When Dylan Dreyer found out she was pregnant with her second child, she was so happy she jumped into husband Brian Fichera's arms. They’d been trying to give 2-year-old Calvin a baby brother or sister, and now, it seemed, all their dreams as a family were coming true.
Then the bleeding started.
Sobbing, she told Brian, “I think I lost the baby.”
“You didn’t lose the baby,” he assured her, she recalled. “It's your body doing what it needs to do. YOU didn't do anything wrong.”
Those words helped, even as a doctor’s visit confirmed a miscarriage. Dreyer went to work in a daze, trying to plaster a cheerful expression on her face.
“I’m devastated, and I have to go to work on the TODAY Show and be happy and smiling and pretend like nothing’s wrong,” she said. Her coworkers realized something was wrong and she confided in them. Her mom was texting her, but she said she couldn’t even look at the texts during the show because she knew her mom’s sweet words would make her break down into tears again.
Dreyer’s miscarriage this winter happened in the midst of her struggle with secondary infertility, a condition that affects about 3 million women in the U.S., according to the University of Wisconsin Hospitals. Simply put, it’s when you have one or more biological children but then struggle to have another baby.
Don't use technology as an emotional pacifier. Media can be very effective in keeping kids calm and quiet, but it should not be the only way they learn to calm down. Children need to be taught how to identify and handle strong emotions, come up with activities to manage boredom, or calm down through breathing, talking about ways to solve the problem, and finding other strategies for channeling emotions.
Even though it’s so common, secondary fertility isn’t talked about much or understood very well, which is one reason Dreyer has decided to share her struggles publicly.
Wherever Dreyer goes, people tell her, “Calvin needs a sister or brother.” She sighs. “I know they mean it in the best way possible. You just put a smile on your face: ‘Yep, I know. Someday….’”
And Calvin loves babies. “I see Calvin with other kids and I see how loving he is. My friend just had a baby, and he held her and it’s just so sweet. And I wanna give that to him.”
She got pregnant with Calvin easily, so she thought that once she and Brian decided they were ready for another baby, her body would cooperate. Not so much, it turns out.
After she and Brian tried to conceive for six months without any luck, her doctor referred them to a specialist. (The standard definition of infertility is one year of trying without success, or six months if you’re over 35.) Dreyer, who’s 37, found out that she has a low egg count and had an unusual amount of scarring from her emergency C-section with Calvin.
Brooke Shields (mom of two girls Rowan and Grier): “Trust me when I tell you I’m on my girls. And every time I am, I know from the outside it looks like I’m an overbearing, controlling parent. But I don’t think we are responsible to anybody but our kids and ourselves.”
“I didn’t know secondary infertility was a thing!” she says.
She knows that even talking about her struggle with secondary infertility could make her a target of judgment or scorn. She knows that some woman can’t have even one child, and that she should be grateful for Calvin — and she is. In an interview in her small office in Rockefeller Center, every surface decorated with photos of her smiling family, she stresses again and again that she really is so grateful for what she has.
But miscarriage and infertility hurt, no matter what.
“I just want people to know that, yeah, I’m kind of going through it with you,” Dreyer says. “I don’t know where this ends.”
Editor's note: TODAY's Dylan Dreyer is sharing her very personal story about miscarriage, secondary infertility and trying to have another baby. She'll continue to blog about her journey on TODAY Parents. Please follow us on Facebook and subscribe to our newsletter to get her latest updates.