Geoff and I met in 1999 when we were both in college. In 2004, we got married and expected we wouldn't have children any time soon. We were both young and working on our careers. However, in December of 2005, I missed a period, which never happens to me. I was scared to death at the time - we were living in a one bedroom apartment while Geoff supported us both since I was in medical school. It turns out that it was likely stress-induced, but it put the bug in our brains that we wouldn't mind having a baby, so we kept "not not trying."
A Surprising Diagnosis
Before we knew it, 2007 rolled around and I started residency and we still weren't pregnant. We decided to seek an opinion at the medical institution I was working at. All of our testing came back completely normal, so we were diagnosed with the dreaded unexplained infertility.
We decided to proceed with Intrauterine Insemination (IUI) and went through two rounds before moving to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). In December 2009, I started meds for my first cycle, but I wasn't responding the way they thought I should to the meds. I only ended up getting three follicles, so we converted to an IUI again – which was again negative. My doctor thought this might be the clue to what was wrong. Unfortunately she was right.
We changed protocols for our next IVF cycle and I managed to make it to egg retrieval. I was so excited, but we only had eight follicles, two of which were empty. I remember the day following the retrieval so clearly - I was on rounds at the hospital when I got the call from my doctor. None of the eggs fertilized due to extremely poor egg quality. I was absolutely stunned. I was an otherwise healthy 29-year-old. How could I have Diminished Ovarian Reserve, a diagnosis generally of older women trying to conceive? I spoke to my doctor two days later when we were both stranded at our hospital due to a major snowstorm- our only options were now donor egg treatment and adoption.
Considering all of the Options
Both options proved to be a huge problem. Up until that time, our insurance covered our procedures, but they wouldn't cover any donor material or adoption costs. We had to put our baby plans on the back burner until I started my new job. In the end we decided to pursue both. The wait with adoption was up to four years, which ultimately failed at the last minute.
We decided to see Dr. Ricardo Yazigi at Shady Grove Fertility for a second opinion to see if they thought my eggs were really that terrible. The plus side was that Shady Grove Fertility had a massive donor database and a Shared Risk Program that my old clinic did not. We saw Dr. Yazigi in December 2010 and he confirmed what our other doctor told us and recommended we go the donor egg route.
We were accepted into the Shared Donor Egg Program (1:3) and Shared Risk 100% Refund Program and began our protocol in the spring of 2011. By late April, we transferred one embryo and froze one. Two weeks later we got the devastating news that my HCG level was so low – meaning the pregnancy wasn't viable. We proceeded with a FET cycle in July 2011, but the embryo didn't thaw as well as we were hoping; we never made it to transfer.
We were emotionally drained at that point, so took a break for several months and went back to looking at the donor pool in the fall of 2011. I had decided that if we had two good embryos, we would transfer both because I was so scared we would have the same issue as last time. Our cycle progressed quickly, and on December 20, 2011 we transferred two embryos.
I got my first positive pregnancy test on January 3rd – we were in the 3000's! We knew it would be a multiple pregnancy. We went in for our first scan, and they saw two healthy babies. We were so excited! Ten days later we went back for a follow-up scan, and lo and behold there weren't two babies, now there were three! One embryo had split and we were having triplets.
We had a typically rough triplet pregnancy - going on full bed rest by 28 weeks, hospitalized at 30 weeks, and gave birth to my girls at 33 weeks 4 days. They spent one month in the NICU, but you would never know it now.
They are healthy, happy, rambunctious and almost 2-years-old and we are so blessed to have them in our lives. We are so thankful to Shady Grove Fertility. I can't for a second imagine my life without these beautiful, wonderful little girls, they are the lights of my life.
My Advice to Patients
I would tell them to not wait to seek treatment. We found out relatively early, at least age-wise, but in total it still took us six years to conceive. I also think counseling is such a key component, because the emotional aspect of infertility can have such a big impact on your life. I'm so glad that we met with a social worker prior to proceeding with donor egg treatment.