As I sit here writing this, I am in disbelief of the words coming off my finger tips. Never in a million years would I have thought the words in the title of this article would come out of me. I am sure you are thinking, how in the world would a miscarriage make anyone's life better?
Let's start at the beginning of my TTC (trying to conceive) journey. My husband and I go married in fall of 2017 and began trying for a baby right away. I am a self proclaimed Type A with very little patience and always have my life planned out for the next 5 years... doesn't everyone? Ha! After six months of trying, I went to my OB/GYN to voice concern. I was seeking a proactive approach which she was not wiling to entertain. I got the age old, "You're perfectly healthy and under 35... wait 12 months and if you still aren't pregnant, we will reevaluate." Enter eye roll; that wasn't good enough for me. I "fired" that doctor and went to another that I was told would work with me. I told you I was impatient...
After a few easy and relatively inexpensive tests along with the evaluation of our medical records, it was determined due to a genetic factor (a balanced translocation), IVF was our best and potentially ONLY shot at having children. Now where would I have been if I had listened to my previous doctor practicing in the stone age?! SELF ADVOCACY PEOPLE!
Anyway, in May of 2018 we began our IVF journey. We went from zero to one million miles an hour and, in June of 2018, had our first egg retrieval. Without boring you with the statistics a couple battling a translocation have to overcome, let's just say it's rough. Of the SEVENTEEN embryos we sent off for genetic testing, only four came back genetically normal. At this point we were considered the picture perfect IVF couple - young, healthy, no other problems to speak of, great response to IVF meds, etc. etc. Getting us pregnant would be a breeze!
It came time for our first transfer and it was a big, fat, ugly failure. Why... everyone asked? What could it be? A fluke? Is there something else wrong? Well, nothing on the surface at least so we continued with the plan to transfer the second of four embryos the following month after adding a blood thinner to my protocol to stay in front of any blood flow issue I may have had that was preventing implantation.
In September 2018, I found out the second transfer had worked and I was pregnant with a baby girl. At six and a half weeks we saw and heard the heart beat, and to this day, it was one of the most magical moments of my life. We left the next day to visit Paris and London to celebrate our one year wedding anniversary and birthdays as a family of three. The vacation was wonderful - a trip of a lifetime. We saw and did all the things, all the while celebrating the life inside me.
When we returned home and went for our next check up at our RE's (reproductive endocrinologist) office, her face said it all. As soon as the ultrasound began, we knew it was all over. The image was cloudy due to internal bleeding, also known as a subchorionic hematoma (the accumulation of blood between the uterine lining and the placenta). The baby's heartbeat could not be found. I was sent home with little hope and instructions to take it easy and come back in a few days for a better view after (hopefully) the bleed had gone down. When I went back, it was indeed confirmed that the baby had stopped growing, likely due to this bleed. I was furious. Furious at the world. Furious I went on the trip; convinced that is what caused this to happen. I was an utter wreck. Pregnancy loss is not a quick process. It takes days, weeks or even months to recover physically and even longer emotionally (if ever). For me, I had to spend the next week at work with our dead daughter inside of me and wait for the weekend to roll around so I could take the pills to make me miscarry at home. After that, it took weeks for my pregnancy hormone levels to come down to zero so we could try again.
Those weeks were dark and isolating. No one in my immediate circle had been through anything like that when growing their family. Sure, I knew women my mom's age (my mom included) who had had miscarriages but the pain wasn't fresh. Finally, I got up the courage to join the fertility community on Instagram under the handle @fabfertility. Through sharing my story and following others' journeys, I slowly but surely was able to better cope day by day. I slowly started coming back to life after receiving encouragement and hope from the brave women who share their stories. It was then, in my darkest days, that my life changed.
In those moments, my passion for sharing my story and helping other women in similar situations caught fire and I have NEVER looked back. I had found a purpose in my pain. Over the past year and a half, Fab Fertility has grown from an Instagram account to a blog, a podcast, a business and a brand. I am collaborating my butt off (which I love) and planning so much for the next decade. I am now also the co-founder of Fertility Rally, an annual event that will be held in cities around the US to inspire, educate and bring women together in the fertility space. The first rally will be held in Brooklyn in October 2020 (working on details now).
Since my miscarriage, my husband and I have had two more failed frozen embryo transfers and undergone two additional rounds of IVF. We have switched clinics twice, doctors once, seen specialists, undergone multiple procedures and still no baby. We are preparing for our fourth egg retrieval this winter and are hopeful that 2020 will be the year we FINALLY get to become parents.
My miscarriage shattered my heart, but the community I became a part of and continue to grow have changed my life for the better. It is now crystal clear what I am supposed to be doing in this world and that is helping other women and couples navigate their journey to parenthood. Infertility sucks - that doesn't mean life has to. It's like I always say, "Just because fertility is hard, doesn't mean it can't be fabulous!"
Here is me right before the egg retrieval where they retrieved the egg that would eventually become our daughter:
Here is a picture of me on National Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day in 2019:
Here is the picture I had taken for my Fab Fertility podcast cover:
Preparing for one of many procedures: