Infertility Story from Kristy Williams

March 31, 2010

image via Design Crush, via baumich

It came as no surprise to me when I struggled with infertility. After a few months of trying for pregnancy the conventional way, I visited a doctor. I submitted to a series of medical tests, gave the doctors plenty of my blood, and had ultrasound upon ultrasound. After all the tests came to an end, the conclusion was as expected: I rarely, if ever, ovulated. While most women have about a 20% chance of getting pregnant each month, my numbers were more like 20% each year. At that rate, if I was lucky, I could possibly have 1 or 2 children by the time my child-bearing years came to a close. Or, I could have none. Percentages just work like that sometimes.

First things first, I started on Clomid. After several attempts and increased dosages, this was ruled ineffective. The failure of Clomid was unfortunate. It was, far and away, the cheapest way for me to get pregnant. The next option was injectable drugs combined with artificial insemination (think turkey-baster) – fairly inexpensive, with a 10% chance of success.  I was skeptical of this option, as it often produced more than 2 eggs. And with more than 2 eggs, you sometimes get more than 2 babies. That was not a risk I felt comfortable taking.

We decided instead to try invitro-fertilization (IVF). And the next few months are part of what I now see as a comedy of errors. While not so funny at the time, each month brought a different problem – a problem that certainly didn’t end with a pregnancy.  My 3 day business trip – the only business trip I had in a year’s time- fell exactly during the time I had to be in town. The next month, the way I mangled the instructions for the injections certainly helped put my ego in check. Then I had to be out of town for my brother’s wedding. Finally, in January 2008, the pieces came together. I figured out how to follow instructions and appropriately injected the medication. My body finally got the combination of hormones it needed to produce some viable eggs. And produce it did. I went in to the doctor to have my eggs removed, and 36 eggs later, I was ready to go home.

Not all the eggs were good quality, but after 5 days I had 6 healthy, strong embryos waiting to turn into cute little babies. I went back to the doctor to have one of those embryos implanted into my uterus. I lay down on the table, just minutes away from the moment I’d been waiting for. My chance at pregnancy. The nurse began with an ultrasound; she gave me a worried look and left the room. She returned with a doctor. He looked at the ultrasound and repeated her look of concern. He then told me that they would be unable to perform the implantation that day. I’d developed ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome (OHSS). Instantly, I was overcome with sadness.  I knew that OHSS could, in some cases, be fatal in pregnant women, but I really didn’t care. I thought to myself, “I don’t care if I have to be hospitalized, PUT THAT BABY IN ME.” But I didn’t say that out loud. I knew the doctor and my husband would not allow such a risk to be taken. I slowly trudged back to the car. My time would come. Hopefully.

My six embryos were placed in the freezer. I only had one more month to try before fall, as Joel and I were spending our summer in Michigan. I was going to be out of the country for one week during the month of opportunity, but as long as I had my medication with me, that week in Mexico wouldn’t cause a problem. I confirmed with my nurse that the prescriptions were into the pharmacy, and the day before getting on the plane, I went to pick them up. Just as I should have suspected, the pharmacy had no record of my prescriptions, and my doctor’s office was closed. I called every other pharmacy I could think of. Nothing. My only hope now was that a pharmacy in Mexico would carry the drugs – and in Mexico, you don’t need a prescription. Random fertility drug carried by a Mexican pharmacy? Not my luck.

Somehow, my body actually did what it is supposed to do, and I managed without the drugs (this has never happened since). A few weeks later, a thawed embryo was placed inside me. Two weeks after that, my amazing nurse Chris called me with the news that I was pregnant. I was shocked. Thrilled, full of joy, giddy, but still, shocked.

2 years and 4 months after our first attempt, and 1 year and 8 months after first engaging the miracle of science, a baby started to grow within me. A miracle indeed.

From Kristy Williams.

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Note from Design Mom: for the duration of my pregnancy, I’ll be posting advice, memories and stories about pregnancy, childbirth, adoption and growing a family on Wednesdays. You can find them all by clicking here. I’d love to hear your story or memory or advice, feel free to submit it to gabrielle@designmom.com.

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{ 8 comments… read them below or add one }

1 Kelly@TearingUpHouses March 31, 2010 at 1:18 pm

I have so many friends struggling with infertility right now that I’ll share this with… I think it’s important for them to know that they’re not alone.

Kelly

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2 Rachel March 31, 2010 at 5:15 pm

Hooray! I’m so happy for you. I love how proactive you were. It must have been much more frustrating than you make it sound. Congratulations!

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3 Brynn Snyder April 1, 2010 at 2:06 pm

This story was so amazing, you inspire me to do hard things that bring great blessings.

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4 Liz April 3, 2010 at 7:20 am

Good to hear a story such as this… too many mamas & mamas to be, don’t realize that many of us struggle with conceiving. It took us 3 years of craziness, drugs, iuis, alternative methods, wheatgrass shots, having sex on demand on certain days/ times – going to the fertility clinic on a Sunday for my daring husband to give a sample in a cup and for me to get the turket baster 1 hour later at 8am on a Sunday – then holding your breath in the “2 week wait”. During the dreaded 2WW – you can’t really work out, must watch what you eat, drink, etc… constantly feeling your life centers around your ovulation cycle. All the while everywhere you look you see a pregnany tummy or babies or friends having their 2nd, thir 3rd etc… and you are having to finance making a fetus. Somehow it does not seem fair, but withe each new cycle you have hope…. We were lucky & blessed to conceive our son who will be turning 4 this week. We are trying for #2 and going through the same song + dance. Yesterday the nurse called to say that my pregnancy test was negative. I didn’t even cry – I am too numb.

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5 Liane March 5, 2012 at 3:08 pm

Can I dare ask what it costs to do the IVF? I’m assuming most health insurance doesn’t cover it? I’ve also done clomide without success but worry with IVF that it may be about as expensive as adoption and with IVF there’s more change of failure…

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6 Kristy March 5, 2012 at 7:46 pm

It depends, and we were beyond lucky with how it worked for us. Some states require certain insurance packages to cover IVF, and when we did this we were in Massachusetts, one of the states with the requirement. Our first IVF attempt (the one written about here), where we got 6 viable embryos, was completely covered except for the co-pay for prescriptions. All in all that cost us probably $500 (there are lots of drugs). Without the insurance it would have been $10K-12K. The second time around we just had to do a frozen embryo transfer, since we already had frozen embryos, and the full cost of that (including prescriptions, which really add up) is around $4000. So yes, it is expensive, but hopefully you will get multiple embryos, so you get multiple chances. One thing you should look into is mini-IVF. It is much less invasive (drug-wise), much cheaper, and a friend of mine just got pregnant with it. It is not a fit for everyone (I’m not a candidate), but it may work for you!

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7 Heather jarmusz March 5, 2012 at 3:32 pm

We had a similar story- all the way up to doing three rounds of ivf with no success. We were trying to adopt, then i lost my job and we didn’t make enough money to adopt (per the agency, as i would have sold a kidney to afford it…) and i started going back to school to start another career when i found out i was 8 weeks pregnant with my son. He’s 9 months old now, napping peacefully on my chest and I’ve never been happier. :)

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8 Wanda grooms March 5, 2012 at 9:41 pm

My heart goes out to every single one of u ladies! U are an amazingly courageous group, willing to do whatwver u have to, no object insurmountable.
I was fortunate enough to be able to have my childrwn without the struggle u have gone through. Im old enough now with a grand of my own too, to appreciate the struggles of others and know just how grateful I should be. I wish each & every one of the blessing u so desperately ate working for. U will be wondetfull Moms & I’ll bet awese grandmoms in your time yoo. Thank u for your bravery & perseverance &.inspiration.

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