Patient Story

Christina & Chris

Unexplained Infertility
Rachana V. Garde, M.D., M.P.H.
Woodbridge, Virginia
Ruther Glen, VA
Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET)
In Vitro Fertilization (IVF)
I knew Chris in high school, but we had lost touch for quite a few years. After college, I moved back to my hometown and we ran into each other at a friend’s house in 2005. We began dating shortly after that and were pretty much inseparable.
In June 2007, Chris proposed on the beach in Barcelona with his mother’s engagement ring. I still wear her ring to this day because of course, I said “yes!” and I never had the chance to meet my mother-in-law as she passed away in 2002. However, I love knowing I carry a piece of her with me every day. Family is so important to both Chris and me. We wanted to start a family right away and always said we’d love to have four kids. After a year of trying we knew we needed to seek help.

Coming to SGF

After a year of trying and still not getting pregnant, we knew we needed to seek help. Our insurance, Kaiser, referred us to Shady Grove Fertility where we met Dr. Garde and our nurse, Mary Hartman. Our first appointment with Dr. Garde was scary, but she helped put our minds at ease. We were diagnosed as “unexplained infertility.” There were lots of options and we told ourselves that we would take it one step at a time.

The storm before my rainbow

We had our first miscarriage following our 3rd intrauterine insemination (IUI). It was tough to deal with, but we were confident that if it worked once it could work again. Three more failed IUIs and we tried our hand at in vitro fertilization (IVF).
It wasn’t something we’d ever expected to do, but we wanted a family so badly. The first round was unsuccessful. However, we were lucky that we had applied for and been accepted to do the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program. So, we went ahead with a frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycle.
When I first heard that I was pregnant I was ecstatic! Since we had suffered a miscarriage before we proceeded cautiously. I had a little bleeding when I was 5w2days so Dr. Garde got me in quickly to access the situation. I’ll never forget the sight of the little flicker on the screen that was our baby’s heartbeat. I’ll also never forget our 8-week appointment with my OB/GYN. The OB/GYN measured the baby and there was no growth in the last 3 weeks.
It was devastating. I’ve never felt such loss in my life.
Grieving over a baby I had never met, never felt move, but loved so much. My husband held me as I cried and we mourned together. I kept thinking, “I miss my baby.” We decided to stop treatment and talk about other options. I felt like I simply couldn’t take the pain of losing another baby. My husband was grieving as well, but the support that he showed me was amazing. Dr. Garde and our nurse, Mary, were both so understanding and compassionate during our loss and decision to stop treatment. They were also supportive when we decided to come back and try again!

Trying again

I read a quote that said, “Never give up on something you can’t go a day without thinking about!” That quote helped keep me #SGFstrong. We wanted a family and we just had to try again. If we weren’t trying then we weren’t making any progress towards our goal of a family. We gave IVF another try. We put back two embryos during our fresh cycle and one stuck!
Our son, Lukas, was born just 4 days before our 5th anniversary! He was 5lbs 8oz and was my “little Lukas.” My husband did the first skin-to-skin, changed the first diaper, and was the first to get spit up on! Seeing him as the father I always knew he would be made me fall in love even more!
After Lukas was born we tried to get pregnant on our own for the first year. We always heard stories about those who would end up pregnant on their own shortly after giving birth. Not us. We only had one frozen embryo left and we weren’t getting any younger.
We knew there was a good chance it wouldn’t stick and we’d have to jump right back into the whole shebang again. Lukas was exactly 16 months old when we did our FET cycle with our last embryo. We crossed our fingers but were aware of a possible negative outcome.
We couldn’t believe it when the tests came back positive. We were overjoyed! And yet, still cautiously optimistic. Owen was born happy and healthy and our biggest baby at 7lbs 12oz.

After 7 years of marriage, we had a family of four. We decided we were happy with the family that we had and wouldn’t pursue further treatments. We had two sons and our hearts couldn’t be any fuller. Or so we thought!

Another miracle

Just 5 shorts months after Owen was born, my period was late.

I had just finished breastfeeding so I knew that my cycles could be off. It was an awful feeling come back that had haunted me for all the years we tried to get pregnant. The questioning of signs and symptoms and wondering if it was possible. Getting my hopes up just to be let down. We had just come back from our first vacation with both kids and I was exhausted. I just wanted to sleep. But how could I sleep when all I could think about was “could I be pregnant?”

I frantically searched the bathroom and found an expired dollar store test. I figured what the hell, just take the test, and let it be negative so I can stop all of this foolishness and go to bed! Only, it wasn’t negative. The pregnant test showed positive!

I walked into the living room and told Chris he’d better go to the store for another pregnancy test because this one says we’re pregnant! After three more tests that night, researching false positives, foods that I may have eaten, etc. we nervously laughed for the next couple of days.

We didn’t have a car big enough, our house wasn’t big enough, and I had just quit my job! Again, cautiously optimistic we chose not to find out the gender just to have one last surprise. I also think it was because we still couldn’t wrap our heads around the fact that this was actually happening.

On March 2nd, we welcomed our 3rd son, Tyler, into our family. It turns out that our hearts were big enough to love three sons. 

Looking Back

In four short years, our family of two grew to a family of five! Our house is loud and full of love and we wouldn’t trade it for the world! After IVF and FET, G-d said, “this one is all on me!” We have our “LOT” Lukas, Owen, and Tyler.
I’ll never forget Dr. Garde, Mary, and all of the amazing people we met along our journey with Shady Grove Fertility. The countless phone calls and emails, making sure we received the correct meds and ensuring that financing was coming through. I’m not sure we would have made the choice to try “just one more time” without the knowledge, support, understanding, and encouragement from Shady Grove Fertility.


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Diagnosis and treatment

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Infertility terms
In vitro fertilization (IVF)
Frozen embryo transfer (FET)
Unexplained infertility

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Woodbridge, Virginia location
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