Peta Murgatroyd vividly recalls hours earlier lying in a hospital bed at her home in Malibu, where a team of medics loaded her into an ambulance while her 5-year-old son watched.
Murgatroyd, 35, made the call while found herself on the floor of her little boy’s bedroom, completely unable to move, after testing positive for coronavirus days earlier.
“I had no strength. I couldn’t open a dishwasher. I couldn’t open the fridge to feed Shai, get him toast,” says the professional dancer, while opening up exclusively to PEOPLE in an in-depth interview. “It got so bad that my breathing started to be affected. It was really dramatic.”
At the hospital, Murgatroyd called her husband Maks Chmerkovskiy, who lived thousands of miles away in Ukraine, and put him on speakerphone when the doctor entered her room.
“I thought he was going to reveal some really bad news. I thought, ‘What’s going on?’ His face was grimacing,” she recalls that night in October 2021. “He said, ‘Did you know you were pregnant?’ “
On the other end of the line, Chmerkovskiy, 42, began to celebrate. “He heard the doctor say, ‘You’re pregnant,'” she recalls. But in his excitement he misheard the news: Murgatroyd had already lost the baby.
Amanda Friedman Peta Murgatroyd poses on the balcony of her Malibu home held by her supportive husband Maks Chmerkovskiy.
“In the end, I had no idea [I was pregnant], which in hindsight was better for my recovery because I had that super joyful moment of ‘I’m pregnant again!’ didn’t have. ‘ says Murgatroyd, who had started bleeding two days earlier but attributed it to her period. “
After years of trying to increase her family, the Peta Jane Beauty founder had recently traveled overseas to visit Chmerkovskiy in hopes of having a baby. “I was like, ‘Fuck it. I’m flying to your place in Ukraine. I’m about to ovulate. Let’s make it happen,'” she recalled telling her husband, who served as a judge for her in the country’s version of Dancing with the stars.
But after contracting COVID during her trip, Murgatroyd says her body was unable to both fight off the disease and survive the very early stages of her pregnancy. “I felt like I was dying, but then I obviously knew what had happened,” she says. “It was all just too much for my body and I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t believe this was happening to me.”
“Don’t be there [with her]… it’s crazy. You feel helpless,” Chmerkovskiy told PEOPLE.
TIED TOGETHER: Peta Murgatroyd posts cute and silly selfie with Son Shai, 5: ‘Love him so much it hurts’
Amanda Friedman Peta Murgatroyd poses at her Malibu home after exclusively revealing to PEOPLE that she has suffered three miscarriages.
Unfortunately for Murgatroyd, who suffered her first miscarriage in a Whole Foods toilet stall in the fall of 2020, five weeks into the pregnancy, the heartbreaking feelings of loss were all too familiar. “It was so shocking and so out of the blue. I had walked [into the store] and it all just started,” she recalls. “I was petrified. I tried to tell myself, ‘It’s going to be okay.’ Of course, deep down, I knew it.”
“I sat in the bathroom sobbing. I’m surprised nobody came in because I was crying and crying so hard, one of those deep screams,” says Murgatroyd. “That was something that will probably stay with me for the rest of my life, being alone in that toilet, knowing what’s happening and not being able to stop it.”
For Chmerkovskiy, who married his colleague Dancing with the stars Pro Dancer in 2017, the first miscarriage was the low point in their relationship.
“I think the darkest part is when the person you’re in love with calls you and they say they miscarried in the bathroom, that’s about as dark as it gets,” he says.
“I was completely embarrassed, ultimately ashamed. I didn’t even know how to say the words and get that phrase out of my mouth: I miscarried,” says an emotional Murgatroyd. “I’m someone who prides himself on my health wellness. I do sports every day. But as I realized, that doesn’t really go hand in hand with the reproductive system.”
Watch the full episode of People Features: Peta Murgatroyd & Maksim Chmerkovskiy below or on the PeopleTV app.
TIED TOGETHER: Maks Chmerkovskiy returns to Poland to help refugees from Ukraine
“It took me a really long time to get over the trauma,” she continues. “I had to cry in bed alone most nights for months, cry in the shower, it was a lot of denial. What did I do wrong?”
Nine months later, Murgatroyd was pregnant again and planning to fly to New York to meet up with Chmerkovskiy and surprise him with the news. Days before her scheduled departure, Murgatroyd miscarried.
“I had to call him and say, ‘It happened again,'” she says, and immediately bursts into tears. “That was the first time I heard him get really upset, which was hard to hear because I know how it affects him too.”
Now Chmerkovskiy admits to PEOPLE: “I never thought that two healthy, athletic people could be in such a predicament. It’s a lot to process.”
“I’m trying to do my best to support Peta. I am a changed man because of this experience,” he adds. “I think if you look around you’ll see that most of your friends have had problems [trying to conceive]. I realized that this is more common and not talked about.”
Amanda Friedman Peta Murgatroyd poses at home with husband Maks Chmerkovskiy and son Shai.
As Murgatroyd processed her feelings, she was determined to seek answers.
“When? Why me? Why can’t I have another child when it used to be so easy?” she says. “All these questions just kept me really busy and that’s what made me finally see a specialist.”
The couple is now working with a team of fertility doctors and have started the in vitro fertilization process. They hope that their son Shai will soon have the sibling they have been wanting to give him for so long
“For the first time in almost two years, I’m excited,” says Murgatroyd, who doctors believe has polycystic ovary syndrome, a hormonal imbalance that can cause ovulation problems and lead to infertility. “I’m in a much happier place. I got answers.”
Murgatroyd adds: “I have no words other than hope and positivity. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that this will work.”