Life prior to our diagnosis was not your average love story. I already had a 2 1/2-year-old son when we first started dating. So, we spent many evenings watching cartoons and doing family activities on the weekends. We didn’t have much downtime — we both work a lot. We bought our first home in Pennsylvania — in the middle of the pandemic. That very day, we got engaged on our front porch!
When I first met my now fiancé, Steve, he became the best role model and father figure to my little one. We knew that we wanted to grow our family when the time was right.
Two years later and after 10+ months of trying without any luck, my OB/GYN referred us to Shady Grove Fertility in Towson. This is where we met Dr. Selma Amrane — our fertility angel.
After thorough testing, labs, and ultrasounds, we reached our diagnosis — male factor infertility. We learned we only had a 1% chance to conceive naturally. We were both devastated when we received the news of having MFI. It was a very emotional time for us. Instead of letting it take control of us, we took control of the situation.
Dr. Amrane was our guiding light. She had faith that we would have a successful in vitro fertilization (IVF) with intracytoplasmic sperm injection (ICSI) journey with the work of the care team at SGF.
Being completely transparent, the thought and process of IVF were extremely overwhelming. Your entire life revolves around stimming and monitoring. Already having a young child made the IVF process a little bit more challenging. Timing is literally EVERYTHING in this process. When my body showed great signs from the stims — felt so relieved. It was working, we were making progress! In the back of my mind — I still worried so much about ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS), especially since we planned on a fresh embryo transfer.
However, Dr. Amrane and the PHENOMENAL nurses at SGF put my mind at ease from the very beginning. They welcomed us with open arms and were available for any questions we had — and boy did we have a lot of them!
The SGF care team was hands down the most caring people we have ever met. From my many ultrasounds, my hysteroscopy, my egg retrieval, I could not ask for more loving people. They treat you like family. They always listen. Most importantly, they were always there to help.
The first delivery of medication to our front door made it all surreal. We had waited for this for what seemed like an eternity. It all sank in at that very moment.
We went through all of the emotions — we cried, we were excited, we were nervous, and most importantly, we were grateful — grateful for this opportunity.
After a very successful stimulation, lead us to a successful egg retrieval. After a few days of recovery, we discussed a fresh embryo transfer with our highest-graded embryo. We are so thankful that we did.
Our little embryo stuck and continued to grow. Pregnancy this time around was smooth. I enjoyed every second of it. Many more visits to maternal-fetal medicine than I ever anticipated- which gave us a little anxiety. We just wanted our baby to be healthy.
She is now our precious little miracle. All thanks to the team at SGF. We named our little miracle Alora, — meaning “my beautiful dream.”
After the birth of our daughter, we spent the first few weeks being very emotional. Reflecting on everything it took to get her into this world while holding her in our arms, is just a feeling I can’t even put into words. We are just so blessed.
If there is anything that I have learned from this journey, it’s that I am far stronger than I gave myself credit for — both physically and mentally.
We would encourage others to seek assistance at Shady Grove Fertility. They will be welcomed and treated with the utmost respect. For anyone suffering from infertility, I would tell them to keep their head high — everyone’s journey is different. Always remember, dreams can come true!