The power of sharing

Jennifer’s Story

My journey to motherhood was a 4 year roller coaster, full of heartache, tears and loss. My husband, Zach and I had always talked about having children, even before we got engaged.  We both knew we wanted at least two and were on the same page that we would start trying for a baby when we really felt ready. Well, after we had been married for two years, both had great jobs, and bought our first house, we finally felt like the time was right to start our family. The first few months of trying were carefree and, well, fun! Then, after we hit month six, and I still wasn’t pregnant, I started to get nervous. What if there was something wrong with me? Was I even ovulating? Maybe our timing was just off? I went out and bought a handful of ovulation tests and sure enough, I was definitely ovulating. So, we kept trying. We tried for a little over a year before I decided that we needed help. I contacted my doctor for a physical and blood work and Zach went to get tested as well. Everything came back normal for both of us. It was relieving, but also incredibly frustrating because we still didn’t know why we weren’t getting pregnant. A few months into all of our testing, I was feeling a little off and realized that it was around the time I should be getting my period. On a whim (and because I owned every pregnancy test known to man), I decided to take a pregnancy test and just like that, I was pregnant! I was shocked! After almost a year and half, there were the two pink lines I had been dreaming about for so long! I took about 40 more tests over the course of two days and planned a cute way to tell Zach. I bought the book “Dude, You’re Gonna Be a Dad”, wrapped it up and anxiously waited for him to get home to give it to him. At first, he was confused, but then realized what was happening, and was so excited. We were both on just so overjoyed that it was finally happening for us!

It was two weeks later when I knew something was wrong. We were at my cousin’s wedding and I had been cramping all day. I went to the bathroom and started spotting. By the next day, I was officially miscarrying. I felt numb. How could this be happening to me? I remember going to Zach, sobbing, and just saying “I’m sorry, I’m sorry, I’m sorry” over and over again. I felt like my body had let us both down. I felt like I had let him down as a partner. It was one of the hardest moments of my life. He or she was my first baby. He or she made me a mom.

We were devastated, but we also had hope. We had gotten pregnant on our own! So, we kept trying. Well, after a few more months, we still weren’t pregnant and I knew that it was time to find a fertility doctor to help us. I found New Direction Fertility Centers online, was inspired by their reviews and loved the fact that the doctor there, Dr. Amols, had gone through infertility treatments with his wife to conceive his own children. I called and got an appointment for the next month, which was the earliest they could get me in. Our appointment with Dr. Amols was amazing. He sat with us for almost an hour and really listened to our concerns, learned about us as people and made suggestions based on what worked best for us. The best part of our meeting was that we were able to start a fertility treatment that same day! We signed the paperwork for an IUI, I started medication, and away we went! We also found out at that meeting that we were 100% out of pocket for all fertility treatments and medicine, as neither of our insurance companies covered anything. It was a huge blow to us, but we knew how important it was for us to have children, so we started saving every penny, just in case.

The IUI ramp up and procedure was straightforward and pretty painless, minus the needles! Two weeks post IUI, just like that, I was pregnant again! It had worked! This was it! I just KNEW that this was going to be our take home baby! We had just needed some assistance to get pregnant. We went to our first ultrasound with so much hope. We couldn’t wait to see our wiggly little guy or girl. But…there was nothing. No baby. Just an empty sac. It was a blighted ovum. The fertilized egg attached, but the embryo never developed. We were defeated. Dr. Amols, on the other hand, was still very optimistic and assured us that this was just a fluke and many couples miscarry, so we trudged forward with another IUI. This one would be different we thought. This would get us our rainbow baby. IUI number two was also seamless and easy. Zach was out of town, so I went alone. I remember thinking to myself, my husband isn’t even going to be in the room when I get pregnant! How funny is that?! And then, two weeks later, I saw those two little pink lines yet again.

We went into our ultrasound appointment holding our breath. And again…no heartbeat. What was going on? We sat down with Dr. Amols and made a game plan. He had a suspicion that there was an issue with the quality of my eggs (due to our miscarriages), but there isn’t any type of test they can run specifically for that. He advised, since we were paying out of pocket, to forgo the cost of another IUI and go straight to IVF with PGS testing. PGS testing is when they biopsy the embryos and test to see if they are compatible with life. If I did have an egg quality issue, this type of testing would be imperative to be able to implant a healthy baby. We started the retrieval preparation just after Christmas. I remember getting my huge box of medication ($3,000 worth of medication to be specific) and thinking, it’s like a late Christmas gift! IVF comes with daily shots, multiple weekly doctors’ appointments, and crazy hormones. It was intense, but I was progressing nicely and Dr. Amols was estimating that we would get over 20 eggs! Well, after my retrieval, we found out that we got 33 eggs, 28 were mature, and 24 fertilized. We were ecstatic with these numbers! Then, the wait began. You have to wait to see how the embryos develop for five days. Some of them will stop developing/splitting, others will split incorrectly, and then some will become perfect little embabies. After five days our babies were cut in half and we were left with twelve to send off for PGS testing. We were optimistic, but also were terrified that we would end up with no embryos left. After an incredibly long ten days, we found out we had six healthy embryos! We were so incredibly happy! Six was an amazing number. Dr. Amols also informed us that due to the drastic decrease in our embryos during the process that he was positive that our fertility issues were due to egg quality. Over 75% of my eggs were faulty in some way and if we had not done PGS testing, I possibly would had to miscarry six more times to get one good, quality embryo, even with IVF.

We decided to transfer two embryos in April. We had so much hope that this time would be different and we would get rainbow twins! The transfer went smoothly and I cried as I watched my babies be placed back in their home on the monitor. I knew I was pregnant after a few days. This was my fourth pregnancy and I was pretty good about knowing my early symptoms. We went into our ultrasound with guarded hearts. We had never had a good outcome after an ultrasound appointment. This time, it was different. There, on the screen, was not only one beating heart, but two! I had waited almost 4 years to see those little hearts flickering away. It was surreal and magical and everything I had hoped for. They told us then that they had implanted a boy and girl. Boy/Girl twins! God is good! We were so happy and were so excited to see our little ones again at our 8 week appointment. We had a blissful two weeks of nursery planning and thinking of names for our girl and boy.

Our 8 week appointment is a day that I will never forget. We started the ultrasound and before Dr. Amols could say anything, I saw it. A third heartbeat. One of our embryos had split and we had identical twins, as well as our third singleton! Triplets! Dr. Amols was automatically concerned about baby C’s heartbeat and was not optimistic that he, or she, was going to make it. So, we decided to just enjoy our time with the our big three and dream about life as a family of five. We drove home giggling and imaging how we’d fit three car seats in our cars!

We went into our 9 week ultrasound optimistic, but also apprehensive, knowing that, most likely, we would only see two heartbeats on the screen. We started the ultrasound and there, flickering away on the screen, was only one little heart. Our twins, our two girls, were gone. Dr. Amols was almost positive that they were conjoined, so when baby C’s heart stopped, it affected baby B. We were pretty devastated, as we had expected to at least have two babies, but were also so joyous to still have our little, healthy rainbow. How do you stay happy for your surviving triplet, when you’re miscarrying your other two precious babes.

The rest of my pregnancy was easy, uneventful and wonderful! I loved being pregnant and tried to soak up every single second with our little man. I had dreamed about carrying a baby for so long and was just so grateful for the opportunity. I loved every moment of heartburn, pimples, cellulite, backaches and food aversions!

On January 11th, 2018, Jaxsen Jayce was brought into the world and he was perfect. His first name means “God has been gracious” and his middle name means “a healing”. Our rainbow baby is only here because of God’s grace and he has healed our hearts after years of disappointment, heartbreak and the loss of our five other babies. I truly believe the verse: “So be truly glad. There is wonderful joy ahead, even though you must endure many trials for a little while”. Our miracle baby boy is that joy and I would go through every trial over and over again for the chance to be his Mama. I am also happy to report that after 8 months with our baby boy, we decided to add to our family! We did another embryo transfer in September (this time with only one embryo!) and got pregnant again. Our baby girl is due in May of this year and we are so ecstatic and grateful for the chance to soon be a family of four! NEVER, EVER give up!

Not only did I get Jaxsen out of the trial of infertility and miscarriage, but I also found an amazing Instagram community of women who were facing the same struggles that I was. This network of women inspired me to create an online community that could connect women who were dealing with infertility, miscarriage, or adoption, so that they would feel less alone and isolated during their journey to motherhood. The TTC Tribe was created and we now are able to connect thousands of women every day that are dealing with infertility and share their stories.

 

 

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