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A Denver mom’s journey with infertility and IVF

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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 .

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Comments
  • comment avatar Amber Johnson May 14, 2012

    BAD IVF joke. 🙂

    Thanks for sharing your journey, Dana. Just last night I was struck with how many women have struggled with infertility through the years. I think many of us assume once we decide to have kids, it will happen easily and quickly. How wrong that is!

  • comment avatar Dana May 14, 2012

    Hi Amber,

    Thanks again for letting me share my story! I’m learning through my journey that there so many women who have experienced the loss and heartbreak of infertility. But, the good news is that there is hope for all of us. I continue to hold on to that hope everyday. 🙂

  • comment avatar Ratna May 14, 2012

    Wow hugs to you all. I had no idea you Guys were dealing with this. Sending positive thoughts your way. Thank you for sharing Dana!

    • comment avatar Dana May 14, 2012

      Thank you so much for your support, Ratna. It’s an overwhelming process, but we hope to have a happy ending!!! Dana

  • comment avatar Dana H. May 14, 2012

    Thanks for sharing Dana 🙂 It seems we share a similar story… I have a 5 year old son from IVF and we’re desperately wanting baby #2. IVF was a scary journey with all the unknown, and the shots, but it was all worth it in the end. Best of luck to you!

    • comment avatar Dana May 14, 2012

      Thanks, Dana. Since we have the same first name, I’m hoping you just shot me a bit of good luck!

  • comment avatar Elisabeth May 14, 2012

    Dana, I am proud to call you my friend. You are a brave woman, and I think your story will help many others. You inspire me!

    • comment avatar Dana May 14, 2012

      Thanks so much, Elisabeth. Your support means the world to me!!!

  • comment avatar Sarah Rasmussen May 14, 2012

    Hi, Dana – You are a brave, beautiful woman and a great friend. It’s heartbreaking to read your story, but also encouraging to see you continuing on in a new direction with IVF. I agree with Elisabeth, I think your story will be encouraging for a number of women. You know you have a whole team of cheerleaders, right? 🙂 Hugs to you and Barry. -S

    • comment avatar Dana May 15, 2012

      Hi Sarah,
      Thanks so much for your encouragement and friendship. I don’t think I would be able to be as open as I am without good peeps like you. We are hoping for the best and that’s all we can do! 🙂

  • comment avatar Lori Lavender Luz May 14, 2012

    Good luck to you, Dana! I know people come to CO for treatment from all over, so you’re in good hands.

    If you don’t already know about this, there’s a fabulous infertility blogging community at Stirrup-Queens.com. She has a categorized blogoll at http://www.stirrup-queens.com/a-whole-lot-of-blogging-brought-to-you-sorted-and-filed/, where you ca find people going through what you are.

    The blogger wrote Navigating the Land of IF, and I can’t recommend it highly enough. The girlfriend’s guide to getting through infertility, one way or another (just take a look at the reviews). http://www.amazon.com/Navigating-Land-Understanding-Infertility-Exploring/dp/1580052622/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&s=books&qid=1227550249&sr=8-1

    Again, I wish you the best!

    • comment avatar Dana May 14, 2012

      WOW…thanks so much, Lori. I will certainly check those out!!

  • comment avatar Aimee Giese | Greeblemonkey May 15, 2012

    I know so many friends who struggle with this – and have either done IVF or adopted. It is such a hard thing to go through, originally and physically. Thank you sharing it here!

    • comment avatar Dana May 15, 2012

      Thanks so much, Aimee. I’m looking forward to sharing more of my story and also am hoping to see others who have gone through this or are going through this commenting as well. Your support is much appreciated!!!

  • comment avatar Margie May 18, 2012

    Dana,
    You may never know the lives you touch with this blog. Thank you for taking me from laughter, to tears, to laughter. Does that mirror your life right now?!?
    Margie

  • comment avatar Hilde Cremers March 14, 2013

    Approximately 2 million American women undergo some type of fertility treatment every year. Contrary to the intensive media coverage of fertility issues, infertility has not reached epidemic proportions. According to the National Center for Health Statistics, the number of infertile married couples was actually lower in 1995 2.1 million than in 1982 2.4 million.;Infertility rates have not increased in the past three decades, but treatment protocols were forever changed the moment Louise Brown entered the world in 1978.:

    Please do look out for our very own web portal
    <.http://www.healthmedicinelab.com/stomach-virus-symptoms/

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