DOR & Recurrent Loss: Maiclaire’s Story [JOURNEY]

September 14, 2020

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Today’s journey story of a woman named Maiclaire. She is a 43-year-old senior director of research who enjoys barre fitness classes, writing, and watching her husband write and play music. Although Maiclaire got pregnant their first cycle trying to conceive, they lost the baby at 12 weeks. It was physically and emotionally traumatic — and left her questioning why no one talks about miscarriage. Five months later and still not pregnant, her OB/GYN ran a few tests and diagnosed her with DOR and an abnormally-shaped uterus. They transferred to a fertility clinic and began IUI. She got pregnant during her second cycle but again miscarried. At this point, they moved on to IVF. Unfortunately, her first cycle was canceled due to lack of response. Her second cycle was better but still didn’t result in any blastocysts. They switched fertility clinics and did additional testing. She went on to do 3 more IVF cycles, but none resulted in normal embryos. Join us to hear how Maiclaire made changes to improve their fertilization rate — and what’s coming up next in her journey.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Maiclaire loved being social and outgoing
  • How she met her husband online because she loved his profile; they chatted and had brunch, but it was his charming smile that won Maiclaire’s heart!
  • As a couple, they are “cute,” and they balance each other with their emotional and practical sides
  • How Maiclaire never really had the desire for children until she met her husband
  • How she used to focus on her career but now puts her full-time focus on fertility treatment
  • The surprise, completely natural pregnancy just six weeks after their wedding, when Maiclaire and her husband were 41 and 47
  • A strong heartbeat disappeared when spotting began at 12 weeks, and she miscarried over the next two weeks
  • The physical and emotional trauma of miscarriage that no one talks about
  • How Maiclaire pushed her Ob to move faster because of her age (42); tests showed diminished ovarian reserve, but those results were never explained fully to her
  • When she saw her first reproductive endocrinologist, he was optimistic and recommended IUI with Letrozole
  • The first two cycles showed a high probability of twins, and Maiclaire got pregnant on the second cycle with only one baby; sadly, there was no heartbeat at nine weeks
  • The miscarriage was devastating, and Maiclaire was ready to move to IVF
  • The great advice a nurse gave to Maiclaire about getting on the IVF waiting list while still trying IUI
  • Poor egg quality and DOR pointed to IVF with PGS testing
  • Why Maiclaire became furious at the doctor’s nonchalance about canceling her first IVF cycle and converting it to another IUI
  • The second IVF try was a low point because five eggs yielded no blastocysts
  • Why Maiclaire wrote a book to raise awareness about miscarriage because she felt isolated and alone
  • As they switched to a new clinic and met a new doctor, they decided to buy an IVF package and plan for early embryo banking
  • With the first cycle at the new clinic, five eggs were retrieved, and only one fertilized
  • How Maiclaire determined to improve her fertilization rates by learning more
  • Why they planned to use PICSI, a more sophisticated form of ICSI to select the best sperm
  • The next IVF cycle was canceled due to a cyst–and then the COVID-19 delay hit
  • As they resumed, the next cycle yielded four eggs–and all four fertilized
  • On the most recent cycle, nine cysts prompted a six-week wait, but they got three fertilized eggs
  • How their eight early embryos yielded three blasts of high quality, but PGS results showed genetic abnormalities for all three
  • The first sign that Maiclaire needed a medical professional
  • Why Maiclaire started with her Ob-gyn in the beginning and stayed at her first clinic
  • The differences in the two clinics: one had a long waiting list, and Maiclaire felt like a number; the other provided more personalized and customized care
  • Why Maiclaire wrote her book, Prequel to Parenthood, to raise awareness
  • The recommendations for success from her doctor were multiple cycles and minimal stimulation
  • The most important thing Maiclaire has learned on this journey
  • How Maiclaire and her husband have handled miscarriage differently while staying on the same page about treatments and next steps
  • The lowest point came after the second failed IVF cycle, but the past two weeks were actually worse because all of their three embryos are genetically abnormal
  • A positive moment happened when four eggs fertilized; releasing her book was also a positive moment on the journey
  • How Maiclaire balanced a demanding job and treatment
  • Maiclaire’s tips about communicating with people at work: “Be honest and let them know that you’re going through something difficult and that you need flexibility.”
  • How Maiclaire and her husband used savings and creative financing to afford IVF, which wasn’t covered by insurance
  • How Maiclaire chooses to spend quality time with a small group of people because she has limited emotional availability
  • In advocating for yourself, Maiclaire recommends educating yourself and finding a community that will support you and help you learn
  • How infertility has changed Maiclaire: “Infertility has made me cynical. It has challenged my eternal optimism but made me realize how resilient I am.”
  • Maiclaire’s advice to her past self: “I would tell my younger self to freeze your eggs at a young age and go directly to a high-quality fertility clinic immediately after the first miscarriage.”
  • What’s next for Maiclaire is the tough decision to use an egg donor or to try another stim cycle, all while time is ticking away

References:

Thanks for listening!

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