Stephanie & Bryce
Stephanie and Bryce fell in love when they were just 19. Married by 21, they always knew they wanted to have children, but life kept getting in the way. By the time they finally decided to start trying 10 years later, things didn't go exactly as planned. From ovulation test kits to IVF treatments, to a miscarriage, they were private throughout their struggle - wanting to avoid the unintentionally hurtful comments and questions from family and friends. Here is their story.
Hi I'm Steven Mavros this is waiting for babies where we take a deeper look into the very human side of the world of infertility. Every episode we're going to walk along with a couple or an individual from the moment they first wanted to bring a child into their lives and find out what happens when the one thing we're biologically driven to do doesn't seem to be working and all the many roads they follow to get there.
This is Steven again. So I'm an acupuncturist and I've been specializing in infertility for the last 15 years.
Most of the people we're going to talk to in the beginning episodes will be ones I've worked with. For the first episode. I thought it would be great to bring in someone I'd never met before and Stephanie and Bryce were perfect for this.
Their story has become so special to me because it's so common and one I hear every day and one that I think most people don't realize is common in this world of infertility. And I thought it would be a perfect way to start this conversation.
Now normally alongside me you're going to hear my partner in crime and my office manager of Laura Mullin. But for this particular interview I was lucky enough to have a friend visiting me from Minneapolis named Kristen Blake. She's also a fertility acupuncturist. I'll let Stephanie and Bryce take it from here. My name's Bryce Nichols. And I'm Stephanie Nichols. SM: How old are you guys now? Thirty eight. We're the same age we were born seven days apart. I'm seven days older.
We met in college we fell in love when we were 19 and we actually got married between our junior and senior years when you were 21 and well we were too young then to like have discussions about kids. We it was never out of the question like I mean it was obvious we both we wanted to have kids and we were married over 10 years before we started trying.
Purposeful or was that just how life went.
I don't think we planned to wait quite that long but it was just like grad school and then career stuff like my job made it feel like it was impossible to have kids. And so when we found they were like All right we're just going to do it. Well it doesn't work my job. Yeah. We've been right 10 years. And I think we'd also wanted to wait until we had a house. But then again but by then like we were in early thirties and we're like OK well so if we have a kid in a tiny one bedroom apartment was the 12th floor or something like that of an apartment building we're like what we're doing
currently I am mostly full time stay at home mom although also like I sort of keep getting involved in things so one morning a week I volunteer escorting refugees to the medical appointments. I volunteer with babywearing international local chapter which teaches moms parents and other caregivers about different carrier types and how to use them safely and comfortably with their babies and toddlers.
Also teach me something which now a very very tiny printing business.
But when I'm not doing those things and being a stay at home mom I'm actually a costume designer for theater and dance. That's what I got my master's degree in my grad school.
So I've worked with the computers from an early age. And I'm I'm now a software architect working at IBM in Austin. They do but I'm actually working out of wing Wow.
So tell me about when you guys first started trying and what that was like.
We took the goalie.
And we don't need to measure timelines to match but basically three years before we actually managed to find ourselves with a pregnancy that was probably a keeper it was when we started training and I'd been on birth control like since I was in high school.
Like well over half my life got off the pill and we were trying for over a year.
Well over a year maybe like a few months before I finally went to see somebody.
And at the age that we were the advices like somebody after six months. But you know I really worry about it.
I think we we always have this concept because you don't know what's going to happen because she been on birth control for so long.
And there are different stories about everybody gives different advice and yet you go off it and you get pregnant. And then the other story and you know one thing that I recall is we had pregnancy scares you know when I even know I never had times. During college only you know use acting and utterly unpredictable goals.
I could go 60 days without a pill which I think turns out if you look if you look at the history if you asked her doctor that's probably like a factor at least that's a symptom of whatever the reason is that it was hard for us to go. But we don't know yet.
We don't really know for sure but darn predictable periods like men.
Yes she would miss one.
She's on birth control but we know that something does not work.
And so it's like what do we do. We're not ready.
I think it's like the weird contrast between really not ready and you're like worried about it and then you're like ready and you're worried about oh why can't we actually do this do not call them scares the neighbors that this is like this should teach you pregnancy is just to be sure.
Maybe you didn't see this movie.
I remember when we sort of each I was probably we had to talk like Oh what what. You know we do what would we do.
So maybe that's why it was like we talk about all this stuff. I don't really want to deal with it.
See I we so we started trying and I tried like every Obviously Ishan predicter on the work.
They saw some weird.
Like oh there's one called the over Q A See you see and it has the parts or there's this little kind of like card deck of cards size computer monitor thingy and it has two things that plug in and one is a wand and one does maybe three quarters of an inch in diameter by a six to eight inches long in the other. They're both attached by wires and the other is like a spoon. Say that looks like a spoon. And so you wake up in the morning and before you've had any water you put this spoon and your tongue in it like looks at the patterns that your saliva are making which supposedly
changes monthly depending on how close the woman is. She's saying you don't talk to me when you are about an election because one is tabulation and then the wind goes in the vagina and I forget how it even works. The base that sends these signals to the thing and so the two in combination are supposed to. And a guy. HEADLEE these previews ranging from like this thing is amazing. The only thing that worked for me because the thing is it advertised like it'll work even if your cycles are totally irregular and you know cause I can have a cycle anywhere from like 25 days to 60 days. But even that was $60.
I forgot. It did nothing. It would be there.
They were all hopeful.
That was like that all the wackiest one and we did like the calendar charting and the cheap sticks that you just piled on and then the food blue easy relation monitor with the expensive sticks that you pee on and put all them in.
And did any of them work for you. What do they show up you know they would.
But then like I wouldn't get a period for 30 more days after. It sounds like very skeptical.
You did you have to do that every day even after ambulation within a certain.
Late late on the whatever. The 13 star monitor. Yeah.
That was how much I was there when I actually even gave it away to somebody through the glass like before we even saw this.
I was like I watched it you should watch it again.
And I met this lady. She said she had a baby already and then been having trouble trying for her second. She had a toddler and I was like we had to meet in a public place. I was like I don't want somebody coming to my house. And she was so gracious. She's like I run about this and I had been very explicit in the crank was that I was like people love this but it totally didn't work for me.
Maybe somebody out there can use it. I really can't in good conscience sell it even though I spent $360 on it because I don't know if it works.
So anybody else wants to try it I'll meet you in this park. Was a great deal.
Feel you to use all of these different products or was it more like anxiety producing to use them for her. No I would say it was the scientists.
I do think it was at least it was something it was something we could do something we could try while we were waiting with this big question mark hovering in the air. And that was even before we started really thinking like how am i actually going to be able to get pregnant because you're really going have your regular cycles. No big deal. My mom got pregnant really easily multiple times.
So did we.
I don't think we were very lucky.
Public about the fact that we really had this feeling we decided early on.
I mean we did we told some friends we had friends who knew like OK we're ready we're in your family.
I think it's pretty commonly certain family members certainly asking you.
It's pretty early. Like once we started trying was when I started just saying when people ask when there is news we'll share it and try not to indicate that we are having trouble or that you are crying because they didn't ask.
Do you feel like any of your friends or anyone in your peer group ever said the words were turning with multiple friends who had and we'd see.
Yeah I'm thinking of my friend and he not open about it all.
And I in retrospect I understand because you don't.
It's just like ups and downs and you don't want to subject it ruin to all those the details and he told me more later when I actually actually after Yeah it's at some point he did like opened up and told me here and then I have a girlfriend who was very open.
I mean they didn't they they didn't talk about it when they were trying to conceive but once they moved on to they site to move onto filch fertility treatments and eventually IVF she had a family mailing last and seeing her go through that once we started on this path.
I was like we're not telling anybody like anything because anything you get all those questions and people mean well you know how's he going. Only in the news.
And if there's new this you're going to say there's no there is no news or it's not good and it's so the video that we made to make the announcement basically told the entire story.
It felt so safe to tell everything after the fact. Once I was in the second trimester we were pretty sure you had a keeper. And then people were like wow really you through all that and like we didn't know the see people have conversations with those kind of off of the ruler.
I mean probably at home sorry my mom eventually we brought her into the loop.
Blake partway through or first learn about Libya. So another thing that really kept it to ourselves.
I'm so glad we did because it just adds a whole other level of pressure when well-meaning people are constantly asking.
You have to think about your life worrying about how to communicate with everyone and you're ready for us to figure things out.
Harper for those people don't know the right questions to ask because they've never been through it really don't know enough about it.
Or do you think it was just so to deal with it you just want to talk about.
Such a mix because you've got everybody from the people who who say well meaning things like well if it's meant to be at all or maybe it's just not God's will which is not a thing you say to do you know only or well meaning advice but you just need to relax going to the station and stop and then all the anecdotes.
I have friends who they've been trying for years and then they just stop trying and they got there.
I mean I'm sure you've in all these interviews heard or see you get the range from that to other people who aren't necessarily offering advice but just are really concerned about your well being. How are you doing. And but there's nothing he can do but be support. So yeah it was good to avoid the action so well me but well-intended comments on you know somebody like my father who.
I'm no longer in contact with my father by my choice. And one of the many things in my life journey with my father that led to me making a decision was when it was around. We are trying for a few months. And my father who is an extremely extreme born again fundamentalist Christian we were in a Denny's and he was once again trying to preach to us and towards his story about his path with the Lord and he said the words I hope you never have children followed by if you don't intend to raise them with the relationship with Jesus. But it didn't matter.
I mean if the qualifier was like I hope you don't have children if you intend to beat them.
But just I hope you don't have children coming. And he had no idea that we'd already been trying. And so I was it was and we were by the time we made the decision to finally just cut him out of my life for so many reasons I was so glad that I didn't have to share this difficult part of her life with him because I think the comments from him would have been worse than all the others. It would have been all about you know you need to pray more.
God just doesn't want it. Yes he would have been no worse.
And even if we hadn't personally told him even if he'd been telling the answer cousins the world would have gotten back. It's hard to avoid. So it was one more reason why it was good to keep this under wraps until there was good news to share. Or until we just found it would move us that we're not having children either way.
There was is from lack of a better word judgment in terms of but even once you started for tumuli treatments did you feel like suddenly people were charging you for either doing that or needing that person.
That's a good question.
If we'd been public with it like my girlfriend was who had her mailing list that she kept up to date I can definitely see myself wanting to have the kind of explain and rationalize everything and try to like how this is OK we're not being selfish by like using this you know this medical technology and having our insurance company pay all these bills when there are all these children that you know we could adopt or are just accepting that we can't conceive naturally curly dies. I mean were I this new again.
We are so lucky to.
We've been so lucky to live in a place and the time that we do and to have access to the medical technology that we have access to and to have the insurance that I had when we were going through this. Thank you. Suda New Jersey public employees support is like our best. It's like now I know because I've heard from other friends and I've seen the statistics and that it's some of the best insurance to have if you're dealing with infertility because my my friend is I mean his wife got a job in New Jersey.
And not was land that that person will be able to go through all the interventions to finally get there.
So I mean a point in reverse we're so incredibly lucky that we had though we've we live where we do the time and place in the country that we do with medical technology and with insurance that we had because I would have been utterly beyond our means and yet it felt so like a spoiled luxury like we don't like.
Why should you. Because you. Adding up the actual cost.
If we had to pay for ourselves it's like what would we do if if we had to wake up our you know friends and family and like scrounge up that money what would we do we might there's do would be so challenging in a whole nother way and I mean again part the reason I wanted to make that video not just like announcing that you're pregnant but like here's everything you want to do to get pregnant.
Because I knew we wanted I wanted to come out about it when when there was good news and it helped I think cancer a lot of questions that people would have. But also it wasn't just like you know technical the medical stuff here.
So we went through like I mean it was very emotional people cried watching it. And so I think I have a feeling that if anybody would have had been judgment all about it seeing play just the emotional aspect of it might have quelled a little bit make sense.
Yeah. Curious about the fact that you didn't talk to many other people about this process as you were going through it. Felt lonely. I felt like it brought it to the race together because they were in on it for how it felt in your relationship.
Honestly like we're at odds in many ways all the way through. But we had both it definitely.
I mean this I don't I can imagine any family going through this without there being like this to every everything that's annoying or inconvenient like gets to you.
I came out with our interactions but I think at the same time it also brought us together. I do feel like we were like we both had a shared goal and we were sad and we were there we were but there were times that were you know we were together we were just both committed to that purpose.
But as far as I know like that in a way those are the kind of in my mind is separate from our relationship wasn't for me.
But in terms of loneliness and isolation I mean especially dealing this while still going to you know doing the long commute to work working long hours and the times what I would that I would get a phone call because you know the phone calls to tell you I mean when you're going through when when one is going to especially like the idea of process from the beginning with the drugs to the egg retrieval to be transferred to them like the test where you find that if you're pregnant and then the tests where they keep monitoring the HEG to see if it's rising. And like every single one of those phone calls especially as it gets more tricky and the process is just the most trying to take these phone calls at my desk in the costume studio
Brown University when I have works that is students and practicum students working.
And then you know the the one that I got after. So we are going in all these details. But our first round of IVF I got pregnant and it was awesome.
But the HEG levels weren't rising properly and eventually they dropped in and we knew what I got was going to be in that phone call that's when Dr. kown or actual doctor called and said if one of the nurses and I knew and I had the lady from the laundry room in the cast seems to be OK is to go somewhere to do it first and then I. I had students working and I just told them I can sign cutting some bad news. And I was like send them home early. And I went outside a little alcove to like finish the conversation don't want privacy and then like the whole bus ride home I was sobbing bitterly trying to quiet the
And yet that was like that was I think one of the hardest parts of that in terms of loneliness and isolation was being determined to keep it to ourselves but dealing with it.
What do you remember what like what did you do that day.
You guys both we were really together when you get a margarita waiting for me when I got home in the little glass that we had bought we'd gone to our army which is to do the complicated procedures eggbeater one embryo transfer you to go to the King of Prussia location that so wonderfully and there's a pier one imports and it would appear the produce gift cards after one.
See this is crazy. I've got the dotted cut glass and I was like this is going to be used either.
When like I need a drink when I'm not pregnant or don't believe my first or after we have a baby and then came home and made me a margarita and we were treated like that.
Did you end up drink that after big.
I did many drinks the.
Turn remember you and eventually told me that's what I told my mom when we were well it was somewhere it might have been like around the time of the first egg retrieval of first embryo transfer.
This there really is. I wanted somebody to know that I had somebody to grieve with me and I was all like when I told my mom I call my mom and I told her everything we've been through and she was like oh my gosh I can't believe like you've been doing this. And then I got to tell her I was pregnant and for all the updates are really next you know couple of weeks that passed between when I was pregnant and when we knew it was going to lose it. And then when I actually did lose it and it was so such a relief to have somebody and close to I wasn't always close to my mom but now I family have somebody besides praise who grieve with me
was I was really glad that I made that decision to finally we her.
I mean do you want to tell others the little story about when you actually hurt.
Like you have come and help them I think that's I think that speaks a lot to your question.
Yeah how we deal with that.
I mean that was basically after being pregnant for the first time. All right.
Well one thing and again this might be TMI but once it was basically a miscarriage a very early miscarriage we're lucky. And I tell you I'm like we're lucky that it happened early rather than like later on.
And I know women who've been through you know second trimester losses were or even you know my my best friend her. Her twins were delivered prematurely at 26 weeks and ultimately both passed away.
And so we're incredibly lucky in a way even though it hurts so much. And I felt like like I was like dying inside like I felt so broken before kind of like that happened early.
And I'm rambling. But once the mist the bleeding started you look in the toilet and actually I was able there was a sac that came out. It was distinctly Issaq. I hope this isn't TMI. I was like. I was sick. So all that happened at work in the back.
I ran back to the costume shop and food my kitchen drawer until I could because I tried to get something passed and I dialed the second and put it in there and I put it in the fridge and I took it home and put it in a freezer and because I couldn't just it was even though I knew it was like my microscopic maybe at most a quarter of an inch long baby that was my baby at home.
And I I ordered. I wanted to do something because even though I'm not a religious person and all I really value the healing power of ritual and tradition. And so I wanted to do something to memorialize this baby.
And so they ordered peach tree peach tree which you can see actually at the window now it's all it's all sad and wintery but that's maybe a peach tree and it came and I named her Emma because even if there's no way to have known this baby's gender it was I thought it was a girl and I had been a girl named that I'd liked for many years but knew that I wouldn't use it if it got too common. I was like you can use it for my dead baby. So when we transplanted into a big pot she's now buried I'd put the sack in tissue paper like thin
flimsy tissue paper that would dissolve quickly and we wrote notes to the baby which we nicknamed the bubble because the blastocyst thought of it.
It looks like a bubble so don't you.
My mom wrote a note in Washington that we had not sent it all ceremony on a tarp pier in the living room transported her to the big party.
So she's out there. Tiny sacrebleu biodegraded and it was it was helpful to watch.
And this happened in the spring this happened in March a couple of years ago in Salem.
It gave me something to talk to I would go out there and talk to him. Even though again I don't believe in a soul or anything like that it just gave me something inside that intact.
And I remember when I started this. So eventually Mr. think and I'm out of here. The morning before we go for the egg extraction I not there and attacked and I told heart broken into and then eventually when we went for the transfer I went up there and I talked from it all don't want to.
And then the that we went to the hospital to Thomas Jefferson for my labor induction resemble to be born. And when I told her that when it came back it was going to be our little brother.
So that's been a really good thing to have anything.
And when pre-cap Marcelo de ashes I haven't buried them yet but Marcelo's ashes are going to go with them.
It's just like the burial over of the baby.
There's an amazing article the times for just talking about the Japanese. These guardians with small statues and you'll go to the gardens and it's a statue after statue. It's just the miscarriage ritual. And we don't have that kind of ritual. We don't have anything. And most of the time I don't even talk about it. So true.
It's called Superpole and then in the article that couple that was talking about how they and they've seen it when they were in Japan and they ended up going and buying one of these and putting it in their garden here and us and sheeplike it in code for this statue and they were both like periodically go out and talk to the statue and kind of tend to it and take care of it as they were going through you know their fertility process and you know grieving the miscarriage that they had and maybe they could try to figure out when do we stop taking care of this.
You were like maybe we never said it before.
I and I also buried as handlers umbilical cords for that little tiny part of him this is not how we do the same with when this baby when we conducted his was awful probably buried in the soil too.
It's kind of more me but it gives me something that fills a need for fills in need and everybody fine.
You know I think if somebody can find a way to fulfill a need then just do it even if it's weird.
Did you both hurt people and when the miscarriage was that you it I think my focus was on this terror will you be doing like you know you wrote on tissue paper or something.
So let me see.
And he looked visibly angry.
You know when you read some patients and you need them about it that's the first time they hear that their mom had a miscarriage just by thinking about it.
Did I tell you my grandma told me this which is my grandmother my mom's mom. She had two daughters and my mom's all the and basically it was an intro I guess last year she told me like wow we would have had more kids.
It didn't work like I had no clue about that.
What is it. I don't even know why.
Oh like everyone else in my family knows she might have chosen that moment to just say something about it because she didn't want to make anyone feel like you know it's amazing what she like the way she can be that really is basically you're her husband we told her like our two daughters are wonderful. They're not for me you need. We need to stop trying to do this those pretty.
Say that she had a miscarriage and never you know just because I was talking about it she mentioned why in the course of this gets me and now it's a very it's amazing.
I don't I don't even know who knows.
Like she just told me like one moment.
I've never heard it before. No clue.
We took a break at this point and I asked Stephanie embraced her put everything they told us so far in context. So I asked them for a timeline and this is what they had to say when we really started.
We got off birth control pills in November 2011 sort of trying with driving a mutation in January 2012. In March 2013 and we started taking or taking Clomid which is the lowest level intervention just to regulate my ambulation which actually that all of a sudden my periods were like 30 something to actually make plans.
And also we can't really predict or test.
But even then even with the regular cycle. So January 2014 which was two years after we started training with him and Dr. Coulon biased that we just moved straight ahead IVF and I was like really because he'd gone over and we'd read about all that.
There's so many things between clomid and yes I see why and I'm sure you've heard about was Brace's numbers or in terms of spunk out.
Super sperm like the highest highest scores for motility and all and Captain other stuff and I did all my tests I've gone through there were they couldn't be so recently diagnosed with unexplained infertility.
When we went on the Clement. And so since we've been trying come in for Doctor cancer do it for six months and come back to me and we did it for like nine months. We came back to him. And so he said why don't we just move straight time yeah basically because it's the gold standard most likely to work.
And by then we were already I was 35 34 35. Not that that's all any means for conceiving but it sort of you know there's a point where statistically the average woman's eggs start to degrade more quickly and easily might as we'll just do it because your insurance will cover it.
Right. OK. So just a couple weeks later we started the drugs and on February 12th of 2014 which I think is Darwyn I remember.
I think it was Darwyn day and I was like This is so perfect to have a science baby that's needed the egg retrieval and brazening his contribution. And then five days later we transferred. We had one blastocyst embryo transferred and a couple weeks later I was pregnant for the first time. So from the start from when we started trying to when I was pregnant for the first time basically I'd been a little over two years which again we're so lucky because people go through this for five seven eight ten years and it only took us three years from when we
started trying to when we had a child we went to when I was like in a spectrum started really great B.B. King.
So anyhow see I mean you by the end of February that I was pregnant the miscarriage happened on March 11th 2014.
And then oh another little bump in there that we haven't even mentioned. One thing that had come up during our first IVF cycle was as Dr. küng doing all the monitoring noticed that flopping Tupas was becoming more and more swollen.
And I had a condition called Driesell pings which turned for a spoonful of pintu and he said you know we don't know this.
We don't know if this has been a cause of your infertility previously. That's something that should before but before we move forward with anything by this thing to do was just cut it out because it's not help it's not really helping us.
So I actually also had surgery in March. Like it was the timeline was kind of crazy because he had only he had an opening.
And so like why were we going to have the miscarriage I was having Skopec surgery and that sucked way more than I thought it when it was really difficult.
And that was actually enters our relationship. That was I think one of the hardest points was because I didn't just need emotionally I needed him physically to be my rock and I like that were there were definitely many fights over you know basically like I need you to do this for me because I can't do it in the colorful and friction ways.
Funny how we still had one frozen embryo but Dr. Cowen advised that rather than trying to transfer that one let's wow I'm still you know younger biologically. Let's do another full cycle of IVF so fresh right now retrieval and all that he was Can he change the drug protocol.
It was actually awesome because of the shorter timeline determines how long it was on the drugs and basically changed it with the goal of being able to get a little bit more eggs. I had a good number last the first time. But the problem is they all develop at different rates. So even though it's 17 eggs that were taken out the first time which is a stellar number. Only two were developed enough that they became good embryos. So he changed the drugs.
And so when we did our second IVF retrieval on April 27th of 2014 retrieve 23 eggs which is like wow.
And overall they were much more developed for quality. And five days later when. Which is when they do transfer and or freezing. I had 12 good embryos. So we have this treasure trove. It's crazy. But as a side effect that sometimes happens when the ovaries are having this awesome response which is ovarian hyperstimulation syndrome. We heard about it from the people you interviewed. And fortunately Dr. Caplan is very careful about such things. And basically if if the woman doesn't get pregnant it will resolve itself.
But if the woman gets pregnant it gets much much much worse. And so the thing to do is not try to get pregnant all the embryos were frozen and we waited about two months before our town decided that I was ready to start this or start my body and the drugs that are essentially like the second half of the IVF cycle to get ready for a frozen transfer place because that's pretty quick.
It sounds like after them really those extra couple months were hopeful.
I just need more time. Yeah. The two months between when we stopped for very high positions and it was filled with going through so much and over these those two months we went on vacation and went on a cruise for a week and it was like our awesomeness freakishly verse.
I mean I was I'm I was like on the drugs already so I had these estrogen patches on my belly.
That kind of got covered by my kidney and I was still having some shots but it was like kind of this is like are like big rollick either. This is our last vacation that we can take for a long time or we're going to be like having a new something in between the disappointment.
CM The cruises in June and so July 1 July 7th was when they defrosted and transferred one embryo which became an authoritarian timeline from the time that we started until you were pregnant it was a little over two.
It was like two and three more years. We had been through the work was wasn't over. Now because when I knew I had to deal with Justin and I was working with I couldn't believe that it puts it be forgiven for me this is not to say we have to be on this.
There's a schedule. Yes it was. And like honestly he was like it was I didn't know like you're not allowed to have sex for like what we talked about this is something we didn't have yet.
We were actually weren't allowed to have sex fairly too much for two months or something.
But of course we were also just so they worked so hard to make this happen you're terrified. And when I was technically allowed to have sex you really free to like it with my hands I think three times after pregnancy.
It's just after all the work like for fraid you know we don't always have to turn over in the end give me an injection a couple of men it was no fun at all. Saturday morning at 9:00 Eastern in Jacksonville near Eden.
And of course you're thinking like oh if we do this wrong or mess like this one or mess it up then we might have killed Baby screwed up totally.
You're just like yeah yeah.
We're like oh we're like an hour every hour two weeks from when we're supposed to do.
So in retrospect you know probably didn't and probably didn't think it'll be good to you.
And it's just like what I say is like I don't really want to have to step every day. Sometimes I did them myself like if I was working late I would go.
She had to and I sort of like the first time you had to do it for me.
I'm like coaching here. You know I've got my MBA like I've got my kids but I kind of turn toward them know a little higher and I'm like coaching him through it.
He's like freaking out and I'm like.
Like it was harder on me. And the times that I had to do it myself it was not good. But I was like a it's hard.
And I might not be it's the principle of thing you are going to be involved in the fact that I was doing it but I just I was like oh my god i missed missed the mark.
Nerve. You'll be there. There were a couple of times.
So you drank progesterone in oil it's really thick and there are holes. There's the needle that one uses to dried up which is really fat. And you untwist that and you put on another needle which is still fat but not quite as fat.
And there were two occasions when he forgot to switch meat and he did it with a big fat one time you were in Paxi Kiran and I pretty much know I was like you will not have anything to drink before you give me my shot.
I don't know if you want to talk about this but before we got to get loose with this pregnancy. We assumed we would need intervention preemptively went in and split it.
Meaning we were planning that this winter actually right around now January February that we would do another frozen embryo transferred to try to conceive a second child aiming for them to be. I know ideally three years apart at most but we are we'd start at that time all the time then when they would be two and a half years apart knowing that you know the odds of winning the lottery gain are less and less likely that we would get pregnant and unlikely that we would get pregnant. So really all start trying in January February so we can do another one in like March or April and another one you know
late spring if we need to because we can afford to because we have and I actually have 12 or 13 frozen embryos can we still have the one from previously. So. So he explained to us what the protocol would be and it was already completely different.
Yes that's those my life is already changed. Yeah.
It was sort of estrogen patches and it was just the pills I think estrogen pills something.
I just remember that it was hilarious and I think this has changed and this is change we don't see this anymore and think wow this is an industry that moves very quickly.
I feel like there's sort of you do end up doing so.
So yeah I am.
Twenty eight weeks pregnant. I actually just started third trimester two days ago. And we. So we saw Dr. Caplan I think it was like in May or June and we discovered it and I want to say late July or early August despite the fact that I had never conceived naturally we'd had to go through all the stuff to make $10. I'm down to one fallopian tube which even if you had no other problems if you only have one fallopian tube automatically your chances of conception are kind.
We hadn't been having sex at all. And I was pregnant.
So we're like the unicorns. And it was really hard to believe at first it was her doing for a long time actually. How been kids you know we identify as people who we've been through it all we've been through the fertility stuff we're going to do IVF like a champ. But this and got all these frozen embryos that were that you know we can keep trying with the others. We've got lots of chances even if the first and second one don't work.
So there were there were so many feelings.
Obviously you know there's First there's the like wow this is so amazing. I think if this baby sticks we don't have to go through all that. Bryce doesn't have to go through the terrible anxiety of giving me those progesterone shots.
You know we don't have to go through all of this. You don't have to have all those doctors appointments.
But also I mean and especially with dealing with major like ethical guilt because we have these frozen embryos and they will not go to waste even if we don't use them when we decide that you know when hopefully we have the second baby we might give it another year or two. Keeping them in frozen storage but eventually we will donate them so that they can be tried by couples or parent you know hopeful parents who aren't able to make their own healthy embryos and their healthy embryo.
So anyhow with IVF there was like an ultrasound at like five five weeks and something and in six weeks and something in seven weeks that something and there was even one to eight weeks and something before that and I switched over to senior regular OPG way.
And there's just that Blake that safety net of having your fertility doctor monitor you constantly. And so to go to a regular doctor pianistic can be told you're pregnant and then you know like we'll see you in for three or four weeks for the deeding inviolability ultrasound.
You're going to do HEG blood test to make sure the ETG is writing properly.
They're like we don't we don't do that normal pregnancy.
So it's funny. We're so we're so lucky that it's worked out this. How did you find out about this pregnancy was it through blood work or did you live in a house. So that's a very good question.
I had started having strange insomnia and it was only like the insomnia that I'd had early in my pregnancy would. I was like This is weird I'm having to I'm getting up having to pee like every hour and a half to two hours. I have a bladder infection but also like I can't go back to sleep during P.E. and I think this is exactly what it was like at the beginning of Zindler of the tiny tiny dancer pregnancy was similar. And so I thought process like I only do a pregnancy test just to rule out the possibility.
You know so that I know I can keep having my nightly cocktail or beer or wine.
And then you're like OK just kind of like your life.
So I did you know put the test on the toilet.
I remember when I woke up and I got up in the morning after multiple wakings and I sat there what you're supposed to like leave it sitting for like five or 10 minutes and come back to I just sat there like I'm sitting on the toilet seat watching it on the counter as it slowly turned to sign was like no this is not possible. So I brought it into him and stabbed him awake. And he actually was like Congratulations.
Or good job.
But like I think I did one more the next day with kids that had been in the cupboard since before Zehnder was conceived and I was like just take it over.
So yeah we did and I did another one the next day with a fresh pack and same result. So yeah I made a point when when we did finally announce early in the second trimester when I was around I think like 14 15 16 weeks I wrote up a FAQ and a fake because I was like people are going to have so many questions and obviously the first question in the Q&A was did you have to go through IVF again.
And so I explained no no explain what our plan was for the frozen embryos and how I talked briefly about how it had some like kind of ethical guilt feelings but that a baby is a baby and we're grateful no matter how this baby was conceived. And then last question was Is there anything else you would like people to know.
Yes. Actually there is.
It is our sincere hope that people will not use us as an example or when trying to care to comfort friends who are dealing with infertility. We want to be very clear that we are the unicorn's. This does not you know this happens there's anecdotal evidence that you can have to go through all sorts of interventions to get pregnant and then your and then you just get pregnant again easily for your second child. But like you know basically it was I politely said please don't go with if you know somebody who's struggling with infertility.
Please don't say like oh we have these friends who went through all that in their second career. They just relaxed. They weren't even thinking about it and they got pregnant without even really trying because we know like we're we're just we we hit the lottery.
That's all it comes down to. You're prepared to have to go through. And we've hit the lottery in so many ways along this entire path. Like having you know amazing insurance that made this possible because we couldn't pass. Of that my body just responded well to the drugs. Having so many becoming such a great doctor so many eggs so many embryos. And also I did get pregnant both times even though I asked the first one. And nullus Yeah we know like we know to not take this for granted at all.
Thank you guys for this amazing awesome month.
Talk about like we're eating like we know where the lucky ones come out the other side with our marriage intact as a tactic. Literacy and with on the way. And frozen embryos. We still have the option of using if it ever comes to that it's it's worked out beautifully that I could leave it up and be a stay at home mom that we already have a house and that the house is see more there's no more work that needs to be done to kids there's law.
It To Be Like.
So fucking lucky. Thanks to Stephanie and Bryce Nichols for sharing their story. If you'd like to see the video that Stephanie was talking about a link to her it is on our site waiting for babies dotcom. Thanks to Kristin blade for joining me for this one in between med school interviews music for this episode by quiet times for tiny robots. If you like what you hear. Please by all means share it with your fertility community via social media or on your message boards and read us on iTunes.
If you like what we're doing and want to help us keep doing it. Please go to our Web site at waiting for babies dot com and click donate.
We take a lot of time away from treating patients to make the show happen but we love it. Want to do more and want to keep this conversation going so any help goes a long way. This is Steven Mavros. See you next time.
This is the video Stephanie and Bryce made: