We’re not the ” IVF may be your best route” kind of story. We are the “IVF with ICSI is your only option” if you even get to that point story. Ours is the type of success story that you scour the Internet at night looking for, all to breathe a sigh of relief that if we got our miracle, so could you. And that is why we’ve decided to open up and share our journey.
Like so many in this community, we planned and prepared for when we would try to get pregnant all to realize that there are some things that can’t be planned even when it comes down to science. At my annual with my OBGYN in January 2012, I explained that we’d be trying to conceive (TTC) in the spring. Given my erratic menstrual cycles, she recommended doing some blood work to ensure I was ovulating. Come to find out, I was anovulatory some months and ovulated on my own other months, with cycles varying from 26-41 days. It was decided that to address the issue, I’d be prescribed a low dose of Clomid and that if that was our only issue it’d be expected that we’d fall pregnant.
June, July, August, & September were a pattern of two week waits symptom spotting and nursery planning followed by two weeks of drinking away my sorrows until the next TWW. Just joking-sort of . Truthfully, though, even just after repeated Big Fat Negative (BFN) and “Aunt Flow” (AF) arrivals I was becoming more and more devastated. After 4 months of Clomid being effective and still no Big Fat Positive (BFP), my OBGYN indicated that it was time to look at my husband before doing anything more invasive with me.
On October 14, 2012, aka Our D-Day, we received our diagnosis: Non-Obstructive Azoospermia, which is in our case zero sperm related to a hormonal imbalance.
We ran the gamete of emotions that day and the days following…over 500 days in fact. In that moment, I didn’t know how we’d ever survive, but I’m here to tell you we did and it was so worth every tear shed, every disappointing result heard, every shot injected, and every penny spent.
After meeting for an initial consult with a Reproductive Endocronolgist, we felt some sense of relief that we were, if nothing else, headed in the right direction. My husband was prescribed HCG and FSH to produce testosterone which would in turn result in sperm. Given the nature of our diagnosis, we began seeing a urologist, specializing in male factor infertility, which is my best advice given for anyone dealing with Male Factory Infertility (MFI).
He made tweaks in the medication protocol and advised us that we needed to be patient. If after time, there was still no sperm, we would attempt TESE as a last resort.
Fast forward nine months and four appointments later, we were at our last resort. My husband had at that point been on hormone treatments for a year. A semen analysis at the end of December finally yielded some sperm. While they weren’t viable, it was a glimmer of hope that we’d possibly be able to extract something via surgery.
So our IVF journey officially started and while we were cautiously optimistic, the reality was that there may not even have been sperm for ICSI. On February 8, 2014 I began my stims and monitoring of between 8-10 follicles. I triggered on the 18th and aligned my egg retrieval with my husband’s TESE on the 20th.
I have never felt such despair in my life as I did that morning. I was escorted to the waiting room after nothing was found on one side. I fell to my knees, uncontrollably sobbing and praying for some sort of miracle. We left the surgery, still unsure if there would be any sperm to fertilize the eggs we were about to have retrieved. It was our lowest low point, until less than five minutes later the urologist himself called to say that they spun a small sample and thought there may be some sperm to use.
Exhale. Eleven eggs were retrieved, six were mature enough, four fertilized and made it to day 3. I received the call from the nurse on day 2, that we’d be going in for a day 3 transfer and I was convinced this couldn’t be good. She reassured me that they’d best survive in the most natural setting and the following day we would discuss the number to transfer.
On February 23, 2014 there were still 4 embryos. However only three were quality enough for transfer. Given our circumstances and since we were open to twins, our RE recommended transferring all three. He had gotten us that far and so we trusted in him. With tears streaming down our faces, we watching in utter awe as three of the most precious embryos were transferred and we were officially Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise (PUPO). Two weeks later, a beta of 816 confirmed that we were officially pregnant and an IVF first timer success. Two weeks thereafter we saw the most amazing heartbeat of “the one” who’d come to be our miracle son.
We had beaten infertility. Now we are considered on the other side of infertility. I’ve come to learn, though, that infertility doesn’t escape you. It changes you forever and remains a part of you. There are days now when I can reflect on infertility in a much more meaningful way than I was able to do in the midst of it. That is why I have chosen to write about our experience, for those who know us and complete strangers to read. I made a promise that if we ever received our miracle, I would pay it forward by providing local support to others battling infertility. So here I am with a blog launched and on the brink of starting monthly support groups, in hopes of someway repaying all that we’ve been blessed with.
We are that story that I hope you think of when you can’t fall asleep at night, when you receive bad news, and when you don’t think you can go on. We are that 0% chance without interventions kind of story and look at us now.
About the Author: Morgan Libero
My name is Morgan Libero of onprayersandneedles.org. I’m happily married to my high school sweetheart, together 15 years and married 8. We are the proudest parents to our 2 year old son, Michael. However, our happily ever after, didn’t come that easy to us. What initially started as ovulation issues on my end, quickly turned into a severe Male Factor Infertility diagnosis of Unobstructive Azoospermia. Through the extraordinary work of our RE and Urologist specializing in MFI, we were an IVF/ICSI first timer success story. I promised myself, my husband, and our unborn child that if we ever became parents, I’d pay-it-forward by starting to provide local support group in CT. So here we are, a blog just shy of a year, and on the brink of launching a monthly support group.