Hi, I’m Chelsea and this is my wife Brittany and I’s fertility journey turned rainbow baby story.
We decided we were ready to grow our family in September 2020. At the time we both thought this journey would be pretty simple. Yes, we had to have medical help getting pregnant. But hey, the ladies in my family carry to full term easily so it should be simple for me. Then you add a little science and how hard can it truly be, right? We found out very quickly that we were very wrong.
We started with IUI (intrauterine insemination). Our first IUI worked in January 2021, naturally we couldn’t believe our good luck and were thrilled. We told our families immediately, but unfortunately the pregnancy never thrived and we had a miscarriage at 6 ½ weeks.
It took awhile for my body to be ready to conceive again, every month we would try for another IUI and my body just wasn’t cooperating. The waiting felt like an eternity. Finally in April 2021 we were able to do our second IUI, unfortunately it didn’t take.
In May of 2021 we did our third and final IUI, FINALLY we were pregnant again. We felt like the first miscarriage was a fluke and that this pregnancy was it. Unfortunately, at 6 ½ weeks again I was rushed to the ER with severe abdominal pain, after lots of tests and evaluation we realized it was an ectopic pregnancy and I was rushed into emergency surgery. During this laparoscopic surgery they found two cups of blood in my abdomen. Two days later I had to have a methotrexate shot (small dose of chemo) to be extra careful the pregnancy wasn’t continuing to grow because ectopics can be so dangerous and even life threatening.
After our second loss we decided to move onto IVF because we couldn’t imagine going through another ectopic and IVF lowered that risk.
When we did the preliminary IVF bloodwork they figured out I have Factor V Leiden heterozygous (a blood clotting disorder), which can sometimes cause early miscarriages.
We did our egg retrieval in October of 2021, all of the waiting was excruciating and so hard to live through. As I’m sure most of you know, once you decide you’re ready to have a baby, waiting 10 months for them to arrive seems like forever. Much less it being a year later and all you’ve been through are three losses and a lot of heartbreak.
In December 2021 we did our first IVF frozen embryo transfer, we were pregnant again! Again thinking that our first miscarriage was a fluke and our second was ectopic, we felt like the chances of this baby being our rainbow baby were high. At 6 ½ weeks I had some bleeding from a subchorionic hemorrhage (very common in IVF pregnancies). At our 8 week ultrasound we found that the baby no longer had a heartbeat. This loss felt different, seeing our little baby for the first time, seeing the little heartbeat, and then it being gone. It was beyond devastating.
In May of 2022 we did another IVF frozen embryo transfer and again we got pregnant. This time we were cautiously optimistic. We didn’t tell everyone and we were very guarded. At 5 weeks we had minimal bleeding and lost the baby.
At this point something clicked for me. These three miscarriages and one ectopic weren’t just a stroke of bad luck. There was something more going on that we just didn’t understand yet. The clinic we had been with since the beginning was out of answers for us. So I started doing my own research in hopes of finding someone who could help us make our rainbow baby dreams come true.
I found a clinic 10 hours away from us that really thought outside the box. They believe the root cause of infertility is inflammation in the body, that our immune systems play a huge role in fertility as well, and they approached things from an eastern and western medicine point of view. So I got to work trying to reduce the inflammation in my body by changing my diet and I started doing fertility yoga everyday for at least 30 minutes.
After three months of reducing the inflammation in my body, shipping our embryos to this new clinic, and being put on an immune medication protocol, we finally did our third IVF frozen embryo transfer in September of 2022. We didn’t end up getting pregnant that go around. I was devastated after having spent so many months trying to improve my fertility from the inside out to not even have a chance at being pregnant.
We took a step back at that point. We were almost two years into this journey, our fertility journey had taken over my life, we were quickly draining our savings, and both of us were mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted. We decided to do one more IVF frozen embryo transfer in October 2022 (on my wife’s birthday!) and we both agreed that if this wasn’t our full term rainbow baby that we both needed a significant break.
This time around we were both checked out. We didn’t use any pregnancy tests, we waited the full nine days for the bloodwork test. We were both so done and tired that honestly we just wanted to know one way or another if we were pregnant or not so we could move on. Turned out on day nine we found out we were pregnant.
This time again we were extremely guarded. We only told our immediate families. We held our breath for the entire first trimester. Then we held our breath until the anatomy scan and the fetal echo. Then held it a bit more to get to viability. And now we are in our third trimester and we are holding our breath hoping she gets here safely. Pregnancy after loss is tough. We are so thankful to have made it this far and are over the moon excited to welcome our precious little rainbow girl here in just a few short weeks.
Self-portraits taken by Chelsea Tucker.
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