Thank you for tuning into this episode of MomTalks with Christa, today we have an interview about hope, perseverance, and strength. Today's guest is Megan Meisner and she is going to share all about her fertility journey and how she has gone through to get to her baby boy. She's going to share her story of her four different miscarriages and kind of what happened with each one and how she ultimately met her baby boy in November 2020. So on top of all that she had her baby during the pandemic which is a whole other struggle in itself so she has gone through a lot and through everything she now shares her journey and support for all moms through her Instagram Megan Meisner fitness. So check her out. This is an awesome interview, here we go.
Christa: All right guys today we have Megan Meisner here today and I’m so excited to get started. I know we're going to talk a little bit about your fertility journey and trying to conceive your son but let's kind of just start at the beginning and tell us a little bit about you.
Megan: Yes, absolutely, so first Christa I wanted to say thank you for having me on the show. I was listening to one of the episodes last night at like 2 a.m. while I was nursing my baby boy and one of the things that really caught my attention was when you mentioned that the goal of the podcast is to end mom shaming and that really resonated with me but in kind of a different way because today we're talking about my experience with recurrent miscarriage and I think it's kind of a secret shame that people don't really talk about. And so by bringing my story to light and sharing it with others I’m not necessarily a specialist in this area but I’m really hoping to just hit home with some people who might be afraid to share their story or feel like they're alone. So with that being said again my name is Megan Meisner and I have lived in auburn Alabama for the past few years. I moved here to get married to my husband who was a college friend of mine and we reconnected years later. And when I moved here from Chicago I was really excited to start a family, I wanted to get married, I saw us having children. Prior to that I was in the fitness industry so doing personal training, teaching fitness classes and just kind of living the single life was completely happy with that but thought I don't want to be doing this forever. So, moved down here and our plan really was to just kind of take it slow. My husband was between jobs for a while and so we didn't try to conceive right away. And then when we did as little did we know how long it was actually going to end up taking. So we started trying to conceive in May of 2017 and we actually got pregnant with that first attempt so it was super exciting I thought wow, like who knew this was going to be so easy. Little did we know that it would be like a three or four-year process of trying to get pregnant. So with that first attempt I was maybe six weeks into the pregnancy still really early and I had started to see some spotting and if you google anything on the internet about pregnancy and spotting, your stomach drops and you think the worst that you're possibly miscarrying. So call the doctor and rather than have me come in and see me, they said go to the E.R. So we went to the E.R and after several tests and being assessed by the doctor gave us that really scary terrible news that you have lost your child, you're no longer pregnant. And what a lot of people don't know is that one miscarriage is fairly common. It happens to about one in four people. So despite the fact you still feel alone you still feel absolutely terrified. That same day while we were at the hospital my husband had been talking with a potential employer and he found out while we were in the E.R that that job had been pulled. So it was just a double whammy, we were completely just baffled by the news that we had both received. I was given some medication to follow up with the miscarriage and to start the recovery process and the medication I was given basically sent me into what felt like the worst most intense labor of my life and just a lot of physical pain. I actually had to leave the bedroom and come into the guest room that night and I only knew I was getting better because the physical like moans and pain was getting less severe over time. So by morning I was a little bit better but still just not feeling myself and so then we went through several months before we actually got pregnant again. It wasn't until about a year later in April of 2018 and again just natural pregnancy we weren't really seeing any specialists or trying anything aggressive at this time and I had gone in for that initial appointment and the doctor took the blood work to measure the HCG and called and said are you feeling okay? are you noticing any cramping? and immediately I just thought why is he asking this? and he said your numbers are not increasing which indicates that you're probably having a miscarriage and the conversation ended with him saying over the next few days be conscious of the fact that you might notice some spotting and if you feel the need to call us and come in let us know, and I think I did go in that next week just to have them check the HCG numbers until you reach your baseline of zero again. So that was the second miscarriage and after a year of having the first pregnancy again we just were completely discouraged mentally, physically, just everything you're going through at that point you think. Okay one time I could see the one in four people go through that here's the second time like it's going to work and when it doesn't you just again are completely frustrated. And then the third pregnancy was just a few months later, I had actually been given a small dose of clomid by this doctor and the whole time I’m just seeing the Obgyn so still hadn't gone to the specialist or anything and received the positive test August or September of 2018 and went in for the baseline and called for the results which I probably should just waited for the results and had them call me because the woman who answered who I spoke with I think she was one of the nurses. I don't think she knew the context of why I was calling and so she reported where the first set of numbers had been and then where the follow-up numbers were and she's like so they're on the decline. And so that was how I basically found out about the third miscarriage and shortly after the doctor called, I don't think he knew I had already found out from this nurse that I had miscarried so he went over all of that with me and at this point he basically said I don't think I can help you anymore, I think you need to see a specialist. And he actually had done a significant number of testing with me. We had done an HCG, the semen tests, hysteroscopy, karyotype testing, thyroid testing. I had a fibroid removed and I think he was equally as discouraged and suggested I see somebody. And to be honest it never had crossed my mind that I should see somebody to me going to a specialist meant, I’m ready for IVF, sign me up. like here I am with my checkbook. I'm ready to pay the big bucks to get a baby. And with his suggestion I did go and see a specialist in Birmingham Alabama and they had a satellite office in Montgomery which was much closer to us and they did some initial testing to look for clotting disorders and so at that time I was diagnosed as having MTHFR and the PAI1 inhibitor and so they suggested that those two disorders could have caused clotting which then resulted in the miscarriage. and they gave me so much hope not only were the ladies in the office amazing and so supportive as well as the doctor but they said here's the plan, we're going to have you on baby aspirin every day, we're going to have you start taking progesterone a few days after you've ovulated, to help support any potential pregnancy. And then they also said once you're pregnant again we're going to have you on lovenox so daily blood thinners to help support this pregnancy and prevent any potential clots. So it felt great this is wonderful news and then again it was right around that six or seven week mark that I did notice some spotting, and so it just it was probably one of the aside from the physical pain of the first miscarriage I think mentally and emotionally it was the most difficult of all of them just because we went into it thinking we have this action plan, this is what's going to work, and now you're left thinking okay if this hasn't worked like now what's the plan? so between then and another seeing another doctor I just kind of did my own thing. I took a break from seeing doctors from doing the trigger shots. We had done a uti at one point that obviously hadn't worked either. And so it was December 2019 I went to a different doctor. We did a couple of medicated cycles again with the trigger shots with the clomid and then I had gone up to Chicago in February. A couple months later and my period came, so I called the office and said hey I’m out of town I know I usually need to be evaluated, to get on the next cycle of medication, what do I do, please call me back, and they never called back. So that was actually a blessing in disguise because obviously without medication you're trying to get pregnant like nothing's going to stop you, you're not going to say oh well we'll wait again until the next time. So that cycle was when we actually conceived and had our positive test and it was in march just when everything with covid was starting to really kick off, and so that positive test actually came a couple of days early before my period was due which had never happened before. I always had a late positive and so that to me kind of implied something was maybe wrong with those pregnancies, and that this one now I’m seeing just that extremely faint line gave me so much hope thinking let's see maybe this will be different. And with that positive test I went back to that original specialist who had diagnosed me with the pai-1 inhibitor and the mthfr. And they welcomed me back very warmly and then started with the lovenox. And through the first trimester everything was going as planned. Second trimester everything went as planned. Third trimester up through labor and now I’ve got my baby Clancy who today as of the day we're recording it. In January here he is now eight weeks old and so after going through all of those experiences, it's just crazy to see his face and think oh my gosh that is wall that we went through to get this little guy and it's just a miracle and my goal with talking to you today and sharing my story is just give people that hope. So there's my long-winded tale of how I’ve gotten to where I am now with my baby boy. But yeah, I really just want to remind people that it's okay to feel vulnerable and to be going through these challenging moments and not to give up.
Christa: I love your story just because I think what you're saying like so many moms go through this and so many women go through trying to conceive and thinking it's something wrong with them or thinking they did something and so I think there's so much positivity and hope in your story like you're saying. So like while for moms listening or women listening that are in that journey right now, what did you do to keep yourself positive? through this journey and I’m and I’m sure not all days were positive, I’m sure you've had some rough days so how did you kind of keep pushing in those hard times?
Megan: Like I just mentioned it's extremely difficult to feel like you're not going through this alone and a big part of the reason I’m sharing my story today is I remember what it felt like to hear others telling their stories of success and even though I didn't talk to a lot of people about what I was going through at the time, I highly encourage doing that just because once you've identified somebody who's going through something similar. It's like oh my gosh, like you're part of my world like you get this and really as far as staying positive there's a lot of people who y on message boards on Facebook would say at what point do you give up? When do you stop trying? and to be honest like there were definitely those angry moments where I thought we're not doing this like I’m so mad at the world, I’m so mad at god, I don't want to try this any longer, it's just not meant to be but what I did tell myself was what else am I doing like why would I stop trying? why would I give up? and that with every failed attempt, I felt like my odds of success increased. And I think that's really a key point to tell yourself is why whether you've had one miscarriage or three or four, your odds are increasing every time that happens as hard and as difficult as that experience is with each negative experience the odds of something wonderful happening just increase and so that really got me through a couple of things that I did personally to help was keeping a daily log of what I ate, of exercises that I did, because you want something tangible to kind of reassure you that you're doing something proactive and by writing things down in a journal that was very very helpful. I also wish I hadn't waited so long to see a specialist but I just looking back had no idea that they would offer so much help without any type of really invasive treatment. So that's really just the best advice I could give as far as staying positive is to choose faith over fear every day and again you're going to get closer to success with every attempt that you make.
Christa: While you're pregnant with your son, were there any other precautions you want to take or extra like doctor's appointments you had to make sure they could just watch a little more closely?
Megan: Yeah absolutely, so the first trimester I was still seeing the fertility specialist so they had me going in weekly which was amazing because again this was right when Covid started and a lot of the doctors’ offices were not seeing any new patients. All elective procedures were put on hold and just from different Facebook groups and through the grapevine, I was aware that other people, they weren't even able to go in for these weekly appointments when they were trying to conceive and once they were pregnant. I actually had scheduled an appointment to see a doctor in Chicago. I was supposed to go up there I think in march for to see a recurrent, recurrent loss specialist and they canceled the appointment because of Covid and then another precaution that I had taken personally was I was going to stop going to the gym just because as an avid fitness enthusiast, I know at some points I probably was working out a bit too often or too intensely or at least that's how I saw in my mind. And so with each miscarriage I kind of eased up on my workouts and said once I have this next pregnancy I’m going to walk outside I’m not going to the gym well lo and behold I’m pregnant and the gym is closed because there's a pandemic. So I couldn't go to the gym even if I wanted to, which was really again just kind of a sign from god saying like I’ve got this you, have no control over this pregnancy, just do what you're doing, stay positive and keep going. I also within the few months prior to that pregnancy had just become more aware of my gluten and dairy intake. I can't say that's what helped me sustain this pregnancy but based on the research that I’ve read, it indicates that that definitely could be a part of it as well so that's worth experimenting with. To listeners out there if you are considering that, definitely do some research, ask people in the industry about it and give it a try.
Christa: Yeah and I love what you're saying just about evaluating your life and I’m sure there's not just one thing that makes it for everyone makes it easier for everyone to get pregnant. but, I think it's cool that you were able to be like okay I’ll make these changes I’m going to do this research for myself and just that I’m actually doing something tangible that I think is going to help me, that's great. because everyone's life is, everyone is so different so what's going to help one may help someone else.
Megan: Exactly that's what I say to my fitness clients as well. You might not necessarily do well on a keto diet or a plant-based diet. We need to find what works for you. It's the same way when you're trying to conceive somebody might get pregnant after four attempts. It might take you a year and a half or five years. It varies so much that you can't compare yourself to other people.
Christa: Absolutely and so you bring up being pregnant during the pandemic which I’m sure was just you finally are like you're really excited about this pregnancy and then it's like the world's like shutting down around us it's like what is going on? What was the care like? Did you do telemedicine? or to make sure you were kind of up to date on your checkups and making sure that it was cancelled.
Megan: I’m an introvert by nature so being pregnant during a pandemic and staying home was an absolute blessing like you don't have to buy all the maternity clothes, you don't have to go out in public and have people wonder is she pregnant or is she not? and so you kind of get out of all the small talk and things like that when you're home during a pregnancy. My husband and I both took more precautions during the pandemic. We live in auburn Alabama which is miles from either of our families so it wasn't really an issue as far as going to see people or having get-togethers, we just were kind of on lockdown and I can remember days where we would go through a drive-through and I had disinfectant wipes and I would wipe down the cup, we’d use hand sanitizer right after. And so over time you become a little bit more comfortable knowing what you can and can't do or what you're comfortable or not comfortable with but yeah those were some of the more extreme things that we did. I used to love going to Target and spending 45 minutes shopping and then it became curbside pickup instead of going into the store. So just knowing oh my gosh I’ve had four miscarriages. I’m pregnant and now there's this disease that's going around this global pandemic that's killing people and we don't really know why or how. With doctors’ appointments I can remember going to the specialists in that first trimester those early weeks and not wearing a mask. Just there really wasn't that standard or that expectation and I didn't really know how I felt about it personally. And then once you see the nurses in the masks and other people coming in for appointments in the masks and just as the numbers increase and deaths increase you're like okay I definitely need to be wearing a mask and I would wear a mask everywhere I went. There was a time when I was in Target and I saw people without masks and you're like trying not to judge them but being pregnant you're like oh my gosh like you need to have a mask on you need to have a mask on. So yeah just again to each their own people have masks or don't have masks for their own personal reasons but yeah I was still going into the specialist for weekly appointments up through the first trimester. From there I did go to see the obgyn and my first appointment I think was like week 13 or 14 so fairly soon really early on in that second trimester and then I don't think I saw her again for like six weeks or four weeks, it felt like forever but they basically had me going in just kind of on like the same timeline as somebody who hadn't had all these miscarriages wood so I don't necessarily feel like I got any extra care in that regard but I think everything leading up to that point indicated that I had a healthy pregnancy and that there was no need for me to be going in weekly like I was during that first trimester, so I felt good about the entire process as I was going in for the appointments and the hard part was not getting the weekly ultrasounds and seeing my little guy. We didn't know if it was boy or girl so it was around week 20 that my husband and I were both able to see baby Clancy together on the ultrasound because again he wasn't allowed to come to the appointments only to the ultrasound so it was just brewing yourself. Second and third trimesters seeing the ob gyn it was sit in the car, we'll text you, call you, to let to come on in and everybody's in their masks and socially distanced so definitely a very different experience as far as what I would have expected for a pregnancy but after going through everything we had I mean I would have jumped through hoops and done anything to be where we are now which is just such a relief knowing what your what the year 2020 was like and how it ended for us on a positive note. Yeah absolutely so your son is now eight weeks old you said so is he born at the end of November? yup he was born November 19th so my due date was actually on thanksgiving. He came a few days early. I was scheduled for an induction because I am 39 years old and with being high risk they didn't want me to go much later than 39 weeks, but it came a couple days early and then my family was able to drive down. We were obviously nervous about having my niece and nephew and my mom and sister but they made the road trip from Chicago to see us and yeah it was the best homecoming ever when we got back from the hospital and they were all here at the house. Oh that's awesome that's awesome you've got to still see family and spend time with them because I know especially during the pandemic I know I’ve talked to a couple different moms that had babies during the pandemic and such a different experience especially if you're like in a new area where you don't get to see family already It's so like extra lonely. Were you able to have your husband in the room with you? I know some hospitals weren't allowing that, so that's a great question, I was on one support person so obviously that was him. My stepson was with his mom the week prior to the scheduled induction date just because we wouldn't have had anywhere to send him had I gone in early like I did. So my husband was with me. We were required to wear masks. What I didn't know was that we, I say we, myself. I had to go through a Covid test and so I actually, we had three Covid tests done. That was the worst part of the whole labor experience. I had a little bit of sinus trouble and so they did a swab in each nostril as well as my throat because there was a little bit of blood on the swab which they can't submit to the lab so once I was through that, the whole experience was only getting better that was probably the hardest part about it. I did have an epidural, my doctors and the nurse staff were all extremely helpful and supportive and so we were at the hospital around 4 p.m. on a Wednesday and he was born at 4:44 A.M. on Thursday morning.
Christa: Awesome that's really cool, I mean I just love yeah like I was saying I love hearing your story about just everything that you went through and it kind of just like I love that you're sharing it too because it's so powerful and it gives moms women hope that are going through that. So I always like to end these interviews with what I call them fun thinking questions. So if you could have a billboard made today we could share one tip with moms everywhere what would you have it say?
Megan: I would have the billboard say choose faith over fear and that really became my mantra not just throughout the trying to conceive journey but once I was pregnant you think oh I’m finally pregnant hooray or having a baby we've made it through the first trimester. And there's that little bit of relief but you also don't want to spend your entire pregnancy worried and having the weight of that anxiety on your shoulders. You've gone through so much to get to that point and you deserve to enjoy it and so by choosing faith over fear it was just a daily reminder I got through today, we got through today, me and this baby survived another day and we're that much closer to actually having this child in our arms.
Christa: And so I know it's been about eight weeks now but what is the best part so far about being a mom?
Megan: Oh my goodness that's a difficult question. I think it's just knowing like this is what I’ve kind of been waiting for my whole life. My husband has always said I just want to make you a mom, and seeing him with the baby seeing my stepson with the baby and knowing that together we brought him here into this world is just so heartwarming and knowing that I can stay home, I do some part-time work as a blogger and some community management work and so being able to do that remotely while raising this little guy and seeing him every day it just it means the world to us.
Christa: Awesome, I love that and so for anyone that hasn't heard of you or doesn't currently follow you, where can everyone follow you and what kind of things you share on your page?
Megan: Absolutely, so my Instagram handle is Megan Meisner fitness and I have in the past shared mostly fitness content which I still do but now it's geared a little bit more towards moms obviously. So home workouts things that don't require you to go to the gym things that are efficient so you can do them while your baby is napping there's been a lot of recipe ideas that I’ve shared obviously the Mommy Knows Best products I’ve received a couple features as well just because as a breastfeeding mom, they've really been helpful with milk production. And then I also have an Instagram page. I’m not quite as active on it but it is called The Fertility Journey, and it's something I created well over a year ago when I was really struggling with trying to conceive and I remained anonymous so I wasn't quite ready to jump into that pool of vulnerability at that point and share my story publicly but it was really a great outlet and it's something I recommend others consider doing whether they share their identity or not. I was providing people with inspirational posts while at the same time finding hope in that content as well. And so it really was a nice small community of women who were trying to pursue the same goal and so I’m still on there now. I had announced that I was pregnant and so it it's a little bit different if you're looking for content that's going to help you to conceive that's still there but with a little bit of a different perception and mind frame being that now I have a child, so just kind of like throughout this podcast I’ve said I want to share my story of hope and that's what I do through that Instagram platform.
Christa: Awesome, yeah I think the community just around fertility motherhood postpartum it's huge and I think that's the one thing with social media and the internet. That is so amazing. Just with this pandemic it's amazing that we can still connect with so many different women and moms and during this time and nothing's going to stop the digital connection so that's amazing, the community.
Megan: Yes yep exactly.
Christa: Awesome, well thank you so much for coming on and sharing your story and just like I said earlier just being vulnerable because I think it helps that's why we like we like why we do this show is just to you give you guys a platform to share different stories and inspire moms that are listening so I just really appreciate you guys you coming on.
Megan: Yes, absolutely and if anyone wants to reach out I’d be happy to share more about my personal experience. I have about six pages worth of doctor's notes that I didn't really get into but more specifics as far as what kind of procedures I went through and what supplements and medication I was given and things like that.
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