Patient Story

Becca & Drew

Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS)
Stephen J. Greenhouse, M.D.
Fair Oaks, Virginia
Chantilly, VA
Timed Intercourse
The joy you see in our photos is genuine. We are overjoyed. This is the happy ending to a long and difficult journey. Like most pictures, this is the best of us. But I would be remiss if I didn’t share ALL of our story.
Drew and I met in 2007 at Temple University. We were both student-athletes and met in study hall. He was a baseball player, and I played field hockey. We have now been together for ten years and married for three.
I always thought that life would go a certain way. We would get married, enjoy our time together, and, when we decided to grow our family, we would. Maybe I was naive. Maybe I just didn’t know any better. I had no reason to believe it would be any different. I was active, healthy, and happy. The truth is, that doesn’t always matter. Some things lie hidden beneath the surface, only to emerge when you least expect it. And one thing I’ve learned for sure – infertility doesn’t discriminate.

Seeking a diagnosis

It all started two years ago. It’s hard to pinpoint an exact moment I would call the beginning. That part seems like a blur, but I remember the pain I felt physically and emotionally. Headaches, abdominal pain, mysterious weight gain…and no baby. Doctor visit after doctor visit. It seemed like a mystery no one could solve.
Finally, after countless doctor’s visits and tests, I received my diagnosis: polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS). This diagnosis frightened me. No one seemed to know much about it. Earlier that year, I had already been diagnosed with Breast and Ovarian Cancer Syndrome (BRCA2+) and had come to terms with what that meant. This second diagnosis threw me for a loop. What came next, I wasn’t expecting. “You won’t be able to have children,” many doctors said. I remember going home and crying.
A few weeks later, after taking the time I needed, I researched and found out everything I could on PCOS. I joined online support groups. When I was ready, I went to another doctor hoping things would be different. They confirmed the diagnosis, but what they did next changed the course of our journey. They gave me hope and recommended we go to Shady Grove Fertility.

Coming to Shady Grove Fertility

At first, I felt uncomfortable and unsure of what we were doing there. This was uncharted waters. I didn’t know what they would say or what to expect. That’s when we met Dr. Greenhouse. He reminded me of someone’s dad. He was kind and had a great sense of humor. He was never gruff and was supportive of both of us. Dr. Greenhouse would become someone we met with weekly, sometimes three times a week, and who would play a significant role in our lives.
More tests were ordered, options were laid out for us, and Dr. Greenhouse presented his ideal plan. He said we had a good chance, and for the first time in a long time, I felt hopeful again.

Starting treatment

Then the fun began. Our plan was to proceed with timed intercourse, the least invasive option first. I was given medications: powders, vitamins, pills, and shots. Over the course of the next few months, my faith would be tested, and my hope would waver. Let me tell you, fertility treatments are not for the weak of heart.
Often, the medications made me feel sick. Eventually, with the prescribed, daily regimen, I felt ‘normal’ again. Despite these positive physical changes, the emotional toll all of this was taking on me was the real challenge.
I continued to complete timed intercourse cycles with SGF, going in 1-3 times a week for blood tests and ultrasounds. The office administrators and bloodwork staff became my biggest cheerleaders, and despite being pricked and prodded at my visits, I enjoyed my time there. I continued to visit the office and take the medications as directed.
Despite trying to stay positive, failures made me feel down, and I began to expect the worst instead of hoping for the best. I didn’t want to get my hopes up. Despite all of this, we continued to pray every night and rely on the church to rejuvenate our spirit. We relied on family and friends to hope for us.
In the coming months, pregnancy announcements seemed to pop up everywhere. It broke my heart. Of course, I was happy for everyone. It was wonderful news, but I was just sad for us.

Amazing news

Then, it was May. A few days before our 3-year wedding anniversary. Our pregnancy test results would be a few days before. I kept thinking, ‘this is either going to be the best anniversary or the worst anniversary.’
When we listened to the doctor’s voicemail that evening after work, I was in disbelief. It said, “congratulations,” not “we’re so sorry.” Of all the tears I’d cried, this was the ugliest cry yet. We sobbed and hugged each other, listening to the voicemail over and over again.
There was no jumping up and down or cheering yet though. The next few weeks were the scariest yet. ‘Were my levels okay?’ ‘Was the baby alive?’ I feared my body would not support this precious seed that was planted, and something would go wrong. The blood tests and ultrasounds continued. At 5 weeks, we could miraculously see a little flicker of the heart beating already. It was the most amazing sight. The monitoring continued and, although my fear should have begun to ease, it didn’t. Not until 8 weeks when we heard the heartbeat did I begin to feel more confident.

Graduating from SGF

But then we “graduated” from Shady Grove Fertility, which was terrifying. These people had guided us through every step and had been there for us at every turn. They had watched the seed we planted sprout, assuring it was protected. It was a happy but difficult goodbye.
We continued to attend regular prenatal appointments at our OB/GYN to monitor the baby’s progress. At our twenty-week appointment, we found out we were having a healthy baby boy.
Hunter Andrew was born on his due date, January 24, 2019, at INOVA Fairfax Hospital. Despite being a healthy baby, he ended up being taken via emergency caesarian section due to infant trauma during labor. Hunter remained in the NICU for eight days to recover before going home. After waiting for so long to have our baby, we were okay with waiting a little longer to take our baby home. He was worth the wait!
Shady Grove Fertility is an amazing place. I honestly cannot say enough good things about them. From the ladies at the front desk, to the nurses, to Dr. Greenhouse. They changed our lives, and we will be forever grateful.
This journey was difficult, and it tested me, but it also made me stronger. I don’t want to forget these feelings, as difficult as some of them were. Despite all the obstacles, I am grateful for so much, especially Shady Grove Fertility, Dr. Greenhouse, my husband, and our baby boy.

Advice to future patients

For all the couples who are having difficulty growing a family, this is what I say to you:
I truly believe that God only gives us what we can handle. You have been chosen to walk this path because you are special. Yes, it will be hard. There may be days you lose hope and want to quit, but it will be worth it. Stick together as a couple and this journey will make you stronger.
*In memory of Dr. Greenhouse. Although he is no longer with us, when we look at our son, we are constantly reminded of what he did for our family. He has changed so many lives, including ours.


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