Why do you want to share your story?
I want to share our story because we would like to pay it forward. I don’t believe we are lucky; we just picked the right clinic and the most compassionate doctor. I want everyone to go to Fertility Centers of Illinois and have the same experience!
What was your infertility diagnosis?
I only had one Fallopian tube and poor egg quality.
What fertility treatment did you undergo?
We started trying right after we got married, and after 6 months of no success, my husband and I went to a fertility clinic to get checked out. Everything looked normal on both sides “in theory”, so we tried Clomid at our former fertility clinic and planned to do an IUI. The IUI was canceled because I had ovulated, but I decided to do a Hysterosalpingography before proceeding with the next IUI. We found out I had one functioning tube, but things were not explained to us properly at that facility and the protocols were not clear, so we changed fertility clinics and that’s when we came across Fertility Centers of Illinois.
Our initial consultation/IVF round one: When we met with Dr. Rodgers, she reviewed our paperwork, took out a notepad, and clearly wrote down our options. Next to each option she marked the percentage of a successful pregnancy due to my blocked tube and 3 unsuccessful rounds of Clomid combined with 6 months of trying naturally (I was 36/37 years of age at the time). After reviewing our options, we decided to move forward with IVF because I have one functioning fallopian tube, I’m older, and my eggs were possibly low quality (my husband had no issues). We started protocols for IVF. Our first round we got only two embryos and Dr. Rodgers set a meeting to discuss the results. In that meeting, she asked how many children we wanted, we said 2-3, and she suggested we try one more round of IVF stimulation treatments and egg retrieval so that we had embryos to freeze for future pregnancies should the IVF be successful on this round. We agreed and proceeded to do another round, of which she suggested taking 600 MG of COQ10 to help with quality of the embryos.
IVF round two: The second round we got 5 embryos. Dr. Rodgers was pleased with the results, so we decided to transfer. We transferred one embryo and it implanted, but since we did not do genetic testing we sadly discovered that it was missing a chromosome; we had to pass the pregnancy. After allowing my body to heal for a few months we tried again with a frozen transfer. We found a fibroid in my uterus after passing the first pregnancy. It needed to be removed before the second transfer. This tested our patience, but Dr. Rodgers made quick arrangements for my procedure. The fibroid surgery was quick and painless; we were then able to start the preparation for a frozen transfer. The protocol this round was much easier because we had already done the retrieval (I prefer frozen transfer!), and it was a success! We transferred two embryos and one thankfully implanted! We held our breath until we graduated from Fertility Centers of Illinois at eight weeks pregnant. During this process, I spoke to my nurse several times daily; she became a close friend. Dr. Rodgers would call after every procedure, and she was always available for questions via email; she was very responsive.
IVF is very time-consuming and emotionally draining; you have no control, therefore, trusting in the right facility and doctor is very important. We had no doubt that we were in the best hands. Both Dr. Rodgers and our nurse, Ashley Million, carefully explained each process. This was so refreshing considering I was Googling fertility treatment protocols while under the care of a former fertility clinic; they didn’t clarify anything for us.
What helped you get through treatment?
I asked for help! This was not an easy road. It is very daunting; especially the moment you get a large box full of medications. But we took it one day at a time and leaned on family members. I let myself cry when we had bad days and I celebrated the tiny obstacles we overcame (i.e. two embryos made it, yay!) I also reached out to other women going through a similar journey by opening up an Instagram account specific to women going through TTC (trying to conceive). As lonely as it may have seemed, I realized there are so many men, women, and couples going through similar situations. The more we shared our experiences, the less lonely we felt. Lastly, by just simply having a responsive and loving doctor and nurse we were able to get through treatment.
Can you tell us about your little miracle?
It was worth the hard work! God listens. We are due January 16th, 2019, and it cannot come soon enough! Once you have that transfer it’s scary, it’s as if your whole life depends on this little miracle and anxiety can kick in. I had a very hard time when we had to pass the pregnancy on the first round, and we decided since we had some time in between stims, we would travel and take the focus off the pregnancy for a bit. It was tremendously helpful! We also sought therapy during this time to help my husband and I understand each other and how emotional I was at the time. By the second round we felt ready to start again. I prayed often and tried to picture the little embryo growing as much as possible.
During the two-week wait I had an anxiety attack and reached out to my family for support. I’ll never forget being in my room crying on my birthday; I just wanted to stay home. My mom called me and we were both in tears (almost holding hands in a way, although she was not with me) and we prayed. I had to take one day at a time and truly dig deep to find faith in this “journey”. My sister’s friend gave me a prayer card during the wait as well. She shared her personal IVF journey of which ended in success after 5+ years of trying and she said, “This prayer never fails!” I opened myself to praying every night and trusting that it would all work out, as it should. Sure enough, I took an at home pregnancy test and it was positive. Then I called my clinic and they said I could come in early to do an HCG test, sure enough, it was positive! I cried but wanted to protect my heart, so I was cautiously optimistic. But here we are, just a couple months away from delivering, and I strongly believe in prayer.
Our nursery is ready and I must confess I walk into the room every day just to look at it. I cannot believe all of the hard work paid off! During our baby shower, I broke down into “ugly” tears while thanking our guests for coming. With a quiver in my voice and from the bottom of my heart I said, “We are especially grateful to be celebrating this baby shower because it was not an easy road, so thank you all for your support.” This baby truly is a miracle and I will forever be grateful for our dynamic team that helped facilitate in creating this life.
Why did you trust Fertility Centers of Illinois?
It’s a well-oiled, “loving” machine! From making an appointment to waiting in the waiting room, everything is well organized; you’re tended to with care and attention. Everyone is professional and genuinely friendly. The head of Fertility Centers of Illinois Nursing team even offered to let us pick up medications we’d run out of at her home after hours! That really meant a lot to us and helped us stay on track with our protocol.
Which physician treated you and what were your experiences with him/her?
Dr. Rodgers and nurse Ashley Million. My favorites! At our former clinic, we felt like cattle. Bedside manner was unfortunate. We were lost, I reached out to my highly respected OBGYN, Dr. Carmen Woods. She recommended Dr. Allison Rodgers at Fertility Centers of Illinois. We knew the moment we met Dr. Rodgers and her team that we were in the best hands. The entire experience felt that of a boutique clinic and felt that our protocol was very specific to our needs.
I’ll never forget the time my husband and I, unfortunately, had a blighted ovum – Dr. Rodgers was checking for fetal pole. I was so moved by the fact that as a professional, Dr. Rodgers composed herself but her heavy heart for us was very apparent. I could see that she really cared and wanted to do everything possible to help us get through this. After every appointment, the nurses would sit us in a private room to make sure we were okay emotionally and that we understood what was happening.
I remember another time, emailing Dr. Rodgers at 10 pm; I was in a bad place emotionally. Both my husband and I were having a hard time dealing with this and I asked for help. Dr. Rodgers, without hesitation, responded that evening and connected us to a Behavioral Health Specialist at Fertility Centers of Illinois. After three sessions, my husband and I were back on track. Dr. Rodgers always responded immediately without hesitation at any hour of the day or evening. She cared. At every appointment, she would welcome my husband and I with a warm hug and ask how we were doing with the kindest, most genuine eyes and really listened to our response. After every appointment, she would always say, “Let’s get you pregnant!” I loved that. We loved Dr. Rodgers’ and Ashley’s compassionate hearts and positive energy. We felt taken care of.
When it came to talking about protocols, Dr. Rodgers was very direct, knowledgeable, and spoke in a manner we could both understand. She gave us clear direction; we never left feeling confused. She wasn’t afraid to make adjustments and get creative to ensure a successful outcome. We felt very much like “VIP” IVF patients. To this day, (I’m 28 weeks) I stay in touch with both my doctor and nurse; I felt like they became my friends.
What words of “advice” do you have for others?
Most fertility doctors will be skilled; you’ll most likely want to find one that has helped a friend…but what is most important while searching for a doctor is compassion. YOU NEED BOTH skill and compassion. It will be a long journey and you will need a doctor that holds your hand every step of the way, no matter how strong you think you are. It’s a long road with no shortcuts and a compassionate doctor will help gently guide you while making sure you have the most suitable protocol based on your specific needs. The medication treatments are daunting and complex; there will be setbacks and unknowns, you’ll be scared but if you have a doctor that is technically skilled, with eloquent bedside manner, that is compassionate, that simply cares….you’ll be so much more at ease resting your fears solely on faith (not the capability of your clinic or doctor!) Rest assured, they have your back.
Now to quote Dr. Rodgers, “Let’s get YOU pregnant!”