Parenting

Recurrent Miscarriage and Secondary Infertility: I'm Living it Now

How has my body been able to get pregnant five times before and now it can't?

It’s not something I’ve lived through... it’s something I’m living right now, It’s the worst thing I’ve ever been through in my life. And I’m sure that if you lived through or currently dealing with recurrent miscarriage and/or secondary infertility you know what I mean.

It’s a dark and lonely place, and most days, I don’t see any light at the end of the tunnel.

If you can’t tell from reading my first paragraph, you will figure it out soon enough, that I’m not a writer. I’m an attorney, and I don’t write creatively or for pleasure.

When I write, it’s usually only because I have to and always analytically, so bear with me as you read.

I’m 32 years old, and I’ve been pregnant five times in my life. The earliest being at age 26. At least to me, that seems like a lot. I only have two living children, W and T. W and T are the light of my life and nothing short of true miracles from God, (like all children in my opinion), to me and my husband, J.

But I have three other babies that were lost before me and J and their brothers were ever able to meet them, and it breaks my heart every time of think of them. We named the three babies Grace, Glory, and Patience. We didn’t know their sex prior to losing them, but chose virtues that the babies have taught us, which we thought were appropriate regardless of gender.

The first miscarriage was my first pregnancy when I was 26, and it happened naturally on it’s on at home. I started bleeding and I knew exactly what was happening.

It was painful and a huge loss, but I ended up pregnant again with W about a month later. I got horribly sick with the pregnancy very quickly, and I became consumed with the pregnancy and sickness that I didn’t dwell on the miscarriage. In hindsight, that was such a huge blessing.

Then, I got pregnant with T when W was only about 13 months old (but we were trying, T wasn’t an accident), and T was a relatively uneventful pregnancy, minus the horrible sickness again.

After two pregnancies of being horribly ill for nine months, I decided I needed a break. I wasn’t done having kids, but I needed a break from being pregnant.

In the past 18 months, I’ve regretted that “break” almost everyday.

I decided I was finally ready to try again a few months before T turned two. And lo and behold, we got pregnant very soon after we started trying for a third. (I know right now, a lot of you reading this are thinking, “I don’t feel sorry for this girl, she isn’t infertile” and I never thought of myself that way either until a few months ago).

Then nine weeks into that pregnancy, we went for an ultrasound and there was no heart beat. I actually had started feeling horribly ill again, so I took that as a good sign that pregnancy was progressing normally, and I thought if something had gone wrong that I wouldn’t feel sick anymore.

I was wrong, there was something wrong. I had to have a D&C this time, which is nothing short of traumatic.

But even after this second miscarriage, I thought, “This happens to people. I have two kids, and now I have had two miscarriages. I will get pregnant again quickly, just like after the first miscarriage.” I was wrong again.

It took us six months to get pregnant again, which I know is not considered abnormal, but previously we had been pregnant basically when we just said we were trying, so I was starting to freak out.

But I did finally get pregnant, and I was so relieved. The relief was short-lived.

Again at nine weeks, ultrasound with no heartbeat. If you been in an ultrasound and the tech finds a baby with no heartbeat, you know the drill. He or she says “wait a minute,” leaves the room and you wait for an eternity knowing what this means but praying and hoping that maybe a loss is not the case and there is just something peculiar on the ultrasound. That hasn’t been the case for us.

The tech comes back and tells us to go see the doctor or gets him on the phone to talk to us. You walk the the doctor’s office in shock thinking this can’t be happening again. In my case, I was thinking, “God surely wouldn’t do this to us again.”

But it happened again, and I was sobbing again, and the nurses asked us if we wanted to leave through the side door so people wouldn’t see me so upset.

I appreciated the thoughtful gesture, but I didn’t want to leave through the side door. I wanted to leave through the main door with my first ultrasound pictures, having heard the baby’s heartbeat for the first time.

The months that followed the second consecutive (third total) miscarriage were the most difficult of my life. I was in a place I had never been. Feelings of loss and grief overwhelmed me.

I wanted to be happy to be with W and T, but I wasn’t. I would just end up crying, and they would ask me why “Mommy was being silly again.” My soul was crushed, there was nothing but hurt and emptiness inside.

I took off work the week of my second D&C, but then I went right back. Work was helpful to momentarily distract me from the losses, but it was different. It became so much less important, and the daily stress of work was nothing compared to the constant angst inside.

Finally, after about three months from the second consecutive miscarriage, I felt like I was improving. I could be happy for short periods of time. The pain had lessened. I was finding joy in my family again.

There were and still are overwhelming moments of despair, but those were getting to be fewer and farther between. I was now focusing my attention on trying to get pregnant again, and for better or worse, when I focus my attention on something, it gets intense.

So now seven months of trying to get pregnant with no luck after the second consecutive miscarriage and 18 months of trying including the miscarriages, we have been diagnosed with secondary infertility.

A few months ago, I didn’t know what secondary infertility was. But that’s us, inability to conceive after having one or more children. I still can’t fathom it at times.

How has my body been able to get pregnant five times before and now it can’t? I still can’t bring myself to say “can’t get pregnant.”

But here we are. We saw an infertility specialist, and I thought he might say, “Oh, try a little longer, you have two kids, it will happen.” Because that is what everyone had told us.

But oh no, he labeled us “infertile” from the get-go. Which in a sense came as a relief because finally we were going to do something to fix this problem. I failed to mention previously that after the second consecutive miscarriage, I was tested for all the typical blood disorders and thyroid issues that can contribute to recurrent miscarriage. Everything was normal.

I was glad that there was no serious problem, but I wanted a problem that was fixable, so miscarriage wouldn’t happen again. We didn’t have a fixable problem.

J was tested too and everything with him was normal. So we are officially labeled as “unexplained secondary infertility.” It’s not comforting to know there is a problem, but no one knows what the problem is or therefore, how to fix it.

So the infertility doctor recommended we start with an IUI (interuterine insemination). We did our first round in September, which was unsuccessful, and just did our second round five days ago, so as I sit here typing this, I’m in the “two week wait.”

It’s not a fun place to be. You want to have hope that it will happen, but you know more than likely it won’t, and you when you’re trying to get pregnant you go through the same thing every month.

Not only is it your monthly menstrual cycle, but it’s a horribly emotional cycle as well, and not just due to hormone fluctuation, but the constant back and forth of did it happen or didn’t it happen. It can make you crazy, and at times, I think it has.

I can’t keep myself from thinking, what do we do if we don’t get pregnant, if infertility treatments aren’t successful. Do we adopt or do I make myself accept the fact that I will only have two children?

Don’t get me wrong, there is not a day that goes by that I don’t thank God dearly for my two beautiful boys. Now more than ever, as I see and know how delicate the conception to birth cycle is.

But I have a deep yearning and desire for more children, a feeling that my family is incomplete.

I literally have about five second every morning right when I wake up from my sleep that I’m not thinking about the miscarriages and infertility. Before it hits me what day it is and what court dates I have for the day and these struggles I’m dealing with on a daily basis.

Those are the only five seconds in the day when I’m not thinking about the babies we have lost or the babies I can’t seem to conceive.

I haven’t lost hope because I pray for hope and patience and peace everyday, and God has given me that. Looking back, if someone told me we would be “infertile,” I don’t think I would have been able to accept it, but now I can and I have, but I’m not giving up.

I refuse to give up on having a new baby and I will love forever Grace, Glory, and Patience. I pray to them everyday to guide me through my days when I am struggling and pray for our family. They are our angels in heaven.

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month, and HuffPost Parents is committed to helping to end the silence around miscarriage, stillbirth, SIDs and other infant loss. If you’d like to share your story, email parents@huffingtonpost.com