Cancer & Recurrent Loss: Josephine’s Story [SUCCESS]

June 3, 2019

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Josephine. She is a 41-year-old health and wellness consultant who enjoys boxing in her spare time. Josephine and her husband knew from the start that having children would require assistance due to her husband’s bout with cancer in his early twenties. She began IVF treatments at the age of 25 and naively thought they would not have any problems getting pregnant since she did not have any pre-existing issues. Several years after many chemical pregnancies and failed IVF attempts, she finally became pregnant with twins, only to lose them at 17 weeks. It was at this point that they decided to pivot in their approach and adopted their son from Kazakhstan. Join us to hear how Josephine went on to beat infertility by having two more sets of twins — one set that she carried and another via a surrogate.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Josephine was very carefree, full of hope, and happy
  • How she met her husband when they both attended the University of Chicago and were in a coed dorm together
  • As a couple, they’ve gone through many phases of marriage together and are super-busy parents today
  • How Josephine always wanted to be the mom of several children, mainly because she grew up with many cousins around her
  • How she knew her career choice would need to work around building her family, and why they chose an area to live where kids would thrive and have good schools
  • Since her husband had a rare cancer during college, she knew conceiving would require assistance
  • Why they went straight to IVF with ICSI because of her husband’s limited sperm supply
  • After two years of chemical pregnancies and failed IVF attempts, she became pregnant with twins and lost them at 17 weeks
  • They had considered adoption, but thought it would come much later in their journey; instead, they pivoted and started pursuing international adoption
  • They chose Kazakhstan because the waiting list was shorter and the adoption agency there provided many benefits
  • How they weighed the risk of international adoption vs. domestic adoption
  • After about 6 months of waiting, they adopted their son, who was 10 months old
  • How their son brought lightness to their home and their lives again
  • How they decided to give IVF another try and chose the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, even though they lived in New Hampshire
  • They were able to use a satellite facility for most testing and only flew to CO a few times during the process
  • How having their son already took a lot of the stress of IVF away
  • Josephine became pregnant with twins, had a cerclage, was put on bed rest, and hired an au pair to help with her son
  • She carried the twins to 40 weeks, had a scheduled C-section, and gave birth to her son and daughter with no issues
  • With 10 quality embryos remaining, Josephine and her husband wanted to have more children but knew her body couldn’t handle another pregnancy
  • Five years after her twins were born, they pursued surrogacy, which was “like a bizarre mixture of IVF and adoption”
  • They found a fantastic surrogate through CCRM, and she became pregnant with twins and delivered two boys at 35 weeks. They are 3 years old now.
  • How Josephine’s first RE appointment was at a huge hospital in Boston which wasn’t intimate at all, so she had to learn to advocate for herself throughout the process
  • How the experience at the final clinic (CCRM) differed so much from the first one in Boston
  • How the different journeys of IVF, adoption, pregnancy, and surrogacy all differed in the mental challenges they brought
  • How frustrating it was to have to prove that they would be good parents in the adoption process
  • The lowest point for Josephine was the loss of her twins at 17 weeks, and she saw a therapist to work through her feelings
  • How infertility has changed Josephine: “Infertility has changed me in a myriad of ways. It’s made me learn a lot about experiencing feelings and realizing that others are going through things that we don’t even know about.”
  • Josephine’s advice to her past self: “Be kind.”

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Thanks for listening!

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