What motivated you to opt for IVF treatment. How long did it take you & your spouse to decide to go for it?
We were in a unique position. Starting my senior year of college soccer, I stopped having a menstrual cycle, which is not uncommon for female athletes. I finished my BS in Public Health and then went on to get my BS in Nursing in upstate NY. While I was getting my nursing degree, I saw a specialist regarding my lack of menstrual cycles. He said my hormone levels were “possibly a little low, but nothing I would worry about, as you’re not trying to have kids yet.”
Fast forward to 2013 when my husband and I decided we wanted to grow our family. I was finishing my Boston Marathon training, so, my OB/gynecologist suggested that I complete my marathon, allow my body to “normalize” with reduced activity, and see if my cycles returned. A few months later, they still hadn’t, so my OB ran some blood tests that indicated that my hormone levels were low. I was immediately referred to Seattle Reproductive Medicine for further testing. I quickly received a diagnosis of hypogonadotropic hypogonadism. Essentially, I don’t ovulate on my own.
My only option for becoming pregnant was fertility treatments. But it was possible we could get pregnant through intrauterine insemination (formerly called artificial insemination). After 2 unsuccessful IUIs, however, we were told that IVF was truly our only option if I wanted to become pregnant.
We went home that night and talked it through, but it really wasn’t a question. We trusted the clinic’s expertise, and we wanted so desperately to become parents. We had talked about adoption, too, as my youngest brother was adopted from Korea at the age of 4 months (he’s now 32), and he is truly one of the best gifts ever given to my family. But we decided to pursue IVF before exploring adoption.
You found out on April 3, 2014, that you were pregnant for the very first time. Were you successful at the first go?
April 3, 2014 was the day my whole life changed. After our first transfer of 2 “perfect” embryos failed in January of 2014, we had just 1 embryo left from our first IVF cycle. My frozen embryo transfer looked quite different from my first IVF cycle. I was on different medications and had a little less monitoring and fewer appointments. It was also less expensive than a full IVF round since no egg retrieval was necessary. But the emotional toll was equally as high, with the same consuming worries, fears, and stressors.
We transferred that final embryo and waited for 9 long, painful, doubt-and-hoped-filled days again. The embryologist had graded her “fair” that day that they had done the embryo transfer. Fortunately, blissfully, she was, and still is, anything but fair, and decided to stick around. Two weeks after we transferred this embryo, we found out we were pregnant for the first time.
That day, April 3, 2014, is a day I’ll never forget. Our fertility doctor called me at work. I was shaking and terrified to answer the call. Why? Because of that call I had received from her 2-month prior when she told me I wasn’t pregnant — the day that I felt completely hopeless, like the world was closing in on me.
But April 3rd, 2014, was different. My fertility doctor, Dr. Klein, said to me, “Shannon, you’re pregnant. It worked.”
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