Ten years ago, I became pregnant. Unfortunately, from someone that had always wanted to be a mother, it was not the experience I expected to have. My first pregnancy turned out to be an ectopic pregnancy, which occurs when the egg and sperm fertilize and implant in the fallopian tubes. I was rushed into emergency surgery and my doctor tried removing the embryo before it caused my fallopian tube to rupture.
We were too late. I barely had enough time to process that I was even pregnant and I was six weeks along and in critical condition. The rupture caused internal bleeding and the loss of an ovary and one of my fallopian tubes. I can still remember the doctor telling me after I started to recover, “It is extremely rare to have a second ectopic pregnancy. You will become pregnant again; don’t worry.”
After my body was able to heal, about nine months later, I became pregnant again. I knew all the signs and symptoms to watch out for this time. I went in to the doctor and they kept a close eye on me for two weeks. But I was told again that it was another ectopic pregnancy, and due to the scarring, my second fallopian tube needed to be removed. By the time I turned 21, I was told I would never be able to conceive a child on my own.
I knew I wanted nothing more than to be a mother. So, at 25, I decided to start the process and without a spouse went into a fertility center in Seattle, where I was told the cost of treatment. I was not able to afford the treatment at the time, but knowing the cost I started to save so that one day I would be able to move forward with treatment and have a family.
Focusing on a family
Once I met my husband, John, we both knew we wanted to start a family right away. In June of 2012, we decided to go to Shady Grove Fertility in Frederick, Maryland, and have a consultation with Dr. Jason Bromer. He explained the process in great detail to us, and had the financial counselor and nurse talk with us as well. We started our treatment a few months later in late August.
I would just like to say, that no one tells you what to expect once you start the process of taking hormones to fertilize your eggs. It is one of the toughest experiences of one’s life. You have to inject yourself with hormones all the way up until the day of your retrieval. Your life changes the minute you start the entire process. If you have friends or family that are nearby, use their assistance to lean on. Make sure your family is aware of the possible mood swings that will occur while taking the hormones.
Throughout the process there were points that were difficult; like giving myself injections, spending what felt like every day at the doctors for blood work and ultrasounds, and the normal anxiety of ‘is this going to work?’ But you should know that overall there are more positives than negatives.
You meet wonderful people with extremely warm hearts. They contact you by phone, email, or in-person every single day. Dr. Bromer, my physician, contacted me personally, more than once; just to check on me and make sure I was doing well. My nurse, Allison, was amazing, she not only responded to you as if you were her one and only patient, but she responded quickly within the same day by either a phone call or email. I absolutely loved feeling that I was the only patient during the entire process. Even though the office was extremely busy, every single staff member that I worked with made me feel as though I was the only patient.
My treatment was actually quite easy. It seemed as though it took forever, but in reality, from the start of the hormone shots to the day they transferred the embryo back into my uterus, was 14 days. It was scary and I have to say the worst time for me was the “two week wait.” After 14 days the doctor and nurse can tell you if you are successfully pregnant or not. After you are told the news, they keep an extremely close eye on you for the first eight weeks, with weekly ultrasounds and bloodwork. In that process, I did not have any bumps in the road and we were successful after the first try.
I did not have an easy pregnancy though. I had extreme nausea and vomiting for the first five months, and then had one great month for my sixth month. I was then put on bed rest from my sixth month until delivery, as I had gone into pre-term labor twice.
It was getting towards the end of May, when I went into my weekly check-up and told the doctor I was not feeling well. Because of the migraines and my blood pressure rising, they decided to do bloodwork. The next day I was told that I needed to go to the hospital to deliver my son, as my blood levels were not good.
I had what was called HELLP syndrome. HELLP syndrome is a group of symptoms that occur in pregnant women who have: H — hemolysis (the breakdown of red blood cells); EL — elevated liver enzymes; LP — low platelet count. I started Magnesium Sulfate Drip to keep me from having seizures and Pitocin to get labor started. After eight hours of labor with no progress, and the lab work getting worse, we decided for a c-section.
On May 29th, 2013, we delivered a baby boy successfully through a c-section. He was born at 10:35 pm, weighing 7lbs 7oz and 20 ½ inches long. Because he was born at 36 weeks, he did have some medical complications and needed to stay in the NICU for five days after birth. 36 hours after my son was born, they discontinued my Magnesium Sulfate and fortunately, my blood levels had returned to normal. After this time I was officially reunited with my son.
I have never been so in love with someone until my son. I am a mother, cherishing every single moment of my life with him. I have waited so long to have the opportunity to be a mother and it was the best decision of my life to use Shady Grove Fertility to conceive my child.
My advice to a friend
First, don’t give up your dream to be a parent. It took more than ten years from the first loss to a successful delivery of my son. Trust in the doctors and staff at the fertility center. Personally, I have been to two different fertility centers, and by far Shady Grove Fertility’s staff was amazing from the minute I walked into the door.
I can still walk through the Frederick office and be greeted by the staff and they remember me. Everyone always has smiles on their faces and treat you with the utmost respect. They truly care, so trust in them and the advice they give you. Don’t wait, if you are having issues conceiving, go to them even just for a consult. They are full of amazingly helpful advice.