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ASHLEY'S STORY • INFERTILITY • PREGNANCY CHALLENGES

Posted by Bre Hanks on

BRE'S STORY • POSTPARTUM DEPRESSION

ASHLEY'S STORY

Bre Hanks

After years of infertility, 6 rounds of IVF, and 7 losses, Ashley @some_assembly_required__ finally got pregnant with her miracle twin boys. Her story with not only infertility but now her complicated and bumpy pregnancy is the definition of strength that's pouring out of this momma. The following are exerpts from Ashley's Instagram account:

“I remember watching the test happen live. I remember hearing the doctor speak to me. I remember my eyes welling up. I remember being escorted to the bathroom to change. I remember the piercing scream that came out of my mouth and collapsing to the floor. I remember the nurse rushing in to pick me up. I remember yelling for my husband. I remember Alex practically carrying me outside the hospital as anxiety attacked and I gasped for air.

Two months ago our lives took a hard detour.

I think I always knew something wasn’t right. To hear multiple doctors tell you natural pregnancy is not an option, that your body is too damaged from the past to form new life, that you have a 0% chance to conceive on our own; it is absolutely devastating. I am experiencing such grief, and guilt, and anger, and deep sorrow, and resentment, and disappointment; all of these feelings at the same time, it’s overwhelming. I feel like there is a dark cloud over me. I feel like I’m in the middle of a horrific dream and am hoping for the moment I awake. This is a low point for me, for us. The last 2 months have been filled with gut-wrenching tears, sifting through research, and having difficult conversations. But our days have also been filled with an abundance of love, unwavering support, and a lot of hope.

Alex and I refuse to settle for a 0% chance; we will not allow this diagnosis to derail us. We are ready to fight, we are ready to embrace this hardship, we are ready to mix love and science. Infertility better be ready for the battle of a lifetime.”

I went into my doctor thinking I had a UTI. Turns out I was diagnosed with a rare pregnancy condition called an Incarcerated Uterus, which gave us a 50% chance of losing the twins. That evening I was taken to surgery to try and flip my uterus and save our sweet babes. Surgery was completely unsuccessful and our Beaumont team did not give us much hope that we would have a positive outcome moving forward. Two days later, while at home resting, I started having major vaginal bleeding. Alex and I believed we were miscarrying and decided to drive to the University of Michigan for urgent help and for a new team’s perspective, just in case we could still save the babies. We were admitted immediately, babies were good, and we were told I would be having emergency surgery the following day to position my uterus and the babies properly.

The doctors had a Plan A, B, and C upon going into surgery. Luckily one of my dearest friends was on our case and inside the operating room, so she was able to give Alex and my mom the play by play. There were over 12 doctors/surgeons in the room and it took every single one of their minds to get me through. Plans A and B didn’t work, and even in working with Plan C they still had to come up with Plans D and E on the fly. At one point, one doctor said they need to close me and reopen me once they have a better plan; at another point, all the doctors had to step away from me and they got a piece of paper and pen out to draw up new plans while I laid open on the operating table. After 5 hours in surgery, they placed a large plastic pessary inside me, which will hold my uterus in place until the babies are big enough to not fall backwards again. Doctors will remove the pessary in late February, and while it’s extremely uncomfortable, and I can feel it with every movement, and it’s making me bleed every day, they were successful in flipping my uterus and saving the twins.

When I woke up, I saw my incision stretched from just below my breast line all the way down to below my waist line. They cut me wide open, and on top of that I had an allergic reaction the adhesive they used for bandages so I had blisters all over my belly as well. I was in the hospital for a week recovering, which was extremely painful as I couldn’t go to the bathroom due to a severe paralytic ileus, which is when your intestinal track is completely asleep and won’t pass gas or stool. I ended up needing an NG tube to help relieve me. I had 6 IVs burst my veins and 6 attempts thereafter to get an IV in me with no luck. Over a week passed and I was finally ready to be released.”

“A few days at home passed and while laying in bed, Alex and I started smelling a very foul smell. He lifted the covers off my body and we saw that my incision had burst and large amounts of milky discharge were seeping out. It was like a volcano exploding nastiness for over 30 minutes. We put a call into triage and they said to come in right away. Turns out my incision became infected with E. Coli and Group B Strep, so I was readmitted to get that under control. Also had two more veins blow to IV.

I’m finally home now after spending almost 3 weeks total in the hospital. I am so very weak, sore, frustrated, scared, exhausted, and have zero energy. I’m on bed rest but still need to walk the hallways so blood clotting doesn’t happen, which feels like I’m learning how to walk all over again. The babies are good though, hallelujah. I feel them move often, and while painful, I know it’s their way of telling me they’re okay and for me to keep pushing and moving forward.

This has been such a mind game, and physically unlike anything I’ve experienced before. My anxiety is at an all time high, and I have bouts where I just burst out crying and can’t control my tears. Yes, there are okay days sprinkled in, but overall I’m definitely in a funk. I will say though that the love I feel from you all is carrying me through. I’m way behind on texts, and messages, and calls, but believe me when I say, I can feel all the positivity you are sending. I’m 16 weeks and 4 days today, and while we have a long way to go, I’m doing my very best to count each day with these babies a miracle ♥️♥️”

-Ashley Howard-Heimbuch

To read more on her story and follow her journey, visit her Instagram account @someassembly-required_

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