My husband and I knew going into marriage that we wanted one child. That being said, we were not in a rush to have a child. We had set 30 as the time we’d begin trying to conceive and decided to enjoy life as a couple prior to that.
We love to be active and to spend time outdoors. We are very into biking, running, hiking, kayaking, taking long walks, taking trips to new places, and making time to stop at any and all mom-and-pop coffee shops. We’re also active in our church community and volunteer in the marriage ministry, which has helped us in general and then throughout our fertility journey.
In 2018, after nearly 4 years of marriage and into our 30s, my husband and I decided it was time to grow our family. Both my husband and I are extremely active, biking 5,000+ miles a year. Because of this, and in conjunction with not having any other prior health issues, we did not anticipate having any difficulty conceiving.
After a year of trying to conceive on our own, we realized that medical intervention might be needed; however, right after visiting my OBGYN and consulting with them about fertility treatments, the COVID pandemic hit.
Just like everything else, our dreams of having a child were put on hold for nearly half a year.
In June, we were finally able to begin treatments. After two failed rounds of Clomid and timed intercourse at our OBGYN, we decided we needed to look for more specialized treatment.
We decided to go with Shady Grove Fertility (SGF), as their reputation, reviews, and innovative financial programs like the Shared Risk 100% Refund Program seemed to make the most sense to us. Our initial consultation with Dr. Ryan Martin at SGF’s Warrington office immediately put us at ease and reaffirmed our decision to pursue our fertility treatments at SGF. From the start, Dr. Martin’s passion for his career was evident, as was his knowledge and patient-centered decision-making. From our initial consultation to our final appointment, Dr. Martin never rushed us, allowed us to ask any and all questions, and made us feel as if we were his only patient.
After completing the initial testing, we had a follow-up meeting with Dr. Martin, where we spoke about our potential treatment options. Having been trying to conceive for nearly 2 years at this point, we decided that jumping right to in vitro fertilization (IVF) made the most sense for us. We immediately signed up for SGF’s amazing Shared Risk 100% Refund Program, while also opting for genetic testing of our embryos to give ourselves the best possible chance to conceive.
After a very successful egg retrieval (29 total eggs retrieved, 19 mature, and 18 fertilized), we were left with only 4 genetically normal embryos after testing.
To this day, I still remember saying to my husband, “I truly believe that our child is one of these 4 embryos.”
While this eventually came true, it took 2 miscarriages and a lot of heartaches. The first frozen embryo transfer resulted in a very large subchorionic hematoma that appeared around week 4 and continued to grow until it finally resulted in a miscarriage during week 7 of pregnancy. A few days later, a DNC procedure was performed.
This miscarriage was a huge setback mentally and physically for us, as my body essentially put itself into labor and landed me in the emergency room. During the months it took my body to return to its normal hCG levels, our faith was tested in ways that it never had been before. While we were questioning whether having a child would ever be in our future, the staff at SGF Warrington kept our spirits high and encouraged us every moment of our journey.
It was evident to both of us that this was far more than a job for these nurses and doctors — each of them had a personal investment in us, wanting our dreams to have a family to come true almost as much as we did.
Nearly 4 months after the miscarriage, we tried our second frozen embryo transfer. After the painstaking 2 week wait, my hCG pregnancy test came back positive, but at an extremely low number that did not seem likely to sustain a pregnancy. The follow-up pregnancy test 2 days later showed that we were no longer pregnant. Again, our faith was tested and the same questions surfaced; however, this time stung a bit more, as we had now used 2 of our 4 possible embryos.
In our moments of doubt, my husband and I vividly remember meeting with Dr. Martin and his reassurance that he was “going to get us there.” This simple phrase gave us more hope than he could ever know, as we fully trusted his abilities as a fertility specialist.
In July 2021, we went in for our third frozen embryo transfer. As a benefit, SGF had recently relaxed their COVID protocols and were now allowing partners to attend appointments. For this transfer, my husband was now able to be in the room with me and we were able to experience this moment together.
Two weeks later, we learned that we were pregnant for a third time. We were cautiously optimistic after our experiences with the first 2 pregnancies but were over the moon with the news. Everything was great, until week 6 when unexpected bleeding brought us in for an emergency appointment. To our horror, another subchorionic hematoma had developed. The staff was extremely compassionate, but also realistic with us, about the chances of the pregnancy being able to survive the large clot.
However, with unwavering prayer and Dr. Martin’s medical wisdom, the fetus continued to grow and the clot continued to shrink, week by week and appointment after appointment.
Again, the SGF staff went above and beyond, seeing us weekly for ultrasounds to ensure the fetus was developing and to track the size of the hematoma. After expressing concern about leaving at the typical 10-week mark (the point when a typical fertility patient is released back to the care of their OBGYN), Dr. Martin allowed us to remain on a few extra weeks, mostly just to ease our nerves. Our graduation day was a bittersweet day — one we were eagerly anticipating, as it meant that our dreams of growing our family were another step closer, but it also meant leaving the amazingly talented and caring staff at SGF.
While the transition back to our OBGYN went well and the care we received there was also exceptional, it was not without its share of trials (another, larger subchorionic hematoma developed a few weeks later).
In the end, we were blessed with our little miracle, a son, who made his arrival 3 weeks early.
Lawson has been an amazing baby. While he came at exactly 37 weeks, he was completely healthy and has been growing and meeting his milestones. We feel so fortunate to be able to have time off from work to spend watching him babble, play, and develop. Unless he is hungry or needs a new diaper, Lawson is rarely unhappy. Just like his mom and dad, he loves being outside, staring out the windows at the sunshine, and has been such a trooper, allowing us to take him on a 9-mile hike at only 2 months old and daily 5+ mile walks in the stroller.
Lawson has been such a blessing for us! Neither Brett nor I were really “baby” people, but very rarely has a day gone by where one of us doesn’t comment about how amazing our little guy is! You often hear people make comments about how being a parent teaches you an entirely new kind of love, and that’s been so true for both of us.
We now consider our family complete and can’t even begin to imagine life without him, but know that it is thanks to medicine, science, and God. We are forever grateful for SGF, the services that they provide, their knowledge, and their patient-first care. If you or anyone else you know is in need of specialty fertility care, do yourself a favor and make an appointment with SGF as soon as possible!
Throughout our fertility journey, we learned how to compartmentalize and still live in the moment. I also learned to overcome my fear of needles! While this one part of our life was a struggle and one that came with a lot of disappointment for so long, we tried to remain grounded in our faith and focused on all of the positives we had going on in our lives. While we both had our moments of discouragement, we were really good at building each other up and working through difficult times by not dwelling on what was going wrong but rather on what was going right.
It’s a journey and one that is unique for everyone. While you will not know what the result will be going into it, it’s good to have a clear line of communication between you and your partner. It’s best to be able to speak openly, honestly, and freely about your feelings throughout the process, and to do what makes you and your partner feel most comfortable.
Do your research about your options, ask any and all questions, and make sure you have an outlet to go to when you’re feeling overwhelmed. We purposely chose to keep our circle (those who actually knew about our fertility struggles) small during our journey because that worked for us and our personalities, but that might not be the case for everyone.
At the end of the day, you need to do what makes you and your partner comfortable, not everyone else.