Unexplained Infertility & Recurrent Loss: Amy’s Story [JOURNEY UPDATE]

January 20, 2020

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Today’s journey update is from a woman named Amy, who you might remember from Episodes 137 and 161. When we last spoke, they had just finished their adoption paperwork and home visit process and were waiting for a call about a match. Join us to hear the latest in Amy’s journey.

Episode Sponsor:

Infertility Coaching with Heather Huhman

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Amy is a 37-year-old public health professional who’s been married for ten years and lives in Philadelphia
  • Amy’s been pregnant seven times, and she’s had six miscarriages and four D & C procedures
  • She was diagnosed with recurrent pregnancy loss, but she had a healthy daughter last October, who was born without any intervention
  • In 2016, after no success, they saw the first reproductive endocrinologist but found Amy was unknowingly pregnant naturally with twins
  • At the next scan, there were no heartbeats, and Amy’s world cracked open for the first time
  • How she stayed with that RE for another year and did an IUI that resulted in a chemical pregnancy and a Clomid cycle that ended in miscarriage
  • Since the RE’s response was clinical and emotionless, Amy began researching and found the BI podcast, Fertility IQ, and a new RE
  • The recommendation was to do IVF with PGS testing through the clinic’s shared risk program
  • As Amy prepped for the first IVF, she became pregnant naturally, but there was an empty sac
  • Aneuploidy was the suspected cause of her early losses, and the IVF retrieval yielded three normal embryos
  • One embryo was transferred just as Amy’s mother-in-law was diagnosed with cancer; the pregnancy ended with another early loss, which was devastating for Amy
  • Amy had a D & C and prepared for the adoption process; they did two more transfers with various protocols but had no success
  • In the shared risk program, Amy got her money back after three unsuccessful transfer attempts, so she and her husband took their money and applied it toward adoption costs
  • As of Amy’s appearance on Episode 161 just a year ago, they had walked away from IVF and completed all the paperwork to pursue adoption (this episode is distinct for having our first and only dad appearance, by Amy’s husband)
  • Since then, even after five miscarriages, they were still trying naturally but not hopeful
  • Amy took a pregnancy test on Christmas Day in 2018; it was positive, but she miscarried three days later
  • In January 2019, she took another positive pregnancy test and expected another miscarriage
  • At six weeks, Amy and her husband saw their baby’s heartbeat for the first time ever
  • Amy saw a maternal-fetal medicine specialist in Philadelphia every week for the first few weeks; she also got a RhoGam shot because of blood type issues
  • How Amy got mental health therapy and saw midwives throughout her pregnancy until her daughter’s birth last October
  • How the support group, Modern Loss, has helped Amy
  • What it’s like to be pregnant after multiple losses, never feeling “safe”
  • How Amy helped manage her anxiety with acupuncture, therapy, and keeping busy
  • The “art of doing nothing” during pregnancy and childbirth–and not living by a checklist
  • The myth that “you’ll get pregnant if you get on the adoption list”
  • The necessity of educating others and managing their expectations
  • Amy’s labor and delivery experience, in which her plans “went out the window”
  • Amy’s need to let everyone involved in her labor and delivery know about her history of trauma with her six previous losses
  • The scariest day of Amy’s life was the day of her unplanned C-section
  • How Amy made her list of birth preferences, emphasizing informed consent at every stage
  • How loss history has affected Amy’s parenting
  • The recovery and postpartum period, which was harder than Amy expected
  • Why holding her baby didn’t negate the trauma and grief of six losses
  • The apprehension of “testing fate” with thoughts of having another child
  • How Amy’s relationship with her husband was strengthened, and why she feels lucky to have had several years together before their infertility journey
  • How her relationship with friends and family is mostly positive in trying to educate them about infertility, and how she was able to connect with some of them in their own infertility journeys
  • The need to create rituals and remembrances around our losses
  • Amy’s research on how women post about miscarriage on social media
  • How infertility and recurrent loss have changed Amy: “I’m more empathetic and supportive about the challenges that people face. I remain a fierce advocate for reproductive choice, and I don’t believe that everything happens for a reason.”
  • Amy’s advice to her past self: “Sometimes statistics lie, and the numbers are wrong. Trust yourself and your partner. Skip IVF and start therapy earlier.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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