Our Story:
By: Anonymous Couple

[My husband] and I met in 1990 when I was sixteen and he was eighteen. We got engaged in 1994 and married in 1999 after I had finished college. After two years of marriage, we decided to start trying for a baby. I was 27 and he was 29, so I felt that even if it took a few months, it would happen rather quickly. I had always taken the birth control pill diligently to make sue we had no unplanned pregnancies. This soon felt like it had been a great waste of time and money.

After a very long year of charting my temperature every morning, doing many ovulation predictor tests, and after many negative pregnancy tests, I asked my gynecologist to run some tests. He checked my blood levels to make sure I was ovulating and ordered and HSG to check for blocked tubes. All the tests came back fine. He also ordered a semen analysis for [my husband]. The count came back a little low but the morphology and motility were fine, so no one was sure if this was the reason we were not getting pregnant. He advised us to go to a urologist just to make sure.

The urologist ran the same tests and found that the morphology was also very poor and advised us to try Proxeed and Vitamin E for three months. After three months, there was no improvement. He offered no more advice except that it was very unlikely we could get pregnant on our own. This news was devastating. At this time, it had been 1.5 years and I was now eager to see a fertility specialist. My friends, family, and husband all felt I was just "trying too hard" and to "just relax, it will happen." This is the most frustrating advice and only made my struggle more painful.

We first saw Dr. Sweet in March of 2003. A friend of mine had gotten pregnant the previous year on her first attempt at IUI. He ordered another semen analysis and had the same results as the Urologist; low count and very poor morphology. Dr. Sweet advised us that we had a 1% chance [every month] of becoming pregnant on our own. This news was again devastating, but at least we were sure this was the problem. Dr. Sweet, however, did offer some answers. I really appreciated the way Dr. Sweet outline dour options, gave us the probability of each being successful, and then the approximate costs for each option. He gave us the information and left the choice up to us on which way to proceed. He did not pressure us into any choice.

We did two rounds of IUI with clomid in July and August of 2003. I did not respond well to the clomid and neither worked. Dr. Sweet then advised us that IVF would be the next best step. I appreciated him not advising us to spend more money on IUI's that did not have a high chance of working. IVF was a big step for us since it was all paid out of pocket and I would be giving myself the injections since [my husband] was terrified of needles. We signed up for IVF in September but had to wait until January 2004 for SRMS' next IVF cycle. Those four months of waiting were agonizing, but exciting also since this would give us a real chance for a baby for the fist time in 2.5 years. Emily was terrific at informing us of all IVF would entail and the exact steps in the process.

In January, when I started the injections, they were not that bad. In hindsight, I do not see how I did it, but I got through it. We had 24 eggs retrieved. Dr. Sweet had recommended only doing ICSI on 1/3 of the eggs. I felt this was too low, but I trusted DR. Sweet to give us the best chance. The three days we had to wait to see if any fertilized was very long, but 18 fertilized. The five days we waited before the transfer was just exciting, not stressful at all, because I know our embryos were in the best hands with the embryologist. We transferred two blastocysts. I wanted to transfer three, but again, I trusted Dr. Sweet and he recommended only two.

The morning of the blood pregnancy test I was very sad and skeptical that it had worked since I had had some spotting the night before and this was usually how my menstrual cycles began. When Emily and the nurse who drew my blood called me only three hours later, I thought they were calling to tell me how many had been frozen, not that my test had been positive. I WAS PREGNANT! I cried and cried from joy and disbelief. Emily and the nurse told me they ran the test right away because hey had been concerned because I looked so sad that morning in the office. This is just one example of how caring Dr. Sweet's entire staff was throughout the procedure.

We were elated when we went back to Dr. Sweet three weeks later and discovered we were having twins. Dr. Sweet commented that it was a good thing he only put back two blastocysts. [Our children] were born vaginally on September 20, 2004 after a pretty easy pregnancy except for having to rest as much as possible because of having twins. I never did take a urine pregnancy test because I do not think I every really believed two lines would show up.

I do not know how to begin to thank Dr. Sweet and his staff for the gift they have given us. I do know that I would not be writing this very happy ending if not for them. They have changed my life completely. Nothing can put me in a bad mood these days. Each day feels like I am doing things for the first time because I am doing them with my two miracles. Now that our struggle has ended, I look back and I am thankful that we did not get pregnant easily because I take no moment with them for granted. Even 2:00 am feedings are a pleasure.

My advice to others struggling with infertility is not to give up. No matter how long the journey, the outcome is so worth it, and all the anger, fear, desperation and loneliness you felt will disappear. For me it did anyway.

Thank you-


Comment From Dr. Sweet:
There were a few items I remember about this couple. The first is how many semen analyses were performed before we finally found the number of normal forms was so low (only 2-3% were normal when greater than 30% is considered normal). I am sure they were very frustrated over the delay.

The comment about "just relax" and "your trying too hard" are classic examples of what not to say to sub-fertile couples. It makes them think they are to blame when nothing could be further from the truth. (Please click here to read more about what to say and what not to say to sub-fertile couples.)

We seemed to make the right decisions.  All seven out of seven oocytes fertilized with Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (direct injection) while 13/15 fertilized with conventional techniques. Not all the embryos grew but we had 10 really good-looking embryos in the end.

If they are crazy enough to come back to have some of their frozen embryos thawed, I look forward to seeing them again. If not, I sure hope they consider donating these wonderful embryos to some lucky couple. It was a pleasure to assist them.

updated 1/6/10

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