Kasey’s Fertility Journey: Pushing Forward Through Grief and Infertility
The views and opinions expressed are those of the authors and should not be considered medical advice.
Always consult your doctor for the most appropriate treatment. Trigger warning: miscarriage, infant loss, death
Our journey began long before my husband and I met. I was born with one of the genetic conditions that we do testing for in an effort to avoid; I have cystic fibrosis, and 24 years ago, I underwent a life-saving liver and pancreas transplant.
Fast forward to 2019, when my husband and I embarked on this journey and had our first consultation with a reproductive endocrinologist (fertility specialist). After doing lab work, genetic screenings, semen analysis, and vaginal ultrasound, we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility.
We decided to start with IUI (intrauterine insemination) since, at the time, my tubes were clear. Our first round of IUI was unsuccessful. Our second round of IUI resulted in our first ever positive pregnancy test, followed by a positive beta, the blood test used in early pregnancy to detect hCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) levels. The day of our second, I received the worst phone call that I would ever receive. My incredible brother, Ronald, had been struck by a careless driver while driving his motorcycle to work, and he was dead. Things spiraled at that point. We lost our pregnancy, and my body went through shock.
We lost our pregnancy, and my body went through
After losing Ronald, my body decided to stop ovulating, and my thyroid went haywire. I now take different medications to help keep my TSH (thyroid-stimulating hormone) levels normal and to regulate my prolactin levels. We decided, at this point, that the best course of action would be to transition to an IVF (in vitro fertilization) cycle.
In December 2020, we started the IVF process. We retrieved 11 eggs; 8 fertilized, 6 embryos made it to day 6, and 4 were “normal” after PGS (preimplantation genetic screening). We thought we hit a home run! Our first transfer was in January 2021 and resulted in an 8-week, 2-day fetal demise.
My husband and I had gone into this with the belief that if we did the retrieval, tested our embryos, and had implantation, that a miscarriage would be unheard of. Unfortunately, we were wrong. We were put into a “just bad luck” category and were encouraged to try again. This was probably our first sign of just how unpredictable this journey would become.
This was probably our first sign of just how
unpredictable this journey would become.
On March 22, 2021, we had our D&C (dilation and curettage) procedure. A few days later, on March 26, 2021, we eloped at the Arches in Utah. A photographer was there who we had originally hired to take our gender reveal photos. Bittersweet moments, that’s for sure.
In July and October, we underwent two separate frozen embryo transfers, and we didn’t have implantation with either “normal” embryo. At this point, we researched new clinics and even tried a reproductive immunologist, which would end up being more disappointment. This was when I started to get very down and thought it just wasn’t meant to happen for us.
Fast forward to where we are today. We’ve signed an intended parent/gestational contract with an attorney. I am gearing up for our second and final egg retrieval in May. Then we will try to transfer an embryo into our incredible surrogate, someone who also had suffered from unexplained infertility and went through IVF to have her own children.