Hello! My name is Johanne. Welcome to my Recurrent Pregnancy and Infant Loss Blog. I’m 40 years old and I’ve been pregnant 8 times with one living child, my miracle toddler, Archer. We are now currently pregnant again and in the third trimester with our second rainbow, a baby sister for Archer. We are hopeful she will arrive healthy and safe in May. I’m a self-employed graphic designer living in Southern California and married to the most amazing and supportive man, Arun.
After losing my first son, Holdon, in 2010 due to a variant of preeclampsia called HELLP Syndrome, I wasn’t sure how I could possibly go on, but my husband, family, and friends helped me heal. I began to hope again for a future full of tiny fingers and tiny toes. But then I had miscarriage after miscarriage, and I began to hope less. I hit some low moments and realized that although all the people in my life are amazing and incredibly inspiring and supportive, it’s not easy for them to talk about this. However, anyone who has gone through the amount of losses I have, knows that we need to talk about it. It’s a constant thing in our lives and it never goes away. You feel fine one day and then you have another loss. Or you see a commercial with a beautiful baby. Or a movie about babies. Or you find out someone you know is pregnant. Or just had a baby, and you are so happy for them, it brings tears to your eyes, but a small very private part of you is sad for yourself. Or it’s the anniversaries of should have been due dates and birthdays that your child never got to celebrate that come along every year and hit with what should have been but instead there’s just a void. Only those who have dealt with recurrent pregnancy loss and/or infertility really know what that feels like. So I started this blog. I realized it’s easier for me to talk about it with people who have been through it too. We know. We understand. And through this blog, I discovered an incredible community of support. To this day, I really don’t know how I would have gotten through some of my darkest moments on this journey to motherhood without my family and friends and this incredible community.
Below is the story of our journey to become parents and struggles we went through and continue to go through and how a little hope continues to carry us through it all…
In 2012, after the loss of our son Holdon and then having 2 miscarriages back to back, our OB referred us to a Reproductive Endocrinologist for Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL) who ran several tests on me.
Side note: To this day, no one can explain why I got so sick with HELLP Syndrome and had to deliver Holdon so early. That will always be a mystery. I don’t have any predisposing factors for preeclampsia and HELLP and every test they could do was done and then some and they couldn’t find any answers. I was told there was likely something wrong with the placenta and it became toxic in my body. That is not an official answer but it’s the only thing that makes sense.
To read the complete story about my first pregnancy with Holdon click here.
However, there was an explanation for my miscarriages. It even had a fancy name: diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) with premature ovarian aging (POA). My eggs were aging much faster than they should have been for my age of 34 at the time. And as a result, it was very likely that my egg quality was poor and the answer to why I was having miscarriages. I was told it was amazing that I had even getting pregnant at all. My RE suggested we try one more time on our own, since we were getting pregnant and see if we could catch a good egg, but if I didn’t become pregnant within 6 months or had another miscarriage, then to consider IVF so we could retrieve my eggs and test the embryos for genetic abnormalities. Then they would only transfer back a “normal” embryo in hopes that we could prevent another loss. We were hesitant to try again on our own after receiving this diagnosis. It was like playing Russian Roulette, but we did. And we became pregnant again with pregnancy number 4, but sadly, that pregnancy ended in miscarriage as well. Subsequent testing on the products of conception (the lovely medical term given for the remains of the baby after the D&C) determined that there was an abnormality of chromosome 5 (Trisomy 5). This confirmed my DOR diagnosis. So we tried IVF and PGD testing on our embryos. After 2 egg retrievals and $30,000 poorer, we had 11 embryos. Only 4 made it to blastocyst stage. We sent the 4 embryos to a lab for PGD testing, and of those 4, we had 1 normal embryo after testing. A girl. We did a frozen embryo transfer and hoped for the best, but unfortunately, she didn’t implant. We had no problem getting pregnant 4 times on our own prior to this, but the one time we tried fertility treatments, we didn’t get pregnant. Go figure.
to learn more about DOR click here
to read more about my IVF and PGD experience and process click here and read through to January 2014.
After that, we honestly didn’t know what to do. We were lost and thought about giving up, but then we sat down with our RE and were told it was likely because women with DOR tend to not respond well to fertility medications and the entire process might have messed up my eggs even more. He said that even though we only had 1 normal embryo out of 11, we still had a 50/50 chance of catching a good egg on a different cycle, so he recommended we go back to trying on our own and if we continued to have more losses, then we could try donor eggs. So we went back to the drawing board and gave it another try on our own. We accepted that we might have more loss and went into it with an open mind and a lot of faith. The very next cycle, we became pregnant with pregnancy number 5, but it was a chemical pregnancy. I saw 2 faint positives on home pregnancy tests and then they faded away and I got my period a few days late. Maybe it was because it ended before it even really began, or maybe it was that we just expected it, but we bounced back from that loss rather quickly compared to our previous losses, and continued to try. Then, just 2 cycles after that, we became pregnant again and finally had a pregnancy go right. I gave birth to healthy baby boy in December 2014. He is our miracle boy. Our rainbow after the storm, and a day doesn’t go by that I don’t thank God for him. There were so many times I thought I would never have him, but something told me to keep trying and keep hoping. Even after all the losses to get here, I can honestly say, I don’t regret it.
After all we’ve been through, it would not be wrong to think that that’s where our journey ends, but in the spring of 2016, we cautiously began trying for a living sibling for Archer. Sadly, it did not start out well. After a few months of not trying but not preventing either, we had another miscarriage. Another chemical pregnancy. It was quick and for that I’m thankful, but it was hard just the same. Recurrent pregnancy loss was still an ongoing issue for us. I had hoped it wouldn’t be, but it was not unexpected either. That was the end of June 2016. I’m was almost 40 and the odds of us having a second miracle child were definitely not good. It would have been understandable if either my husband or myself had decided that was the end of the road for us, but instead, we bounced back and decided to give it another try. You can read the entire story in here, but to recap, we became pregnant again 2 cycles later and are now just 8 weeks from our scheduled c-section and hopeful arrival of a baby girl. A sister for Archer. It took us nearly 8 years and 8 pregnancies to get here, but we are finally getting very close to completing our family with 2 living children.
We continue to be cautiously optimistic and are going on blind faith that this little one will arrive safe and sound and be our second miracle. We are already so incredibly blessed. So many are still waiting for their one miracle baby. We know how lucky we are to finally have ours and to be expecting another.
I hope this blog helps others and may my story give you hope to not give up.
I also hope this blog will serve as a keepsake for my children, so they may know about their big brother Holdon and their other angel siblings. May they also know about the incredible journey we took to having them and know just how much we love them and their siblings in Heaven. Our other babies may not be with us in person, but we know they are with us always. ❤️