STYLE ME GRASIE » fashion & lifestyle blog by grasie mercedes

our infertility story

infertility storySome might be surprised to hear that I’m kind of a private person. While I share a lot on social media and the blog, I tend to keep the really personal stuff to myself. But I’ve decided to share something extremely personal today. My husband Damien and I have been actively trying to conceive for two and a half years. After two miscarriages, surgery, thyroid issues and a failed round of IVF, I decided to share our story.

WHY AM I SHARING NOW?

Even with the most supportive man in the world (Damien has been a f’ing champion throughout all of this), infertility is hard, lonely and depressing. I want women going through this to know they are not alone. I also feel as a woman of color, I needed to share my story. Latino & African-American women are stereotypically seen as baby-makers. A shitty stereotype that seeps into your brain as a young girl. I always knew I was going to be a mom and never once did I think it would be this hard. My mom had 4 children throughout her life, giving birth to my baby sister at 38. My great-grandmother had my grandmother at 45 back in 1941! My aunt had 3 children with ease. I thought I would be fine.

THE TIMELINE

So here’s how it all went down. It was the summer of 2015, when Damien and I decided, “Hey, we’re not getting any younger! Let’s make a baby already!” Before the summer was over, I was pregnant. “Wow! That was fast! The stereotype is true! My Latina DNA did its damn thing!” The night before my 6-week doctor’s appointment, I miscarried. While physically a miscarriage is nothing more than a really bad period, emotionally, it’s the worst thing ever. I was devastated. I felt like I did something wrong, even though I knew I didn’t. I was sad but I tried to focus on the positive. At least I knew I could get pregnant and that was a good thing. We would try again and it would all be fine.

A year of trying past and I didn’t get pregnant again. At this point, my OB/GYN thought it was time to see a fertility specialist. So we did. After routine testing we found out that Damien was fine but I had a fibroid in my uterus, endometriosis and one of my fallopian tubes was blocked. I would have to have surgery to take care of all of these things, before we could conceive.

In November 2016, I had laparoscopic surgery. My angel of a mother came to LA for a week while I healed. The surgery was successful and the fibroid and endometriosis were removed. My fallopian tube was opened to about 40%. But even with a successful procedure, our doctor thought it was time to consider IVF. My egg count was dropping and conceiving naturally would be challenging. But, I wasn’t ready. We decided to wait a bit longer and continue to try naturally before taking the IVF plunge. Six months later, when I was still not pregnant, we decided to go for it.

Before I get into the IVF process let me say this: I am someone who 100% believes that everything happens for a reason. Because of this belief, IVF didn’t feel like the right choice for me. I kept thinking, “Maybe I’m not supposed to have a baby.” “Maybe this is not happening for a reason.” But I didn’t know the reason. So I started to think differently… “Maybe this is a test. Maybe this shouldn’t be easy.” I had and still have no idea. At the end of the day, I was confused, scared and didn’t know the right answer.

IVF

IVF sucks. There I said it. There is nothing fun or pleasant about it. The only thing great about IVF is the potential for a beautiful, healthy baby at the end of the process. If that beautiful, healthy baby doesn’t come, it feels like a big waste of time, energy, emotion and money. I started my first round of IVF in April 2017. We paid the fee, I picked up my meds and for a week injected myself with hormones every night with Damien by my side. I was bloated, emotional and exhausted. What got me through was the hope it would work. It would all be worth it in the end.

The next step in IVF process, is the egg retrieval. A minor surgical procedure to have matured eggs removed from my ovaries. That same day, Damien gives his sample and the embryologist joins the two. Embryos form and develop in a dish for future testing. They were able to retrieve 8 eggs from me and 5 embryos developed. When we heard the news, we got very excited. Five embryos is a great number! You only need one to make a baby! But sadly, none of the embryos matured enough for implantation. We were back to square one.

After this failed round of IVF, I needed a break. Though overall I felt lucky that my experience wasn’t as terrible as I expected. (I’ve heard so many horrible IVF stories that I expected the worst.) It wasn’t pleasant but it wasn’t a nightmare either. But still, it ended with disappointment. It was now May 2017 and we decided to take the summer off. I had a lot of travel coming up for work and Damien and I had an end of summer trip to Bermuda planned. So, we were going to take June until the end of August to not think about infertility. We had an amazing summer of fun and for a brief moment, forgot about our baby-making issues. It was lovely.

SEPTEMBER 2017

Summer was over and it was time to get back on the baby-making train. I mean we tried naturally all summer long (woo hoo!), but we knew we had to do more to conceive. Summer travel and fun, meant a lot of booze and “bad for you” food, so I wanted to cleanse. I figured if I’m going to do IVF again, I wanted to make sure my body was in top-notch shape. So, Damien and I did the Whole30 and I started seeing a naturopath and a fertility acupuncturist. I felt great! No booze, healthy food and weekly acupuncture proved to be exactly what I needed. Then on October 10th (a month into my healthy living), I realized my period was 3 days late. I took a pregnancy test and it was positive. I was pregnant! Again, it happened naturally but because of my fertility issues, I immediately called our doctor.

When you have a spontaneous pregnancy (not from IVF) while seeing a fertility doctor, they closely monitor the first few months of pregnancy before you return to your regular OB/GYN. I went into the office the next morning to test my HCG (pregnancy hormone) levels. It was confirmed! I was indeed pregnant and my levels were great. I then had to be tested every 2 days to make sure the HCG levels were doubling, which is what they should do with a normal pregnancy. The levels were perfect for two rounds of testing, then they were not. They stopped doubling and after further testing and an ultrasound, we were told that this was not a viable pregnancy and I would miscarry. At this point, I was 5 weeks pregnant. At 7 weeks, I miscarried. That was a very shitty two weeks of waiting and another heartbreaking miscarriage.

NOW WHAT?

It’s now then end of 2017 and two and a half years later. Since the 2nd miscarriage, I’ve revisited my OB/GYN, talked to my fertility doctor, have had a full physical with my naturopath/general doctor, made another endocrinologist appointment to check on my thyroid that now has hyperthyroidism, goiters and nodules and have a holistic doctor who has me on Chinese herbs and body work. (Yup, all of that.) They all agree that before I try to get pregnant again or do another round of IVF, I need to get my thyroid in order. Thyroid health is very important to fertility and needs to be “fixed” before moving forward. While I knew about the goiter for a year now and have been closely monitoring my thyroid, the nodules and hyperthyroidism are new.

So now the plan is to do just that…get the thyroid sorted out then try again in about 3-4 months. As of now, we only plan on doing one more round of IVF that will hopefully be successful. If it’s not, not sure what the next step will be. We’ll cross that bridge when we get to it. It’s too hard to think far beyond that.

WHAT I HOPE YOU TAKE AWAY

I’m sharing this so that other women who may be going through similar or worse situations realize they are not alone. There are so many women who deal with infertility and who have had miscarriages and both are still rarely talked about. Well, I think they should be talked about. It’s part of life and more common than people think. So I repeat…YOU ARE NOT ALONE.

Finally, I have three tips for anyone who may be friends, co-workers or family members to any woman of child-bearing age:

  1. Don’t ask when they are having children. It’s none of your business and unless they bring it up, you definitely shouldn’t. I know you mean well, but you have no idea what they may be dealing with and if they want to share that with you, they will. Also, they may not want to have children and that’s totally okay too and still none of your business.
  2. If you are one of the people they have confided in, please don’t offer unsolicited advice. Trust me they have researched the sh*t out of the subject and saying things like “You just need to relax/not worry/not think about it and it’ll happen” are annoying AF to hear. There is literally no way to “not think about it” when you’re going through it. Again, I know you mean well but it’s just not helpful.
  3. Overall, just try be as sensitive as possible with the topic of pregnancy, infertility and miscarriage. I’m not saying to not bring it up but avoid being preachy or a “know it all” about something that is so very personal and a very unique experience to each individual.

And that’s all I got. It’s been a challenging couple of years but I’m not down about it. It’s made me a stronger person and has brought Damien and I closer than ever. I know we’ll have a baby one day. It may happen naturally, it may happen through IVF or it may even happen five years from now through adoption. Whatever the case, we will be parents one day and all these ups and downs will make it feel all the more special.

I want to end this by thanking Kim of Eat, Sleep, Wear for her candid documentation of her IVF journey. We started trying for a baby around the same time and it was her courage to speak about it, that inspired me to do the same. And, thank YOU for reading this and listening to our infertility story. I promise to share more as we continue down our path to baby. xo

SHARE TO:
  • Grasie, I am so sorry that you are going through this. I think it is very brave of you to share you story in hopes that other women will know they are not alone. I also really appreciate the advice you followed that up with. I am sending good vibes your way in hopes that you soon have a beautiful little boy or girl because after reading your blog for years I know you and Damien are going to make amazing parents someday. Please keep your spirits up and know you have a dedicated group of followers who are always cheering you on. xo.

    Kate
    fashionablykateandcompany.com

    • Thank you Kate! Sending you love right back! xo

  • cher

    I never comment, but I have followed you for years and love your openness and honesty. I also had 2 miscarriages, but now have a one year old baby and is now 5 months pregnant with my second, which we were not planning but someone told me that those lost babies find their way back to you. Whether it’s true or not, I can attest to how hard those miscarriages were and the feeling like you may never have your baby. Every baby has it’s own journey and way of coming to you, can’t wait to see yours and Damien’s!

    • Thank you! Thank you for being a long-time reader and thank you for sharing your story and CONGRATS on the baby!!!! xoxoxo

  • Just wanted to applaud you for your bravery. While I haven’t experienced any of this directly (though as someone who is newly married with plans to start trying soon, it’s always in the back of my mind), I’ve had sisters and close friends deal with so many different fertility and pregnancy issues and it’s so much more common than I ever knew. Thankfully, for everyone who has struggled in my life, the end result has been miraculously positive (albeit after much struggle and heartache, but eventually, gloriously happy) and I will be keeping positive thoughts in my heart for you!! <3

    • Thank you and yes, it’s so common but rarely spoken about. I have been sent so many messages of women who went through it but have happy endings and that’s amazing to hear. Congrats on being newly married!!! Marriage is the best! Sending you lots of love on your baby-making journey! xo

  • Jenny Bautista

    Grasie, thank you so much for your courage to share such a personal experience. I am so happy you did. As a fellow Dominicana and Latina, I can totally understand how there are certain stereotypes about our abilities to conceive and how often times infertility is a very taboo topic. The 3 tips were great too. I feel like the older I have gotten the more I have been understanding of the first tip. I just don’t ask anymore and I also share that tip with relatives who will just continuously ask others. I wish you and Damien the best, and know that your dream of being parents will one day be a reality!

    • HI Jenny! Thank you for reading and yes that Latina thing is REAL. Glad you could relate. Thanks for the love…sending it right back! xo

  • Allegra Liu

    Thank you so much for sharing. I know it will help so many. I’ve been through two miscarriages and secondary infertility (difficulty conceiving our second child). It’s so much stress, worry, grief and anguish that I wouldn’t wish on anyone. When we went to see an infertility specialist right before we conceived our second child (a son) he told us infertility was a complicated multifacforial condition and that it didn’t mean we couldn’t or shouldn’t have children. Peace and love to you on your journey and know that others are rooting for you. You are very brave and strong.

    • Thank you and thank you for sharing your story! So happy for you and your family. xoxo

  • Tanya

    After several years of fertility treatments and miscarriages, my husband and I decided last night to stop treatments. We tried very hard to make this happen but it didn’t. We close this door with peace in our hearts and remain optimistic that we will have a family somehow. I wish you and Damian all the very best. You are not alone xo

    • Wow, how timely. I’m happy for you both. I think ultimately you have to decide as a couple what is right and no one else can make that decision but you. Sending you both lots of love and wishes for a very happy future. xo

  • Elle Simon

    Grasie, Thank you for sharing such an intimate part of your life. It takes remarkable strength to sustain yourself after such an ordeal and magnificent courage to continue. My prayer will be for your success in whichever method grants you and your hubby what you ultimately want – and health for you both and the baby to come. With love, Elle

    • Thank you Elle! Such a sweet message. We really appreciate all the love and support we’ve been getting. xo

  • dawn hunnicutt

    So much love to you both, and thank you for sharing your story. I adore the both of you!

  • Brian Scully

    Thanks for writing your clearly heartfelt and very personal story, Grasie. I think you have done a very nice thing by sharing yours and Damien’s story with a lot of other people who may be experiencing something like this in their own lives. My wife and I went through many fertility treatments and had one miscarriage. That was a heartbreaking time because you are feeling so much hope, having finally allowed yourself to dream a bit, that when it happens, it is a very real loss. I do remember how difficult the fertility treatments and tests were and how hopes and fears become an almost unavoidable roller coaster ride during the process. After a few years, our daughter was born and has been the best part of our lives. I wish the same for you guys. For what it’s worth, I think you and Damien are going to be great parents someday and no matter how that child comes into your lives, that kid will be very lucky to have you guys loving him or her.

    • Thank you Brian! Thank you for sharing your story and I’m so happy you guys have your daughter to show for it. Sending you guys lots of love. xoxo

  • Grasie. Eres una guerrera!!! This was so brave of you to share. I have Hashimoto’s Thyroid disease and PCOS. Many cases of Hypo or sometimes even Hyperthyroidism are due to Hashimoto’s which makes you go back and forth between Hyper and Hypo. And being a hormonal imbalance, many other hormones also go out of whack. Hence my PCOS. Then comes sugar deregulation and insulin issues, etcetera, etcetera. The Thyroid is such a pesky little gland. Controls so much. But my tiny piece of humble advice, is to make sure your gut is 100% amazing. Therein lies everything good or bad about your immune system. Check for other underlying issues like SIBO, heavy metal toxicity, adrenal fatigue… This is kind of a rabbit hole, I know. I also highly recommend this website https://chriskresser.com and I’ve heard the Autoimmune Protocol is amazing, I’ve yet to get my shit together and try it. I hope any of this will help. Sending you digital hugs!!!

    • Thank you mama! Sorry you have to go through all the thyroid stuff. Yes, it is a pesky gland indeed and controls so much! Thanks for the link. xoxo

  • mmmjjj

    thank you so much for sharing this, i get it and I’m sending youa ll the good vibes

    • Thank you so much for reading. xo

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  • Devanee Kessler

    So Sorry! I wish I could say I didn’t understand but I do. I agree IVF sucks. On a positive note I decided to adopt And my life was forever changed. I could not love these kids more if I tried. They are my whole life. Good luck to you! The universe will put you on the right path, it may not be easy but it will work out. This I know for sure. 🙂

    • Aww I LOVE THAT SO MUCH! Thanks for sharing. We are totally up for adoption and may adopt either way. So happy you have a happy ending. xo

  • Julissa Gomez

    Thank you! For sharing. When conceived about a month a 1/2 ago and miscarried at 6 weeks. I felt like I completely let down my husband and myself. Thinking I did something wrong. We recently got pregnant again, didn’t expect that to happen and I’m on thyroid medication, because they are concerned it’s too high for a woman during the first trimester, but in normal range for a nonpregnant woman. I’m seeing a acupuncturist/chiropractor, going to start Chinese herbs and I’m praying hard every night that this one sticks around. We have been married over 6 years and I’m a fellow Dominican myself. I’m sending you and Damien lots of prayers and hugs.

    • Hi Julissa, Sending you so much love right back and wishing you the best on your pregnancy. Thank you for sharing your story and please know that you did nothing wrong. Miscarriages are very common and the more people share their stories, the more women will realize they are not alone. xoxo