By Toni Michelson
Growing up, I always knew I wanted to be two things: a nurse and a mommy. I accomplished the first goal at the age of 28 and started focusing on becoming a mommy right away. I knew from birth that I had a translocation of chromosomes (Robertsonian translocation). In other words, I’m a chromosome short but considered balanced because the chromosome missing contains no information. This should not have any impact on me getting pregnant but it does increase my chances significantly for miscarriages.
After my husband and I were unsuccessful trying to conceive on our own for 2 years, we decided to look into fertility options.
We did a successful IUI with my obstetrician but it ended in a miscarriage. The subsequent IUIs were unsuccessful. We were then referred to Fertility Answers where we moved forward with IVF. This process was a roller coaster that I wasn’t prepared for. Because of my known translocation, we were encouraged to do genetic testing on our embryos. The beauty of science today allowed us to do PGT-SR (preimplantation genetic testing for structural chromosomal rearrangements). This is a genetic test performed on embryos created through IVF to screen for chromosomal structural rearrangements normally caused by balanced translocations and inversions.
Our first round of IVF produced 2 embryos that we were able to use. Our first transfer failed. We were devastated. Why didn’t it work? We did genetic testing, and all of my bloodwork and ultrasounds were perfect. It should have worked. It seemed like everyone around us was getting pregnant at the time and we felt defeated. I’m also a High Risk Obstetrical nurse so I am around pregnant women all the time.
From there we did an ERA (Endometrial Receptivity Analysis). This is a biopsy that determines whether the endometrium is receiving an embryo at the right time. To our surprise, my results came back that my receptive window is not the “normal” time frame. This was good news!! We had a reason as to why our transfer didn’t work the first time around! We then started to prepare for our second and final embryo transfer from this cycle. After the transfer, you have the long and dreaded two week wait to find out if it worked. I of course tested at home in the meantime and was ecstatic to see 2 pink lines and my blood test confirmed I was pregnant. We were blessed with our first baby girl!!! We couldn’t believe it worked! Our first miracle baby was born March 26, 2019, a day before my birthday.
Fast forward 2 years and we decided she needed a sibling.
We always said we would never go through the IVF process again as it was draining and an emotional roller coaster. Over the previous 2 years, we unfortunately had no luck getting pregnant on our own. So, we apprehensively started the IVF process all over again in hopes of having our second miracle baby. We did the genetic testing again, went through all of the emotions, and this time we were able to skip the ERA since those results don’t change. After the transfer, blood test confirmed I was pregnant but my hcg levels were a little on the low side. After 72 hours you do another blood test and hope that those results doubled from the first test. My number doubled but was still low. We went into our first ultrasound terrified of the results. We left hearing the heartbeat but were told the growth was very slow and we needed to recheck in a week. This was the longest week of my life. Each ultrasound after this showed growth which was positive but still measuring small up until about 10 weeks. Once we hit our second trimester we could breath a little easier and we were blessed with our second miracle baby girl March 7, 2022. Although she started off small, she was born weighing 9 pounds 2 ounces!
There were many times when we thought being parents just wasn’t part of our story.
Maybe we would never get the chance to see those two pink lines appear on a pregnancy test. Maybe we would never get to experience the overwhelming joy of our own child being born. But we were wrong.
For us, infertility has been a season full of waiting. It’s hard, long, and exhausting. A rollercoaster full of ups and downs. Waiting, more waiting, and even more waiting. Disappointments. Heartbreaks. Confusion. Anxiety. Emotional and physical pain. Financial stress. Worry. Doubt. Fear.
My personal advice for anyone faced with the diagnosis of infertility is, never give up or lose hope.
Your miracle is possible.
Thanks to Fertility Answers, we were able to make our dream of becoming parents a reality. They have seen me through the darkest season of my life and have celebrated with me in the brightest. I am thankful for the care and compassion they showed us every step of the way.