Secondary Infertility & Recurrent Pregnancy Loss: Betty’s Story [JOURNEY]

December 2, 2019

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Today’s journey story is about a woman named Betty. She is a 37-year-old administrative professional who enjoys knitting, watching reality TV, and listening to audiobooks and podcasts. A year before Betty and her husband got married, she became pregnant spontaneously. Unfortunately, the pregnancy was located in her cervix. They didn’t start trying again until a year after they were married. Over the next year, she had multiple miscarriages and eventually ended up at a fertility clinic. She was diagnosed with MTHFR and diminished ovarian reserve, but all other tests were normal. After two cancelled IUIs and one cancelled IVF cycle, she became pregnant spontaneously again, but this time had a live birth. Join us to hear how Betty returned to her fertility clinic a year later to try for baby #2 — and what’s coming up next in her journey.

Episode Sponsor:

Infertility Coaching with Heather Huhman

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Betty was more cheerful and less anxious than she is today
  • How she met her husband through online dating and they were engaged eight months later
  • As a couple, they like the same things and share the same goals and values
  • Betty never wanted to have kids, and that was confirmed when she was in her 20’s
  • How they bought a house in a good neighborhood for kids and Betty became less ambitious in her career
  • About the time of her engagement, Betty found out she was pregnant, but major bleeding sent her to a clinic
  • After two weeks of testing, nothing showed on the ultrasound of her uterus, but her HCG numbers were high
  • Betty experienced a horrible bleeding incident as the doctor removed tissue from her cervix
  • None of the OBs at the hospital had ever seen a cervical ectopic pregnancy before
  • Betty considered herself fertile, but experienced her first taste of bitterness and jealousy toward other pregnant women
  • When they got married, she took time off from trying to conceive and began tracking, temping, and charting her cycles
  • How Betty became pregnant again soon, but experienced a chemical pregnancy
  • Another pregnancy followed a few weeks later, but she miscarried at nine weeks
  • How Betty held the fetus in her hand and apologized to it for her failure
  • Further testing revealed a girl with Trisomy-16
  • How Betty was in a fog, thinking everything was fine, despite the fluke pregnancies, but clearly, it wasn’t
  • Through 23andMe, Betty found that she had the MTHFR mutation, so she switched vitamins and got the OK to try again
  • She was pregnant again, but the next day her test was negative
  • Her OB did blood work and the AMH numbers frightened Betty about DOR, so she started exploring the possibility of donor eggs
  • The doctor recommended IVF, but her BMI was too high, so they began IUIs
  • With no follicle growth, even with medications, the first two cycles were canceled
  • Betty took measures to improve her health, like losing weight, taking supplements and Chinese herbs, doing massage and acupuncture, and removing toxins from her life
  • The first IVF was canceled due to Betty having no follicles
  • As they considered donor eggs, Betty became spontaneously pregnant and knew immediately that this would be a “take-home” baby
  • Betty was right, and her daughter was born in 2018
  • They started trying to conceive again in 2019 with a different RE, but have had no pregnancies
  • They did an IUI in October and a timed intercourse cycle—both with no success
  • Questions about the cervical ectopic pregnancy, in that doctors suspect it was a twin ectopic, with one in the cervix and one near her ovary
  • How Betty was able to get pregnant on her own after all the losses and the fluke circumstances
  • How secondary infertility is different from primary infertility
  • Betty’s fear in anticipating another pregnancy in that she has “cheated luck” one time already with the birth of her daughter
  • The things to consider about donor eggs
  • The lowest point for Betty: the nine-week miscarriage that was a very dark time
  • The positive moments of finding infertility support groups, both online and in-person
  • How Betty and her husband balanced fertility treatments and work
  • How Betty and her husband have grown closer through infertility and their losses, even though she doesn’t think he understands how horrible it is for her
  • Why they didn’t share their infertility with any friends and family because Betty didn’t want to be pitied
  • Why Betty waited until she was 18 weeks along with her daughter to announce her pregnancy
  • How Betty learned to advocate for herself even though it was difficult to do
  • Betty’s tip about advocating for yourself: “No one cares as much about you getting pregnant as you do. Don’t rely on doctors and nurses to be the primary drivers of your care.”
  • If Betty could change anything, she would have pushed to see the RE sooner
  • What’s next for Betty is more IUIs and timed intercourse cycles while she works to lower her BMI and prepares for IVF

References:

Thanks for listening!

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