Sorry it has taken me so long to fill you all in (for those of you that don’t follow us on Instagram/Facebook), but this one has taken some time.
We transferred two beautiful embryos on January 25th and everything went great. This was our eighth embryo transfer and I felt it had been the best one yet. I felt great & the transfer went smoothly. It wasn’t my RE that did the transfer & apparently before he came into the room he looked at our history and asked one of the nurses if it was accurate. He’s been in this profession for over 30 years & he said he has never seen someone go through so many transfers…yikes
Our beta test at the fertility clinic was scheduled on Friday, February 3rd. We already knew we were pregnant because we had taken some home pregnancy tests. We were ecstatic. This was our first “strong” pregnancy in almost 3 years! My first beta came back at 167. My clinic likes to see anything over 50 at that point so we were feeling great!
We went back for another beta on February 6th because my fertility clinic likes to make sure levels are rising appropriately; my beta came back at 539. Things were going perfect! I was still working with Dr. Kwak Kim’s office during this time and they wanted me to check my beta levels every other day until we had a confirmed heartbeat. I went to a local clinic for blood draws every Monday-Wednesday-Friday for a few weeks & levels kept rising as they should.
My first ultrasound was at Dr. Kwak Kim’s office on February 15th – at this point I was 5 weeks 6 days (5w6d) pregnant. The night before our first ultrasound I had some cramping & spotting and I freaked out, immediately. I was so terrified we were miscarrying again. My husband rushed home from work that night and just laid with me in bed and really helped calm me down. At our first ultrasound – we were relieved! WE HAD A BABY! It was too soon to see the heartbeat, but everything was looking great and right on track. I was 5w6d and the baby was measuring 5w3d (from what I remember). Our due date was October 18th – two days before our five year wedding anniversary!<3
We met with our nurse practitioner after the ultrasound and she filled us in on how things would go, moving forward. They would want to see me every week up until 13 weeks, then it would go to every two weeks after that. They were keeping an eye on my NK cell levels as well as my cytokines. They also checked that I hadn’t developed any new antibodies since becoming pregnant – and I hadn’t – YAY!
On Friday, February 17 when I was 6 weeks pregnant, we were visiting family in Wisconsin. I had gotten to my mom’s house and started getting bad cramps and spotting again. Because this was always a sign of miscarriage to us in the past, we went to the ER to get checked out. Often times, I have been told that several women bled during their pregnancies. I get that – and I get that it can be normal. But to us, with all we have been through, it wasn’t normal and it was terrifying. Absolutely terrifying. We spent about 2 hours in the ER that night, but my beta level was great and an ultrasound showed that we had a heartbeat! It was magical. All was ok with Baby Bello — my husband gave the baby this nickname because it meant “little warrior” in Latin. ❤
Then Monday rolled around. I filled in Dr. Kwak Kim’s office on my ER visit and my beta results from the ER. My beta was 17339 in the ER and then on Monday my beta was 21946. Not a good rise at all. I feared the worst.
I immediately checked with my fertility clinic to see if they could get me in on Tuesday, February 20th for ultrasound because I wasn’t going to KK’s office again until Wednesday. Thankfully, our fertility clinic got us in on Tuesday afternoon. And, at 3:30pm it was confirmed that all was still good with Baby Bello and the heartbeat was 115. I cried so hard. And my nurse that we have been with for the past 4 years now gave us the biggest hug. They were THRILLED – we had NEVER made it this far. EVER. The doctor did notice at this ultrasound that he could see where I had an SCH (subchorionic hematoma). A SCH is a collection of blood below the placenta, which develops naturally as an embryo implants into the uterine lining — from what I have heard, this is very common in IVF patients. I was also on baby aspirin and two Lovenox injections (blood thinners) daily so I’m sure that didn’t help.
That night, I started having HORRIBLE cramps and LOTS of red blood. It had slowed by the morning, but surprisingly, because that doctor had noticed where I had an SCH, I wasn’t overly worried about the baby. I have seen a lot of women develop SCH during their pregnancy and the baby is still ok, so that helped me not stress as much.
On Wednesday, February 22nd we had our ultrasound with KK’s office and all looked great. Baby Bello’s heartbeat was 133 and measuring right on track — at this point I was 6w5d. We couldn’t believe this was happening. For years, and I mean almost FIVE years, we have been trying to get to this point and we finally were. We were going to have our miracle baby! I will NEVER EVER forget my husband’s face during these ultrasounds. He was speechless and kept saying he could stare at that for days. We were both on cloud nine.
At this appointment, our ultrasound tech did notice two SCH and also she had discovered a second sac! Unfortunately, the second sac was empty and measuring way behind so we knew it wasn’t viable, but still disappointing. Dr. Kwak Kim’s office had then put me on bed rest until Friday to see if the SCH would go down. They think that an SCH is developed when the body is attacking the pregnancy and NK cells are higher. My NK levels had been at 28 so they were high, but they increased my Prednisone dosage to help that. All other immune markers stayed normal.
So, we went back to KK’s office on Friday, February 24th for another ultrasound to check on Baby Bello and the SCH. To our surprise, the SCHs had really decreased, I hadn’t had any bleeding, and Baby Bello was still doing great! We got to hear the heartbeat this day – and it was honestly the best moment of my life. My husband had tears in his eyes as we listened to our baby. I will never forget this day.
On Wednesday, March 1st at our ultrasound with KK’s office, Baby Bello’s heart had stopped beating. They believed it had JUST happened, fairly recently, because I was 7w5d and Baby Bello was measuring on track at 7w3d. Let me tell you, there is NOTHING, and I mean, NOTHING that can prepare you for that moment & hearing “there is no heartbeat” – it is pure devastation. We were shocked, and I think we still are. Statistically, we thought we were in the clear. Once you see/hear the heartbeat, your miscarriage risk goes down to 5%. Our nurse practitioners were stumped, shocked, and speechless. They wanted to do some lab work on me that day, but all I wanted to do was go home.
My OB was able to get me in that day to see us and schedule our D&C. Because Dr. KK wanted genetic testing done (as did we), we opted for the surgery. Our OB couldn’t get us in for our D&C surgery until the following Wednesday, but that only meant I got to spend one more week with our baby. ❤ We had our D&C on Wednesday, March 8th. All went very smoothly. It was my first D&C and I was told that it was normal to have bleeding anywhere from 2 weeks to 2 months afterward. Yikes.
As soon as I woke up from my D&C surgery, I felt empty inside. I knew Baby Bello was no longer with us. A miscarriage is absolutely soul crushing. Devastating. There are no words that even come close to letting you know how painful one is (emotionally & physically) unless you have been through one. This was our fifth loss. And the most devastating.
We are extremely grateful and thankful for our time with Baby Bello. My husband & I made sure to enjoy this pregnancy 100% and to not let fear get in the way of our joy. Because so often during this journey, joy can be taken away from us. But this time, we were NOT going to let that happen. We made plans for the baby. We bought onesies. We bought swaddles. We wanted this to be our miracle baby after all we have been through.
Tomorrow, we meet with our OB for our follow up appointment. We will be finding out the genetic results of baby Bello and the gender. I ask that you please pray for us, and that we can handle whatever the results may be. We have been grieving for the past month, and with time, things have gotten better, but then tomorrow – whatever the results may be – I’m sure the grieving process will start all over again.
I want to thank all of you for the continued prayers. For those of you that have reached out in any way – thank you. For those of you that have sent flowers, food, cupcakes, gifts, etc – thank you so so so much. We truly thank and love you all, from the bottom of our hearts.
And to my husband, thank you. Thank you for being my rock during one of the worst times in my life. You’re here for me 100% when I know it’s just as painful for you. You are my rock. My saving grace. I love you with all my heart. And I promise, somehow, we will get our miracle baby. I promise.