My husband and I met at college in Florida of 2012, fell in love, and married in April of 2015. My husband is a two-time cancer survivor, now a police officer, and I am a registered nurse. Before we met, my husband had Acute Lymphocytic Leukemia. Once at the age of 6 and at age 16, he had a more aggressive form of ALL that spread to his spine, brain, and testicles. Before receiving chemo and radiation, he provided a sample of sperm for cryopreservation. My husband was given at most 12-24 hours to make a decision and also to provide the sample. He is ever so grateful for his parents’ guidance and support through that time. Anyone about to undergo cancer treatment should talk to their doctor about their fertility preservation options before starting.
Deciding to start a family
About a year after marriage, we decided to start the process of having a baby. We researched many facilities and found Shady Grove Fertility to be the best choice. We met with Dr. Andrea Reh and began the process of trying to start a family. The process started with fertility testing and ended with In vitro fertilization (IVF) and frozen embryo transfer (FET). The process was emotionally and physically taxing. The support from my husband and our families kept me #SGFstrong. There were different highs and lows, but the most difficult for me was the hormone therapy and the egg retrieval procedure. SGF did an amazing job taking care of me during the IVF process and I was monitored very carefully to prevent hyperstimulation, which could have happened after the egg retrieval.
I was unable to undergo a fresh transfer 5 days after my retrieval, as my doctor was cautious and did not want me to go into hyperstimulation.
Frozen embryo transfer
Our embryos grew to SGF’s specifications and were then frozen for later use. I picked a date one and a half months after my egg retrieval for the frozen embryo transfer. Up until that date, I was on birth control, and two weeks before my transfer, I would start estrogen and progesterone until transfer and hopefully 10 weeks into my pregnancy.
The two-week wait is as hard as they say. Every single feeling or change during those two weeks constantly keeps you wondering if you are pregnant. It is enough to drive you crazy. I will say the moment you find out at your beta blood test that your HCG levels are appropriate and you are pregnant, it will make you cry. All of that hard work, tears, patience, sadness, and disappointments are all for this moment.
That is not where it ends. There is a long way to go in pregnancy before you see that beautiful child.
I had constant monitoring of my thyroid levels. Thanks to SGF for finding out I had Hashimoto’s disease. The testing they did before treatment showed my thyroid levels were slightly higher than normal. Ultimately, this led to me needing a high-risk OB/GYN to make sure the baby was growing appropriately due to my lack of food absorption. Of course, every pregnancy is different, but for me, pregnancy was difficult. I was fortunate to carry my baby girl for 40 weeks and 3 days before she was born into the world.
I would not trade that pregnancy or IVF process for anything. Our baby girl is worth every penny and the difficult moment we went through.
Our miracle baby
Our beautiful baby girl was born on June 5, 2017, at 8 lbs exactly. I was monitored very well by SGF during the whole process and we are very grateful for the outstanding care we received. The process to have our baby girl was more than worth it. She is everything to us and a true miracle. G-d has given us many blessings in our lives and our baby girl has been the biggest blessing.
We owe all to G-d for our baby and for giving us Shady Grove Fertility to help us through our journey. My advice to others that may go through this similar situation is to hold onto whatever gets you through the rough times, whether it is faith or an individual because you will need them. Find a program that will help support you financially if that is what’s holding you back from starting this process.
SGF gave us many financial options when we first started. I promise you that every moment you go through emotionally and physically is unimaginably worth it in the end. We are so grateful for our little girl and are very excited for the time when we decide to have another (especially since I only have to do the frozen embryo transfer next time)!
Thank you to Shady Grove Fertility and Dr. Reh for everything.