The years of heartache before our rainbow
Our journey started back in 2012 when we thought we would just “see how things go”, without preventing anything and not using any form of birth control. This lasted around 6 months before we actively started trying to have a baby. After 2 years, we sadly had no success at all.
We decided it was time to make an appointment with our GP to get some advice and a referral to a local specialist. A few more years went passed, I was constantly taking fertility drugs such as Clomid and a couple of others to help me conceive naturally and still, nothing was happening.
Amongst the stress this was bringing upon us, I was told I also had PCOS. Although this was not ideal, I wasn't particularly concerned as I knew other women with this condition who had conceived without having any issue. After another couple of months we were told we had no choice but to go down the road of IVF to have a baby. Hopeful, we made an appointment with our local IVF clinic but we unfortunately were left disappointed as the care given wasn't what we had expected. We just felt like a number, we did not get what we wanted out of the appointment and weren't confident nor happy with the plan.
In November 2017 we travelled to the Sunshine Coast to have a consultation with an IVF specialist. We are originally from Rockhampton however were advised we could do all bloods and scans locally & only had to travel for egg retrieval and transfer. After coming back home to wait for my period to start to begin cycle, we were happily surprised and found out I was pregnant for the first time! The happiness was short lived as I went through my first miscarriage 2 weeks later.
This was the beginning of a heartbreaking journey of recurring loss.
“We were devastated, we weren't expecting this to happen.”
We officially started IVF in March 2018. Being the first cycle, I was put on a basic medications and injections. This plan didn’t work for us and although I had follicles before egg retrieval, 0 eggs were collected. We were devastate, we weren't expecting this to happen. This started a vicious cycle of anxiety and fear that this may happen every cycle. Our mental health took a toll.
We started our 2nd IVF cycle in May 2018. Our injection was changed, our dosage was increased and I was given a double trigger to help avoid the previous results. This time, our specialist was able to collect 16 eggs. 9 of those fertilised and 2 made it to day 5. We were over the moon and decided to transfer one embryo and freeze the other.
The fresh transfer failed.
We needed to take some time to look after ourselves & take a breather from the pressure and heartbreak this journey was bringing & decided to transfer our frozen embryo in September 2018.
After what felt like an incredibly long wait, we finally got the positive news, we were pregnant! Our blood results were tracking & doubling healthily & we had high hopes. This was going to be it, we were finally getting our long awaited baby.
As I was getting scanned for our 7 weeks ultrasound, we were given the news that there was an amniotic sac but sadly, no baby.
We were advised that it could have been possibly too early and to come back the following week. In the mean time, my blood results were still being checked and our HCG was still doubling. This experience continued for a few more weeks. Our doctors weren’t willing to rule it as a missed miscarriage as the sac continued to grow every week and HCG continued to rise.
Throughout this ordeal, I was still extremely sick and my body still thought it was pregnant. At nearly 10 weeks I started bleeding at home, early hours of the morning. The pain was horrendous, I could feel what felt like tearing internally and then passed a clot the size of my palm. I knew what was coming and I thought I could manage it at home. At least I tried. I passed several big clots similar size before I loosing consciousness & being rushed to the hospital. I was haemorrhaging and was rushed through for an emergency D&C.
March 2019 was our 3rd ivf cycle which resulted in 12 eggs, 8 fertilised and 2 embryos made it to day 5. We froze 1 embryo and transferred the other. After the wait, we found out we were pregnant again. Our hopes were soon broken as I miscarried at 6 weeks.
After everything we had been through, we both needed a break from it all. We waited until January 2020 to transfer our frozen embryo. It was positive again and we miscarried again just before 6 weeks, making it our 4th miscarriage.
How could this be happening to us? I couldn't understand what was wrong with my body, I wanted more investigation done & requested a laparoscopy which was done in February 2020 along with a hysteroscopy as well as another D&C. They found a lot of endometriosis and removed what they could.
June 2020 was our 4th IVF cycle. I was lead to believe our results would improve as the endo was removed.
Our specialist collected 8 eggs, only 3 fertilised and 0 embryos made it to day 5. Our hearts were shattered.
We did our 5th IVF cycle in September 2020, collected 9 eggs, 5 fertilised only 1 made it to a day 5 embryo. We transferred it but it was negative and failed.
I need to mention that for cycles 3, 4 & 5, my medications and injections changed several times as per my specialist's advice. After our last cycle, we were angry and had enough of the guessing game and sought a second opinion.
In March 2021 we decided on a new specialist who specialises in IVF failures, reccurring losses and endometriosis. We travelled to the Gold Coast this time. After consulting over our history we found out the likelihood of someone going through what we had with our results was less than 5%. We did extra tests to investigate what other issue could be underlying, another laparoscopy and an uterus biopsy. My husband and I were diagnosed with a partial DQ Alpha match. My body was rejecting my husband's DNA and attacking every embryo. We also had extensive endo removed again.
June 2021 was our 6th cycle, 12 eggs collected, 4 fertilised, 1 embryo made it to transfer. We changed our meds/injections and added in an immune protocol to suppress my immune system so it hopefully wouldn’t attack the embryo when I had it transferred. It didn’t help and the transfer still failed.
During this time, I lost my Nana who I was extremely close to. I do often wonder if the stress brought from her passing affected the transfer.
After years of treatment, multiple losses, hundreds of injections, watching everyone else around me falling pregnant, I was drained, heartbroken and at a loss on what to do but knew deep down I couldn’t give up on our dream of having a baby and starting our own family.
We went for our 7th IVF cycle in January 2022. Our specialist collected 17 eggs, 10 fertilised and 2 made it to day 5. I opted for a double transfer. We again did a strong immune protocol to help not attack my embryos.
Our specialist believes the double transfer tricked my body; It attacked one embryo while leaving the other one to grow. We had a positive test and were pregnant again.
Because of our journey, I couldn’t enjoy my pregnancy and was anxious about losing this baby constantly. I was closely followed by our medical team every fortnight as part of my immune protocol to do intralipids infusions. I was still on daily injections and taking medications. This continued until 16 weeks and cleared us out of the first trimester. I then started to wean off the medications & I could finally start to feel myself relaxing a little. Although every scan and test was coming back healthy, I was always scared that it was too good to be true & this baby would too be taken away from us.
However it was finally our time. The moment we had so desperately wished and longed for.
October 2022, we Welcomed to this world our miracle baby girl, Addison. The most incredible moment of our lives. Being able to hold our baby in our arms and tell her how much we were hoping for her.
Addison is now a year old and thriving. She made us the happiest parents on earth by finding her way to us. She is our bundle of happiness!
My only regret was not changing specialist sooner to get further investigations done, we could have met and been blessed with our girl earlier than we did.
If you too have experienced loss or know someone who has experienced loss, we encourage you to reach out & get support from these wonderful foundations:
The Pink Elephants Support Network: