When I met Shane in March of 2017, I knew right away that he was my forever. Shane had a 3 yr old son and definitely wanted more children. We fell hard and fast. I expressed to him that I had been diagnosed with PCOS and that it may impact me getting pregnant. Fully on board with trying to figure out early on where I stood, we started going to a fertility clinic. I did some of the basic testing including bloodwork to check my hormone levels and a few other things that affect pregnancy, a dye scan to check my tubes for blockages, an endometrial biopsy to check my uterus and the results couldn’t have been better. ‘Oh you’re going to be an easy one to get pregnant’ said the doctor.
AMAZING! If a fertility doctor of his stature said this then I for sure would have no trouble, right?
I started to track my ovulation on some test strips that I bought, and made sure to have sex anytime I saw an “LH surge”. Well, a year went by and we had not gotten pregnant. I called a fertility clinic, and they said I’d better come back in for more testing. In May of 2018, I went for more bloodwork and my testosterone was high, and estrogen low, indicating that maybe I do not ovulate on my own. I was 34 now, and in the fertility world, that’s considered old. Shane and I had a long talk about our future plans and decided to get married. We eloped on 7/1/18, and started a drug to help me mature my eggs enough to ovulate.
For 3 months we took those pills and timed our intercourse with no luck. The doctor decided that we should get some assistance and started us on an IUI cycle (Artificial Insemination). They would take a sample of my husband’s sperm and ‘wash it’ to get the strong ones, and place it into my cervix. This was the first time we actually had Shane’s sperm checked, as he has a child, so we assumed there would be no issue. Turns out his morphology and motility were a little off. This is the shape and the movement. Shane started some supplements and within a month his numbers were much better.
During an IUI cycle, of which we did three, you go in on day-3 of your cycle, get bloodwork an ultrasound, and take 5-days of Clomid. You then go back every other day for bloodwork and an internal ultrasound until one egg measures mature enough to ovulate. You’re then given a trigger shot to force ovulation, 24hrs later you go back and insert the sperm into the cervix with a catheter so that it’s waiting there for the egg when it comes down the Fallopian tube. Has to work right?
Two weeks later bloodwork showed no pregnancy. Each time…didn’t work. So now we are in December of 2018 and the doctor decides we should be a bit more aggressive and use injectables to assist my eggs in maturing this time. These injectables are the same that they would use for someone going through IVF (In Vitro Fertilization). So we started the cycle as an IUI and after some talking about it, we changed our plan. We had now done a year of ovulation tracking, no baby. 3 months of medication and timed intercourse, no baby. 3 IUI’s, no baby. This is now 18 months of negative pregnancy tests or a period starting before I could even get to test day. It was emotionally, physically and financially draining on our new marriage.
We got all of our injections in the mail and with some further discussion decided to pull the trigger on IVF. IVF would be the answer. It would definitely work! So on December 24th after blowing my grape sized ovaries up into kiwi sized ones, full of mature eggs, we drove to Syracuse for an egg retrieval. The egg retrieval procedure was the most painful and uncomfortable thing I had ever done in my adult life. Due to my PCOS I had 15 eggs removed and we were so happy with that number. Wow! 15! The conversation that night was all about what we would do with all the remaining embryos we would have after we had the two to three children we felt we would want.
The next morning came and our hope and dreams were shattered. The embryologist told us that out of the 15 eggs, only one was fertilized and another was being watched. What? How could this be possible? Why didn’t anyone tell me this could happen? Merry Christmas to us.
I was heartbroken, in pain and just exhausted. The team at my fertility clinic decided that I should wait to do a frozen transfer (when they put the embryo back into your body to implant) after I was feeling better. By the end of that week it was official, we only had one embryo and it was frozen at day 3 of development. I spent the next two months regulating my body with hormones and supplements and lost a bit of the weight I gained during this process. I did acupuncture twice per week. I did a uterine scratch in February as it was believed to help with implantation the following month. On March 23, 2019, I drove for my transfer. My baby was finally going to be in my body. They put it in and 11 days later I would get bloodwork to see if implantation and pregnancy occurred. The worst news of my life came when my test came back negative. Not pregnant. Again.
Roughly $10k, almost two years and countless appointments for bloodwork, pills, shots, internal ultrasounds and an empty retirement account later, we did all we could do and still had no baby.
CNY is full of people that genuinely care. After speaking to Dr Kiltz and Kris the PA, they offered to do a second retrieval for me at no charge. It would only cost me the anesthesia fee, meds and monitoring. They felt strongly that if they changed my med protocol that I’d have a better result.
In April I went for a hysteroscopy and laparoscopic procedure to check for endometriosis, or anything else that could prevent my embryo from implanting. My tests came back pretty normal. On June 10th I went back to Syracuse for a 3rd time, for another egg retrieval. 22 eggs retrieved this time! The next day we received the call that 14 were mature, 10 fertilized. 10! We had 10 babies brewing. I sobbed tears of joy. Day 3 they called and said everything was still progressing beautifully. Day 5 came and they were ready for freeze. Unfortunately, two bad things happened.
1. I developed OHSS (Ovarian Hyper-stimulation Syndrome – that means all of my empty follicles where they took the eggs from filled with fluid, about 10lbs worth) and I was not able to do the fresh transfer that I had hoped to do.
2. Four of our embryos degenerated and only 6 survived to freeze. BUT 6 embryos! 6 chances at being a mom felt like the best feeling in the world.
After exactly two years of failure, I felt real HOPE. I spent the next month healing from the OHSS and again losing weight. I put myself on strict Keto and got rid of my inflammation. On 8/14 we went back to Syracuse for the 4th time and on 8/16 I felt my two embryos implanting into my womb. I waited and paid attention to every little cramp. Nine days later, I lost all patience waiting for my bloodwork that was to come in just a few days. For the first time in my life, I took a pregnancy test and cried pure tears of joy. I was pregnant. My first blood-test showed a great HCG number, second test looked even better, maybe even an indication that both babies made it, but when my ultrasound came a week later, we saw one baby. One heartbeat flickering.
There was a baby in my womb! My very own baby. We felt sadness for the one that didn’t make it, but oh the relief and joy we felt that we finally achieved all that we had longed for, and worked so hard for, for all of this time.
Today I am pregnant with my miracle baby boy, and his heart is strong, and he’s measuring ahead, which shows me he is a fighter. He was meant to beat the odds and in May of 2020 I will hold him for the first time and tell him the story of how much he was wanted and how, together, our love brought him into this world.