Michelle's story begins like this: "It was a very tough and long journey."
And ends with, "I don't know how I could have gotten any luckier."
Really sets you up for the middle, doesn't it? So here's Michelle telling her own powerful tale, a roller coaster ride of emotions on the journey to create a family:
"It was a very tough and long journey. I'm on the older end; I turn 40 this year. We got married kind of later in life, in 2017. We really didn't start trying for baby until 2018. And from there we just kind of led the unexplained infertility life. For five years. We literally had to try just about everything, and most of those things we tried had to come out of pocket.
We were taught different ways to try, or you try different meds, or you try an IUI. You're getting all this hope because your follicles look good, but then your lining doesn't look good. So you try something else, and then your follicles and your lining look good, but it's still not happening. Then I developed a cyst on my ovary, so for three months we had to wait for it to go away.
We even got a genetic test done to see if that wasn't what was causing it. Got a $13,000 bill for a blood draw which, for a week, was another thing we thought might come out of pocket. That's enough for the whole IVF process! But it got covered, thankfully.
Eventually we tried four rounds of IUI, and we thought we were at the end of our tunnel, but then it was on to IVF. So the nurse helped us with the different types of options for IVF consultations, we got all our paperwork done and were all set up for consults, but then it was a three month wait because so many people are dealing with infertility. In my Wisconsin infertility group alone there are 2.3k people!
It's such an emotional time.
So for three months, we decided we weren't going do any meds. We're just gonna roll with life. Two weeks before our first IVF consultation, I just thought I'd check: it was day 28. And the test showed the thinnest, lightest line. We were finally pregnant after five years of spending 1,000's of dollars and trying all these different things trying to avoid IVF because it's such a cost.
I was overjoyed, but then extra cautious and scared, because I was always thinking, 'Oh my goodness, is this really going work?'
And of course, all kinds of weird things happened. Like he was really small. So by 28 weeks, we had to have appointments two times a week because there was fetal growth restriction. They thought my artery maybe wasn't working very well. So we had to be monitored twice a week. And I had to miss work twice a week to get monitored. And at first I was monitored just by Women's Care, but then I was also monitored by the perinatal clinic right in ThedaCare. So I had two different groups of people monitoring me. Then I got COVID. Then I got preeclampsia. At one point I was in the hospital for three days because they couldn't get my blood pressure back on track. We thought maybe we were having the baby then, but we made it to 37 weeks, which was the goal for his size. Had some trouble with the induction, got him back on track and ended up getting a C-section.
And I saw every doctor from Women's Care. Vandenberg's my primary, but I saw Williams. I saw Reed. I saw Brubaker. I saw Yarroch. I saw Augustine. I saw every single one of them. So many appointments, so many people helping. Everything was done well. Everything went well. I can't be more thankful.
Dr. Vandenberg delivered Jaxon on April 11th. Right now, he just got over RSV plus a cold, but he's doing well, pretty much on his curve. He's been small. He was at the one percentile for most everything except height. But his weight finally was up to the fifth percentile the last time we checked, so we're making progress!
Honestly, this is this was our last shot at it. I'll be 40 in September. I don't know how I could have gotten any luckier."