I bet you think this is an easy question, right?
Want to know my answer?
NINE. (Yes, nine!)
Miscarriage is far more common than most people realize and having multiple miscarriages, while not the norm, isn’t as rare as you might think. Now, obviously, my story is a bit on the extreme side – I took multiple miscarriages to the next level. I had eight before I was able to successfully carry my daughter to term.
Nine Pregnancies = One Baby (The Maternal Math of Multiple Miscarriages)
I was pretty naive when it all started. I assumed that I could just plan when to get pregnant and maybe it would take a month or 2. And, that first pregnancy did just happen – on the first month we were trying – in Italy, actually. I had visions of getting him/her a little “Made In Italy” onesie – it was going to be perfect. But, the dream soon died.
It started suddenly. Cramps. Then some more…then the bleeding…then the utter panic. I called my doctor who told me to come in for a blood test. It’s one that I would become all too familiar with – the one that tests your hCG levels (oh, how those numbers would torture me over the next 5 years!) When I got the call that my numbers were terrible and I was losing the pregnancy, I think I actually stopped breathing. I fell into a hysterical, sobbing heap on the bathroom floor. It was devastating beyond words.
But, soon I realized that I was young and healthy and this was probably a fluke – I mean, no one has 2 of these things!! Right?!
But it happened again, and again, and again. At first, I could get pregnant easily but always miscarried. Then, to add insult to injury, I stopped being able to get pregnant on my own. I saw tons of doctors and specialists, none of whom could figure out what was wrong with me. I was poked, prodded and tested for years.
Then came the fertility drugs. I started clomid then quickly moved on to more intense meds, the kind you have to mix and inject yourself with. Then I added IUI to the mix (aka “the turkey baster” method.)
I spent approximately 23 hours a day googling things like “successful pregnancy after 5 miscarriages”, then “successful pregnancy after 6 miscarriages” – all in search of a glimmer of hope that I could cling to.
I was at the end of my rope. Even outside of my fertility nightmare, my life was upside down. While I was going through all of this my dad died, my grandma died and 2 of my aunts died. At one point, I was having a minor surgery to have some uterine fibroids removed. I was on one floor of the hospital and my dad was a few floors up (my poor mom was a trooper that day!)
I was nearing 5 years into this ordeal when I had my third round of “super intense injectible fertility drugs” (yes, that’s the technical term) and first failed IUI, and I just couldn’t do it anymore. I wanted my life back (having problems with fertility can absolutely CONSUME you). We decided we were going to try one more round with the drugs and IUI and that was it. I wasn’t going any further. I needed to be done.
The whole process of an IUI is a little surreal. The quiet drive to the doctor, handing over “the cup” (you know what I am talking about), hoping it doesn’t get mixed up with the people sitting next to you…it’s all very intense. Then you get turkey basted and sent home to wait…
My Happy Ending
Luckily, my story has a happy ending. That last IUI worked, and I actually stayed pregnant. I had a rough pregnancy and was nervous the ENTIRE time. I wasn’t convinced they were going to take a baby out of me until I actually saw her.
My beautiful baby girl was delivered by scheduled c-section weighing in at 7lbs 12oz and measuring 19″ long – she was perfect and healthy…and she made me a mom.
Today she makes me crazy but that’s another story for another day : )
To Tell Or Not To Tell
You have heard the advice that you shouldn’t tell anyone you are pregnant until you are around 3 months along and out of the danger zone. That’s what I did. I told my mom, but that was about it (well, my husband was in on it too). Then I miscarried. Then it happened again.
Since all of this was happening in secret, I started getting everyone asking me if we were going to have a baby anytime soon. You have no idea how painful that question can be until you have been asked after having a miscarriage.
This isn’t’ something you should go through alone. This is something we should all talk about In the past few years I have had so many friends tell me that they have miscarried too. And somehow it hurts a little less when you know you aren’t the only one who is going through it. Although, I still haven’t met anyone who has had as many as I have (if you are out there – let’s talk!). All I am saying is don’t be afraid to tell people you are expecting from the start. I am not suggesting making a big post on Facebook quite yet, but tell your family and friends. Tell the people who can help you and support you if something goes wrong.
You Aren’t Alone
Whether you are going through one miscarriage, multiple miscarriages or other fertility problems, I just want you to know you aren’t alone. I can’t fix it, but I can tell you that we have been there before – whatever problem you are having, someone has been there before. And don’t forget, there is hope. Even after 5 years, 8 miscarriages and countless drugs, procedures, and surgeries, there is hope.