We have been simply overwhelmed with the positive response from our “Not Alone” video, and many people have let us know how pleasantly surprised they are to find out that the couple in the video are a real couple, sharing their real infertility journey. We are so pleased to feature Sarah and Jack’s entire story with you today, in their own words:
Where do we begin? It has been one LONG journey. Jack and I always knew that one day, we wanted to have children. We had our home and both of our careers established, we were getting married, and our plan was to wait a year, do some traveling, and enjoy married life before we planned on “trying” for a baby. After getting married, and I do mean directly after (on our honeymoon, haha) we had a change of heart and figured, “Why not get started now?” After all, 29 was a great age for me to have a baby. I was extremely excited with our decision, and from that point on, kids were all I could think about. When I took my very first pregnancy test, the sight of that single little negative line instantly devastated me. I just had this strange feeling that this might be the beginning of a long road. My husband giggled at my tears, gave me a big hug, and assured me that everything would be just fine, after all, it was only our first month trying. He was right, and I realized I was being ridiculous.
As time passed, along with several ovulation predictor kits and months of negative pregnancy tests, it became hard to keep patient any longer, and we finally decided after one year to have a consultation with a doctor. Some of my initial blood work determined that my AMH levels, which is a test that tells doctors the size of a woman’s remaining egg supply, were high for my age. I was told that these lab values could be an indication that I had a condition called polycystic ovarian syndrome aka PCOS. Despite the fact that I felt really healthy, was very physically active, and had no symptoms of this condition, my sonogram did show the classic tiny cysts on each ovary to correlate with my lab results. The results of the sperm sample my husband gave were also abnormal, so my husband was given a list of vitamin supplements to take to help with sperm health and mobility. We knew that the road from here would be a little more difficult, but at the same time, we were relieved that we now had a couple reasons why it had been so difficult for us the past year. We remained positive and hopeful, and decided to begin Intrauterine Inseminations as a means of getting pregnant at the fertility office with our Reproductive Endocrinologists and nursing staff. I was put on oral medications Letrozole and then Clomid for several months to regulate my cycles and better time ovulation. After doing 6 IUI’s that warranted no success, we told ourselves that we would try one more, before moving on to IVF.
That month, we did an insemination on my 31st Birthday, and 2 weeks later, I got my very first positive pregnancy test! I’ll never forget the joy that we experienced that day. We did it, we beat infertility and we were on Cloud Nine. Unfortunately, at 18 weeks pregnant, we went in for an ultrasound to try to find out if we were having a baby boy or girl, and our OBGYN discovered that our baby’s heartbeat could not be found. It was in that moment, that it felt as if time had stopped, and our world came crashing down. All tests performed showed nothing to be genetically wrong with the baby, something that our MD warned us might happen. There’s always a chance that you won’t find anything wrong at all. Great news, when you look at the big picture, but your heart always wants to know the reasons behind why things happen, especially in a situation like this.
Months later, we were ready to get back on the horse and try again. About 4 IUI’s following, using a higher dose of medications that I administered via subcutaneous abdominal injections daily, we had no luck, and that April we decided that we needed a break from it all, and planned to start IVF at the end of summer. I went in for some routine lab work and discovered that my pregnancy result test came back positive. We had gotten pregnant on our own! Unfortunately, about a week later, I had another miscarriage, this time it would be a chemical pregnancy ( I still to this day, hate the term).
We began IVF in September of 2016. At the end of our retrieval, we ended up with 4 beautiful embryos. We decided to do a fresh transfer right away with our best one, but unfortunately, that baby did not “stick”, and we were given the heartbreaking news that our first round was unsuccessful. Immediately following, we chose to keep the momentum going and continue the next cycle around and do a frozen embryo transfer in November. We were excited to hear that our pregnancy test following the transfer came back positive. We made it to being able to see another tiny little heartbeat on our first sonogram, but since the baby measured a bit small, we were told to come back a week later for a repeat sonogram. At that visit, it was determined yet again, that our baby’s heart had stopped beating, just 2 days before Christmas. We had suffered yet another loss, and I naturally miscarried on New Year’s Day.
In the months following all of that, needless to say, we needed another break. We did a “recurrent loss” blood work panel to check for an array of issues that could be causing us to have all of these recurrent miscarriages. Again, all results came back completely normal. So in turn, we decided to get back to our “normal” as a couple, and just enjoy life, the way we used to for a little while.
The funny part about these breaks, is that magic happens, and I seem to mysteriously get pregnant when we least expect it. We found out we were pregnant again at the end of April of this year. We again had the privilege of being able to see another precious little baby forming, with a heartbeat at our first sonogram, and a sense of new excitement began to exist. New hope. Unfortunately, after all of the ups and downs, and all you go through with infertility, you begin to get jaded. That feeling of excitement for a pregnancy quickly turns into fear and anxiety, and each day you mark off on the calendar closer to your due date seems like an eternity. The day before my husband’s 35th Birthday, my 10 week sonogram appointment confirmed all of our worst fears that we hoped would never happen again. No more heartbeat.
This is where we are currently at now. Exploring other options, possibly more testing to see why this could be happening, keeping our remaining 2 embryos safe at a storage facility in Nevada just in case we want to go back down the IVF route one day. Still hopeful that one day our baby that is meant to stay will stay, still thankful for the life we live together, the love we have and the friends and family that have supported us from day one, but forever jaded.
_ Sarah and Jack