Most people don't think that infertility will be an issue, and I was no different. My husband and I were married a few years before we started trying to have kids. We wanted to spend some time together in our marriage before starting a family, and we used that time to travel, spend time with friends, and fix up our first home. Like most people, we thought that as soon as we were ready for children, we would be blessed with immediate news of our first pregnancy. Little did we know we had a long journey ahead of us, and the urge to have children would only intensify as we worked through that process together.
“I still had no idea how difficult the road ahead would be.”
I stopped taking the birth control pill when we were ready to start trying to have a baby, but after almost 8 months of not getting a period, I made an appointment with my gynecologist to discover that my ovaries were covered in cysts and it may be difficult to become pregnant. A diagnosis of polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) was given, but because I didn't have any symptoms or qualities other than the cysts, I had trouble accepting it. Although I left that appointment feeling very down, I still had no idea how difficult the road ahead would be. Fertility treatment is tedious in all aspects—body, mind, and soul—but the emotional part may very well be the hardest.
We started off using Clomid with my OB/GYN in hopes that it would initiate ovulation. We also had high hopes that more invasive forms of treatment would not be necessary. As time passed, it was obvious that Clomid wasn't working, and we needed to try something different. My OB/GYN recommended that we go to Shady Grove Fertility. We moved on to try two rounds of intrauterine insemination (IUI), both of which had to be cancelled due to overstimulation. After all the ice packs, shots, bruises, and discomfort I had gone through, hearing the cycles had to be cancelled was heartbreaking.
Moving to IVF
After the failures with less invasive treatments, we decided in vitro fertilization (IVF) would be our best option. I will never forget the moment when our nurse called to tell us we were pregnant after the first round. It was pure elation and joy, and felt like an out of body experience. I will also never forget the moment we went in for an 8 week ultrasound to find that the heart had stopped beating and I had miscarried. It was the lowest point in my life, and I wasn't sure how I would be able to continue. I was in a dark place, and wasn't sure if or how I would be able to go through it again. After some time had passed, I decided I was ready to move forward—nothing was going to stop me from building a family.
Our next frozen cycle was a failure, and because of that, we decided to have our embryos genetically tested for abnormalities. To our surprise, most came back normal and we now had a little more confidence going in to our next cycle. I tried to be more relaxed about the next cycle. During the two week wait, my husband and I took a trip to New York City to get our mind off the waiting game. I felt free on that trip, and I truly think that had something to do with the results. When I got home, I took a test and found out I was pregnant...again!
We were cautiously optimistic (more cautious than optimistic, really). We didn't tell many people the news, and walked around on pins and needles with each week's passing. On Christmas Eve, I was having major cramping and started bleeding. I called my husband into the bathroom as I sobbed that I knew something was wrong yet again, and I was already unsure I would be able to pick up the pieces with another loss. We drove immediately to SGF for an ultrasound, during which the doctor said "both heartbeats look great...” BOTH heartbeats!?? After everything we had been through, implanting just ONE embryo for each IVF cycle to avoid the risk of twins, we were expecting identical twins. It was truly a miracle.
Life with Our Miracles
Life with 9 month old twins is exhausting and exhilarating at the same time. I never imagined our family would look like this, but now I can't picture it any other way.
Working with Shady Grove Fertility
I cannot say enough good things about the care and kindness we received at Shady Grove Fertility. Infertility is a difficult and isolating journey, and the team at SGF is both sensitive and kind. Dr. O’Brien was reassuring and patient with us, and kept us confident when we needed her to. I would urge anyone having similar issues to reach out to SGF. It was the best decision we have ever made and we will be forever grateful to SGF for helping us start our family.
Lauren’s Advice for Future Patients
Infertility can be isolating and lonely—it's not a topic that people feel comfortable sharing, and that can be difficult. I found comfort in talking to people who had been through the same thing, and also shared my journey with a couple of my closest friends, which I found to be very helpful. Do your best to stay positive and know that there are so many options to build the family you want to have; these events you are experiencing are only temporary and are so worth it when you get to your goal, whether that is becoming pregnant, adopting, or some other means of welcoming a child to your family.