You Are Not Alone – One Mom’s Story about Infertility
Saturday morning on my voicemail:
“Hi Kristen, this is Dr. D. We got the results of your blood work and I need you to come in on Monday. If you get a chance before that you may want to take a pregnancy test….”
“Congrats - you’re already pregnant.”
The most amazing words to hear, especially from your fertility doctor before you had even started a treatment. After one miscarriage and none of my hormone leveling out again, my doctor sent us to a fertility specialist. The specialist had decided that, given a number of factors, we would be trying an IUI to conceive. My husband and I were simply at her office to get the results of my blood test to see when I could start taking the necessary medications.
“You’re already pregnant.”
We were shocked. Elated, obviously, but shocked. The due date was June 8, my parents anniversary. As I soon found out, my best friend and I were due only 3 weeks apart. Because I was already technically a patient of hers, I got the benefits one gets of seeing a fertility specialist, meaning I got blood work done twice a week to monitor my hormone levels and once a week sonograms. Everything had finally fallen into place.
Fast-forward about 8 weeks, and I was sitting in my office when the nurse called me on a Thursday afternoon. I was hearing the words you never want to hear: “I’m sorry, the numbers haven’t gone up. You asked me to be honest; this isn’t a good sign. Sit tight and come in on Monday.” I was almost 12 weeks.
I had a feeling this was coming, but I was not prepared for the reality. You see, I’m a worrier, I’m prone to panic attacks, I’m anxious. I’ve been on and off anxiety medication and suffered postpartum anxiety after the birth of my daughter. I believe that if I think the worse, the world will prove me foolish and everything will be fine. Not in this case. I had called my doctor the day before saying that I just had a bad feeling something was wrong. There was no rational basis for this, but I’d had a dream that threw me off. My doctor was kind and offered to see me the next morning. I had a quick sonogram and some blood drawn. At the sonogram the heartbeat was there, but slow. Not to worry she said, it’s there and that’s a good sign.
When I got of the phone I called my husband to pick me up, grabbed my bag and walked out the door. I went home and waited for my parents to arrive, as I was about to host around 20 members of my extended family that weekend for my grandmother’s memorial service. In hindsight, the distraction is probably the only way I made it through the weekend without stalking my doctor, showing up at her door and forcing her to do another sonogram immediately.
Eventually the sadness lifted. Week by week it got a little better. That being said, when I would hear someone was pregnant I would cry and yell and pity myself. Hearing your engaged friend got pregnant “by surprise! Oops!”, or knowing someone who wasn’t happy they were pregnant? Yeah, those bits of news were dealt with by throwing shoes at the wall. Seriously.
But, life was moving forward. It took us six months and a few IUI cycles to get pregnant again. This one resulted in an amazing, perfect, now 4 year old, little girl. (The anxiety I suffered during and post that pregnancy is for another day.) Our adorable son quickly, and very surprisingly, followed her.
Monday morning came and my mother joined me at my doctor’s office. I sent my husband to work, as I didn’t think it was necessary for both of us to have to hear the news in person. As I climbed on the table, a tech and 2 doctors (never a good sign) joined us. The heartbeat was virtually gone. I was told it would stop on its own in a day or two at the most. I was crushed. Destroyed. I couldn’t breathe, I was shaking, crying silent tears. This simply couldn’t be happening. I had thought the worst, so naturally the universe would prove me wrong. We scheduled a D&C (Dilation and Curettage) for Wednesday and I went home and cried on the couch. The 48 hours between the diagnosis and the D&C were the worst. All I kept thinking was that I was walking around carrying something dead inside me. It was torture. The D&C itself, however, was unremarkable.
For weeks, months even, I cried. I cried in the shower, in the car, playing with my dog, at work, looking at my husband. I hated the world, especially everyone I knew who was pregnant. Thanks Facebook for the updates. I was miserable. Despite knowing otherwise, I felt it was somehow my fault. My body had failed me and my husband and our baby. Failed. What had I done that I shouldn’t have? What sign had a missed that could have saved the pregnancy?
Friends were supportive for the most part, but no one really knew what to say or do. One friend actually told me told me to “move on and get past it”. If I hadn’t spent so much time at the doctor, then I wouldn’t be so upset. What?! I wanted to scream at her, I wanted her to understand the hurt and the gut wrenching pain I felt. Move past it?! “Seriously?” I wanted to scream, “You have NO idea the sense of loss that I feel”. Needless to say that friendship didn’t last much longer.
What did I learn from all of this? I learned is that no one should tell you how to feel. If you want to cry for weeks, cry. It is sad. You have lost. It is gut wrenching. Embrace these feelings. It’s okay. It’s normal. Cry in the shower or in the car. Call your friend when you need support. The best ones will always listen. Try not to let it consume your life, although I know how difficult that can be. Talk to your partner, don’t shut him/her out, because they feel just as empty and as lost as you do. It’s important to remember that.
And remember that there are so many of us out there who have experienced this loss. I talk, and much to my family’s dismay at times, I have almost no filter and have always talked openly about my miscarriage and our struggles with fertility. As a result, I have been able to support more friends and acquaintances that have found themselves in the same situations.
Just know that, no matter how difficult it seems, life moves on and the pain subsides. I still think about what might have been, and each June I still shed a few tears for that lost pregnancy. Then I go hug my two little miracle children until they yell at me to let them go.
A Real Estate Agent in the greater DC area, Kristen Farman is a former case manager in special education and learning specialist who is loving motherhood more than anything else. Raised in Texas and a New Englander at heart, she currently resides in Chevy Chase, Maryland with her husband and two children (5 and almost 4). Sometimes Kristen cannot believe she traded the fast-paced city life for a house in the 'burbs'. Being in the ‘burbs’ means more space to create fun, delicious and (mostly) healthy gluten free meals as she and her daughter suffer from Celiac Disease.