My Infertility Journey Isn’t Over Yet

I spend my days as a high-risk pregnancy nurse at Overland Park Regional Medical Center. I see firsthand the struggles and joys pregnant women experience every day. Most days it gives me hope to see women who have undergone IVF come through our clinic doors; it makes me think any day it will be my turn. If they can overcome infertility, so can I. If they can have IVF work for them, so can I. There are days that are harder than others, but for the most part going through what I’ve been through just gives me more empathy for my patients.

My husband and I began our journey back in 2015 when I found out my sister-in-law was expecting her first child. We decided it would be the perfect time for us to start trying to have kids hoping that we would get pregnant quickly. We wanted our kids to be close in age and grow up together. This was just the beginning of disappointments and heartbreak.

We tried for a year with no luck to get pregnant. We had our first appointment with a reproductive endocrinologist (REI). After a couple of appointments with that REI, my husband and I felt like it wasn’t a good match and started consulting other REIs. We finally found a doctor we both felt comfortable with. 

The REI started me out with intrauterine insemination (IUI). We tried this for a few months, but then we decided to start our IVF journey and set a schedule for egg retrieval. I was excited and nervous. I began taking meds that continued until we “pulled the trigger” – me taking a trigger shot that releases eggs so they can be retrieved. He gave me a sample that morning and I took it with me to retrieval.  They retrieved 60 eggs, however, only five made it through fertilization and could be frozen. 

Retrieval was very painful and hard on me, it took almost two weeks for me to recover. The lengthy process was just beginning. A month later, I returned for another baseline ultrasound to see if my uterus was ready for transfer. I started my progesterone for transfer, and five days later we had our first frozen embryo transfer (FET). A few days later, we found out that our transfer had worked, but then two days later we found out our numbers were not rising so they took me off my meds and the pregnancy passed. We started medication for another transfer, and we crossed our fingers that this would be the one that worked. It didn’t and, again, we were left empty handed.

It had been two years since we began our journey and my husband and I were broken. We only had one egg left in the freezer, and we didn’t know what to do. We met with the doctor to discuss our options and we decided to do exploratory surgery to make sure there wasn’t bigger issues with my uterus. He removed a polyp from my uterus and removed stage 3 endometriosis from my abdomen and surrounding area. After recovering, my husband and I decided to try IUI one more time before going for the FET, as our doctor recommended.

onesie with ultrasound and syringesOn March 19, 2018, we did it and it worked! We were pregnant! The REI watched my pregnancy very closely until we could graduate to an OB/GYN at eight weeks pregnant. From then on, the OB/GYN monitored the pregnancy very closely until delivery at 39 weeks. My son was born Dec. 4, 2018, healthy and happy at Research Medical Center. We were so excited to have our rainbow baby, but we knew we wanted more than one baby so we started trying for a second as soon as we could.

A year later, we started all over again with the REI, and they encouraged us to do IUI. Failed cycle after failed cycle led us to another FET. We started getting reading for another transfer and it worked! All our betas came back rising like they were supposed to and our first ultrasound showed a healthy baby with a great heartbeat. Then heartbreak: The baby’s heart stopped beating, and they told me to stop my medications. I delivered my baby on Aug. 22, 2020. I was completely heartbroken and didn’t know how to go on. That was our last egg, and I just didn’t know if we had it in us – or our bank – to do another egg retrieval.  

We had a lot of thinking and planning to do, but six months later my husband and I decided to take out a loan, and we found a new doctor and started the process all over again. My doctor retrieved 34 eggs, but this time only two made it to the freezer. My new doctor recommended I get a hysteroscopy prior to each transfer. They removed one polyp and I was cleared for transfer. Unfortunately, this attempt failed.

My husband and I had to take a long hard look at the journey we had been on to determine if we wanted to proceed or be OK with a small family of one perfect, healthy, beautiful son. With my 37th birthday quickly approaching and knowing my childbearing window is coming to a close, we decided to keep trying. On March, 8, 2022, we booked an appointment with a new REI and started the process to have another egg retrieval at the end of May. We are very hopeful and excited to say, “Our journey isn’t over!”


 

picture of familyNikki Chabot, RN, lives in Raymore, Mo., with her husband and son. She’s been on her infertility journey since 2015.

HCA Midwest Health logoFor labor and delivery expertise, more moms in Kansas City choose an HCA Midwest Health hospital. Our OB/GYN teams at our delivering hospitals – Centerpoint Medical Center, Menorah Medical Center, Overland Park Regional Medical Center and Research Medical Center – ensure every woman has access to top-quality maternity care, including specialized services for women with high-risk pregnancies. By delivering more babies than anyone else in the region, our maternity hospitals deliver experience and safety. Learn more at hcamidwest.com/delivers.

Are you interested in being a guest contributor for Kansas City Mom Collective? If you're local and you're a mom (or have awesome and relevant information for local moms), we'd love to hear your ideas! Email us at info {at} kansascitymomcollective {dot} com.