As I sit down to finally write our journey to parenthood, I can’t help but tear up. These tears are made of so much joy, gratitude, heartache, patience, love, anger, confusion and so many more emotions that cannot be put into words. Though we had a beautiful baby boy in February 2018, this journey will always be a part of who I am and where I came from.
My husband and I got married in October 2013 in Savannah, GA and knew we wanted to wait a few years to start trying to have children. My menstrual cycles were like clockwork, so there was no reason to feel like we needed to get the show on the road any sooner.
Trying to grow our family
Three years later, we moved to Baltimore and decided to “start trying.” I began tracking my ovulation and it was like clockwork month after month. I continued to have 28-day cycles, yet we never became pregnant after a year. At the time, we had great insurance, so I told my husband it was time we look into further help. This was a hard pill for him to swallow. How could we be so healthy, yet have to turn to medicine for further assistance to get pregnant? After a bit of compromising, we worked with our OB/GYN, who referred us to Shady Grove Fertility’s office in Baltimore Harbor.
Coming to SGF
While sitting in the SGF waiting room at our first visit, I couldn’t help but wonder what every couples’ story was. It’s such a private topic, but we all had one thing in common–we wanted a child of our own to hold and love.
We met with Dr. McClamrock for our initial consultation and left with a feeling of hope. He was determined to help us have our own child. Multiple blood tests, ultrasounds, and a semen analysis later, we were diagnosed with unexplained infertility and the journey was about to begin.
The first step was to try oral medications. Long story short, they did nothing for me, as I was already ovulating on my own. The next protocol was an intrauterine insemination (IUI) with oral medications. This gave us some hope. What if the sperm just needed a head start? But no luck.
Meanwhile, every friend and relative I knew was announcing their pregnancy on social media. Though I was so happy for each and every one of them, each announcement really pulled on my heartstrings. I started to become withdrawn from my friendships. My heart had a void that I didn’t think would ever be filled.
Transitioning to IVF
After the second failed IUI, I took matters into my own hands and told Dr. McClamrock I was ready to move forward with in vitro fertilization (IVF). He agreed that this was the way to go. Shady Grove Fertility was always so organized, which I greatly appreciated being a nurse myself. They sent outpatient education videos, which detailed the whole IVF journey–the good, the bad, the ugly, and sad, but most importantly, the end result of a baby. These videos were amazing. I really felt like I knew what I was getting myself into after watching the videos. After the multiple videos came the consents, which were pretty intense, but so important. Danielle, my nurse, then provided me with the most thorough protocol I have ever seen.
IVF treatment felt like a blur. It started with a month of birth control, a mock transfer, and multiple injections and monitoring appointments. Danielle was so encouraging throughout the whole process. Always available through email or phone. She had such a soothing voice while explaining my hormone levels day after day right around 2:30 in the afternoon. It was my new normal routine.
We had a minor setback due to elevated progesterone, but after so many prayers, tears, and lucky charms, our sweet embryo took on the first try. I’ll never forget the day of my beta blood test!
My husband and I had taken a half-day off of work as we knew the “phone call” would be coming. My stomach was in knots as we sat in bed together anticipating the biggest phone call of our lives. When I saw the number pop up, I slowly answered and put the call on speakerphone. Becca, my other SGF nurse, stated that they had our HCG levels and that we were pregnant! I made her tell me like three times that I was pregnant! My husband and I just sat in bed and cried for the next hour. Our close family and friends knew we were expecting this call, so we called each and every one of them to share the amazing news. This was truly the best day of our lives that we will never forget. To top the day off, we went to the Orioles game that night where my husband caught a fly ball that we knew to be a sign of our baby boy.
We felt incredibly blessed, especially knowing this process could have continued for multiple rounds of IVF.
Advice to my SGF sisters
To any couples looking into fertility treatment, we highly recommend Shady Grove Fertility. For as rough of a journey infertility can be, SGF becomes family and you do not feel as alone on your deepest darkest days. They truly care about you and become your biggest cheerleaders. I miss talking with the nurses and phlebotomists daily. They truly are angels and we are forever grateful that they were a part of our journey to parenthood.
Remember to have patience! There will be setbacks, but keep going. Find a hobby to get your mind off things. Spend quality time with your significant other and set specific times when you will and will not talk about the process. Sending so much love and prayers to those beginning or continuing their journey.