I never really understood what secondary infertility was until I experienced it firsthand. With my first baby, I got pregnant very quickly and I just assumed that every time I wanted to get pregnant, it would be easy. I was wrong. With our second baby, we experienced month after month of negative pregnancy tests and finally got pregnant after trying for a year.
When we decided to have one more baby, we tried for about 6 months on our own before seeking out medical help. We went through about 2 years of failed fertility treatments and miscarriages before our doctor told us that our best chance of getting pregnant and staying pregnant would be through IVF. However, he warned us that I was at higher risk for complications with IVF due to some health factors. That made me incredibly nervous and I remember praying so hard the month before we started our IVF cycle that we would get pregnant on our own.
The week before I was supposed to start medications for IVF, I found out I was pregnant! We had gotten pregnant naturally. We were shocked and very grateful for the timing of this miracle. Then at our second ultrasound, we were told that the baby's heart had stopped beating and that I would be having a miscarriage. This was my third miscarriage and we were devastated. I became very depressed, withdrawn, and angry. Angry with God that he would give us this miracle just to rip it away from us. Angry with my body that it kept failing me despite the fact that it had carried babies before quite easily.
We took a break from fertility treatments and I started doing my own research into secondary infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss. I came back to my doctor with a whole list of blood tests that I wanted done. When we got the results back, we finally got some answers! The main thing that was found was that I had two different blood-clotting disorders which were making it difficult for implantation (getting pregnant) and likely the cause of my miscarriages. The doctor wanted us to move forward with IVF but add in a blood thinner injection that I would give myself during the IVF process, everyday during pregnancy, and six weeks postpartum.
We moved forward with IVF and I got pregnant during my first Frozen Embryo Transfer. And this time the baby stuck! I ended up giving myself over 400 shots over the course of my pregnancy, but our little miracle baby girl was worth every shot.
The most valuable thing I learned from this experience was empathy. Empathy for those who experience infertility and pregnancy loss, but also empathy and compassion for everyone that I come across who may be going through a difficult trial. One of my favorite quotes is "Be kind, for everyone you meet is fighting a harder battle." (Plato)