This is hard to write, but it’s something I feel I absolutely must – my soul feels broken and heavy, and my heart has been put through a wood chipper.
Dan and I have been trying to conceive for a long time now. I was worried I may have some trouble, but did everything I possibly could to prepare my body. I adjusted medications, got advice, started tracking my cycle, and started supplements.
Then, one of my best friends (AM) got pregnant with her first child. She has PCOS, and was expecting to have a hard time. We had talked about this a lot. I was happy for her, especially since it took her so little time (3 months) despite having a diagnosed fertility problem and almost every doctor since her diagnosis saying that she couldn’t have children.
After her first was born, my baby fever got significantly worse than before.
Then, in July 2017, Dan and I decided to start trying. I had been on the “right” meds for over a year at that point, and my cycle was extremely regular.
That first month trying, I thought I may be pregnant – but ultimately wasn’t. So I decided to get a specific fertility app, and some ovulation tests. I bought a large packet of tests on Amazon for cheap (here). I used them right, and no positive at all. AM said she never got a positive with ovulation tests, so I figured maybe my levels were too low.
I kept testing, and we kept trying. The app (Ovia) would say I was ovulating and we would time things properly during my “fertile window.”
After six “months” (my cycle is a bit shorter than a full month, averaging 26 days), I told my OB/GYN that I kept getting negatives and was really scared that I wasn’t ovulating. She wasn’t too concerned as my period was as regular as clockwork, but was willing to give me referrals for some basic testing before she would put me on anything. She recommended I try for a year though, as insurance doesn’t cover any infertility stuff (with very rare exceptions), so the tests are pricey.
I was hoping to get pregnant before that year mark.
I kept testing. I finally switched to a more expensive ovulation predictor kit (OPK) – it detects both the LH (all ovulation tests do this hormone) and estrogen spikes that occur around ovulation. I would regularly see the estrogen spike, but still wouldn’t get the LH spike. But we kept trying.
AM found out she was pregnant with her second little, after 6 or 7 months trying, and her second daughter was born a few days before Mother’s Day 2018. I was super happy for her, and utterly devastated for me at the same time.
May 2018, after 10 cycles of trying (I took 2 off for my elbow surgery), I got my first positive ovulation test! The estrogen spike was detected, as usual, but then I looked at the test one morning and saw a solid (not flashing) smiley face! I had a positive test! Dan got several caps lock text messages in excitement! I even got weird pain/cramps that seemed like they were likely ovulation pains. I was beyond ecstatic that my body, apparently, had decided to start working properly!
Seven to twelve days after ovulation, a fertilized egg will implant into the uterine lining. Once there, your body starts to produce hCG, the hormone responsible for all the “normal” pregnancy symptoms (nausea/vomiting, sore breasts, moodiness, etc). HCG is also the hormone that pregnancy tests detect, which usually doesn’t have high enough levels in the urine to be detected until a week after implantation (which is around the first day of your period). HCG can be detected in a blood test prior to that, as blood tests are more sensitive, but the tests have to be ordered by a doctor.
A week after my first positive ovulation test, I felt weird! After that initial month of trying, I had never felt pregnant and would be the first to say “yeah, no, not this month” – though I continued to act pregnant (only approved meds and foods) for the time between ovulation and my period. But, this first cycle with a positive test was very different.
I was getting random dizzy spells that were completely different than my dysautonomia dizziness. The spells came on hard and fast, and almost literally knocked me over several times. After a few days, I was that dizzy constantly. I was also getting full very quickly, had a severe spike in my nausea, was peeing a lot, and my dysautonomia was getting worse (particularly the temperature dysregulation).
I tried not to get my hopes up, but I just knew – I was pregnant. Even Dan was almost positive I was pregnant, and he was only seeing what was obvious (the dizziness and nausea).
I got some brown very light spotting, a few days earlier than my usual pre-period spotting. This increased my hope! “Implantation bleeding” is spotting that can be heavy enough to be mistaken for a light period, and I hoped this was what I was experiencing.
Then, suddenly the “I’m pregnant” certainty was gone and I was 100% positive I was not pregnant. This realization was heartbreaking.
I still tested a day before my period was supposed to start: negative. And my period started overnight that night.
My period was extremely heavy, had a lot of severe cramping, triggered severe IBS symptoms (I got stuck in the restroom for several hours straight with spasms and dry heaving), and made me feel atrociously ill. This was definitely not a normal period.
There’s very little (if any) doubt in my mind that I was pregnant, and lost it. The symptoms were too undeniably “weird” and my period was far too different to be anything except pregnancy and miscarriage. Update September 2019: After further testing, we highly doubt I have ever been able to get pregnant. We’re pretty sure this was my body overreacting to suddenly producing its own hormones again. See the bottom of this post for links to more recent posts.
A “chemical pregnancy” is a pregnancy that ends right around the time the woman’s first period post conception should be starting. It’s estimated that many more chemical pregnancies happen than anyone is aware of, as they can happen before a positive pregnancy test.
This would be what I had.
I had been on turmeric and l-lysine for a while (my immunologist put me on them), and had been having some GI symptoms for a while, so I decided to look up the side effects. When looking up turmeric, I discovered medicinal quantities of turmeric have been shown to promote periods (which can promote miscarriage), so I immediately came off it. The turmeric had been giving me no obvious benefit anyway. I’m frustrated because all the doctors involved in my supplements knew of my desire to conceive and no one said anything.
I was terrified that I may have missed my one chance. “There’s no way I’ll get a 2nd positive ovulation test.” Well, I did!
This time, I wasn’t taking chances. I bought Pre-Seed for a little help, and we scheduled as much as possible. (I take a lot of antihistamines for my allergies, and they dry out mucus membranes, which can create a hostile environment for sperm.)
I was trying to not be optimistic. My body started acting weird, in a different but similar way as before. The most noticeable symptoms were that my breasts hurt (the breeze from the fan caused me to cringe and try to protect myself) and I had no appetite! I wasn’t that nauseous, but I didn’t want food at all. I did force myself to eat, though, since it’s necessary for you and a growing baby.
As I got closer to testing day, my nausea spiked, my breasts still hurt, and I still had zero appetite. I did not allow myself to think “I might be pregnant” – at least, not until I got uncharacteristically moody/hormonal. It literally felt like my brain was switched out.
I had brown spotting, but it was very light. Then, it got pinker and heavier… I started bawling because that almost always means I will wake up to my period. I screamed and cried in heartbreak and despair for over an hour.
The next day, my period started. Once again, I started bawling my eyes out. This was not a “mistaken spotting” period – I had a heavy flow, bright red blood, cramps, etc.
It’s almost impossible to explain how devestating that period was.
You see, the only thing I’ve ever known for a fact about my future was that I would have children (at least 2, but the actual number has changed a lot). I literally cannot remember a time I thought any differently – my future always included children. When I first realized dating Dan may be long term, or even possibly forever, I asked him if he wanted kids. I explained to him how important they were to me, so I needed an answer before it got serious. Thankfully, he was neutral on the kid thing, so it wasn’t a deal breaker! (Had he said there was no way that he would ever want children, I would have broken up with him – that’s how much of a “thing” it is for me.)
My dreams for the future also included changing the world. As I started getting noticeably sicker, I gave up on my dream to change the world myself. I still try to change it in small ways, but I had originally wanted to change it in big ways. Instead, my dream morphed into raising children that would be strong and brave enough to change the world themselves. How am I supposed to raise world-changing children if I can’t get pregnant?
Dan and I are now starting fertility testing. He did a semen analysis (we’re waiting on results), and I will start with an HSG. (An HSG is an imaging test where they inject a dye into my uterus and out my fallopian tubes to check for any blockages that would prevent pregnancy.) We’ll then go from there… I’m scared this may not happen, or that we won’t be able to afford any fertility treatments or procedures. And, until I get the plus sign on my test, I will continue peeing into cups every morning for over a week to check on my ovaries and then peeing into cups for a few days to impatiently check for that plus sign… I will also likely continue bawling my eyes out every single time my period decides to remind me I’m struggling for yet another month.
One in eight couples you know are struggling with infertility. One in four women have at least one miscarriage during their journey to conception.
Before commenting on this post:
- Think carefully about your words.
- Having a chemical pregnancy does not mean I need to be grateful that I can get pregnant – because we don’t know if I can. In theory, my eggs can be fertilized, but we can’t be 100% positive that is what happened. Without a positive pregnancy test, there is no way to know if my egg got fertilized and implanted, or if my hormones were just being confusing.
- I’m not “too young” (nor “too old”) for this. People have children and successfully raise happy families from their teenage years until they’re in their 40s! Couples under the age of 35 with no preexisting fertility diagnoses (like PCOS) take an average of six months to conceive – each cycle only has a 20-25% chance of success. Fertility starts to decline after age 30. If you try for over a year (and are under 35 years old), you need to see your doctor because that’s “not normal.” I’m currently 28, and have tried for 12 cycles now (I have had 14 cycles). We will hit one calendar year of trying at the end of July 2018.
- Relaxing won’t make me pregnant. I’d be pregnant already if that was the case, since I started trying relaxed and happy. Yes, stress can make things harder, but it doesn’t mean relaxing is a magic baby pill.
- I’m doing literally everything I can to help the process – except acupuncture because I find it absolutely excruciating! But, now I’m even starting to consider that because I’m that heartbroken.
- I’m allowed to be devastated and shattered during this journey. Because other couples have been trying for longer, have had more miscarriages, have spent more money on failed treatments, whatever, does not invalidate my emotions.
- I’m not sharing to ask for advice; I’m sharing to help raise awareness for the 1 in 8, and to connect with others on this journey. (And because it feels weird to hide medical news when my blog is primarily medical based.)
Yes, Dan and I talked over me writing about this process. We both agreed that it’s probably a necessary step for my processing and mental health, and that we’re okay with this story being online.
If you don’t know what to say, that’s okay. You can also read this page from RESOLVE (The National Infertility Association) for friends and family: Infertility Etiquette.
For more information about our infertility struggle, check out these posts:
- Making Baby B: Infertility Test Results and Next Steps
- The Necessity of Becoming Numb
- We Did an IUI (part 1)
- We Did an IUI (part 2)
- New Fertility Clinic: Answers and a Plan
- Our Infertility Struggle, So Far (Part 1)
- Our Infertility Struggle, So Far (Part 2)
- Our Infertility Struggle, So Far (Part 3)
- Let’s Catch Up: 2019 Review, part one
- Let’s Catch Up: 2019 Review, part two
- Infertility in 2020 & Next Steps
- InvoCell: Full Steam Ahead!
As I post more updates, they will appear at the top of my ‘Infertility’ page.
If you liked this post, and would like to see more like it, please consider gifting me a KoFi! Donations support this blog and my medical expenses.
35 thoughts on “Being One in Eight is Heartbreaking”
My husband and I have been trying for 4 months now. Sadly, I had a chemical pregnancy last month. Thank you for opening up and telling your story. I had no idea about turmeric. I started taking that not long ago but will definitely stop taking it now.
I’m so sorry for your loss 💔 I hope you will get a take home baby soon 🤞🏼
This is where my husband and I are at right now. I go to the doctor for our results tomorrow and I am so afraid. Reading that someone else has been through this same process when I have a family that has never struggled with this was a positive light in my day. Thank you for sharing.
I’m so very sorry I’m only just seeing this. I’m also so sorry you were able to relate, but I’m glad it could help. If you would like, how have you been?
It’s mother’s day and I’m sad. I’ve had 5 miscarriages and my last period I think was a chemical pregnancy I think! It was so hard and that would make it 6. Thank you for sharing your story. I feel a little better!
I’m glad it was helpful. Today is an awful day. I’m struggling too. Try to take some time to take care of yourself today 💗
I am so grateful I read this. What I’m going through is very similar. I keep getting sicker every cycle and we’ve been trying for 4 years. My quality of life has severely diminished and we have been through all the testing. Unexplained infertility. We have made the decision that if we haven’t conceived in the next couple cycles I’m going back on birth control, because my husband just wants his wife back and I just want my life back. Thank you for sharing your story
I’m so very sorry that you’re getting worse with every cycle. I hope you’ll conceive soon, or that the birth control will level you back out to “normal.”
Thank you for sharing! Best wishes 💗
I felt like i was reading a blog about myself right down to the chemical pregnancy and the next step being the HSG. Its heartbreaking going through this and i find myself hating every pregnant person i see and then feeling absolutley awful for feeling that way. The emotions on this journey have not been kind thats for sure. Baby dust to you and thank you for sharing your story.
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I’m so sorry you can relate! The emotions are difficult, for sure. I always try to give pregnant women good wishes because I realize now how common infertility is so they may have had similar journeys to get there. However, pregnancy announcements are still absolutely heartbreaking and I start crying immediately.
We’re actually pretty sure now, since we know more of what my body is doing and what was/is causing our infertility, that it wasn’t a chemical and instead was an extreme reaction to hormones. (If you click on “infertility” in my blog menu, you can see more posts about it.)
I’m really sorry you’ve been dealing with all of these emotions as well! Baby dust to you, too!
I work in an ob/gyn office, have been struggling for a year now. So you can imagine all the pregnant women I see and how I feel when seeing them… It’s hate, resentment, and then it’s guilt because I should be happy for them. I’ll be doing the HSG test Monday, I just want to know what’s wrong and it’s been hard. I literally related to every. single. word of this. Down to the bawling every month because my period came (even when I knew it was going to happen).
I’m so sorry I’m only now seeing this! Ugh, working in an OB/GYN office while dealing with infertility would be awful. I hate having to go in for my annual exams because of seeing all the pregnant women! How did the HSG go?
Sending lots of love your way! I have PCOS and we tried for over a year before we got pregnant the first time. That doesn’t seem like long to some people….. But I only had like 4 cycles during that time!! So it’s literally months of waiting, testing, hoping for a positive OPK… thinking everything you feel going on might be your period starting…. Getting positive OPKs but not actually ovulating…. So exhausting. My best friend got pregnant with her 2nd on her very first cycle while I was in the midst of this. I was soooooo happy for her, but devastated for me. I bawled.
And then we got pregnant! I wondered if I might be, because I had extreme exhaustion a couple of days after ovulation. About 8 weeks into the pregnancy, I lost the baby. We sat in the emergency room on mother’s day with what was the start of a miscarriage. We were so devastated. We started trying again after 1 cycle, afraid it would take a long time again. Well… It didn’t! It only took a couple cycles this time.
I’m now 30 weeks pregnant with our little girl. But I still carry the pain of infertility and of the baby we lost. We are still grieving the child we never knew, and I struggle with fear and intense nightmares about losing this baby. You are 100% ALLOWED to feel your pain, no matter what your story is. I sometimes feel like my infertility “doesn’t count” cause it wasn’t much more than a year. But it just does. Pain counts. You don’t have to measure it against someone else’s.
I know this comment is super long but I love your disclaimers at the bottom, BTW. Someone actually told me that after my miscarriage- “well at least you know you can get pregnant!” …. Yeah another way to know you can get pregnant is to STAY PREGNANT. And when I didn’t have regular cycles, “well at least you don’t have your period!!” …… Another way to not have your period is to GET PREGNANT. 🤦🏽♀️ People say some really dumb stuff.
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I absolutely HATE the “well at least you can get pregnant” comment! It’s absolutely awful!
I’m so sorry you had to go through a miscarriage, and on Mother’s Day. I’m so glad you’ve gotten to 30 weeks, and I hope you will get to meet your little one soon! And that they will stick around for the rest of your life (and then some, obvs) and you’ll have amazing memories with them!
Thanks for sharing your story. My husband and I have been trying for about 5 years now… I always thought it would be relatively easy. We went for tests (HSG, sperm count then after that being poked and prodded by a fertility doctor) a few months ago. The tests themselves are awful and quite traumatic. It’s all very emotionally draining.
We have done one round of fertility treatment which was disappointing and unsuccessful.
It feels quite hopeless at times…
I have recently found it encouraging coming into contact with other 1 in 8’s… at least we are not alone. Prayers for you as you continue on your journey.
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Best wishes and baby dust to you and your husband! 💗
There are truly no words. It’s an excruciating cycle to go through. I have a 3 year old and we’ve been trying to give her a sibling since she was a year old (ttc 3 years in May 2019). There have been so many negative ovulation tests, negative pregnancy tests, lots of “mean well” advice that makes me want to smack someone. We were able to conceive February 2017 but it ended at a short 6 weeks. We recently seen an infertility specialist this month for the first time since I turned 30 last year and we will have our first IUI next week. The specialist seems very optimistic and it helps relieve some stress. Lots of prayers for you and your husband.
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Best of luck with the IUI! Sending lots of baby dust 💗 If this month didn’t work (will know in a few days) we’ll be doing an IUI next month.
Prayers for you and your family as well!
Hi! I am so sorry for your loss, as well as your struggles. Reading your story not only touched me but also gave me hope, knowing that I am not alone in this battle, knowing that there are other woman out there who are going through exactly the same thing makes me feel less alone in this struggle! It’s somerhing I’ve been dealing with for years, 2 ectopic pregnancies and a complete loss of both Fallopian tubes, my heart breaks daily as my friends and family continue to announce their pregnancies. I know god has a plan for me, and I believe he has a plan for you as well. Good luck and I wish you and your husband nothing but positivity and true happiness.
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I’m so sorry to hear that! I hope you’ll get to grow your family somehow that works for you 💗
Best wishes and happiness to you as well!
Sorry about what you are going through. You are not alone! I have PCOS and I am just beginning this journey but before I found out I had PCOS we were trying to conceive for a few years. It can be so heartbreaking to think you are pregnant and then find out your not. I have had this happen a few times as well. I hope you have children that grow up and help the world because I am all for helping this planet and the people in it! I enjoyed the deep raw feelings in your post, like a window to your life. 🙂
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Thank you so much for your kind comment and future wishes! 💗
It is so heartbreaking. It’s been so frustrating not knowing if anything is “wrong” or if it’s just randomly not working.
I hope your journey will bring you the children you want!
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I am so sorry for your losses. Waiting each month and focusing on it can be so anxiety producing. Your life becomes up one day down the next. I pray your body will cooperate and this agonizing wait will end.
Thank you so much! 💗 The emotional roller coaster has been exhausting…
I love your list of things to consider before commenting. 💗 It reminded me of a woman I met at a conference. Her book is about her miscarriage and all the inappropriate things people said to her. https://www.christywopat.com
Thank you! I’ll go check her out 😊
Dear Elizabeth, this was such a heartbreaking story, but I wanr you to know it was a very useful post. I learned so many things in just this blog post alone.
Am infuriated none of your docs told you to come off turmeric!! I can’t take too much of them either due toa clotting disorder…a lot of the foods to avoid are similar.
I get the whole ‘future would be this way’ and discussion early on bit. It’s probably the most heartbreaking thing to change out of everything in life, I think.
I sincerely hope you get pregnant soon. And btw loved the last ‘warning paragraph’. I think I should add it to some of my posts too to avoid some trolls. Sending love!
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Thank you so very much! 💗 I’m so glad it was a helpful and educational post!
Not only did they not tell me to come off the turmeric, they put me on it only a few months ago and didn’t say anything at all when I specifically asked “can I take this while teying to conceive or while pregnant?” So, either they had no idea (scary) or just thought it was unnecessary to disclose (also scary)!
That last warning paragraph was definitey a “I do not have the ability to deal with comments that are unsupportive – so I think I’ll head off as many as possible first!” 😂 But I’m definitely considering adding it to more posts!
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Maybe they thought it wouldn’t matter until really tested positive for pregnancy, but still, you must be feeling extremely pissed off with the possibility that it may have contributed 😦
Haha yes, often I don’t have the energy to deal with the unsupportive comments either and sadly, the ones who don’t matter end up impacting people the most.
Sending hugs xx
Oh yes, I’m livid about it!
I’ve now been ruthlessly researching all of my medications to make a true determination as to what is actually safe and what just isn’t worth the risk!
Hi, My names Skyler and you probably know me as dissingdysautonomia. I wanted to tell you that my mom has pcos and was told she couldn’t have children. My parents didn’t honestly try, but they were together and married for many Many years before she was pregnant with me brother, then exactly 3 years later I came along, then almost to the day three years later my sister came along. My mom loves to say that for some reason every few years her body decided to work properly and by the grace of God she was pregnant. ( Idk if y’all are religious) but there were so many times she didn’t get pregnant then all of the sudden here us kids come! I’m heart broken for you and so sorry you’re going through this. Please don’t give up! I’m praying for y’all, sending love, thoughts, and hugs!
Thank you 💗
My parents tried for 2 years for me, but my mom said it wasn’t serious trying. I came along when they had been married for 7 years. My mom then got pregnant 9 months after I was born so my sister and I are only 18 months apart. My mom’s sis, however, had to go through several fertility treatments for both her boys (they’re 4 years apart).
Dan and I have been married for 5 years now, and I had honestly expected to have a child already, so it’s been hard. I’m not giving up though! It just gets really hard sometimes!
I’m glad your mom got her 3 😊💗
You are absolutely right. You ARE allowed to be devastated. Don’t let anyone make you think differently! Hugs and baby dust to you 💕
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Thank you so much 💗