Amy & Colin
- Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS)
- Recurrent miscarriage
- Unexplained infertility
- Embryo Freezing
- Frozen embryo transfer (FET)
- In vitro Fertilization (IVF)
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- Ovulation induction
- Timed intercourse
- Travel Client
- Robert Kiltz, MD
- Edward Ditkoff, MD
Amy & Colin's Story:
My husband and I were married in 2010, high school sweethearts! It wasn’t until January 2016 that we decided we were ready to start our family. Two years prior to 2016, I took vitamins and supplements to try and get my body to “work” correctly. Although we knew it wouldn’t be as simple as it is most people, we never imagined that our TTC journey would look like this.
I saw my OB in early 2016 where we discussed doing Clomid and timed intercourse to get me to ovulate. I was diagnosed with PCOS at 16 because I never had periods. Unfortunately, I was never properly diagnosed and treated. We were totally on board with Clomid! During this time, we found out I wasn’t immune to rubella so I had to get a booster, which meant another month waiting. No big deal, we thought. In May 2016 we did our first round of Clomid. Around CD15 I started having massive bleeding and my OB was puzzled. So she had us wait until September to try again. We ended up doing five rounds of Clomid with different doses. I ovulated once but never again with Clomid. At this time she referred us to a Reproductive Endocrinologist.
We saw our first RE in April of 2017. We were hopeful as we had heard about Letrozole and were ready to try it! We did a prenatal workup, and once again, we found I wasn’t immune to chickenpox. So we waited another month as I had to get a booster. We finally got to try Letrozole and found 5mg did in fact make me ovulate! So we did 3 rounds of timed intercourse with Letrozole. Nothing worked. Then, my RE went on maternity leave, leaving us and everyone at her office waiting.
We went back in December 2017, and unfortunately, 5mg of Letrozole didn’t work, so we were bumped to 7.5mg. We did two more rounds of timed intercourse and then decided it was time to move on to the next step.
In February 2018 we did our first Letrozole IUI cycle which ended in a chemical pregnancy. While we were sad, we were also so excited because we now knew it was possible for me to get pregnant! So we jumped into IUI #2. And it worked! My betas starting rising appropriately, everything looked great, until about 5.5 weeks when my betas dropped. We were devastated. This was supposed to be it for us. We took the rest of April and May off.
We did some preliminary miscarriage testing, and everything came back normal. My doctor added baby aspirin and we continued.
Our 3rd IUI was in June, and another early loss. My heart by this point was so broken I didn’t know how I was going to keep going. Seeing those two pink lines no longer brought me joy, but immense fear. By this point, I really started questioning why this was continuing to happen. I started losing faith in the process and in my doctor.
Our 4th IUI in July we didn’t get pregnant, and I was so relieved. I just didn’t think I could handle another loss.
We had our 5th IUI in August 2018 and once again, two pink lines! We were cautiously optimistic, as this time the lines got darker. We both felt this was it! Then came beta day. My beta wasn’t as high as I expected, but we were pregnant! And then second and third beta, the numbers just weren’t rising appropriately. We knew we would lose the baby. The day we had to leave our house due to Hurricane Florence, not knowing if we’d ever see our home again, we lost our sweet baby. I had never felt so alone.
By this point, I had been researching reasons as to why this was happening. We weren’t having any issue getting pregnant with IUI, we just couldn’t maintain them. I looked into possible immune issues and NK cells. These seemed like possible reasons for our losses. I spoke with my RE at the time, and while she was willing to test us for karyotype abnormalities, she didn’t “believe” in natural killer cells or immune issues along those lines.
She recommended IVF with PGS testing as she believed it was a genetic issue with the embryos and just bad luck. To me, I can’t believe “luck” plays a part in science. And for a doctor to say, “you’re just that unlucky,” made me start asking more questions. There had to be a reason for our losses and my gut was telling me there was something else going on. Plus, to have 4 losses in a row that were all genetically abnormal isn’t common unless there are other issues such as balanced translocation, and we knew our karyotypes were both normal. This is when I started learning how important it is to advocate for yourself. This is when I heard about CNY and their immune protocols for the first time through a friend on Instagram.
We declined IVF with our RE and continued with IUIs until February 2019 when we decided to part ways. We hadn’t gotten pregnant again since August 2018 and had unfortunately lost faith in our doctor’s process.
In April 2019 we scheduled an appointment with CNY for December. In the meantime, we met with three other REs. In May, the first RE we met with told us the same thing, IVF with PGS testing. We decided to do one IUI and add in PIO shots which failed. Ultimately, we didn’t feel that doctor was a good fit for us and started exploring what life would be like without children. I was ready to give up. We were so broken, financially drained, and exhausted.
I had another appointment scheduled for August and this doctor was a breath of fresh air. He explained that he thought trying gonal f with IUI would be better for us. He also didn’t believe I have PCOS as I don’t have the typical PCOS symptoms. But instead of writing me off like every other doctor he officially tested me! And to his surprise, I do have PCOS and started treating it with Metformin. Although we did two IUIs, we didn’t stay with this RE. However, this experience brought back hope in me.
Our final appointment before CNY was in October with another doctor who told us IVF with PGS testing was our only way to get pregnant and carry to term. So we passed.
In December 2019 we met with CNY and we knew we were ready for IVF. On our first phone call, the nurse went over my history, touched on my miscarriages and without me asking she said, “we will be putting you in a full immune protocol for recurrent pregnancy loss.” I started crying. This is what I had wanted and asked for since our losses in 2018! She validated my thoughts regarding possible immune issues as being a reason for our 4 early losses. She also agreed that PGS testing wasn’t something she would recommend for us. This is what I knew we needed in order to have a healthy pregnancy.
So in January 2020 we traveled to NY from NC and had our egg retrieval. We ended up with 9 beautiful embryos, all good quality. In February 2020 we transferred one of those embryos. And after 4+ years, 6 different doctors, 14 medicated cycles, 11 IUI cycles, 4 miscarriages, 1 IVF/ICSI, and 1 FET with a full immune protocol, we are 24 weeks pregnant with our rainbow baby girl!
Even though I never met Dr. Kiltz, what they are doing, being on the front lines of innovative treatments, is incredible. They look at your case and tailor a protocol to fit you. Not only are they affordable, but they want you to have a baby and they will do what it takes to get you to that goal.
CNY has given us the opportunity to be parents. I am eternally grateful to them for believing in us and developing a protocol that would give us our dream.
Favorite Team Member at CNY:
I met my husband in high school when we were 16. We were inseparable from day one. In fact, a week after we starting dating he asked me to marry him. We got our first apartment together the day he turned 18, and we got married right after he graduated high school. We’ve been married for about 10 years. Over the years we’ve been through a lot, and we always say those early years prepared us for our ttc journey.
Infertility is a brutal journey that no one wants to experience. We always had each other which made everything a little more bearable. But I also want to point out our families, especially our mothers who have been with us for almost all of this. They always supported us and pushed us to keep going (even when I wanted to tell them to shove it). I am glad they continued to push us because I probably would have given up without them.
Helpful resources Amy & Colin found:
Instagram was incredibly helpful for me. I connected with hundreds of women and found others who had similar situations. This is where I learned about immune protocols and CNY. Without those women I truly don’t think I’d be where I am today.
We also did acupuncture right before and right after our transfer per Dr. Kiltz recommendation. We didn’t continue with it, but I had never felt so relaxed on the day of transfer!
July 2019 we were at one of our lowest points in our infertility journey. We hadn’t been pregnant since August 2018 after 4 miscarriages, and we had done 4 more IUIs since then. I remember so vividly how we spent this month discussing what our next steps would be. Did we want to pursue adoption? Were we financially, mentally and emotionally even ready for that? Did we want to look at fostering, knowing that the end goal with fostering is to reunite children with their biological parents? Or did we want to end our journey here, mourn what could have been, and start living again?
At this time we were both so bitter and angry. I was numb and Colin was so broken from all the losses and constant disappointment. I had never seen him so down (just thinking about it tears me up inside). We had an appointment scheduled for August with a new clinic in SC, and both of us decided in July that we didn’t want to go. We were done moving forward with trying to conceive. So I added “cancel IVF consult” to my to-do list and we continued with life.
A day or two later I had my first dermatologist appointment because I had a few moles that we were concerned about. I had never met with this lady before, and while I was back in the room waiting to meet her, I heard her talking in the hallway about her brand new baby. The way she spoke about her was how I would (how I do) speak about our daughter. So full of light and excitement. I sensed she had experienced something similar to us. When she entered the room we started chatting, and somehow her IVF experience with the same clinic in SC came up. As soon as we started talking about it I became a full on mess. Crying hysterically, barely breathing. It was all too much. She kept telling me just go to the appointment, see what they have to say. We talked about why my husband and I were hesitant to do IVF, one being my history with recurrent pregnancy loss and two being finances since we didn’t have insurance coverage for infertility. She couldn’t speak on the RPL, but she did tell me, “take out that loan, use that credit card, pull from your 401k, do whatever you have to do. You can always pay it back. Because in the end, when you have that baby in your arms the money won’t matter at all.” I have held on to that even when there were many moments I didn’t know how we would make this all happen financially.
I went home that day and convinced Colin to go to the appointment with me in August. It took a few days for him to open up to the idea, but we went. And when we made that commitment together, we made the commitment again to keep going. Although we didn’t stay with the clinic in SC, we had hope again.
And now, one year later, I am 24 weeks pregnant with our daughter. It’s amazing what can change in a year and looking back at last July, all I can think is, what if I hadn’t seen that dermatologist? What if we had actually stop trying? What if Colin and I decided our journey was over for good? I can’t believe I was willing to stop fighting for our baby now knowing where we are. All I can say is how grateful I am for the people in my life who pushed me and never let me stop trying even when Colin and I were done. In the moment, those “don’t give up” comments may have been frustrating, but because others never stopped believing in us we will be meeting our daughter in a few short months.
Hope, Inspiration and Advice:
I wish I had advocated more for myself in the beginning. We are taught to trust what doctors say, like they know it all. But always question. Do your research and reach out to others who have experienced similar paths. After our 4 losses I started advocating for myself and left that doctor (and still advocated for myself to this day). We met with several doctors before we ended with CNY. We didn’t do IVF until we found a doctor who had similar views and was willing to try other treatment options.
My advice for others starting this journey is to always advocate for yourself. If your gut is telling you something isn’t right, then don’t do it. We are more in tune with our bodies then any doctor every will be. Trust yourself.