Ashley and her husband Jeremy got married around seven years ago. After a year of marriage, they decided they wanted to add more children to their family. Currently, Jeremy’s daughter is seven. They tried for two years to get pregnant. They did not have extra money for IVF or other medical interventions, so they just left it to fate. While getting ready to move into their new home, Ashley found out she was pregnant with Henry. After Henry was born, Ashley got pregnant two more times; however, one ended in miscarriage, and one ended in an ectopic pregnancy that put her health and life at risk. She recently gave birth to another healthy rainbow baby boy!
Ashley talked about how her bonus daughter Becca took the news of their losses. She said, “My stepdaughter was 10-11 when we lost both of ours, and she took it hard. She is old enough for us to talk medically to her and reassure her that her brothers/sisters are in heaven, and we will see them again one day.” She also recommended that it is important to be honest with them not only about what is happening but also about your feelings. She said, “If you share your emotions and pain, it will make them feel validated in their feelings too and will make them likely to open up more.”
After Henry was born, Ashley and Jeremy knew they wanted one more child to complete their family. Knowing their battle with infertility before Henry, they choose not to put a timetable on when they would get pregnant. They found out they were expecting in April of 2020 but miscarried the baby a few weeks later. They were devastated but continued to try to expand their family.
“In August 2020, we had gotten another positive pregnancy test! I got several rounds of blood work done to check my HCG hormone levels to confirm they were going up, and they were for about two weeks,” she said. “Until they became stagnant. I went in for an ultrasound and they found it was an ectopic pregnancy. This put the baby and me in danger if the tube happened to rupture, so it had to be removed.”
Ectopic pregnancy is defined as a “pregnancy when an embryo grows in the wrong places outside the womb, like in a fallopian tube or attached to an ovary,” according to the March of Dimes article Ectopic Pregnancy. “It always ends in pregnancy loss. Without treatment, it can lead to heavy bleeding and even death for the woman.”
Ashley said “we let my body heal for many months and had the difficult conversation of if we wanted to keep trying and risk losing another one. We decided we wanted to try until Henry was three and if we were unsuccessful, we would close that chapter.”
They found out in November 2021 that they were pregnant and took every precaution to keep Ashley and the baby safe. Although, there was a lot of anxiety surrounding this pregnancy, Ashley said “if we didn’t end up getting pregnant again after our losses, it still brought my husband and I closer together, we still have two wonderful kids to love on.”
Jeremy also shared his thoughts on the losses and rainbow pregnancy. He said that he “kept reassuring her that it wasn’t her fault, and she couldn’t have prevented it.” He talked about the fear of losing their rainbow and how it would affect Ashley negatively. Even at 31 weeks (about 7 months), they both still worried about the possibility of losing their sweet rainbow.
There is a higher risk of ectopic pregnancy for women who already suffer from infertility. According to the article Patient education: Ectopic (Tubal) pregnancy (Beyond the basics) by Togas Tulandi MD, “The incidence of ectopic pregnancy is high in women with infertility, mostly due to an increased incidence of tubal abnormalities. Fertility drugs may also increase the risk in this population.”
Fertility, Pregnancy loss, and ectopic pregnancy can take a toll on a family and relationship. Thankfully, this family grew closer together and learned how to support one another through it. When someone is going through this kind of experience, the best thing to do is be there for them. Do not ask what to do or how to help, just be their friend and support them.
Check out more on how to help others and what not to say/do when someone is going through pregnancy/infant loss or infertility in this article: What not to Say to someone going through Pregnancy/infant loss and/or infertility