Paul and I had been together over seven years before we started trying to conceive. We were both extremely physically active and I competed in marathons, half marathons, triathlons and 5Ks all year round. I was also a group fitness instructor and personal trainer. Until we got pregnant by accident, the thought of fertility or trying to conceive a baby had not even entered our minds. We both enjoyed being active and thought we would wait a few years to start a family.
I had extremely heavy, irregular periods and I decided in October 2011 that I would stop taking my birth control pills to see if that would help relieve the symptoms. I had mentioned these periods to my gynecologist at my yearly checkups and he said it was normal and nothing to worry about. I even called him after an extremely heavy, 10-day period and I was still told not to worry and it would work itself out. In November 2011, the month after I stopped taking my birth control pills, Paul and I found out we were pregnant. We were completely shocked and surprised, but after our initial reactions we were both excited and ready to start our family. I made an appointment with an OB that I was referred to and we thought we were on our way. My initial appointment at six weeks went well and the next step was an eight-week sonogram. We went into the sonogram expecting good news and nothing else. Even when the technician left the room to get a doctor, we still had no idea that anything bad was about to happen. The doctor came in and let us know that there was no heartbeat and we had lost our baby. We were devastated.
We had a D&C right before Christmas and the holidays were a really sad time for us. One thing we knew was that after years of not giving it a thought, we were ready to try to start a family. At a post-D&C sonogram, I was informed by the technician that I had a golf ball-sized fibroid in my uterus. She said that I should consult with my OB to see if it was anything to worry about. At my post-D&C appointment with my OB, I mentioned the fibroid to my doctor and she said it was nothing to worry about and that it would shrink in time and not affect my chances of getting pregnant. This was the start of a two and a half year fertility struggle. Paul and I started trying to get pregnant a few months after the miscarriage and we were surprised when it wasn't happening as easily as we expected. I made an appointment with my OB to discuss it with her and she told me not to worry, I was still young (35-years-old) and it would happen in time. It didn't.
Embarking on the Path to Treatment
After about six months of trying on our own, Paul and I decided to see a fertility specialist. I had heard about Shady Grove Fertility but we decided against it. We chose a smaller fertility center because we were intimidated by the whole thing. Fertility struggles were new to us and even thinking about it made me nervous and anxious. Even though I had heard such good things about Shady Grove Fertility, I was afraid we would be just another number in a large hospital-type setting. Of course that wasn't our experience at all. As a matter of fact, it was actually the opposite. For example, my original HSG was done at a hospital and it was one of the most uncomfortable experiences I have been through in my life. It seemed like it lasted forever and I had to twist and turn all over the table. On the other hand, my HSG at Shady Grove Fertility was done at Shady Grove by Dr. Beall and it was a completely different experience. There was no discomfort and it was over in a matter of seconds. Dr. Beall talked me through every step of the procedure.
But before I met with Dr. Beall and Shady Grove Fertility, I went to the previously mentioned small fertility center. At our initial consult, I mentioned my fibroid to the doctor and was again told not to worry about it, the fibroid was not affecting my fertility. We were advised to do IUI, and after the initial testing was done we thought we were on our way. After three unsuccessful cycles, I again mentioned the fibroid to my doctor. At this point, it was over a year after my miscarriage. The doctor thought it would be a good idea to check the size of the fibroid. What was the size of a golf ball was now the size of a baseball. I was extremely upset that this thing was inside of me and it was ignored for so long and probably affecting my fertility. It had doubled from its initial size and I was told that it needed to be removed.
I had surgery in August 2013 to have the fibroid removed and during the surgery I was also diagnosed with severe endometriosis. After a few months of recovery, we returned to our fertility specialist in November 2013 and gave IUI another try. It was negative; we were disappointed and discouraged and decided we were done. However, in January 2014, at the suggestion of my sister-in-law, we made an appointment at Shady Grove Fertility. We met with Dr. Yazigi in February 2014. Our initial visit was a completely different experience than we had before. He sat down and talked with us for over an hour and listened to our story and took the time to explain everything to us and what his suggestion was. We decided we would try IUI. It was a slightly different process than what we had gone through before and we thought it was worth a try. We immediately completed all of our initial testing and we were ready to start our first IUI in April 2014. The insemination was scheduled for April 22, which was also our nine year anniversary. We knew it had to be good luck and it was! We found out two weeks later that after over two years of trying, we were finally pregnant! We were ecstatic! Our son, Benjamin, was born on December 23, a little over three years after our heartbreaking miscarriage. He is a happy, healthy boy and we couldn’t be happier ourselves!
Our experience with Shady Grove Fertility has been amazing. They walked us through everything and kept us well-informed for every step of the process. The nurses were positive and always willing to answer a question or offer an encouraging word or smile. We couldn't have asked for a better experience.
Melissa’s Advice for Future Patients
Don't give up! We were ready to give up so many times, but we knew what we wanted and we would do whatever we had to do to get there. The struggle was not easy at times and there were many tears and emotional days. Keep working with your doctor. Keep communication open with your spouse. You will have ups and downs and people around you will be getting pregnant, but know that by going to Shady Grove Fertility you are doing everything possible to help make your dreams come true.