Advanced endometriosis and an associated laparoscopy as a teenager, led me to always believe having children would not be in my future. As a young college student, starting a family was the furthest from my mind, thus I never anticipated how significant that early diagnosis would be for my future.
Fast forward 15 years when my gynecologist, at my annual visit, asked if we wanted to talk about family planning. Her concern was that I had just turned 35 and the window for fertility was narrowing for healthy women, much less someone with a significant endometriosis history. Reproductive advancements over the years led her to believe we might have options now. Also, since I had been on continuous contraceptives for 15 years to stop my cycle, she was worried about the long term ramifications. After a lifetime of thinking it was not possible, it was surreal to start thinking about the possibilities. My husband and I tried not to get our hopes to high because we had always been told the advanced stage disease had done so much damage as a young teenager.
The first step was to get off the pill and see what my body would do. Not surprising, the endometriosis that had been at bay for so long came back with a vengeance immediately. I developed large masses and the endometrial tissue started growing everywhere. The pain was incredible, not to mention the fear of what permanent damage was being done to my organs. My doctor sent me to a local fertility specialist right away to run tests and take images to see how extensive the damage was. Over the course of several months, I ended up at three different fertility clinics throughout the state of Florida only to be told by every doctor that the damage was too great, the masses too large, and the case too complex to even try. No one would touch my case. Everyone said to get back on the pill or go ahead and have a hysterectomy. While the result was not surprising, it was frustrating to have had a tiny bit of hope that this might be possible only to have that door slammed in our faces very quickly.
As a last resort and at the nudging from a friend, we called CCRM. I sent them all of my records and told them no one would even let us try in Florida. We soon had our phone consult with Dr. Schoolcraft and he told us the magic words that we held onto, “I can get you pregnant!” We were ecstatic! Our only option was IVF, but to us the trial of facing IVF was nothing compared to the lifetime of never being given a chance to try.
We started prepping right away and the endometriosis was challenging to work around. Every cycle we would get ready to start and the masses would return. I would fly out to Colorado every few weeks for scans in hopes that the masses would resolve. Dr. Schoolcraft worked with my cycle timing and finally one day in August he figured out the exact timing of when to start priming in between the development of the next set of masses. And he was right! Exactly right!
We went on to have a flawless retrieval and three months later, a perfect embryo transfer just before Christmas. On New Year’s Day we found out we had a miracle hanging on for the ride. That miracle little boy arrived nine months later and our world will never be the same. This baby that had every single odd against him held on and fought so hard to be here, to complete our family. Shortly after his birth, I needed that hysterectomy after all. My body just could not fight the endometriosis any longer. It was a known ending to this wild journey. To this day, I cannot believe my eyes when I look at our son knowing we were told ‘No’ every step of the way, until we met Dr. Schoolcraft. He said yes right away and he was so unbelievably right! CCRM was the only place that would take a chance on me. They were the only place that gave us hope! I am eternally grateful for every person that makes up the CCRM family because without CCRM we would have never had the chance to know this incredible, breathtaking love.