HSG Test Results | Karyotype Test | More Surgeries, One for Something More Serious

HSG Test Results | Karyotype Test | More Surgeries, One for Something More Serious

I wanted to take a break from IVF for a little bit, maybe six months or so. But I still wanted this time to be somewhat productive, so I decided now would be a good time to look into getting a new OBGYN and ask about any testing that I may not have done yet. As it turns out there were several tests missing. I am now seeing two OBGYNs, and still deciding which one I want to see regularly. I am also seeing a specialist for something more serious than my fertility, that will affect when I’ll be able to do my next IVF cycle.



HSG Test Results

From what I hear the HSG test (Hysterosalpingogram) is one of the more routine tests done on women who have recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) or unexplained infertility. One of the new doctors I am seeing suggested I do an HSG test because there is no record of me doing this test. When she described the test to see if I remember doing it, it did not sound familiar. I told her that I’ve done SIS tests, but I’ve never done an HSG test. 


Back to the drawing board…Waiting to speak to new OBGYN about any missing fertility tests.


For those of you unfamiliar with HSG test, it is one method to see if you have blocked tubes or scar tissue in your uterus, which affects a woman’s ability to become pregnant or continue to carry a pregnancy. They use contrast dye to see if there are any abnormalities. I had done a little research on HSG tests and learned women who experience more pain during the procedure tend to have scarring of their uterus or blockage in their fallopian tubes. There were three women performing the HSG test on me. One was the radiologist inserting the catheter and dye, the other was moving around the x-ray machine, and the third was in training. 

I was expecting maybe a level of pain similar to my SIS test, which normally tends to feel uncomfortable, but not unbearable. But this HSG procedure was really different. After she inserted the catheter she said there was a little balloon on the end of it where the dye goes through or something. Honestly I can’t remember exactly what she said because I was crying in pain.

If I had to describe the pain I’d say it was one of the worst pains I’ve felt in my life, but it would come in very short waves. My pain would go up each time she put a little more dye in. It feels similar to miscarriage pain, at least that’s what it felt like to me. I really was not expecting this test to be this bad. In the middle of the test I wanted to tell them to stop everything. I wanted to get up and leave in the middle of it. The thought crossed my mind as I was laying there crying, I want to just give up on trying to have a baby. I can’t take any more of this.

I focused on deep breathing. I probably sounded like one of the women in the maternity ward with how loud I was breathing. I didn’t care, it was helping me somewhat. I was also doing a grounding technique that tends to help me, where I push my thumb and pointer finger together. But the pain was so intense at times that I was pushing my thumb nail incredibly hard into my finger. The nurse in training seemed to feel really bad for me and offered her hand for me to hold a couple times. I told her “it’s okay” and thanked her for the offer once the wave of pain subsided.

It sucked, like really sucked. But I got it done and over with. I experienced cramping off and on over the next few days. I’ve heard this test and the level of pain each person feels really varies. Some women don’t really feel much of anything, while other women describe it as being brutal. It really depends on what is going on inside your tubes and uterus. 

The results of the HSG procedure were that my tubes looked nice and clear, but I have significant scarring in my uterus. This can cause recurrent pregnancy loss and infertility.The report reads, “Significant scarring and synechia within the uterine cavity narrows the body and lower uterine segment.” I read the sentence and one word stuck out to me ‘synechia.’ Synechia? What the heck is that? I decided to Google ‘synechia uterus’ to try to learn what that word meant, because my doctor didn’t mention that word to me. Mind you, I am reading this report that was emailed to me after I spoke with her.

My Google search: Synechia uterus

Google results from Cleveland Clinic: “Asherman’s syndrome is an acquired condition (one you are not born with) that refers to having scar tissue in the uterus or in the cervix (the opening to the uterus). This scar tissue makes the walls of these organs stick together and reduces the size of the uterus. Asherman’s syndrome is also known as intrauterine synechiae or uterine synechiae. Synechiae means adhesions. Asherman’s syndrome is also called intrauterine adhesions (IUA).” 

My doctor told me I would need another surgery to remove the scarring. Problem is, sometimes the surgery to remove scarring can also create more scarring. With my most recent miscarriage I needed three subsequent surgeries to clear my uterus. This surgery would make it the fourth. I am now wondering if I have endometriosis, which can cause scarring to reoccur over and over. I’ve never been tested for endometriosis, so it’s possible I may actually have it, which would explain why I’ve needed surgery after surgery to remove scarring. 

From the little I understand, it looks like it is more likely the scarring I am experiencing may be from complications from the D&C procedures I needed after my last miscarriage. But that does not mean I don’t have endometriosis, it has not been ruled out yet. This HSG test opened a real can of worms and is leaving me with more questions. Even if I decided to stop trying to have a biological child, I would need this surgery regardless because ignoring Asherman’s Syndrome or Endometriosis can lead to more and more scarring, severe pain, and issues with menstruation.

On the bright side I am happy that I am getting the necessary testing done that I need if I want to continue IVF treatment. I am surprised my previous two Reproductive Endocrinologists never thought to do an HSG test. I’ve heard from some women in the infertility forums that this test was done on them fairly early on. But I suppose it’s better late than never. I am scheduled for my pre-op appointment this Friday, where I will learn more about the surgery. They told me the first step they want to do is a hysteroscopy. Which I’ve had done in the past, but it sounds like they may only do a hysteroscopy this first time and not the actual scar tissue removal at the same time like what my previous OBGYN would do. I’ll find out more here in a couple days what their plan is.


Karyotype Test

After seeing the first doctor who recommended an HSG test, I saw another OBGYN to get another opinion. This second doctor said that it was good I was going to get an HSG test done and agreed with the first doctor. She also recommended I do a Karyotype Test where they look to see if there are any other genetic issues I may have which could be contributing to the miscarriages. We already know I have the MTHFR gene mutation and both doctors agree that this mutation may or may not be contributing to the miscarriages. Both said that MTHFR gene mutations are common and there isn’t enough studies to make clear correlations between MTHFR and recurrent miscarriages. They also both said that it’s possible I could be the exception and that it could be a contributing factor.

While the first doctor decided on an HSG test, the other one decided to do a Karyotype test. She asked me, “Have you ever been tested for a balanced translocation?” I told her I was fairly sure I was tested for this, because I saw a geneticist years ago. I explained both my husband and I took the Natera Horizon 274 Test which analyzes your blood to see if either partner is a carrier for genetic diseases. But she said, “I don’t see anything in your records indicating you were tested for a balanced translocation. I am fairly certain this is not a part of the carrier screening.” As it turns out, my records do not show anything relating to a karyotype test. She suggested I do a Karyotype test to check for a balanced translocation. 

Years ago I remember calling my reproductive endocrinologist and asking her if I had a balanced translocation, after I had done some research on my own about it. I remember her saying, “If you did the Horizon 274 test, then you’ve been tested for a balanced translocation.” But this new doctor is saying the exact opposite of what she said. I told this new doctor, “It would not surprise me if they never tested me for a balanced translocation because they told me the wrong thing before about how I did not have the MTHFR gene mutation and I found out years later I really did have it. So let’s go ahead and do the Karyotype test, especially since there is nothing in my record about a karyotype test.” For the karyotype test it was a blood draw. I called today to check if my results were in yet (since it’s been two weeks now), but they said this test typically takes longer, upwards of three weeks. So now it’s a matter of just waiting. 


More Surgeries, One for Something More Serious

While I am waiting for the results from the Karyotype test, I will be speaking with the surgeon this Friday about what to expect for my uterine surgery to remove the scarring they found during the HSG test. I think it’s good that I am seeking out different opinions because both discovered tests I was missing. This is what I wanted, I wanted to know if there was anything missing. I feel good that the wheels are in motion, and I am making progress in a way during this break from fertility treatment.

But I have also been doing testing for something completely different. Let me take you back to earlier this year…

In January 2020 I first discovered a small lump in my breast. I didn’t think much of it at the time because it was so small and felt only slightly different from the rest of the tissue in my breast. I decided to make a mental note of how big it felt and see if it changed at all in the coming months. 

Months later I was preparing for my frozen embryo transfer with hormonal injections and I gained some weight. The lump felt a little bigger this time, but I figured maybe because I gained weight, or even because of the hormones I was on. The embryo failed to implant and I stopped taking injections because I wasn’t pregnant. I assumed maybe my body needs to have a menstrual cycle or two before this lump will get smaller. 

I’ve had two menstrual cycles since then and lost some weight. But instead of the lump getting smaller it feels as if it’s nearly tripled in size. My mom has had cancer twice, breast cancer and then endocrine cancer inside her lung. My dad also had cancer. So I am considered high risk. About four years ago I asked my previous doctor if I should get a mammogram but she told me that I was too young.  When you are younger breast tissue is more dense, which makes it more difficult for them to see anything on the mammogram. That doctor actually told me she would not refer me for a mammogram unless my mom’s doctor wrote a letter of referral to her, then she would consider a having me do a mammogram. My mom’s doctor was totally on board with doing this, but he retired shortly after and I never got that letter.

It seemed like a difficult process with several hoops to jump through, not to mention my doctor seemed dismissive about screening me. But I was concerned because my mom had aggressive breast cancer and my dad had just passed away from lung cancer although he was not a smoker. I think anyone in my position would want to at least get screened. But after trying to talk to my doctor again about screening she said the same thing and persuaded me not to get screened. I thought, “Maybe I am too young. Maybe I’m worrying for nothing.” So I decided to drop it for a while.

But now that I can actually feel this lump and it’s grown quite a bit in less than a year, I decided I really do need to get this checked out. Since my mom’s original doctor who was willing to write the referral had retired, Mom suggested I speak with the doctor who did her surgery to see what they say. They referred me to do a mammogram really quickly, within just a couple days.


Not a spa day. Wearing robe just before doing my first mammogram.



X-ray machine used for my recent mammogram.


The radiologist said she could definitely feel something. After waiting and waiting to hear the results, the radiologist assistant relayed the message to me that the radiologist couldn’t find any signs of cancer and to “come back for your next mammogram at forty years old.” She also said, “sometimes our breasts just get lumpy, maybe your fertility treatment had something to do with it.” 

With this news I almost decided not to even go to the follow-up appointment with the doctor. But I’m glad I did. My doctor also said that she could definitely feel something. “It feels like a tumor.” At first my brain stopped comprehending anything she said after ‘tumor.’ She explained the name of the tumor she thought it was but I was in a daze, only hearing ‘tumor.’ How could that be? 

I was even more confused because she said she didn’t think it was cancerous yet because it feels softer, and cancer tends to feel harder. I didn’t even realize you could have a tumor and it not be cancerous. “Given your family history and your high risk of developing cancer we should schedule surgery, but first let’s do an MRI.” She said an MRI is more sensitive to finding cancer compared to a mammogram, which can miss seeing cancer especially in younger women with more dense breast tissue. 

I asked my doctor if she thought my recent fertility treatment may be causing the lump and she asked, “Did you have the lump before the treatment?” I let her know that I did in fact feel the lump before treatment. She didn’t have a clear opinion either way whether she thought the lump got bigger because of the fertility treatment, but she did point out the fact that this lump was here before treatment. 

I told her I was hoping to start up with IVF treatment either by the end of the year or early next year. I asked her “What’s the longest I could go before needing this surgery on my breast?” and she said, “Before the end of the year, and before you try IVF again.” This seemed to add a new level of urgency to the situation. Before I asked her that question I figured she would tell me several years, because it didn’t seem cancerous just yet. But we won’t know for sure until I do an MRI if it’s cancer. 

She went on to say regardless of what the MRI shows, we should remove it because I am at high risk of it turning to cancer. So at best, this surgery would be preventative and at worst I could find out that I have cancer with this upcoming MRI. I may need to do a biopsy, which I need to ask her if that is different from the surgery she is talking about. She was very clear about the fact that I should not do IVF again until this lump is removed.  She explained my individual odds of getting cancer is a little over 25%. I was actually considering cancelling this appointment beforehand because I was certain she would say the same thing the radiologist said, “next mammogram at 40” but this doctor said, “Radiologists can miss things. Some women in their 30s do get cancer.” 

I left that appointment feeling completely blindsided with the news. I was not expecting that at all. I assumed she would also be dismissive like my previous doctor years ago, instead she was already talking about doing surgery. I take what she says very seriously because I truly believe she saved my mom’s life. They scheduled my MRI for the earliest time, several weeks from now. At this point we have not scheduled surgery yet because the MRI may show that it has spread to other parts. My mom’s breast cancer was the type you could not feel, and could only be seen on MRI as tiny specks all spread throughout. So it’s possible that this is more than just a single lump. It’s also possible it’s not cancer, but my doctor still wants to remove this lump to prevent it from turning into cancer.

Emotionally, I am a wreck, I’m not going to lie. Not only do I have yet again another surgery for my scar tissue in my uterus but now it’s looking like I will also need this surgery to remove the lump in my breast. It’s really overwhelming that both of these are happening at the same time, on top of the fact that I need both surgeries in order to move forward with IVF treatment. I still haven’t processed this news fully, I truly feel like I am in a daze and none of this is real.

I suppose instead of spinning off into space with worry, I should ground myself by being grateful for finding out this information. I am so thankful these doctors are doing their best to really investigate what’s going on with my health. They really are on top of things. I am glad I decided to seek out new doctors for my care, because I could have been dealing with so much worse physical health later down the road.

I need to practice other healthy coping skills in addition to gratitude. None of this news is easy to digest. But last night I was able to find some dark humor in the whole situation. I joked with my husband, “They are taking parts from me there [pointing down] and now here [holding boob]. What’s going to be left of me?” I laughed and I was able to get him to laugh too. I didn’t think I would be able to find humor in any of this but maybe this coping skill, among others, will help me get through all of this. 


Further Recommended Reading:

Breast Self-Exam from BreastCancer.org

Breast Cancer Statistics in Young Adults from Young Survivor Coalition

Week 10 of Pregnancy: 6th Miscarriage

Week 10 of Pregnancy: 6th Miscarriage

Even without the ultrasound tech saying a word I knew something was wrong. There was no pulsating heartbeat like I saw with the last ultrasound. It was just complete stillness. My doctor and nurse seemed to be feeling the weight of sadness for me, they said they were sorry to see me going through this. I cried a little bit in the bathroom after the ultrasound, but then focused on what needed to be done afterward. I held it together while I was still in the office so I could think clearly enough to ask the questions I needed to. 


The ultrasound tech said the baby stopped growing around the 9th week based on their measurements. On the bright side, this is the longest pregnancy I’ve ever had. So maybe it being nine weeks could be attributed to some of the changes I’ve been making with how I eat and the supplements I’ve been taking. Unfortunately I didn’t find out I was positive for a MTHFR gene mutation until a couple weeks ago. Maybe had I known I could have started the Baby Aspirin sooner and maybe it would have protected this baby. 


My doctor highly recommends I do the Anora genetic testing on the baby to see whether it had a chromosomal issue. If it had a chromosomal issue, there’s nothing that could have prevented it. But, if it is chromosomally normal this may help determine whether I need to be on the medication Lovenox. In other words, if it’s normal maybe medication is what I need to prevent this from happening again. My geneticist said that with my particular type of gene mutation I do not need to be on Lovenox, but I’d like to get my Seattle doctor’s opinion. My local OBGYN says he communicates with the doctors at Seattle Reproductive Medicine (just like my prior Reproductive Endocrinologist). He said he will ask the question regarding whether Lovenox might be needed for my next pregnancy. My local doc seems to be on the fence about the Lovenox. I’ve also heard that some women with my issue also take progesterone, even if their levels show normal. I think I will also ask my Seattle doc this question too. I need to do my own research as well.


I have to have surgery Wednesday, due to this being a “missed miscarriage.” My doctor advised me to cancel my trip to Denali I had planned for the weekend. I’ve been dealing with some cramping, no bleeding yet, and still very nauseous. The most worrisome symptom have is that I feel like I’m going to pass out several times a day. The other day I was in the shower and all of the sudden my upper body felt really heavy and weak. My vision started to go black from the outside moving inward to where I could hardly see. I got out of the shower and lied down right away. I ate breakfast before my shower with two cups of water and some juice, so I had enough in my stomach. In hindsight, each of my miscarriages I felt this same way, like I was going to pass out or like I was incredibly dizzy. I asked my doctor about this and he said it could be due to the dropping levels of progesterone from the miscarriage. He suggested I eat small and frequent meals throughout the day and drink plenty of water to prevent this.


As far as how I’m handling it emotionally, it hasn’t been easy. But I decided to take a week off work for several reasons; 1) I don’t want to start miscarrying while I’m at work, 2) I need several days to recover from the surgery, 3) I need to take this time process the loss before I jump back into work. Based on my past experience with missed miscarriages and surgeries, taking a week off seems to be the perfect amount of time for me to move on physically and emotionally. With my very first loss I needed two weeks, mostly to deal with it emotionally. I suppose I’m bouncing back faster than I used to.


Honestly, at first I was inundated with all the “should have, could have, would have” thoughts. It was overwhelming to think about all the variables I could have adjusted, and maybe this wouldn’t have happened. If you are going through a difficult situation like myself, I think it’s incredibly important to not place blame. It took me so long to come to this realization. Don’t place blame on your doctor, don’t place blame on God, and don’t place blame on yourself. The sheer amount of negative energy that comes from those thoughts can make you become blind to possible answers that can lead you in the right direction. Blame closes off opportunities, whereas acceptance can bring clarity. By acceptance, I mean accepting what you are dealing with right now in this moment and moving forward.  


The other day I visualized myself standing at a fork in the road. I could take the dark, bleak path or I can choose the more vibrant path. The dark path is depression, confusion, negativity, and feeling stuck. Whereas the brighter path is gratitude, strength, inspiration, and growth. Admittedly, I was already in motion toward the darker path. But instead, I made the turn and began walking the brighter path. You can also choose the direction of your journey, no matter how far down the dark path you find yourself, you can always turn it around. Yes the outcome with each pregnancy may be out of my control, but what is in my control is my perception. Some people have told me I should maybe give up trying to have a child. But there is something inside me that says, “No way! Not yet.” It’s like a fire that is still going strong inside me, despite everything that has happened. As long as that fire is still burning, I’m going to continue this journey. 



Thank you for reading. 

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page. 



Image Credit: Photo by icon0.com from Pexels

Week 10 of Pregnancy: Yuckiness

Week 10 of Pregnancy: Yuckiness

(Entry written prior to posted date)

Date Written: 9/10/19


PLEASE READ FIRST: Although this pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, I still wanted to share my experience of this pregnancy. I wasn’t ready to talk about my pregnancy as it was happening, so I wrote this entry prior to the date it is posted.


Right now I’m in the middle of my 10th week and feeling extremely tired and nauseous. I threw up only one day so far, but six times in that single day. I’ve learned that I need to be constantly snacking on things every 3 hours or so in order to prevent nausea. Saltine crackers first thing in the morning has really helped me. I think that I do feel the worst in the morning but it doesn’t go away during the rest of the day either. My husband bought me some ginger root and ginger ale that I think has been helping me. I’ve been making ginger tea out of the ginger root. 


I’ve never felt this tired in my life. Just totally wiped out and have zero motivation to get anything done around the house. If I’m not at work I’m a total couch potato at home. Speaking of potatoes, I’ve been craving them constantly! I must have some form of a potato daily. I haven’t been able to eat an entire meal lately because of the nausea, mostly half meals or smaller. 



Started Methylfolate at beginning of pregnancy and Baby Asprin more recently.


Last week I was waiting to hear back from the geneticist about whether I should take Lovenox and if there was anything else I needed to be taking for my specific type of MTHFR gene mutation. She said that I do not need to take Lovenox and that Methylated Folate and a Baby Aspirin should work fine for me. Please speak with your doctor about your specific treatment plan, don’t just follow mine. My geneticist talked to me about my particular MTHFR gene mutation, C677T heterozygous single variation, and said, “It’s fairly benign” and “it’s actually pretty common, with as many as 50% of the population having this kind.” I’ve heard this statistic about a large part of the population having it, but it was the first time I was told it was “fairly benign” which I guess is a good thing, but if it’s the main contributor to all my miscarriages I would not categorize it as “benign” at all. One of the definitions of benign is “not harmful.” I’d say this is pretty damn harmful. I guess we will find out for sure whether my Methylated Folate and Baby Aspirin is what finally makes the difference with this pregnancy.



First ultrasound from week 9 of pregnancy. Looks like a little blob, but ultrasound tech showed me the head on the right side. Heart is beating strong at 155 bpm.


I have my ultrasound this Friday and I am kind of stressed about it, most of my past ultrasounds are always bad news. I feel like I will absolutely be blown away if my pregnancy is still continuing to be healthy. I’m still shocked that I’ve made it to week 10 without any issues other than feeling nauseous. This is the first pregnancy where I’ve been incredibly nauseous which I hear is a good thing. One other difference about this pregnancy is I haven’t spotted at all, which I did in all my other ones I miscarried.


I decided to let my two supervisors and HR know about my pregnancy. It’s a little earlier than I was planning to do after the first trimester. But because I’ve been feeling so cruddy and it’s been somewhat affecting my work performance, I thought it would be better to speak up about it. I’m glad I did because shortly afterward one of my coworkers confronted me about not helping with a cleaning project. I felt like every smell in the building was about to make me projectile vomit. I figured by the end of the shift I’d start to feel better but I didn’t. So my attempt to clean would most likely have ended up with me also cleaning up my vomit. I figured some people would be grumpy with me not doing everything I normally do, but I’m not ready to announce my pregnancy. It just feels too early for me. Part of me wants to explain why I can’t lift heavy things and why I seem very immobile these days, but I want to protect my privacy a little longer from my coworkers. 


Even if this ultrasound on Friday shows that everything is perfect, I’m still hesitant to share the good news. Although I originally planned to announce to everyone at the end of my first trimester, I kind of like keeping this to myself right now. If I lose the baby I’ll have to explain to so many people about it. And even if everything goes well, I don’t really want people asking me a lot of questions about the pregnancy. For now at least, I’m just not ready for that. I’m considering keeping it to myself until I start to show. I even had the idea to wait long enough until I’m clearly showing, then place my bets on who will ask me if I’m pregnant first. I think I might find that kind of entertaining, plus it will buy me some time to keep it to myself a little bit longer.


Thank you for reading. 

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page. 


Week 9 of Pregnancy: Top Secret

Week 9 of Pregnancy: Top Secret

(Entry written prior to posted date)

Date written: 9/3/19


PLEASE READ FIRST: Although this pregnancy ended in a miscarriage, I still wanted to share my experience of this pregnancy. I wasn’t ready to talk about my pregnancy as it was happening, so I wrote this entry prior to the date it is posted.


I’ve decided this pregnancy needs to stay a secret from pretty much everyone until I at least pass my first trimester. This is proving to be difficult while I continue to write posts about other things going on simultaneously. For example, while I was waiting to get tested for the MTHFR gene mutation and when I got my results what I didn’t tell you all is that I was mostly there for testing my HCG levels because I was pregnant. Sneaky, sneaky. I so wanted to share the news because I was so happy but I ultimately chose to wait because I wanted to not deal with the questions I would get. I tend to be OCD at times and I overly research the s**t out of things enough as it is with this pregnancy, almost to the point of neurosis. So I really didn’t want to have the added stress of other people’s questions and worries on top of my own. For this pregnancy it was more of a strategic stress management decision. I wanted to reduce my stress as much as possible. I’ve decided to keep this news to myself until I feel comfortable to share it, which in all honestly will probably be sometime during my second trimester.


I just got off the phone with the office of my geneticist. My OBGYN doctor referred me there since I was found to be positive for the MTHFR gene mutation. So my geneticist’s office has been playing phone tag with my OBGYN office and apparently didn’t have a clue why I was referred to them. So I had to explain to them that I was pregnant, had the MTHFR gene mutation and needed to find out ASAP whether I should be taking Lovenox or not. So I’m still waiting to hear back. My OBGYN didn’t seem too sure whether I should be taking a Baby Asprin or not, so I decided to continue taking it since I’ve read that it probably wouldn’t do any harm if I took it but didn’t need it. 


As far as how I’m feeling, well imagine that every ounce of life has been zapped from your body and that’s pretty much what I’m feeling. I have zero energy, and I mean zero. It takes a decent amount of energy just to get up and get something to eat. I’ve been parked in front of the TV so much my body aches until I force myself up and stretch while I reach for a small snack. I’ve been eating like a bird, very small amounts but frequently. I’m eating frequently because my nausea has been absolutely terrible and the only thing to keep it at bay is to have a little snack in my stomach. I don’t eat full meals much, and if I do it takes me forever to eat it all. I definitely have morning sickness when I wake up. Needless to say Saltine crackers have become my new best friend. We bought a Costco sized box of twelve sleeves of crackers which will probably last me just a couple weeks. 



Positive Pregnancy test on July 26th.


A couple years back I was eating a snack at work and my coworker’s face lit up and she said, “Oh my God! You’re pregnant!” I was so confused how the comment came seemingly out of nowhere. “Uh, no, just hungry. I haven’t eaten yet today” I said. She pointed to my snack as if I should have known I was pregnant just based on what I was eating. I was so confused and asked her why she thought I was pregnant. She explained that I must have been because I was eating Saltine crackers and that no one eats Saltine crackers unless they are pregnant. I explained to her that I like salty snacks and that I figured it was better than potato chips. It took a while to convince her that I was not pregnant. Knowing that some people so strongly associate these crackers with pregnancy is going to be a problem for me while I try to keep my current pregnancy under wraps. They are the only thing keeping me from being barfy. Granted I no longer work with that person, but I am a terrible liar and need to figure out how to maneuver around this possible question. Mamma needs her Saltines! 


As far as emotionally, I’m excited that this pregnancy has been going well so far. I’ve had no problems at all other than some random sharp pains. But my baby’s heart is beating well and it’s measuring perfectly on track with the ultrasound. Kurtis had to work that day so I’m hoping he and I will be able to actually see the heartbeat the next time we are there. And maybe we can actually make out some body parts instead of it appearing like a blob where it’s hard to even tell where the head is. I’m counting down the days. We are doing the appointment and ultrasound on Friday the 13th. I hadn’t really thought that one out, but I figure with the terrible luck I’ve had in the past maybe I should play the “opposite game” and stick with that appointment date. Maybe our little one will be just as healthy and strong as it was with the first ultrasound but bigger. 


I’ve been using the Ovia Pregnancy app on my phone. I love that app because it gives an adorable cartoon rendition of what the baby looks like at each week of the pregnancy. It also tells you what size the baby is, mostly in fruit, but this week my baby is the size of a southern pecan according to the app. It even shows you the actual size of the baby’s hand which really adds to the cuteness factor and will make anyone go “awww.” 


As much as I want to be in the moment I also really want this first trimester to fly by, so I can feel some sense of security knowing the miscarriage risk is lower. I know you can lose a baby at any point during the pregnancy. But to get past the first trimester would be amazing and surreal, because I’ve had that chance. Even now, when I think about how this time next year I could be cuddling with my baby, it seems very surreal. The best way I can describe it is when you have such a strong dream in your heart, but you’re told it will never happen, and then way later down the road it suddenly becomes a possibility. It’s hard to fully embrace that reality when you feel like it can be ripped out from under you at any point. But I still carry on and try to stay optimistic.


Thank you for reading. 

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page. 


MTHFR Gene Mutation Test Results

MTHFR Gene Mutation Test Results

Today’s post will make more sense if you read my last one. So rather than recap everything again that lead up to these results you can go ahead and read that one by clicking here. I may have called the clinic three times to ask about my results over this last week. No one seemed to have a time frame for me of when to expect the results and they said, “This test takes a little longer.” 


Finally my doctor called when I was in a Wendy’s drive through with my Mom who was driving, I was visiting her that day. I had my phone up to my one ear, and my finger in the other ear trying to block out all the unusually happy workers inside who were all laughing hysterically about something for what seemed like five minutes straight while I was on the phone trying to hear what he was saying.


“You tested positive for the MTHFR gene mutation,” he said. He went on to explain some details that I wasn’t able to grasp in the moment, probably due to a combination of not hearing him and not actually processing all the info. I had to call him back later to actually write down what he was trying to explain to me. He said I have the “MTHFR gene mutation C677T heterozygous single version.” He thinks that some of my miscarriages may have been caused by this gene mutation. Essentially, when you have a MTHFR gene mutation your body cannot process folate well, which is an incredibly important vitamin that helps the baby grow properly. 


I had very conflicting emotions with this news, mostly a combination of anger and relief. I was so angry that none of the doctors had realized this earlier, and that one doctor mistakenly told me that I was negative for this gene mutation when she really meant to say I was negative for Factor Five. So I went on to tell my next doctor and several other medical teams I was working with that I did not have MTHFR, going off what she had told me. Sadly, none of these doctors thoroughly looked into my file. Had they done so I may not have had to deal with 2.5 years of five miscarriages and paying for IVF. 


I’ve heard stories of women who’ve suffered through many miscarriages before their doctor tested them for MTHFR gene mutation. When they discovered they had it, they were put on the proper medication and vitamins and boom…they have a healthy baby in their arms. I pray it will be that simple for me as well, but I also have Low Ovarian Reserve so it probably won’t be that easy. On the other spectrum of my emotions, I am feeling so much relief knowing that a huge missing puzzle piece has finally been found. But to be honest it is going to take a while to get over my anger. I think in time I will get over it, but right now it is pretty difficult.


I sat at Mom’s dinner table and talked about the news with her. She was the one that had mentioned to me several months back my Aunt has the MTHFR gene mutation. This perked my ears up because I remember hearing that acronym as part of the fertility tests I thought I took early on. I explained to Mom, “Had you not told me that, I would not have double checked that I actually got tested for it.” Mom got kind of teary eyed and said something to the effect of, “I didn’t even realize that was something related to fertility.” In other words, Mom had no clue the wheels she had set in motion for me. But I’m glad that she did. I’m also glad that my Aunt spoke up about her medical issues that were caused by the MTHFR gene mutation. Those conversations led me to my diagnosis that could help with my fertility, and ultimately help me to have much greater odds of having a baby.


I am brand new to this diagnosis so I have much to learn about it. I’ll probably do informational posts on it in the future. One thing I mentioned to my Mom is that I learned the MTHFR gene mutation has been correlated to some cases of cancer. So my diagnosis has sparked her curiosity into whether she may have the MTHFR gene mutation as well. She has beat cancer twice already and is the strongest woman I know. She said she would look into testing. It’s kind of surreal to finally have a concrete answer as to why I have recurrent miscarriages, and even more so surreal there may be a simple solution of medicine to help me. My OBGYN referred me to a geneticist that I should be seeing soon. Maybe next year we will finally have our little one.


Thank you for reading. 

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page. 



Image Credit: Photo by Pixabay from Pexels

A Doctor’s Mistake & Possible MTHFR Gene Mutation

A Doctor’s Mistake & Possible MTHFR Gene Mutation

So I’m waiting, and waiting, and waiting still for my MTHFR gene mutation test results. Technically, I’ve been waiting about 2.5 years and just didn’t realize it. “How is that possible,” you may ask. Let me take you back to the beginning. Doctors typically look at the more common explanations for recurrent pregnancy loss with the basics; thyroid, progesterone, Rh factor, Factor V Leiden, and MTHFR to name a few. These basic tests help determine the correct treatment, and ideally prevent unnecessary heartache from miscarriage after miscarriage. If all of these tests are negative then further more in-depth testing can be done.


I vividly remember sitting in my first RE’s (Reproductive Endocrinologist) office years ago and hearing her explain my results to me. One by one she read my results while reading a paper from my file on her lap, “Thyroid is good. Progesterone is fine. Rh factor is positive, so that’s not an issue at all. No Factor Five and no MTHFR.” No MTHFR. No MTHFR. That’s what sticks out in my mind all these years later. I can still see her smiling at me optimistically, which I’m sure she wouldn’t be doing the same thing now had she seen everything I’ve been through over these years. But she retired shortly after I began my treatment with her. She was a nice lady, but in hindsight she seemed a little flaky and unfocused. But back then I attributed her forgetfulness of the details of my medical history to what I’m assuming was a high number of patients she was juggling. 


Flash forward 2.5 years later to now. That first RE retired, my second RE retired this year, and my info was passed along to an OBGYN office in the same building. I called my insurance company and learned there isn’t a single RE left in the state that is in-network any longer. So I’m shit out of luck as far as getting a specialist who is properly trained in cases such as myself. What does this leave me with? In the new clinic I did what most of us do, ask a lot of questions in hopes they will be able to give us breadcrumbs to the solution. It felt like pulling teeth with this one though. She seemed mildly irritated with each question I asked. What she didn’t realize is that she was sitting in an interview for a position that can mean life or death. Not to be melodramatic, but that’s truly the reality of what I’m dealing with, the life of my future child. 


I had high hopes for this young representative of this OBGYN office who my newly retired Reproductive Endocrinologist highly recommended. But my final question I posed to this fresh-faced doctor was what truly sealed her fate. It was basically a set up, I’ll admit, but I had to ask it to truly learn what I was working with. I asked her, “What do you recommend I do to improve my egg quality?” Mind you, I have recently done a massive amount of research on this subject this last year, from reputable medical journals and some of the most well-renowned books published on the subject, including the book “It Starts with the Egg.” I’ve already put into practice some of the medical advice on the subject. 


“Well” she starts, “We are born with a certain number of eggs. We can’t change that. And sometimes miscarriages just happen. There’s nothing you can do about it.” I could tell she says this quite often. Her face was completely blank and her eyes seemed distant like she was trying to figure out what she wanted to order for lunch. Her words may have been consoling to someone who might be experiencing their first miscarriage, in fact I know I’ve heard this before from another doctor I stopped seeing years ago. When I get a gut feeling that a doctor isn’t doing everything they possibly can, I usually move on to the next one, as anyone should. 


So what exactly was it about her response that pissed me off. Well she didn’t answer the question I actually asked her, for one. I asked about egg quality, not egg quantity. I know there’s absolutely no way you can increase the number of eggs you have. But I do know that there are studies on how to improve egg quality on the eggs that you have remaining, which can increase the odds of a live-birth. The problem with her answer to me is that she was either one of two things, 1) Not paying attention to my question, or 2) Uneducated on the correct response. To her credit, she contributed one solid lead for me to follow, with a different doctor of course. That lead was that she had looked through my entire file of many documents and found no MTHFR results. 


Interesting, no MTHFR results. Could this just be an oversight on her part? I hoped this was the case. One of my Aunts recently told me she has the MTHFR gene mutation and she was telling other family members to get tested for it. Because of this, I decided I should double check that I truly am negative for the MTHFR gene mutation. If you haven’t already googled what the MTHFR gene mutation is, it’s essentially a mistake that occurs in how people process folate which can lead to a variety of complications, recurrent miscarriage being one of them. The doctor’s parting words were, “You don’t need to get tested for MTHFR. Just make sure you take a prenatal with folate.” Let me disect this response as well, firstly if I did have MTHFR, it’s recommended that you take methylated folate during pregnancy, which is often not found in your basic prenatal. And why the hell would I not want to get tested for MTHFR if I have a family history of it and I’ve had five miscarriages? Why would I not want to find that out? At that point I thanked her for her time and we both left the room quickly. I’m assuming for her it was because her stomach was rumbling and she needed lunch, and for me I left quickly because I knew I wasn’t going to waste another minute with someone who seemed disinterested in helping me. I later read in my infertility groups that many other women have the same experience of a doctor being dismissive of their request to test for MTHFR and that some patients really have to push doctors to get this test done.


I called back a few days later and asked the receptionist to patch me through to a nurse. “Can you see if I have been tested for MTHFR at all?” I wanted to know for absolute certain that I had not been tested for MTHFR, because I was questioning how thoroughly the doctor read through my file. The nurse on the phone scoured through my medical history, I know this because I could hear her turning the many pages of my file. Finally after about five minutes she said, “Well I see here you were tested for something similar to MTHFR, Factor Five. But nothing at all on MTHFR.” She even reviewed my genetic test called a Horizon panel, which tests for 274 different genetic carrier diseases that both my husband and I took years ago. The MTHFR test wasn’t in that one either. She asked if I wanted to come in to get tested for it and I agreed, but later decided not to show up, remembering the shitty experience I had with that doctor. I thanked the nurse for her time she put into carefully poring over my file. I decided to use this bread crumb of information to move ahead, but not with them.


Instead of feeling obligated to continue care with that provider just because my previous Reproductive Endocrinologist recommended them, I decided to call up my OBGYN I used for my past surgeries after I lost my pregnancies. He previously recommended I ask most of my questions to a specialist, a Reproductive Endocrinologist, because he didn’t have all the information I was asking about. But now that I have zero RE’s that are in-network, I decided to go back to his office to at least test me for MTHFR. So I stopped by, did a quick blood draw, and now I’m waiting for the results. I’ve been waiting about five days now and I called several times. They said it takes a bit longer to get that specific test back. 


If I have MTHFR I can get set up on a treatment plan. If I don’t, at least I can finally rule that out. I feel I have a right to be angry, I was told I was tested for it but I really wasn’t. My second RE even asked me, “Have you been tested for MTHFR?” as she was looking through all my documents. I told her I was tested and found to be negative, because I was going off what my first RE told me. My second RE stopped searching through my file after just a few pages and took my word for it, she should have looked more deeply into it. Admittedly, my file is quite intimidating. It’s about as thick as a 500-page novel. Maybe that’s why she decided to stop short. There were a series of oversights along the way, and that is what bothers me. 


I believe this is not just a personal issue either. I feel that if this can happen to me, it is also happening to some of you as well. What would I have done differently if I were to do it over again? I would have examined my own copy of my file yearly, looking for any gaps in testing. But in the beginning you trust your doctor, you trust the process, and you believe you are doing everything you can. But doctors make mistakes, sometimes major mistakes. Sometimes you can’t take their word on something and you need to see it in writing in your hands. I wish I would have asked to have a copy of the test results and actually see the words MTHFR Gene Mutation on the paper. But that paper doesn’t exist because neither did the test. 


Throughout this whole process I’m learning to do my own research and take initiative. Because if you just go with the flow of whatever the doctor says you may end up so far away from your solution. Speak up and ask for the testing you need. If your gut tells you, “They don’t know what they are doing” listen to that instinct and find someone who at the very least listens to you. Because if they truly listen and still cannot help you at least they can hopefully point you in the direction of where to go instead.


I will let you all know as soon as I get the results from my MTHFR test. For now, I’m considering seeing the highly recommended RE that is not in-network with my insurance. Perhaps she has some advice that can actually help me achieve my dream of having a baby. I told myself I would pay off my debt first before I go down and do the Frozen Embryo Transfer in Seattle. I still have a good chunk of debt left to pay that feels like it’s turning into a Whack-a-Mole game, pay off one bill only to have another equal or more expensive one appear in my mail. I’ll get there eventually. 


I’m still exhausting every single possibility of trying to have a biological child. So for all of my family and friends saying, “Why don’t you just adopt?” or “Why don’t you just foster?” I humbly say to you, in time I will, but I don’t want to split my energy in different directions right now. I want to focus on one thing at a time. Some acquaintances I meet ask why I don’t have kids yet. I don’t feel obligated to give them my medical history so instead I give them the canned response of “We’re trying.” The more brazen acquaintances then jokingly say, “You don’t have much time left. You better get on that.” It’s at this point I imagine myself as Mike Tyson punching the sh** out of them repeatedly in their smug face, and maybe biting a piece of their ear off for good measure. I’m joking, sort of. But unfortunately they have a point. I’m 33 and I don’t have much time left, which is compounded even more so by the fact that I have Low Ovarian Reserve. So right now this is my focus and I’m doing everything I can.


Thank you for reading. 

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page. 



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How to Handle a Miscarriage at Home

How to Handle a Miscarriage at Home

You must consult with your doctor because a natural miscarriage may not be advisable in your specific situation. The following tips are meant for those who know they are going to miscarry and your doctor confirms you can do so naturally at home with lower risk. My goal in writing this is to help others who are about to go through the natural miscarriage process. Also, this is meant to help any family members or friends who will be there during the actual process, so they know what to expect and how best to help their loved one. I am choosing to avoid graphic details because I personally don’t find it helpful to read this from others, nor do I want to trigger anyone needlessly. Each of my miscarriages were missed miscarriages, this is when the embryo stops developing but the woman’s body has not completed the miscarriage process.


How to Handle a Miscarriage at Home



  • Ask your doctor for prescription strength pain pills.

You may not need them, or you may really need them. Each woman and each miscarriage is different. But why not be on the safe side and have them just in case.



  • Take an over-the-counter pain reliever for mild pain.

Keep Tylenol or Ibuprofen nearby. Speak with your doctor about when it is appropriate to take these and when it would be better to take a prescription pain pill. Each circumstance is different so always speak with your doctor or pharmacist about when and if it is appropriate to take an OTC pain pill and a prescription pill. They may advise you to take one or the other. Be careful not to overdo it.



  • Keep your phone on you.

If you haven’t already, program your doctor’s number into your phone. Most OB’s have an answering service after office hours, so if you call they can have an on-call doctor call you back as soon as possible. This is helpful if you are concerned about your symptoms but are not sure about whether you should go to the emergency room or not. You also can call the hospital directly for medical advice. Also it is good to have your phone on you if you are alone so you can call your partner, friend, or family member to come be with you.



  • Call someone you trust to come be with you.

Ideally it would be best to have your partner with you. But if they are not available call someone you trust, a family member or a friend. Tell them you need them to be there to make sure it doesn’t develop into an emergency situation. If you pass out, hemorrhage, or have another emergency situation, you need to have someone there to take over and call for an ambulance if necessary.



  • Stay hydrated.

Drink plenty of water to stay hydrated. You can also drink Gatorade, vitamin water, or another drink that helps to replenish you.



  • Keep a snack nearby.

If it is taking a while, and you are in a lot of pain you may not feel like getting up. You can keep some crackers or another snack near you. This is when it is nice to have someone there for you to bring you a snack if you get hungry.



  • Lie down.

Whether it’s on your bed, or the couch, find someplace comfortable to lie down. Do whatever you need to do to feel more comfortable. If sitting or standing feels better for you do that. Please be cautious if you choose to stand because there is a risk of if you get light headed and faint you might hurt yourself. I found that lying down was best for me. I also put a towel down just in case.



  • Have plenty of sanitary pads and toilet paper nearby.

Try to use the overnight or thicker sanitary pads. Keep these right next to your toilet. You may be in too much pain to bend down to get anything out of a cabinet. This is why you need to have pads and extra toilet paper very easily within reach.



  • Bleeding through 1 pad per hour? Call your doctor.

Each person’s situation is different, but my doctor said if I was bleeding through one pad per hour I needed to go to the emergency room. You are at risk of losing too much blood or hemorrhaging if you do not at least call your doctor. Do not be afraid to call and ask questions. They told me if I bled through 1 pad per hour for 3-4 hours I would need to go to the ER.



  • Don’t bend over.

It can be incredibly painful to bend over, and you should try avoid doing this. If you drop something just kick it out of the way so you don’t trip over it. Or ask whoever is helping you to pick it up for you.



  • Use a heating pad on your abdomen.

The warmth can help to ease some of the pain. You can alternate using the heating pad and taking it off as needed. 


  • Ask your doctor about testing.

Your doctor may have you bring in your products of conception to test if there were any genetic issues, to learn what may have caused the pregnancy loss. They will give you the materials needed to do this. They might not do any testing with your first two losses. Sometimes your medical insurance will not cover any testing until after your third loss. If you want to do testing, but feel you cannot handle this collection process ask your partner or the person helping you if they can do this for you. But remember, by doing this testing you can learn what is going on and your doctor can adjust your treatment plan.


  • Do whatever you can to help yourself emotionally during the process.

Whether it is distracting yourself from pain by watching a movie, listening to music, or talking with your partner. What do you usually do to comfort yourself in stressful times?


I will have more articles in the future on how to process pregnancy loss emotionally. The purpose of this article was more on the practical things you can do while the miscarriage happens. Be sure follow up with your doctor. You can be at risk for infection or other complications by doing a natural miscarriage, so be sure to check in with your doctor if you have any further symptoms. Please comment below if you have any advice you want to share with others about what helped you during this process. Thank you for reading.


Further Reading:

VeryWell Natural and Medical Miscarriage Options 

WebMD Miscarriage Treatment 


Image Credit: From Pexels.com 


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3 Practical Tips for Adapting to Changing Fertility Plans

3 Practical Tips for Adapting to Changing Fertility Plans

Quick Update: We just received the good news from our suppression check that my cyst has finally reduced in size, and I am good to go for IVF! Our IVF cycle was delayed by 2 weeks due to that issue but it has now been resolved. That recent experience inspired me to write this article today.


I am an advocate for not only prayer (happy thoughts, good vibes, or what have you) but also a huge advocate for taking action. This action can include advocating for ourselves at appointments, deciding when to do a certain treatment, or defending our stance to other people about how your treatment plan is your personal choice. But what if your treatment plan is constantly changing because your body is not doing what you thought it should be?


You may have never seen a positive on a pregnancy test before. Or a positive pregnancy test may fill you with dread because all the other positive pregnancy tests you’ve had ended in miscarriage. Or you may have a child already but are experiencing Secondary Infertility and the dream of more children seems to be getting harder and harder to achieve.  No matter what your fertility situation is, one of the most important factors for success is the ability to adapt to changing situations.


Wouldn’t you like to be able to bounce back from setbacks more quickly? Although the odds seem insurmountable, there is almost always still hope for each of us. Being able to adapt to the constantly changing treatment plan can help to reduce the negative emotions that can drag you down.


3 Practical Tips for Adapting to Changing Fertility Plans


  1. Get More Flexibility at Work


The more flexible your job situation the better, especially if your treatment is as aggressive as IVF. I had no idea how many appointments were actually involved. In my case I am in the doctor’s office at least once a week, then it will be daily the week of IVF. If your appointments begin to conflict with your work schedule, try talking to your supervisor about the options you have. You can still advocate for yourself while keeping your medical issue private. You could say, “I need to go to more appointments for a medical issue and I was wondering if option A, B, C, or D are available to me, or if you had any suggestions on how we can work this out?”


Quick Tips:

  • Try to schedule appointments during your lunch hour.
  • Save up leave time for appointments, medical issues or personal time off.
  • Change the time or day you work to a more flexible schedule if possible.
  • Consider looking for a different job if your current job cannot accommodate your appointments. Ask yourself what’s more important, starting a family or keeping a job that restricts your family planning? Trust me there are more flexible jobs out there.


2) Make a Back-up Treatment Plan


Try not to ruminate on all the what-if scenarios that could happen. One funny example I have of this is I was certain I had a balanced translocation when I really didn’t. My surgeon had mentioned that sometimes people have deletions or a balanced translocation with their DNA they pass on to their embryos, which could lead to a miscarriage. I heard this right before the weekend and I was also waiting to hear back from my geneticist. So what did I do?


I spent practically the entire weekend researching about balanced translocation. I watched so many videos, and did so much reading, I tried to decipher scholarly articles riddled with medical jargon. I fell down the research rabbit hole in an epic way. But that following Monday I heard back from my geneticist and she said I didn’t even have a balanced translocation. The time I wasted researching was unreal. Hey, maybe now I can also write a scholarly article on the subject and make use of all this information packed into my brain. The moral of the story is to focus on your current treatment plan but ask your doctor what the next immediate step would be if your current plan does not work. This helps you to not get too far ahead of yourself like I did with the above story.


Quick Tips:

  • Write down your current treatment plan including your diagnosis, medication, actions your doctor is taking, and actions you need to take.
  • Research your current treatment step to gain more knowledge.
  • Ask your doctor what Plan B is if your Plan A does not work after the expected amount of time.
  • Consider a second opinion if you feel you are not getting adequate treatment.


3) Consider Adjusting your Vacation Plans


There have been several vacations we were hoping to enjoy but could not do for one reason or another due to our treatment plan. For me it’s a no brainer, starting a family is my highest priority. My vacation can wait a year or two, not a big deal. It’s good to be hopeful and plan around the possibility of getting pregnant. Please also remember to look up on the CDC website if Zika has been found in the area you want to travel to. I chose to postpone our natural conception several months because we visited an area with Zika. It’s better to be safe than sorry. Follow your doctor’s orders.


Quick Tips:

  • Double check for Zika locations before traveling and follow your doctor’s advice about postponing conception.
  • Calculate if you’ll have enough savings for both treatment and a vacation.
  • Consider a “staycation” or doing something closer to home instead of longer distance travel to save money.
  • Think about whether you can physically go on vacation, given your diagnosis and treatment plan. Do you have a medical issue not related to fertility that could become aggravated by traveling, which in turn could postpone your fertility plans?

Commit yourself to finding solutions as opposed to dwelling on the problem. These are just a handful of practical ways to adapt to changing fertility plans. What would you recommend to others who are struggling to adapt? Please comment below. I’d love to hear back from you. As always, thank you for reading.

Featured Image Credit: Shutterstock

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Top 5 Ways to Scratch the Itch of Wanting to be a Mother

Top 5 Ways to Scratch the Itch of Wanting to be a Mother


Many of us who struggle with infertility, especially for a good length of time, may begin to feel we are losing out on time. It can be incredibly devastating to hear the news that your odds of success are low, or that they are good but face a let down every single time you lose another pregnancy. Maybe you just want to take a break from trying to conceive. No matter what your situation, for many women there is one undeniable reality, the biological urge to have children is so powerful it can take over our lives if we let it. The awareness of our Biological Clock can lead us to act a smidge neurotic at times.

I’m smiling to myself as I write this because I’ve found myself having serious conversations with my husband about kids, maybe a bit too early into our relationship. But I just felt compelled to, because I knew what I wanted out of life. Almost all of my friends have shared the same experience. Many of us are not shy at all about speaking up about when we expect to have children in a relationship, and that can kind of freak out our partners if they didn’t think that far ahead yet. I’ve also known friends who broke off their relationship because their partner couldn’t get on board soon enough and they chose to move on. Our desire to settle down and have kids can seem to dictate our lives. Sometimes we just need to take a chill pill. Once you get to the point where you found the love of your life, you are ready to start a family, but things are not going according to plan it is frustrating beyond belief. It is a real test of not only your relationship but also a test on how you adapt to the situation. No matter where you are in this process I think it may help to find an outlet for acting motherly, while we wait to become mothers.


Top 5 Ways to Scratch the Itch of Wanting to be a Mother


  1. Babysit


We all have friends and family in our life who have children. Start to pay attention to which ones sound like they could use a good break from parenting for a bit. You could offer to watch their kids while they have a much deserved date night. Maybe they are going through an intense time in their life. Say they lost a loved one, or are dealing with a medical issue that limits the quality time and attention they want to give to their children. Or maybe their daycare has inflexible hours and they need someone to pick up and drop off their kids while they are at work. If you are able to help out, why not let them know you are available? Make that time you spend with their children quality time. Teach them something new, read them a book, teach them a few jokes, play a board game or video game with them, try a new hobby out together. If you don’t have children and are wanting more experience this is a great way to do it.


2) Become a Mentor


Look into opportunities in your town to become a mentor for a child who could really benefit from hanging out with you. Look into the Big Brother Big Sister program. This opportunity can be great for the couple who may be thinking about being foster parents but may not have the resources yet that are required to become licenced. By being a mentor you are still making a positive impact on a child’s life, with the flexibility of maintaining your current lifestyle. Depending on the child and their needs, you could bring them out with you to the fun stuff you are already doing. Take them on a hike, go to the movies, take them to the state fair, bring them to the library, or try out something new together. Ask them what they would like to do for fun and what they expect from you as a mentor.


3) Work with Kids


I’d recommend that if you don’t have much experience with kids try babysitting first. Try babysitting kids of different ages and temperaments to get a feel for how to be flexible and meet the needs of different kids. If you are serious about starting a career working with kids consider the possibility of being a teacher, daycare worker, tutor, school librarian, or social service work with at-risk youth (field I’m in now). There are many options to choose from, check your local job listings.


4) Become a Foster Parent


Although I do not have personal experience with this, I am seriously considering it. One thing I learned recently is there are different agencies within my city to help place children into homes. I had assumed the only foster agency in my city was the Office of Children’s Services, run by the state. But I learned about several non-profit agencies who are committed to helping place children into good foster homes. They can provide a wealth of information, training, and resources to get you going in the right direction. Why not look into an orientation or open house? Call them up and ask questions about what it takes to become eligible. If you are intimidated about the potential for behavioral issues, ask yourself if you are emotionally ready to take this on right now. Do whatever you can to help the child, the best way you can. I like the commercial I saw recently with the simple, yet powerful statement, “You don’t have to be perfect to be a perfect parent.”


5) Get a pet


Our puppy. Believe it or not this is his super relaxed face after getting belly rubs from his daddy. Blissed out!

Check out the animal shelter or ask around to see if your friends have any puppies or kittens they want to give away. You can even foster pets these days too. Pets can brighten our day, make us laugh, and become a special part of the family. We help them as much as they help us. I was going through another miscarriage while at the same time our Sheltie (looks like small Collie) passed away. It was heartbreaking to experience two losses at the same time. After some time passed both my husband and I wanted to get another pet. We got a new puppy and boy did he keep us busy! It was a little overwhelming at first, especially since he was the first puppy I ever had (we had always gotten older pets growing up). But with some time and attention I was able to teach him a good amount of tricks and I can happily say he is now potty trained! Thank god for that.


Try to think outside the box. This goes for men too, seek out ways you can act like a father figure. If one method doesn’t really seem to be a good fit, try something different. Dip your toes in first before you decide to fully commit. One way to do that is to ask a lot of questions and learn from others first. But also don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Even if you feel like you are sucking at it, you are gaining valuable experience and challenging yourself to try something new. Tell me if you’ve tried any of the suggestions above and what has helped you. What would you like to add to the list? As always, thank you for reading.

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Top 5 Lessons Learned Over 2 Years of Infertility

I am the type of person who feels better after I am able to talk through my issues to figure out solutions. That’s why I love the idea of this blog because it gives me a place to express myself and get things off my mind. I used to keep a personal blog for years when I was a teenager and in my early twenties but life got busy and it sort of fell by the wayside. It has been just a little over two years since my husband and I have tried to have a baby. I think it might be good for me to take a look back on the lessons I have learned throughout this whole process. Honestly I am really freaked about about sticking myself with needles and I am doing everything I can to stay positive through this. I thought maybe if I take a look back at those moments of growth, maybe it will help me to feel a little stronger. Plus I thought maybe it might help others out there who may be reading this.


1) So many people have experienced what you have, and you are definitely not alone.


Many of us have heard the statistic that 1 in 4 women will experience a miscarriage in their lifetime. After I slowly started opening up about my miscarriages I was shocked to realize the majority of the women in my life have experienced my same loss. Some would bring it up in conversation before I had mentioned anything to them, and this helped me to feel more comfortable to share my story. I have so much respect for those in my life who brought up this topic first and helped me to feel okay about sharing too. I was feeling so disconnected and alone in my struggle. Even if you cannot verbalize your pain to anyone yet, sometimes just reading or participating in online forums about infertility and miscarriages can help you tremendously. I’ve been able to learn a lot from others that helped me with my treatment plan as well. A family member told me about her miscarriages and how it was possibly due to low progesterone levels and suggested I look into getting tested for this. Although it wasn’t my main issue with my losses, my doctor did find that my progesterone level was a little lower and included it into my treatment plan. Had I not had that conversation with my family member I probably would not brought it up with my doctor. There are so many potential reasons why a woman may lose her baby, or why she cannot become pregnant, each person and each pregnancy is different. But why not have those conversations with others who feel comfortable talking about their experience, because it may ultimately help with your treatment plan as well.


2) There are also people who will not understand your struggle, and that’s okay too.


The depth of the pain I felt with my first miscarriage was so debilitating that it threw me into a deep depression. Not only was my first miscarriage the most physically painful out of my four miscarriages it was also the most emotionally painful. My husband was also very sad and probably very scared to see how deeply effected I was. But, as I have learned from others, many husbands/boyfriends have at one time or another have said, “We will just try again” and did not seem as emotional as their partners. This can be confusing and isolating for women. I can’t speak for all women, but I’ve been mentally preparing to become a mother my whole life. It’s the one thing in life I wanted more than anything. And it may not even be a difference between the male versus female perspective that can make your partner not understand. It could be related to something entirely different.


I am very inquisitive by nature and I felt like there was something more to why my husband could easily move on from our loss than I could. What was it that made it easier for him to cope? All of our miscarriages were due to loss early in pregnancy. The main difference between how we coped differently came down to our fundamental beliefs on when a baby develops a soul, or when life begins. I believe that life begins at conception but he believed it started later in the development. His reaction to the miscarriage made so much more sense to me, plus it also made more sense to him why I was feeling so strongly about it. I felt like I understood him better, which helped me to feel closer to him. When I continued to have more miscarriages I could see that he was beginning to understand how hard it was for me, and he was becoming more involved in the process. He would go to more appointments, he too was opening up with family, friends, and coworkers who shared our struggle of infertility, and he was there for me to try to cheer me up.


3) Develop a good Coping Skills Toolbox.


I’m a psych major and I do social services related work so I tend to use different therapeutic terminology, such as Coping Skills Toolbox, in other words, the collection of actions that are healthy and helps someone process a difficult situation. I like trying new methods of coping to mix it up because there are some days where it seems like nothing will make you feel better, unless you try something new. Whether it’s listening to music, exercising, spending time with friends and family, or losing yourself in a good book, find what works for you. Sometimes it feels like the coping skill that normally helps just isn’t working, well try something different. When I was very depressed I would binge-watch funny movies or stand-up shows. I would do that with my husband and we both started feeling good, those feel-good chemicals were going off in our brains and even if I wasn’t laughing at first I started to really get into it. Sometimes a good distraction is a way to pull yourself out of those terrible feelings. I used a combination of coping skills, often at different times depending on which one was working in that specific moment. I decided to go back to college and signed up for an online class, just one, which was just what I needed to get my mind off the depressing thoughts I had. I threw myself into my studies and it felt pretty good. It was something challenging for me that occupied my mind, and that I really enjoyed. The bigger your Coping Skills Toolbox the better, these can be for prevention as well as when you are in the midst of a terrible situation.


4) Sometimes people will say things about your miscarriages/infertility that will make you upset.


I’m sure if you’ve already opened up to people that you already know people can be surprisingly hurtful, and even more surprisingly not even realize it. There are many reasons why certain comments will just really rub us the wrong way and may bother us for a while. I think a combination of things are happening that lead to this issue some including; 1) Sometimes people don’t know what to say because they’ve never had the experience of infertility/pregnancy loss, 2) Our expectations are too high for the empathy or sympathy we would want to receive, 3) People are often misinformed on the topic, or 4) someone’s religious beliefs about the situation may upset you, 5) People can be distracted by their own life to be able to listen to you and to therefore give you proper support.


There are many potential explanations for the off-putting comments we receive when we share our experience. Although it may be cathartic to vent about the rude things people say, we need to limit focusing on this. If all of us gathered up the idiotic comments we received from people and put them together, we would develop a real hatred for humanity.  But please remember, almost always people have good intentions, either that or they are a just a dumbass. Remember to smile and tell yourself, “Forgive them for they know not what they do,” whether your thinking this in a genuine or sarcastic way, keep telling yourself this. It’s exhausting having to educate every single person about how their comments are hurtful, so just don’t do it. Your focus should be on yourself, not what others think. Who cares what others think? For me at least, my goal in sharing my experience is to find the people who are supportive, and to figure out quickly which ones won’t be. Sometimes you have to wade through the weeds to find those amazing flowers of inspiration and inner beauty who will help you on your journey.


5) You are incredibly stronger than you realize.


Simply put, you have no choice but to be strong. Even when you don’t feel like it, trust me you are. After my fourth loss I began to feel kind of numb. I was able to talk about my experience with someone who had their first loss. She was at the end of her rope. She could not fathom having to go through her experience four times over, like I did. I was able to give her advice as best as I could, but ultimately it was up to her to make healthy choices for herself. Most of my friends have stopped trying to conceive after one loss. I’m kind of surprised how easily people give up, but each person needs to decide for themselves where their limit is. I keep pushing my “limit” further and further each time. I thought my world was coming to an end after my first loss. I told myself I’d stop trying after three. Here I am after my fourth loss and I am trying IVF here in the next few weeks. You have to live moment by moment in a way. Looking too far ahead is just too damn hard, and something you don’t have control over. All you can control is your next decision, even within a single day. Whether it’s a simple task like the blood draw you need to do that day, or the one shot you need to inject for IVF that day, focusing on the one thing you need to do in a day that brings you closer to your goal is the best way to get where you want to be. Bite-sized plans only for today are much more manageable than trying to plan out your entire future family tree, because God could always throw a wrench into your plans anyway. One day at a time will help you to feel more in control and will help you to look back and see you are incredibly stronger than you realize.


I would love to hear the lessons you have learned through your infertility/pregnancy loss experience. What advice would you give your good friend who is just starting on their journey? What are your most helpful coping skills you use that work for you? Thank you for reading.

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