We decided we wanted to grow our family in July 2015.
Since I had been diagnosed with endometriosis and my previous gynecologist recommended I get a Mirena 4 years prior, we organized to have it removed.
And so the waiting begun.
In the beginning of September I had a dream I was pregnant, we had pregnancy tests in the bathroom cupboard and I tested at 2 am. Positive. Wow. The excitement began, early morning conversations, over excited to start our family. It happened so fast and we felt so grateful for the journey ahead.
Most people wait 12 weeks to share the news. We didn’t want to wait. Why wait, right.
I called to book my first scan.
A few weeks into the pregnancy (8 weeks), on a Saturday morning, I miscarried. I had family over and it just happened. My worst nightmare had come true. Off to casualty and they confirmed it, there was nothing that could be done. All I thought was, how? I am young and healthy. Why would this happen to us? For me, it took a while to sink in.
Then, After dealing with the loss we decided to continue with life. Without focusing on the past, we carried on as normal, then to our surprise, I conceived towards the end of October. This must be the silver lining to the bumpy road we thought. “Maybe it happened for a good cause” we were told. ie: the child wasn’t formed properly. Many strangers, family and friends try to comfort you in times like these but to be honest some comments end up hurting you more than consoling you.
Here’s some tips on what not to say to someone who has lost a child: https://www.bellybelly.com.au/health-lifestyle/things-not-to-say-miscarriage-or-loss/
Due to the history of the situation, I had my HCG checked every few days. Your HCG is the pregnancy hormone that usually doubles every 48-72 hours to show that the pregnancy is viable. The signs were positive and everything seemed OK. Until one night we got the call, my HCG dropped. Here we go again.
I went for numerous tests at a Dr in Sandton who didn’t seem worried that I miscarried twice. He did point out that my endometrial lining was thin, he got the dates of my cycle mixed up he was convinced I had my days wrong. I knew I didn’t. Later that week I asked if further tests could be done but they said it’s not really necessary.
Blame. You blame yourself over and over again. What did I do wrong? What is wrong with me? The one thing you dream’t about your whole life isn’t happening and you feel like an absolute failure.
I had the most supportive husband through this journey but there are days and months where you just can’t get over it no matter how much of an amazing support system you have. It consumes your life and your thoughts. Every time you see a pregnant lady. Facebook. Malls. School. Baby showers. Babies all over.
We decided to go to Vitalab fertility clinic to get to the bottom of this. I met with a Dr who did numerous blood tests to try find out the cause. My cycles were also monitored every few weeks and we found out that my endometrial layer was damaged by the Mirena. The Mirena contains a progestin hormone called levonorgestrel which gets released into your uterus, It thins your endometrial lining so that eggs that are successfully fertilized can’t implant. In very rare cases, it thins the lining permanently. It seemed that I was one of those cases. Without going into too many details, I went through numerous treatments and we saw little growth in my lining. I had a biopsy done by this Dr and the lab confirmed that I had an “end organ problem”. In other words the organ wasn’t doing what it should. Surrogacy was mentioned. Never in my life did I think that I would ever have to consider something like this.
Treatment after treatment, negative news one appointment after the next. You try to stay as positive as you can but there’s only so much you can take.
We left Vitalab, wanting a second opinion.
We went to Wilgers hospital in Pretoria, recommended by a friend that had IVF treatment through these doctors.
The next round of injections and pills were prescribed and so it began. Again.
Travelling up and down weekly wanting a family. These treatments failed, too.
After this, we tried the more ‘natural’ route which also wasn’t a success.
Vitalab take 2
After a few months ‘break’, we decided to return to Vitalab for a second opinion from another Dr. We begun treatments one after the next. During these, They stated that my follicles weren’t growing as they should be for that stage in the cycle. Another issue.
In September 2016, we decided to try one more round of estrogen and then we were going to take another ‘break’ because it ends up consuming your life and besides the emotional aspect it also costs extreme amounts as Medical aid doesn’t cover all of this. Every week they used to scan my lining to see if there was any improvement because in order to hold a pregnancy your lining generally has to be over a certain amount and I didn’t seem to reach that point, so before ‘trying’ again we had to sort out the issues to prevent further miscarriages. During my last round of treatments my lining improved more than the other times but was still not sufficient to ‘try’ again.
Bye bye Vitalab. For now…
Journey to Faith
From the time we returned to Vitalab, we started putting our faith in God and even though it was a difficult thing to do during the journey we had encountered, we took faith in knowing that God’s timing isn’t always the timing we had planned. We saw the most progress during these stages and although we hadn’t had a successful pregnancy, we had hope that this would happen in the future.
Miracle baby due on our wedding anniversary
Justins 31st was in October 2016 and I planned a surprise Braai. A month after his birthday, Kayla was conceived.
Well, hello again Vitalab.
Kayla: meaning ‘Pure’ and her second name is Jessica: meaning ‘Gift from God’ was due on our anniversary, what are the chances!! (2 years after our Infertility journey began)
I was put on progesterone to preventing another miscarriage but this cycle was completely natural. We went for scans every week until week 8 and then we graduated from Vitalab and we got what we originally went there for- Without any assistance in conceiving. Our little miracle.
“For this Child I prayed and the Lord has granted the desires of my heart”
One thing about this journey was that I never forgot what I went through before, although I had passed the ‘safe’ zone in the pregnancy, every small thing (ie: spotting) ended up being a worry. Luckily we had a Gynecologist who had dealt with other high risk pregnancies before, so he was understanding.
Being transparent about what I have been through, has made ladies reach out to me (who have also been through the same type of heartache) – giving them hope, knowing that they aren’t alone. Speaking about it and not being ashamed to vocalize my feelings, has helped me deal with my emotions.
Every day during this pregnancy, I thanked God for this blessing and the journey to get here, not everything goes the way you’ve planned but you learn from the journey.