by Coastal Fertility Patient, Alexis Evans
In 2018, my husband and I officially decided we were both ready to try and grow our family. All through my teenage and college years, I had heard my mother warn me about how easily she got pregnant with my brother and me. I had numerous family members who had children without ever truly trying. I fully expected to be pregnant within the month. Flash forward a year and we still were not pregnant. I had severe anxiety about becoming pregnant and growing our family. Pregnancy announcements, baby showers, and holidays gutted me.
I met with my OBGYN and she decided to do an ultrasound to check everything out. She ended up finding a mass on one of my ovaries. The decision was made to wait a couple months and come back in to check it out. At the time I was told it was likely a cyst and nothing to be overly concerned about. Then our entire world was interrupted by COVID. My appointment ended up being four months later instead of two. About a week before I went back in, it was Fourth of July weekend and my husband and I went out of town for a mini-vacation before a work conference. I was over a week late at this point. We decided that I would take another pregnancy test on the morning of the Fourth. I felt it in my bones that this was it. We were finally pregnant. However, when I woke up on the morning of the Fourth I woke up to the cramping and heavy bleeding that comes with my periods. We were heartbroken and I was miserable, both physically and emotionally, for the rest of our trip. When I went in for this ultrasound more cysts were found and my doctor immediately said that she suspected endometriosis to be the culprit. Before I left the office that day I had a surgery scheduled for a week and a half later. I spent the entire time in-between researching endometriosis, everything fit. My symptoms that I thought were just normal period symptoms, were actually endometriosis. The day before my surgery, my period showed back up in the middle of my grandfather’s 80th birthday party. I was a nervous wreck showing up to the hospital, during a tropical depression, for this surgery. Due to COVID, my husband wasn’t allowed to come back to pre- or post-op with me, only adding to my stress. From an endometriosis standpoint, my surgery was considered a success. The cysts were officially diagnosed as endometriosis, but the surgeon was able to remove most of it. From a fertility standpoint we were left with the news that my tubes were completely blocked by scarring and build up from the endometriosis and that IVF was our only option to having a biological child. We were referred to Coastal Fertility and had an appointment scheduled for about a month later.
Showing up to Coastal Fertility was stressful. I was emotional and feeling defeated. My husband was hating that there was nothing he could do to make me feel better. Just thinking about all the things they may tell us, the finances, the physical stress of possibly doing IVF had me literally broken out in hives. However, when we arrived everything started to get better. The staff at CFS were so friendly and reassuring. We met with Dr. McLaughlin and had an initial consultation to run a few more diagnostic tests over the coming weeks and make a decision from there. We left still feeling stressed, but with hope that we may have our family. We spent about 3 months doing different blood work panels and procedures. Around Christmas of 2020, Dr. McLaughlin let us know that based on all of the results she felt that we needed to remove one of my fallopian tubes. So February 9, 2021, I went in for surgery to remove one of my fallopian tubes. However, once the surgery had begun Dr. McLaughlin saw there was significant damage to the other tube as well. Based on conversations we had before the surgery and speaking with my husband the decision was made to remove both tubes in one surgery, to ensure we didn’t end up having a third surgery in less than a year. It was bittersweet knowing that once I recovered from the surgery we could start the IVF process, but that I would never be able to conceive children naturally. In May of 2021, we began our first round of IVF. We ended up with 18 eggs being retrieved and 16 of those fertilized. By the time we made it to the 5 day mark when the embryologists began freezing our embryos, 10 had survived and were frozen.
On July 15th, we did our first frozen embryo transfer. We left a couple days later for a week-long trip to South Dakota. I made my husband promise me that he wouldn’t let me buy or take any pregnancy tests on the trip because I didn’t want our trip ruined by bad news. We were definitely operating under the “pregnant until proven otherwise” motto based on how many trips to Dairy Queen I made us take. On the third day of our trip, I was talking to my mom and told her “I’m either pregnant or I’m getting sick because I am exhausted.” On the last day of our trip, I started having some cramping and my nerves started getting worse. I knew they could be a good and a bad sign. My husband was phenomenal though and kept me as calm as possible. The morning after getting home I went back to CFS for bloodwork and a few hours later it was confirmed that we were pregnant. It was an open secret that we were in the middle of an IVF round so most of our family and close friends found out within a couple days. As a teacher, I went back to work about 2 weeks later and on my first day back to school the morning sickness started. I ended up having to be put on medicine to control both my blood pressure and my morning sickness throughout my pregnancy. Due to preeclampsia, I was scheduled to be induced on March 14, 20202. On March 12th I woke up with the worst migraine I had had in years. My blood pressure was extremely high and my doctors had me report to the hospital early. The decision was made to begin the induction early and on March 13th our sweet little boy, Ben, was born.
It felt like the longest, toughest journey to parenthood and growing our family, but we are just so grateful. Infertility is the club nobody wants to be a part of, but the members are so phenomenal. Our family members and friends were so supportive of all the hurdles we faced over the years. Coming to Coastal Fertility and being given hope during one of the darkest periods of our lives was so reassuring and we will forever be grateful that we live in a time where there is hope for people with severe endometriosis and effects of endometriosis to be able to have the families of their dreams.
If you feel you have or may have endometriosis and are struggling to get pregnant, click here to make an appointment – we can help!