1) What is your personal experience with infertility/miscarriage?
My husband and I went to a fertility specialist in June 2018, after about a year of trying with no success. We did all of the things: tracked ovulation, timed intercourse, used fertility-friendly products, took vitamins, ya know, the fun stuff! We started to get concerned, what could be “wrong” with us; were we broken? Our specialist took down our medical history and did some genetic and hormone testing. I had an HSG (x-ray test) and my husband did a semen analysis. Everything came back within a normal range. We suspected that I may have endometriosis based on my menstrual pattern (heavy bleeding, severe pain, and other symptoms). I also have luteal phase defect which means that my luteal phase is less than 12 days long. On average, my luteal phase is naturally 8-10 days. Having a short luteal phase does not make it impossible to get pregnant but it does make it difficult. After a few months of testing and discussing our next steps, we decided to try timed ovulation with Femara, timed intercourse, and taking a “trigger shot” of Ovidrel, an HCG hormone to stimulate the release of an egg. We made all of our plans to commence with my next cycle. By some miracle, I got pregnant naturally the cycle before we were supposed to start our planned treatment. It was so hard to believe and almost too good to be true.
I know how common miscarriage is and I was pretty afraid of becoming a part of that statistic. But my husband was so positive and thought that this was our time. When we went in for our first OB scan at seven weeks, we received the news that it looked like our pregnancy was measuring about two weeks behind. It was hard to tell if the baby was just behind in growth or no longer growing. That day was one of the hardest days for us. We were devastated. I was angry, sad, heartbroken, every emotion that I could feel, I felt. It was a very hard day but at least we had each other. We were told to come back in a week to see if there has been any growth. The following week, we went in for another scan and to our surprise, there was growth. Not a lot, but our embryo grew roughly a week within a week so that was good. However, we were still measuring two weeks behind where we should be, based on my last period. Again, we were told to come back a week later. Before that third scan, I started to bleed, cramp, and see blood clots. When we finally made it to the scan the following week, we knew for sure that the baby was no longer growing and that our pregnancy would soon end. We made the decision to schedule a D&C two days later, because the thought of miscarrying at home was truly frightening to me. I felt that I wouldn’t be able to get through it. I didn’t think I was strong enough. When we went home after our scan, I felt more cramping and was still bleeding but thought nothing of it. I went to bed that night (thankfully) wearing a maxi-pad. I woke up around 1 a.m. and learned that I had already started to miscarry. Over the next three hours, we miscarried at home. It was truly the worst thing that I have ever experienced in my life. Traumatic is a word I often use to describe it. If I think about it too long, I start to cringe and cry over what I experienced that night. I also feel oddly lucky that my body knew exactly what to do. My husband was with me the entire time, feeling helpless, but he truly was an amazing support. Luckily, my body took care of everything on its own so we didn’t need the D&C. We then had to move into the recovery phase of our journey. We were no longer pregnant. Our miscarriage occurred on September 26th, 2018 on our third wedding anniversary.
2) How has it made your life worse? How has it made your life better?
I feel like I have a few different answers to this question, because my outlook has changed so much over time.
Infertility had made my life worse, because for awhile, it made me miserable. It made me hate my body. It made me feel broken on the inside and on the outside. I no longer felt like the person that I was before we made the decision to want to become parents. I also think that it’s made my life better, because it’s taught me that I truly cannot control life the way I want to. I’ve learned that so many people battle infertility and it’s just not talked about. So it’s inspired me to do what I can to raise awareness. I had to work really hard on myself to see how I can turn the bad into good when it comes to infertility.
Miscarriage has made my life worse because I had to go through something physically traumatic, and in the end, I walked away with nothing. Not even a physical scar. I feel like I will forever have a what if in my life. But, it’s made my life better because it’s shown me how freaking strong I am. I have never been someone to think highly of myself. My self-esteem is sadly low, but witnessing my body knowing what to do in a moment like that was painfully beautiful. I was really angry with my body for weeks leading up to my miscarriage. I couldn’t believe that my body would do this to me because I am so good to it, but going through my miscarriage showed me that my body was looking out for me, in a really weird and morbid way, because it took care of everything naturally. I didn’t need to force it to do something unnatural in having surgery. Miscarriage has also given me my voice. It’s shown me that even though I am one person, I can make a difference. Maybe not a huge difference, but by sharing my story, others have shared theirs. I’ve now helped multiple women through their own miscarriages because I never wanted a woman to feel unprepared like I was. Doctors tell us that miscarriage is like a heavy period but that is just WRONG. So, I tell it like it is and I feel like that has made my life, and other lives, better.
3) What have you learned through this experience?
Through this experience, I have learned that I am much stronger than I originally thought I was. I’ve also learned how to communicate better with my husband. I had to share with him exactly what I was experiencing and how I was feeling about it, since he could only experience it all second-hand. Again, I’ve also learned that I have zero control in this and nothing I do, changes anything. This is a very freeing lesson because I try to plan everything to the T, so I’ve been able to relax a little bit more.
4) What do you on to for hope/courage/strength on your bad days?
My husband. He is my strength and he provides me with the hope and courage that I just don’t have on those bad days. He’s so positive and warm, it makes me believe too. I know that because of our marriage and the love he gives me, that even if we never become parents, we will be just fine because we have each other.
5) How do you feel about your experience with infertility on your good days?
On my good days, I am thankful for experiencing infertility (and now miscarriage) because it’s given me the opportunity to experience something that women all over the world (often silently) go through so I can offer guidance, support, and empathy.
6) In three words, describe yourself before/during/after miscarriage.
7) In what ways has your experience with infertility/miscarriage changed you as a person?
If you had asked me this time last year, my answer would be totally different. But right now, where my journey is, and what I’ve experienced thus far, I feel that both infertility and miscarriage has made me a better person, friend, and wife. I know that what I’ve learned within the last two years, will make me a better mother one day. I’m more empathetic, knowledgeable, and understanding of my feelings and others’ feelings too.
😎 How have others responded to your infertility situations? Has it impacted your relationships? What are some things that you have been told that have been helpful/harmful?
We haven’t screamed it from the rooftops but we haven’t hid from it either. When we started to see a specialist, we told our family what was going on. When we got pregnant, we told our friends and family right away, because we didn’t believe in the whole waiting until the “safe zone” rule. We think that if you’re pregnant, especially after infertility, you should be able to tell everyone if you want to. So luckily, when we learned that we were miscarrying, our family and friends were there to support us. Most things that people have said to us have been helpful and there haven’t been any moments that were harmful to us. I know that we are fortunate in this way. I notice sometimes that coworkers and friends will be hesitant to show me photos of their children, nieces, nephews, etc., and I don’t want people to treat me any differently.
9) Tell us about you. What are your hobbies/passions/pursuits?
My name is Arden. I live in small-town North Carolina with my husband and our four dogs. My passion is writing, sharing our story, and wanting to become a mom. My hobbies include reading, writing, watching Netflix, being a couch potato, cooking, and spending time with family. I love my blog and all of my blog readers, writing, sharing my story, sharing other stories is a complete dream come true and helps me cope with my trials. Right now, my biggest dream in the whole world is to see my husband become a father. That dream has gotten even bigger since our miscarriage, because having my husband care for me and care for this baby before it was even a baby, was truly a gift.
10) What is your favorite quote?
I have a few, if you don’t mind me sharing them.
My favorite fertility-related mantra is: “I am good to my body and my body is good to me.” I said it to myself over and over again after we got our bad news.
My favorite quote in general is: “Take the stones that people throw at you and build a monument” by Robin Sharma (my favorite author)