I was diagnosed very early in adolescents with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS). I was overweight in the midsection, had discolored skin on my neck, never had regular periods, and difficulty losing weight. Treatment at the time was birth control. I had known since puberty that becoming pregnant could be difficult. I didn't truly understand how devastating that would become.
My husband and I went to the same elementary school and grew up on the same street in Central Pennsylvania. We didn’t connect until after high school, he had a previous relationship that resulted in a child and, like our relationship, I was young and babies weren’t a priority at the time. We were married in 2010 and decided to try to get pregnant 2 years later. We weren’t aggressive, I just stopped birth control and we crossed our fingers. After nothing happened, we sought medical advice.
I visited my local fertility specialist who said I could try to induce ovulation through exercise and diet. The plan was to lose weight and hopefully my cycle would start regulating itself. For nearly 14 months, I ran every day and ate cucumbers for lunch. I didn't lose any weight. Then the doctor recommended I begin tracking my ovulation. After tracking for 4 or 5 months with one actual ovulation, my fertility specialist put me on Femara. I ended up getting pregnant and miscarried at 6 weeks. It was one of the most emotional things I've ever dealt with. After the miscarriage, my husband and I took a year off. Trying to conceive is draining, emotionally and financially. The 2 week wait between ovulation and a pregnancy test was torment, the only thing worse was an inconclusive blood test! Your home pregnancy test says positive and your in-office blood test resulted in a retest. Two days later, you’re officially gut-punched with a negative result. Needless to say, all the little hopeful thoughts and the list of baby names you’ve been drafting for 2 days goes painfully out the window.
We began toying with the idea of adopting. We got approval to adopt and fostered siblings for 14 months. During that time, I had an annual checkup where I learned if I truly wanted to become pregnant it needed to happen now. My biological clock was ticking. After 30, things become even more challenging. The specialist I had been seeing was my local OB/GYN and he recommended Shady Grove Fertility. I called and we made an appointment with Dr. Bromer in the Harrisburg, PA, office.
Treatment was definitely aggressive. I started with a few more cycles of Femara and timed intercourse. When that didn’t work, we then moved to injectables and IUI. After the first failed cycled, we did another. The second cycle resulted in an "inconclusive pregnancy test,” which turned out to be negative.
I felt stressed throughout the process, now looking back I can see with each cycle we did make progress. Each cycle shed light on new information. The first cycle of injectables helped identify the right dosage, the second cycle helped pinpoint the best day to trigger, and so on. Every night, I’d go into the bathroom and use my expensive little pen to administer my dose. After the first cycle, the entire process was just part of our daily routine. In the evenings I’d give myself a shot then in the mornings I’d get an ultrasound.
Our last cycle required the IUI be administered on a Sunday. Only one of the Shady Grove Fertility offices perform IUIs on Sundays - the Rockville, Maryland location. My husband and I just happened to travel to Rockville the night before the procedure, which was incredibly smooth and easy, then before we could head home a huge snow storm hit the area and we had to stay an additional night. Luckily, there was a fantastic mall within walking distance!
Our trip to Maryland in a snowstorm was worth it when we got the news that we were pregnant! I got the call the day after my 30th birthday.
My Life Now
Miles was born November 16, 2015. Miles looks like his daddy and acts like his mommy. He is perfect and the center of our family. He has three older sisters, Mavalynn who showed up in the delivery room with his first balloon and has been snuggling her little brother since she first laid eyes on him. Abby and Karri, our foster daughters, spend every minute they can playing with him and love showing him new things.
I’ve been a mother in almost every definition of the word, Miles is the icing on my cake.
Working with SGF Team
My experience with the SGF medical team was amazing! The nursing staff answered every single neurotic email I sent. I've been to the Shady Grove Fertility offices in Fredrick, Rockville, Towson, Chesterbrook, and Harrisburg. We had HSGs, IUIs, bloodwork, and semen analyses all over the east coast. Some of these procedures were nerve wracking for me, but every individual we met with was very understanding.
Advice to Other SGF Patients
Don't quit. Exhaust all your options, because living with regret will be more painful. Progress comes in baby steps; sometimes we only focus on our end game and miss signs of incremental success. Infertility isn't a journey for the weak. This is a ride for the strong of faith. Isolation, loss, hormones, highs and lows can only be endured by those made powerful through God.