A good news fertility story

By Alyssa Dickey

Alyssa 2015In 2010, before my stem cell transplant, my doctor told me there was a good chance it would cause infertility. I was 32 and would either regain my fertility, or end up infertile. I was referred to a Reproductive Endocrinologist and we decided to go ahead with one round of IVF to freeze embryos for a transfer at a later date. Fast forward four years: I never really regained a regular cycle, and had dealt with several years of hot flashes, sweats, and other symptoms or menopause. It was no surprise when tests showed my ovarian function was non-existent.

When my husband and I decided we were ready to try and have a baby, we met with the IVF specialist. We started the process feeling optimistic that things would just work. Easy. You do hormones for a few weeks, transfer the embryo, go back in two weeks for your test, and find out you are pregnant! But things didn’t really happen like that for us.

Our first transfer was for a single embryo; the best quality ones did not survive the thaw so it took three to get one decent enough for the transfer. A few weeks later, we found out it did not work. Going in to the second cycle, we still felt optimistic, but were more guarded. Again, it failed.

By the third try, we were doing a double transfer and I was on a lot of meds including hormone shots, pills, blood thinners, and steroids. Basically, I was doing everything I could do to try and improve the results. When this transfer did not work, I began accepting that IVF was not as easy as the doctors lead you to believe. In fact, it was really hard! It wasn’t fun to have so many shots and early morning appointments and all the side effects of the hormones.

By the fourth cycle I was quite pessimistic. I did not expect the transfer to work, and just wanted to get it over with, use up our last embryos, and move on with our life as a couple. Even our doctor was talking about an egg donor and surrogate as the best option for us, but agreed to this last cycle before moving on. Needless to say, I was shocked when I got the positive pregnancy test.

When I followed up with him throughout my first trimester, he was so happy for us and said my pregnancy was a “miracle,” which it really feels like it is. The pregnancy has been closely monitored, and the first trimester was pretty hard with a lot of early morning follow-up appointments and having to give myself three shots every day to replace hormones.

Now, I am about to start my maternity leave, and am waiting to meet our baby at the end of June. My health has stayed stable throughout the pregnancy, but we are in uncharted water since myeloma is pretty rare at my age, and this makes it extremely rare with pregnancy.

I go from being excited to being scared at the same time, but I think that is normal for all first time parents — cancer or no cancer!

Huge congratulations to Alyssa and Garrett!

Click here to read Alyssa’s survivor profile!

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