Poor Egg Quality: Christina’s Story [JOURNEY]

June 29, 2020

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Today’s journey story is about a woman named Christina. She is a 35-year-old journalist who enjoys photography. Christina has been a local news reporter for nearly 15 years in several different markets. She now freelances for the CBS affiliate in Louisville, Kentucky, mostly covering foster care issues. About 5 years ago, she and her husband realized that making a baby ‘the old-fashioned way’ wasn’t working. Several consults later, they decided to see a reproductive endocrinologist in Cincinnati because Louisville’s fertility clinic wasn’t built yet. They did 3 IUIs and 2 rounds of IVF, but nothing worked. She was told she had poor egg quality and unexplained infertility. After their second failed IVF cycle, they decided to adopt. Join us to hear how Christina and her husband adopted 2 children internationally and foster 2 additional children — and what’s coming up next in her journey.

Episode Sponsor:

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What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Christina loved hanging out with friends and felt naive, young, and invincible
  • How she met her husband via online dating when they both worked in West Palm Beach, Florida
  • As a couple, they have weathered many storms together and are closer than ever
  • How the innate desire to be a mother left Christina angry at not being able to have a child
  • Why Christina stayed in a smaller news market and took a different career path to prepare for children
  • When they started trying to conceive, nothing happened for over a year, so Christina began Clomid and IUIs—with no success
  • Since there wasn’t a local clinic, Christina found a reproductive endocrinologist in Cincinnati; the first IVF cycle yielded zero good eggs
  • With the second round of IVF, her eggs still weren’t good, but there were three embryos that were all transferred together with no success
  • Feeling devastated and ready to get off the infertility rollercoaster, Christina and her husband turned to adoption
  • How she researched international and domestic adoption and fostering; after seeing a lawyer, domestic adoption seemed too risky, so they located an orphanage in Uganda as a possibility
  • Several months into the adoption process, the Uganda orphanage closed the door on all international adoptions, leaving Christina heartbroken; the agency pointed them to an orphanage in Malawi
  • About a year later, they got a call about two-year-old twin girls—and they jumped at the chance
  • They finally visited Malawi about a year later and met the girls, but it was several more months before they could bring them home
  • In the meantime, they had signed up to be foster parents, and they got a call about two boys, ages one and two–so they took them in
  • When they brought the girls home, they quickly became of family of six
  • After three years, they are still in the process of adopting the boys, now almost four and five
  • Why Christina doesn’t recommend fostering to adoption to anyone because it’s a hurtful process that always prioritizes reunification with the parents
  • How Christina knew that something was wrong in the beginning whey they were trying to conceive
  • How Christina had amazing doctors and nurses that she loved and trusted
  • Why Christina went out of her area to go to the Cincinnati fertility clinic
  • How Christina uses her position and platform as a journalist to shed light on foster care
  • Why Christina holds onto her dream of getting pregnant, carrying a child, and giving birth
  • The devastation they felt when all their eggs were bad
  • Why Christina sees the need to talk about infertility issues to bring hope, support, and advice to other women
  • The lowest point was when the second IVF failed, and she was mad at God; another low point was when they weren’t able to bring the girls home from Malawi during their first visit
  • The positive moments when the two boys walked through their door, and when the judge in Malawi said, “The girls are yours.”
  • How Christina balanced work and treatment by freelancing
  • Why Christina was private at first about their journey because of the uncertainty of the outcome
  • How they afforded treatment AND adoption through good insurance coverage and savings
  • What it’s like to adopt twins internationally
  • How Christina’s relationship with her husband has grown closer through the tough times
  • How Christina’s family was supportive throughout their journey, but there were some tough times when friends kept getting pregnant while Christina was not successful
  • How infertility has changed Christina: “I’m a stronger person. I can handle more physically and emotionally than I thought possible. As a white woman with four black children, I see the world in a totally different way. I’m so grateful for the ways my eyes have been opened to so many things about race. I’m more sensitive, and I understand more about racial situations and privileges. This journey has changed me.”
  • Christina’s advice to her past self: “Soldier on. Fight. Never stop fighting. Never give up. Get up off the ground and do the next thing you need to do.”
  • What’s next for Christina? “We hope to finalize the boys’ adoption in the next few months. We have become a medically-fragile certified foster home to be able to foster newborns. Maybe we’ll get pregnant someday, even though it may not happen. I’m open to possibilities, and even though we have four kids, there is still room for more.”

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