Dave and I met on a blind date. I knew that by our third date I was in love with him and wanted to marry him. We got married in 2008. I went through stages on whether or not I wanted to have kids. Finally, in 2011, we decided we would start trying.
Finding unexpected answers
I always thought I would get pregnant the first month of trying. So many people I knew did, or at least it felt that way. After six months of not getting pregnant, I started to think something was not right. When we hit the one-year mark, I called Shady Grove Fertility directly. I was able to schedule a consultation with Dr. Joseph Osheroff. He ordered fertility tests for both of us, and when the results came in we learned that I had low egg reserve and thyroid issues, and Dave had male factor infertility. I saw a specialist for my thyroid and was diagnosed with Hashimotos.
After getting my thyroid regulated, we were finally able to proceed with treatment. Dr. Osheroff recommended going right to In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) based on our fertility issues. I was scared about having to do shots. We started our first cycle, and in mid-September, we were ready for the egg retrieval. I woke up at 3:00 a.m. the morning of with really bad cramps. I thought something was wrong but did not say anything to my husband or doctor.
When we got to Rockville, I was still cramping. They took me in for the retrieval and I still stayed quiet. When I woke up, the doctor told me I had ovulated early, which is what I already knew. They were only able to retrieve five eggs. I was devastated. They called me later with the fertilization report with only one fertilizing. Again I felt devastated. My husband reminded me you only need one egg and one sperm to get pregnant. That helped.
After the transfer, I made it through the two-week wait okay. The nurse called in the afternoon of my beta test and told me it was negative. Again I thought, “Why didn’t this work the first time?” We went into our second cycle right away.
Persevering forward and trying again
We had to do another fresh IVF cycle because we didn’t have any frozen embryos to use. My protocol was changed and we had much more success. Fifteen eggs were retrieved, eleven fertilized normally. On transfer day, I felt different because I now knew what to expect. We had five embryos frozen in this cycle.
The two-week wait was much harder this time. Going through all this made me realize how badly I wanted to have a family. The day before the beta test, I was hysterical and couldn’t stop crying. In the afternoon, I got the wonderful news that we were pregnant. We had our six-week ultrasound and I started telling people who knew what I was going through that we were pregnant. I was so happy.
At our eight-week ultrasound in December, the doctor told us that there was no longer a heartbeat. Again I felt devastated. I had a D&C and learned that the embryo was genetically abnormal. It helped me emotionally to know that was the case. We had to wait for my hormone levels to get back in the normal range before we could proceed with our next cycle.
Using our frozen embryos
Finally, in April 2013 we started a Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) cycle. This was the last cycle my husband and I would have covered by insurance, and we decided if it didn’t work we would take a year or more to reevaluate what we would do. I handled it much differently this time. I told no one, not my sisters with whom I am really close. I felt like I had talked about it so much before, it was no longer about me and my husband… everyone knew everything. This time, the two-week wait was really hard. I was crying hysterically the few days leading up to the beta test. This time felt different. The shots, the monitoring, the transfer all felt more relaxed, less pressure. I guess because I knew what to expect, but also I knew I had embryos already.
I got the wonderful news on the afternoon of May 1st, we were pregnant. At my second beta test the numbers didn’t go up as much as the doctors would have liked. I did a third beta and the numbers looked great but the doctor wanted to do a placement check – they were concerned that the pregnancy wasn’t implanted in my uterus. At five weeks, the ultrasound looked great. At six weeks we saw the heart beating. I wanted to get past the eight-week mark because that is when we received the bad news before.
At the ultrasound appointment, I saw the heartbeat before the tech pointed it out. I was so happy, elated, excited, and relieved all at once. We “graduated” from Shady Grove Fertility, and I continued my hormone injections until week 10 and saw my regular OB. At week 11, we heard the heartbeat externally for the first time.
We are currently 18+ weeks pregnant and are expecting our little girl. I was convinced I would have a boy since both my sisters have all boys. I am so excited to be having the first granddaughter in my family. I am already nesting, which can drive Dave crazy sometimes. He is so excited and nervous too.
My advice to a friend
I would tell my friend that although you might feel alone, you are not. While in treatment, I would go into the office and feel like I was the only one dealing with infertility, even though there would be five to ten other women waiting for their appointments too. It’s okay to seek help through support groups, counseling, or telling people what you are going through. I am open about sharing my infertility. I am not ashamed; I also realized just how strong I am. Going through the difficult times and having come out on the other side – I have learned a lot about the process, myself, and my truly incredibly supportive husband. We stuck together through the downs, and our relationship is stronger than ever, even if I forget to tell him that sometimes.