Why do you want to share your story?
I want to share my story because I believe the strength we need comes from knowing you are not alone in the fight, and hearing other people’s struggles and happiness alike.
What was your infertility diagnosis?
In 2008, when I was 34, I was diagnosed with Stage 2 breast cancer just six weeks after my wedding. I underwent a double mastectomy and before starting chemotherapy, I had an egg retrieval through an oncofertility program at Memorial Hospital. I always knew that I wanted to have a family, so we considered this an “insurance plan” to follow through on that dream. We fertilized my eggs with my husband’s sperm and had nine embryos frozen. After 18 months of chemotherapy followed by radiation treatment and five years of Tamoxifen, we were finally given the green light from doctors to pursue a family. In that time we divorced, but remained close and dedicated to having a family and co-parenting.
What fertility treatment did you undergo?
After two cycles at Northwestern where two frozen embryos were transferred each time, we were heartbroken when they didn’t result in pregnancy. It was emotionally, physically and financially draining, and I decided to take a year off of treatment.
My oncologist recommended Fertility Centers of Illinois, and in June 2016, at the age of 42, I decided to start treatment again. I had lost 35 pounds, quit smoking, and I was very healthy and determined. We did a double embryo transfer on January 31st, 2017 that didn’t result in a pregnancy – it was so hard and devastating. But I knew I needed to keep going, so we prepared for a final cycle with our remaining three embryos. We are very excited to announce a singleton pregnancy due January 31st, 2018! The process was really grueling, it was how I felt when I was going through chemo, but as you go through it, you don’t pay attention, you just focus on getting through. Now I look back and say wow – nine years and nine embryos later, we are having a baby. Our little one is due January 31st, 2018. It’s been the coolest experience.
What helped you get through treatment?
Knowing it was what I wanted, and needed to do! Destroying these embryos was not an option for me and I have always wanted to be a mom. The cancer prevented me from that dream for several years, so when I had the all clear, it was my priority!
Why did you trust Fertility Centers of Illinois?
Several recommendations came my way to work with FCI. Word of mouth is so impactful.
Which physician treated you and what were your experiences with him/her?
I worked with Dr. Rodgers and have had nothing but awesome experiences with her! I’ll never forget in our first consultation, she looked me square in the eyes and told me ‘we are going to make a baby for you’. With all the reservations I had after 2 failed rounds, those words set me straight and I walked out of there believing this could actually happen for me. It was what I needed to hear to change my whole worried mindset. I believed it and that mental connection and positive energy from Dr. Rodgers is exactly what I needed to hear! I knew she was just as invested in my journey and it meant the world to me!
What words of hope do you have for others?
Just keep believing and do whatever you can do to keep going on this journey. Keeping a positive attitude during it all. The attitude and the faith is what counts the most!