My husband and I had been together for about six years when we started discussing starting a family. We were in our late twenties and we knew that time was ticking.
I knew that something was wrong right away. I remember asking my sister, who was a mother of three, “Should I be bleeding like this?”
She advised me to go to the hospital, where they only confirmed the pregnancy through bloodwork and gave the same speech that they give every mother going through this in early pregnancy.
They will tell you that bleeding in early pregnancy can mean many things, and there is nothing that can be done to save the pregnancy.
I had blood drawn to check the level of hCG and had the bloodwork repeated in a few days to see if those levels had risen. If they go up, the pregnancy may still be viable, and if they go down, you are most likely miscarrying.
Even though the bleeding continued, part of me held on to the hope that everything would be okay. But, it wasn’t.
I can still remember the wave of grief that washed over me when my doctor called me at work to give me the news that my numbers had fallen and I was definitely miscarrying.
I was 29 years old, but she gave me the speech that I was, “still young” and there was no reason to believe that I would not be able to conceive again.
Looking back, I know now that this was not true. We had been trying to conceive for three years and had now suffered a miscarriage. All of these factors in combination with my age showed that there was definitely a problem.
My testing came back normal and my husband’s testing came back with a low count and testosterone which they attributed to the need for weight loss.
My husband lost a lot of weight over the next two years and quit smoking. We also saw an endocrinologist who confirmed that this new healthy lifestyle had worked and things had improved greatly.
After a long wait, we finally were referred to a fertility clinic. They asked for my family doctor to have my fertility bloodwork done again since it had been completed nearly two years early.
I received a call from my family doctor, requesting an appointment.
When I saw her she admitted that she had made a mistake two years earlier and had not requested my prolactin levels to be checked. They were elevated, but she was not going to begin any treatment. She wanted to leave that with the fertility clinic.
We finally saw the fertility doctor at the clinic and he prescribed me bromocriptine to lower my prolactin level.
Usually, women with elevated prolactin do not ovulate and can even lactate, as these levels are normally only higher when you are pregnant and breastfeeding. When they are high and these things are not occurring, it tricks your body into thinking that it is already pregnant. However, my bloodwork showed that I was still ovulating.
I was also scheduled for an MRI that showed a small growth on my pituitary gland was causing the elevated prolactin. It’s referred to as a prolactinoma.
The fertility clinic scheduled us for an IUI and it was going to cost us $1000, plus the cost of medication and travel costs since the clinic was in another city.
We decided that it was worth the cost, at least we could say that we had done everything that we could.
I was given Serophene to make my body produce more than one egg, therefore providing more targets for the sperm.
I was monitored throughout the cycle and I had four follicles that were large enough to ovulate! If I had any more than that, my cycle would have been canceled.
I had responded well to the medication and I had my husband inject me with a medication to ensure that my ovulation was timed perfectly with the artificial insemination. Everything looked hopeful!
But, the cycle didn’t work. I started bleeding before I even made it to day 28 of the cycle! We were crushed!
During all of this, my husband had been laid off from his government job and had been working various term positions. He had finally been offered a permanent position, and it required us to move to another part of the province.
When I called the clinic to refill my prescription for bromocriptine, they let me know that if I did not schedule another cycle of IUI they could not treat my elevated prolactin any longer. I hung up the phone and cried, knowing that, with what resources we had, we had no more treatment options.
I took the Clomid for two cycles and both cycles ended with a BFN.
However, the cycle after the second failed round of Clomid, I was LATE!
I had been late before over the last four years and I had always ended up with a negative test, so I refused to take one.
I waited almost a week, until, one day at lunch, my husband came home with a pregnancy test and insisted that I take it.
It came up POSITIVE right away!
To say we were thrilled is an understatement! My husband even took my picture holding the positive test as I smiled uncontrollably! WE WERE PREGNANT!
He kept the picture on his phone as a reminder that it was really happening!
By the end of the week, I was bleeding. We were shattered!
I hated having to go to the hospital and hear the same speeches, “There’s nothing we can do, it’s just going to happen.”
I remember clearly lying on my bed as I was on the phone with my sister and the cramping had started.
I also remember crying out, “Jesus, please, don’t take my baby, not again!”
My sister broke down into tears along with me.
The days that followed are a painful blur, but I do remember my husband saying, “As hard as this is, I’m willing to try again.”
I couldn’t believe his strength and it helped me to carry on.
Waiting For Surgery
She seemed like a very understanding woman and her plan was to schedule me for exploratory surgery. She wanted to be sure that there was no endometriosis or polyps affecting the lining of my uterus that was causing recurrent loss and the inability to get pregnant easily.
She said that it could take a year or more before I received a call to schedule surgery. So, the waiting game continued.
She also gave me a prescription for progesterone and instructed me to have it filled if I did ever become pregnant again. She said that there was a small chance that it could help support the pregnancy in the early stages.
She also did a recheck on my prolactin levels and discovered that they were still on the high end, despite my daily dose of bromocriptine. She doubled my daily dose.
I was not due to start my cycle for three more days, but there had been a spot of blood and then nothing. I thought that perhaps there was something going on with my hormones, but something told me that I was indeed pregnant again.
I kept it a secret over the weekend and waited until Monday when I decided to get it over with and use a leftover test. It came up positive right away!
I couldn’t believe it, and I was so AFRAID!
I called my husband at work and gave him the news quite bluntly.
“Well, let’s try to stay calm. Let’s not get excited,” he said.
I had the prescription for progesterone filled and called the gynecologist’s office.
The receptionist refused to schedule an appointment with the doctor as my “status” had changed from “recurrent miscarriage” to “pregnant”.
“You’ll have to call your family doctor and have another referral sent,” she insisted.
I was able to get an appointment with the doctor.
She said that she would send along the news to the gynecologist, but that she didn’t see a reason for me to be under her care.
She said that it was all a waiting game and that she would schedule a viability ultrasound at eight weeks.
We had a trip scheduled for the next week to visit my husband’s brother and his family. I would just be hitting the six-week mark, where things usually went wrong.
Amazingly we made it past the six-week mark, but every day was a struggle as we wondered when the sky would fall again.
My husband was scheduled to start working part of his work week out of the Toronto office for the next month.
It was a hard time for both of us to be apart. During his first trip away, I received a call, out of the blue, from the gynecologist office.
She had received the update from my family doctor and wanted to see me the next day!
I went to the appointment not expecting to hear much more than what my family doctor had said.
“Hop up on the table!’ she instructed me as soon as she entered the examining room. “Let’s see this baby!”
I was amazed when she produced a small handheld ultrasound machine.
She applied the gel to my abdomen and carefully searched for the baby.
Almost immediately, she found my little one and, exclaimed, “There’s your offspring!”
We could see the heartbeat and, even though I was just shy of being eight weeks pregnant, she assured me that this was encouraging.
That night I was able to tell my husband that I had actually been able to see our baby. There was hope!
The few months were filled with lots of driving to the nearby city where the gynecologist office was and frequent ultrasounds with the small handheld machine.
I also continued to administer the progesterone for the first 16 weeks of pregnancy.
When I had a slight bit of bleeding at 11 weeks, I was sure I was losing this baby too.
Amazingly, the baby was okay!
As things progressed, we were able to start a schedule of appointments just like like that of any other pregnant woman.
The time between each visit was torture, hoping and praying that baby was still alive.
Once I could feel kicking, every time the baby went any length of time without moving, I would be terrified.
It’s A Boy!
It was a long two month postpartum recovery period, but we survived that too.
Our journey through infertility and my path to motherhood have changed who we are. It has left deep scars and wounds that will never heal, but it has also made my husband and me stronger as a couple and as individuals! Our baby boy is now almost two years old and truly is our miracle!