Why do you want to share your story?
I want to share my story because I know there are other women out there just like me. Women in the same or similar situations where starting a family has become a nightmare rather than the fairy tale we always thought it would be. I want other women to know that they are not alone, we are a group of women who share a common dream of having children and it is not easy when that dream appears unattainable. On one hand keeping this struggle inside is a way to deal but I recommend speaking up about it. You will find common ground with more people than you thought possible. The great news is there are options out there to help with having this family we have always dreamed of! Life may not play out how we always thought it would, but if there is a chance our dreams will come true it is worth it. With an open heart, perseverance, and the right team of healthcare professionals, like at FCI, this dream is possible.
What was your infertility diagnosis?
I was diagnosed with unexplained infertility. My husband and I were married in September of 2012 and we tried to start a family for over two years before we began to realize something was not right. I had all the appropriate testing (as did he) and nothing could be found. In February of 2014, I spontaneously had an ectopic pregnancy in my right tube. Sadly, they had to remove the embryo, but fortunately they were able to save my tube. After continuing to try for another year we decided to seek help. I had another ectopic pregnancy in February of 2015 in my left tube after having my second IUI. This time when removing the embryo they were unable to save my tube. While in surgery they also found my right tube was in shreds and was no longer working properly, therefore, both my tubes were removed. IVF was now the only option we had to start a family.
What fertility treatment did you undergo?
I underwent two IUIs, the first one failed and the second ended in an ectopic pregnancy that was removed surgically due to the life threatening condition. I had a total of three IVF cycles. The first cycle was a failed fresh cycle with three fair/poor embryos transferred with no embryos to freeze. The second cycle was a failed fresh cycle with one excellent embryo transferred and three embryos to freeze. The third successful cycle was initiated with a uterine scratch procedure (doctor went in and irritated lining of the uterus while under general anesthesia, according to research this procedure has shown to improve implantation rates), with two excellent/good quality embryos transferred ending with a positive pregnancy test. Both embryos took – I was finally pregnant and with twins!
What helped you get through treatment?
I found support and help in many, many different ways:
- Faith, God most importantly. Everyone has their own ways to cope, mine was the Lord. Constant conversation and prayer with Him. Without His guidance I do not even know what I would have done, or where I would be today. There is peace in knowing and believing in God’s Will. Once I let him completely control the situation (which I found to be one of the most difficult tasks of all – just letting go) I had a different outlook on the whole situation and my whole life. I became more able to deal with the harsh reality of infertility. Infertility is not a pretty place and I would not wish it on my worst enemy, but it is a reality and thanks to God he helped me through! I believe that due to believing in Him, He blessed me in ways I could not have ever imagined.
- My Spouse. He is the most hardworking and strong person I know. He kept me strong when I did not think I could be. We had constant and open communication about the situation and this was the only way we could deal. Henry gave me complete support and unconditional love and this did more for me than words can explain.
- My Medical Team. Working with a professional, knowledgeable and empathetic healthcare team at FCI made a big difference. There was peace in knowing we were not doing this on our own. There were very intelligent and able professionals working with us to make our dreams come true. I could finally breathe and take a break from counting days and spending money on ovulation kits. Dr. Hirshfeld had a confidence about her that gave us confidence that no matter what we were doing all we could do to get me pregnant and to start our family.
- Family/Friends Support. Not necessarily always talking about the situation but just knowing they were there for us and they loved us no matter if we had children (on our own) or not. One friend in particular had gone through a similar situation who successfully had twins of her own through IVF. She was a rock to me. At first, I did not think she could help anymore because she was pregnant, but her friendship, support and advice became invaluable. She offered advice and support in ways only someone who has gone through fertility treatment could.
- Acupuncture. I had a wonderful acupuncturist, Ronica Perez in Tinley Park. She sort of became my shrink. She was someone who had no tie to me, she did not know me outside of my infertility struggle. She was able to lend an ear and alternative medicine to adjunct medical procedures that I believe helped me through physically and most importantly, mentally through my struggle.
Can you tell us about your little miracles?
Henry and Fiona were born on April 30, 2016. They are fresh air, they are life, they are the most amazing gifts from God on Earth. I thank God for them on a daily basis and our lives are forever changed now that they are in this world. I would do everything the same with my treatment now that I have been blessed enough to experience having children of my own. It is all worth it, all the tears, money, shots, and heartache seems so far away. Our four year struggle with infertility now seems like a distant nightmare. We are so thankful to everyone involved in our fertility struggle, especially the healthcare professionals at FCI, they make miracles happen and dreams come true on a daily basis. I hope you all know how amazing you are and how all your hard work is changing lives for the better. We thank you all at FCI for helping make our dreams of having children come true! You will forever be in our hearts.
Why did you trust Fertility Centers of Illinois?
Fertility Centers of Illinois has a very professional, intelligent and empathetic team of healthcare professionals who are academically and clinically qualified to battle infertility. The FCI team made my husband and I breathe easier and through their confidence, gave us the confidence during our struggle with infertility. With the experience of working with FCI, my only regret is that I wish I would have contacted them sooner. All of the physicians, nurses, technicians and support staff played key roles in making our story a successful one.
Which physician did you work with to get pregnant?
Dr. Hirshfeld was our primary physician. She was so smart and matter of fact with explaining options and offering advice about treatment. This attitude of hers encouraged us and gave us affirmation we were at the right place and doing the right thing. Dr. Hirshfeld was the mastermind behind our successful treatment. When treatment failed or we did not have optimal results, she went back to the drawing board and gave us other options and plans of attack to ultimately make our treatment a successful one.
What words of hope do you have for others?
Please do not give up. If this is your dream, exhaust all your options. You can do this and you are not alone. Get help, there is no shame in it and trust me when I say it is all worth it! Though it is not easy, do not let the success of others interfere with your story.
I would like to leave you with two quotes that helped me get through the hardest of days:
The pain that you have been feeling can’t compare to the joy that’s coming. -Romans 8:18
If it’s both terrifying and amazing you should definitely pursue it. -Prada