Christopher and I have been together for 20 years. We began dating during our senior year of high school and will celebrate 14 years of marriage this October 6th.
After 1 year of trying to conceive naturally, my physician suggested that I should see a fertility specialist in the area. I called our insurance company and they gave me the names of three different specialists. I met with a specialist and she started me on Clomid and Ovidrel (trigger shot) the first month. We did intrauterine insemination (IUI), which failed. The next month we did a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) to make sure my tubes were open (they were).
Between 2004 and September 2006, we had SEVEN failed IUI attempts. Chris and I thought our dreams of having a baby were never going to happen.
Facing a new struggle
In December of 2006, I was also diagnosed with thyroid cancer, which resulted in a total thyroidectomy followed by ten months of radiation, eliminating the possibility of having a child in 2007. In 2008, we were given the green light to try again, which resulted in several failed IUI attempts. Between September 2009 and September 2012, I went through the same procedures of Clomid, Ovidrel, and IUI and still no success.
In October 2012, our specialist said that there was nothing wrong with my tubes and that while Chris’ sperm count was good, it was stated to us that, “maybe it’s just not strong enough,” and it was recommended we use donor sperm.
Trying a new treatment path
After a LONG conversation, we agreed to give it a try. On October 10, 2012, we used a donor and it worked. For the next several weeks, we were overcome with joy knowing that our dreams of becoming parents were now a reality. However, it didn’t last long. I kept having pain and spotting. Our specialist said it was normal and that it was just my uterus stretching and we had nothing to worry about. They told me they would see me after the Thanksgiving holiday for our first ultrasound.
On November 25, 2012, the pain had become so bad that I could not walk. We went to the ER where it was determined that our baby was growing in my right fallopian tube. They told us the tube was about to rupture and if it did, it could be life-threatening for both myself and our baby. The only option we had was two shots to get rid of the cells, as surgery was not an option because of the possibility of hemorrhage.
In February 2013, we went to see our specialist again and she said she believed it was a fluke of a thing that happened and she urged us to try again. So we tried in May, June, and July and nothing happened, and I actually thought I was having another tubal pregnancy from the pain I was experiencing with the Clomid. In August 2013, we had a sit-down and she finally said there was nothing else she could do for us and that we were basically out of options.
This was not good enough. I wanted answers, so I did more research and found Shady Grove Fertility.
Coming to Shady Grove Fertility
We had our first appointment with SGF on September 20, 2013. At our appointment, Dr. Sasson determined that my right tube was badly damaged, and not only should it have been removed when I had the ectopic pregnancy, but we never should have had stimulation, because the tube could have ruptured. He said the tube had to be removed before anything else could happen.
When we were told the cost of the in vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, we were worried. We thought to ourselves how are we going to ever afford this? We work very hard for everything we have and to add another bill was going to be tough. So as we discussed it all the way home and we decided we would find the money somehow. It was a small price to pay for a chance to be parents.
On October 1, 2013, I went into surgery to have the tube removed. When I woke up, the surgeon had told Chris that the tube had fluid left in it and it had infected the other tube to the point that it too was damaged and would never work, so it also had to be removed. The surgeon told Chris and I that the tubes were filled with endometriosis, and had this been checked prior and removed, the chance we would have had children on our own was very high.
After another long conversation, we came up with the finances and started on our IVF journey at SGF. Dr. Sasson won Chris’ trust, which I thought NO doctor would ever be able to do, but he did and it was awesome.
The ups and downs of treatment
We had our first transfer—which was a fresh cycle—on December 16, 2013, but unfortunately, it didn’t work. We were devastated. We were so sure it was going to work and we had our hopes up much higher than we should have. But how could we not? Chris and I finally came to the realization that maybe it just wasn’t meant to be and we should stop trying and stop having to go through the heartbreak.
But then I spoke to our nurse Abby and she was a gift from God. She calmed us down and encouraged us to try a frozen embryo transfer because most people have better success. She explained everything to us in detail so that we understood exactly what was to happen with the procedure.
I said to Chris that I wanted to try one more time. We had six embryos left. They were our babies and they deserved a chance.
So, on February 12, 2014, we transferred two more embryos.
Only one of the two developed, but it worked, and after all of the hard work, prayers, and love, we welcomed Benjamin into our lives on October 9, 2014. He was due on Halloween, but he just couldn’t wait to meet everyone.
Advice for future patients
Since our first appointment with Dr. Sasson and SGF, we have sent six couples to SGF and thus far, three are pregnant, and one is getting ready to start meds. One is having a transfer in Maryland, and the other one is doing a transfer at Chesterbrook. We will continue to spread the word and be the strongest advocates for the wonderful work that SGF does.
Words cannot describe how thankful we are to have crossed paths with SGF and we will always be tremendously grateful for all that they have done for our family. That’s right, our family—and that family exists because of SGF.