Words by Sherelle Gilbert  | @sheexperienced | 

My journey to conceiving started in 2017 and I had no idea what the road up ahead would entail.

In 2019 I was diagnosis with endometriosis, hydrosalpinx (damaged fallopian tubes), diminished ovarian reserve/low AMH and fibroids. Hearing about all the different things that were contributing to the reason I was not getting pregnant was so hard for me. I had a feeling for a while that something was off, but being told year after year in my youth that the monthly pain I was experiencing was “normal” and not actually having anyone look further into my symptoms, I ignored what I was feeling until I couldn’t anymore. Hearing from my current fertility doctor that those things were not normal and having him get to the root of the problem was a blessing and a heartbreak all at the same time.

I’ve gone through three different surgeries, and the most difficult one resulted in the removal of both my fallopian tubes.

This was a hard thing to process because it meant that IVF would be my only option at conceiving. I started the IVF process in January of 2020 and that involves 10-12 days of ovarian stimulation through injections. We knew that with my DOR diagnosis that there was a chance I wouldn’t get many eggs at retrieval. 

We were right, I got two eggs, but we were so grateful for those two eggs! Both eggs fertilized normally but unfortunately only one made it to blastocyst and was PGS tested and frozen.  We learned that our one and only embryo came back normal and we were able to find out the gender – a precious girl!! We were over the moon about this because I was thinking our embryo was going to be a boy based on a dream that I had. It was such a sweet surprise!

My first embryo transfer appointment was scheduled for March. In preparation for that, my doctor wanted to do a saline sonogram. At this time, he found a fibroid and wanted to remove it before we did transfer, needless to say he had to cancel my March transfer. I then found myself preparing for my second surgery. It was difficult to hear that I had to have another surgery and that my body still wasn’t doing what it needed to do. While this was hard, I decided to look at the positives in this moment – my doctor was very thorough and wanted to make sure my womb was fibroid free for my embryo, and also this was just one step closer to being pregnant. Oddly, I found myself excited for the surgery after shifting my mindset! Right after the surgery in early March, the pandemic broke out and that changed a lot for fertility patients everywhere. Clinics were closing, treatments were being cancelled, medications were being delayed. My clinic closed and treatments for April were cancelled, including potential embryo transfer for me. It was such an unprecedented time and so much was going on in my family that another cancelled treatment was the least of my worries.

In May, my clinic opened back up and informed me that I would be able to do a June transfer. I was so happy to finally begin again! In preparation for a June transfer, my doctor wanted to do another saline sonogram, which I came to dislike – not because of the process but because my doctor always seemed to find SOMETHING! Going into the next saline sonogram appointment, I was nervous, “was he going to find something? Would I still be able to move forward with transfer?” That appointment was pretty much like the last, my doctor found scar tissue that was most likely a result from the myomectomy surgery I had in March. He, yet again, did not feel comfortable with transferring our embryo while scar tissue was present. I found myself on the brink of my third surgery in the last year! At that point I was done! I was tired of the delays, the cancelled treatments and the surgery! Why wouldn’t my body act right? Why wasn’t it doing what it was supposed to do? My doctor assured me that he had a different procedure in mind since my body was prone to scar tissue. He would go in and remove the scar tissue and then insert an intrauterine balloon catheter that would help prevent any scar tissue from forming as my body healed from the procedure. The surgery, which was in July, ended up being very successful, like the previous surgeries, and my recovery was smooth.

I had a follow up appointment in August for the doctor to make sure everything healed properly and there was no more scar tissue. At this appointment everything looked good and I was cleared for a September transfer. Finally! I started the estrogen and progesterone in oil in preparation for transfer. My husband and I were both so very excited to finally be at the point of transfer. We had been waiting for months to transfer our baby girl embryo. So, the day of our transfer was so wonderful. I got up early to go to my acupuncture appointment, my hubby and I had breakfast and then we went to our clinic. The whole transfer process was very quick and easy but also so beautiful and magical. It was a literal dream! The next step was waiting for beta. I took that time off work to basically just enjoy the moment. I had never been pregnant before and it took me so long to get to that point that so I just wanted that time with my little babe. I did not wait until beta day to test, I tested on day 6 and each day after until beta. I was floored when I saw that line! Like I said before I had never been pregnant and had never seen that tiny line. It was almost unreal to me and I felt like I needed beta to confirm. I went in on beta day for bloodwork and my nurse called me about an hour later to tell me the good news. I cried and cried. It had been such a long road and to finally hear that I was pregnant was so surreal and all I had ever wanted for so long.

My little babe was doing good, my numbers were “perfect” and things were progressing as they were expecting. I can’t say enough how happy we were to finally be in that place. We were enjoying every bit of it. I was scheduled for my 7-week appointment after my 4th beta and was so ready to hear baby girl’s heartbeat. My husband and I went into that appointment with such joy, but I also had a little anxiety because, again, I had never been at this point and didn’t know what to expect. I remember once the ultrasound began everything was so quiet. It was a while before my doctor said anything and to break the silence my husband asked, “is that the baby there?” My doctor assured us that it was the baby, but that he wasn’t seeing a heartbeat. At that moment it felt like time froze. I couldn’t feel anything. I couldn’t believe what I was hearing. How was there no heartbeat when my numbers were progressing? The scan showed that our baby girl had stopped growing a few days earlier. I was in complete shock. We weren’t ready to accept that she was no longer with us. We couldn’t. We owed it to our girl to believe that she was just fine and that it was just a little too early for her. We waited and prayed before going back to the doctor for another ultrasound. Family and friends covered us in prayer and stood in agreement with us for the life of our daughter.

My husband and I actually ended up going back twice for an ultrasound and both times showed that there was no growth and still no heartbeat.

She was gone and our world was crushed.
Why did God allow this to happen? We had been through so much to get to this point only to have this journey end in miscarriage. It was devastating. I had what you call a missed miscarriage. It’s when your body still thinks you’re pregnant and you’re still getting all the hormones, which is what was happening to me. In between those ultrasounds I was still having pregnancy symptoms and believed in my heart she was fine. I finally accepted that we lost our daughter and I was experiencing a miscarriage. I never thought it would happen to me. Never! I thought since I had already lost my tubes and been through so much already that I was somehow exempt from miscarriage, but that was not the case. I miscarried at home a few days after that final ultrasound and that was the hardest thing physically and mentally that I’ve ever gone through.

Grief after miscarriage is tough. That thing comes in waves and you can’t really prepare for it.
It just hits you and you deal with it. For me, I had and am still having to just ride the waves. Between my husband, my faith in God, my therapy, my family and friends and the IG infertility community, I have been making it through. It’s such a hard journey, but it is possible to get through it. Right now, we are still healing. We do have a plan for our next round of treatment, but have decided to put that on pause and focus on healing. I’ve also dedicated this time to my business, She Experienced, where I encourage and inspire others through my devotionals, my blog, my YouTube channel and my merch. It has brought me so much joy during this time and has connected me with so many women.

For anyone dealing with infertility and even grief after miscarriage, just know that your feelings are seen and heard. You are not alone and you don’t have to suffer in silence. This journey is tough but there is a reason you are on it. You are a warrior and you will see your promise.

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