Lance and I have been together since 2009. We took our time dating and enjoying each other before getting married in 2016 and trying to start a family in 2017. He already had two daughters from previous relationships, and I was excited to have my first biological child. What we thought would be an easy journey ended up taking almost 6 years.
After a year of no positive pregnancy tests, we went to my OB/GYN for testing. That revealed a low sperm count. Lance worked with two different urologists, who tried numerous treatments for a year, including varicocelectomy. Unfortunately, nothing worked to improve the numbers, and we were told that in vitro fertilization (IVF) was our only option of having a biological child.
We were devastated but immediately set up a consultation with several clinics and decided that Shady Grove Fertility Atlanta was our best route with the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program. We were given a really high chance of success in the beginning but quickly learned that getting pregnant would not be as easy as we thought. After our first failed transfer with one doctor who has since retired, we ended up working with Dr. McCarthy-Keith, who we felt really understood us as patients of color. Based on her reviews, we were confident that she would advocate for us, and Dr. McCarthy-Keith did just that! We had numerous failed embryo transfers, but she encouraged us to push forward and try different options like lifestyle and treatment changes. Finally, we found out we had two genetically normal embryos after our third egg retrieval!
Unfortunately, our first transfer with a genetically normal embryo didn’t work. Devastated was an understatement, I found out three days before Thanksgiving and the whole journey just felt so bleak.
We decided to take time to heal. We went on the most magical vacation on in Jamaica and waited almost a year before transferring our last embryo. In September 2022, we mustered up all the faith we had and transferred our final embryo, our girl. We prayed harder than we’d ever prayed and grabbed our McDonald’s fries after. I remember the pregnancy test fell on my Mom‘s birthday (which happened to be a Friday), so I delayed testing for a whole weekend (which is an eternity during the 2-week wait) just because I couldn’t take any bad news on her special day.
I went in on Sept 26, 2022, for bloodwork, and I remember sitting on a work call a couple of hours later when I got the call from Dr. McCarthy-Keith that we were finally pregnant, and our numbers were over 1700!!! Needless to say, I literally hung up on my coworkers mid-meeting and went to tell Lance the amazing news in person.
We had numerous complications during our pregnancy (bilobed placenta, marginal umbilical cord insertion, low amniotic fluid levels), but praise God – we welcomed our beautiful and healthy baby girl, Sovereign Joy, on May 25, 2023 – two days after my birthday!
Words can’t express how grateful we are for SGF Atlanta and the work that they do. The Shared Risk Program helped me to keep the faith when I wasn’t sure how much more disappointment I could take. The first time I walked in the waiting room, a previous patient had written a testimonial to keep pushing even when you think all hope is gone because your miracle is often right there on the other side. I never forgot that through our treatment, and it was true. Our very last embryo was our miracle baby!