LISTEN TO PART ONE
LISTEN TO PART TWO
Before we begin with today’s episode, I do want to preface that this episode contains potential triggering conversation. We discuss recurrent miscarriage, loss, fertility, IVF and pregnancy. However, we hope that our story brings you hope in a really dark season. But we also know it’s a very emotional time, if you are going through infertility. My husband, Joshua Holmes, and I are discussing our fertility journey and how that journey made The Virtual Assistant Studio come to fruition.
Beginning of Our Journey
Josh and I got married in August 2016, and knew we wanted to start a family right away. We ended up getting pregnant in December of that same year. And we had decided to tell our immediate family right away because we were just over the moon. And honestly, it never crossed my mind that miscarriage would even be a possibility with us. I thought we would get pregnant, have a baby and that would be it.
At our eight-week appointment in January 2017, Josh and I go in so excited. And I just remember the room being super quiet. The ultrasound tech said the baby was measuring a bit small and the heartbeat wasn’t super strong. So she asked us to go back to the waiting room, and she would have the doctor come talk to us.
We were so shocked because we were expecting this joyous moment and celebration of seeing our baby for the first time, and we were like, “What is happening?”
Our OB/GYN reassured us that sometimes this happens and that we should come back in two weeks to have another ultrasound.
What We Weren’t Expecting
Fast forward two weeks, we’re back in the ultrasound room, and there’s, again, lots of long silence moments. And then, that’s when our doctor told us that they couldn’t find a heartbeat. At that moment, I thought that they were reading it wrong or there must just be some mistake.
Looking back some of the language they use to reassure you everything is OK is just not helpful like, “Oh you’re young, you can try again.” Or “This is God’s plan.” I know they’re trying to be supportive, but at the same time, those words aren’t super helpful to hear.
We reviewed next steps with our doctor and scheduled a Dilatation and Curettage (D&C) procedure. It was such an emotional time because we had told our immediate family, so we had to tell them about the miscarriage. All the while, there are those that had no idea we had a miscarriage, but yet kept asking, “Oh when are you guys going to have a baby?”
Like I said, our doctor told us, “Just keep trying, sometimes couples have a miscarriage and then go on to have a healthy pregnancy.” So that’s what we did. And we were on this rollercoaster of trying for another year and half.
Finding Another Path
From that point, we were kind of like, “Enough is enough. We have to find another path for ourselves.” Should we do testing? Start a family a different way? Adoption? IUI? IUD? IVF? There’s so many different paths you can take, and it’s kind of overwhelming on where to start. Because we really didn’t have anything or anyone to compare it to, we were walking blindly in this process.
It was actually a family member who sent me a link to this article written by a fertility doctor here in Atlanta from Shady Grove Fertility. And so I went on the website and found out this doctor was all about discovering the root cause of fertility challenges. And then picking the right plan, based on those findings.
We made an appointment, and still remember so clearly going into this office building and asking our fertility doctor (who is now retired) so many questions. Josh and I both had tests done, and found out a couple different things. However, there wasn’t this huge indicator as to why we were having recurrent miscarriages.
The Start of IVF
After discussion with our doctor and with each other, we decided our best next step would be IVF. Josh and I first met with Shady Grove Fertility at the beginning of 2018. Then, it took about six months to go through the process of preparing for IVF. And actually had another miscarriage during that time period. By the summer of 2018, we started the actual IVF process. And again, we went into this totally blind with what to expect. Which in hindsight, there’s kind of beauty in that because it doesn’t leave you with all these fears.
For Josh, the scariest part of the IVF process was the shots. He couldn’t wrap his mind around giving me shots into my stomach. It wasn’t fun for either one of us. But we made it through. At the same time, you get to the point where you’re like, “If this is what I have to do to have the family I want, then you kind of overcome that fear and just mentally block out those not-so-fun parts.”
We were fortunate enough to only have to do one cycle of IVF, and we got pregnant with our son, Beckam. But we were kind of hesitant at first because our challenge wasn’t to get pregnant, it was recurrent loss. I kind of held my breath until about the 16-week mark. And don’t think we even told anyone we were pregnant until we were like 20 weeks, and didn’t buy a single baby item until that point too.
Our Miracle Baby
My pregnancy with Beckam was so different compared to this second pregnancy. With Beckam, I got sick all the time. It didn’t matter what time of day it was. I was working my corporate job still at this point, and I was on the go constantly and traveling so much.
I also had preeclampsia and was very swollen. Because of that, I was induced and delivered Beckam in April 2019. He weighed five pounds, so he wasn’t a very big baby. But luckily, we didn’t have to spend anytime in the NICU. But we were on a very strict feeding routine when we got home. And even through the sleepless nights, I remember not even caring because we were both so excited to be parents. He gave our hard season so much purpose.
Our Second Miracle Baby
We welcomed our second miracle baby in March 2022, and I almost hesitated to share certain parts about this pregnancy because we didn’t do IVF with this baby. We were able to get pregnant on our own, and he’s been healthy throughout this entire pregnancy.
It’s crazy to think that the prayers that we prayed four years ago before we went through IVF, were answered with this second pregnancy. We had always prayed that we would be able to expand our family after Beckam, but we didn’t put a timeline on it. This was sort of God’s way of answering our prayers that we prayed so long ago.
Q & A from the Listener Questions
We had a few questions from our listeners. Here are a few from those, and answered additional questions in the episode.
Q: How did you stay so positive throughout the entire process of IVF?
A: I don’t know if positive would be the word. I think we were hopeful. Some days were good and some were bad. And we leaned on each other throughout the process. Some days I would walk into work and just had to slap a smile on my face. It just depends on the day, and it’s OK to feel your feelings of sadness. But it’s OK to feel joy too.
Q: What was the biggest thing you learned throughout this entire process?
A: The biggest thing that I learned is that it was all out of our control. That this journey didn’t happen to us, but it was all happened for us. I don’t think there’s a why to the journey, but I think that the whole plan was meant to be. And in a lot of ways, we’re really grateful for God’s plan. That you can’t plan everything in your life and have to learn to embrace it and continue moving forward.