A Denver mom’s journey with infertility and IVF
I’m a Southerner-turned-mountain-lover living in South Denver and recently, I’ve been dealing with infertility . It’s more common than I ever thought and I now understand why it’s so hard on women and families. I’ve decided to share my story with the Mile High Mamas in hopes it will help others who are going through the same thing, and we can share a laugh or two along the way.
Here’s my story.
Barry and I got married in Atlanta in 2004, and we decided to hold off on having children for a year because both our fathers passed that year and we needed some time to grieve. By May 2006, we were pregnant and our beautiful daughter was born in January 2007. We knew we wanted another child, but we hoped to move to Denver first. We vacationed there in 2005 and fell in love with its outdoor beauty and laid back lifestyle. So, We sold our house and became Denver residents by the summer of 2008.
By 2010, we were settled in our new home and had adjusted to our new roommate, my mother-in-law who moved in with us after selling her home in Michigan in 2009. It was finally time to get pregnant again. It was easy the first time so it should be just as easy with No. 2, right? Not so much.
Over the next 15 months, I suffered an ectopic pregnancy, a miscarriage and then another ectopic pregnancy. With each loss, I had to go through extensive medical treatments and procedures. All three sucked in their own way, and each came with its share of physical and emotional pain.
After the miscarriage, we decided it was time to see a specialist. My OB-GYN recommended we see Dr. Michael Swanson at Conceptions. He knew so much about infertility that Barry and I left the first appointment completely speechless, but in a good way. I’ve never seen a doctor get so excited about preparing a couple for their “game plan” as if it was his first. It was refreshing.
And so the tests began – bloodwork, ultrasounds, X-rays and more bloodwork. I began to feel like my girly parts were a part of a freak show. I imagined J.D. from “Scrubs” was the show’s host, leading guests through the tour that started at my vagina and moved through my ovaries and fallopian tubes. “You came at a great time, ladies and gentlemen,” he would say. “We’ll have to close off this spectacular show next week because we haven’t learned how to split the Red Sea yet (aka my menstrual cycle)!” As he winked, the guests looked at him like he was a freak, which in this case, he was.
Barry’s tests were easy compared to my spread-eagle-in-stirrups escapes. All he had to do to was spend some time watching a porno movie while sitting on a comfortable couch in a private room. He even had a back door he could sneak out of when he was done. I imagine a neon sign above that door flashing, “Nude Gurlz Here! It’s the Back Door of a Fertility Clinic, No One Will Ask!”
We learned from the tests that I have older eggs and Barry has some funky-shaped sperm. While we can get pregnant, our plumbing doesn’t run as smoothly as they did when our daughter was born. Luckily, we didn’t have other serious issues like my uterus lining was too thin, cysts or cancer found in my ovaries, Barry’s sperm was slow or my uterus was a “hostile environment.” Knowing we can still get pregnant should be comforting, right? In some ways, yes, but in other ways, not being able to stay pregnant is heartbreaking.
After much consideration, we’ve now decided to try IVF, or In Vitro Fertilization . If you’re not familiar with the process, here’s a quick synopsis. I have to take medication to grow follicles (or the eggs) and Barry has to go watch another porno movie. Once I have enough follicles, they will be extracted and then injected with Barry’s sperm in hopes of developing one or two healthy eggs. Once the egg matures, it will then be injected back into me. After that, we can only hope the pregnancy goes full-term.
So, my IVF journey has now begun, although it feels more like I’m hiking a rocky mountain in wintertime wearing only sandals and a T-shirt than a journey. We have no idea what will happen, but we’re willing to take a shot, and not just the one I shoot in my stomach. That’s an IVF joke….
Dana Stone is a public relations consultant specializing in healthcare communications. She lives in Highlands Ranch with her husband, 5-year-old daughter, mother-in-law and two golden retrievers. She is currently seeking infertility treatments at Conceptions Reproductive Specialists of Colorado .