October 25, 2021

My Personal IVF Journey

My Personal IVF Journey
Brittany and Nichelle sit down and chat about infertility. The thoughts, emotions, and lessons learned along the way. This is a heartfelt, emotional and raw chat.

This podcast was transcribed using Descript. Please forgive any typos or errors.

Brittany: Hi friends. Welcome to Life with Loverly I'm your host, Brittany Sjogren. I'm excited to share my heart with you beyond the 15 seconds we get on Instagram, grab an iced coffee and let's do life together.

Hello, happy Monday. How are you? I'm here with Nichelle this morning. Good morning. We are going to chat today about a highly requested topic.

My IVF journey, some of you guys might not know this about us, but we went through IVF to get pregnant with Collins. I have shared some of our journey on my blog in the past, and sometimes on stories, I'll talk about it. I feel like we are very open about the conversation around IVF, but wanted to go into a little bit more detail. I thought it would be a great podcast episode, but before we get into that, how was your weekend?

Nichelle: It was good. How was yours?

Brittany: It was great. Chris's mom has been visiting us. She came last week and she's going to be here through this week. She lives in Massachusetts full-time, that's where Chris is from, so she doesn't get to see the kids a ton. It was nice that we had a two week break where she could come down and spend time with the girls. This weekend we went to th e pumpkin patch. We took the kids to the playground, went to dinner, just brought her along with our like regular weekend things.

And I know she is soaking that in right now with the girls. 

Yeah. She's loving it. We FaceTime them like every night or every other night. They see the changes as the girls are growing up a little bit, but to be in person is obviously so much better.

I think she'll probably be back for the holidays at some point. But it's been really fun for her to see and hang out and them to spend time with Grammy. They both went to school today, they go to a preschool, and they are dressing up for Halloween.

They're having a little Halloween party, so cute. Collins went as Elsa and Hazel dressed up as Minnie Mouse. It was so cute seeing them walking around in their costumes. It makes me want to dress them up in little characters all the time. They just love it. 

Nichelle: And that age is so fun.

Brittany: Yeah. So we're really soaking it in. I was thinking this weekend, it's crazy. My girls are 16 months apart, and Hazel right now is 16 months and thinking back to when Collins was this age I feel like I missed so much because I was with Hazel as a newborn, and that first month of newborn newness. I felt like I was nursing Hazel all the time. And Chris was doing so much with Collins. I feel like I missed out on some of the things that I'm seeing Hazel do now that I'm like, I don't remember when Collins did that. And then I think back and I'm like, oh yeah, because I was in the newborn phase. I really tried to soak that in this weekend as we were playing. She's so cuddly anyway, like she wants to sit on my lap and cuddle and play. I was pregnant with or holding Hazel so Collins really wasn't that cuddly with me. So that was fun to have those sweet little snuggles from a little toddler. So yeah, our weekend was good though. It was just nice kind of low key weekend here in Athens. 

Nichelle: Awesome. Yeah, we did yard work, which was so fun. It's so pruning. And then we did a fall festival on Saturday. 

The Braselton antique market, comes in quarterly. We did just go to one, but I think it was more of a craft show, because this was huge. But I will tell you, I feel like because my style has changed. I don't get into them like I used to. I used to love antiques. I used to love going and searching through all this stuff.

 The crafts are still fun, but it's not the Christmas stuff yet, which I really enjoy. My daughter and I actually decided to make a reel because we were like, this is what we're really here for all the dogs walking around. 

Brittany: I loved that.

Nichelle: So many cute puppies. And that was only a fraction of what was there because I just decided I was like, I'm going to start filming them. I'm going to show people what's so great about these things, but it was a lot of fun. We were there with our in-laws and celebrated Robert's birthday. His birthday is tomorrow. We celebrated his birthday on Saturday with his parents and went and had Korean barbecue again.

Brittany: So good. Chris loves Korean barbecue. I don't think we have a good place in Athens.

Nichelle: They're hard to find.

Brittany: Yeah, we had to go all the way to Duluth and I say all the way, but it was a 40 minute drive just to go, but it's worth it.

I feel like when I saw your reel with all the dogs and I think you have puppy on the brain right now. I think we mentioned this last episode, but this week Nichelle is getting a puppy. 

Nichelle: It's two more days. We did that yesterday, too. We were prepping for the puppy. That was one thing that I think I've learned after a million dogs, is you've got to be prepared. Don't go into this blindly, some people thrive in that. I can do it, but I now know what it takes to train a dog properly. Getting the beds, getting the toys, making sure that the other dogs are set up to have plenty of new things to keep them distracted too. Prepping them by trying to get them off the bed.

Brittany: Monkey see monkey do. 

Nichelle: Yeah. So there's been a lot of prep that's been going into it. It's so funny too we haven't told Brin yet. 

Brittany: Oh, you haven't? 

Nichelle: No, I don't know why this happens every time Maddie knows and Brin doesn't. 

Brittany: Are you just going to bring home a puppy? 

Nichelle: I'm literally going to come home Wednesday afternoon with the dog.

Brittany: Can you please have a camera set up?

Nichelle: 1000%. We did it with whiskey too. I'll have to show you those videos. She was crying. She was like, stop it. 

Brittany: Oh my gosh. That's going to be so great. I am now more excited for you to knowing that one of your girls doesn't know she's about to get a puppy. Early Christmas present.

Nichelle: Yeah, exactly. 

Brittany: That's so funny. Yeah. So puppy preparation is happening full force for Nichelle. I'm so excited for you. Have we decided on the name? 

Nichelle: Secretly I have. I think we're going to go with Lincoln, and then we're going to call them Link. All of our dogs, we have like little nicknames for them. A little thing that we love to do is name our dogs after cities or states or whatever, but it started with my first golden. We named her Indie after Indiana Jones, but it was also Indiana. And then Dallas Nashville, we call them Nash. And then Whiskey is not. I'm sure it's probably a city somewhere, but we named her Whiskey Salem because I couldn't get away from it. I love the name whiskey, but we needed another name that was a city and Salem was a city inside Indiana. Indie passed away during COVID and everything. She had a really special place in my heart. So I wanted to at least have something that was a tribute to her. So Lincoln is a city in Indiana as well.

Brittany: Perfect. These little golden retrievers. Can't wait to have a little office visit from puppy Lincoln. Oh my goodness. That's so great. Let's get into this conversation and chat about IVF. I feel like as we've been working together, we've shared more of each other's past with each other. As you are working with somebody every day, you build this friendship and this bond and sharing part of your story becomes conversation that we openly have. Every time we've talked about IVF. It's just crazy many people go through this and you have no idea.

Nichelle: Yeah. It's not talked about. It's definitely not something that is taboo. Whenever I was having kids, it wasn't talked about as much. I love the fact that people are opening up a lot more about it. Whenever you tell your journey, I just got chill bumps thinking about it, but you telling me the amount of people that come in and your messages, it's incredible. Just the number of people that have actually experienced IVF. 

Brittany: Even infertility as a whole or having a miscarriage, the struggle to get pregnant, it's not always just so simple of okay, let's have a baby nine months later, there's the baby.

There's so much that can happen and go wrong. The statistics, when you really look at it, it's crazy to see how many people struggle to get pregnant, stay pregnant, and actually have a baby. It always makes me wonder why is this so hard? Why is it so taboo? Why don't people want to talk about it? But it's so personal. 

Nichelle: I think that's a lot of the reason. I don't know that it's necessarily oh, we're less of humans if we have to go through IVF. It's feelings and the emotional aspect of it that people struggled to open up about anything, much less something so deep and so personal, right.

Brittany: Chris and I come from two different backgrounds and I'm much more open to sharing things, whereas he's so much more personal. So then you're getting two people who maybe don't want to equally share that same information, or they want to just deal with it together. And then it's okay, I want to respect him, but it helps me to talk about it with somebody. Whereas he I just want to keep this to ourselves. And so then you have two different personality types. Two different people going through this same thing and experiencing it differently. That was one thing looking back now, I respect the way that he handled it and I'm glad I had that respect for him. Everybody handles it differently and some people want to share and some people don't want to share and it's 100% okay. I'm just thankful for sharing our journey publicly. Once we were pregnant, I said that we went through IVF. Just seeing how many people that helped, that kind of gave me a piece of okay, we went through this for a reason and that maybe to help other people know that they're not alone in this journey. 

 A little bit of a backstory, Chris and I got married August, 2015. And in December I had my yearly scan and they found some polyps on my cervix. They were like, we can do a procedure, take them off, make sure everything was okay. But part of the side effects were, once the scar tissue, heals up, you might have some issues getting pregnant. There is some potential issues that you could run into just because of the scar tissue and things like that. So our doctor at the time advised us, just be aware of that. We knew some people who had the same surgery and then did struggle to get pregnant for a long time. So we were like, let's just come off birth control. We knew we wanted to start a family. If that meant like early in term marriage, great. If that meant years into our marriage, great. So we stopped taking birth control and we weren't really tracking anything. It was just if it happened it happened if not, no big deal. We went on like that for a year. Still not thinking anything about it. We were still newlyweds at the time. 

Nichelle: You weren't in a hurry for anything. It was like if it happened it happened.

Brittany: Exactly. But in the back of my mind, I was always like, I wonder if that's going to be a problem. So then January, 2017 is when we started tracking. I had talked to a few friends who were going through IVF themselves, a few other friends who had trouble and I just started realizing, okay, wow. Getting pregnant is a lot harder than I always thought it would be, as I was talking to friends in the same life stage. I guess at this point I think I was 29. I was, in my twenties still didn't think that I would have any issues, and we started doing an ovulation tracker in the beginning of 2017 it seemed like it wasn't working. I was still getting my period every month and I was starting to be like, okay, this is weird. Why isn't this working? I was doing my blog full time, and I was having all these opportunities. There was a distraction every month I wasn't getting pregnant, there was something really cool happening for work or Chris was traveling. That was another thing, having to line up, like when we were supposed to have sex around when he was going to be traveling home and he was traveling internationally for work. So sometimes it just didn't line up. So that was hard too, because then we were getting frustrated with that.

It was probably not until October of 2017 that I was like, okay, what's going on? I had been checked at my doctor. They said they didn't see anything. By this time, Chris had also been to a doctor there was like nothing on his side, because it could be one side or the other side. We decided in November to see a fertility specialist. A friend of mine was going through several miscarriages. She had no problem getting pregnant, and then at the eight to ten week mark, she was having these terrible miscarriages. She was seeing this doctor and loved her. Her name's Dr. Hastie at ACRM in Atlanta. I believe she just retired this year, but we loved ACRM. If you're in the Atlanta area, looking for a fertility doctor clinic, they are amazing. When we walked into her office and sat down and started telling her our background and everything we had been through at that point, I felt like this woman made me feel like I was not alone. She was so nurturing. She gave me the biggest hug and as we were meeting her, and was like, we're going to figure this out. It's going to be okay. I felt so much hope just by going to that first appointment. If you're considering going to see a fertility specialist, I would encourage you to take that.

I was so scared, not wanting to admit, I had a problem. I didn't know if I had a problem. I just wanted to get pregnant on my own like all my other friends. So having that feeling that this is going to be okay, gave me so much hope that we would one day get pregnant. 

Nichelle: Oh yeah. And talk about all the emotions leading up to that moment. Every time you got your period, as much as a distraction you probably had on the side, I remember feeling defeat. You're in your feelings for a while and you're like, what's wrong with me? Why can't I do this? 

Brittany: Not to mention, all the feelings you get around PMSing anyway, and then to not be pregnant and with your spouse. 

Nichelle: You're trying to make something happen. that should be natural. And it's like, why aren't we able to do this? All of that leading up to those months, going into that appointment probably just hit full force and you're like, okay, wow. There is hope at the end of this.

Brittany: I remember crying in her office, just so thankful that there was potentially an answer. You know what I mean? We hadn't done any further testing. This was the first appointment, but I remember being so thankful that we were there and that we were starting to make a step in the right direction. Thankfully the appointment timed up perfectly with when my next cycle was going to happen. Which I think is a complete God thing that we were able to get in and able to start the medicine, so we could start the first round of IUI. It's just crazy the timing of everything.

I didn't realize how much timing goes into trying to have a baby until I started really trying. 

Nichelle: Your body's not going to wait for that. 

Brittany: So we were able to start on medicine and do the tests we needed to do. And we did our first round of IUI, I think like within the first six weeks, that was a failed attempt.

The first one was a failed attempt. But I still felt hopeful like I was like, we're going in the right direction here. And then the next month we, I was taking, you take medicine to get your eggs and your like, follicles, like ready to, except the sperm. It's very scientific. And the second we upped the dose for the second round. And it almost did too much. I went in to my appointment and the doctor was like, whoa, like you've got six follicles, like ready. So if you were to get pregnant, there's a chance you could have six get pregnant with six babies right away that this is looking right now. So you absolutely do not have sex like we are not going to be doing this month. And I was like, hold on. I just went from I can't have yes. And the reason was unexplained infertility. So they didn't find anything as to a reason, like why we couldn't get pregnant. But I was like, so I went from not being able to get pregnant man to now potentially having multiples.

If we go ahead with this month, that was like, this is just so wild. How it happens, but it really, they have to figure out with your body, the medication what's going to work. So it is a time thing. And I didn't realize that, some of these appointments were on like Saturday or Sunday. It was literally by the day okay, where, what day is the 13th?

Okay. We need to come in on this. It doesn't matter what time. So that was all very interesting. And eyeopening.

Nichelle: I think that's one thing that has that was eye opening for me too. Like you have to have time. You have to be able to step away from your daily job there. There's no waiting. Like we said, your body's not going to wait for you. You've got to do these things on your body schedule. And I knew somebody that actually went through it and they had to take lunch appointments and, leave a couple hours early on days that she didn't necessarily want to, but that's just her body was ready and it was like, okay, this is when you have to do the next step. So that's crazy.

Brittany: Yeah. It was very interesting. And during this time I'm having like close friends of mine are getting pregnant on like their first try going off birth control, getting pregnant the next month. And that was like, so I was so happy for them, but I was also so hurt for myself. 

I knew that they, during this time it was like the December to January timeframe, three of my, like really close friends at the time, all within, it was like every two weeks for six weeks, they called and said, Hey, I'm pregnant. I know you're going through IVF. Like I just wanted you to hear it for me first. And I know they were probably tiptoeing around telling me that they were pregnant. And every time it would be like a yay. I'm so happy for you. Congratulations, hang up the phone immediately start crying, spend like hours in tears. Just wondering why is it so easy for them? And it's so hard for me and, or, you know why them? I've just. Crying out to God and being like, I don't understand, why is this happening to me? And so that was hard because I didn't ever want my friends to feel like they couldn't come to me. I wanted to be part of their lives, no matter if they were pregnant, if they weren't pregnant, but it was still hard.

And I know a lot of people go through that and a lot of people struggle with that. And and it's okay if you need to, take a step back from a friendship, because it's not healthy for your mental health, if you're in the season, it's okay. If this person is a true friend of yours, they will understand. So we ended up doing two more rounds of IUI, both failed. And I remember the last, so these appointments were so interesting because you're laying there and literally like nurses. You can see the sperm, like going into your tubes and everything, and then you wait there for a little while and then they call you and or, I guess you'd wait and see if it like worked.

And while on the third time I'm like laying on the table and there's this nurse who's in there and we're just having small talk, but I was just so emotional because I was like, what if this doesn't work? This is our third time. And I just started crying and she, I don't know how the nurses and doctors, like in these fertility clinics do it because she was so strong for me, but I could see in her eyes, the emotion experiencing what I was going through, laying on the table as she was like, trying to help me get pregnant. And it was like, I'll never forget that like little connection that we had and just her like sympathy for me, by the way, she was like looking in my eyes.

And I just remember being like, what if this doesn't work? Like just defeat before even was happening. And, she was like very encouraging was like, there's other ways like it's okay. There's other ways if this doesn't work, we will do something else. And so that was just really unique and special.

So honestly, shout out to nurses and doctors who get to experience this crazy time with these women and these families who are wanting to get pregnant. 

Nichelle: When you were in that third appointment did you know what the next step would be, if it didn't work out? Or were you unsure until she was like, Hey, there are other ways.

Brittany: So I knew our doctor suggested that we just do three rounds of IUI. And then if that didn't work going to IVF we, so I knew if this one wasn't going to work, it was going to be like a bigger, longer process next step. You just never know. Yeah. So it didn't work, but I felt okay.

It was. I was like, there's still options here. 

Nichelle: Like guardian angel right there. She told you it was going to be fine. 

Brittany: Exactly. And so we decided to go forward with IVF, which the way that the process works is, or there's a few different ways. But what we did was we did the collection of the eggs once they were ready and then they make the embryos and then we froze our embryos.

But you can also do like a fresh transfer where they like make the embryo. And then within a certain amount of days, they go ahead and transfer that if it lines up with like, when your body can accept it, which is a whole other timing situation. We opted to freeze the embryos and then six weeks later did the transfer from there, but there are so many ways to do it and I'm not well-versed on all of the options.

So please definitely consult with a doctor. Of course you guys will. And that process was crazy because I remember just before they did the egg retrieval, I was so bloated, because you have all these eggs, usually you only have one egg each month. They were trying to produce a lot, so they could harvest a lot. I looked six months pregnant because of how your uterus and just everything is growing in that area. And so they did the transfer and they were able to get 20 eggs, which was awesome. Once they made the embryos, they made 13 embryos.

And then I think there was seven that were the most viable and then that's what we froze. Which that number ranges. There's so many factors too. Some people only get a few eggs or one egg, and then that's their one shot. There's so many emotions that go around that. And it's different for everybody as well. So that's a whole other thing to think about. But then in May we did the transfer and we transferred two embryos in, and that was such a cool thing to watch Chris in the, OR with me. And we literally saw them shoot the embryos into my uterus.

And it was like, you can see like microscopically how they put it in your uterus. And then it was like the waiting game, which is the hardest part that 10 days in between was just like, is this working? Am I doing, do I need to sit down? So that was such a hard time. I remember that timeframe seemed like when Chris and I were the we got so close during this whole process really, but we try to do things to keep our mind off of it. I felt like we were spending such intentional quality time together. So that's something I would recommend just throughout this whole process is continue to spend that time with your spouse, because it's very hard to do this, but if you don't have that support for each other, it can make it even harder.

So I remember on the ninth day, they don't really encourage you to do this, but we took a pregnancy test knowing I was going to take blood work the next morning. And it was positive and it was such an emotional feeling because every other test up to that point had been negative for years.

And we were both like, do you want to look? You look, and then it was positive and it was just such. Amazing feeling that we were going to have a baby. 

Nichelle: Did you feel like you could breathe at that point? 

Brittany: Yes. I feel like I let a deep breath out when I knew it wasn't, I wasn't at the finish line just yet, but it felt like we were starting go.

And that was such a special moment. I like will never forget the, we took a picture, just like a selfie of us holding it. And our eyes were just like tear stained red eyes, both of us just like huge grin. Couldn't be happier and so excited that, we were finally pregnant. And so we had blood work the next day and they said that we were, they called and said we were pregnant.

They did they, the center numbers were really high, which we put two embryos in. And so it seemed like both of them took based off of the numbers that they were seeing, but we wouldn't know for sure until we had the six week ultrasound. So I did a lot of blood work to make sure that the numbers were growing, but I didn't know until the sixth week until we could see the heartbeat.

And at that appointment, we only saw one heartbeat and I mentioned to the doctor, I was like, what about the second? And she was like, we only see one. But that was what we wanted. We knew that if we put in two you have a higher chance of one lasting, and it's funny because I remember very specifically where I was when I felt like the other embryo was like, I guess it was miscarrying because I did have bleeding and a lot of cramping and stuff.

And the six week period or whatever, and it was like a right, like a few days before we did the ultrasound. Oh, I bet you, that was scary. And it was scary, but I feel like I didn't really process those feelings because then I saw that we were pregnant with one. And so sometimes now I think back on that and I'm like, huh, that is definitely what that was.

I remember like I was on a trip actually. I was with Lily Pulitzer in Nantucket and we were that day. We had been like doing a lot. We were like riding bikes and we were like all over the island exploring. And I remember we were going to dinner that night, so we had some time and I got back to my room and I was just like, my stomach is really hurting.

I don't feel very good, like crampy. And then I remember having some bleeding and I was just like, oh no, like I'm like, I don't know, but I feel like it didn't, I was just like, let's get to the appointment. Because it was a few days later. And then thankfully Collins was there with her little heartbeat.

So I didn't really ever process the second one, not making it because our goal was just for one. So that's like a weird thing to talk about and think back on. So yeah, then we kept going. I didn't really realize this until I was. In this situation, but you have to do progesterone shots for 10 weeks after you're pregnant and that just helps keep the baby developing. So those are shots in my butt every night. And I remember I was in New York and Anna and I were together in New York and she was FaceTiming Chris and giving me the shot and because I could do it myself, but it wasn't really, it was better. And so she was like, wow, this is goes down on in like list of things.

I never thought I would do, but you just do what you do for friends. Anyway, Collins was born in January of 2019. And I just remember when they put her on my chest just being like, feeling like I had won a race like this was the finish line. Even though, we're in this whole other, race of life now with her, but that is such a special feeling.

But the process that it took us to get to that point is always something I'll cherish and I'm so thankful, for modern medicine and for the doctors caring for us and that this was even something we could go through. 

Nichelle: It's so cool now because you're hearing of companies that are actually, their insurance is covering a huge portion of this now. 

Brittany: Yes. Chris's company didn't at the time, but they do offer that now. We have several friends who still work there and who's told us that. And I was like, that is amazing. I can appreciate and respect that so much more now.

Nichelle: A company that I worked for in the past actually offers $20,000 towards IVF treatment.

Brittany: Wow. That is truly amazing. Because that's the one thing, it's a big financial burden and if that first transfer wouldn't have worked, you have to start over the process with going through the shots again. The medicine alone is what is so expensive too. And you have to get it from these special pharmacies and it's got to be timed properly. And some of it has to be refrigerated and there's so many things around that .You really have to be in a place of extreme responsibility. You're really helping yourself get pregnant by doing all this medicine and shots and all of this.

And if you don't do it right, that can affect your outcome. Yeah, there's a lot that goes into it that I don't think people know. And then so many people just go through it without saying anything and they go through and they continue to do their job and they're struggling on the inside because they feel like they can't talk to anybody.

I can't imagine. I'm a talker too I know we talked about that. I'm like, let's talk through this. 

Yeah. I feel like I had a few friends who I really spent time explaining where I was and it, I didn't expect them to understand, but the fact that they were just willing to listen and just be there and support me meant so much to me, I think back on just those times, and even just like conversations, it would just be me talking and explaining the process.

And I was so infatuated with wow, this is so crazy. This is working. And it was really educating them becasue they had no idea. But even just that listening factor.

Nichelle: I think everyone needs at least one set of ears. Maybe even if it's like, they don't want to let anyone in on a personal level, maybe it's even through therapy, just being able to talk it through.

I think of all the things that I did wrong during my struggles and it was not talking. Literally just swallowing it down, like to the point where it was like, there was a knot in my throat all the time. And I didn't talk about it until later on. And I'm talking a couple of years after Brin was born. I can't imagine going through the struggle of having to be at a doctor's appointment at a certain time, put a shot in my stomach, or, your butt just to continue the process and not let anyone on the outside know. 

Brittany: There's several people who go through IVF and they already have children.

So maybe, for various reasons, but then that's a whole other thing is like you have another child to care for and their schedule, and then doing all of the things you need to do to make sure you're hitting your shots on time, because it has to be at a certain time. With life, there's so many things that are going to get in the way. But it's just going through that process. So many people feel alone in that, and it's such a weight to carry when on top of all these other things in life that people are carrying. Everybody's story is so different. Talking with Nichelle, she went, had several miscarriages in between her daughters.

Her first is 16, her youngest is 10. And in between that time, how many miscarriages? 

Nichelle: Five. 

Brittany: When we opened up to each other about our fertility struggles, I was hearing Nichelle's point of view and just listening to her, talk through these miscarriages.

And that was something that I hadn't experienced as a friend before to your caliber. And I'm sure towards the fourth or fifth one, it was just like a numbing experience.

Nichelle: It literally was. And this is something that, like I said, I didn't even talk about until later in life that I just didn't even want to get pregnant again at a certain point, because I was like, I don't want to deal with the loss of it.

Brittany: And that's where your mind goes. It's just expecting that it's not going to happen. 

Nichelle: Exactly. Yeah, it was very easy for Maddie to come along three months after we got married. Hello. And we talked about, let's not have kids until we're in our thirties, and surprise here she is. So wouldn't trade it for the world. And then soon after that decided we wanted to have more and we wanted to have them close together and. My first miscarriage was almost like a blip. I barely remember it because I want to say it was like five weeks. I had just found out I was pregnant and then miscarried and I was younger. So I was like, it's fine. Brushed it off, told the doctor, they were like you're young. You have plenty of time, it's fine. The next one was, we heard the heartbeat. We went in for the next appointment with a video tape to record what the gender was and found out that there was no heartbeat.

Yeah. And it took, three different doctors or nurses, coming in to get the doctor. And it's those minutes between everybody coming in there and something's wrong, you're dreading what you're about to hear. I had miscarried almost right after the heartbeat, the first heartbeat appointment, and didn't even know it.

And when you work a DNC in the middle of all of that, that messes with your mind so much. I couldn't carry this child and now they're going to have to remove it because my body doesn't know. 

Brittany: Gosh. And the emotions that come with that all while you're a young mom.

Nichelle: Yeah, exactly.

Brittany: So processing that experience.

Nichelle: I remember leaving that appointment. That one was very vivid. I left that appointment, went home, laid on the couch and probably cried there for 24 hours. I remember because Maddie was walking, she was probably around Hazel's age. I want to say she was a very little not talking yet, but this was second miscarriage already.

And I just didn't have it in me. I was like, I just need a moment to catch up. So then the next one was weird. It was a blighted ovum. If you don't know what it is, it's I guess just like the elementary version of it is like you quote unquote, get pregnant, but the embryo never forms inside the sack. So the sack continues to grow and your hormones are exactly the same, but there is no embryo. So that was the third and it was so weird. I was like, okay, I'm pregnant, but I'm not. Yeah. 

Brittany: Your body thinks that you are, but there was nothing. 

Nichelle: And I didn't find out tall was 11 weeks at this point I'd had what?

Three pregnancies. So I was showing. And sick, throwing up like all of the signs.

Brittany: Having the side effects, without actually being pregnant. Our bodies are so crazy. Again, you're in the moment in your, not processing it, really.

Nichelle: And then like looking back, I'm like, wow, that was so bizarre. I'd never heard of that. And I still haven't heard of anybody else that happening too, but the doctor just was like, oh yeah, it was the blight blighted. Ovum. Nope. No big deal. Obviously not that here free, but like it was something normal, but miscarriages necessarily weren't than I didn't think because people didn't talk about it.

So I didn't talk about it. I didn't tell anybody. My family knew the first two times after I had Maddie that I was pregnant. And then beyond that, I was like, I'm not even going to tell anybody until we know it's fine. So we had two more miscarriages. It was like 5, 6, 7 weeks. And literally it was like, we're done.

Yeah. We had tried ovulation tests. We had tried this, we had tried that, like anything that the doctor told us that we could try, they said that nothing was wrong with me because I could get pregnant. I just couldn't continue to carry. I was I'm RH negative. So I had to have the RhoGAM shot every time I went in for an appointment.

Every time I miscarried, after I had finished miscarrying. There were so many things like blood work shots, everything that was involved with all of that. I remember looking at Robert and going, we're good with one. Yeah, I wanted to, but we have a healthy child. Let's focus on her and let's move on.

And then I got pregnant again, and this is now five years after I had Maddie. I feel like she was starting kindergarten and I was like, no, this isn't going to happen. Literally. I remember going into the doctor's appointment, no emotion, 

Brittany: You probably built this wall up of okay, here we go again. 

Nichelle: They're like, you're pregnant, let's go into the RhoGAM shot. And I remember going through the motions. I don't remember probably the first eight weeks of being pregnant with her. I wasn't sick like I was with Maddie. I was very sick with Maddie. I remember losing 16 pounds by the time I was six months, like very sick, but with Brin, it was just like, I was fine. And then the next thing I remember, it's a 16 week appointment. We find out it's a girl and I like looked over at the doctor and she was. You can tell people now, like you can actually tell people now you are in the clear. And I was like, you're never in the clear. And she's you're in the clear sweetie like you can tell people, please tell people. 

And then I feel like probably a rush of emotions. It didn't happen until she was born. I'm going to be honest with you. I remember being excited, like finding names, like all of that, but like the rush of emotion didn't happen until after. And I became helicopter mommy. I didn't think that I would ever be that. And and it's easier now to admit than it was then, but I literally was I hovered over that baby? It's we worked so hard to help. But yeah, it's like when we talk about our stories, it's okay, IVF is it's available.

And it's talked about now, IUI, IVF. It wasn't talked about then. And that, it was a long time ago, but it's, I guess in science it was a long time ago, but it's so crazy that wasn't even an option to do further testing. Okay. Nothing's wrong with Robert because you're getting pregnant. It's just an anomaly. We don't know. That's just the way it was for five years. We don't know. 

Brittany: Yeah. It's just so bizarre, but I'm so thankful to be able to have these conversations and you shared your story with me when we started talking about infertility a few months ago, because. I think it's important to talk through and just be aware. I've had other friends who've had a miscarriage and, I was supportive and there for them. And I'm sorry that this is happening.

Can I do anything? But to be able to hear somebody give me all the details, I feel like your story has helped me support other friends who have since had miscarriages. So that's the importance of talking about it and that's why we want to share the story and my background on this podcast is so that maybe one person that will listen won't feel so alone, or they will feel like, okay, if she has gone through this, like I can go through this too.

Or I can give somebody the courage because there are so many options. It is very scary, but having a support system and people that are behind you, you can do this. You can get through hard things.

Nichelle: You can. In the moment, it seems hard, but always having hope. You cannot let hope die. You have to continue to have hope to get through those hard things. 

Brittany: Exactly. I think it's very much your outlook. It was a very difficult process, I think for both Chris and I, because we handle things differently and I'm very much like a positive, like everything happens for a reason. And while I think you have to use that phrase lightly, but I truly believe. What was the reason that this was happening to us? I wanted to know, and now I look back and I'm like, maybe it was so that I could share my story. God gave me this huge platform of people that follow me and are along on this journey. And maybe he was using me to encourage other people and, so I want to do that. I want to share my story here and encourage others they don't have to be alone in this. 

Nichelle: I think it's very brave to talk about it, but I also do think that is exactly why God put you through that, to be able to share just hearing all these other stories that are coming to you. It definitely was for that reason. 

Brittany: Yeah. And there's been times I've received messages from people and they will tell me, I'm starting IVF and message a few weeks later. Okay. We just did our embryo transfer. Okay. I haven't told anybody else this yet, but we're pregnant. And I look back through the top of our messages and I see we've been conversing for months about IVF and them like going to start it to then people that I don't even really know telling me thank you so much we are pregnant now. And then on the other side of that, people who have shared, we're going through IVF, I'm not pregnant. I know you've been praying for me, but I just want you to know I'm not pregnant and being able to be there for that person in a way that. We probably both need that for each other.

And even though I don't physically know some of the people who are messaging me, the trust that I feel like this community we've built in each other, that they feel comfortable coming and saying I can't, I don't want to talk about this with anybody else. I know you've been there and I want you to know this is where I am.

If you could continue to pray or if you could rejoice with me. And that is so cool. That is something that I appreciate, no matter what side of the spectrum it's on. I love having those conversations with people. I absolutely think that it has something to do with we went through this so I can be a light and show other people and help them get through it.

Nichelle: All right. We have some questions to follow this up today. We have three questions from your followers. The first one is, which is something I think I want to know too. Do you guys plan on having any more children? 

Brittany: I'm not sure to be honest, I guess I failed to mention Hazel in this episode. So after we had Collins, it was crazy while the doctor's like sewing me up. She was like, wow, your uterus is perfect for having babies. And I was like, really, because I had to do, IVF to get this baby here. She was like, I don't think you're going to have any trouble getting pregnant again.

 I had literally just had a baby 10 minutes ago, not looking to have another right yet. We just assumed that we would be doing IVF for future children. We had embryos that we still have on ice. And so we weren't very careful after Collins was a few months old and we found out that we were pregnant. I was like, how is this happening? We definitely thought that we would not be able to get pregnant. We couldn't get pregnant on our own, but then we had Hazel and they're 16 months apart. And so now we're like what if this happens again? Chris always wanted two, I always wanted three or four and I think now we're flipped, whereas I'm okay with two and he's like let's have another. I'm like, I don't know if we should. We don't know if we'll be able to get pregnant again quickly, like accidentally almost, which I feel like happens a lot. I have a ton of friends who go through IVF and then they just get pregnant very quickly with another it's like your body needs, it's like a prep. It's okay, I can do this. I'm not really sure if we'll have more. We're having that conversation a lot right now. I feel like we probably will. I just don't know when. And because Hazel was such a surprise, I didn't think of her as my last. If that makes sense. We'll see what happens. 

Nichelle: Okay. This person asked if I have a friend going through IVF, how can I best support them?

Brittany: Okay. I do get this question a lot just with people wanting to support their friends. And it is so tough. I would say what made it easy for me is when my friends who knew I was going through this once I had shared, Hey, this is where we are that random checking in Hey, how are you doing? Without me having to prompt them. That always felt so nice to know that somebody else knew where I was. If I could pick up the phone and just be like, Hey, I had a tough day, we got some numbers back. I'm not pregnant. I just need a shoulder to cry on that's not my husband. I knew I had a few friends who would support me in that way.

So I think going to your friend, going through IVF and saying, I know this is where you are, maybe I can't relate to exactly what you're going through, but I'm here for you. Whatever that means, if you need to call me so you can cry. If you need me to meet you for coffee, if you need to just hug, anything, you can always call me for that support.

 Just deeming a few, offering that up to a friend, going through IVF so she can know you're a person she can trust in this process. We've said this whole time, it's not talked about. Knowing that a friend wanted to listen, that made all the difference.

Nichelle: Oh yeah. So any advice for couples going through this? Both the husband and the wife. Anything that you can offer for both of them?

Brittany: I would say continue to date your spouse during this time. I guess that's good marriage advice, no matter what you're going through, but there were several times we were so caught up on trying to get pregnant that we had lost the romance around it. Then that is like no pressure, but come on. I feel like Chris and I got really close during this time because we continued to go on dates, spend time together, phones down, and just talk through this process and talk this out and get to know each other on even in a more deep level, that was so important for us to be a team in this and to go through this together.

I have friends who they trying to get pregnant. It was one of the hardest parts of their marriage. And. Just respecting the . Chris was very hesitant for me to share. I wanted to share the IVF story when we announced that we were pregnant and Chris didn't want to share then. So we waited and I ended up mentioning on my caption, when I said we're pregnant. I did like hashtag IVF or something, but I didn't really go into more details at the time.

Later I did a post saying we did IVF and then it wasn't until I was 25 weeks pregnant that I put out a blog post, really sharing our story and what we'd been through, but I wanted to respect his privacy, but I think he also started to see the impact that just by sharing with other people and people thanking him for sharing our story. But he's very private. I had to respect that even though I would have been like, let's tell everybody we're going through IVF. Like it'll help somebody. So really staying together as a team during this process and just open communication was so important for us. I feel like that made it easier to go through this journey with him because we supported each other. If that makes sense.

It's a deep episode, maybe one day we'll have Chris on and he can share his side of things, I'm sure it's a lot different of an experience just because he experienced a different side than I did. I know there's a lot of guys who don't know how to support their wives in this time, and it's a hard place to be for everybody.

So who knows, maybe we'll see if he can come on and chat through some of that.

Nichelle: And for you guys who are going through any of this, currently, we are praying for you. It's not an easy road but know that you can do it. We can do hard things. We always say, it's easier said than done in the moment because you don't want to hear that. I think that especially women, we are capable of doing very hard things and you will come out on the other end grateful for any of the experience, no matter what the outcome is. 

Brittany: For sure. Thank you so much for being here and we'll talk to you next time.

Thanks for listening to today's episode. I can't wait to continue these conversations with you over on Instagram at Life with Loverly. Until next time.

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