‘The nurse was dead silent. ’Is nothing there?’ She responded, ‘Oh, there are FOUR.’: Couple battling infertility welcome quadruplets

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“From the time I was a little girl, I had always imagined myself being a mom. Little did I think or imagine how hard it would be to get pregnant, let alone stay pregnant. My husband and I met over 10 years ago. From the moment after our first date, I knew this man was the one for me. 4 years after meeting, we became husband and wife. We knew we wanted a family — two kids to be exact.

A year after being married, we decided to start trying for our family. We naturally conceived in September 2017. With pure joy and excitement, we told family immediately and bought a onesie that read, ‘See you in April 2018.’ We were also closing escrow on our first home and were so excited to have a room for the baby. Little did we know what lay ahead.

A few weeks after reading our positive pregnancy test, I noticed some odd discharge. I remember it being a Sunday so I went to urgent care upon my husband’s suggestion. I didn’t want to because I felt everything was fine. I told them I was there for a potential miscarriage. When they called my name to go to the back, they let me know there was nothing they could do for me because they didn’t have the equipment. The gentleman then told me to go to the emergency room. This is when the fear started setting in.

Couple smiling with Christmas tree
Courtesy of Santina Monreal

We arrived at the emergency room and I was assigned to a bed, then asked to change into a gown. To be honest, it really felt quite dramatic. They completed an ultrasound and saw everything looked normal for the gestational age, but mentioned I had a heart-shaped uterus. They advised me to schedule an appointment with my OB, then sent me on my way. The next morning I called my doctor and let them know my situation. They scheduled for me to come in the following day. When my husband and I arrived at that appointment, we were naïve as to what could happen. As the ultrasound technician was conducting the ultrasound, she asked, ‘Are you pregnant?.’ We were both caught off guard and I responded telling her that was the reason we were there. We asked what was wrong and as she backpedaled, saying the doctor would call me later that day with the results.

I remember feeling enraged at the fact she even said anything. If she couldn’t discuss the results with me, it was best she said nothing at all. Later that day, my doctor called and I received a voicemail saying the embryo was measuring according to the gestational age, but the heartbeat was not as definitive as she would expect and to come back the following week ‘to see which direction this would go.’ I vividly remember being at work and feeling so confused. I only had that one bit of abnormal discharge, I wasn’t cramping — shouldn’t I know if I was having a miscarriage? Those 7 days felt like the longest days of my life.

As I returned for my follow-up ultrasound, I went with much optimism… I didn’t have any symptoms of miscarrying, so everything should be fine. Well, unfortunately, it didn’t turn out that way. As the ultrasound technician searched for the heartbeat, I could tell something was wrong. After a few moments, she informed us there was no heartbeat and the doctor would be with us shortly to discuss our options. I was so confused and shocked, I didn’t know what to think. We were then given the option to wait and let nature take its course, take a pill to start the process, or schedule a procedure to remove the embryo. I opted to have the procedure. The procedure wasn’t scheduled for a few days later. It was the most heartbreaking feeling knowing I was pregnant with a dead embryo. Once I had the procedure, I felt a little more closure…. or so I thought.

Couple smiling in lavender field wearing sunglasses
Courtesy of Santina Monreal

A few days later I began passing clots, which I was advised to contact the doctor if this happened. When I called they informed me I needed to go back for a follow-up ultrasound to ensure all of the tissue was removed. Well, it wasn’t. I had to go back for a second procedure to remove the rest of the tissue. My doctor informed me she would be able to use a camera this time around since there would be less bleeding to see why my uterus might be heart-shaped. This gave me a tiny bit of comfort knowing I might have some answers to my miscarriage. She was able to determine I had a uterine septum. I had no idea what this was, since I had never heard of such a thing nor knew this about my body. She then let me know I could have it surgically removed or keep it, but if I were to keep it, I would be at risk of another miscarriage or preterm labor. There was no for-sure answer this caused my miscarriage, but upon doing chromosomal testing of the embryo, I was told everything was normal.

I vividly remember receiving this phone call with the results. My doctor had asked if I wanted to know the gender. I had no idea this could be determined. The moment she said, ‘It was a boy,’ my heart sank. It made everything so much more real. I knew I couldn’t go through this again and decided to find a doctor to remove my septum.

After meeting with three different fertility doctors, we found a doctor we trusted to complete the uterine septum resection. I was told if the septum was too large, I would have to have the surgery in two parts but it wouldn’t be confirmed until the first surgery was complete. I decided to continue with the surgery and I remember coming out of anesthesia, seeing my husband, and asking if the doctor was able to remove everything. When my husband informed me it was not, I immediately cried. TWO D&Cs now TWO uterine septum resections?? Why must these procedures come in twos?? I had to wait a few months for my uterus to heal in order to proceed with the second surgery. It felt like I encountered constant roadblocks. I finally had the second surgery 2 months later and thankfully everything was removed. This gave me hope we could continue trying and have a healthy pregnancy.

Couple smiling
Courtesy of Santina Monreal

After months of attempting on our own, there was no success. I reached out to the same fertility doctor who completed my uterine septum resection to see what our next steps would be. This is when we began our IUI treatment. So many blood tests, so many ultrasounds, so many medications, and so many bills, but I was excited knowing this would lead to our baby. The first IUI felt so exciting! I remember feeling so hopeful, like it had to work. Going through the 2-week wait was rough. I constantly wanted to take a pregnancy test or do anything to make the time pass. I remember overthinking every minor little ache in my body thinking it was a sign of being pregnant, but it wasn’t. Another of many negative pregnancy tests and the first of several failed IUIs. Although I knew the odds of getting pregnant were only 15%, I did not want to give up hope so we went for a second cycle immediately. This one felt as though we were going through the motions. I did not have the same excitement as the first. But guess what?! It worked! We were pregnant!

Seeing as how our last pregnancy went, I didn’t get my hopes up until we heard that heartbeat. I called the doctor’s office and let them know about my positive test and they scheduled for me to go in at 6 weeks for an ultrasound. It was the longest wait. The day finally rolled around and it was the most magical day… hearing our baby’s heartbeat for the first time. It was loud and it was strong. We were told the chances of miscarriage drop significantly at this point. Our follow-up appointment was 2 weeks later. Little did I know I would be walking out of that appointment a different person.

As the doctor was performing the ultrasound, I knew before he even said anything — no heartbeat, again. My heart shattered into a million pieces. Another missed miscarriage. How could this happen again?? I was crushed. This one hit much harder than the first. We heard a heartbeat 2 weeks ago, how could it be gone now? I knew what my options were — same as before — let it happen naturally, take a pill, or have the procedure. I just wanted everything to be over and done with, so another D&C it was.

Couple smiling in pool wearing sunglasses
Courtesy of Santina Monreal

After the second miscarriage, I was not myself. I was bitter at every pregnancy announcement, I was angry it wasn’t me. I became jealous of women who conceived easily. I found myself crying on my commute home from work or in the shower. I consumed myself in Crossfit more than I ever had. I needed to take my mind off of the pain. When my body was healed and ready, I became obsessed with trying again. We went for our third cycle, nothing. Then a fourth, nothing. At this point, I was not satisfied with the treatment from my doctor, so I decided to go to a different fertility doctor recommended by my friend.

Covid was another roadblock. I was beyond excited to start treatment with a new doctor. It was like I regained hope, but then immediately lost it when I was told they were not taking new patients due to Covid. How could this be happening? Why is the world against me? Weeks later, I was finally able to be seen but my husband could not attend the appointments. I let my doctor know I wanted a more aggressive approach than the previous four IUIs. He put me on an injectable medication, which was new to me but I was willing to try. That first cycle with the new medication I had six follicles! I only needed one to become pregnant, so it had to work. Welp, another failed cycle. At this point, I just felt defeated. How could it not work? I was even told by the nurse that everything looked great! I started to come to terms with living a life without children. Thankfully my remained optimistic and we decided to go for one last IUI. Again, I had six follicles, but I did not get my hopes up considering how the last cycle went.

Well, the dreaded 2-week wait commenced, but I couldn’t hold tight that long. I took a test 3 days before I was supposed to and I initially read negative. Feeling defeated, I threw the test in the trash and silently cried to myself. I left the bathroom then went back a few minutes later, pulled the test from the trash, and examined like crazy. I thought I saw a faint line? It was fainter than faint. Was my mind playing tricks on me? It wouldn’t show anything if I wasn’t pregnant. Well, I just had to be patient and wait until tomorrow.

When tomorrow came, I prayed and closed my eyes as I waited for the test to complete. Two very pink lines. Wow, it worked! I was so happy yet reserved considering my past. I was supposed to call the doctor’s office but I just couldn’t. I didn’t know if it would stick or if it was real. I finally ended up going in at my 5-week appointment and everything looked normal. I asked if there was just one embryo considering I had so many follicles, but the nurse told me it was too early to tell. My next appointment wasn’t until 2 weeks later. Every day of those 2 weeks, I would use the restroom in fear, yet I felt like I was already showing. I chalked it up to the medication and hormones.

Couple kissing at quadruplet pregnancy announcement
Courtesy of Santina Monreal

On the day of my 7-week appointment, I used the restroom at the doctor’s office and saw any pregnant woman’s worst fear: blood. I instantly began crying, thinking how could this happen again?! I sat down for the ultrasound and informed the nurse, while in tears. She reassured me to remain calm until the ultrasound was complete. Trying to hold back tears, I laid there and scoured the screen for a flutter. She was dead silent and I was too afraid to ask. Finally, I gathered the courage and asked, ‘Is nothing there?’ She responded, ‘Oh, there are THREE.’ Three?! I started laughing, crying, all the emotions came running through my body. She started measuring the heartbeats then found a FOURTH! My palm was glued to my forehead that entire appointment. How could this be?! I couldn’t even carry one baby… how am I going to carry four?!

Couple announcing quadruplet pregnancy
Courtesy of Santina Monreal

I was relieved knowing our odds were better at sustaining at least one pregnancy but scared to death at what this meant. She said the doctor would call me later to discuss our options. I called out from work this day as my mind was racing with every emotion. The doctor called and let us know this would be a high-risk pregnancy and it would be difficult to carry all four. He then mentioned fetal reduction. By no means was this an option for us. Each week, we went in for an ultrasound to check the heartbeats of all four embryos. I was told multiple times by the staff to basically not get my hopes up about all four being able to make it. To us, if we could just have one, we would be happy but of course, if all four survived, we would be beyond blessed. Every appointment was entered with fear of the unknown but each week, each embryo got bigger and bigger! I was falling in love with them more and more and couldn’t fathom the thought of losing any of them.

Couple pregnancy photos
Smartt Duo Photography

At 12 weeks, I ‘graduated’ from the fertility doctor and began seeing a perinatologist. I was informed of the risks to myself and my babies. I knew this would not be an easy pregnancy by any means. Fear constantly loomed over me. As much as I fell in love with each embryo, it was equally hard for me to become attached to them, knowing my past and the risk factor. I was monitored biweekly, then put on leave at 24 weeks. My pregnancy was going very well up until 28 weeks.

Woman in hospital giving birth to quadruplets
Courtesy of Santina Monreal

At this appointment, I was informed Baby C had intermittent reversed blood flow of the umbilical cord artery. I was admitted to the hospital, given a round of steroids to help develop their lungs, and told I would be there until the babies decided to come. I was told if she were to become distressed, I would need to deliver all of them. This was beyond an emotional day for me. My babies were only 28 weeks… they can’t come this early. With lots of monitoring, my babies made it until 31 weeks. They were all born healthy and with a NICU stay of up to 2 months, they are now 3 months and thriving.

Family photo with parents holding newborn quadruplets
Courtesy of Santina Monreal

During my time of infertility, there were many moments where I didn’t recognize myself. I became angry, resentful, jealous, and battled many negative thoughts. I hid my first miscarriage out of fear of seeming inadequate to be a mother. I felt alone, seeing pregnancy announcements, one after another. The second miscarriage hit much harder. After sharing this experience on social media and hearing the experiences of others, I realized how common infertility is. I found myself lost in the stories of others and decided to share mine. If I can help just one person to relate and not feel alone, my story is worth sharing.”

Rainbow babies quadruplets
Courtesy of Santina Monreal

This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Santina Monreal from Corona, CA. You can follow their journey on Facebook, on Instagram here and here, and on TikTok. Do you have a similar experience? We’d like to hear your important journey. Submit your own story here. Be sure to subscribe to our free email newsletter for our best stories, and YouTube for our best videos.

Read more touching stories like this:

‘She started hysterically laughing. ‘So far I’ve found 3.’ After already having twins! Complete shock.’: Mother births twins, then triplets, then twins again, ‘We were completely dumbfounded’

‘I kept crying out, ‘Please wait! It’s too early!’ I was 19, pregnant with quadruplets. My water broke at just 24 weeks and wouldn’t stop.’: Teen mom births miracle micro-preeme after losing 3 of her quadruplets

‘Something weird was happening to my body. My abdomen started to swell. I appeared 7 months pregnant. The second we left the clinic, fear invaded us.’ Mom births quadruplets, claims she wouldn’t ‘change it for anything in the world’

‘Terminate one baby.’ My weak heart couldn’t handle triplets. But as a triplet myself, I wanted all three.’: Triplet births triplets against all odds, delivers 3 ‘healthy, amazing little miracles’

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