At the age of 14, I was diagnosed with PCOS. Since then, I have been off and on birth control pills for about 11 to 12 years because of irregular periods and severe menstrual bleeding. In 2002, I left my home country for higher education and I discontinued taking the pills.
After an emergency visit to my doctor due to severe uncontrollable bleeding I started taking birth control pills again, but this time she suggested I get a second opinion from an infertility specialist. The specialist told me that I could be infertile, but at the time, I did not care much about the infertility issues and did not believe I could be the one suffering from infertility.
My medical problems didn’t stop there. In 2005, I was also diagnosed with high levels of estrogen and I had to discontinue the birth control pills. Then in 2007, I had a laparoscopy because of endometriosis and returned to the birth control pills to help regulate the endometriosis.
Trying on our own
I married my wonderful husband in 2009 who was aware of the future problems we probably would experience with trying to have children. During the first year of our marriage, we enjoyed married life and I worked on my dissertation. In 2010, we decided it was the “perfect time” to have kids and approached an OBGYN. He suggested that we try on our own to conceive naturally. We tried and tried every month for a year but were unsuccessful. By the end of the year, I knew I had to use some medications to conceive; so we approached the doctor again.
All indications were that I was ovulating, my Fallopian tubes were open and my husband’s semen analysis came back great. The doctor decided to put me on Clomid to help me ovulate more regularly. I completed six courses of Clomid medication with no results. At this point, it did really hurt day after day and month after month of going through the same routines, emotions and disappointments.
Trying to conceive was becoming an emotional roller coaster. I lost confidence in the doctor who was treating me and decided to switch to another. In my first visit, I remember she explained to me the different reasons for infertility. She said mine was unexplained infertility but I could be successful in getting pregnant. I began to regain confidence that my body knew what to do.
The doctor had to put me back on another three courses of Clomid and Ovidrel medications, but again I was unsuccessful. By this time, my OBGYN mentioned possible ovarian dysfunction and decided to refer me to a fertility specialist — Dr. Sagoskin at the Shady Grove Fertility Center, Rockville office.
Seeing a specialist
I was tired of having intercourse with the intent of trying to conceive and being unsuccessful and was ready to consider alternative treatment options. When we first walked into Shady Grove Fertility, I was confident that I would get pregnant. I remember Dr. Sagoskin welcomed us with a great smile and confidence into his office. Looking into my history he offered two options: IUI or IVF. He explained to us in detail about the two procedures, talked about the success rates and gave us a list of tests to have completed.
After talking it over we decided to move forward with IVF, we were happy with our decision and were looking forward to getting started. During the second appointment, he explained to us the protocol for the first IVF cycle. Like many other times in my life, the protocol called for birth control pills at the beginning of the cycle.
I was called in for the ultrasound during my period and they noticed I had an endometriosis cyst on my right ovary, which was 3cm in size. Dr. Sagoskin said we could proceed with the protocol after the cyst was removed. I returned to my OBGYN and had the laparoscopy to remove the cyst. During the surgery she found several other adhesions, but she assured me that I would get pregnant within the next three months, even though it was stage III endometriosis. She gave me a way to finally focus on some positive energy in the process of getting pregnant.
Finally getting starting
We were able to finally start the protocol for the first cycle of IVF in October. During my stimulation there were so many ups and downs emotionally. Everything was new and I always had that curiosity that would leave me wondering what would happen at the end. The protocols were new to us and we followed them religiously. During the entire procedure, the team at Shady Grove Fertility was available seven days a week to monitor the progress of my growing eggs and updated me with the newest instructions.
I was not scared of the egg retrieval, egg transfer or the needles. Out of six retrieved eggs, I had one embryo transferred. Unfortunately, that cycle was not successful, but I was very encouraged about what my mind could tell my body to do. We took a break for about a month and went back in January.
This time Dr. Sagoskin suggested a couple of changes in the protocol based on the results from our first cycle. We started off with the fresh second IVF cycle protocol in February 2013. I was very optimistic about this cycle and continued my stimulation, along with several sessions of acupuncture. After I started the medications I tried to create positive atmosphere around me. I had my own conscience and prayed for positive results. I had eleven eggs retrieved at my egg retrieval and eight embryos fertilized. On the day 5 transfer, I had two embryos transferred. We requested not to freeze any more embryos. It was the end of the cycle and the two week wait started.
The finish line
I kept myself busy doing crochet, meditation, listening to music, etc. I did not give any room for negative thinking. My nurse, Paige, gave me a lot of support during the whole treatment. She also gave me a two-week wait coping card on the day of my embryo transfer, which really helped me get through the wait. I never had any pregnancy symptoms but kept myself positive. I knew I was going to make it this time.
I was called in for my beta test on March 4th. I remember it was a Monday. We walked in early at 6.45am for the blood work. By 10:30am my nurse called. I remember her saying “Are you ready for your happy times?” –it finally happened… I was pregnant.
My husband was at work and I thought I would surprise him by stopping by, but called instead and told him “Congratulations daddy!” He was so excited and responded with “Congratulations mommy!”
We are so grateful to Dr. Sagoskin and his team. On the day of our first ultrasound, he said “Congratulations, you made it. I am so happy for you both” and gave a very warm hug to both of us. The protocols and the entire process seemed to be strenuous and stressful but at the end they really paid off.
My advice to a friend
Now, I am in my second trimester and due in November. My journey was awesome even though at times it was hard. My advice for the others who are trying to conceive is never feel like you are alone, they are so many people around us who also struggle with infertility.
When starting IUI or IVF treatments, have confidence in yourself and your medical team, together you can get through it. The entire Shady Grove Fertility team from the front office to financial counselors, nurses, and doctors are well coordinated and cater to the needs of each patient. Try not to browse the Internet and relate your problem with the others, who might have other issues, everyone is different.
Do not get discouraged when a family member or friends ask about getting pregnant. I had to overcome answering many of my acquaintances too. I used to be upfront with them and never lost my perseverance.