EPISODE #105

Uterus + Sperm + Uterus

EPISODE #105

Uterus + Sperm + Uterus

We’re back, with the second half of last week’s show, Uterus + Sperm. If you haven’t heard that episode yet, go listen to it before this one.

And, SPOILER ALERT: listen all the way through before scrolling to the bottom of this page!

When we left off, Jenna and Kiely expanded their family from two to three, thanks to Dominick’s donated sperm.

jenna-kiely-emmy-tree-squaredom-emmy-square

They had agreed that Kiely would get pregnant first, since she was a little older than Jenna. When their son Emerson was about two years old, they decided it was Jenna’s turn. So they called up Dominick for round 2. Except round 2 didn’t go as easy as round 1.

I’ll let you listen for all the twists and turns, but if you’ve heard the story by now, here are some pictures that capture the surprising outcome!

both-sonograms-scaled

both-pregnancy-tests-square-2kiley-samson-square

That last photo is Kiely with baby Samson, who was born on November 22, 2016. Kiely says she listened to the last episode while lying in her hospital bed. Jenna’s baby is due any day now!

UPDATE! Jenna gave birth to Foster, baby #3, on December 6th, 2016. Here’s the whole crew – and the two newbies cuddled up.

insta-family-squareboys-insta-square

Did it take YOU longer than expected to start a family?
What happened? Did you wind up becoming a parent? Or not? Comments, please! (Also, parents of multiples, we know Kiely and Jenna would love some solidarity!)

Photo of the sonograms: Two Bird Studio

Our sponsors for this episode are Paper Culture, Third Love, Olive & Cocoa, Toca TV and Little Passports (code: LONGSHORT). Use the promo codes at checkout for a special discount.

56 thoughts on “EPISODE #105: Uterus + Sperm + Uterus

  1. My husband and I got married when I was in medical school and we decided to wait until I was close to finishing my residency program to start a family. I was 33 at the time and all of a sudden I noticed some issues with my cycles. And we started to have issues getting pregnant. Full disclosure I’m an obgyn which sucks when you have trouble with fertility. You know so much you feel that it’s a cruel joke from god to take away your fertility. At least that’s what I thought at the time.

    We started fertility treatment after being diagnosed with premature ovarian failure. So we had a needle in a haystack chance of getting pregnant. We got pregnant in April and then unfortunately we lost the baby in May. I was already struggling with depression when all of this started and after the loss of our baby I started to feel suicidal. I actually became so suicidal that I planned for my suicide….I was in a bad bad place. We tried fertility treatment one more time and then the reality was that we would need an egg donor. At that point I came to a place of acceptance and peace about my situation and I let it go. I had my plan to leave this earth in January and I was at peace. And then we got pregnant. I remember the day I found out – January 24th 2016. We had our beautiful daughter Nya on November 1st.

    I know that it is morbid; the obgyn who can’t get pregnant becomes suicidal finds peace in that and then gets pregnant. But through all this I feel as though I became a better person and doctor. I have experienced infertility, a miscarriage, menopausal symptoms and having the joy of a baby. This lets me understand the pain and joy of so many people I see every day at work.

    While this was going on I feel as though I lost my connection with god and I was angry for him leaving me when I needed gods presence the most. After all of this I realized that he was with me all the time and when his will was ready we were blessed. But the whole exprience was a blessing.

  2. My journey of motherhood has definitely been one of ups and downs, some that most people have the luck of never experiencing (good or bad). My husband and I first conceived unexpectedly when we were barely out of our teens and had our son Jack when I was 23 and he was 24. We were foolish and slipped up with birth control once, leading to the birth of our son. He turned out to have profound developmental delays caused by a genetic mutation in my egg, causing what is known as Angelman Syndrome.

    Jack’s extra needs, the grieving process as I had to let go of the dream of a normal child, and the everyday grind of living prevented us from even thinking of having another child until we were nearing our 30’s. I had always wanted to have multiple children, and have them all before I turned 30 so I could be a young mother and keep up with the energy of young children. But it wasn’t until I turned 30, and Jack was 7, that we felt comfortable enough to try for another child.

    We conceived easily, our third month of trying, which I chocked up to tracking my ovulation with ovulation predictor strips and taking my temperature every morning when I woke up. So I was devastated when shortly after I discovered my pregnancy that I began to lose it. I miscarried around 6.5 weeks and the cause of miscarriage was cited as a blighted ovum, which happens when a genetic abnormality prevents a fetus from ever developing at all.

    The grief over my loss was stronger than I would have guessed, and it made me want for baby even harder. Knowing my son’s condition was a “de novo” mutation, there was almost zero chance of it recurring in another baby, so I was looking forward to experiencing being a mother to a normal child and not feeling like I was just a caretaker. But three months of trying passed without another positive pregnancy test, then five, then 6, and by 8 or so, I started reading. I knew that if a year passed of trying with no results we would get that awful label of “infertilty”. So I pre-emtively began testing with my OB/Gyn. She ran every test in the book, even the old ones like the endometrial biopsy which by some are considered useless and outdated. And she couldn’t find anything wrong. By the time my testing was complete, it had been over a year since my miscarriage and 14 months since we had started trying for baby #2.

    I kept reading. I joined support groups, online and in person, for infertility. I was not going to give up. I knew that if I couldn’t have a baby, something in my body or my husband’s body wasn’t working right. I wasn’t ok settling for the diagnosis of “unexplained infertility”. I blame my science background–I believed there was a cause and I would figure it out. I finally was recommended a book called “Is Your Body Baby Friendly” by Dr. Alan Beer. He was a doctor who took interest in the idea that a woman’s immune system could prevent or truncate otherwise healthy pregnancies. After reading that book, I knew I had to see a doctor specializing these issues.

    I found a reproductive immunologist in New York City, a 3 hour drive from my home. I booked an appointment and he cherry picked a few tests he felt were appropriate after all the testing my OB had done. One was to check the activity of one of my white blood cell types called “natural killer cells”. When the test came back, we saw that my little natural killer cells were more aggressive than they should be. My doctor conclude this was the cause of my inability to get pregnant again, and prescribed a treatment to help suppress my immune system.

    I had my first treatment at the end of January 2015. Like Jenna in this story, on February 15th I took a pregnancy test not expecting anything, and just wanting to get it over with. It was a snowy winter morning, so I went outside and shoveled mine and my husband’s cars out of the snow while my husband and son slept peacefully. When I came inside, I remembered the test and was shocked to see it was positive. Our beautiful daughter was born in October 2015.

  3. My husband and I decided to hold off trying while we lived away from our families in Philadelphia. Once we decided it was time for the next chapter in our life we knew we wanted to do all this in our hometown in upstate NY. Within 6 months of moving back home we bought a house with kids in mind and started trying. After a year of trying I knew in my bones something wasn’t right. I began seeing an fertility doctor and began treatment. I was diagnosed with diminished ovarian reserve. We had no luck with medicated cycles and IUIs. We decided to take a take a month off before beginning an IUI cycle with injections. Somehow we got pregnant that month! Unfortunately, I had an ectopic pregnancy and lost my right fallopian tube. Because of our trouble conceiving, and after having my second ectopic pregnancy (My husband and I had one in 2005 while in college) the only foreseeable option was IVF. Up until now all my treatment had been covered by insurance, but IVF was not. Well, I was told it was started the process and then was told a week before the egg retrieval none of my treatment was covered. That is a whole other story in itself. Mid-way through this cycle we didn’t want to stop, but we didn’t have the thousands to cover the cost of IVF right then and there. So I cashed a 401k from a previous job that I never transferred, and we borrowed from our parents to cover the rest. My husband and I knew this was our final chance to have a child. We had uprooted our whole lives in Philly who move back home, buy a house big enough for the family we wanted, and it could be all for not. Fast forward to the embryo transfer we had 3 embryos and was told if we wanted to freeze any they would probably die (they weren’t the best quality). So we transferred all 3 embryos. Two weeks later I found out I was pregnant with our daughter.

    My husband and I thought we were content until a few months ago. After giving birth to my daughter my cycles haven’t been regular. Sometimes I’m 5+ days late. This past May I noticed I was late, but didn’t think anything of it. I only had one fallopian tube and its damaged from a previous ectopic pregnancy. After 9 days late I decided to take a test and it was positive!! My husband and I were not trying, but not using any protection because the odds of me getting pregnant were incredibly low and we figured it would never happen. I immediately called my fertility doctor and began blood tests every other day to watch my numbers until the baby was big enough to detect on a vaginal ultrasound. With my history of ectopic pregnancies we wanted to catch it as early as possible. My beta numbers looked awesome and they were doubling on track, my progesterone levels looked good we thought this would be a keeper. My mom, husband, daughter and I all piled into the exam room for my ultrasound. Unfortunately the doctor found the baby in my fallopian tube. I ended up having my third ectopic pregnancy, and had to go into surgery to remove the baby along with my remaining fallopian tube. The doctors didn’t think my body would be able to pass the baby with medication. After seeing the pictures from surgery it was a good call. My fallopian tube was mangled with scar tissue from my 2005 ectopic. Last week would have been my due date. I thought I was content with one child, but this last loss has me emotionally confused. I would do just about anything the chance to have another child, but with no fallopian tubes, a shitty ovarian reserve, and the high costs of IVF deep down I know it will never happen. I will say, if I didn’t have my daughter (who just turned 2) I think I would have been suicidal. It’s not that she isn’t enough, but I have a hard time digesting the idea that I will never feel flutters, or have a big belly, or bring a life into this world. I would love to be able to experience having a newborn all over again. I feel guilt because my husband would be able to have more children if he didn’t marry me. I feel guilty because my daughter loves being around her cousins and I can’t give her someone to grow up with. I’m dreading the day she ever asks for a baby brother or sister.

    I think I’ll come to terms with all of this in time, and for now my daughter keeps me busy. I’m just trying to enjoying life with her one day at a time.

  4. I love your stories of couples who concieve through assisted means. I successfully gave birth to my first daughter on my first IUI try! Three years later, we’re still trying for a second. This is after countless unsuccessful IUI cycles, an unsuccessful IVF cycle and 2 miscarriages. We’re now considering using an egg donor. It feels like a big step, and I’ll love to hear stories of people who have chosen this route. How they made that decision, and how they feel afterwards. Keep up the great work!

    1. Hi Rose! I commented above you with my story of conceiving my daughter. I feel like I have to reach out to people whose situations sound similar to mine, because often infertility is an incredibly challenging puzzle, and I feel it’s my duty to help provide any pieces that may make someone’s puzzle easier to solve. If I had not been on infertility forums, particularly Resolve, I would not have been lead by others to the knowledge that allowed me to solve my own fertility puzzle. If you have not researched reproductive immunology or gotten testing for it, I would highly suggest that before investing so much money into an egg donor. Your solution could be much less expensive and you may find that you don’t even need IVF at all, if your issue is one of your immune system rejecting pregnancy. There are lots of us out there for whom this is the case, and I am one of them. With treatment many women who otherwise could not hold onto a pregnancy have been able to carry to term. There are not many reproductive immunologists in the world, so depending on where you are, you may not have one close by you. However, there are doctors who do consultation, testing, and treatment remotely, like the Alan E. Beer Center. I hope I haven’t overstepped any boundaries and hope I’m also not preaching this medicine to you if you’ve already had this testing done! Please feel free to contact me through my website (linked to my name) if you have any questions you’d like to discuss privately.

    2. I had my son, whose now 4, via egg donor. I’m in my forties so my infertility was simply because my eggs are old. I was devastated when I was told it just wasn’t going to happen for me. My doctor suggested that I may want to consider egg donation. I didn’t think I would go that far and when I looked into it, financially it seemed impossible. Then I started poking around message boards about egg donation. Ultimately, my husband and I traveled to the Czech Republic to a fantastic clinic where I was lucky enough to get pregnant on our first try. The trip, meds, procedure cost us under $10k. The fact that he isn’t mine genetically does matter one lick to me. I’m raising an individual not a mini-me. I grew him, gave birth to him, nursed him and have told him that a nice lady gave me one of her eggs so I could have a baby. I show him the picture of him as a 4 day old zygote and he wants to go to the Czech Republic and see where they put him in my belly.

  5. At the end of this episode, you asked for things you didn’t realize were weird about your family until you were older. I have so many. My mother’s family is extremely religious — very, very Catholic. When I was younger (like early grade school) I always wondered why everyone else’s families were so much smaller. It did not occur to me until later that actually families of 6+ kids are the odd ones – not the other way around. Also, my grandparents have a large amount of religious paraphernalia all over their house. And every possible wall surface is covered with family pictures – and my grandparents have a huge house. I didn’t realize until some friends from college visited my grandparents with me that is was not normal to have a special room just for prayers and huge religious statues in every room.

Say Something

Commenting Guidelines Curiosity and spirited discussion are welcome; personal attacks are not. We reserve the right to reject comments for any reason.

SUBSCRIBE