Miscarriages are common, very common. In fact, 15-25% of known pregnancies result in miscarriage. Of those women, approximately only 5% have two miscarriages in a row, and only 1% have three or more in a row. For those of us with three or more miscarriages, we get classified in the “Recurrent Pregnancy Loss” or “RPL” category. Those odds of RPL seem pretty low but I have had four miscarriages before I had two full term pregnancies with my sons. Guess the odds weren’t in my favor.
It seemed that all my husband would have to do is breathe on me, and I would get pregnant. My issue was that I couldn’t stay pregnant. This resulted in four positive pregnancy tests, countless numbers of heart breaking ultrasounds, four miscarriages and four D and C’s all around 12 weeks.
I was very fortunate to have an amazing OB who supported me and guided me as far as she could. After my third miscarriage (and so many tests), she had to point me in the direction of a fertility clinic. With a heavy heart and skeptical mind, we went to our local fertility clinic. This meant more blood work, ultrasounds and tests.
We felt positive when all of our test results came back normal. Maybe a low thyroid, take some baby aspirin, try some Clomid, should be no problem they told us. Then positive pregnancy test number four happened. I felt like this was it, this was going to stick! The first ultrasound showed a low heartbeat. I’ve been here before, I knew where this was going. Trying to stay positive, we went through many more ultrasounds until the heartbeat was gone and my fourth pregnancy resulted in my fourth D and C.
This fertility clinic was convinced that IVF was the answer for us. I struggled with that option knowing I could get pregnant so easily. They told me we should opt for IVF with PGD (preimplantation genetic diagnosis), which also happened to be about $5,000 more on top of the already high IVF fee. When I asked what my options were outside of IVF, they mentioned a doctor who is world renown in RPL, and he just happened to be a few hours away from us.
With nothing to lose, my husband and I traveled to Memphis for our second opinion. I went prepared, I’m talking timelines, test results, previous doctors notes and personal notes in hand, and this doctor went over it all with us. He sat with us for two hours to review our history. I also received a 3D ultrasound, which I had not had before. This 3D ultrasound showed I had a septum at the top of my uterus. This septum was essentially “stealing” all the blood the embryo would need to grow and develop in my uterus. His suggestion was to come back to Memphis for a surgery to remove this septum.
Now I had options, I could move forward locally with IVF or, with the new information received, I could travel to Memphis for, yet again, another surgery. This second opinion made sense to me, a possible explanation to my miscarriages. With an optimistic view, I opted for the uterine surgery.
The surgery was a success. Three months after, with no fertility drugs, we got pregnant a fifth time but this time it resulted in a full term pregnancy with my son, Julian. About six months after I had Julian I had my sixth positive pregnancy test, resulting with my son, Jordan (surprise!)
I knew I could get pregnant easily. I knew all of my pregnancies ended by 12 weeks with the same pattern. I knew in my heart that IVF was not the answer. I am so thankful I followed my gut and went for a second opinion. If we had chosen to follow the IVF path, this would have resulted in more heartbreaking miscarriages.
To the couples out there who are struggling to find answers, my advice to you is to not give up! Keep searching and be open to seeing other doctors. Follow your “motherly instinct” and do not settle for answers that don’t make sense. Struggling with infertility can be a long, frustrating road. Get that second opinion, or third if you need it! I will be forever grateful for my second opinion, without it, I would not have the family I love so much today.