On January 18, 2019, I came home from work early. We had been trying to conceive for only a few months, but I knew I was pregnant. When I saw the positive test, I was both terrified and excited. I knew that getting pregnant was not always easy, and at that moment I was so relieved that we were able to conceive so quickly.
My first OB appointment was the following Monday, and it was the start of a series of bad-news-ridden appointments. It’s the story so many know all too well. My HCG was increasing, but not doubling. There was a heartbeat, but it was very slow. We hoped for the best, but we planned for the worst.
At ten weeks, we went in for another follow up, and the ultrasound tech left without saying much. She didn’t need to tell us…we already knew. There was no heartbeat. My doctors had so much empathy and reassured me that it was likely “just bad luck.” After all, this happens to one in four women. I was young and healthy, and they encouraged us to try again as soon as I was comfortable.
Throughout my first pregnancy, we tried to keep things a secret as much as we could. After all, “they” (who is “they” anyway?) tell you to keep the news to yourself until you’re in the safe zone. That way if something happens, you don’t need to share the bad news with everyone. Deciding how and if to share details of your family planning is a deeply personal decision. There is no right or wrong answer, but I believe this decision should be made by the individual, not by societal standards.
After we lost that pregnancy, I felt more alone than I ever could imagine. The logical part of my brain knew I did nothing wrong. But the other part gave me so much guilt and shame. Did I drink too much caffeine? Was it those burpees I did during Crossfit? Is this karma for saying I never wanted kids? Keeping quiet just exacerbated all these horrible feelings. I soon realized that the only thing that gave me any comfort was talking about it. I brought it up as often as I could, and it was an incredibly cathartic experience.
Unfortunately, 2019 brought us two more losses, along with a list of complicated infertility diagnoses. I have a balanced translocation, low AMH, and chronic endometritis, likely from my miscarriages, just to name a few. I was told that conceiving naturally is likely never going to happen for us.
At times, it is beyond overwhelming, but I REFUSE TO BE SILENT. I have nothing to be ashamed of. For those of you who feel compelled to speak out, I encourage you to do so. And for those of you who are unable to share your story, I still see you. You are not alone.