Our Story:
How do you say thank you for a gift that is extraordinary? Are there really words to describe the gratitude I have for a dream of mine that was given to me as a reality? As I choke on my tears of now overwhelming joy, I wish to thank Dr. Craig Sweet and his wonderful staff for the most beautiful present I have ever been blessed with, my son Kaegan Ryan Winter. He is truly a gift from God!

My husband and I were married in May of 1995. We had always wanted to have children and we felt that since we were both 25, it was a good idea to get started on our family. We had been together for a few years before that and although we weren't trying to get pregnant, we weren't using any protection either. After a few months of trying, we were disappointed to find friends of ours announcing their joy of pregnancy. At my yearly checkup with my gynecologist, I inquired about what we could do to optimize our chances. I was told not to worry, that not all couples are fortunate to achieve fertility right away. Give it a year and then we can go from there. I am an instant gratification type of person so that answer was not working for me. I went to the library and started to research. I learned how intricate, delicate and specific the reproductive organs were.

Months of heartaches and severe depression went by. My husband and I decided it might be a good idea to take a break for a little while. Our desire to become pregnancy had developed into a twisted sport. I would only eat things that would benefit getting pregnant. I drank teas, used creams, used herbs and had definitely gotten others pregnant. I had even gone on a trip to Key West to Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not because I had seen on television that they had "fertility statues" that people had touched and became pregnant. Not to mention the papers, pen and thermometer that lay on my night stand from months of charting my temperatures.

We decided to start trying again after a few months of rest and relaxation. I had a new gynecologist and we had discussed our desire to become pregnant. He suggested we start doing some tests. I had a cyst on one of my ovaries removed years earlier and we wanted to rule out that something similar was causing our problem. Months of testing revealed no visible problems. I was not only back to being depressed, but I was angry and jealous. I felt I was being punished for something I had done in my life. I couldn't go to see friends who had had babies. I thought horrible things as I walked through the mall and saw women either pregnant or with children. How can something as beautiful as a child distantly inspire such ugliness in me?

We had been married for a few years now and friends and family were now asking why we hadn't started a family yet. We decided that for us, the best idea was to tell the truth. I still feel it was a good decision, however, I wish people would hear the stupidity in the things that they say. If we had cancer instead of infertility, they would never say, "You'll be (cured) pregnant when the time is right." "Have you tired standing on your head right after (chemo) sex to make it run to the appropriate places faster." "Well, it isn't so bad that you might not ever get (cured) pregnant, the world is over populated anyway." "Maybe a puppy would fill the void (after you're gone)?"

Finally, we were referred to Dr. Sweet. We had been attempting to get pregnant for over four years. We both appreciated his no-nonsense approach to our problem. A few more tests and we felt we had a good plan to start working on. Dr. Sweet felt that I was anovulatory and with his assistance and medication, we were not hopeless. I would try to not get my hopes up as I had done dozens of times before. We would do six months of oral medication and would try an intrauterine insemination (IUI) at the fifth month. I again, just knew I was pregnant, but of course, I wasn't. The sixth month we were going to do another IUI. This was our last opportunity, as we had to take a break from the medication. Plus, we had decided as a couple that we were going to stop trying to have a child of our own. We couldn't take the emotional pain any longer. We would look into adoption. I got a positive reading on my ovulation predictor at 10:00 pm on Saturday night before our company had clients meeting us at 6:30 am the next morning at the beach to go fishing. There was no way that we couldn't be there. I was crushed! Our dream of becoming parents seemed lifetimes away at that point. We felt there was little hope. For some reason, we decided to do it the "old fashioned way" and take one last attempt at achieving pregnancy. I don't think either one of us was very positive since we had done this more times that I could count and it never worked. We went on our trip and I confided in friends of mine that came with us. I cried for the baby that I felt we had lost by not being able to do the last IUI.

It was just a week and a few days later I started to think about how many days into my cycle I was. The medication had made my cycle a bit off, so I didn't exactly know when to expect it. It's funny how hope works. I had spent a small fortune on pregnancy tests in my lifetime and always regretted the purchase. I still have no idea why I decided to stop into Walgreen's that morning. Succumbing to buying the test wasn't enough; I had to get a twin pack! I even told the lady at the checkout counter a brief history of our infertility and my plan for the day. I want back to our office and immediately into the bathroom. My cycle wasn't even late at this point, so I couldn't justify a negative result because it was too early. I took the first test and got a faint positive. I of course didn't believe it. I took the second test because I must have done something wrong with the first one. The second was positive too! My plan was to wait a few days and have Dr. Sweet confirm the pregnancy, if any. Then I would give my husband a card form the baby on Father's Day. WHY WAIT! I burst out of the bathroom with the most beautiful piece of freshly urinated on plastic you have ever seen! Pushing it into my husbands sight, I demanded, "Do you know what this means?" He replied, "No" with a confused look on his face. I told him we were pregnant and he of course tired to keep me from getting too carried away. After all, he didn't want me getting depressed again.

After Dr. Sweet's staff confirmed that we were pregnant, it was a pretty uneventful pregnancy. We attended birthing and baby classes. I bought more things than I ever needed. We found out it was going to be a boy and we got to know and love him through the months. It ended after 37 weeks and 2 days on December 1, 1999 at 8:05 pm., weighing in at 10 pounds and measuring 22 inches long. A precious angel sent from heaven above was assisted out of my body and became the object of our affection and devotion. He was real and he was perfect!

I never imagined he would have such a profound affect on our lives. This one child has taken two people with rough edges and turned them into protective and loving parents. We are a family! I have quit my job to start a home child care so that I can raise our son. My husband comes in the door at night after working 13.5 hours and sees a large smile with six little teeth and knows that the strife is worth it! I remember the pain we felt from years of struggling with our infertility, but it seems so minimal now since the arrival of Kaegan.

So again, I am crying and faced with how to show my appreciation. We are at a loss for words, so I will hope that you feel the magnitude of emotion we ar putting into this simple THANK YOU!

David & Tracy Winter

Comment From Dr. Sweet:
There are a few points that can be learned from this family.

The first is the amount of time that was spent on issues that did not seem to get them closer to their goal. It was certainly interesting how Tracy tired to consume only those foods that would assist in fertility. In reality, there really aren't any beyond a well-balanced diet. The part about her going to Ripley's Believe-It-Or-Not showed her level of understandable desperation and frustration.

Tracy's anger towards other parents with children was quite common. Unfortunately, such feelings conjured up additional guilt and frustration. It is a rare person, indeed, who is able to keep a positive attitude when they see more fortunate individuals with children.

The section about the "helpful" comments well-meaning friends and family would offer should be heeded by all. Such comments communicate to the couple that they are in control and that the lack of fertility was their fault. Nothing could be further from the truth.

It was quite exciting that Tracy became pregnant with only the additional of an ovulatory medication. Her husband certainly deserves all the credit! Their son looks healthy and seems to be growing at quite quickly.

I hope their story inspires, but also teaches others what to say and what feelings are common to the infertile patient. In addition, one should stay focused on the procedures with proven success rates rather than the "Believe-It-Or-Not" methods. That stated, don't stop trying since conception may occur when you really don't expect it with only a minimum of assistance!

updated 1/10/10

© 2011 Specialists In Reproductive Medicine & Surgery, P.A. | fertility@dreamababy.com

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