Zoe's Story

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INCIID would like to introduce a new staff member. Meet Zoe. Zoe is helping INCIID with programs and services for consumers. One of the many things Zoe does is monitor Facebook and other social media. Recently she’s been collecting your stories for National Infertility Awareness Week (NIAW)

Zoe’s Story

Hello, my name is Zoe and I am originally from England. I moved to America ten years ago after I met and fell in love with an American. When we first married we said we would wait five years until we had a baby, notice I said “had”! Like so many others, I thought I would come off birth control one month and be pregnant the next!  That would make this introduction so much shorter wouldn’t it?  

After just two years of marriage, we didn’t want to wait any longer so officially started trying to get pregnant in June 2009. It became painfully evident quickly that there were problems. My menstrual cycles lasted 100 days and I wasn’t ovulating.  After lots of Googling I self-diagnosed myself with PCOS. Since we owned our own business again like so many of you we didn’t have a lot of money. To top it off, we had terrible health insurance and couldn’t go to an RE. All my OB said was, “It takes time.”

Time passed and I grew impatient. I found a study in Chicago looking for women who may have PCOS. A couple of weeks later I received a letter saying I should go to see a doctor.

In 2010 we finally went to an RE. I thought we’d start with Clomid or maybe an IUI.  Imagine my surprise when we found out I had stage 4 endometriosis, elevated NK cells, a partial DQ Alpha match with my husband and he had 0-2% morphology. We needed IVF.

The endometriosis diagnosis made sense, because of the pain and exhaustion I suffered but that pain didn’t touch the pain of not being able to share conception and pregnancy with my husband.  I felt like my body was broken. We had no idea if or how we could ever afford IVF.

Between that first appointment and 2013, we made lots of changes in our life. We closed our business and moved to the city, so we could save for IVF treatment and possibly acquire better insurance. 

To help with my pain, I had two laparoscopic surgeries and multiple cysts removals. For the longest time, we kept it all a secret, we didn’t want anyone's pity or “advice”.

Over time we told our parents. December 2012 we had the opportunity to enter a contest to win free IVF, but we had to put our story on Facebook and ask for votes, I have never been so scared but it is honestly one of the best decisions we made during this journey, I received many messages of support which meant a lot but it was the private messages from others going through the same thing in silence that said we had helped them, that made it worthwhile.  

We didn’t win but it lit a fire in me, to support and encourage others fighting this fight, to stop the taboo of infertility, to get word out that infertility is a disease and should be covered by insurance. People who desperately want to have a family shouldn’t be stopped because of what isn’t in their pocketbook.

After a long wait in April 2013 I took my very first shot, the first of hundreds. I was just excited to finally have a chance.  We created five embryos from that IVF and transferred one on May 7th. We were extremely blessed that the other four could be frozen.  I stared at the picture of that embryo for eight days. I fell in love with that little speck inside of me and dreamed of what it would become. Unfortunately, I got the call at work to say it didn’t stick and my beta was negative.  I had to leave work that day, I couldn’t hold it together, all of our hopes were built up and came crashing down in just one phone call.

I spent the next two days in bed. Then I made the call to try again. We had frozen embryos. The best way for me to recover from this emotional roller-coaster was to focus on the next transfer.

We planned our Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) for July, just before we went to visit my family in England. I SO wanted to go home and tell them I was pregnant, but my lining didn’t grow and we had to cancel the cycle.

We decided to take a break and try to enjoy our vacation. In October we would cycle again, this time with extra drugs to help my lining, on top of everything else, so I took Viagra (yes you read that correct) and a pill that made my entire body shake uncontrollably. It worked and we transferred an embryo, this time I took a pregnancy test before my beta and it was positive, that second line really does exist! 

For the next three weeks I took a pregnancy test every couple of days until our ultrasound. We were finally going to see our baby. I couldn’t helo but have a lingering ominous feeling hanging over me.  I will never forget the words our RE spoke or the look on my husband’s face as we received the news that there was no heartbeat. Once again my body betrayed me my baby had died.  I chose to have a D&C because I didn’t trust my body to do what it needed to do, I also wanted the chance to test the embryo if possible.  It was a little boy, we would have had a son, but he had too many chromosomes. We were so crushed.

Christmas is one of my most favored holidays. This year was hard but somehow we got through it. I hated Christmas that year. We transferred again in January, this time we experienced a chemical pregnancy, a miscarriage. I knew before they even called me because the once beautiful line was getting fainter, not stronger.  

The next month brought polyps which caused another cancelled cycle and April just brought a big fat negative. It had been a year of shots, pills, tears and the only thing I had to show for it was a depleted bank account and twenty extra pounds.

We had only one embryo left, one lonely little embryo that was picked last. Don’t give up on the one picked last because he was transferred on June 27th 2014 and three days before my 30th birthday I got the call to say my beta was in the 200’s.

Everything went wrong that cycle, my TSH was off, my lining wasn’t growing again. To think ---  I almost cancelled that cycle so many times but something told me this was the one, this cycle would be our take home baby, our rainbow.

At 5 weeks 5 days, I was bleeding, a lot!  I called my husband to tell him we were losing another baby, my amazing RE let us come in the next day to do an ultrasound, she warned us it was early and we probably wouldn’t see a heartbeat yet...but we did and we heard it, the best sound I ever heard. I had a tear which was causing the bleeding but it was above the baby so shouldn’t cause problems. That final, lonely embryo turned one this month and changed my life forever.

 

I have smiled more this past year than I have in my entire life, I am so in love and so happy. My baby boy will never erase the pain of infertility, of the almost six years fighting to have him, of his lost siblings. The journey of infertility and loss changed me forever but not necessarily in the way you might think. In an extraordinary way I am grateful for the infertility ordeal.  Some of my best friends today are fellow “infertiles”. The trials to have my son gave me the strength in my marriage and love for my husband. It showed me I am strong and it brought me to INCIID.
 

I have the passion for a job, for a cause that I have never had before. I want to get to know every one of you. I want to help in any way I can.  I am the new Director of Programs. You will see and hear from me, on Facebook, in emails, in the newsletter, but I also want to hear from you, I really would love more stories to share during NIAW, I don’t care where you are in your journey or if you are a Dr or nurse, share your story, inspire others.  I look forward to hearing from you.

Zoe

 

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