In our Realtalk series, we're sharing personal stories about fertility and family planning. We hope they offer support and inspire honest conversation about an incredibly tough topic.
Ever since I was a little girl, I had always dreamed of being a mother. Playing house was my favorite childhood game and I never let that dream go.
After I tied the knot in 2011 at age 27, my husband and I started trying right away. I wanted to be a young mom like my mother was, and I thought getting pregnant and having a baby would come naturally to me. I did get pregnant immediately — but what came afterward wasn't all rainbows and butterflies like I had hoped.
Fast-forward three years, and I had suffered four miscarriages. At that point, I had slightly begun to lose all hope. I'm a happy, positive person so I think I hid it well. But that doesn't mean I didn't spend hours googling "baby after miscarriage" just to find a story similar to mine of a woman who went on to have a healthy baby. I spend night after night wondering why is this happening to us, as everyone around me seemed to be getting pregnant.
Social media doesn't help these days. I can't tell you how many times I saw a pregnancy announcement pop up on my Facebook feed right after I miscarried. Needless to say, I’ve deleted a lot of "friends" from my past. Rash decision? Maybe. But, at the time, that is what I had to do for my own peace of mind. Being a mom was what I have always wanted — and in the moment I wasn't sure it was ever going to happen for me.
Our Journey Through Four Miscarriages In Three Years
My journey to motherhood started out with two early miscarriages, one naturally at six weeks — and then another at nine weeks. We found out at nine weeks that our baby’s heart had stopped beating and a procedure was scheduled. We opted for the chromosomal testing, but the results came back inconclusive. We were left without answers.
In 2012, at age 28, I called my OB the second I saw two lines on the pregnancy test and was told to come in right away. I was followed with blood work and ultrasounds. All looked perfect until a small subchorionic hemorrhage was noted. My doctor told me this is not unusual in the first trimester, and we hoped and prayed it would go away.
But soon after finding out about my clot, I started to experience heavy bleeding on and off, which led to many ER visits. I was put on bed rest at 12 weeks.
I tried to stay positive, and honestly I thought everything would be fine. Looking back I now realize I was in complete denial. Unfortunately, bed rest didn't help my situation. I had a placental abruption at 16 weeks.
We loved our baby boy so much and I couldn't understand why this was happening to us.
My OB recommended a fertility specialist and I made an appointment right away. Unfortunately this doctor seemed to only be about pushing fertility drugs. I told him I didn't understand, considering I was having no trouble getting pregnant. He had nothing productive to say about my clot, stating it was an isolated event.
Months and months later, I hadn't gotten pregnant, so I started the injectable drugs (ouch) and went through with IUI — artificial insemination used for unexplained infertility — simply because we wanted a baby so badly. But the expensive drugs didn’t work for me.
I became pregnant on my own (well, with my husband's help!) shortly thereafter in 2013. I was followed with weekly ultrasounds and blood work. At around seven weeks, a clot had already formed and the heavy bleeding had begun. I was put on bed rest and told there was nothing I could do to reverse my condition.
At 11 weeks, our baby's heart stopped beating. Another procedure was scheduled and we had the chromosomal testing done again. This time the results came back as a perfectly healthy baby girl. My OB said the clot had pushed the placenta away from the uterine wall, ultimately leading to lack of oxygen for our baby. I knew I had a clotting problem. And I knew I'd have to find a doctor who was willing to help me figure this all out.
Finally Finding Answers — and Our Happy Ending
Shortly thereafter, we received a recommendation from a friend to try a new fertility doctor. The first time my husband and I met with this man, he gave us instant hope. Before doing massive amounts of blood work and tests he put me on a daily baby aspirin regimen because of my clotting history. Finally, a doctor who was treating me according to my history.
After my blood work came back and showed a mutation on a clotting gene, my doctor told me we'd have a lot to talk about in terms of my options for the next time I got pregnant.
A couple months later, I received a positive pregnancy test and met with the doctor right away. He asked me what I thought about Lovenox (a daily injectable blood thinner). I was a little apprehensive at first. My doctor must have seen it in my eyes, because the next words out of his mouth were so reassuring. He told me that if I were his daughter he'd want me to use the medication. Done.
Weekly ultrasounds went by and there was no clot forming. My nerves were at an all-time high, but time continued on and my husband got better and better at the nightly injection routine. More ultrasounds and still no clots. My fertility doctor released me at 13 weeks to my OB and high-risk doctors (as a precaution) with high hopes. He hugged me and told me he looked forward to meeting our baby one day. I cried the whole drive home. Never had I been so happy and hopeful.
Months later, Brody — my perfectly healthy baby boy — arrived in March of 2015. Brody, my dear baby, you are my world and my heart has never been so happy.
It was a painful journey to get here, but I hope my story brings hope to other couples who are currently struggling.
Photo Credit: iStock