The stunning Maeghan Sulham, Harry and Annabelle - (17 months). Maeghan also miscarried a pregnancy at 5.5 weeks after her second IUI.
Maeghan and her husband started trying to conceive a few months after they were married and after a year, with no luck, sought help from a reproductive endocrinologist (RE). They soon started Clomid and IUI's and Maeghan was thrilled to learn she was pregnant after the second IUI, but it was short lived. At 5.5 weeks, while out of town on a business trip, she miscarried. Additional infertility testing revealed she had diminished ovarian reserve (DOR) and the RE suggested IVF would be the best chance they had to have a family. They had to continue with 4 additional Clomid / IUI cycles as mandated by insurance before they could move to IVF and each month the disappointment continued.
The IVF procedure was scheduled for July 2014, they retrieved 6 eggs and all fertilized. At the transfer day, the doctor recommended transferring two embryos. Two weeks later, they learned the embryos didn’t take and they'd have to try again, it was heartbreaking. In September 2014, at the second embryo transfer they selected two of the frozen embryos for transfer and ten days later she suspected she was pregnant. Tests confirmed her HCG levels were extremely high, and the doctor suspected it might be twins which her six week ultrasound confirmed.
They kept the pregnancy secret from their families until the 12 week mark, and revealed the news to their families at Thanksgiving dinner. They hadn’t shared their infertility struggles, which was hard at times to be so secretive, but a blessing at times because they didn’t have to answer to anyone’s questions. "We also didn’t share because of the veil of infertility, its so sad and isolating it can be hard to talk about it with those close to you".
Pregnancy was without complication until about 34 weeks, when Meghan woke up in the morning not feeling right and called her doctor because of extreme facial swelling. The nurse brushed it off, but said to come in for a blood pressure check and her OB sent her directly to the hospital. Maeghan was admitted for observation and bed rest. 3 days passed with no change in blood pressure, so they sent Maeghan for an ultrasound where they learned that baby B (Annabelle) had an intrauterine growth restriction and recommended immediate induction.
On Monday, they started Pitocin and Magnesium but no one told her she had preeclampsia, until after delivery. The magnesium made her feel like she had the flu and the restriction to the bed in early labor was horrible. After 12 hours of Pitocin and magnesium, Maeghan got an epidural and felt better for a few hours. She labored for 12 more hours before starting to push but after 3 hours of pushing the doctor recommended she deliver via cesarean as baby A was not advancing. At midnight, 36 hours after the induction, Harry and Annabelle were born via emergency c-section. Both were small for their gestational age so they were taken to the special care nursery moments after their birth. Maeghan saw each of them briefly but has little memory of it due to all the medication she was on. She was restricted to bed in the postpartum unit for 24 hours while her babies were upstairs in the nursery and found it heartbreaking to be away from the babies I had waited so long for.
Maeghan spent the first day of her babes life expressing milk to send up to the nursery. At 11PM, 23 hours after they were born the nurses let her go meet them. The next few weeks were a blur of pumping, learning to breastfeed and driving back and forth from the Special Care Nursery. "At times it felt like an out of body experience, like I was watching someone else do it but I was just going through the motions. It felt like a constant struggle to produce enough milk for them, and I always felt like I was falling behind. Neither took well to nursing immediately because of their weak suck due to their early arrival. After weeks of practice both got the hang of it, but for the majority of the nursing time Harry was breastfed and Annabelle received bottles with pumped milk. I feel sad at times that I didn’t have the same nursing experience with each of them, Annabelle weaned to exclusive bottle feeding at 5 months and Harry at 9 months, I felt proud that I continued the nursing relationship with each of them for the time they wanted."
"I’m participating because I hope my story connects with someone out there struggling with infertility or someone who had a different birth experience than they planned. I want to be a role model for my kids about positive body image, regardless of size, shape or color and that all bodies are beautiful – we wouldn’t be here without them."