By Guest Blogger Dana Petrunich
“First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes a baby in the baby carriage” I happily hummed this tune throughout my childhood. Carrying baby dolls around and holding any baby that I could. This was going to be my life – a mommy! For sure. Until it wasn’t.
When my husband and I married, we were one of the last couples from our group of friends to tie the knot. I was just coming up on age 30 not long after the wedding and realized we wouldn’t have a baby right away, “maybe in a year or two.” I’d asked my OBGYN about freezing eggs and was encouraged not to. I was young enough; there was no reason to do that. I listened, like a good patient, and went about my life.
Fast forward about two years later. We were ready! I stopped taking birth control and we giddily and often said “if it happens, it happens”. The months ticked by, and time seemed so slow. Doctors didn’t really want to support a conversation around fertility testing, medications, or other options until we had an official year of “trying” under our belts (not if it happens, it happens). Eventually, I saw a doctor who prescribed oral medication. After several more months passed, POSITIVE! This is the happy part: I had a healthy textbook pregnancy and a healthy baby boy in 2017.
In 2018, we decided we wanted to add to our family. I was getting older and there was no time to waste. When our son was 11 months old, I took another round of oral medication and BAM pregnant! Thank goodness. It took so long to get pregnant with our first, that this must be our time to have it easy! All things were going well, until I had an elevated AFP result. I had no idea what that meant at the time but quickly learned it could be nothing, or it could be serious and the worst-case scenario was “fetal demise.” Those words stopped me in my tracks. I was already 17 weeks pregnant – how could this happen? By the time we were seen for the 20-week anatomy scan, there was no heartbeat.
My IVF story starts here. AFTER I had a successful pregnancy. This to me, was unimaginable. I had such a limited knowledge of infertility up to this point. Soon after my first miscarriage, I found my way to Dr. Yalcinkaya. Dr. Y (as, we, his patients call him) quickly learned that I had two issues that needed to be addressed if I were to achieve a successful pregnancy – diminished ovarian reserve and PAI-1 clotting disorder. After 3 rounds of IVF: one failed, another miscarriage, many tears, many laughs, many fights, many hugs – we finally achieved a full-term pregnancy and welcomed our second son into this world. On my 40th birthday, I was induced for labor, and he arrived 2 days (Yes, I was in labor for 2 days) later.
The IVF experience was the most challenging yet rewarding experience of my life. Infertility is a journey that tests you in so many ways – emotionally, physically, financially, and hormonally. It tests your patience, your relationship, self-confidence and so much more. It is my sincere hope that the topic of infertility, especially IVF, becomes something we can all talk about openly. Even in the darkest and loneliest of times through this journey, there is someone who understands, who roots for you even when you are on the brink of lost hope.