My husband and I were married in May 2003. Just five months later we learned that we were pregnant, and we were over the moon with excitement. Sadly, at ten weeks we lost this baby due to it being ectopic. As the years passed, we tried desperately to have a baby but we never did. We were living in New York at the time, and with the help of my OBGYN we started the IUI process. I cannot remember now how many failed attempts we had, but with each one I was losing a little bit of myself. We moved back to the Boston area in 2008 as we learned that IVF was covered by insurance in Massachusetts. Right away we started at Brigham and Women’s infertility clinic. I was told that my eggs were very poor quality, but we were determined to try. Over the years I went through 7 rounds of unsuccessful IVF cycles. Each negative pregnancy test devastated us and chipped away at the little hope we had left. At the age of 35, we decided to live child-less. With the help of a wonderful therapist, I made peace with our situation. I was lucky enough to have a strong partner who loved me regardless of my infertility. Infertility had defined me for years, and we knew that we desperately needed to move forward. It was hard, I will admit, watching everyone around me have babies and raise children. I tried to put that love I had towards my niece and nephews, and my friends' children. Soon after turning 40 I had an epiphany that maybe our journey to be parents was not over after all. My eggs were duds, but there were many amazing women out there that could help us. And that was how I found Dr. Berger. We heard all about him and the BIVF clinic, and were told how amazing everyone was. We went into Boston IVF’s Quincy location, and had a consultation with him. He was warm, kind, smart, honest, and so very encouraging. The process of finding a donor was daunting, but after finding the right clinic through a friend who had gone through the donor process, we found our match almost immediately. In the end we were blessed with three strong embryos. As I was prepping for the first transfer, Dr. Berger called with concerns on the ultrasound - my fallopian tube looked swollen. Grateful for his steady eye he referred me to a specialist who diagnosed a hydrosalpinx (basically fluid build up in my fallopian tube). It was determined that the tube needed to come out in order to give us the best odds of a successful pregnancy. After having my tube removed, we started again. The first two embryos did not take. It was beyond devastating. Dr. Berger would call us in the evening so that both my husband and I could ask questions together and try to tweak our plan for the next attempt. He was patient, and always tried to think outside the box. With one embryo left, I was scared out of my mind. I can still remember him telling us about this relatively new biopsy, called the Endometrial Receptivity Array (ERA) biopsy. He said it might tell us whether or not my uterus was receptive at the time of transfer, but it was still a new test. He suggested that it was the last thing we could possibly do to make this final round the one that would get us pregnant. As it turned out, he was right - my embryos were being transferred hours too early. He determined that we needed to transfer my very last embryo, our last hope at having a baby, one day later (day 6 rather than day 5). He wanted to be there for my transfer, but unfortunately the timing did not work out. For ten days I was terrified. I had always home tested for every other transfer, but this time I chose not to. I wanted to live those ten days pretending I was pregnant, and I did not want a hpt to burst that hope. The day of the blood test I drove home from Boston IVF and burst into tears. I remember telling my favorite phlebotomist, Teresa, that this was probably the last time I would get to see her. I was certain this tenth IVF transfer did not result in a pregnancy. I took the day off of work on April 26th to await the final phone call. “Hi Brenda, this is nurse so and so (I think I blacked out), I have instructions for you”. My brain froze - was I comprehending this correctly, she said “instructions”, not “I’m sorry, it was negative”. I said, “Wait, hang on, do you mean I’m pregnant?!!!” “Yes, you are, but your numbers are low so we just have to do more blood work and ultrasounds to ensure your levels are going in the right direction”. I got off the phone with tears pouring down my face and looked at my husband. I finally got to say the words I had been waiting to say for 16 long years: “we are pregnant”. After crying and jumping up and down, he ran to Target to get some home tests, which I took every day for a week, and still could not believe it was really true. I was pregnant, and it was surreal. We monitored for weeks, until the day we saw her heartbeat. My beautiful baby girl was thriving. I loved being pregnant with her, but she was ready to meet the world earlier than planned. On October 28, 2019 my water broke while I was at work, 7 weeks too soon. I stayed on bed rest at South Shore Hospital while we hoped and prayed that she would stay in for as long as possible. She was born on November 14, 2019 at week 33 on her namesake’s birthday. My grandmother Genevieve was looking down on us as my Genevia Hope was born. She is our everything, she is a joyous and happy little two year old who has caught up and is meeting all of her milestones. We are beyond lucky and feel blessed every single day when I look into her big brown eyes. She looks exactly like her daddy, but has my spunk! If it was not for Boston IVF and Dr. Berger, along with the wonderful nurses and staff helping us to hold on to hope, Genevia would not be ours. We are forever grateful to all of you, to science, and to the generosity of the woman who helped us when I didn’t have what was needed to bring my daughter into the world. It takes a village! Never ever give up hope!
Eternally grateful, Brenda and Ricardo
How did your boston ivf physician and nursing team help to make your journey a success?
A special thank you to Teresa Dooley who was there for every blood draw, and offered a friendly smile, helped me laugh, and gave great hugs! Thank you for being that familiar face throughout my journey at BIVF. And of course thank you to Dr. Brian Berger who worked his magic, and to NP Teryn Gorgone who performed my ERA biopsy, and monitored us in the early days of our pregnancy - she always reminded me to be positive!
What were some highs or lows of your treatment(s)? What is unique/different about your story?
The lows were every single negative pregnancy test, but the high was knowing there was hope, even at 40 through the use of donor egg. The highest was that call that we were finally pregnant, hearing her heartbeat the first time, every ultrasound, watching my belly grow, feeling her move, meeting her for the first time. Being a mom, a family, watching this beautiful miracle grow each and every day. Our love for this little human is greater than I ever dreamed possible.
What advice do you have for other struggling with infertility?
It can be a lonely journey, so surround yourself with those that support and encourage you with whatever steps and paths you may take. Take care of yourself and your partnership, and allow yourself to say "no" to things that are difficult for you right now. Be open to new ideas and options. Seek out support from those that have gone through their own family-building journey. Give yourself grace, this can be a very difficult journey, know that you are doing everything you can possibly do, and then some. And most importantly, never give up hope.