We are honored to have Allison, a former patient of Dr. Miller’s, share her story on today’s blog post. 1 in 8 couples have difficulty conceiving, and as Allison writes, while there are so many people struggling, there is hope. Allison’s story is an inspiration to us all.
Our journey with Dr. Miller began in June of 2015. Mike and I, high school sweethearts, had waited until later in life to get married. We were focused on our careers and, like so many others, we just assumed that once we decided to start our family, it would just happen. The first couple months of trying were no big deal. We got our hopes up a few times, but we knew that it can take healthy couples a year to conceive naturally. Well, when one year turned into two, despite trying every trick in the book and being told by our primary care doctors that there was no obvious reason why we couldn’t get pregnant, we were heartbroken. We wanted nothing more than to be parents, something that comes so easy to so many, but we just couldn’t make it happen. It was hard to admit that we needed help, but I’m so glad we did.
During our first consult with Dr. Miller he made us feel so…normal. Infertility can be such an alienating feeling, but, for once, I felt like we were going to be OK. After so much pain and hopelessness, I finally had hope. Due to irregular periods and severe cramps, Dr. Miller recommended a laparoscopic hysteroscopy to rule out endometriosis. This procedure was done in early July, and he found evidence of pelvic congestion syndrome, but no issues that should be causing infertility. We were back to square one. Still no answers, but I still had hope. We were in good hands and getting the help we needed. The plan was to proceed with 3 rounds of IUI.
After Mike and I underwent all the necessary blood tests, sperm counts, etc., it was time to start our first round of IUI in October of 2015. I was so excited to get started and optimistic that our outcome would be positive. After all, there was no obvious reason why we still hadn’t conceived! Everything went according to plan. Once I was ovulating, we went in for the insemination – everything went great. When the pregnancy test was approaching I was so excited – I just had a good feeling. I was starting to experience (what I thought) were pregnancy symptoms – tiredness, sore breasts, nausea. I thought this for sure had to be it! When my blood test revealed an HCG of 25, I was so excited! This was enough to be considered a positive pregnancy test, and we were overjoyed! However, a few days later, when we went in for repeat levels, my HCG had fallen to 4.3 – not pregnant. I was absolutely devastated. I had the next 9 months all planned out and then, just like that, it was over. I needed some time, but I was scared to throw our plan off course. When we discussed our next round of IUI with the nurses, I was scared to say that I didn’t want to try again right away. I was nervous that I would be pressured to keep going. Well, I was completely wrong. Not only were the nurses so sweet and caring, they told me to take as much time as I needed and to let them know when and if I wanted to get started again.
December 2015 and January 2016 were our second and third rounds of IUI – both unsuccessful. It was time to meet with Dr. Miller and re-evaluate. At this point in our journey, I was starting to feel discouraged. I was starting to feel like a family might not be in the cards for Mike and me. When we met with Dr. Miller, we again discussed our options. We could keep going with IUI or move on to IVF. Based on our previous experience and the much higher success rate with IVF, we decided to go forward with IVF, implanting 2 embryos.
In March, I started the IVF protocol. Birth control pills, injections (lots of injections) and ultrasounds to identify follicles. During this process, my estrogen became very high, so we were told that we could not do the transfer in the same cycle as our retrieval – another bump in the road. I was so upset having to wait another cycle, but I knew it was for the best. I had complete trust in Dr. Miller and this whole process. When we went in for the retrieval, Dr. Miller was able to obtain 18 follicles (I think…my memory is a little foggy due to the sedation). We were told this was a good number – things were starting to look up! Out of these follicles, we were able to get 10 frozen embryos. I started the IVF transfer protocol (a little different and slightly less intense with no stimulation!) and on June 6, 2016, Dr. Miller transferred two 5-day blastocyst embryos into my uterus.
On June 16, our pregnancy test was positive! And not just a little positive like last time! The subsequent days revealed climbing HCG levels and on June 28th, we had our first ultrasound of our little peanut. I had never heard a more beautiful sound in my whole life than that tiny little heartbeat of 104 beats per minute. Our second ultrasound at 7 weeks revealed a growing bean and we were discharged to OB from Dr. Miller’s office shortly thereafter.
Infertility is awful. It’s unfair and cruel. When you are struggling, just remember there are so many people out there just like you and there IS hope. Even though we’re on the other side of it now, I will never forget our journey. The ups and the downs, the good and the bad. I truly feel like Dr. Miller and his staff were there to help us every step of the way. Even during the dark times, I had complete confidence in the care and attention that was being given to us. We are forever grateful to Dr. Miller for giving us our miracle baby, Amelia Rose. Dr. Miller made our dream become a reality. I hope anyone that has stuck through this long story finds comfort in knowing that although your journey will not be easy, you are in the best possible hands with Dr. Miller.