Each year, more than 6.1 million women in the US have difficulty getting pregnant or staying pregnant.
“I am one of those 6.1 million,” says Heather.
Heather and her husband, Joe, had always known they wanted to be parents. “Joe wanted to start a family as soon as we married,” Heather says with a smile, “but I wanted at least one year with just the two of us.”
When Heather eventually went off of birth control, she soon became pregnant. Sadly, she miscarried at seven weeks. The couple tried for another year to become pregnant again, but nothing happened. Heather’s doctor put her on Clomid, but that didn’t help.
“In the back of my mind, I was scared that I wouldn’t be able to have kids easily,” she says. So when someone told her about Fertility Centers of Illinois, the couple made an appointment to see Dr. Brian Kaplan.
“It was the beginning of 2014, and a new year to start fresh and get help,” Heather remembers.
After several tests, there was still no known cause for the couple’s infertility. But Dr. Kaplan encouraged them, explaining that there were several treatment options available. The couple, in their late 20s, decided that they wanted to pursue the treatment with the highest chance of success and chose to do IVF.
“Finally, there were steps we could take to have a baby,” Heather says. “The shots and timing didn’t scare me. I liked knowing that I was doing something to make it happen.”
Heather’s mom accompanied her to the egg retrieval, and Heather was surprised when they retrieved many eggs. Although it’s rare, the treatment led to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome, a problem that is sometimes seen in women who take fertility medicines that stimulate egg production. “It was painful and difficult,” Heather says. “But I just kept telling myself that I was doing all this to increase our chances of having a child.”
The couple ended up with several healthy embryos, and Dr. Kaplan transferred two to Heather. Sadly, neither embryo took.
Heather and Joe were heartbroken. “For two weeks you get attached to the idea of having these children,” she says, “but then find out it didn’t work. They were two potential children that were gone. That was really hard.”
For the first time, Heather began to doubt. “I had felt so strongly that this was part of God’s plan for us,” she says. “But I got scared that it wasn’t going to work from the medical aspect, and questioned if this was what we were supposed to be doing.”
But again, the couple didn’t give up. They decided to transfer two more frozen embryos, and this time, one of them took.
“When they called and told me I was pregnant, it was the best moment of my whole life!” she says.
“IVF was the scariest, hardest, and most intense and rewarding thing I have ever done in my life,” Heather says. “But I know that it was and is the path that God laid out for Joe and me to begin our family. Not only do I accept that, but I embrace it.”
When Heather and Joe saw their tiny son moving on the ultrasound image, they both cried with joy. It was a moment they had feared would never come, yet here was their son on the screen. They are looking forward to his birth in March.
“Infertility is a serious issue,” says Heather. “But it’s not something to be hidden for fear of embarrassment or judgment. Even though it isn’t always easy for me to talk about or relive, it is a story that I feel strongly about sharing. I want everyone, including my son, to know how badly we wanted him here. We are forever thankful to the nurses and doctors at FCI, especially Dr. Brian Kaplan.”