Wednesday, April 22, 2015

National Infertility Awareness Week - Our Story of Hope

This is a really long post, but if my experiences with infertility will help another couple struggling with a similar situation, then it's all worth it. I hope my story will give other couples hope.

The older I get, the more I realize I shouldn't judge how other people handle specific situations when I haven't personally been through the situation. Take miscarriages, for example, when I was younger, and before I ever tried to have a baby, I couldn't understand what the big deal was with miscarriages. I seriously thought, 'what's the big deal, the mom never even saw that baby'. (Thankfully, I never told someone that, but I did think it.) The bottom line is, I was ignorant about miscarriages, completely ignorant. But never fear, God was about to teach me a very valuable lesson.

January 2010, after three years of marriage, Steven and I decided we were ready for a baby. I went to the doctor, got checked out, and got the green light to start a family. Four weeks later, while Steven was away on a 2 week business trip, I took a pregnancy test, and it was positive!! I was shocked at how easy and fast it was to get pregnant. We decided to wait until after the first appointment to announce the good news, and I'm so thankful we did. At the first appointment (I was suppose to the 8-9 weeks pregnant) and the sonogram showed the baby was measuring 5 weeks and there wasn't a heartbeat. I was heartbroken. A few weeks later I had a D&C and was told to wait three months before trying again. Those three months of waiting seemed like forever, it passed by so slowly. All I thought about was getting pregnant because if I didn't think about that, I'd cry about the baby I lost.

After 3 months, we were ready to try again. Just like the first time, I got pregnant the first month. I was so excited because this baby was due in March 2011, around Spring Break (which was a dream come true for me since I'm a teacher). My doctor watched me more closely this time and I went to see her around 6 weeks and our baby had a good strong heartbeat!!! Talk about excited! We really thought this was it, we were finally going to have a baby. I went back the next week at seven weeks and the baby was bigger and the heartbeat was still going strong. It was the most amazing feeling ever getting to see that sweet little peanut and hear the heartbeat. After that appointment, I left for Florida with my sisters, niece, and nephews. We took the kids to Disney World and I didn't do much of anything but walk around because I was so scared of hurting my baby. After our week in Florida, I came home and the first night home, I started bleeding. There I was again, facing another loss, another miscarriage. I starting wondering what was wrong with me? What was I doing wrong? I had another D&C and was told I had to wait 3 more months before trying again. I was crushed, heartbroken, sad, and starting to think I was never going to be able to have a baby. During this time, only a hand-full of people knew what was going on with me. I didn't want to be treated different by people and I didn't want people to feel sorry for me, so we kept our troubles and heartache a secret and tried to deal with it the best way that we could.

Three months later, I was pregnant again! This time, my doctor prescribed Progesterone and I took a baby Aspirin daily. I went to the doctor every week to have a sonogram to make sure the baby was okay and growing. Every week the baby was growing and getting bigger! I was so excited when we made it to 8 weeks and the baby was still alive. Week after week, I'd go for my sonogram, scared to death that I was going to receive horrible news, but I didn't, that beautiful baby was still growing. We were so excited, we finally thought this was it, we were going to finally have a baby. Around 11-12 weeks, we actually saw the baby moving on the sonogram. It was the most amazing thing I'd ever seen in my life. I asked my OB/GYN when she thought we were safe to announce the pregnancy and she said whenever you want, she really thought we were safe. So on Valentine's Day 2011 we announced that we were having a baby. We put it on Facebook so all our family and friends knew our exciting news. I was so, so, so excited!!! I was to the point in my pregnancy that my doctor could hear the baby on the dobbler so I wasn't having sonograms every week any more. I was happy to get to this point but I hated not getting to see my sweet baby every week. I went back for a checkup at 13w5d and my doctor couldn't find the heartbeat on the dobbler. I was so scared, but she told me not to worry, the baby may be positioned weird. So we went for a sonogram and there that beautiful baby was, it was so much bigger than the last time we saw it, but there was no heartbeat. Heartbroken doesn't really describe how I felt. It was horrible. Why? Why did God take this baby from us too? What was I doing wrong? We are good people, we're Christians, we would be great parents... why are we going through this?!?!!!! For the first time through all this heartbreaking experience I was a little mad. This was so unfair! I had prayed so hard, but God kept saying no! Because I had carried the baby so long, I had to go to the hospital and give birth. It took 3 days of labor before I was able to birth the baby. It was so horrible. It was horrible to walk out of that hospital empty handed. I was so mad at myself for telling people. Now, I had to go face everyone and tell them I wasn't pregnant anymore. It was awful! My OB/GYN told me it was time to go see a specialist, she had done everything she could.

So we made an appointment to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist in Dallas. At my first appointment, he did an exam and said he saw cysts on my ovaries. He said I had PCOS, and he felt like my problem was that I wasn't releasing good mature eggs. He did a couple of different tests to check everything out. During one of the tests, he saw that I still had some tissue from my previous pregnancy so he tried to remove the tissue, and I started bleeding. The bleeding was so bad I had to go to the hospital and have an emergency D&C. It was craziness! After a few weeks, I was better and the doctor decided to put me on a very small dose of Clomid. He said he thought it would help me produce a good mature egg. So, it took the Clomid and................ surprise, surprise, I got pregnant!

So with this pregnancy I took progestrone and I took Lovenox injections every day (Lovenox is a blood thinner). Just like before, I went to the doctor every week for sonograms. At five weeks, the baby had a heartbeat. Every week, the baby kept growing (actually measuring bigger, which was good) and the heart rate was excellent. Around 8 weeks we could see the baby moving in the sonogram. I was so happy to be pregnant and thankful the baby was growing and looking good, but I was scared to death that something terrible was going to happen again, so I didn't let myself get too excited... I tried to keep the pregnancy a secret as long as I possibly could...I didn't want to lose another baby and have to go back and tell people I wasn't pregnant. So, at 16 weeks, I couldn't hide the bump any longer, so we announced the pregnancy. We had so many people praying for us and that made us feel so good. At 18 weeks, my doctor walked in the exam room and asked if we wanted to find out the sex of the baby. I was like "heck yeah". I had my heart set on the baby being a boy the whole pregnancy, Steven was saying girl, but of course...I was right.  ;)   It was a BOY!!!!! That was one of the happiest moments of my life! My Brady bump kept popping out and it was the most amazing feeling to feel him kick, hiccup, and roll around in my belly.  I was in heaven! On March 15, 2012 I gave birth to my big (8lb 2oz) healthy baby boy, Brady James Seals! For the first time, I experienced love at first sight. I was finally a mama! God finally said YES to my prayers.

Life was wonderful as a family of three. Our whole world revolved around our little guy. I knew I wanted to give Brady a sibling, so we waited until he turned one to start trying again. I talked to my OB/GYN and she said she would prescribe Clomid (same prescription I took to get pregnant with Brady), I didn't have to worry about going back to the specialist in Dallas. So, I took the medicine and sure enough, I was pregnant again the first month of trying. I felt so confident with this pregnancy. The day after I found out I was pregnant we left for vacation, of course I was very careful not to do anything that would harm the baby. A day or two after we got back from vacation, I started bleeding. I was crushed, I had hoped that this time would be easy and I'd be able to really enjoy this pregnancy, because I was scared to death throughout my whole pregnancy with Brady. I wanted one pregnancy were I could stop worrying and enjoy the process. So, Steven and I decided we'd try one last time, and no matter what happened, we'd never try again. We both agreed that there was absolutely no reason to keep putting ourselves through the heartache that comes with miscarriages when we were so happy and blessed with just having Brady.

We decided to go back to the specialist in Dallas to give this last try our best chance for success. The doctor checked me out and said I looked healthy. He prescribed Clomid and Follistem (the lowest doses of both drugs). I had to have sonograms every-other-day to measure my follicles. I also took a shot to trigger ovulation. And that was it...that's all it took for us to get the surprise of our lives. About a week later, I started feeling bad and my stomach was very swollen. Turns out, my ovaries had overstimulated. I went back to the specialist and they did a blood test and sure enough, I was pregnant! I had a sonogram and my abdomen was full of fluid and they also saw 2 little dots in my uterus! Twins!! (so we thought..haha) I had the fluid drained (which was an awful experience) and headed home. Steven was in shock with the news about twins and I was over-the-moon excited! On the way home, the nurse from the clinic called and said they got more results back from my blood work and it was definitely multiplies. I thought, duh lady, twins are She didn't expand, and I didn't inquire so I went on my merry way thinking we were about to have twins! A week later, I was back in Dallas to see the specialist, and this is when our lives changed forever... they did a sonogram and this time there were four little dots and possibly one more. I couldn't believe it... I really didn't know what to think. I couldn't figure out how this could happen. Our specialist talked about the chances of "possibly" having twins, but it wasn't too high, and the "chance" of having triplets was even lower...but quads! That never crossed our minds...N.E.V.E.R!!!!! I had more fluid drained from my abdomen (it was just as horrible the second time as it was the first). We also sat down with the specialist. He told us this had never happened to any of his patients before and that we didn't need to go through with the pregnancy. It was very risky and the statistics were bad for pregnancies of HOM (higher order multiples). We left there thinking, "what are we going to do"?!????!!?? We didn't really talk to each other the whole 3 hours home. We were in so much shock! So a week passed and we went back to Dallas for a checkup. I really felt like all four of the babies wouldn't still be alive. My problem is I can get pregnant, I just can't stay I really felt like we would maybe have 1 or 2 babies that would have made it, definitely not 4. WRONG AGAIN!!!!! During the sonogram, the tech was very quiet. Then she was like, "this is bad", she told a nurse to go get the doctor and he came in and was quiet, then he just left. Finally, she said, you have EIGHT fertilized eggs. Two were measuring a week behind and didn't look like they were going to make it but there were SIX babies that were measuring on target with how far along I was. Right then and there, I started shaking all over, my whole entire body was shaking and I couldn't stop! I was in shock and I was scared to death.  The specialist told me I could not have 6 babies. He told us we needed to start thinking about what we wanted to do (move forward or reduce some or abort the whole pregnancy and start over fresh). We left, and I called my OB/GYN from back home. She was in shock; but she talked to me and made me feel better. She told me about the risks but she never pushed reduction, she was so supportive. The next week we went back and our SIX babies all had heartbeats. Let me tell you, it doesn't matter if you are having one baby or fifty babies, when you see that little heart flickering, it is the most amazing feeling. However, the whole situation was so scary, and it really felt like a dream, it was so crazy that it was almost unbelievable.  We went back the next week and one of the babies had stopped growing and didn't have a heartbeat. I thought this would happen all along because I have problems staying pregnant. The other five looked great. It was hard to lose Baby F, but I believe it was God's way of helping the other five have a better chance at surviving. I know where all my angel babies are and I know one day I'll be reunited with them. I loved and will always love all my angel babies. But at this point, I had to focus on what I had to do to help these other five babies survive. My OB/GYN put me in touch with a new doctor, a maternity fetal specialist in Dallas. She was amazing and told us about all the risks and options, but she never pushed anything on us and she told us that she would treat me no matter what I decided. Of course I decided to keep my babies and she was my doctor for the remainder of my quint pregnancy. Once I started seeing the new doctor I stopped going to the fertility doctor. I went to the doctor every week of my pregnancy. I'd go to Dallas one week and my OB/GYN  the next (that way I was only having to travel to Dallas every other week). The quints kept growing and so did my belly. At just 10 weeks into the pregnancy we had to announce the BIG news because I couldn't hide my bump any longer. We announced it at church and asked our church family to pray for us and from there, the news spread like a wildfire. I kept working as a first grade teacher through the first semester of school. The day before Christmas break I went to the doctor and she officially put me on bed rest and told me I was not going back to work. I hated to hear that news but I was so proud of myself for teaching first grade until I was 17 weeks pregnant with QUINTS!!! Bed rest was a drag but I knew I had to do it for my babies. I wanted to do everything in my power to stay pregnant as long as I possibly could..I wanted to do everything in my power to help them be mature and healthy when they did arrive. At 23 weeks I was admitting into Baylor University Medical Center for the remainder of my pregnancy. It was so hard to be 3 hours away from Brady. He wasn't even two years old, there was no way he could understand what was going on. All he knew was that mama was not at home anymore. It was so terrible not getting to be a mama during that time. I had to completely relinquish my title and let everyone else raise my little guy. But, I knew this would only be temporary and I HAD to do everything in my power to stay pregnant for the quints' sake. On March 18, 2014, just 2 years and 3 days after I gave birth to Brady, the quints made their BIG debut! They were born at 29 weeks 1 day (11 weeks early). First there was Mia Danielle weighing 2lbs 10oz, then came Tessa Suzanne weighing 2lbs 14oz, next was Brant Lee  (the only boy of the crew) weighing a whopping 3lbs 6oz, then Gracie Lou weighing 2lbs 7oz, and finally Rayleigh Ann arrived weighing 2lbs 8oz. They were so tiny and helpless. It broke my heart to see them hooked up to all the machines. Life in the NICU was tough, but thankfully, all five of my babies were fighters and they all survived. After 4 long months, we finally got all our babies home from the NICU. God said YES again to my prayers for a baby, but this time he said yes FIVE times!!!!!

Now days I spend my time being a mom to six beautiful little blessings. God has blessed me beyond my wildest dreams. I'm so thankful and blessed to be Brady, Mia, Tessa, Brant, Gracie, and Rayleigh's mama. And I share my story because during those dark days of miscarriages when I didn't know if I was ever going to be a mama, I prayed to God and asked Him to help me use those losses to help other women... and that's what I hope this post does. I hope someone who is facing infertility or recurring miscarriages will read what I've been through and will gain some hope about their situation. God always hears our prayers, sometimes He says yes, sometimes He says no, and sometimes He says wait because something awesome is heading your way (or in my case 6 little awesomes).    :)

I am 1in8!!!
If you think our hands are full, you should see our hearts!


  1. What a wonderful, inspiring, very personal account of your fertility journey! I am sure you are going to help others be as brave and determined as you were, Do you think some of the babies you lost might be back in the ones you have? They are such beautiful little kids. Bless you all.

  2. Thank you so much! I am a very proud mama!
    I believe my angel babies are in heaven. And I know someday I'll get to see them again. I have to trust that God knew which babies I needed in heaven and which ones I needed here on earth.