Fertility Journey Update

Well, since my post in December, a lot has happened that I’ve been waiting to update you on.

All of the testing that the doctors did came back negative/normal. The genetic testing showed no signs of concern. All good news, of course, just a bummer to continue to not have any answers. Nice to know I have healthy gen,es though.

In January we had the option of starting our first fertility treatment which would consist of taking clomid, an ovulation shot, and having timed intercourse prescribed by the doc based on when we did the shot. This treatment was going to cost us $1,100 if we used my fertility insurance benefit or ~$400 out of pocket. And I mean, can we sidebar on how my insurance doesn’t help… holy expensive! How does insurance make it cost more!?

Anyways, we decided that, given the cost, we wanted to wait one more month to make sure my cycle was regular (since I had just gotten over a miscarriage) and give ourselves the best odds. This meant we’d be trying everything in February.


Once February rolled around it was time to test the waters and start our treatment. After my cycle started I had to start clomid on the third day of my cycle and take it for 5 days. While taking the meds I felt pretty normal and didn’t have many side effects but after it was in my system for a few days I definitely felt the mood swings. I was upset about any and everything and probably cried once a day at least. I instigated dumb arguments with Rob and was a general hot mess. I was on the lowest clomid dose so I can only imagine how women feel on higher doses. Luckily one of my girlfriends had taken clomid before and was a great support system for me through all this (love you 😘).

Before being prescribed to do the ovulation shot I had to get two ultrasounds to check my follicle (think egg) development. Unfortunately each ultrasound is 300$ (out of pocket) so the treatment ended up being more than the original 400$ but still. ➡ Worth it but just unexpected. We were told we’d only need one ultrasound to check follicle growth but at that first one the follicles weren’t developed enough to say when to do the trigger shot so I had to get another ultrasound. After the second ultrasound they told me to do my shot on February 18th and when to have intercourse (TMI I’m sure but, well, we all know that’s kinda key for making a baby 😂 and I’m just trying to share my journey).

I hated doing the shot at home. I was so anxious leading up to it and worried that I’d do it wrong or in the wrong spot on my body. The doctor at my second ultrasound wasn’t helpful at all either and he didn’t make my anxiety any less. He nearly left the room without saying anything about it other than “do the shot on Tuesday” but I stopped him and asked how I was supposed to do it and where. I’d never done this before and wanted a little more direction at least. The doctor still wasn’t compassionate and just told me it goes in my stomach and to go on their website and watch the video (thanks, super awesome doctor’s office). Then, when it came time to do the shot at home stress was high and I didn’t enjoy it at all. We argued while trying to figure it out (I’m sure I was hormonal and that didn’t help). The actual poking process was super simple and it didn’t hurt at all but the dread and anxiety all in my head just made it the worst. Women who have to do lots of hormone shots for their treatment are the real MVPs. I’m sure my stress would be a bit less after doing it the first time but still. Not fun and not how anyone imagines making their baby.


Once we did that all it was a waiting game to see if the treatment worked. The doctor told me to test two weeks past my ovulation shot (they didn’t say the shot would trigger a false positive though 🙄 and I wish they would have). Of course, I tested before the two weeks (I know I shouldn’t have) but I mean no woman trying to get pregnant is patient. The first test I did on Feb 25 (7 days post shot) was a faint positive. Then a second on Feb 27 (9 days post shot) was also a faint positive. I was so excited and called the doc (and learned about the false positive from the trigger shot 😭). I was defeated. I tested again the next day (again because I have no chill) and it was negative. Then, 13 & 14 days post shot I tested and also got positives. Day 14 meant I got to call the doc and schedule a blood draw.

When I went in for bloodwork I was 4 weeks. My progesterone was 19 (they wanted it to be 20) so they put me on a supplement and I had another draw two days later to see how my HCG rose. My HCG more than doubled ❤️ and I got to be scheduled for an ultrasound in 2 weeks. I got the call while I was at a work event and was so excited I cried.

The first ultrasound was great news – unlike any of our three miscarriages last year. The baby was measuring right as expected and we could see the heartbeat. Everything looked perfect. Rob and Hannah both were able to go for this one since it was pre-covid lockdown. We scheduled a second ultrasound for 2 weeks later and that one I had to go to alone. I was so nervous but again we were blessed with good news. The baby grew right as expected and I got to hear the heartbeat. I recorded the ultrasound for Rob so he heard it too. It was so perfect and just felt surreal. This last appointment meant I could graduate back to my regular OB. ❤️


Luckily for us, the treatment worked. The journey for us to get to baby #2 was anything but easy. Despite the craziness, I felt so loved and supported. Rob has been amazing through all of this and my friends and family have been so supportive too. I couldn’t have done it without my tribe and them helping hold me up when I didn’t feel I could exist on my own.

Cheers to baby Ruwe #2 ❤ we can’t wait to meet her!

Well that went well…

On 12/4 we had our first appointment at our fertility specialist. We were supposed to have our first appointment on 11/25 but my dumb ass thought it was set for 1:30pm and we arrived at 1:20pm only to find out we were late and would have to reschedule. Luckily we only had to schedule one week out and were able to get in on 12/4. BUT, that was all a long way of saying, just getting to our first appointment was a hassle.


Once we got to the office, the receptionist tells me she doesn’t have the appointment in her computer. She said it only showed my one from 11/25. Luckily this didn’t cause us any issues but it just didn’t set a great tone for the afternoon.

After a few minutes in the waiting room the doctor calls us back and we start to go through what feels like his 20th questionnaire of the day about our fertility struggles. Apparently (another bit of our *great* luck) my medical records weren’t in their system yet (I called my regular OBGYN after the appointment and they said they sent them on 11/25 so who knows whose fault it is). But, since he didn’t have my records he was asking us everything (how many miscarriages, when were they, how far along did the baby develop, did I get an ultrasound, what did they see on the ultrasound, did I hear a heartbeat, etc.). Honestly, these were hard questions. I felt so gutted that between the three miscarriages this year, Rob and I were getting all the details mixed up a bit. Such a shit problem to have – I’ve had so many miscarriages I can’t keep the stories straight. I just felt terrible. The doctor really seemed like he does this all the time and was pretty loose and happy. I mean, as Rob said later, he’d have rather him be happy and positive than sad and worried during our consultation. I guess I just also kinda wished he was a little more sensitive or compassionate. Either way – his bedside manner wasn’t really that bad. It didn’t cause me any concern alone it just wasn’t necessarily a “win” for the doctor’s office column either.

But, as a result of our chat with him, he gave us a few options and next steps. Our next steps were to do bloodwork, genetic testing, an ultrasound and an HSG test. He said that usually the tests come back negative and, if that’s the case, then I have 3 options:

  1. Take progesterone and baby aspirin to try and help the next pregnancy stick
  2. Take hormone boosting drugs (like Colmid) to try and improve the odds of getting pregnant (even tho that part seems easy for us) and also the Progesterone I think
  3. IVF

Personally, this wasn’t exactly what I was hoping for but was kinda what I expected. I was hoping they’d have more options between 1 and 3 for me to try. Since I took progesterone last pregnancy, option 1 I’ve already really done (minus baby aspirin) and he said if we did it again we’d have about a 50% chance at having another miscarriage. IVF would give us an 11% chance at another miscarriage but is really expensive and invasive. At least he laid out options so there’s that but luckily we don’t have to decide anything right away. To finish up this appointment – next up was the ultrasound and bloodwork.


First problem: for the urine sample/collection they wanted to do, they didn’t have the right equipment in the office (another strike). They took my sample but said I might have to come leave another (annoying). But still, not a big deal, just looks kinda not put together at this point. Then, for the ultrasound everything was normal. They looked at all my internal lady parts – no probs there so that’s good. Painless.

Second problem: the blood draw. For me, my blood draws 99% of the time have to come from my hands and, with my luck, the office receptionist/phlebotomist/OB-GYN assistant can’t draw from hands. She checks my arm, can’t find a vein, and then does Rob’s draw while we wait on another lady to come try and do mine. Rob’s draw goes easy peasy and then the other lady arrives to do mine. She stuck both hands and couldn’t get either one and then the first lady tried my arm and couldn’t get it. Soooooo… They decided to send us to their main office where they have a phlebotomist that can draw my blood. They tried to call the office and tell them we were coming but no one was answering so they just sent us there. At this point I’m annoyed but we’re still joking around so I’m not that bothered. Plus the main office was kinda on the way home so whatever – annoying but still, at this point I wasn’t ticked off.


When we get to the next office and head upstairs to the floor the doctor is on, all we see is major construction behind their doors. The lobby is all torn up with drywall and tools everywhere. There is a sign by the door that says its under construction and appointments are available at their locations 3 locations (this one included).

Right when I saw the construction it all clicked. They didn’t answer when the other receptionist called I assumed because they were CLOSED. ☠ This then immediately reminded me of when I originally came to their main office location on 11/25. When I had to reschedule they wouldn’t let me choose the main office location because it was going to be under construction. I was so mad. Rob and I left and went back to the car. Rob said we could go back and look around one more time to be sure they were closed and I said to not bother. I thought it was definitely closed and we should just go home. I tried to call the office from the car but they’re one of the fancy offices where you just leave a message and only get a call back so we decided to leave. 🙈

When we left I was annoyed and irritated and pissed off. I wanted more from this appointment. It wasn’t supposed to go like this. Everything was going wrong and now I was going to have to wait longer for more answers. I wanted to do my damn test today. And to top it off, I needed to get back to work. It was already almost 3pm and I was hoping to have been home by then. It was all going really great.


As we were driving home I rationalized my way into their 3rd office being semi on the way home so we decided to dig ourselves an even deeper hole and stop there. What else could go wrong? As we pull up at that office someone from the practice finally calls me back. The lady says that they had in fact actually been in their main office location. Apparently when we saw their front doors we should have turned left down a hallway and then seen another sign on the right to check in there. If only that had, I don’t know, maybe been written somewhere. Like maybe on the sign by the door?! I was pissed. It was ridiculous that they didn’t have any signs up to say where to check in. Plus, how stupid that I didn’t go triple check or something. I was annoyed but whatever – we were at the third office now. We got off the phone and parked. Once out of the car my phone starts ringing again. It was the office again. Apparently the third office we were at wasn’t equipped to do the blood draw I needed either. We drove all the way here for nothing.

At this point I was done. How ridiculous was this shit show of a “specialist” appointment?! Their satellite offices couldn’t care for me on a simple NEW PATIENT INTAKE appointment. I felt stupid for not triple checking the signs at the main office but also super irritated because I did check the first time we were standing right there. The signs obviously sucked. Rob and I both missed how/where they could have been open.

I definitely expressed my frustration to the lady I was on the phone with. I told her that the whole day had been a shit show and that I was beyond irritated. I felt bad, in hindsight, that I was so irritated while on the phone with her (I didn’t yell at her but definitely cussed a lot while expressing how ridiculous every aspect of the day was). She told me “it wasn’t her fault” and that I “shouldn’t take my anger out on her” so we just agreed to set me up an appointment for a blood draw in two days (on Friday) at their main office and part ways.

The whole ride home was lots of traffic and road rage in our car. Rob and I were both in good moods. The rest of my day was shit too. I cried a lot about how terrible the day was and about how unsupportive the doctor was. I cried about how this specialist was supposed to help me and instead stressed me out even more. I cried because this was supposed to be the most recommended practice in our area and I was getting such shit service. It was just a rough day. I wanted more from this specialist. I wanted to feel supported and helped. I wanted this all to be over and every, single, part of it, just felt worse.

At the end of all of that, I debated on finding a whole new doctor since I received such terrible service. Once I was able to cool down I decided I’d give them another shot and do my blood draw that Friday and see how things went. This was supposed to be the best doctor in the area and I really wanted them to help us.


Now, fast forward a week, I did my blood draw on Friday and my genetic tests are processing. They 100% redid the signs at the main office (that’s under construction) to be more clear/obvious and have also made sure that both of their satellite offices are fully stocked to do the tests I needed to have done but couldn’t. Hopefully no one else has the experience I did! Rob’s blood draw that they did didn’t work for some reason (or wasn’t enough blood or something – the lady on the phone didn’t really explain) but she said once my results come back, and if I’m a carrier of anything, then we can decide if we want to redo Rob’s test or not. I guess if I’m not a carrier of anything then it doesn’t really matter what he is bringing to the table. I’m not sure how genetics work but that’s how she explained it.

All of this is a long way of saying that it’s been a roller coaster of a ride so far and it just started. Next test is the HSG test and then we’ll just wait on all the results before deciding what to do next. Fingers crossed we find some answers and this part of our lives can be behind us soon!

My third one in a row.

Well, here’s a blog I hoped I wouldn’t write… again.

❤️

I very recently went through our third miscarriage and, most people had no idea we were even pregnant this time. ➡️ Don’t take it personally if we didn’t tell you. It’s just easier to wait. This pretty much rounds out why 2019 hasn’t been a great year for me. I know there were good things that happened but really, these pains just feel so much bigger and seem to cloud lots of those memories. So many fun memories are tainted by being pregnant with a baby I’d soon lose, dreaming of a baby I’d never meet, or reeling from the pain of loss.


We would have had our first “lost baby” in October. I made a cute shirt for Hannah to surprise Rob for that pregnancy. I ended up having to hide the shirt since it was too depressing to look at. I found out I was pregnant with lost baby #2 only days before Hannah’s 2nd birthday. That baby would have been due in February. We were also pregnant for lost baby #2 on our kid-free Orlando trip too. I floated in the pool drinking alcohol-free mocktails for that baby. Then our third lost baby now would have been due in June right around Hannah’s birthday. By this pregnancy I wasn’t even excited to be pregnant anymore. I was just constantly nervous and hated having to go to the doctor for constant checks. Each day seemed like I was either going to the doctor or waiting for a results call from them. It was nerve-wracking.

It feels like I’ve pretty much been pregnant, trying to get pregnant, recovering from a miscarriage, or miscarrying all year long it seems. First was in March, then July, and now November. Being yanked around on this pregnancy rollercoaster has been one of the hardest things I’ve ever experienced. I always wanted a big family and it feels so far out of reach. I feel like I have pregnancy PTSD (made that up, yes but still, it kinda explains what I mean). Every pain or twinge or stomach ache makes me think of miscarrying or that, if I’m pregnant, it’s going to start to happen again. During the last pregnancy, I just cried from laying in our bed. I laid in the same spot a few months prior and that’s where my cramping/miscarriage started for lost baby #2. The memories are vivid.


This 3rd pregnancy was different than the other two before it. My doctors were monitoring me so much more. I had more appointments, hormone checks, and ultrasounds this time. I thought for sure we’d know if something was wrong, wouldn’t we?

This pregnancy started with me going to the doctor every other day for blood draws ever since I got my first positive test. I was sad I didn’t even get an appointment with my doctor until my HCG levels were high enough. That in itself felt like a bad sign. But at this point – maybe we just caught the pregnancy early? Maybe I ovulated late? My HCG was super low first week (doubling every 2.6 days vs every 2 days) and my progesterone wasn’t high enough so I had to start progesterone pills. After that first week my HCG started to double every 2 days and, once it was over 1,000 my doc told me “congratulations – you’re definitely pregnant!” It felt like things were turning around. I must have ovulated late and caught it early – phew! It was a sigh of relief. Then, the next roughly ten days was spent waiting for my first ultrasound appointment. Longest wait ever but at least I wasn’t having to go in for constant bloodwork. Things were better it seemed.

At the ultrasound appointment we saw two gestational sacs (I was even a little excited to think we were getting blessed with twins!) only to learn that one sac was empty (most likely a vanishing twin) and one had a yolk sac. I thought, based off my period, at this time I’d have been nearly 8 weeks (but maybe more like 7 if I ovulated late/since my HCG was so low the first week). The ultrasound tech measured each sac to be roughly 5w3d. Again, this felt like bad news. To me that was too early to be right. At this point it was either that we caught the pregnancy early (skeptical) OR the baby had stopped developing. From here, all we could do was wait for another scan ten days later to compare to. When we met with the doctor he was surprised I was sad about the scan. At this point, the doctor seemed optimistic and positive. Things could be totally fine, he said.


At the second scan, the tech commented on the way to the exam room that the past 10 days waiting for my next scan must have been the longest. I commented that I hadn’t just been waiting a few days but instead months for positive news. With all the miscarriages and loss, all I had been waiting for was to hear a heartbeat.

When the tech got me all set up and started the scan it was pretty obvious it wasn’t good news. According to the tech things looked exactly like they did 10 days ago. The baby hadn’t grown. It was scenario #2.

We waited in a private room (vs the waiting room) for the doctor to call us back and see us. One of the nurses I frequently see at the office came in to hug me and offer her condolences. She’s been there for each of my miscarriages.

When the doctor called us back he confirmed that there was no change in growth and that this pregnancy wasn’t viable. He said I hadn’t started to miscarry yet because of the progesterone pills preventing it but, that it should start naturally once I stopped the pills. He also recommended we go see a reproductive endocrinologist. The whole appointment was so quick.


From here, there was nothing to do or say. We just went home and I cried. A lot. I was empty and sad and just heartbroken. Again. How many times can you suffer the same exact heartache and get back up ready to do it all over again? Is there a number or threshold? I felt like such a failure. I’m jealous of all the new baby announcements I’ve seen lately. I wanted to be the one making the announcement. I wanted to tell everyone at Christmas this year. I wanted to have the happy news to share.

I stopped my progesterone that day and started to get cramps just the next afternoon. Then the miscarriage started overnight with the worst cramps (lots of heating pad time). Then the miscarriage went on for about a week and just recently stopped. We’re going to see a reproductive endocrinologist on the 25th. Hopefully they have answers or can do something.


When I go to my appointment I plan to bring in the SDS sheets for the epoxy resins I’ve been using in my fluid art. If you follow me on here and on my other social properties (mainly insta/Facebook) you know that I started resin art about a year ago. I use a respirator but want to know if the chemicals in it could be related to my reproductive struggles. I didn’t struggle to get pregnant with Hannah (but wasn’t using resin then either) and then, each pregnancy this time I didn’t use it while pregnant but used it before and after each pregnancy. Nonylphenol is a big chemical in many resin brands and has been known to cause reproductive damage, miscarriages and birth defects. It can interfere with your reproductive hormone production too. These facts are only listed on the SDS sheets and not on the information that comes with the product when you order it. I had no idea this was a possible side effect of resin. My concern comes from the fact that, when using the resin in my art, it has a chemical reaction and is actively off-gassing, and I’m exposing myself (and my home) to that. I just want answers. I want to know it’s safe. It’s shady that the resins have these chemicals but don’t include the SDS in the product box and some don’t even have them readily available on their website (you have to email them and request it). The product has a warning on it about getting it on your skin or drinking it but none about reproductive dangers. There is nothing on the instructions sheets they come with about needing a respirator or the possible damage it can cause if you don’t use one. I had no idea about nonylphenol until a prominent artist I follow (@mrs.colorberry) educated her followers and brought the information to light! It’s just mind blowing to me. My ob-gyn wasn’t informed on what the chemical was/could do so that didn’t give me any real answers yet.

Either way. Related or not – I’m not going to use resin with nonylphenol in it until I can say it is safe to be around. I can’t risk my health or my family’s health for a side hustle/hobby. Mrs.Colorberry is selling a resin without BPA or nonylphenol and I ordered some on her USA pre-sale. Until that arrives – I am working to find other substitutes and avoiding nonylphenol like the plague. I can’t keep going through this and willingly will cut out anything that could be causing it.


Once I go see the specialist, I’ll have more to share on how that goes and what they tell me. Until then I’m just going to focus on my art (non-resin art!) and prepare for my upcoming craft fair (Nov 30th), hosting Thanksgiving, and my favorite holiday ever ➡️ Christmas! 🎄I have lots to look forward to (and a healthy beautiful baby girl to snuggle) so I just need to try and focus on all of that instead of this hot garbage ball of stress. Everything is so fresh and I still cry a lot but this is just a chapter in our story and I need to remember it isn’t our whole story.

If you made it this far, thanks for listening. For me it’s therapeutic to talk through our reproductive struggles so, more to come ❤️