Unexplained Infertility: Heather’s Story [SUCCESS]

February 10, 2020

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Today’s success story is about a woman named Heather. She is a 33-year-old freelance marketer who enjoys reading, learning new things, traveling, and crafting. In the first three years of their marriage, Heather and her husband never prevented pregnancy. However, she never once became pregnant. She asked her primary care physician if she should be concerned, and he frustratingly told her “it will happen when it’s supposed to happen.” So, she went back to school while they continued to try on their own. Eventually, she reached out to an OB/GYN, who also didn’t seem concerned but referred her to a reproductive endocrinologist after a year. After 2 failed IUIs and a bad experience with the doctor, they switched clinics. Join us to hear how Heather finally became pregnant with her daughter after one IVF cycle with the new doctor.

Episode Sponsor:

Infertility Coaching with Heather Huhman

What you’ll hear in this episode:

  • Before infertility, she and her husband enjoyed being together and traveling
  • How she met her husband when they both worked at Target, and co-workers encouraged them to get together
  • As a couple, they are very much opposites who balance each other out
  • How Heather and her husband always knew they wanted to be parents someday
  • How they became cautious with their budget while planning to have kids
  • Heather saw a physician after not preventing pregnancy for the first three years of marriage and never once becoming pregnant
  • Heather went back to school, graduated, and then became serious about trying to get pregnant; she saw an Ob-gyn for advice
  • After six more months of trying, the Ob was unconcerned and told her to try for another six months; Heather broke down over how long they had already tried, so the doctor recommended them to a reproductive endocrinologist
  • Tests showed normal results except for a questionable sperm count, and their two options were IUI or IVF
  • Heather found an online community of support and began educating herself about infertility
  • She took the next step and did the first IUI cycle, thinking for sure that she was pregnant, but she wasn’t; the second IUI failed also
  • With a new job, Heather found a new RE in a different location and really loved this new doctor
  • She put off IVF for a while because she was fearful of what to do with the leftover embryos at the end of the process
  • They took a break, and Heather started a support group and connected with others
  • As they began IVF, they had to take a six-month break because of a recent trip to Mexico and a Zika virus scare
  • Their first IVF went smoothly except for one cyst, but they retrieved 17 eggs and 14 fertilized; they did a fresh transfer and froze three embryos
  • The first transfer took, and Heather became pregnant
  • How it felt to be dismissed by the first two doctors she saw
  • How she knew right away that this wasn’t the right doctor for her, and he put all the burden on Heather even though her tests were normal
  • Seeing the second doctor was a complete turnaround with a night and day difference
  • What makes a good reproductive endocrinologist
  • What it felt like to not receive an official diagnosis
  • Why Heather and her husband decided to do a fresh transfer
  • The lowest point for Heather came after the second failed IUI; she went through a time of shutting down from life
  • Connecting with other women in her support group helped get her through those low points
  • A funny moment that happened at a party, when several people asked to watch her do her stim shots
  • How seeing the 3D ultrasound of her daughter at 14 weeks was the moment when she realized she was really going to be a mom
  • The surreal and overwhelming moments at her daughter’s birth
  • How Heather was able to keep a flexible schedule and work from home at times during treatment; she was thankful for the way her job kept her busy during her treatment
  • Tips for communicating with your boss about your infertility journey: “Know your audience and reach out to others. Be open about your successes and failures.”
  • How Heather used her openness in the workplace to inform and educate others about IVF and infertility
  • How her husband’s insurance helped cover much of treatment, due to the mandated infertility coverage in Massachusetts
  • How Heather’s relationship with her husband has grown closer through their many shared life experiences since age 20
  • In relationships with friends, Heather was very open from the beginning, but not so much with all of their family members until later in the journey
  • How Heather learned to advocate for herself along the way for medical procedures and insurance billing
  • Heather’s tips for advocating: use alternate communication with your doctor if you find it difficult to talk face-to-face, reach out and ask questions, and rely on your support network
  • How infertility has changed Heather: “I feel a lot more confident now. Infertility has become a big part of my life, and I now run a support group in the Chicagoland area so I can continue to work with women going through infertility. Infertility has made me a lot more willing to talk about things in my life.”

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