Stephanie & Eric
- Unexplained infertility
- Embryo Freezing
- In vitro Fertilization (IVF)
- Intrauterine insemination (IUI)
- Timed intercourse
- Robert Kiltz, MD
- David Corley, MD
Stephanie & Eric's Story:
My husband and I met in August 2009 and early on had the child conversation. I blatantly told him I wasn't ready for kids, but I did want them and it was a deal-breaker for me. If he didn't want kids then there was no point in continuing our relationship. I was 23 and he was 20 and we were nowhere near ready to start a family.
Five years later we got married, just a few days after our five-year anniversary. We had decided that we were ready to grow our family. I had completed college and had a decent job, he was on track for his career, and we were buying a house. We waited until we were on our honeymoon a few months after we got married to start trying. We wanted to get pregnant right away so I'd been off hormonal birth control for eight months and we bought an ovulation monitor to track my cycles. I'd used it for a few months to get a feeling for when I ovulated and to get used to the machine. I'd had a miscarriage with my first pregnancy 7 years earlier that due to a blighted ovum and was not expecting the roller coaster ride that was to come.
A year and a half after we started trying we still weren't pregnant, so I went to my OB to have some testing done. He ran bloodwork on us, a semen analysis, an ultrasound, and checked to see if my tubes were open. Not long after we went in for our test results and I'll never forget being told it was going to be "difficult but not impossible" for us to conceive on our own. My FSH was abnormally high and I had a cyst on my ovary, which looked like I had PCOS and my husband had a borderline low sperm count. We tried for a couple of months on metformin and clomid before we were referred to CNY Fertility and continued on both while we waited for our consultation.
In October of 2016 we met Dr. Corley who threw out my diagnosis of PCOS and ran his own tests. Everything came back normal and there was no reason we weren't getting pregnant. I was concerned that my short, light cycles were the problem but was repeatedly told that as long as I was having regular cycles it wasn't the issue. We decided to give IUIs a try to see if that would work, but they didn't. I responded well to the medications getting multiple follicles and appropriate lining. A year, 3 failed IUIs with letrazole, and a hysteroscopy/laproscopy later we still weren't pregnant. We decided to try an IUI with injectable to increase our chance of success but quickly canceled the cycle. When I called for meds the price was over $2,000 plus the cost of the IUIs with our insurance was about the cost of IVF at CNY without it. I went home from work that day crying and told my husband if we were going to spend that kind of money I wanted to do IVF and have the 40% chance of success rather than a 10% chance. So we decided to wait until we were eligible for the NY Infertility Demonstration Program and funding was available. While we waited we tried 2 more IUIs with letrazole but both failed. I also dedicated that time to Keto and lost 60 pounds over the course of 11 months.
Finally, in June 2018 I received a call that NY had funded the program and we were eligible for the grant, 9 months after our canceled IUI with injectables and more than a year on the waiting list. In August we had our first egg retrieval and I woke up from the anesthesia to be told they had retrieved no eggs despite having multiple follicles. I was emotionally and physically exhausted and devastated. A week and a half and a lot of tears later I had a follow-up phone call with Dr. Kiltz who looked over my medical records and said it looks like I ovulated early before they even started the retrieval. He said they would do what they could to help us have a baby and changed up the protocol based on me ovulating early.
This was our last shot, I told my husband after this I was done. I couldn't take any more disappointment and devastation and if this didn't work we weren't meant to have kids. On September 19, 2018 we had our second egg retrieval after a half a dozen trips to CNY for monitoring, which was over an hour each way. This time I was told they had retrieved 7 eggs. The next morning I received a phone call that 3 fertilized and one was hanging out. On September 22, 2018 Dr. Corley transferred two embryos at my request, and prayed with us after the transfer. I couldn't let myself hope it would work, I wanted it to but I couldn't handle another devastation. The night before my beta test I took a home pregnancy test expecting it to be negative like every other test, but this time it was positive and I cried and was shocked. The next day I received the phone call that I was indeed pregnant.
The next 9 months were tough. I had such anxiety and no one prepares you for the anxiety that comes from so many failed attempts to get pregnant. Every ultrasound, every baby check, every blood draw I was nervous and expecting the worst, that my baby wasn't going to survive and I wouldn't have him. But on June 19, 2019 exactly 9 months after conception my son came into this world, my little miracle. It took almost 4 years, countless cycles of timed intercourse, ovulation kits, 4 rounds of metformin, 4 rounds of clomid, a hysterectomy and laproscopy, removal of some endo, too many ultrasounds and 2.5 hour round trips to Syracuse to count, 5 IUIs, 2 eggs retrievals, and one fresh transfer of 2 embryos to have our son.
11.5 months later my husband and I decided to try again on our own so we could try for a few months before transferring one of our two frozen embryos. My cycles had become regular and I looked at a calendar and said to him it's not going to happen, I'm past the ovulation window as I ovulate early. Two weeks later I had symptoms I only experienced when I pregnant with my son and bought a test, expecting it to be negative. But low and behold we were pregnant first try after so many failed attempts with our first. We had heard stories about secondary fertility but never expected it to happen to us and definitely weren't banking on it, especially with only one try.
Our daughter came into this world March 9, 2021. I thank Dr. Corley, Dr. Kiltz, and everyone else at CNY for both our children, if they didn't help us with our son we wouldn't have our daughter. Thank you for helping us to have our perfect children and make our family complete.
Favorite Team Member at CNY:
It's been quite a while since our treatments, really all the staff was so nice.
Helpful resources Stephanie & Eric found:
Reading other stories helped me get through the roller coaster ride of emotions that occurred.
The high was finding out we were indeed pregnant. The lows were the failed IUIs, the cost of an IUI with injectable, and definitely finding out no eggs were retrieved with the first IVF cycle.
Hope, Inspiration and Advice:
Don't give up and plan to change protocols when things aren't working. Also don't wait too long to ask for help or what you feel is the right path, trust your instincts.