Infertility, Miscarriage and Coping... advice?

Some people may have noticed that I’ve been missing for a while… over a month. I’ve been going through some personal stuff, hiding away from the world. I finally decided that I need to start branching out and being around people outside of work. This is a good start… but it’s hard. I’m hoping that talking about it will help me get through it.

Some people may know that I have Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome. The most notable symptom is that I don’t ovulate regularly (and with that, irregular periods). Because of that, it’s harder to get pregnant. I may only ovulate 3 or 4 times a year… so instead of having 12 chances each year to get pregnant, I have only 3 or 4…if that.

My husband and I are trying to get pregnant despite that. We have regular sex (because we can’t use the calendar method to figure out when I’m ovulating) and we’re trying to stay positive. We keep saying “It’ll happen when it’s supposed to happen” and such… but it’s hard.

The biggest blow was that I recently miscarried. I was only a few weeks along. I had a positive test, scheduled the appointment with the doctor for a little over two weeks later. The morning of my appointment, I noticed some bleeding. By the time I got into the doctor that afternoon, it was heavy… long story short, I was miscarrying.

I’ve been so depressed the last month or so. It’s so discouraging. I finally manage to get pregnant, and my body decides not to stay pregnant… I’m so lost. My husband has been great, and very encouraging, but I feel like such a failure. I feel like I’m failing as a woman because I can’t get (and stay) pregnant. I feel like a failure as a wife because I can’t give my husband a child.

I don’t know how to keep positive about this. What have other couples done? I know I’m not the first woman to deal with this… how have other people dealt with the severe feelings of inadequacy?

Is IVF not an option?

We can’t afford IVF or other fertility treatments right now. I mean, if we depleted our entire savings, maybe, but then we couldn’t afford the baby…

I’m so sorry you’re having to go through this. I can’t pretend to understand what it’s like, but the fact that you can get pregnant without help (well, except from your other half) is a very big thing. From what I’ve heard - which could be totally wrong - it’s a lot easier and simpler (and cheaper) for doctors to help you stay pregnant than to help you get pregnant in the first place.

Miscarriages are really common, and they usually don’t mean anything about your future ability to carry a baby to term. You’re not failing, you’re not inadequate - it just happened to happen to you, and there’s no known reason why it should happen again.

Serenata, is the 67 in your name referring to your birth year? If so, we’re the same age, 43. I had a healthy baby boy two years ago, but I miscarried twice before getting pregnant with hin. As you know, for women in their late thirties and early forties, the chance of a miscarriage is near 50%.
But the fact that you got pregnant at all is a very good sign, and it means your odds of conceiving are good.

Have you read the book " Taking charge of your fertility?" It’s got over 1000 positive reviews on Amazon. It is full of good advice on getting pregnant, including knowing when you’re fertile. If due to irregular rhytm you cant count days, there are other methods, like the temp method, the test your vaginal slime method and the “how does my womb feel” method.

I’m going through much the same thing myself. Also PCOS, also getting impatient.

There are options besides IVF. Clomid cycles are not terribly expensive, and many clinics will work with you. I don’t know how old you are, but if you are approaching 35, I’d deplete the savings. A couple-three $500 clomid/IUI cycles now would be much, much cheaper and more likely to work than having to do IVF when you are 40. An IUI cycle every other month would cost less than what daycare will cost once the baby is here–you’ll be able to find the money then, so start looking for it now. I am not saying this is easy–we basically had to go from living a middle-class life style to a working class life style to make it work–but, again, we are going to have to do that when the baby is born, anyway.

Also, how is your weight? I have PCOS and lost a bunch of weight and the symptoms improved tremendously. I am pretty sure I am ovulating monthly on my own now (we have severe male-factor issues, as well, so that’s not enough). It was the hardest thing I’ve ever done, but it’s helped so, so much.

First of all, I’m so sorry for your loss. Truly I am. And my first piece of advice is to ignore anyone who dismisses your feelings and says something like, “Well, I’m sure you’ll get pregnant again soon!” Yes, yes, you might, and I hope you do, but in the meantime, it’s perfectly okay to mourn the loss of *this *pregnancy.

I would also suggest talking to your doctor about fertility treatments. There’s a world of space between having sex a lot and IVF, and it’s not all prohibitively expensive. Getting the PCOS under control with weight loss (if applicable) and Clomid may be all you need. Don’t close yourself off to all help because the most expensive help is too expensive.

Finally, you’re not a failure. We don’t really know how many conceptions end in miscarriage, because so many women have a “heavy period” without ever knowing they’re pregnant. Of *confirmed *pregnancies, 20% end in early miscarriage. It’s estimated that 60% of all conceptions do, whether or not the woman knew she was pregnant. Your body is not unwomanly because it lost this fetus. It’s just being a woman’s body. In fact, losing one in your first trimester isn’t even predictive of losing another! Your chances of getting and staying pregnant aren’t any less than they were before you conceived this one.

Good luck, m’dear. Keeping my fingers crossed for you.

IIRC, she’s in her mid-to-late twenties.

No advice or anything to offer here, Serenata. I’ll just say that as a (newish) husband, the odds that your husband is thinking of you in the terms you described yourself in are extremely long.

Don’t worry about him. He’s just worried about you.

And my condolences, obviously. :frowning:

Just want to tell you not to lose hope.

I was just talking with my mom the other night, it turns out she had some trouble, too. Five or six miscarriages. She also had four live children, the last born when she was in her forties. So hang in there, you don’t have to write off your uterus.

I, too, have a history of PCOS. My first pregnancy, a result of IUI after 5 years of trying to get pregnant, ended in a tragedy that I won’t go into here, but would be willing to talk about if you cared to email or PM me…

I felt the feelings you described very acutely. The feeling that I was a failure as a female was doubled in many ways, because in my career, I regularly watch women who do horrible things to themselves and to other people bring healthy children into this world. I couldn’t understand how they could possibly deserve a child more than I, who wanted to actually love and care for a child, instead of… well, I won’t go into that either. It still makes me angry to think of the things people do to and with their children…

I’ll make the long story very short, for this purpose, and tell you that the pain lessens, but it never, ever goes away. However, after many years, re-evaluating my life, making some very healthy (mental and physical changes), and losing 80 pounds… since PCOS tends to lead to problems with weight, which exacerbate infertility issues… I am now the mother of the most incredible little 2 year old baby boy. My son is the love and light of my life. I know, from experience, how much it sucks when people tell you that it will happen when it is meant to, and I never believed that until I became pregnant unexpectedly, while on birth control, when I suppose my son, and my angel-babies, simply decided it was time for me to be a mommy.

Feel free to email me. I am more than happy to share my entire story with you, if you would like to hear it, and I’ll be happy to help in any way I can with listening and helping to ease your pain, if that’s at all possible.

Yes, I’m 27. I was born June 7 (hence the 67).

Thank you everyone for your kind words. In my logical mind, I know I’m not alone, but hearing it form others helps.

I’m working on losing weight to help with my PCOS and fertility. But when you’re depressed like I am with all that has happened, I’ll admit that my weight loss has been a bit sidelined. I’m trying to get back on the band wagon as I’m trying to get positive about my life and move on.

My doctor said that it’s positive that I managed to get pregnant… I’m just discouraged by the fact that I may only have 3 or 4 chances a year to do so.

I also feel bad for my husband. He has been so supportive of me throughout all of this, and I just keep being (and feeling) so negative. I know it’s wearing on him. I know he wants kids and me being a Debbie Downer about life isn’t really “setting the mood,” if you know what I mean. He keeps trying so hard to help me feel better, assuring me I’m not a failure, etc. I know it can’t be easy for him, and I feel bad. I want to be better, I want to feel better, I want to ovulate better. Which leads me to feeling guilty about the whole situation. I know I shouldn’t feel guilty. I can’t control my ovaries. But I feel like I should be feeling better and not weighing on him so much. He assures me it’s part of being a good husband… I feel like no husband should have to deal with this. (Then again, no wife should have to feel like I do…)

I’m really sorry that you are going through this. I have no experience of miscarriage, but my heart hurts for those that have. A very good friend of mine suffered an ectopic last week, and I struggle to know what to say. I’m sorry is really all I can think of. I do know, though, that platitudes are not only not helpful, but downright hurtful, particularly for someone like you that has managed to get pregnant with the odds stacked against them. I hope you aren’t encountering any of these well meant comments from those around you; you have enough to cope with at the moment.

I do know something about infertility, though, as any search on these boards will tell you. Three years of unexplained infertility, then IVF and, thankfully, a successful pregnancy. Like you, though, I feel (and still do) like a failure because I can’t get pregnant with my husband the normal way. I have no friends in real life who have dealt with this, and trying to explain any of the finer points of how stressful and depressing the whole thing is is really not worth it. And now that I have a beautiful 7 month old son, it is almost impossible to explain that having a baby doesn’t heal all the wounds that infertility gave me. I still feel a stabbing pain when I hear of pregnancies. It’s better than before I had my son, but it’s still there. I still feel infertile. I’m just a very grateful infertile.

I would love to tell you how I coped with the whole thing, but in reality, we just muddled through. We did get some counselling while we were going through IVF, which helped a little, but not enough for me to suggest that you set aside some of that future-baby-money for infertility counselling. Maybe what it did help with, was letting me feel like it was okay to be stressed about something so hard as infertility, to be (quietly) resentful of all the friends that could get pregnant just by thinking about it, and to focus inward at this time and try and nurture my relationship with my husband.

So my only advice to you at the moment is to do everything you can to make sure that this doesn’t erode your relationship with your husband. Take him at his word when he tells you how he feels about you. Take time for yourselves, cocoon yourselves against any negativity. It’s okay to hurt about this and take time out from the world and from friends.

I wish I had some wiser words to tell you, or some magic cure. The only thing I can think of which may help how you are feeling is to let you know that feeling like a failure, although wrong, is entirely understandable and you are not the only person who has dealt with this and feels the same way.

There are times when I wish there was a secret handshake or something for infertile people. In the real world, we are everywhere, but as we don’t generally talk about it openly, we can’t connect easily with other people who could possibly give much needed support.

Hey, I’m also really sorry to hear what you’ve been going through, it can be really tough even without the miscarriage. But please don’t think it was your body ‘failing’ - many things can cause a miscarriage and it’s important to focus on the fact that your body can get pregnant, and if it did, it can likely do it again.

I would also recommend this book. I have polycystic ovaries (but not PCOS) and as a result I ovulate once a month but when can vary by up to 10 days. The temp tracking and checking cervical mucus allowed me to fairly accurately work out when I was ovulating and allowed us to time intercourse well (in the end, we had to go the IVF route due to sperm analysis, but there you go).

Ovulation prediction kits may help you as well - but if you are very irregularly ovulating, a trip to the doctor for a referral to a fertility specialist might be helpful (not sure what the process is in the US, but that’s the route here in Australia). Something like Chlomid which is (IMO) regularly overprescribed for unexplained infertility is good at stimulating and regulating ovulation. Make sure if you do this, you also get the in-cycle dildocam checks as it can cause release of multiple eggs and you want to know when this happens to avoid large numbers of multiples.

Depending on your circumstances, Metaformin is also sometimes prescribed for PCOS women which can also regulate ovulation.

So there are a lot of routes you can take to have a little additional help before you have to think IVF - really worth talking to a medical specialist to see what they recommend. And I hope things work out for you very soon - keep positive.

Seeing a fertility specialist may help with the feelings of helplessness. If you have insurance, it likely covers diagnosing/testing, even if it doesn’t cover treatment. Seeing a doctor puts infertility into perspective–it’s not a moral failure, it’s a medical problem, like cancer or acne or IBS. It’s not a reflection of YOU. Furthermore, it gives you a sense of purpose to be doing something, not just coasting and hoping. You mentioned “your doctor”–I assume that’s a ob/gyn. IME, they know very, very little about treatments. It’s just not their specialty and it’s a huge, complex, and rapidly changing field. They are sometimes a little slow to admit that and send you to a specialist. I would press the issue.

I’m glad to hear you are young. Starting a separate account to save for IF expenses might make you feel better. Through this whole process, I’ve always needed a plan B or C–that keeps me from panicking. If you have a fund quietly accumulating, it may comfort you to think about when you are trying – instead of “this MUST work”, you’ll be thinking “I hope this works, but if not . . .”

As far as weight loss goes, as someone with PCOS I will tell you that it became a thousand times easier when I did two things–one, I upped my calories. I tried to do extreme diets because they seemed quicker, and therefore more efficient, but androgens make me insanely hungry and I could never stay on it. I’d be dizzy and food obsessed all the time. By doing a moderate caloric restriction, especially at first, I was able to stay on it until my hormones became more even (which took months). The second thing I did was to go fairly low-carb, virtually no simple carbs. I avoided it for years because it seemed so faddish–I’m a doper, a rationalist, calories-in, calories-out, right?–but there really is something to insulin resistance making your body react weirdly to carbs.

Just wanted to let you know you aren’t alone. My wife and I also had a great deal of difficulty – even with IUI, IVF, we had several miscarriages and various other problems. Very emotional times. So I feel for you.

Finally succeeded with a donor egg. But it was, admittedly, very expensive.

As an infertile woman, I HATED Taking Charge of Your Fertility - its advice on when to conceive if you were fertile is spot on, but she pretty much ignores the whole “they can’t find anything wrong with me and we STILL aren’t getting pregnant” reality of a lot of folks. That book drove me nuts - its one of a few books that - because I was really emotional for a number of years, I have an irrational hated of.

We tried for three years - past the Clomid and into the shots of Fertinex. Eventually we had what I insensitively call the “breed or parent” discussion and adopted. Then we had a surprise baby (no it doesn’t always happen that way.)

It was maddening and frustrating, which is why we adopted. Because we couldn’t take the “someday, maybe” anymore - and were lucky enough to adopt at a time and through a program where we had less than nine months between application and an almost guarenteed placement.

And, if I may be blunt, which you probably don’t need right now, but I’ll be blunt - kids are EXPENSIVE. If affording IVF (or adoption) is out of reach when you don’t have any daycare expenses (or are able to work if you have a SAHM ambition when the kids arrive), aren’t buying diapers, paying $25 in medical copays twice a month for ear infections, clothes every three months until they are eighteen because those darn things grow, don’t have to save for college, don’t have t-ball fees, school supplies, school photos, the endless list of kid related expenses (this month - Halloween expenses - YEAH!), take a good hard look at the sacrifices you’ll need to make once you have kids. If you make those sacrifices you’ll need to make once you have kids now when you don’t have kids, its two years to IVF cycles or adoption - and you’ll have already made some of the changes in lifestyle you’ll need to make. Kids don’t have to break the bank, but they are usually much more expensive than you anticipate.

The cost thing is, I don’t have any insurance now. So I would be paying totally out of pocket for any Clomid, etc. Plus, we haven’t been trying for a full year yet, so the docs won’t put me on it yet. By the time we hit the one-year-plus mark, I will have insurance, so the Clomid talks can start up again. At this point, if it happens, we’re paying out of pocket for all doctor visits.

Just wanted to let you know (again) that you aren’t alone. We’ve been trying for just over two and half years and have been diagnosed as unexplained. I’ve done three rounds of Clomid and conceived in July, only to miscarry at about 6 weeks. We’re ‘taking a break’ right now while we wait for our referral to the fertility clinic to go through (it take seven months from the time it’s sent until the time they schedule your first appointment).

On the Clomid front - I’m not sure how similar our costs are to yours, but I pay for my Clomid up front (then submit to insurance) and five days of 50mg (one month low dose) was $35. It’s really not that expensive. I wonder if you can get the prescription then buy it from Canada or something for cheaper? Just an option.

As far as I have been told, IUI is less then $1000 per try (including all meds), so it might still be worth trying once or twice.

Dealing with loss is so, so hard, especially when you’ve been trying for so long. It’s gotten to the point with me that even aggressively trying and failing without conceiving is tough. Everything was perfect last month and I had such high hopes. I was SURE I would be pregnant. And then I wasn’t. It only seems to be getting harder the longer we try.

Is it possible for you to talk to someone about this? I’m starting back with my therapist to help me work through some of this.

You know, you’re at the point in all of this that I remember for me being the start of the really stressful bit. You’ve not been trying long enough to throw yourselves head long into commiting to expensive treatments, but you’re at the point now where it is starting to really affect your day to day lives. After we’d been trying for about a year, we’d been to the doctor, and were starting to ask ourselves the really hard questions - how much would be do to have our own baby, how much do we really want to be parents, what are we willing to sacrifice to make it happen?

For all that Dangerosa is correct about the financial aspects of being able to afford fertility treatment as well as affording the children at the end of it, it is still bloody anxiety inducing thinking about using up your hard earned savings and financial cushion on the *possibility *of being able to get (and stay) pregnant. Particularly when other people can get a freebie baby, and be able to plan their finances with more certainty.

Our decision was to not wait for the free treatment I would have been eligible for on the NHS, and pay out of pocket for IVF at a clinic that had fantastic success rates. It was a £5000 gamble that paid off, and of course it was worth it, but if it had been a failed attempt, I really don’t know how many more times I could have taken the risk.

We’re at the point now of thinking about a second child, and the same financial issues are coming back. We’ve been ‘forced’ to start trying for a second now, before we are really ready, because if we do have to go back to IVF, I want to have given it the best shot I can. To be honest, the whole financial side of it makes me a little sick, if I think about it too much. I just try and tell myself that children are expensive, and at the end of the day, these up front costs are drop in the ocean of what we will be paying out for over the course of their lives. It really is the truth, however hard a pill it is to swallow.

I hear you! We’re ‘trying’ for #2 now too, but as much as both my PCO and his sperm count have improved since my pregnancy for unknown reasons, I still know we’ll eventually have to go down the IVF route and have done all the paperwork and bloods etc for a cycle to start in Jan - and I feel very resentful! I don’t know why we’re bothering to try the natural way, but I guess we’ve got nothing to lose - it does grate that we’re facing a several thousand dollar bill for the treatment (not to mention new Australian laws which require a police check and Child Protective Services review - adding insult to injury…)

I think Dangerosa is right that if IVF is too expensive, than maybe a child could be too - but in many cases, it’s simply the 4 figure outlay with no guarantee of anything that can be a lot to handle when you’re faced with uncertainty.

But don’t let us jump the gun for you here - go and see someone who specialises in these things, and get a little insight from them. It could be that it’s something fairly easy to deal with. Don’t get stressed before you know what you’re facing. And actively focus on something else. Don’t let the next year be the ‘year you didn’t get pregnant’ - fill your life with lots of non-baby things to look forward to, and it will help you two together get a little balance, and give you something to talk about which can help keep the relationship strong. A trip away, a new skill, exercise - anything that interests you.

After all, if you’re successful (and you very likely will be) time to yourselves will be in very short supply for about 18 years…