Our Fertility Story

I’ll begin by saying that this journey has been so much bigger and more challenging than I ever could have imagined.   Nothing can ever make losing a baby ok.  At the very least I know that I am a stronger and more compassionate person than I was before this all began.

 

My History

I decided to stop taking the pill in 2011 after 13 years straight.    I wanted to give my body a break, and see how my hormones were working long before we ever intended to have a family.  I knew in my gut that something wasn’t right.

Three months later I was diagnosed with PCOS.   I made some big diet and lifestyle changes, and with support from a naturopath and chinese medicine doctor my cycles became relatively regular, and have been this way for years now.

A recent ultrasound showed that my ovaries are no longer polycystic-  one win worth celebrating on this journey.

 

If you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans

My husband and I married in November 2014, and started trying to conceive straight away.  I felt confident that things would happen quickly-  I had been tracking my cycles for years and I felt in tune with my body.

 

Our First Baby

We arrived home from our honeymoon just before Christmas in 2014, and I got my period.    It didn’t stop.   I didn’t know that I was pregnant-  I thought my hormones must be all over the place from 2 months of travelling.  One morning we were out and the pain literally brought me to my knees.   Things got crazy.   We went to the doctors, and began the waiting game that is confirming a miscarriage.   We lost our baby at 7 weeks in late January 2015.   I was in shock, and I never took a day off from work.   My husband later told me that it never felt real to him.  It was so strange to learn of our baby’s existence at the same time that we were losing them.

 

Our Second Baby

Two days after my 31st birthday in early May 2015, we found out that we were expecting another baby.    We were overjoyed but tentative.    My husband came to all of the appointments with me, we booked in to a hospital-  it felt real this time.

We had an early ultrasound and 8 weeks.    I was nervous in the days leading up to the ultrasound.   In my gut I knew something wasn’t right.   The ultrasound revealed an empty yolk sac.    This is still the worst day of my life.   The week that followed was the worst week of my life-  back into the waiting game again.   My hcg levels continued to rise throughout the week, but I cried every time my doctor told me this good news.   I couldn’t handle the rollercoaster ride any longer.   An ultrasound at 9 weeks confirmed a blighted ovum.   My doctor recommended having a miscarriage at home rather than a d&c.    My first experience hadn’t been too bad, so I agreed.

2 weeks later I felt more pregnant than ever (my hcg levels were still rising), but there was no bleeding.   I booked in to an acupuncturist to induce the miscarriage.   It worked, but what followed that night was a labour followed by a birth.   I was terrified.

 

Comparison and Infertility

The 10 months that followed include:

  • Six of my eight best friends becoming pregnant.   My sister in law, and eleven of our other friends becoming pregnant.    My support people falling pregnant.   I was so thrilled for each of them, but I ran out of people to talk to.
  • Depression
  • Fear
  • Strain on our relationship, but becoming closer than ever
  • Visits to an RE, and a prescription for clomid.
  • Tests, tests and more tests.   Everything is fine.

 

Our Third Baby

I took clomid after some hesitation in February 2016.   It didn’t work (or so we thought).    I took it again in March.   We went on a holiday with some friends, hoping to conceive while we were away.    My stomach felt terrible the whole time.   I thought it was side effects from the clomid.   Two weeks later we found out that we were pregnant.    My hcg levels were high, and our RE told us to expect multiples.   It was the best week of our lives.

IMG_7013[1]

Our third pregnancy test- the dark line gave me so much confidence.

One week later I had pain and bleeding.   So began the waiting process.   Again.

Monday the 2nd of May:  I have never, ever been in more pain or more unwell in my whole life.   I was screaming and unable to move.   At one point I got stuck on the floor for an hour while my husband sat next to me helplessly.   I knew I needed to go to hospital, but the only way I possibly could have gone would be in an ambulance.   This was normal for a miscarriage, right?   The pain was similar to my second miscarriage-  only this time it went for 9 hours rather than 2.

The pain subsided to a point where I could talk again.   I called my specialist to ask her if she thought my pregancy could be ectopic, and whether I should go to hospital.   I told her that I didn’t want to go, I just wanted to stay in bed.    Looking back, I am so angry at myself for not going.   She asked if it was possible that I had gastro on top of the miscarriage.   My husband had been sick overnight, so I said yes.   We kept my ultrasound scheduled for four days time on Friday.

The days that followed were rough, and they included my 32nd birthday.   I was in pain but it was nowhere near as severe as Monday.    Every time I tried to stand my head pounded.

I woke up on Friday morning feeling weak.    We made it to the ultrasound appointment-  my first time leaving the house in a week.    The specilaist said words that we were never expecting-  there was an 8cm mass that appeared to be attached to my right ovary.   I was not 6 weeks pregnant, I was 10.   The pregnancy was ectopic, and there was a lot of internal bleeding.   I began to shake uncontrollably.

Two hours later I was emergency surgery, having a blood transfusion and my right fallopian tube removed.     I lay on the table while the doctors prepared for surgery, and I really thought I might die.   I knew that our baby was gone, but I was trying to enjoy our last moments together and say goodbye at the same time.

 

Moving Forward

As I write this it’s winter in Melbourne and I am 8 weeks post op.   My husband and I have been using this time to hibernate and rest as much as possible- he ruptured his achilles tendon 5 weeks ago.    We’re having lots of cuddles with our Kimmy dog by the fire, eating lots of good food and watching lots of movies.    I need to have a HSG to confirm that my left tube is open before we are allowed to try again.

After my surgery, I did not want to try again for a long time.   But it’s funny how things can change.

Lots of love,

Clare xxxx

4 Comments on Our Fertility Story

  1. Liz
    July 9, 2016 at 2:32 pm (4 years ago)

    Hi Clare. I’m so sorry for everything you have been through. I can relate to your story very much. My husband and I married just a few months before you. We started trying right away and also thought we would have no troubles. The wedding and honeymoon was so beautiful, happy, magical, blissful. And then the years following have been a nightmare. I have 6 friends that I am very close with and consider to be my best friends. 4 of them got pregnant, back to back with no problem. And now their babies are all here and they all have play dates. You feel happy for them but so sad for your own situation. You wonder, what about me? I also had my right Fallopian tube removed. Was your ovary ok or did they have to remove it as well? I’m thankful that you are sharing your story. It makes me feel like I am not alone and you can understand my pain and I can understand yours. I have lost 2 sweet angels.

    • Clare
      July 9, 2016 at 3:51 pm (4 years ago)

      Oh Liz, I am so sorry for what you have been through too, and I’m sorry for your losses.

      After the grief, dealing with the feelings surrounding my friends’ pregnancies and healthy babies has been one of the biggest challenges for me. I’ve felt like I need my friends more than ever, but I also find that I feel worse after spending time with them- so I have isolated myself a lot. My friends have been as amazing and understanding as possible, but it’s been hard for all of us.

      I’m doing my best and trying to remind myself that it’s not forever. I’ve also found comfort in connecting with people online and reading their stories. We will get through this.

      My ovary was ok- the surgery went as well as it could have 🙂 I had an ultrasound this week that showed what looks like endometriosis growing on the right ovary that I will find out more about, but I was glad that it was able to be saved. It sounds like yours was ok too xxx

  2. Tash
    July 9, 2016 at 3:37 pm (4 years ago)

    I’m six weeks post op. My heart breaks everyday but even my husband doesn’t understand. It wasn’t real for him

    • Clare
      July 9, 2016 at 3:52 pm (4 years ago)

      Tash, I’m so sorry for your loss and what you have been through. I can really relate to feeling like no one understands, and I felt particularly alone and unsupported after my first loss. You’re not alone and I’m sending you a huge hug xx