The Harsh Truth: IVF and Miscarriages

This is the harsh reality that my husband and I faced on our journey to become parents. It is not pretty, it is not funny, and it is not what you want to read if you are just starting IVF. However, if you have gone through the same thing then maybe you can relate. I hope you can and I hope that you longer feel alone.

My husband I am went through two fresh cycles and two frozen cycles of IVF. We also went through 4 miscarriages. Now every time I go to my gyno the nurse asks the same questions. I know have to prepare myself before I walk into the office. She asks: How many times have you been pregnant? How many live births have you had? 

I would think by now that they would have some type of warning in the chart. A blinking red light that says…DO NOT ASK ABOUT PREGNANCIES! SEE BELOW! This way every one who has had a miscarriage would not have to answer these questions.

Every time I tell the nurse: 4 miscarriages and 0 live births. Then she stops writing, looks at me, and says with such remorse, “I am so sorry to hear that.” UGH!

Our first miscarriage was a given. You hardly ever hear about IVF working the first time and when it does it is a miracle. Well actually, getting pregnant at all through IVF is a miracle itself. Modern medicine has come such a long way. Our first blood test showed a positive HCG number, but it was very low. The nurse prepared our hearts. We had hope that the number would grow by the next blood test, but it did not grow as we had liked. It happened to grow just enough that the doctors were worried I might have an ectopic pregnancy. So, we watched my numbers very closely for weeks. After time, it finally went down. They still are not sure if it was an ectopic pregnancy, but I think it was.

The second miscarriage was pretty predictable from the start. My HCG levels were crappy from the start and I knew it was not going to happen. It still hurt like hell to be told by the nurse that the embryo, “Would just pass with my period like normal.” Like normal, like it was routine. I really started to dislike the nurses and doctors at the Infertility Center at this point. However, they were the only group in town that specialized in IVF. So, my hands were tied.

Our third miscarriage happened on my 30th birthday and it was the worst. My blood work had looked great from the beginning. My HCG number was higher than it ever had been. Then I had bleeding. I had a lot of bleeding. Even with the bleeding, my bloodwork was staying strong and in just two weeks I would hear a heartbeat!

“Let’s just check your levels one more time to make sure that everything is okay,” the nurse recommended. I went to the doctor on my birthday for one more blood draw.  Stupid nurse. Could you have waited one day so I could have enjoyed the thought of being pregnant on my birthday? Instead I got the dreaded phone call that my baby was gone. I would not get to hear a heartbeat.

The fourth miscarriage felt like routine. The numbers were weak all along. The embryo did not grow after it implanted.  This time we did not tell anyone that we were doing a transfer. This way I did not have to tell anyone about the miscarriage. Also, we had matched for adoption right before transfer and I had hope that one day I would be called mommy.

The one thing I remember most about this cycle was looking at my husband right before going into the room for transfer and breaking down into tears. I looked at him and said, “What if this does not work? What if the adoption fails? What will we do?”

He looked at me with tears in his eyes and said, “It will be okay. We have each other.”  I love this man. He was my rock through the whole process.

Miscarriages are hard. With every miscarriage I had a break down. I laid in bed and cried and had to force myself to get out of bed. I did not want to face the world and have to explain that I had lost a baby. I wanted to go to sleep and wake up not hurting. However, this never happened.

I always called the family to let them know what had happened and I tried to explain it the best way I could and then tried to get off the phone as soon as possible so I could finish crying it out. My husband was always there for me. Always there to rub my back, give me a hug, and cry with me.

One of the hardest parts of each miscarriage was knowing that while I was sad and miserable that everyone else’s lives went on like normal. Everyone around me got up and went on with their days. I felt like I was in a different world and that I was not allowed to move on. Being happy felt like a betrayal to the baby that I had lost. My emotions were everywhere from angry, sad, depressed, guilty, and back to being angry.

During the two years that we did IVF, there was a time when I felt that my miscarriages were just becoming a boring part of me. Like, “Oh there she is. She is depressed over another miscarriage. She will be okay in a month. How is the weather?” I really did not have anyone but my husband who could relate to my feelings and at times he even had a hard time understanding. I could talk to my friends and family. They were willing to listen. However, they were all fertile. Could they really understand?

To me every miscarriage was a loss of a child. No, I did not see my babies on an ultrasound, I did not hear their heartbeats, but they were real to me. Some people in our world would not have considered my babies, babies. Some might think they were just cells or a mass. However, they were babies to me, my babies, and it hurt so incredibly bad when they went to heaven. I saw the picture of the embryos and I was filled with love, hope, and joy every time I saw them.

Please, never let anyone scrutinize you for your feelings about a miscarriage. Even if you disagree with me, with how I reacted or felt, it was my heart that was breaking. Everyone deals with IVF in their own way. Today I often wonder what our babies would have looked like, would they be boys or girls, would they have blue eyes or brown? Would they be blessed with our big noses?

I do not know how to end this post… I could go on about this topic, but sometimes less is more. Just know that I am praying for you. I hope that you will find peace in your IVF story no matter the outcome. Protect your feelings and know that they are your own. Do not be afraid to cry. Do not be afraid to talk about it. And do not feel guilty for moving on afterward.

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