Episode 34: Infertility, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, TTC After Loss

Michelle went through infertility and recurrent pregnancy loss during her motherhood journey. She now has one living child and is hopeful to have her rainbow baby one day soon. Michelle talks about how she uses humor to get through the tough times.

Listen to more episodes of the Finding Hope After Loss Podcast on Apple and Spotify!

Episode Transcript

Sarah Cox: [00:00:00] Hello, everyone. Thank you for joining me again today for the Finding Hope After Loss podcast. I know it’s still a couple of months away, but did you know that October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month? This is a month to remember all of the babies that we are missing, the babies that should be here with us.

And October 15th specifically is known as the Wave of Light. This is a day each year where everyone lights a candle at 7 p. m. And this is 7 p. m. at whatever time zone that you are located in. Everyone lighting a candle creates a wave of light across the globe all in honor of our babies. And each year, I’ve been doing a special reading of names for the Wave of Light.

So if you would like your baby’s name included, I have a special post on Instagram where you can comment with their name, [00:01:00] or you can email me the name at sarah, S A R A H, at journeyforjasmin. com, or you can always send me the name in a message on Instagram or Facebook. Each year the list gets longer.

Bigger and I love to include as many names as I can in hopes of honoring as many as I can so today I am talking with Michelle. She has gone through infertility and recurrent loss And now she is currently still trying for her rainbow, baby.

Hello everyone today I am here with Michelle. Michelle. Can you tell us a little bit about yourself?

Michelle: Hey, first of all, I’m so excited that we get to meet in real life. I said real life, even though we’re still talking, but you and I met. I want to stay in 2018. I think so. Cause that’s what I joined. shout out to the bump when we were in [00:02:00] there in the message boards and like trying to get pregnant and all of that.

And so you and I have known each other in some way, shape or form for a very long time. Was it five years?

Sarah Cox: Wow. I didn’t even realize it had been since 2018. Yeah. That’s about the time I was getting pregnant, trying to get pregnant and then got pregnant with Jasmine. Oh, wow. And then, so that might’ve been right.

I don’t remember.

Michelle: It was right after, because I might’ve been right after, because I remember you being on there. Yeah. It was right after. Wow. So how was, sorry, now I’m interviewing you. So how is that having that community right after a loss? Was that helpful? Were you on the bump before that or no?

Sarah Cox: I was a little bit mainly just on my, Like the baby month board and so I found some, really good people through there, but I wasn’t really on, the infertility boards or the having trouble getting pregnant board, even though I did have trouble getting pregnant. I just wasn’t really on those as much until [00:03:00] after that loss.

Michelle: So awesome. That’s, and I’m so glad that you had that community and I’m so glad that we met.

And now five years later, here we are talking about some more pregnancy losses, nothing stronger than shared trauma. That is how it’s happy.

Sarah Cox: No, I love seeing all of your posts and I am like cheering for you every single month. And thank you. I know it’s hard,

Michelle: but yeah, it’s a, weird, it’s a weird thing.

And I think everybody in this community can relate to this to go through literally to go through trauma and then pick yourself up and go, I choose to do this again. Like knowing that could be the outcome, but also having the hope that this time it’s going to be. different. This time could be better.

This time it could go the way I want it to go. And I think you are such a great testament to that. Like with your new one, you’ve gone [00:04:00] through a lot and you’ve had three losses and you have three living children, correct? It’s tough, but we want those living children in our arms so much that we’ll, okay, we’ll get on this.

This is what it takes. I’m just going to keep doing it. I’ll just keep doing it until, my eggs dry up and turn into scrambled eggs. I will keep going. So speaking of being older, I’m, 39, which like. In this community is okay, get it.

Sarah Cox: Yeah, I was, I just turned 36, but I was considered, geriatric.

I’m like, could you not write it on every single piece of paper that I’m like geriatric over here.

Michelle: So I know what you mean. Like it’s not my identifying quality like you don’t have to write it everywhere. That’s hilarious. Yeah, I was geriatric. For all of mine. so 39, I’m from everywhere. I say I’m a citizen of the [00:05:00] world.

My dad was in the air force. So I was born in Oklahoma, mostly grew up in the Midwest. When I was 19, I moved to LA, met my husband. Out there. and he and I got married and then we ended up moving to Florida together for his job. And then he got stuck in China for a year during the pandemic. Oh wow.

Out of all places. and now we just moved here to St. Louis, Missouri, with our daughter. And I’ll talk more about her a little bit later. And and, I studied and I went to school in Paris. So I say I’m from around.

Sarah Cox: Yeah, you’ve definitely been like, what’s your favorite place so far? Do you have one?

Michelle: Oh, there, there’s so many wonderful, things about all of those locations. I obviously don’t remember being. Born on an air force base in Oklahoma city, but I’ve gone back and visited. And so I have a very, soft spot for the South. My parent, like my dad is Southern. [00:06:00] so I feel like I’m half Southern and then I’m half Northern.

Yeah. Like my grandma, my Southern grandma used to say, Oh, my Southern ears. Can’t keep up with your Yankee tongue.

Sarah Cox: So yeah. would you like to share a little bit about your journey so far?

Michelle: Yes. It started later in my life. I have three siblings. I have two sisters and a brother. And so we had a bigger family of six, four kids. Loved that. I really love having siblings. I still like them. Like we still love each other.

We still hang out. and so I knew that I wanted to have children, but I also knew that when I was 19 and I stepped off that airplane at LAX, I was not looking to be a mom. I was going, I did standup comedy. I went to the Playboy mansion. [00:07:00] I did all kinds of wild. Thanks. I met my husband really early, so it wasn’t like super promiscuous.

Not that I’m judging, but, like I just, I was living a life that was not conducive with it. Being a mom and, figuring out daycare and changing diapers and, really, for me, my mom was so present. She was a stay at home mom until we were older. And so I wanted to know that when I chose to have my children, I was going to be a hundred percent present and focused and invested in them.

Because that would make me a better mom and give them hopefully less therapy bills later on. So I didn’t, we did not start trying to get pregnant until we moved to Florida and I was 30. For which I thought, Oh, as long as you’re under 35, it’ll be fine. Cause that’s the, scary age they tell everybody.

and we [00:08:00] thank God I had the bump, honestly, because the bump that message board is how I found out that I have a luteal phase defect. I had no clue. I would have just been trying and had nothing happen and have no idea. But I started tracking my cycles and somebody on the board was like, You have a seven day luteal phase.

And I was like, yeah, is it, is that bad? And they’re like, it’s not great. if you don’t M for people who don’t know your luteal phases after ovulation until your period starts. So ideally 14 days, that’s why they call it the two week wait. And so if typical implantation doesn’t start till nine days past population, and I’m starting my period at seven, there’s no way it’s just not possible.

And so I went to a doctor and she gave me progesterone. First of all, she said, so not every doctor believes in luteal phase defect, but luckily I do. I was like, thanks. Like telling me that some people think I’m a liar. [00:09:00] And that’s crazy. I got on progesterone only took and look. Not medical advice. I’m huge disclaimer.

I’m just telling my story. I’m not telling anybody what to do. She put me on 200. and it really wasn’t enough. Like I could tell, like I was still not getting enough. And I talked to the girls on the board and they said, you should go to Florida. It sounds like you’re still not. Being supplemented enough.

And I asked my doctor and she said, no, just stick with two. And I said, I’m going rogue and based on what really other doctors were saying and what was standard. I went to four and then, that first time that I went to 400, I got pregnant. so some of it could have been the progesterone, some of it could have been chance.

It was seven months of trying and we got pregnant. I was so excited. I took a test that night and it was like really faint. I was like, okay. So I didn’t tell my husband we were getting on a plane in the morning to go to Vegas. [00:10:00] And so I was like, Oh, I’m going to surprise him in Vegas and I was so excited and he was shocked and I was ecstatic and we’re going to see Celine Dion and that’s always going to be fun.

And I started the next morning, like I told everybody in Vegas because I wasn’t telling family, but I was like, these people don’t count. So if we went anywhere to a restaurant and they were like, what can I get you? I was like, just be careful. Cause I’m pregnant. And they were like, Oh, okay. No, but one woman came out and brought us a little like ice cream with a candle in it.

As it’s like, congratulations. Oh, so sweet. but then the next morning I spotted, and I started cramping really bad. And I was like, Oh my God, it’s cause I told Maria at Mona Mi Gabi that I was pregnant and I cursed myself. it’s bad luck to tell. I was. I went into the doctor. I did not like this doctor, but you know when you’re desperate and you’ll just go to anybody when you’re panicking and you don’t really think clearly?

I went to this [00:11:00] doctor for way too long. And I, now looking back, I wish I had not. but he saw me at six weeks. There was a heartbeat of 100 and he goes, you got a 50, 50 chance. See you in a week. sent me on my way. Like it could be too low. Could be fine. Bye. And so for a week, I just was panicked.

That’s awful. It’s awful. Like thanks bedside manner, but here’s the other thing. I will not go to a guy. Oh, Dom almost doctor at all in general, but especially like an OBGYN because I get tricked. I don’t know if anybody else can relate to this. I think if you’re an expert and the area that is like my lady, parts, like I’m going to get a crush on you.

And so I got blinded. I’m like, Oh, he’s cute. But even though he was like, he’s got an abusive relationship, I’m like, Oh, but his eyes. so I got tricked into trusting him [00:12:00] too much, but thank God we went back and heartbeat was fine. And she’s beautiful. She was healthy. And looking back, I’m so glad that I got one child with one pregnancy that wasn’t clouded and Colored in this miscarriage business that I’m about to enter, because it just got to exist in a way that, that, yeah, it wasn’t, the, holding onto the trauma. And so I was older, like you said, you were too geriatric. they wrote it on all my forms. My husband worked for Universal Studios and they were opening a park in Beijing.

And the plan was that he, myself, and our daughter were going to go to China. And I was even in my head like, oh, we’ll just get pregnant in China. TikTok. I’m not getting younger. but then the pandemic happened. So he went, [00:13:00] and then the borders closed, and we didn’t see each other for a year. So it was like, by the way, your kid can walk now.

Wow. Yeah, like my daughter just thought her dad was a phone for a long time, just FaceTime. so when he came back, I was 37.

Gosh, yeah, I just turned 37, huh? I think so. Most of the time, and

Sarah Cox: at one point you just stopped counting.

Michelle: I just, yeah. Once you’re over 35, you’re like, whatever. and we got pregnant our very first time trying very first month trying because I had done it before. I knew what to pee on and for how long and to put it in the app and to do the thing.

And I was like, hallelujah. Good. Now I can check it off my list. I got pregnant again. I’ve got the baby. I’ve maybe we’ll even have three kids like that. I like I’ll just start cranking them all out. but If I remember, [00:14:00] of course, I remember like four weeks and four days, I started spotting and the spotting turned into bleeding and I, and we were in St.

Louis. Because he got stuck in China and I, my mom lives here. And so I was with my mom. I actually lived in my mom’s house with our daughter for the whole pandemic. And then when he came back, we moved back to Florida, but so I didn’t have a doctor here. It was a pandemic and I’m. Bleeding and I’m scared.

And I, again, just choose the first doctor that has like an opening in their calendar and kind of got told the same thing. you have a 50, 50 chance. I think that’s what they said to you too, with Jasmine. Like you have a 50, 50 chance at first. what is that just your standard thing to say to people?

Sarah Cox: I don’t know. can we use a little more information, some comfort, some hope, some something.

Michelle: Yeah. Anything. Yeah. And this doctor, she, and look, she was lovely. And, ultimately there was nothing anybody [00:15:00] could have done. When I went in for my ultrasound, my betas were not rising appropriately. My progesterone was really low.

I measured a week behind and had a teeny, teeny, tiny heartbeat of 74 or something. And the ultrasound technician was like, Are you sure about your dates? It’s yes, I’m sure. And because I’ve read in the message boards, the thing you don’t want them to ask you during the ultrasound is, Are you sure that’s when you ovulated?

Because then that means there’s a problem. But yeah, I know. And A weekly, and by the way, I went to all of these appointments alone. my husband was still like pandemic time. So he was like, I don’t think he was even allowed because it was a pandemic. Still, it was really, just a weird time.

No one will believe us in the future for now. So I went back and the heart had stopped [00:16:00] beating and, obviously baby hadn’t grown any. And I was. As men as mentally prepared as I could have been knowing that’s the way things were trending. and I said, we had to sit in a room for 45 minutes waiting on the doctor because she was in a delivery.

Somebody was having their baby. and I was having a missed miscarriage and she came in and talked about options you could do it. Naturally and waited out, have a DNC take the pill. she said what we do here, we recommend DNC, because sometimes people take the pill or try to pass naturally and they’re still retained.

Products of conception. and so we have to go in and do a DNC anyway. So I said, okay. And they called me and scheduled it for the next day or in two days. It was really, quick. It was really quick. And [00:17:00] I did not process that one at all. I think I went, okay, this was a fluke. This was a stroke of bad luck.

I’m going to pretend it didn’t happen, honestly, like I didn’t cope with it. I didn’t process it. I didn’t do anything other than just stick my head in the sand and say, this is not real. and then we moved to Florida, we moved back to Orlando and my whole goal, I was like obsessed with getting pregnant again.

I was like, now I’m even older. Now I have a history of miscarriage, so now we have to do it so fast. And, it wasn’t healthy and I wasn’t in a good headspace for it. I wasn’t. Probably as present with my daughter as I could have been like, I have an alive child right here, pay attention [00:18:00] to her. And not that I was like ignoring her, letting her wander into traffic, but I was so laser focused on fixing the problem.

The problem was I lost my baby. I’m going to get another baby, not to replace that baby, but I just, maybe in part of my brain, I was like, that one doesn’t count. So whatever, just get another one, just get another one in you. As quickly as possible, and then it’ll be fine. And so three months later, I got pregnant and I was like, okay, this is it.

This is going to be fine. It’s going to be great. Everything’s working out. And then I like almost immediately started bleeding again. It’s are you kidding me? No, how can this happen? And so it was very close. I had two miscarriages. I want to say within five or six months. I don’t want to say five months of each other.

and they were both missed miscarriages, which means that baby’s my, body was not letting go. My body said, no, baby, you stay. Mommy’s got you. And my [00:19:00] baby was like, I actually, I have to go. I’m not here anymore. I love you. I’m sorry. and then I had to get and look, let’s not get into this whole thing, but it makes me very worried for all these personhood laws and things like that, because I don’t know what I live in a red state.

I lived in a red state. I don’t know that I would have had access to the same care that I was able to receive where I was safe and care for, and everything was okay. So everybody just vote. That’s what I will say. but I started bleeding and again, I turned into a lunatic and I called. My OB, my old one, the guy that I was like, Oh, you’re hot, but you’re also a jerk.

because I had a history there and I was already there. So I thought they could see me sooner, but they were like, no, we can’t see you till seven weeks. I said, I’ve had a loss. I’m bleeding. Please, just send it out for bloods. How is that hard for you? It’s a button on your computer. They were like, we can’t do that until [00:20:00] you’ve been seen by the doctor and you cannot be seen by the doctor until seven weeks.

Yeah. Yeah. Oh my gosh. Oh, so I went rogue as I tend to do. And so then I called my primary care physician and they said they were uncomfortable ordering me labs because that’s really more of an OB thing. And I was like, get, get out of here. And I hung up and I went onto the internet and do a chat room.

And I said, what do I do? And somebody was really sweet and said, labcore. com or quest you can pay for it’s out of pocket, but you can pay for your own blood work. And so that’s what I did. Quest does not have the option to order progesterone. So I went through LabCorp and I ordered like the quantitative HCG and my progesterone and I just went in and I did them myself.

Because nobody else would listen to me. I felt like I was just screaming into like the wind for help. And everyone was like, [00:21:00] no, I was like, okay, fine. I’ll figure it out. And I did, and I got betas back and they were beautiful and they more than doubled and everything was perfect. My progesterone was like a 13, but I was like, it’s not high enough.

And I took more, I don’t play by the rules. No doctor was seeing me anyway. I’m the doctor now. Like I’ll do it. and everything was great. And I stopped bleeding. And I, and we got the, and I PT done where they check because I’m geriatric and I check for, some kind of common trisomy. Issues and things like that.

And it came back totally normal. We had a little boy. We got the results back on a Monday. And then Tuesday, the following day was our, NT scan. And so my husband was like, took off of work. And we’re like, we’re going to go together. And this is going to be so great. And we’re going to see our [00:22:00] son and we get in there.

And, the ultrasound technician was so sweet. And I didn’t have a care in the world. Like we thought we were golden. We thought we were so good. Everything came back normal. Oh, I had gone in at seven weeks and baby was measuring fine, perfectly on track with a good heartbeat. So like we’d already seen baby.

We’d already seen baby, I’d already had all my betas back. We already got everything good. It’s all happy, wonderful, great. So now we’re at like just short of 12 weeks and we go in and I was like, ow, lady, you’re pushing really hard on my abdomen. and she was like, I have to pee. I’ll be back. And ran away.

I was like, that’s weird. You want to finish your job. But I wasn’t thinking there was anything wrong. And then she came back and right on her heels as my doctor. I was like, Oh, hey, I guess they’re running behind. And so we need to like, do the appointment in here. But then the air in the room shifted and [00:23:00] I didn’t, you can tell like I make jokes.

I could tell like this is not the time to make a joke. This is not the time to lighten the mood. and so she, the ultrasound technician went back to work and was pushing on me and the Doctor was staring at the screen and he’s okay, give me a measurement of this ovary of this one. And I need this measurement.

Okay. Show me the heartbeat. Okay. That’s enough. And I was like, you said heartbeat. So that’s good. And then he stopped and he turned around his chair and goes. I’m sorry, there’s no more heartbeat. And it was like, what? what are you even talking about? We just saw the baby a few weeks ago.

We just got our results back yesterday that we have a boy and that he’s fine. And the doctor was like, yeah, I don’t know what to tell you. So I didn’t even cry. I was shocked. I remember, looking at a poster on the wall [00:24:00] and just, disassociating completely. left my body. I was like, oh, this is an interesting poster.

just completely, floated out of my body. Because, first of all, I was shocked. I had no reason to think that anything was going to happen, but then that was the second time in five months that someone told me that my baby’s heart doesn’t beat anymore.

And there’s nothing you can do to fix it. It doesn’t matter how many message boards I go on. It doesn’t matter how many blood work things I order illegally online. It was not illegal. it doesn’t matter. How many supplements and the vitamins and the yoga and the meditation and whatever, you can’t make that heartbeat come back.

You can’t bring that baby back. I make me cry.

And as a mom, cause you’re a mom to those kids. [00:25:00] It’s really tough

that you could not have done more for them.

Sarah Cox: Yeah. I understand that. I feel the same way. Yeah. we always think it’s. Something we did or that we, we should have seen this or should have done this, but there really is nothing we could have done. And I know, and that’s really hard. I like to be in control of everything.

And it’s something I could not control.

Michelle: Yeah, it’s really hard. It’s really hard because, we would do anything for our kids, all of our kids, whether they’re here, whether they’re no longer here, I would have moved heaven and earth for them. Yeah. And to know, and I still don’t know, I have no idea why that little boy didn’t make it, and I’ll never know, but it was [00:26:00] really tough, and then we got brought into a little room, and I was like, oh god, I’m in another room having another conversation about Next Steps, and he said, We don’t like to do DNCs here.

And I was like, that’s fine. I just had one. I’m worried about Asherman syndrome where like you get scar tissue. Like he goes, okay, so let’s do the pill. And I was like, fine. That sounds fine. I can’t even believe I’m having this conversation. I was supposed to go to breakfast with my husband and look at our ultrasound photos and eat bagels.

Like I was not supposed to be having this conversation right now. and that, that was tough. It was and then on the way home, I was sobbing. I don’t even think I made it to the car and I was sobbing hysterically. Like when it hit me. but then you have to go home to your living child and be a mom.

And that’s tough too. I [00:27:00] remember when I had to take the medication. it was, really like just a mentally challenging thing because I knew that his heart had stopped beating. I knew that he was no longer there, but putting in these pills to lush him out felt like I was doing an act of hurting him, that I was killing him, even though I wasn’t and he was already gone.

It was, different than a DNC where you just go in and they put you under and you get really great drugs afterwards. And, it’s just a very removed process. this felt like I, I labored, I went into labor the next day. I, I passed him, I gave birth to him. and that’s, something that I wish that people would educate More about I was told medically what to do.

You take these pills at this [00:28:00] time. You go home. Here’s your ibuprofen. You might need to wear a pad. There you go. But there’s nobody that said, hey, what do you want to do? Do you want to try to bury your child? Do you want to flush them down the toilet? Do you want there’s no right or wrong answer, but you will not be able to in the moment rationalize and wrap traumatizing things as they happen.

So maybe have. Some counseling about it before the fact. I don’t think that I don’t think that is addressed at least for me at all. And I don’t know if anybody else has had before the fact any of that, counseling. And I think it’s really important and it would be really beneficial for those of us who have gone through that or who have to go through it.

I feel like miscarriage

Sarah Cox: is still so dismissed almost, just Oh, it’s a heavy period. It’s just, you’ll have some cramping you’ll, [00:29:00] and then life goes on, but you’re right. They don’t tell you, you can have contractions, you’re birthing your baby, you, have, like you said, those decisions to make, and it would be really nice to have that education.

exactly what to expect and are able to make those decisions. Totally. Thanks for playing.

Michelle: Totally. Yeah. I miscarried my son and then got up and had to put my child down for a nap. Like it was so surreal. Like I, it’s not like I miscarried and then I was able to sit and bed and I don’t have my husband.

I don’t know. Bring me tea. I don’t know. I don’t know what would have happened, but like I had to go right, back into okay. Okay, I have to raise this other one. it was just so weird. Such a weird time. Very weird time. and then we saw a reproductive endocrinologist in May. So I [00:30:00] miscarried in March.

And I went in to see a doctor in May because, they take a while they book out and, basically was just benched until like December. and then we tried five months on our own, not pregnant. So we just had our first IUI and I can take a test in six days. I told you it was going to be really long.

I’m sorry. No, that’s

Sarah Cox: okay. did they do any additional like testing on you? Did they find any? Anything that could be

Michelle: causing it or I don’t not really, everything pretty much came back normal. The only I had, I was a and a positive and then I got referred out to a rheumatologist, which took forever for her to be like, you’re fine.

Like sometimes that just, that marker comes up, but it doesn’t mean anything. Like I wasn’t testing for lupus. I didn’t have any other markers that tested for anything, but my Ari could not [00:31:00] treat me. Until I got cleared by the rheumatologist and then they book out months in advance. So it just was like a very long process.

The other thing is I something like 30 percent of the population. It’s a really high percentage have the MTHFR gene variant. so I have, I’m like, heterozygous for one of those, which, Again, talk to your medical team, but according to ACOG and CDC and all of those people, folic acid is still fine.

You will find other people that say to take methylfolate. I’m not telling you which one to take. I am not telling you which one to take, but educate yourself. But a lot of, people have it. And like I had Madeline and I was, Fine. but aside from those things, I don’t think anything else came up.

We did everything. I don’t know if they did with you too. Like we looked at my tubes, we looked at my uterus, we looked at everything. We, they, one time they took 25 vials of [00:32:00] blood and I was like, I’m, a dead person now. Like you took all my, leave me a little bit, please. I just need enough to walk to the coffee shop.

Sarah Cox: I know it’s, a frustrating process, especially, the months that, you can’t even try and then, you’re battling the age issue too, which doesn’t help. Yeah. I really hope this cycle is successful

Michelle: for you though. Thank you. Yeah. Yeah. It’s weird to be so open about it when it’s such a private thing.

And I’m sure you feel the same way telling Jasmine’s story and your story. It’s like going through your losses and going through trying to get pregnant and with you being pregnant after a loss, there are probably times when you’re like, I regret putting this out on the internet because I feel like it’s a very sacred, private thing sometimes.

But. If I can help somebody and you help so many people, Sarah, it’s [00:33:00] that’s why, you have this podcast. That’s why you have your Instagram accounts. That’s why you do your, skirt, which I love. And if, and I don’t want to wear that skirt unless I’m pregnant. And I know other people are like, no, I’ll wear it.

I want to wear it. It’s a beautiful skirt. I want to tell my story, but for me, I’m like, Oh, I just want to wait.

Sarah Cox: No, I get it. Yeah. And I hope that very soon you will be able to wear it and be part of it. But yeah, it’s it definitely was hard, especially the first time putting my story out there because it does make you feel so vulnerable and so exposed, I just, I didn’t know that many.

I knew nobody who had a stillbirth at the time, I knew people who had a miscarriage, which I had also had two of those, but I didn’t realize just how many people had stillbirth until I found like, the lost community and then I’m like, Oh my gosh, this happens [00:34:00] to so many of us,

Michelle: which is why it’s so important that we talk about it because like you just said, I didn’t know anybody.

And then when I started to talk to people, it was like, Oh my, wait, what? I’m not alone. Like I always say, I bet you it’s more, they say one in four women. Experience we’ll experience the miscarriage. I feel like those numbers are higher. but that’s just what’s reported. So if we’re in a room with 100 women, and I stood up and said, I have had a miscarriage, like at least 24 other women are going to stand up and be like, girl, same.

And that’s a lot. It is. And for me, what I loved when Meghan Markle came out, Celine Dion, all these other women that have had miscarriages and have talked about having their miscarriages, Beyonce. It makes it so much easier to talk about. And also Oh, they [00:35:00] have so much money and they still had a miscarriage.

They have so much privilege and they still had a loss. It doesn’t have to do with that. It sometimes will just happen.

Sarah Cox: You’re so right about that. It makes it more, I don’t know if relatable is the right term, but it more relatable because you realize, Oh, like it wasn’t like, I’m not a bad person. I didn’t do something to cause it.

Like it literally can happen to

Michelle: anyone. Yeah. Celebrities. They’re just like us. It’s like the worst edition ever.

Sarah Cox: when did you start talking about your story?

Michelle: after the second loss, cause after the first loss, I pretended it didn’t happen. So once I had my second loss, I said, I actually started talking to, I have a friend, I’ve been friends with her since I lived in LA for a really long time. [00:36:00] And she’s, she’s a life coach, intuitive, and I’ve never, ever gone to her for that.

And I was like, Oh, I feel like I need to do this now. And so I had a session with her and she was like, you need to tell your story. She said, because of your humor and your hopefulness. You can help people because, this, even though one in four women have had a miscarriage, have had loss, not one in four women are going to want to stand up on a stage and be like, Hey, you want to hear about my story?

So those of us who can, and I feel really privileged and blessed. To be one of those people who can say, this is my story. I hope you feel a little bit better. I hope you feel a little more connected and less alone and you’re doing such a great job. Everyone is just crushing it. once you’ve had a loss, just [00:37:00] getting out of bed, crushing it, you put on pants, a plus, did you brush your teeth too?

Girl, get it. Like we are superheroes or getting up and continuing our lives. And I’m so proud of everybody. Yeah. We have to

Sarah Cox: go back to work. We have to, keep clean the house. We have to, cook dinner. do whatever it is that you do. Take care of other kids. If you have kids, that’s hard when you’re, balancing the emotion and the grief of the loss while also having to be present, which I know you touched on earlier.

It’s definitely hard.

Michelle: It is hard. And I got, and I’m sure you did this felt this way too. I was more scared about losing my living child, Madeline. I was more scared about losing her after my losses. I was like, she’s going to hit by a car. Someone’s going to grab her in a shopping market. like I would have just really horrible dreams, panicking and stressful dreams about something happening to her.[00:38:00]


Sarah Cox: struggle with that now. So I’m like, my anxiety is horrible. And I actually ended up going on medicine for it after Olivia was born. Cause I was like, this is too much. Like I can’t, and I’ve always struggled with anxiety, but after the losses and I’m just like, it’s you’re just waiting for something to happen because it already happened to you before.

that’s what it felt like. And I was like, okay, I

Michelle: need help. Exactly. Yeah. I’m glad that I’m glad that you are on medication. I’m glad that, cause I went to therapy. After afterwards to I also have anxiety, so it’s real. It is really real. And if you don’t. keep it in check. It’ll sneak up on you.

Sarah Cox: Yeah. I, went to therapy too. After, after we lost Jasmine and can’t recommend therapy enough,

Michelle: like it’s same. So great. I’m really lucky. My mom’s a mental health professional. So mine is too, actually. Oh my gosh. That’s so funny. Yeah. she’s a [00:39:00] counselor. Yep. My mom’s a counselor too. She’s getting her PhD right now.

Shout out to Wendy Sane. That’s awesome. Yeah. So luckily like you too, like we, so we have an advantage, right? So okay, these are the symptoms, signs and symptoms and things. and luckily we’re not afraid to say, Hey, I’m struggling here. Do you have resources for me? And I, again, talking about, When I was at the hospital, I wish that, they, it was standard practice for a doctor for the, when you’re checking out, they give you a sheet of paper that said, here are the resources for mental health professionals, for groups, for loss groups, for whatever, give us all this, give us books, podcasts, whatever.

Because it’s not okay. You’ve had a heavy period. You passed your baby. Do you want to try to get pregnant again? We’ll see you with a positive test. no, it’s so much more than that. And I think they just treat like the physical. [00:40:00] Oh, is all of the retained tissue gone? Great. Check right now,

Sarah Cox: wait a cycle and come back or, whatever it is.

Yeah. You’re like, okay, but I’m over here like emotionally struggling and you’re not doing anything. And then for a lot of us, I feel like I’m like you, like I, I try to advocate for myself. If somebody tells me, no, I go do it myself. I go find a solution or, I’m like, oh, you don’t think I should do this.

Okay. I’ll go get my own. and I know I definitely had to learn how to be like, be an advocate for myself though. I know it’s hard.

Michelle: It can be hard. Yeah, absolutely. But the more you do it, the more you use your voice, the stronger it gets. You’re right.

Sarah Cox: And now I’m just like, okay, this doctor doesn’t know what they’re talking about.

So I’ll go find someone who does, or I’ll do something myself. Totally. So do you find, [00:41:00] Like humor to be helpful then, to help you cope with things

Michelle: ever. Absolutely. It’s necessary. it’s vital for me. I, when I’m really in a spiral, when I’m in like a thought cycle, it’s never going to happen for me.

I think of pregnancy. I think of miscarriage. what if it doesn’t work? what if I lose my living child? What if I never have another child again? What if I don’t appreciate what I have? Like, when I get into these, negative kind of thought spirals, sounds nuts, but I’ll watch a comedy.

I have to break that. And do it with something that I know is going to be funny to me. So if that means old episodes of friends, this will really date me or designing women or like calls and girls, whatever. If there’s a comedy video, on YouTube that like, no matter how many times I watch it, this makes me laugh.

That’s what I’ll do. And then I shift. That those thoughts and cut them off [00:42:00] because whatever you focus on you’re giving the most energy to so if I’m focusing on how terrible everything is, then I’m just feeding that and giving that more attention and that gets bigger and bigger and it’s never gonna happen and it’s also terrible.

So when I focus on comedy, it helps me. Enormously, tremendously. And I’m actually writing a book about, my recurrent pregnancy loss, but told through the eyes of a comedian and it’s been incredibly cathartic and so surreal because no one ever goes, funny miscarriage. Like it’s terrible.

Like we just talked about it this whole time. Like it’s trauma. It’s PTSD. It’s the worst thing that can happen to you. it’s really just awful.

There’s a way in which I can talk around it. Like the loss is never going to be funny, right? Like the loss of my children. I’m never going to, I’m never going to think that’s like a [00:43:00] topic of a joke ever, but I can joke about like the things that I do around trying to get pregnant, okay, I’m so desperate this month that we’re having sex this way.

And based on my astrological sign, we’ll be facing West, like Those kinds of things to, to make it okay to make it more accessible and I think that’s the word. I think the reason that I’m so excited and I actually have a literary agent looking at the book right now, to get it out is, what miscarriage is I know what miscarriage is like people in the last community know what this is but what about our partners.

What about our parents? What about our co workers and our neighbors and our friends? It’s removed from them. And so to have a book that injects humor and hope and the very real subject of pregnancy loss will make this issue, [00:44:00] hopefully, easier to talk about. With people that haven’t gone through it, it’ll make it more accessible to them in a way where they’re like, Oh, I can read about this.

It’s Oh, okay. That’s what it is. This is what’s going on. Got it. These are some questions I can ask about it or maybe not ask about it if it feels like it’s inappropriate. But I just really, want to be able to open the dialogue more. I think as a society, we’re getting better, but we have a long ways to go.

I love

Sarah Cox: that you’re writing that. That’s exciting. I can’t wait to read

Michelle: that. Thank you. It’s it, but it is weird. It is very weird to just be like, and now I’m going to write about my miscarriages. Oh God, like they were bad enough to the first time. Do you ever feel like that though? or are you happy to do it?

I’m happy to talk about it. Are you like not,

Sarah Cox: it depends on the situation. Like sometimes I’m always happy to like, talk about Jasmine in general, talk about Jasmine.

Michelle: Yeah. that’s [00:45:00]

Sarah Cox: fun. But, sharing the actual like loss experience Yeah. Is hard. And I’m if I help one person by sharing it, like that’s why I wanna share it.

But I’ve shared it so many times and every time it’s still hard ’cause you relive it and you, Think about all those things that you don’t want to think about.

Michelle: Exactly. Yeah. Yeah. And that’s why, and I think that’s why I have to buffer it with humor as well, because if I just talk about it in the grief and in the sadness, then I’m, never going to be able to get through it.

I’m never going to be able to like totally heal from it because I’m identifying myself with I, when, if I think about Michelle, I think about miscarriage. And, that’s not like miscarriage doesn’t define me. It’s what I went through. [00:46:00] It’s very real. But it’s launched me into this path that I, to helping people in a really wonderful community that I never would have been able to help unless I had gone through that trauma.

And so to use the trauma for good, for the greatest good of the most people that I can reach will be the highest privilege of my life. I can’t imagine anything better than that. I love

Sarah Cox: yeah, It was just within a few months after we lost Jasmine that I was like, this feeling sucks. like you’re, I, and I was lucky to have supportive family and, people, but you still, it’s so isolating and you still feel so alone.

And it’s just this is seriously the worst thing I’ve ever had to go through. But And I was like, I don’t want other people to have to go through it alone ever. So I’m like, if I can just be that person to listen, to provide hope, [00:47:00] to do whatever it is they need, that’s what I want to do.

Michelle: You’re so sweet because you always say on your Instagram, like my inbox is always open and I believe that, I feel like some people say that and it’s just like a throwaway, Oh, reach out whenever you want, don’t talk to me, but you and I have talked, I, you’re a very genuine, caring person and you genuinely do want to help people and I think what a gift.

What a gift that you’re giving. It’s really wonderful. So thank you.

Sarah Cox: Thank you. That means a lot to me. That’s what I want to be. I don’t want people to be like, Oh, that’s fake. no, I, really do. answer. It may take me a few days sometimes, but I do always answer. So life is busy, especially during tax season.


Michelle: yeah. Oh God. . .

Sarah Cox: Yeah. Work.

So do you have any, other [00:48:00] advice for anyone who’s going through infertility or loss?

Michelle: Oh, God. surround yourself with, a good support team. Find therapy if you, need it. even if you don’t think you need it, it might not be a bad idea just to check in. Just, like you get your, you get a tune up for your car, get a tune up for yourself.

I, this is a big one for me. Include your partner. I think when I was going through my losses, I turned inward and I did not share in a way that would have helped me heal faster and that would have helped my husband, feel like he was a part of it. And he felt. Very I don’t know what to do. And some of that is like, why is the onus on me?

Why do I have to tell you what to do? but even just saying that is including him. [00:49:00] I can’t tell you what to do. I just know that I need some help. Figure it out. Google it. The, other thing that I would really say, and you’ve posted this quote, I love this quote by Francesca, Cox.

It says, a mother is never defined by the number of children. I’m going to cry. It’s okay. You can see, but by the love that she holds in her heart. And so if I could say to moms out there, you are still a mom, you’re a mom. When I was about to go for my follow up after my first missed miscarriage, I knew it probably wasn’t going to work.

I knew the baby was probably gone and I had an ultrasound in the morning and that night I sat and I said, baby, you do not have to fight if you don’t want [00:50:00] to. It’s okay. Okay. I love you. Mommy’s got this.

You can let go. And to me, I was like, Oh, I’m a mom. What I just did was like, I was being a mom for that baby. Even though the baby was so small and very little and it wasn’t going to make it like you’re still being a, you’re a mom, like you’re making parental decisions. I was making parental decisions for my son when I was ordering blood tests online.

Do not. Take away the fact that you’re a mom, whether or not that child is. In your arms or in your heart. And I would say that with infertility too, if you have that love for your children and your heart, you’re a mom. You [00:51:00] don’t have to physically have that child here. And I think that’s beautiful and powerful.

That’s absolutely one of

Sarah Cox: my favorite quotes. And I always try to remind people of that too, that, you are a mom, we may not have them here. You may not feel like one sometimes, but You are, and I know people struggle with that, I don’t feel like one and some, family may not recognize them as one or but you are, and don’t let anyone tell you that you aren’t.

Michelle: Exactly. Exactly. Because that baby

Sarah Cox: knows they knew, they can, they know we loved them, that we’ve always

Michelle: loved them. And we still do. I still, like you do, I know you do too. Like I think about my kids every day. Yeah. That doesn’t go away. It’s not okay.

all done. All better. It’s not out of sight, out of [00:52:00] mind. Like we’re right. no.

Sarah Cox: No. Yeah. It doesn’t work like that.

Michelle: No. No. No. Yeah. And then, the last thing I’ll say is if anybody, if I’m allowed to plug, if anybody wants to find me on Instagram, I’m at after the storm journey, and I would love to connect with people and, and I make silly reels about trying to get pregnant.

Sarah Cox: And I love them. I like the humor though.

Michelle: it helps me too. look, it’s probably not everybody’s cup of tea, but, if you like it. Let’s be friends.

Sarah Cox: I want to thank you so much for coming on today and sharing your story and, giving all your good advice and,

Michelle: oh my gosh, this is going to have to be a two part episode.

This is so long.

Sarah Cox: That’s totally okay. No, I’ve had some longer ones and. Oh, [00:53:00] it’s good. Don’t worry.

Michelle: All right. thank you so much. Thank you so much. I’m so excited to, again, meet you. This is so much fun and I’m so proud of you and for all the work you’re doing.

Sarah Cox: Thank you so much, Michelle, for sharing your story with us.

Honestly, I love that you’re still able to use humor to get through those tough times. I know humor is not something everybody can do. Some think it’s odd to laugh at things like infertility and But if you’re one that does cope this way, no, it’s completely normal. Honestly, we all have to do whatever we need to do to get through the dark times.

And using humor is something that can sometimes make you feel better during these tough times. Especially if you’re going through a lengthy journey of infertility and loss. I remember coming home from the hospital after we lost Jasmine. I just wanted to do something that felt normal. I had spent the last few days just crying and hurting.

And I just wanted to [00:54:00] laugh. I knew it wouldn’t take the pain away. But I knew I just needed to laugh. My husband and I sat in bed, and we watched America’s Funniest Home Videos. And it felt good to laugh. Until they did a whole segment on young kids, and all of them seemed like they were girls, and I just lost it again.

And I felt guilty for laughing, and I felt guilty for wanting to have that normal moment. But I want to remind you that it’s okay to laugh. It’s okay to be happy. It’s okay to choose these moments that aren’t sadness and anger all the time. It’s okay to feel all the emotions we feel. There’s not a right way, there’s not a wrong way to go through any of this.

There’s no manual, there’s no guidebook. And honestly, we all just learn as we go. We all just do the best we can with the situation that we are given. Don’t forget to subscribe so you don’t miss any future episodes. [00:55:00] Thank you so much for tuning in, and remember, we are all in this together.

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