Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: Jennifer’s Story [SUCCESS]

March 11, 2019

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Jennifer. She is a 32-year-old speech therapist who enjoys watching TV, reading, and hanging out with friends. After she discontinued birth control and never got her period, her OB/GYN referred her to a reproductive endocrinologist. However, she quickly switched clinics after her first doctor mismanaged her thyroid medication. At the new clinic, her first IUI resulted in an ectopic pregnancy, which unfortunately led to the loss of her left tube. After a few months of recovery, they moved on to IVF. Her first retrieval ended in only one day 3 embryo to transfer, which failed. So, she switched clinics again. Her next retrieval was successful in terms of day 5 embryos, but she had two additional miscarriages. Join us to hear how Jennifer sought the advice of a reproductive immunologist and finally became pregnant with her daughter after the fifth transfer.

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Jennifer was silly, upbeat, and carefree
  • How she met her husband on a blind date, set up by a friend she ran into after a dentist appointment
  • As a couple, they are strong, share similar interests, and they balance each other out with personalities
  • How Jennifer always assumed she would be a mom and never imagined a life without children
  • How she chose a career that’s easy to work part-time in and moved to a neighborhood with great schools
  • When she went off birth control, she knew there might be an issue getting period back
  • She saw her Ob, who referred her to an RE, who turned out to be a “total whack” who overmedicated her with thyroid medications
  • She started with Clomid and had the first IUI, which ended with bleeding—Jennifer was devastated
  • As her levels kept fluctuating, they couldn’t tell her if she was pregnant or not, but she knew something was “off;” the scan showed an ectopic pregnancy
  • The ectopic led to the removal of her left tube, even though the doctor wrote down to remove the right tube!
  • In June of 2016, they moved to IVF to minimize the chance of another ectopic
  • With 24 eggs, they did a fresh transfer which ended with a negative pregnancy test—but none of the other eggs survived to be frozen
  • Why they found a new clinic and a new doctor
  • On the next IVF, they got 18 eggs and 6 were PGS-normal (Jennifer shares the humorous account of how they lost their trigger shot, called the doctor in a panic, and he delivered it to their house at 10 pm!)
  • They transferred one embryo and got a positive result, which ended in a chemical pregnancy
  • They transferred a second embryo, which gave a positive result, but Jennifer was scared to get excited
  • As the heartbeat slowed and then disappeared, Jennifer had a miscarriage and had to have a D & C, but the embryo tested normal
  • Her puzzlement at why the embryos were testing normal, but wouldn’t stick
  • Why she sought out a reproductive immunologist, even though her doctor didn’t approve
  • The reproductive immunologist recommended a new protocol, did testing, and found tissue remaining from the miscarriage, so she had a hysteroscopy
  • In March of 2017, they did the 4th transfer, which also yielded a negative result
  • After some time off, they did the 5th embryo transfer, got a positive result, and their daughter was delivered 6 weeks early, but healthy
  • How Jennifer never got an official diagnosis except for hypothalamic amenorrhea
  • How the not knowing was a big struggle
  • The most stressful decision: to see the reproductive immunologist
  • Why she did so many treatments back to back
  • Why Jennifer is very open about her infertility journey today
  • Some positive moments: how she made some very good friends through infertility and established an even stronger relationship with her husband
  • In relationships with friends and family, Jennifer wasn’t open at first, but she was pleasantly surprised at the support she received when she decided to share
  • How they balanced work and treatments, which led to Jennifer leaving her job at a school and working for her mom’s company
  • Tips for advocating: Don’t be afraid to question doctors and nurses, or ask them to double-check instructions, and do your own research
  • How infertility changed Jennifer: “I tried so hard not to be in the dark cloud of infertility. I became not so silly a person as I was. I take everything now with a grain of salt, advocate for myself, and do what it takes to take care of myself.”
  • Jennifer’s advice to herself back then: “It’s OK to be sad. Your feelings are validated. Stop feeling guilty. This isn’t your fault.”

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