Tubal Factor Infertility: Sondra’s Story [SUCCESS]

July 13, 2020

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Sondra. She is a 34-year-old senior marketing manager who enjoys group fitness classes, reality TV, and essential oils. After 4 years of being off birth control and still not pregnant, Sondra began to question changes in her body, like rapid weight gain and fluctuations in menstrual flow. After several discouraging appointments with an OB/GYN, general practitioner, and reproductive endocrinologist, she was told she might have PCOS, but it was never confirmed. She switched to a new OB/GYN and found Reproductive Associates of Delaware. There, she learned she had tubal disease and nodules on her thyroid. They decided IVF was the best choice. After her first retrieval, she had a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy. Unfortunately, her first transfer resulted in a chemical pregnancy. Join us to hear how Sondra’s second transfer was successful and resulted in the birth of their son.

Episode Sponsor:

Infertility Coaching with Heather Huhman

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Sondra was “a little naive” about life and much more carefree and extroverted
  • How she met her husband in high school, stayed connected during college years, and became much more serious after college
  • As a couple, they depend on each other and have grown closer through their struggles
  • How Sondra wanted to be a mother more than ever when she didn’t think it was possible
  • How the desire to have a child made Sondra more cautious about health and wellness, taking fitness to an obsessive level
  • After being off birth control for several months, nothing happened, so Sondra saw her Ob-gyn, who brushed off her concerns about unexplained weight gain and changes in menstrual flow
  • How Sondra did research and tracked her weight gain (40 pounds in 6 months!) while eating healthy and working out faithfully
  • She saw a medical endocrinologist and had tests done, but she still wasn’t getting the needed attention for her issues
  • When she found a new Ob-gyn who referred her to Reproductive Associates of Delaware; they found tubal disease, and her right tube was removed
  • On the first egg retrieval for IVF, seven eggs were retrieved; they now have five embryos remaining
  • How they found out the first transfer was a chemical pregnancy on Christmas Eve
  • In hindsight, Sondra wishes they hadn’t been so open with friends and family about their journey because it was tough to share news of the failed pregnancy
  • Why Sondra was inspired to start her online community on Facebook: Fearless Femmes Facing Fertility
  • They prepared for the second transfer with some protocol changes, and Sondra felt much more prepared and confident; the transfer resulted in the birth of their son, Jordan
  • Why Sondra began with her Ob-gyn and general practitioner in the beginning
  • Why the first visit to RAD was the first time she felt like a doctor listened and cared about her as a person
  • Why Sondra shared her story in a book (Kate Butler Books, Women Who Illuminate)
  • What Sondra wishes more people understood about infertility
  • How Sondra and her husband felt about the tubal factor infertility diagnosis
  • The lowest point for Sondra was the chemical pregnancy because up until then, everything had worked out for them
  • Why Sondra’s journey was mostly positive, and she was able to be optimistic at every step
  • How she didn’t believe the news that she was pregnant on the second transfer
  • How Sondra balanced work and treatment by compartmentalizing her life and staying focused at work
  • Sondra’s tip for communicating with a boss: “Be transparent about your journey and your needs.”
  • How they afforded treatment because insurance covered most of their expenses
  • How infertility affected Sondra’s relationship with her husband by making her more needy and clingy than before
  • In relationships with friends and family, Sondra now finds herself more reluctant to share details with people because it’s hard when the news is disappointing
  • How Sondra drew strength from her support circle of her closest girlfriends, family members, and her mom
  • How advocating for more personalized care was something Sondra had to learn along the way
  • Sondra’s tips for advocating: “Educate yourself, and find trusted sources of support and an online community.”
  • Sondra’s pregnancy and birth story, which was nothing like she expected; it included  preeclampsia, 39 hours of labor, the choice for a C-section, a NICU stay for her son, endometritis for her, and going home without her baby
  • What parenting has been like for Sondra with postpartum anxiety
  • Why Sondra has not had her remaining five embryos tested
  • How infertility has changed Sondra: “I am stronger. I can handle a lot more. I’m a better advocate in all areas of life, and I’m more appreciative of being a mom and having a family.”
  • Sondra’s advice to her past self: “Pay attention more. Educate yourself about infertility, whether for yourself or for others.”

References:

Thanks for listening!

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