Our Story

If you had told me in my 20s that I'd be 39 before conceiving my first child – or that I'd have any problem doing so - I would never have believed it. I had "planned" on a very "average" adulthood - get married in my early 20s - mid 20s at the latest - have a baby a year or two later, the "standard" plan. Yet, there I found myself at 38, married just a year, and not having any luck getting pregnant. How could that be? I'd spent my entire life responsibly trying NOT to get pregnant and now I find out that I actually can't??

My OB/GYN had recommended that we wait no more than six months before going to see a fertility specialist (her hands-down recommendation was Dr. Sweet) and we took her at her word. After about five months of trying to conceive, my husband and I made an appointment with the doctor we'd heard so much about.

Dr. Sweet and his very talented team put us through the standard tests and with the exception of some retrograde ejaculation issues on my husband's part, everything looked great initially. We felt very optimistic and started our first round of Letrozole to assist with ovulation, with a plan to have lUI as soon as I officially Ovulated.

Wanting to be sure, I had even purchased a digital ovulation test - somehow a "smiley" face instead of different shades of blue lines made me feel more comfortable that I'd read the test correctly and I didn't want to take any chances. And then one day, there it was - that fabulous smiley face. I called the office and our lUI was scheduled for that week.

At the appointment, it was clear something was wrong - my uterine lining hadn't thickened at all and whether or not I had actually ovulated was now in question. We were understandably surprised and upset, but weren't overly concerned ... yet. On Dr. Sweet's recommendation, we decided to do super ovulation with another lUI.

Luck however, was not with us - my uterine lining simply wasn't responding, even to the higher dosages of Menopur we were prescribed. My husband and I began to fear the worst and those fears were confirmed when we were told to start considering "our options" when the higher dosage didn't do the trick.

I was devastated. My husband was incredibly supportive, but I felt like a complete failure - I felt I'd let him down, let myself down, let everyone down. Somewhere inside I knew I wasn't to blame, but just knowing the "problem" was with me, made it feel that way anyway.

Dr. Sweet then suggested that we try a new approach - a combination of higher dosages of Menopur, plus 10 days of baby aspirin and 10 days of Viagra. Yes, Viagra. In a suppository form no less. I felt like a total science experiment, but was willing to try anything. In fact, I threw in massage and acupuncture just for good measure!

On the crucial final ultrasound, my uterine growth was far better than before, but still significantly less than we had hoped - and less than Dr. Sweet's "normal" minimum preferred level. I was crushed, as was my husband. We decided to go ahead with the lUI anyway - if for no other reason than to say that we'd tried everything before deciding what to do next.

So we did the lUI and then the two weeks of waiting began. Luckily, I had to be away on business the final week, which helped distract me somewhat (emphasis on "somewhat!"). That whole week, I felt a little "funny." My breasts were sore, I felt tired - basically, I just didn't feel myself. My first thought of course, was that I was pregnant, but I convinced myself that I was "over thinking" everything and imagining the symptoms. In fact, I didn't even tell my husband what I was feeling - I was that sure I was just imaging things and didn't want to disappoint him.

I woke up at Sam on Saturday, September 13 - TEST DAY - and shook my husband awake. He quickly followed me into the bathroom where I took the test and then promptly hid the test stick under the directions sheet. We went into the kitchen and tried to talk about something - anything - other than the test results we were waiting for, but words failed us. After a few very long minutes, we went back into the bathroom and I found I'd lost my nerve entirely. I insisted my husband check the test - I wasn't even capable of lifting the paper!

And there it was - the word PREGNANT (yes, I'd used a digital test again to be sure!). I started crying and my husband started hugging me. I then insisted we repeat the test - just in case. Sure enough, that magical word appeared again. And again and again on the next two tests. Could this be really happening? Real it was. On May 15, 2009, we gave birth to the most beautiful little girl in the world.

DON'T GIVE UP. Stay positive, think outside the box, try things you never thought you'd try or consider. Above all, just TRY to stay positive and think good thoughts. You just never know. The end result is soooo worth it!

Amy Mitchell
Mother of Makayla Skye Mitchell

Comment From Dr. Sweet:
Amy was a challenge. As she writes, her endometrial lining was really thin when we did the first Letrozole/IUI procedure. We like to see a lining of at least 7 mm and hers was 4.5 mm. There was no history of intrauterine surgery, which can sometimes damage the lining, so this was quite unexpected and of real concern. Every so often, we have a similar patient that was seemingly born with some sort of yet-to-be understood problem with her lining truly making implantation a rare event.

I thought the Letrozole might be to blame (Clomid classically does this and Letrozole usually doesn’t) so superovulation with higher levels of estrogen were the next step. Once again, even though her estrogen levels were twice normal, her lining only grew to 3mm!

Using the combination of baby aspirin and Viagra suppositories has been suggested in such cases. The idea is that the combination significantly increases the blood flow to the uterus helping to thicken the lining. Our experience with this particular cocktail in the past has been relatively poor, but it was this or move onto adoption or surrogacy, so we decided to give it a try.

Her second superovulation cycle was very aggressive. Her estrogen levels were ten times normal levels and yet her lining still only thickened to 5.7 mm! We knew that this might be adequate but it certainly was not ideal. Amazingly enough, it worked! Obviously, I think her husband gets all the credit….

I was so very pleased that the cocktail worked but I will admit I was a tad surprised. Lining problems are some of the most difficult we face since we understand so little and have so few treatment plans that consistently work. Nevertheless, this recipe worked in a big way for this family and we will keep it ready for the next similar challenge that comes along.


updated 1/10/10

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