After years of being terrified I would never be able to have a baby. After years of doctor appointments, pills and side effects. There is was. That little pink line on a positive pregnancy test. To say I was elated was an understatement.
One of the things that is both a blessing and a curse about going through infertility treatments is all of the information you have at your fingertips. I know way more about the science of reproduction than I need to know for example. You also get early ultrasounds. Because of this, I have a very early ultrasound picture of my first baby. It doesn’t look like much… just a miraculous little black dot, but I cherished that picture and looked at it pretty much constantly. About a week later, I had a second ultrasound. I don’t have a picture from this one. I don’t need one. Every moment from that appointment is burned into my brain… even now, 8 years later.
Excitement quickly turned to devastation when my RE told me that there hadn’t been as much growth as they would have expected to see. And even though we could see a faint flickering little heartbeat… it wasn’t strong. I was going to miscarry. I remember my head swirling with panic, confusion and disbelief. I remember my RE gently placing his hand on top of mine and telling me he was sorry before he left the room so I could get dressed. I remember the compassion on the RN’s face when she came back in to get me and fielded all of my questions as I tried to convince myself – and them – that there was some loophole in this information.
We walked across the hall to meet with my RE again, where he went through all of the technical stuff he needed to go over. We could wait for things to happen naturally. We could try again once my pregnancy blood levels returned to normal. I don’t remember many details from this conversation, but I vividly remember looking over at my husband through my tears and seeing his own in his eyes and on his face. Some people dismiss miscarriage, but to us, this was painful. That baby was OUR baby. A baby we wanted more than anything in the world. And losing that baby, hurt. It still does.
I was a horrible mess for several months afterwards. First, I had to go away immediately after that second ultrasound for a work conference – where I sat through presentations and “social” events, feeling numb. Then after another week or so of waiting for things to happen “naturally”, I couldn’t handle it any longer and I called to schedule my D&C. I still held out hope on the day of my surgery and asked for another ultrasound hoping things would magically be different. But, there was still no growth and now there was no heartbeat. I sobbed my way through signing my paperwork for the “missed abortion” – no crueler words could have been used to label the D&C procedure. I sobbed my way through triage and pre-op… until the bliss that was IV versed took a hold of me. I was still crying when I woke up. I went home and was back at work the next day… as if nothing had happened, but forever changed. In a cruel twist of fate, my pregnancy hormones took months to return to normal. This is something that takes a different amount of time for everyone, but I was significantly longer than most people. Every blood test result meant yet another two weeks before we could try again. When we were finally able to try again, IUI was not successful. After a couple failed cycles, I could not take it any more. I was spiraling into a pretty severe depression and I felt stuck.
My RE had always laid IVF out on the table as a possibility, but they never pushed it. They let me steer my own course. But, I was ready. I couldn’t keep repeating the same actions each cycle with the same results (that is after all, the definition of insanity). I was ready for IVF.