“My husband and I married in 2003. A few years later we started "trying" for a baby. It wasn't really trying as I would define it now because we just thought with regular sex, it would just happen. A couple of years went by like that with neither of us suspecting a problem. We just thought it was bad luck. In 2009 we were starting to get desperate for a baby so I talked to my OB/GYN at my next appointment. She prescribed me Clomid and told me to take it 3 days after my period started and it would help us get pregnant. She didn't do any initial testing on us. I did that for 3 months or so with no luck until she referred me to Dr. Mark Leondires.
“On my first visit with Dr. Leondires I discovered I had PCOS. At 28 years old, I was learning this for the first time despite regular visits with an OB/GYN throughout my life and issues with my period. We later learned after initial testing that my husband also had issues with sperm count and motility. We were devastated by this "double whammy" of a diagnosis.”
“After our initial diagnoses, we were devastated and thought it meant we would never get pregnant. Particularly since we had already been trying on our own for so long. We immediately started an IUI cycle and it was such a whirlwind of emotion. It was stressful on both of us partly because of the flurry of information coming at us, the complexity of the treatment, the frequency with which we had to adjust our schedules for doctor appointments and the trek we were on into the unknown. Although it seemed like forever at the time, we got pregnant with my older son after "just" 3 IUI cycles and about 8 months’ worth of treatment. I will never forget that during the last cycle I was so upset about having only one follicle. Dr. Leondires had called it my little Easter egg (it was around Easter at the time) and to not lose hope because one was all it took. And he was right. That little Easter egg became my Christopher. In hindsight however, that journey was easy compared to getting pregnant a second time when we were trying for baby #2.”
“We returned to Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) when my older son was 18 months. I had to wean him from breastfeeding before we could begin treatment which was hard on both of us as we really weren't ready. But having another baby was important to us. We expected to do another couple of IUIs and get pregnant just like last time. But it wasn't like last time. My body was different and it wasn't so easy. Over the course of the next year, we underwent 6 unsuccessful IUI attempts and had to navigate various insurance issues along the way. Then, out of insurance, we decided to pay out of pocket for an IVF cycle. After all the treatment we had, the knowledge of our bodies, and our young age, we were told our chances for conceiving via IVF were excellent. Going to IVF made IUI look like a walk in the park. This was a lot more work and a lot more medication! But we got through it. With my PCOS, we expected to have lots of eggs at retrieval. And we didn't - only 8. Then none of them made it to the blastocyst stage. We were devastated once again. Out of money, out of insurance and nothing to show for it.”
“I then started attending Ladies Night In (LNI) and Fertile Yoga. I needed the peer therapy and company of others to get through it. In my desperation, I quit my job and secured another job so I could obtain new insurance as that was our only hope of trying again. We then did two more back-to-back IVF cycles which were trying emotionally, financially and physically. But we were successful with our changed protocol and after 3 IVF cycles, we had 5 blastocysts available. We transferred one and got pregnant with my now 6 month old son! Start to finish, it was over 2 years of treatment to get pregnant the second time around. Throughout our journey I have felt the greatest sense of sadness and hopelessness but also the greatest joy.”
“After graduating from RMACT during my second pregnancy, I really felt a profound sense of loss leaving this team that had supported me for so many years. Lisa, Carrie, Dr. L and my nurse Brigit in particular. They had all become good friends. A shoulder to cry on, a friend to laugh with and someone to share my joy with. Someone who understood what I had been through. Everyone I encountered at RMACT - every doctor, every nurse, every medical assistant really became a friend. They all knew me and called me by my first name. They all truly cared. It was amazing. There were so many times when I would get a call from Dr. L with news, good or bad. Calls that would come late at night on his own time, just to check in with me. In the most trying times of my treatment when I felt dark and hopeless, I would begin to doubt my doctors. Doubt their knowledge and my treatment. And then I would receive a call like that, one random evening and it would reassure me that they cared. And were doing everything in their power to help me.”
“Although I could probably name a dozen really great moments involving my medical team, there are two that stand our clearly for me. The first was during treatment trying to conceive my first child. We had just finished our 3rd IUI. It was 12 days post IUI and that day we were scheduled for an IVF consult with Dr. L. In his eyes, planning for the next step "just in case" and in my eyes, the guaranteed next step in our doomed IUI cycle. Just before heading to our appointment with Dr. L, I took a home pregnancy test. When I looked at it, I saw a very faint second line. It was like an eyesight test. I showed it to my husband but we were both unsure. A little excited mixed with caution. We didn't know what a positive test was even supposed to look like. When we arrived at Dr. L's office we told him about the test. We did our IVF consult then he decided to give me a quick pregnancy test in the office. So I downed a big glass of water and off we went. He looked at the results. They were negative. He said he was sorry but it was still early. Still could be hope. We said our goodbyes and headed to our car. As we were halfway across the street, we hear someone behind us running and screaming our names. It was Dr. L!!!! He was yelling that the test was positive! We were pregnant!! The nurse had told him he read the result too soon. After they waited a minute, they could clearly see it was positive!! Dr. L seemed just as excited as I was. It was an amazing moment and an affirmation of their level of care and concern for their patients.
The second standout experience was after the failure of our out of pocket IVF cycle. I had received a call on day 5 that my embryos did not quite make it to blast yet so they were pushing my transfer back a day and that I should arrive early in the morning for a transfer. I got to RMACT the next morning and was meeting with Jing for acupuncture. Then a call came from upstairs. Jing returned my check to me and told me that the doctor wanted to see me. My heart sank. I knew it couldn't be good. There was a pit in my stomach. I headed upstairs to meet Dr. Murdock who pulled me into her office. She delivered the news that none of my embryos had survived. There would be no transfer. I broke down in the ugliest cry imaginable. I cried in a way I didn't think was possible. Dr. Murdock hugged me and did not leave my side. She stayed with me as one of the nurses pulled my husband out of the OR and led him up to her office. Dr. Murdock had a difficult job that day, but did everything she could to make us feel comfortable and safe. She led us down the back stairway so that we could exit without passing through the waiting room. In the months that followed, as my grief lifted I realized how hard that conversation must have been for her. As painful as that moment was for us, it was comforting to have her there and I'm forever grateful for her kindness.”
“I would give them a shoulder and a person to talk to. I would recommend RMACT. And I would recommend they take advantage of every avenue of support they could get their hands on. They are not alone. Although my second "round" with RMACT was a long and trying one, I took advantage of support services that I'd never had before. It helped tremendously. I have made life-long friends as a result. It is really helpful to surround yourself with people who understand your journey and who can support you. RMACT staff and the other patients I met there did that for me. They provided support when I needed it most. I would tell a friend having trouble that the journey will be hard, there will be ups and downs. Although the outcome is not guaranteed, there are always options and different paths to take. With the support behind you, you can create your own path. A path to a place that that will be satisfying and fulfilling, wherever that place may be. “