“On July 3rd, 2015, my husband Nik and I got married, and we knew right away that we were going to start trying for a baby. We even joked that we were going to make a honeymoon baby. It never crossed my mind that we would struggle to get pregnant and have to go through years of infertility treatments. I was naive in thinking that within the first few times we had unprotected sex, we would get pregnant. That’s what you’ve been told your whole life, right? Each month that went by, I saw negative pregnancy test after negative pregnancy test. I just thought, ‘Okay, maybe it won’t happen right away like we had hoped,’ so I bought ovulation kits and started to track to make sure I was ovulating. With no luck, I got online and started to do some research. I read that it takes a ‘normal’ couple around a year to get pregnant, but we were approaching our one-year wedding anniversary.
After a year of unsuccessfully getting pregnant on our own, we decided to reach out to the Texas Fertility Center to have a consultation to see if maybe they could pinpoint what was happening. We did the ovarian reserve testing, the semen analysis, infectious disease screening, and the uterine exam. As far as our doctors could tell, everything looked normal. We were told we could either continue on our own or we could try IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) which would increase our chances of getting pregnant. IUI increases the number of sperm that make it to the fallopian tubes. We decided to give it a try and on our second attempt, I was pregnant! I was so excited to finally see a positive pregnancy test. Since fertility treatments take the excitement out of being able to surprise your spouse that you’re pregnant, I started thinking of all the ways that we could surprise our friends and family. Unfortunately, the excitement didn’t last long because two weeks later, I miscarried. I was told by the nurse it was likely a chemical pregnancy.
My husband and I were crushed. It hit me really hard. He is the type of person who handles tough situations by keeping busy and I, on the other hand, need time to process. I felt very alone. I couldn’t understand why we were having such a hard time getting pregnant when it seemed like everyone else around us was getting pregnant so easily. I started to lose close friends because of it. I couldn’t stand to listen to their conversations about their kids when I was struggling so badly. I wanted to be able to connect with them and have playdates with our kids. I felt left out and even though I knew that it wasn’t intentional on their part, I couldn’t help but take it personally. I removed myself from group chats and started to unfollow people on social media. I felt even more alone.
After waiting for my HCG levels to get back down to below five, which felt like forever, we were able to try again. We decided to do our third IUI. This attempt was unsuccessful. We were now put in the position where we needed to decide if we wanted to continue with doing IUIs and putting money towards this procedure or if we wanted to increase our chances of getting pregnant by trying IVF (In Vitro Fertilization.) We knew this would be much more expensive, but we couldn’t see putting our money towards more IUI’s when we could start putting it towards IVF and hopefully have a better outcome. I don’t think I realized the toll it would take on my body and my mind to do IVF, but I did know that we were going to do whatever it took to get pregnant. Again, we did all the necessary testing and ultrasounds in order to prepare us for the first steps of IVF.
I needed to start the medication to stimulate my ovaries to create an abundance of eggs. When the medication arrived at our house, I was excited and overwhelmed. I couldn’t believe that they just mailed us a bunch of medication and needles. Were we supposed to administer them ourselves? I watched a ton of videos online on how to set the needles up, where to poke myself, and any tips and tricks for making it less painful. We started out with Nik administering the needles, but I eventually worked up the courage to do it on my own. You never know how strong you are until you have to be, and I had to be when Nik was out of town. It wasn’t as bad as I thought it was going to be once I got over the anticipation itself.
We did the egg retrieval and ended up with 24 eggs. I was shocked! From what I read online, that was a great number. I didn’t realize that the number of eggs retrieved would dwindle down to 3 ‘good’ embryos once they were fertilized. That was a bit of a blow, but I thought, ‘We only want 3 kids anyway so that’s perfect.’ That’s me being naive again. We went ahead and did the first embryo transfer. I couldn’t believe we were already at this point. I felt like this was it, we were going to start our family. I have no self-control so a few days after the transfer, I started taking pregnancy tests. Again, I was pregnant! Now I knew, this was it! We were starting our family. I had the blood work done again and my HCG numbers looked great and they were doubling like they were supposed to. The next step was the ultrasound. We saw a tiny little heartbeat flicker on the screen. That was our baby. Seeing the heartbeat this time made everything feel even more real. This couldn’t be a chemical pregnancy. There was a heartbeat. I was still cautious about this pregnancy, but I never thought that a miscarriage would happen again. What are the chances, right? I was wrong.
A few weeks later, we went in for our second ultrasound to see how the baby was growing. The doctor turned the lights off and we were so excited to see that tiny flicker on the screen again. There was silence. Immediately, I could tell by my doctor’s face that something was wrong. He kept looking at the screen for what felt like forever before he said, ‘I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.’ I couldn’t believe it. Immediately I was angry. ‘Why is this happening to us?’ What was I doing wrong? Our doctor said I could either wait to miscarry or we could go ahead and schedule a D&C. I couldn’t stand to think of waiting days or weeks knowing that this tiny little heartbeat, that I had already fallen so in love with, wasn’t beating, and that I now had to wait for my body to register that fact and miscarry. I decided to do the D&C.
Again, we waited for my HCG levels to drop back down below five. I went through all the things I could have done wrong to cause this miscarriage. Was I not eating enough? Was I not sleeping enough? Did I eat something I wasn’t supposed to eat while pregnant? This was our second miscarriage; it must be something I did. I couldn’t help but blame myself. I told myself that for our next transfer, I was going to do everything right. I was going to make sure I was eating breakfast every day. I was going to take it easy and not overdo it. I was going to make sure I was getting enough sleep. The day came for our second transfer. We had two embryos left. We transferred one of the embryos and once again, a few days after transfer, I anxiously took a pregnancy test. It was positive. I was so nervous. We did the blood work and my HCG numbers once again looked great and continued to rise. It was now time to go in for our ultrasound. I was more nervous than excited, afraid to see a screen with no heartbeat. The doctor turned off the lights and we looked at the screen. I immediately saw two sacs. Twins? My husband didn’t know what he was looking at on the screen, so he didn’t realize until the doctor said it out loud. My husband and I both started crying. We saw both little heartbeats flicker on the screen. We joked that we were going to get our money’s worth from IVF by getting two babies for the price of one.
Since by this time, our families already knew we were doing IVF and knew that we had just transferred an embryo, we called them to tell them the amazing news. Not only was I pregnant, but I was pregnant with twins. Every morning before I left for work, Nik made sure I had breakfast. We stayed home and relaxed, and when I was up for it, we’d go for walks. I was determined to do everything right this time. A few weeks went by and we were scheduled to go in for our ultrasound to see the babies again. I was excited, but deep down I was nervous that again, we would hear that there wasn’t a heartbeat. I was only half right. The doctor looked at the screen and said, ‘I’m so sorry, I only see one heartbeat.’ My heart sank. Would this mean we would eventually lose both of them? Our doctor reassured us that the other baby would continue to grow and the one that didn’t make it would be absorbed by my body. I tried to be happy that there was still one heartbeat, but I couldn’t get over the feeling that again we had lost a baby. We had already thought about how our lives would be with twins. I tried to remain hopeful, but I just had this gut feeling that we would lose the other baby. Sure enough, at our next ultrasound, there was no longer a heartbeat. I knew for my own sanity that we needed to take a break.
I had the D&C procedure done again, but this time while I was under anesthesia, my doctor also performed a hysteroscopy to make sure there wasn’t an underlying issue that they didn’t initially see. My results came back normal. My doctor also suggested we had the tissue from the miscarriage tested to make sure there wasn’t anything genetically wrong with the embryo, which was causing the miscarriages and again, this came back normal. Lastly, I had bloodwork done to test for any autoimmune diseases that can cause reoccurring miscarriages and the ones that we tested for came back negative. We decided to do another round of IVF to get more embryos since we only had one left. This time our doctor also recommended getting the embryos genetically tested to rule out anything wrong with the embryo before we transferred it. Once again, after the eggs were fertilized and genetically tested, we ended up with three healthy embryos. Our first embryo transfer didn’t work. We decided we would wait until after the holidays and after our birthdays in January to try again. We took a much-needed break and went to California for our birthdays. In the meantime, I had also reached out to a friend in New York who was going through a similar situation but ended up getting pregnant. She told me how her doctor had added an auto-immune protocol to her embryo transfer, adding new medications to help keep her body stop from attacking the pregnancy. Even though I had tested negative for the autoimmune diseases, that didn’t mean I didn’t have one that was causing these miscarriages. Thankfully, my doctor agreed to work with this other doctor and came up with a plan for our next transfer. We added a medication called low dose naltrexone and something called an intralipid infusion, something my doctor here in Texas, wasn’t completely familiar with.
Once we got home from our trip to California, we were ready to try again with a new plan. We were going to do our embryo transfer with the help of this new autoimmune protocol. I felt really good about this next embryo transfer because we were trying something different. Just like the other times, we did the transfer, I was pregnant, and we did the blood work to test my HCG. Everything looked great but now it was time for the dreaded ultrasound. It was so hard to get excited about the ultrasound because, for us, they always ended in heartbreak. Each time we went, we saw a tiny flicker on the screen and each time we saw our baby get bigger and bigger.
I was now 9 weeks pregnant and it was time to graduate from the fertility center. I had waited for this day for almost 4 years, but it was bittersweet to no longer see the doctor and nurses who helped us get to where we were. A few months later, on Easter, we were ready to announce our pregnancy. My husband and I decided to go public with our struggle with infertility and tell our friends and family how hard we worked to make this baby. I wanted to tell others so that no one else would feel alone like I did. I wanted them to know that there are other people going through the same thing. I had a lot of friends, who I never knew were struggling with infertility, reach out to me and tell me their story. I would not wish this on anyone, but it felt great to have other people to talk to who understood the many emotions and heartbreak that we had been going through these past few years.
Nine months later, in October, we welcomed our sweet baby boy, Blaine Henry Gemmiti. He weighed 5 pounds 12 ounces and is just completely perfect. I would go through everything all over again to have him here. I hope that sharing our story helps anyone else who is going through something similar, to know that they are not alone. A huge thank you to Dr. Anthony Propst and our nurse Lisa Thomas at the Texas Fertility Center and to the nurses and doctors at CNY Fertility.”
This story was submitted to Love What Matters by Corie Gemmiti from Leander, TX. You can follow their journey on Instagram. 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.
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