I highly encourage you reading the previous post about our first miscarriage if you haven’t already because this blog post is a continuation of our pregnancy journey, which involved the intervention of a fertility specialist.
Post First Miscarriage
After our first miscarriage in September 2016, we continued trying to get pregnant with hopes that it would happen as quickly as it did the first time. In January, I decided to go back to my OBGYN. Sure I was frustrated that I wasn’t pregnant, but more so, I had this feeling that something just wasn’t right. It was as if my body had never quite bounced back from the miscarriage. My doctor ran some basic tests and told me that he thinks I have a mild case of PCOYS (Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome). It was causing my body not to ovulate regularly, which if you know Biology 101, is kind of important if you want to get pregnant. So he put me on low dose of Clomid and told me that I should be pregnant within the next 3 months. Well, obviously that wasn’t the case or the post would end here.
Without going into much detail, I had HORRIBLE side affects of the medicine. I hate taking medicine, even for a minor cold or headache. Parker and I both agreed that if I was going to keep pumping my body full of drugs, I probably needed to do a little more due diligence to make sure we were treating the correct issue. So without a referral from our OBGYN, I began researching fertility specialists on my own.
Researching Fertility Specialists
I think it’s important for people to know that you do not have to have a referral from a doctor to see a fertility specialist. And for some reason, everyone thinks that you have to have tried to get pregnant for one year before going to a fertility specialist- also not true! Before I made my initial consultation, I picked the brain of one of my girlfriends who had used fertility treatments to get pregnant. Her advice to me was to just bite the bullet and go. She said her biggest regret about the whole process was waiting as long as she did…
And I couldn’t agree more. As I began researching doctors, I had a few criteria:
- The office had to take insurance. Parker and I were not in a financial position to be paying out of pocket for every single doctor’s visit. They add up fast because you are sometimes in there multiple times a week depending on the timing of your cycle. There is a specific doctor in Dallas that comes highly recommended that would said we would consider in the future if we had no success.
- I needed a doctor who had excellent bedside manner. To say that this entire process is emotionally draining is an understatement. I needed someone who would be sensitive to my needs and truly listen to fears- no matter how irrational they may be haha.
We finally found a doctor who seemed to check all the boxes, and had our initial consultation in March. (If you are researching doctors and would like to know the doctor I used, feel free to reach out to me!) After a long meeting with the fertility specialist and looking at a baseline sonogram, she agreed with my OBGYN that I do have a slight case of PCOS but also a progesterone deficiency. She wanted to closely observe me for an entire cycle and run a bunch of tests just to rule out major issues, but was very hopeful that we would have our ideal outcome by the end of everything!
Sure enough, the cycle went by, we developed a treatment plan, and in May we started our first round of Letrozole followed by a trigger shot to narrow down an ovulation window. You may have never heard of Letrozole, but my doctor said that women who don’t do well on Clomid usually love Letrozole because it has much fewer side affects. Which thank the Lord was true for me! I honestly wasn’t expecting to find success our first cycle because I thought it would take some time to figure out a cocktail that worked.
But because she also had me on progesterone supplements post ovulation, I had to take a pregnancy test on a certain day because if I wasn’t pregnant I needed to stop the supplements immediately so that my period would come. Well, to my surprise, it was positive! We were optimistically elated! It was a Saturday, but we knew that we still needed to do blood work to make sure everything was progressing well.
The nurse called on Monday with the results and said everything looked perfect, but they would just bring me back in on Wednesday to make sure they had doubled. As I was sitting in Bible Study that day, I remember just getting this pit in my stomach that I couldn’t explain. Sure enough, the doctor called to say that my numbers had not only dropped, but had literally decreased over 50%. She had never seen results like this before so she wanted to have me come in the next day to retest. Imagine having a FERTILITY SPECIALIST tell you that she had never seen something this drastic before… it doesn’t instill confidence to say the least. So that was probably the longest 24 hours of my life, and sure enough, the numbers were accurate. It would probably take some time for my body to register everything, but in a week or so, I would be losing our second baby.
Recurrent Pregnancy Loss
Two weeks later, Parker and I had another consultation with the fertility specialist. She told us that recurrent pregnancy loss only occurs in about 2% of women. (As you can imagine, learning that you fall into a 2% minority is only encouraging when it relates to the 2% of people who hit the jackpot in Vegas.) But being a fertility specialist, she sees it often and was still very hopeful for us. Her gut instinct was that this was just really bad luck. She didn’t think there would be an underlying medical issue, but of course, we were going to run every test to make sure. The tests would take about 6 weeks to complete because I needed to make sure all of the pregnancy hormones were out of my body. She suggested that we not continue trying naturally in case we were to get pregnant again and there was an actual issue that needed correcting.
I spent the entire summer in a dark, dark place. I was so angry with God. I was so heartbroken. I was so defeated. And honestly, I was so terrified for the future. I completely disconnected from my friends and family because I needed to process this alone. In hindsight, I completely recognize that isolation can be extremely dangerous. But it was almost as if I needed to let myself deeply feel every stage of the grieving process and truly wrestle with God.
One day as I was driving down Northwest Highway, I officially hit a breaking point. Alone in my car, I physically cried out to the Lord, acknowledging that I could no longer handle this on my own, and that if I were to get pregnant, it was going to be completely His doing. I kind of picture him up in heaven literally being like – ERIN, IT’S ABOUT DANG TIME! I literally felt him say that I needed to stop trying to put him in a box and trust that He is who I say He is. It was as if he had been waiting for me to finally accept that I WAS NOT IN CONTROL OF ANYTHING.
I went home that night and told Parker that I needed to talk to him, and that I didn’t think he wasn’t going to like what I had to say. I told him that I had felt really convicted that I had been putting God in a box and basically saying that I didn’t think he was capable of performing a miracle. If Parker was okay with it, I wanted to continue trying naturally this month against the doctor’s advisement. He told me that he was on board, but only under the stipulation that I would NOT obsess over ovulation dates, symptoms, etc. He would not let me take a pregnancy test until I was literally at least a week late.
Well, fast forward a few weeks. I held true to my promise. I did not symptom check. I did not take pregnancy tests. Truly, I was just ready to finally start my period so that we could begin our next round of fertility treatments.
Unrelated to pregnancy, I get debilitating neck spasms every 4-6 months. They completely take me down! But if I let myself lay flat for 24 hours with minimal movement, they will go away. Well sure enough about a month after our second miscarriage, I got one of my infamous spasms. I took the entire day to rest and heal, but for some reason, I could not shake this one. It just kept getting worse. Parker finally told me that if I went another day not sleeping, he was going to make me take one of my muscle relaxers.
Remember I hate medicine, but I agreed that it had reached that point. But there was this little voice in the back of my head telling me that I should play it safe and take a pregnancy test before taking prescription drugs since I was a few days late. I was SO UNCONVINCED I was pregnant, that I literally ran to the dollar store next to my house and picked up some pregnancy tests. There was no way I was going to spend $20 on some fancy test to tell me what I already knew- NOT PREGNANT.
I don’t know why I was so surprised that pregnancy tests from the dollar store literally only cost ONE DOLLAR. Mind blown. So I went home, took it, and I didn’t even have to wait the full two minutes before BOOM. TWO DARK LINES.
Instead of excitement, I was immediately overwhelmed with fear and frustration with myself. I couldn’t help but think that I had allowed myself to end up right back in the same predicament. I immediately called Parker, and the only thing he could say was you need to call the doctor right now. Luckily I got a hold of them right away and sure enough, they wanted me to come in first thing in the morning.
I went in on that Wednesday for blood-work, and to my surprise, she called back saying that there was no denying it. I was definitely pregnant. My numbers were already so high that I didn’t need to come back in two days to re-check. And remember that progesterone deficiency? Well, apparently my progesterone levels were off the chart this time around. They wanted me to come back in a week for what they believed would be my 6 week sonogram. And as I’m editing the final draft of this blog post, I am entering my 32nd week of pregnancy and still get teary eyed reflecting on the Lord’s faithfulness and ability to create beauty out of tragedy.
In 2017, God is still in the business of performing miracles. And I fully believe that Emmy Wise is a MIRACLE! Every life is a MIRACLE.
Not a day goes by where I am not completely overwhelmed by God’s provision, compassion, and unconditional love. To say my pregnancy has not been racked with anxiety would be a lie. Being forced to trust the Lord wholeheartedly with this pregnancy has been the most challenging but rewarding season.
Love, Erin and Parker
To read more of our pregnancy related posts, click the links below: