PCOS, Male Factor & Recurrent Loss: Erin’s Story [SUCCESS]

August 3, 2020

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Erin. She is a 38-year-old social worker who enjoys reading, watching TV, and doing activities with her son. Erin has spent the last decade working in private adoptions. She’s struggled with PCOS since she was a teenager and was told by multiple doctors that it would be difficult to conceive. Her cycle was never regular, and she was put on birth control at 17. She was never really that interested in having kids, so while this news was not fun to hear, it also wasn’t devastating. However, when she met her husband, Erin’s perspective shifted. After years of no success, they finally saw a reproductive endocrinologist. Seven medicated timed intercourse cycles, three miscarriages, and a hysteroscopy led to an IVF recommendation by two different REs. While working through the process of starting IVF, Erin and her husband began taking the litany of supplements from It Starts with The Egg. Join us to hear how Erin and her husband were shocked to find out they had become pregnant without intervention right before their IVF cycle began.

Episode Sponsor:

Infertility Coaching with Heather Huhman

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Erin had less patience and empathy than she does today
  • How she met her husband online, then spoke for hours on the phone before meeting in person a few weeks later
  • As a couple, they are supportive and fun-loving and share many common interests
  • How Erin never really wanted kids and thought marriage and children would never happen for her–until she met her husband
  • How not a lot of decisions were impacted by Erin’s desire to have a family
  • Erin knew her diagnosis of PCOS as a teenager would cause difficulty in conceiving, but she went off birth control and scheduled an appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist
  • The recommendation was to begin medicated timed intercourse cycles; the first was unsuccessful, but the second one brought success and a celebratory Mexican vacation
  • At the first ultrasound, the outlook wasn’t good, and a closer look confirmed a blighted ovum
  • How they took time off for healing, adventures, and re-centering as a couple
  • They dove into more timed intercourse cycles and got pregnant again; they saw the heartbeat but bleeding began later—and then a miscarriage
  • How the next few months were a blur of grief and loss for Erin, leading her to question everything about her life and existence
  • After several months off, they saw the RE again, and IVF was the recommendation; Erin was surprised that there was no middle step between timed intercourse and IVF
  • How they got a second opinion and switched clinics to work with an RE with a positive outlook; they did three more timed intercourse cycles with trigger shots
  • After a chemical pregnancy, their first semen analysis was done and showed numbers that were on the low side of normal; their options were either IUI or IVF
  • They explored IVF options in the Northeast because of lower costs, made plans to begin, and started taking the supplements and making lifestyle changes recommended in It Starts With the Egg
  • Because Erin felt “weird,” she took a pregnancy test, and it was positive! With no interventions, their pregnancy resulted in their son, born in December 2018
  • Why Erin consulted a medical professional in the beginning
  • Erin’s first impression of their fertility clinic was that their doctor (who looked like Woody Allen) was competent, but their impression changed over time; also, the staff wasn’t very compassionate after each of Erin’s losses
  • Why Erin decided to be open about their journey and losses, and how people reacted
  • How the BI podcast and app helped Erin on her journey and gave her extra support and knowledge
  • How Erin and her husband felt about the male factor diagnosis
  • The lowest point for Erin came with the loss of her second pregnancy; she experienced PTSD during the darkness, saw a therapist and psychologist, and leaned on her husband for support
  • The most positive moment was the Christmas Eve news of their first pregnancy success, and they felt full of wonder, joy, and innocence
  • How Erin defines the moment she knew she would be a mom
  • How Erin balanced the emotional challenges of her work with adoptive families and children while battling infertility
  • How they afforded treatment, with insurance covering almost everything until they prepared for IVF and out-of-state treatment
  • How Erin’s relationship with her husband improved during their infertility journey
  • How infertility changed Erin: “Infertility made me a better social worker. It reminded me that everyone has their own journey that we can’t see. It takes walking through challenges to get to that mental point. I’m definitely kinder and more empathetic, and I look at things through a softer lens now.”
  • Erin’s advice to her past self: “Don’t assume that the doctor knows everything just because they are a doctor. I wish we had pushed for a semen analysis earlier and switched doctors earlier.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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