Finding Strength After Infertility & Family Tragedy

Why do you want to share your story?

During my first few years of infertility, I was scared and ashamed to talk about it to anyone. I was embarrassed to talk about having to use a doctor to assist me in getting pregnant. By the fourth year in treatment, I had come to the realization that there wasn’t anything to be ashamed of and the more support and prayers I had behind my husband and I, the better.

Since I have gone through infertility treatments, I have come across many people in my life who share similar struggles. I like to tell my story to give them hope to never give up on your journey to be a parent and keep your faith in God. FCI is a stepping stone in the process and is a hand to hold to help make your dream come true.

What was your diagnosis?

My diagnosis was “unexplained infertility” which can be frustrating because there is not a specific reason why my body reacted or did not react to pregnancy. The year after my husband and I were married, I got pregnant on my own and sadly, it ended it my first ectopic pregnancy. Unfortunately, that wasn’t my only ectopic pregnancy.

I soon had another and it was decided by my OBGYN that I should see a fertility specialist. My second ectopic caused me to be on bed rest for two weeks and I was fortunate enough not to lose my tubes. My OBGYN chose to try a mild chemo treatment for both ectopic pregnancies which proved to work. My husband and I then chose Fertility Centers of Illinois and met with Dr. Meike L. Uhler, whom we both liked and felt comfortable with her persistence and openness.

What treatment did you undergo?

We tried four IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) treatments without success, then moved to IVF (In Vitro Fertilization) treatment. The multiple appointments, nightly shots in my abdomen, swelling, and moodiness made me miserable, but I pressed on and on our second wedding anniversary we did our first IVF transfer. With all of the medication, I had a dozen embryos and Dr. Uhler was concerned with how my body was overly reacting to the medication so she chose to transfer sooner than later.

Our IVF transfer was a success, but in January I miscarried. We were devastated and since I was far along, I had to have a D&C (Dialation and Curettage). It took two D&C procedures and two days after my second procedure, my sister-in-law was tragically killed in a car accident. My sister-in-law was my husband’s only sister. She offered to be our surrogate if the time ever came and encouraged us to look at the possibility of adoption. We took the year off to cope with her sudden death and let my body heal.

Then at the end of the year, I decided maybe we should look into adoption. I did not want to give up on trying another IVF transfer, however, I was starting to lose hope. We met with an adoption attorney and with my husband’s determination, we decided to try a IVF treatment again at the beginning of the year before pursuing adoption. Our second transfer gave us twins, but sadly, one of the twins did not make it past eight weeks. We were very nervous and did not share our pregnancy with family and friends until I was 14 weeks.

I was very nervous that telling others would “jinx” our happiness. My pregnancy went smoothly and on November 14th, I delivered Raegan by c-section. For me, I was at peace with God’s plan for us to be parents – he allowed us to grieve Amy’s death the year she passed, I became pregnant around the time of her passing one year later, and he gave us a beautiful baby girl in the month that she could share her aunt’s birthday.

What helped you get through treatment?

My faith in God that he would answer our prayer to be parents to a child, however he may see it, helped me get through the stressful days. My supportive husband, parents, in-laws, family and friends also helped me stay positive through the dark days and the treatments.

We took a few breaks in between the IUI treatments, IVF loss and holidays to recoup and let my body take a break. I also needed a break for me personally to enjoy life, focus on my marriage and enjoy good times with my husband. On my last IVF treatment I tried acupuncture, which Dr. Uhler and her nurses suggested, and I believe it relaxed my body and helped me have a successful transfer and pregnancy.

Can you tell us about your little miracle?

Raegan truly is our miracle! She was born one week after her beloved aunt’s birthday. She shares her middle name with her aunt and her first name we switched the “a” before the “e” since her aunt’s name was Amy. Raegan’s forthcoming and arrival was very special for us, our families and everyone around us whom we love.

She has big blue eyes and blonde hair like her mom, stubbornness like her mom and dad and a big personality! She is the light in our eyes and the joy in our life that was taken away so many times. She will be two this coming November and I never imagined how fulfilled my life would be with her. She loves to swim and dance, and loves Mickey and Minnie Mouse and her baby dolls. Her sweet little voice and laugh gives me butterflies every time I hear it. When I see her, I think of how the struggles were worth it to become a mom.

Why did you trust Fertility Centers of Illinois?

The nurses, staff, and Dr. Uhler made us feel comfortable with the process and took our concerns and wants at heart. They were always very open with us which we appreciated and always kept my health and worries in consideration.

Which physician treated you and what were your experiences with her?

Dr. Uhler treated us and she was open to my thoughts and suggestions throughout the process of IUI and IVF treatments. She was open to my desire to try certain drugs over others and to try a transfer with limited drugs to assist. I appreciated her openness and care for my health and feelings.

What words of hope do you have for others?

Many people would tell me “stay positive, it will happen” and “not to give up.” At the time, I hated hearing those words because I was so frustrated. Looking back, it was hard to stay positive and there were days I wanted to give up, but I reminded myself that there was a plan for us to become parents and the right time would come.

I tell others to stay as positive as you can and give your body and mind a break when you get frustrated. Don’t let this journey consume your life and take time for yourself and your partner.