnancy.
At 37 weeks 6 days, I woke up at 11 at night to use the restroom. I stood up out of bed and felt a huge gush. I took another step and told my husband either I just peed myself or my water broke. I giggled and pranced my way to the bathroom, leaving little puddles on the floor with each step. My husband was quickly on my heels to be sure I made it to the bathroom safely. We put in a call to my OB and were waiting to hear back. Hubby asked what do we do, do we go to the hospital or what? I wasn’t thinking very clearly and told him I was waiting to hear back from my doctor and that the last time I saw her she said not to go to the hospital until I was having contractions that were so tough I could barely talk through them. I had been having contractions ever since we had our first hospital stay at 25.5 weeks so I had gotten used to them. But tonight, I wasn’t having any contractions, it was weird. I was scared she wasn’t ok. Almost an hour went by, husband had showered, we were wide awake and still no call from my doctor. Anxiously waiting, I called my mom to ask what to do. The second I finished saying my water broke an hour ago, what do I do, I could hear my dad say GO TO THE HOSPITAL. Mom didn’t even have a chance to answer. The last few minutes at the house, I finally had a contraction. Hubby and I piled into the car and we rushed to the hospital. This time was for real and my husband started to speed as he could tell I was contracting harder. As we crossed the bridge to get to the hospital, I put in a call to the L&D unit to let them know I was on my way since I still hadn’t heard from my OB. Usually it takes 30-45 mins to get to the hospital, we made it there in about 20 minutes somehow without hitting the random deer standing in the highway, passing my mom on the highway and across the bridge which was operating on one lane each way with construction going on. By the time we made it to the hospital, I was having contractions every 2-3 minutes and was continuing to gush water through the hospital as I hobbled into the L&D registration area. I could barely stand to fill out the registration paperwork, the contractions were getting more and more intense. I was taken to triage and put on the monitors again. Contractions were coming every 1-2 minutes and I was 4 cm dilated. They said they had to get a bag of saline in me first before I was allowed to have my epidural. By now I had turned into the chick from the exorcist, I couldn’t lay still. I was squirming in pain and the sheets on the bed didn’t stand a chance of staying on. Of course, the problem I’ve had all my life…. I’ve never been an easy stick for a blood draw or IV. They called multiple nurses to come in and try to get a vein on me. Over an hour went by and FINALLY they were able to get a good vein to get bloodfrom and were able to start the IV process. By now I was cussing up a storm, apologizing every other word. It was nothing the nurses did. It was the pain talking and oh my God was it painful. I was 5 cm before we got to my delivery room. Thankfully, it wasn’t long before my anesthesiologist showed up, as I quickly got to 7-8 cm. Wahoo! Such relief. I could still feel the contractions but they were no where near how bad they were originally. Oh and my sailor mouth went away and I became my normal self again even though I still felt the need to apologize to any nurse who came in contact to me during my exorcist- sailor mouthed moments. My OB said my daughter wasn’t coming down enough into position so they sat the bed straight up like I was sitting in a kings throne. I sat there for a couple hours. My parents had made it, the in laws had made it and we were playing cards waiting for our daughters arrival. Finally at 755 she checked me again, I was 10 cm and ready to go. Less than half an hour of pushing and we finally had our beautiful daughter in our arms. She was perfect, she was healthy and she was so, so, so worth everything we had been through.
After I had my daughter, my OB spent 40 Minutes stitching me up down there. My daughter had done a number on me but my doctor seemed hopefully for an easy recovery. The important thing was my daughter was finally here and she didn’t need any NICU time. We were discharged the very next evening!
Happy to be home as a family of three the first couple days went fairly well. That weekend, I started to experience some pain where I had been stitched up but figured it was part of the recovery process. Monday rolled around and my mom came over to help me out and see how we were doing. By then, I could barely walk. Sitting down had me in tears. She convinced me to call my doctor to see if this was normal or needed to be checked out. They made time for me to come in and 4 days post delivery I was back in her office for her to check me out. Unfortunately, my worst fear had happened. A decent amount of tthe stitching she had done after delivery, had ropened and needed to be repaired. She also found more areas that needed repair that she wasn’t able to see prior. She spent the next hour plus restitching me up. I had some local numbing medication but it barely dulled the intense amount of pain I was experiencing. This in office surgery was worse than the labor pains or contractions. I was so thankful my mom came. She came to keep an eye on my daughter while I got checked out. She held my hand through it all as I cried and winced in pain. The nurse assisting my doctor was even in tears for me. My doctor said it was one of the worst tears she’s seen in a while. She put me on limited duty, only taking care of my daughter until I healed more. No house work. Basically back to bed rest like I had been for the past 12.5 weeks. Over the next couple weeks, I would go in to see her and to see the healing progress. Each week I went, we had more healing progress but it would be a long recovery and still painful.
As crazy as all of this sounds, my husband and I still want more children. We know what we are up against. We know that if we can make it through this experience, we can make it through just about anything. I always called my daughter the miracle baby since the day of our first positive pregnancy test. Now miracle baby has even more of a special meaning.