Type 1 Diabetes: Samantha’s Story [JOURNEY]

January 6, 2020

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Today’s journey story is about a woman named Samantha. She is a 30-year-old respiratory therapist who enjoys hiking, reading, traveling, and gardening. After about a year of trying to conceive, Samantha went straight to a fertility clinic. Her blood work, ultrasound, HSG, and husband’s semen analysis were all normal, so they continued trying on their own. When that was unsuccessful after about 7 months, she gave in to a Letrozole cycle. However, her ovaries responded too well, and because she’s already high-risk as a Type 1 diabetic, the cycle was cancelled. A few months later, they decided to take a break and focus on making lifestyle changes. After their break, she became pregnant, but it was a chemical. Eventually, she took a leave of absence from work to address her mental health. Join us to hear how Samantha tried IUI several months later — and what’s coming up next in her journey.

Episode Sponsor:

Infertility Coaching with Heather Huhman

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, Samantha was more optimistic, ambitious, and outgoing
  • How she and her husband met when they were 15 and 16 years old and became high school sweethearts
  • As a couple, they are very close and have a strong friendship
  • How Samantha always wanted to be a mom because there were always babies around in her family
  • How her parents had been telling her since she was a little girl that her Type 1 diabetes would probably keep her from having children
  • How diabetes has brought fear to her life from an early age
  • In 2016, they started trying to conceive, and Samantha tracked her ovulation
  • She went to a reproductive endocrinologist, who suspected PCOS even though the ultrasound, HSG, blood work, and semen analysis all came back normal
  • Letrozole was offered, but Samantha didn’t want to take medications, so she kept trying on her own
  • How she finally gave in to a lower dose of Letrozole with ultrasound monitoring
  • In December 2018, Samantha took a break from treatments to incorporate lifestyle changes
  • She became pregnant a few months later and was excited for two days until she suspected that something was wrong; lab work later confirmed a chemical pregnancy
  • How Samantha was angry, upset, and just wanted to move on
  • Why she wanted to give IUI a “try” before moving on to IVF, but the result was negative
  • How they tried timed intercourse but were not successful
  • As December 2019 rolled around, Samantha was preparing for her first IVF cycle
  • How Samantha went to a fertility clinic so quickly because she doesn’t like doctors and doesn’t have a regular Ob-gyn
  • Samantha’s first impression of the fertility clinic, and how the doctor was on board with lifestyle changes and seemed very proactive, but she moved out-of-state, and Samantha had to choose another doctor in the practice
  • How Type 1 diabetes has impacted Samantha’s fertility
  • The specific risks that Type 1 diabetes brings to pregnancy
  • How it feels to be “unexplained” and have no closure and no answers
  • The lowest point for Samantha was when everyone around her was getting pregnant, and she experienced a panic attack around Mother’s Day
  • How Samantha recovered by taking six weeks off work, joining support groups, and getting back to doing things that bring her joy, like watercolors, hiking, and journaling
  • How telling her story seemed like one way to take control over something she couldn’t control
  • How Samantha’s insurance coverage covers 80% of her costs and a $20K lifetime max for IVF, which amounts to one round; there is also some financial assistance available through her clinic
  • How their journey has brought a different type of understanding and deeper respect in her relationship with her husband
  • How some friends have been supportive, and some friendships have changed
  • How Samantha had to advocate for herself with her doctor
  • Samantha’s advice on advocating: “Write your questions and concerns down on paper so you can bring it up calmly at your next appointment.”
  • What’s next for Samantha? Her first IVF cycle, beginning this month

References:

Thanks for listening!

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