Where are you now in your fertility journey?
What led you to Pacific NW Fertility?
My husband and I got married pretty young. Chris was 24, and I had just turned 23 so we were more than content to enjoy our 20s baby free and have fun. Once we were more settled, and bought our house we decided it was time to start a family! Up until that point I hadn't been on birth control and was just being careful based on the time of the month. Looking back it's pretty funny because I thought I was so good at this and remember times I actually bragged about it-haha. Trying to have a baby at first is so fun. It's exciting, and the anticipation each month brought so much joy to our relationship. After a few months passed, I was starting to get frustrated, but wasn't worried. Then a year passed, and as always turned to the internet and joined an online community of other girls trying to get pregnant, hoping to pick up some tips and connect with others in the same boat. Well, after a year and a half passed, and everyone but me on the discussion board was pregnant, I panicked. Something was wrong.
I went to my family doctor, I guess just hoping for reassurance that sometimes these things take time. Instead she referred me to a reproductive specialist. I felt like my world had come crashing down. I was 28. Up until that point, I had only heard about IVF and infertility treatments from places like US magazine. So mustering up my courage and dignity, we made an appointment.
The first doctor we saw is in our home town, and it was a terrible experience. I'm a warm and fuzzy kind of girl and this man was all business, and literally laughed and scoffed at some of our questions. I had a wham bam thank you ma'am kind of check up, told there was nothing really wrong with us, and it was promptly recommended we do IUI (Intrauterine insemination). We were really hopeful, and felt like this could be our answer. Well, it wasn't. We did 4 cycles of IUI with negative results. We got frustrated and made an appointment to talk about what our next step was, and were told it could take up to 10 cycles. Ummm...no. We promptly took our records and left with nothing but a terrible experience, a broken heart, and a maxed out credit card.
After doing some research, and talking with friends of friends, I had a phone consult with the doctor at PNWF. What a world of difference. The doctor was kind, understanding, knowledgeable, and very encouraging...the doctor was in our corner. After the setbacks we encountered with the first clinic, we felt hopeful again. This is where we started our journey with IVF and ICSI.
Describe some of the ups and downs you have experienced in your fertility journey:
IVF is hard. It's a lot of shots, a lot of appointments, and a lot of emotions. Everyone at PNW Fertility made the whole process as easy on us as possible, and we were so informed the entire time. From the smiling faces at the front desk, to the doctors, nurses, and lab techs. Everyone is so encouraging and kind.
In our IVF cycle, after our egg retrieval and ICSI we had 5 perfect little embryos...or snow babies We transferred two embryos, our first go around. We were beyond excited and was sure this was our turn, our time. The transfer is really a miracle and a special experience. They bring in your embryos and put them under a microscope so we could see them and they are literally vibrating with life. Amazing. They insert a catheter through the cervix and place them gently in your uterus. And with that, we brought our babies home and the 10 day wait, and daily progesterone injections began.
9 days later I couldn't stand it...I took a home pregnancy test. Now let me preface this by saying we were warned. They said, "DON'T TAKE A HOME PREGNANCY TEST". I did anyways, and I so wish I hadn't. It was positive. We couldn't believe it. We laughed, we cried, and we promptly called and told our families the news. The next day, I had the official blood test and got the call that yes, I was pregnant, but my numbers were too low. The reading was supposed to be 60 or higher, and mine was 32. The nurse said to wait 3 days (the longest 3 days of my life) and retest. If the numbers doubled, that was a good sign. If not, it's a sure early miscarriage, or "chemical pregnancy". My number was 43. Again, my world came crashing down.
I was done. I was SO done. I'd had it. I felt defined by my infertility and it was ruling my entire life. The pain and sadness is so consuming that it eats you alive. The worst thing about pain like this is you don't have anyone to be mad at. You can't blame someone. You can't yell at anyone, or do anything to make it better. You can't just try harder. It is what it is, and you're stuck on this hellish roller coaster until you decide that it's time to get off. And it was time for me to get off.
We decided to take the summer off...at least, with tentative plans to do another transfer in the Fall/Winter of 2012. We had a great time that summer. I felt free, I could breathe, collect my thoughts, and remember who I really was. October 2012 rolled around and we felt ready. We were a bit guarded and jaded at this point, no longer the young naive couple we were when we walked into that first clinic. This wasn't our fist rodeo.
We decided to transfer two more embryos. Again, it was an amazing and special experience. We were so tentatively hopeful. Needless to say, this cycle we didn't do a home pregnancy test. On the morning of day 10, I went to have my blood drawn and raced home to wait for the call. The wait seems like days, the anticipation was excruciating. Around 11am on December 3, 2012 our favorite nurse from the clinic called and said..."YOU'RE PREGNANT!" We couldn't believe it. We cried, we laughed, and spent most of the day looking at each and saying, "Can you believe it?" It was one of the most magical days of my life. I remember so clearly walking into the future nursery and just standing there crying...the whole experience was actually worth it. It happened. It was finally our turn. We are going to be a family.
I had a fairly smooth pregnancy, but after going through IVF and having all the disappointment I couldn't help but feel like I was waiting for the ball to drop...like some sort of set back or disappointment was right around the corner, but it never came.
Laila Kate was born on August 4, 2103 via scheduled C-section. She weighed 8lbs 7oz and is the most beautiful being I have ever laid eyes on. We were instantly in love, and I'd do it a thousand times again for her. It was painful, heartbreaking, and scary but the moment I laid eyes on my baby girl, it all melted away. I still will look at her, and can't believe she's mine. That it actually worked. She's my everything, and we're so lucky, and finally a family.
Do you have any other details to share that might inspire others?
I have a blog where I talk about infertility and my life now as a mommy. I would LOVE if you would include my blog address because I would be happy to answer any e-mails or questions from patients. I would scour the internet looking for people in the same boat as me when I was going through it. I would be happy to help My blog address is www.chasingdreamsandcatchinglife.blogspot.com
Is there anyone in particular on the staff at PNWF that you'd like to commend?
Our physician was awesome! We will see you probably later this year to transfer that last embryo.
I would encourage my friend to seek professional help as early as possible. Both seeing a medical team that specializes in fertility treatment as well as someone to support their emotional health. I would advise them to consider all options. Loving a child regardless of how they came to you is such an incredible gift. I would encourage my friend to not give up no matter how hard the process becomes.