Infertility and Miscarriage can be devastating. I know this is a very sensitive topic. I know…because I’ve been there. I went through so many pregnancy tests, I started just buying them in bulk. So many times in my early married life, I wondered if my dreams of motherhood would ever come true. Trying to get pregnant over and over and over again and not being successful is a very emotional road. I share my story only with the hopes that I might comfort or even help someone else who is now where I once was. I’m obviously not a medical professional, just a mom sharing her experience.
Growing up, I was the oldest of 8. One could say, I was born to be a mother. I helped raise my siblings after all, didn’t I? My own mother must have done a pretty good job, because all I ever wanted to be in life was a mom. I loved taking care of babies. When I went to college, it was a no brainer, my major was early childhood. I became a preschool teacher when I was 18 and loved it. When I was 24, I married my best friend. I felt like life just couldn’t get any better…
Whenever my husband sees this picture he says, “That couple had no clue what they were in for!” He was right!
Although we agreed to wait a year before we had any kids, we ended up changing our mind a month after we were married and took the plunge! 2 months later I was pregnant and ecstatic! We couldn’t wait to tell EVERYONE! Thoughts of finally having a baby of my own to cherish filled my mind every second of the day. At 8 weeks, my worst nightmare happened and I miscarried. It was extremely painful both physically and emotionally. I went to my doctor who could only say that she was sorry but that it was completely normal. Anyone who’s been through a miscarriage knows that it does not feel ‘completely normal.’
It took us another year of trying before we saw those 2 lines again.
The most amazing thing was that my due date was the exact same date as my previous pregnancy. I felt like it was a sign that this time it would last! I took my mom out for lunch to tell her the good news. 5 weeks later, I miscarried again. I felt like a complete failure.
What was wrong with me? Another year…another loss, and I was bitter. All of my friends were having their families. I dreaded hearing someone close to me announce a pregnancy because I knew it would be a battle to hold back the tears. Once again, this was considered normal by the doc so we just kept on trying. I read everything I possibly could, tried to eat healthier and be more active. When we got pregnant again, I was excited and very scared. I had little faith in my body and was scared I would just miscarry again. I didn’t want to announce it to anyone this time, but we decided instead to call our family and ask for their prayers. Thankfully this pregnancy stuck, but every time I spotted or had ANY signs of miscarriage I started to fall apart. I would take my temperature every day because I had learned that your temperature stays higher when you are pregnant. If my temperature looked like it was dropping, I would immediately think I was going to miscarry. One night, my husband finally took my thermometer outside and threw it at a brick wall where it shattered. He then hugged me and told me to stop worrying and that everything was going to be OK! Thank goodness one of us was thinking straight!
I severely hemorrhaged during my first labor and delivery and they were very concerned about me right after I gave birth. All I could think about was that my baby was ALIVE! When they placed my daughter in my arms, I felt like heaven had come to visit our home. I had never experienced so much joy!
I remember just sitting in the rocking chair one night and crying. When my husband asked what was wrong I told him, “I lover her so much!” They were tears of joy!
We had so much fun with this high-spirited little girl, we decided to start trying again when she was a year old. We hoped the worst was behind us. Once again we began the emotional cycle. Try, try, hope, and try some more. Writing this now, it feels like forever ago, but I still remember how hard it was. This time, it took a lot longer. I remember having very vivid dreams but didn’t know why. One dream, though, I will never forget. It was definitely the Lord’s way of forewarning me about what he knew I would have to go through. In the dream I was in the hospital and gave birth to 3 babies all at once. They were very premature and could each fit in the palm of my hand. The first 2 both died. The dream ended right after I heard a nurse declare that the 3rd baby had a heartbeat! When I awoke, I knew the dream meant something. I thought it meant that after having 2 miscarriages, the third survived. I hoped it meant I was done having miscarriages. I soon found out differently. We got pregnant and I lost the baby at 6 weeks.
“Here we go again!”I thought.
At the same time I was struggling with major back problems and wondering if I could even carry another child again. Still, we were determined. About another year passed. I miscarried at 9 weeks.
Was I done having children? I was so grateful for my daughter, but still hoped she would get a sibling. I went to a different doctor who once again told me that it was normal (really??) and that they usually didn’t run tests unless there were 3 or more miscarriages in a row. I couldn’t believe it! We got pregnant again pretty soon. I remembered my dream, and the 3rd baby with the heartbeat when we went in for an ultrasound at 8 weeks and heard… a heartbeat! I felt confident this baby would live.
At 10 weeks, I started to cramp and within an hour had lost the baby. I was far enough along to actually see it. I was hysterical and I could tell my husband was having a hard time knowing how to comfort me.
I realized later that my Father in Heaven knew I was going to have to go through this. He had tried to tell me in a dream. Through it all I am so glad that I took this picture…
Maybe it’s inappropriate for me to share it. I don’t think so. This little embryo on the verge of being a fetus represents so much to me and to other mothers out there. You might not be able to tell, but all 10 fingers and all 10 toes are there, along with the beginnings of eyes, nose, ears and mouth. Life IS truly a miracle. God really IS in charge. Suffering so many losses has taught me that.
After this loss, I was DONE! I found a different doctor and was determined to get help. After hearing my story, he said that it sounded like my body wasn’t making enough progesterone to keep the pregnancies alive. He ran a blood test and confirmed it. He put me on natural progesterone cream and told me to continue to take it as directed and that IF I got pregnant to continue taking it till the end of the first trimester until the placenta could take over the progesterone production. I have had 3 more babies since then and no more miscarriages!
I look back on all we went through to finally get our kids. The pain is gone. It’s hard to believe I even went through that now because my days and nights are so full of little kids now. I still am a little upset that I went through all of that only to find out through a simple routine blood test, the answer. Why, the HECK couldn’t they have done that earlier? Why did I have to go through so much pain and heartache, before they would take me seriously? I hope all doctors are not like that. At the same time, I fee like I was supposed to go through what I did for a reason. Maybe it was to help someone else, or maybe I just had some growing up to do (still do).
Either way, I would never wish for anyone to go through what we had to go through. If you are struggling to have a family of your own, my heart goes out to you. I know my experience is unique and everyone has different issues when it comes to infertility or repeated miscarriages but I have listed below the things that helped us. Also please feel free to leave a comment. I promise to respond in any way I can!
1. TCOYF. Otherwise known as Taking Charge of Your Fertility, this book really helped me to understand my own body and how I could chart my cycles for the best results. (Just beware that your husband might throw out your thermometer if it becomes an obsession 😉 ) Here is their website.
2. I’m not a doctor so I can’t give you medical advice, but if I were to do it all over again I would get ALL OF MY HORMONES tested before I tried to get pregnant. Progesterone has to be tested at a certain time in the cycle in order to get an accurate reading. I believe it was in the last half. Ask your doc. My sisters have since found that they have the same progesterone deficiency that I have. This book really helped me understand the role of progesterone better.
3. Speaking of docs, make sure you have a good one who really has your best interest in mind. My sister had a great experience going to a fertility clinic. Ask around and find someone with a good reputation for helping women with your issues.
4. Healthy fats. I know now that my hormone deficiency was caused by my lifetime pursuit of a low-fat diet. Healthy hormone balance comes in part from healthy fats. My doctor told me to start consuming cod liver oil and other healthy fats. I try not to not be obsessed with how much fat I eat as much as WHAT KIND of fat. There is a lot of misinformation out there on what kinds of fats are healthy. Do a LOT of research! If you have also been a ‘low fat dieter’ I recommend you watch the documentary “Fat Head.” Last time I checked you could watch it on Netflix.
5. Here are a few things I found helpful when trying to get pregnant. Do your own research and consult with a medical professional if needed.
-Chaste tree berry or otherwise known as Vitex.
-Natural Progesterone Cream. This can be bought over the counter or I have also used a prescription for NATURAL progesterone cream from my doc. Not all doctors or pharmacies will supply this for you though.
6. Take advantage of the time you have with your sweetheart. I was so obsessed with starting our family, I neglected the relationship I already had…with my husband! We were so ecstatic to get pregnant back then. Now, 14 years later, we are so ecstatic when we have an hour to ourselves WITHOUT kids! Funny how life works, isn’t it?