So long story short, I started testing early last cycle after the IUI, got a faint positive at 13 DPO, and it was gone by the next day. I’m almost sure that means I had a chemical pregnancy, which really blows, but at this point it’s not really as devastating as it may have been for me a year or two years ago. Sad but true.
The worst part, honestly, was letting myself get back into that cycle of obsession with testing. I’m not joking, I spent $50 going through four boxes of First Response Early Result pregnancy tests, willing my eyes to see something that was never fully there. I know this time I will test 12 DPO, so Wednesday, Dec. 18. But I am not letting myself do it before that. It’s too much heartache and stress, and I’m not doing it again.
I want to be positive/optimistic, but I’m just neutral. I told Josh today, in the exam room as we were waiting for the doctor to come administer our seventh and final IUI, that I felt like we were just burning money doing it today. I know that’s Negative Nancy territory, but I can’t help it. It has been three very long years, and the longer we keep doing this, the less attachment I have to it. I am relieved, in a way, every time it doesn’t work. I wonder if that means deep down that I don’t actually want children, and that scares me. Maybe I don’t, or am not meant to. And maybe this is the universe’s way of reminding me of that.
Those are the thoughts that go through my head a lot and have since we started down this path, but I’m not as sad about it as I used to be. When family/friends of ours with kids can’t do something because they have kids and we get to do whatever we want, whenever we want, I can’t hate it. I truly have a great life, and there is a lot to be thankful for. Would a child make it better? I’m sure. But I don’t feel like I’ll be incomplete without one anymore.
Anyway. This time around, I had a 17 mm and 14 mm follicle on my left ovary and a 17 mm on my right, which makes me happy. Both sides is what I was hoping for. Josh’s count was good, the IUI went smoothly. I’m crossing my fingers that this is the one, but if not, time to start prepping to transfer that last little embryo.
I know it’s been almost four months since I’ve updated and I should’ve had more than enough time to come up with a wittier title, but just like baby-making, blog-title brainstorming is something I have enjoyed not thinking about. There is SO much to catch up on here, but I think talking to my loved ones and my therapist have really given me what I’ve needed these past few months. However, I do want our history down on paper to be able to look back on and appreciate everything we’ve been through, so here is that post. And I’m going to do my best to keep it short because to be honest, the last thing I want to do today is write or talk about anything conception related.
Previously, on Baby Haupt or Bust, Jen waxed poetic about how infertility feels like being locked between two worlds, neither of which you have the key for. That’s still true, but these past five months since we found out we had a miscarriage again have been…really nice. Josh and I have started thinking about living our lives again. We have each lost some weight, and gotten back into running. We’ve started truly enjoying (not fake enjoying) the things that we used to again, instead of them feeling like filler until a baby gets here. It’s very freeing and I’m very happy we have been able to find that again. I wasn’t sure we ever would.
One of those experiences was staying at this really cool AirBnB in St. Augustine this past September (two words: treehouse bathtub). It was the only time we’ve stayed at an AirBnB twice. The first time was in March 2017, after we’d been trying to conceive for six months and hoping “getting away” would be the secret everyone kept promising us it would be. (Spoiler: No.) But we enjoyed it there so much, we went again this past September and really relaxed. I also saw a tarot/palm reader in downtown St. Augustine, to whom I told I had been struggling with fertility. She looked at the side of my balled-up first for a few seconds and told me 1. I’m fertile, and have a good eight years of fertility left, 2. I had two miscarriages, both boys, 3. I should get my uterine lining biopsied, because that was my issue and after I got it cleared up with antibiotics I was going to get pregnant without the help of IVF.
Funnily enough, I already had my uterine lining biopsied at that point and was waiting for the results. I didn’t mention any of this to her. It was the last test result I was waiting for after a clean bill of blood tests from both Josh and me to check for reasons I might have miscarried twice (no chromosomal abnormalities in any of us, blood-clotting issues on my end, etc.) and our PGS results on our five remaining embryos. The latter was…not good. One of the embryos didn’t survive the thaw, and out of the four that did that they were able to test, one — ONE — is normal. Meaning we have one embryo left to transfer if we want to try that again, which we will eventually, but I will get to that shortly. We didn’t find out the sex of the chromosomally normal embryo, but the three that were abnormal were two male and one female. And our normal one? Our 1BB. The smallest 5-day blastocyst. Which is hard for us to wrap our head around, but for now, that embryo is our little lifeline.
But back to my uterine lining. I got the call a few days later that I did, in fact, have an infection (endometritis, to be exact — different from endometriosis) in my uterine lining, and I did, in fact, go on antibiotics which did, in fact, clear it up, according to the pathology. The doctor isn’t sure how long I’ve had it, but he suspects it happened after the D&C in April last year, which is apparently common-ish. And it can cause miscarriage. I am trying not to think about the money we sunk into two more IUIs and IVF after that, as they could’ve been a complete wash because of this infection, but it does eat at me, I won’t lie. It’s devastating to think about that possibility. So I’d almost rather be in the dark about how long this has been an issue, if that makes sense.
The palm reader also told me she saw children in my future, specifically girls. Which…I don’t know how I feel about when it comes to psychics and such, but I do find it really interesting the way certain people who may be more attuned to someone’s vibe pick things up. For her to know I’ve had two miscarriages and to call out the uterine-lining testing like that kind of blew me away, and inspired me to be a little more open minded. Josh and I have saged our house twice in the past week, hoping to cleanse the air and our minds a bit to welcome positivity and newness into our lives, and neither of us would’ve considered doing something like that a few years ago. But years of infertility will really change you. Luckily for us, I think it has mostly changed us for the better, but oh boy did it take a long time to get where we are now. And we’re nowhere near done.
Speaking of “near done,” I think Josh and I are coming up on that point in terms of this baby path. Today, we did our sixth IUI, our first in over a year. We had them stim harder this time, and I produced 5 follicles on the left and one on the right — two or three they predicted would mature enough to release an egg, all on the left. If this try doesn’t work, we will likely try IUI one more time right after this and if that doesn’t take, come February, we’re going to transfer our final embryo. We wanted to try IUI again first because it has worked for us in the past, is cheaper, and we’d like to save that embryo for a second child since the best time to use my eggs is as soon as possible.
If I’m not pregnant by February, we’re considering a very big life change. Like, rent-out-our-house-and-move-to-NYC-for-a-couple-years change. Josh would need to find a job, but I’m very much hoping I can get on staff at PEOPLE next year and if Josh can get a job making what he makes here, we could do it, and be somewhat comfortable, albeit in a cramped space. And I think we’d have an incredible adventure. But for now, I’m going to take solace in the fact that my IUI went well (good sperm count, open cervix [I think – judging from comfort level based on past IUIs], good timing [again, I think, as I’m cramping like hell right now at 4 p.m. and the IUI was at 10:15 a.m.]). And hope that Haupt baby (or babies) come in 2020. Right when he/she/they were always supposed to. One day at a time.
Yesterday I had brunch with a very dear friend I hadn’t see in years and he shared with me that he and his wonderful wife had a miscarriage over the summer. Not only that, but they had it around the same time in the pregnancy that Josh and I had ours in pretty much the same way and had to get a D&C, just like we did. It was such a gut punch to hear someone I care about so deeply recalling this, not to mention knowing exactly what it feels like. And it sucks. You start questioning everything, specifically what you did wrong (which, most likely, is absolutely nothing because miscarriage is insanely common and despite what you’ve been told, a healthy pregnancy is truly a miracle). Everyone deals with grief differently, but having to take two steps back when you think your life is about to completely change is never easy — and losing a child is something I would never wish on anyone. We were lucky in the sense that it happened so so early in my pregnancy. Even though we’d already started preparing, both mentally and environmentally, I cannot imagine losing a child later in a pregnancy or having a stillborn child.
And the thing is, all of these events are so much more common than people think. They’re just so rarely discussed openly because both men and women are taught throughout their lives that not only is sex shameful, but that one small slip-up during sexual activity can result in an STD or a baby. And while this is extremely true, so much emphasis is put on that idea that both girls and boys are not taught as much about equally important concepts concerning their bodies — the importance of getting seen regularly by a doctor, how the reproductive system works (I have learned so much about my body in the past two years it’s not even funny, and I probably never would’ve if we hadn’t had to seek treatment), how much fertility is affected as you age, practicing physically and mentally safe sex over abstinence, etc. These are such crucial things to start incorporating into health education — and no one should ever feel shame over them. If you are planning to wait until your thirties to start a family, I would highly recommend getting some baseline fertility tests because even though our case may be atypical, that shiz is scary. BE INFORMED. I find it appalling in hindsight how much I’ve had to explain to fellow women about certain parts of this journey and the truth is, if I wasn’t dealing with infertility, I’d be in the same boat. Our educational system has failed us big time.
Anyway, that’s a tangent. My miscarriage never really “happened,” per se. I got pregnant for the first time ever about a year and a half after we first started trying, which was this past February, after our third IUI. We were in shock. I took pregnancy tests every day, twice a day, for at least two weeks because I didn’t believe it.
We told most of our family and close friends and started buying a few baby items here and there, planning renovations to the house, etc., as a way of prepping for baby and indulging in some of our excitement, but also to quell our fears and misgivings — instincts that, unfortunately, turned out to be not unfounded. We saw the beginning of a little person when I was almost six weeks pregnant, but still could not quite feel that connection. And when I was about seven and a half weeks pregnant, there was no heartbeat or growth.
The most surprising part of this was that neither of us felt taken aback. We were like, “Oh. Well…yeah.” At that point, any positive news was something unexpected, sadly, so as difficult as it was to deal with the aftermath of losing a baby (and it WAS difficult, but thankfully involved lots of wine, sushi, caffeine, Brie, and other things pregnant ladies are supposed to steer clear from, plus lots of tears), we were more mentally prepared than we realized we were.
Not that it was easy. I have never seen Josh in so much pain, and I hope I never have to again. I know I will, because life is inclusive of those moments however much we wish it wasn’t, but seeing the person you love most in the entire world feel that kind of pain and not being able to do anything about it is such a horrible thing. Also, around that time, we also knew approximately 678435 people who were pregnant. I gained 10 lbs. in a month from depression eating. It wasn’t a good spring/early summer, guys.
Not only did I opt to induce miscarriage by taking medication, but I tried that route about six times (each a little less painful than the previous attempt) — meaning I wasn’t able to miscarry fully on my own despite the repeated attempts and writhing on my bathroom floor in pain, so I had to get the D&C. My doctor told me he had only seen the medication not work for someone one other time ever. LUCKY ME! Fortunately, the D&C procedure itself went as smoothly as it possibly could’ve. We are very thankful for that, and that my mom flew in for emotional support. It was so much easier having her here with us. My cycles also went back to normal like clockwork, thank God. They are actually even better/more normal than they were before.
The most difficult part of the D&C wasn’t the surgery itself (or even the bill, which added up to about as much as an IUI cycle), but the moment I had to sign a consent form about what to do with the tissue and I did a double-take at the “Mother” signature line, thinking it meant my mom because up until that moment, it always had — and she was right next to me at the time, so I assumed it was for a witness signature or something.
When I realized it meant me, it felt real in a way it hadn’t up until that point, and I don’t wish that feeling on anyone. It was the first time I had ever been called a mother by someone I didn’t know, or signed anything that referred to me that way, and thank God I went under anesthesia shortly after that because I almost lost it. It was like a punch in the throat and the moment I felt like I was truly saying goodbye.
Another thing I shared with my friend today is that I am still grappling with feeling like this is the universe demanding payment for something, like it’s Rumpelstiltskin taking my firstborn child from me because of something I didn’t even realize I was gambling for or did wrong. According to my own internal dialogue, it could be a lot: breaking off my engagement eight years ago and leaving my fiancé for his best friend, waiting until my thirties to have children, getting annoyed at crying kids in public, not living in the same state as my aging parents. Take your pick. Payment? For the amazing 2015-2016 Josh and I had. We both got great jobs (mine literally at my dream company), bought a house, went to Europe. So my brain was like, something is going to be a payment here. (Yes, I’m talking to my therapist about this.)
My friend today was one of the first people I’ve told this to who hasn’t shot it down cold. He of course said it wasn’t true — which is what I would tell anyone else who wasn’t me, to be fair — but he also said he understood why I’d feel that way and that it wasn’t unreasonable or irrational to feel it. Oddly, that made me feel kind of empowered about it. These are feelings I continue to work through and I am a lot better about it now than I was a year ago. To be honest, Josh and I both still grapple with the way we got together, but not nearly as much as we used to. It creeps in when we’re both feeling especially insecure and has shown its face in a very ugly way throughout this infertility journey, during the times when we both feel defeated and the “when” is an “if.” It’s still a “when” for us at this point and we’re trying to be optimistic, but that ebbs and flows and I think that’s probably OK.
I did get to spend my birthday at Walt Disney World when I was still pregnant, which was so fun. Josh bought me a bottle of non-alcoholic wine for the AirBnB and a little silly bell to ring when I want a kiss, and a coffee mug that had the name we’d picked out if our baby was a girl (spelled differently, but still). We had felt it was a boy before that, but that day we changed our minds because we took it as a sign that the gift shop had our girl name but not our boy one.
We had fun deciding what would be baby Haupt’s first ride, and made a video on Dumbo where we talked to the baby about how much we were excited to take her to WDW one day. We told our waiter at dinner that we were expecting our first child and he was so excited for us and took great care of us. He even tracked down non-alcoholic wine for me. It was probably my best birthday to date.
We never did find out the sex of the baby for sure because we opted not to have the D&C tissue tested since most of it had cleared out from the meds before I went in for the procedure, but my mom thinks it was a girl too.
We mutually decided to call her Genevieve (my mom’s idea), because that was what my mom had wanted to name me initially.
We cried for Genevieve a lot. We still do sometimes, but not nearly as often. She will always be our first baby and she will always be any future babies’ (and Penny’s!) big sister.
Let me preface this by saying that I am NOT a patient individual. Anyone who knows me knows that, and so the very first thing I did when we decided to try getting pregnant (besides get down to 15 lbs. less than where I am now, but that’s another story) was buy a shit ton of ovulation tests. Now if you don’t know what these are or have never used them and you have children, congratulations. Also, as an aside, please know there is going to be a lot of “GOOD FOR YOUUU”s in my posts and it is not directed at ANY one person who didn’t have trouble conceiving. I hate you all equally. :o) Not really, of course. I love you, especially if you’re reading this and especially if you have Reese’s you are willing to part with in exchange for literally nothing. But those complex emotions are, again, another story for another time.
Sorry to use a Dane Cook joke because it’s not 2005 nor am I an asshole, most of the time, but let’s Tarantino this and go back in time. I used ovulation tests – which, like a pregnancy test without the pregnancy part, is a stick you pee on to tell you when you’re going to ovulate, therefore your most fertile time – on our EUROPE TRIP, in September/October 2016, the first month we started trying. The night I got a positive result, I will not go into massive detail about, but let’s just say we’d spent the evening at Oktoberfest in Munich after spending the day in Salzburg in ANOTHER COUNTRY and had to get up at like 3 a.m. for a flight to London. It was…not the most laid-back experience, let me just put it that way. I don’t have many regrets but if I could go back I’d probably just chill the fuck way out on that trip because the timing was not ideal. At the airport, I literally fell backwards down an escalator. Luckily no one was watching except my equally terrified and amused husband, who still calls me Doodlebug to this day because of how I just. Kept. Fucking. Rolling. (And in New Orleans, where I’m from, that’s what we call roly polys, pill bugs, whatever the rest of you weirdos say.) Also, to be fair, the suitcase Josh was “holding” fell into me. I was the overpacker though so Josh 2, Doodlebug 1 I guess. I’m not mathing right now. I’m in the bathtub and I’m tired.
Speaking of chilling out, ever have anyone tell you “Just relaaaxxx, it’ll happen!” LOL BECAUSE I HAVE HAHAHAHA yeah. No. There is no scientific proof that NOT trying to time sex properly and enduring a little bit of stress to make that happen won’t lead to a baby but gosh golly, we tried it anyway. Josh and I went away for weekends a couple of times, I tried not tracking my basal body temperature (oh we’re about to get real educational and maybe even a little TMI up in here because I have learned A LOT) and symptoms. I tried drinking more water to help with my fertile cervical fluid (I warned you), eating and drinking out of glass instead of plastic, every vitamin you can think of, reading books about how to get pregnant faster, and nonnnne of that worked, guys. None of it. We are a case of unexplained infertility, which – you guessed it – is a case that the doctors can’t figure out. My Fallopian tubes are open. I don’t have endometriosis or PCOS. I seem to be ovulating on my own and have regular periods. I’m a human. I’m not THAT old. Josh had three – THREE – analyses done on his situation and those came (no pun intended ugh SORRY) out fine. A little tip (lolz) if you’re a type-A individual and have unexplained anything: don’t.
Turns out I DO have a weirdly positioned and difficult to penetrate cervix (imagine that!) and something called diminished ovarian reserve (DOR), which is a likely lower egg count than most women my age (33). So maybe these could be issues? I don’t know. But I had an ovarian antral follicle count (AFC) of 12 the last time I went to the doctor, about three weeks ago, and I believe most women my age have 15-25? Definitely more than I have. And the higher your AFC, the better because it means you have more fertile years left and if you undergo fertility treatment (more on our history of that later), you’re likely to get more eggs on one round of stimulation. My AMH hormone is also very low, which signals DOR as well. However, AMH and AFC tell you absolutely nothing about egg quality. Know what does? IVF! What a coincidence. The possibility of paying thousands upon thousands of dollars to potentially be told your eggs are a complete Dumpster fire. What a steal. Luckily my doctor believes I’m a very good candidate for IVF and that my eggs aren’t all hot garbage, which is probably just something he says to all the girls but alas. Josh and I are meeting with him next Wednesday to go over our schedule and get a few questions answered and cry over the price they give us so that should be a really fun time.
I joke but we actually are excited about it at this point because it’s something new to explore that we haven’t failed at before, which I know is a very glass-half-empty way to look at it but it’s almost impossible not to feel that way at times. Over the past two years, we have been through five intrauterine inseminations (IUIs – lots of fun acronyms when you’re dealing with infertility), one miscarriage and dilation and curettage (D&C), at least 10 friend/family pregnancies (three during months we had failed IUI cycles), approximately 73 bottles of wine – shout-out to that for playing its part in these 15 lbs.! – and roughly $15,000 spent (between medications, IUI treatments, a surgery, pregnancy and ovulation tests, vitamins, acupuncture, a crib that is sitting forlornly in the room we don’t feel right calling a “nursery” anymore, etc.) that has gotten us nothing tangible, so it’s safe to say we’re ready for this next step. And despite my sarcasm through 85% of this post…I am thankful for it. It has made me so much better of a person, and I’m excited to explain why to you guys.
But for now…bed. The water is cold and I regret everything.
So this blog has been a long time coming, I guess. It started as a few very informal, very wet-haired selfie-recorded videos on my iPhone (like, some in my bathtub, guys), and then morphed into a Facebook post draft that I continually updated every time something new happened in this now-two-year journey of Josh’s and mine. Once that Facebook-post draft got over 2,500 words long and the big question mark in my head took the form of “if” instead of “when,” I knew it was time to go back to writing my thoughts down in a blog.
Josh and I have been trying to have a baby since our trip to Europe. For those of you not keeping track of my personal life, that was two years ago. In fact, Oct. 4, 2016 was when we returned and we were both so excited knowing the new chapter of our life could be right around the corner. I had a feeling I’d get pregnant the first time we tried because, up until that point, I had succeeded at everything I had tried my very best at without having to do it more than one time. Some things took longer than others, but there was always a known end/goal date and a defined way to achieve that goal. Not this time, Jen.
I’ll get into some of the more specific aspects of what has gone down in the past two years in subsequent posts, but I just wanted to start out with something to say thank you to everyone whom we’ve reached out to in this time period, even if you don’t read this. The group of people we shared our struggle with started out very small, but has grown large enough to the point where, when we miscarried in March, I was having trouble remembering whom all we had told about finally achieving a pregnancy so that I could go back and tell them it didn’t work out. At first, this upset me — I felt like maybe we had jinxed ourselves by telling so many people.
But looking back, I’m so glad we did, and we’d probably do the same thing if given the chance to do it again. Josh and I are both very stubborn, proud, textbook oldest children, which can be a good thing but can also be very difficult because when both people in a relationship have trouble asking for help, they are both prone to emotional drowning a lot more easily. So to those of us who have asked how we’re doing, sent us messages of encouragement, “sat in the shit” with us (as my therapist likes to say), thank you. We know it’s not easy when you don’t know what to say, and we’re very thankful for each and every one of you who have tried anyway.