IVF After Paralysis & PCOS: Kristen & Ryan’s Story

One of my favorite things to do is share stories of people who have experienced infertility. I love hearing how other people cope and find meaning in struggle. Today I’m excited to share Kristen and Ryan’s story with you today. I hope you find hope and encouragement in their story!

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

Hello everyone! My name is Kristen Bergeron and I’m married to a wonderful man named Ryan. We have a spunky little girl named Hadley who’s about to turn two. Together, Ryan and I own and operate an online store called The Wood Reserve where we sell unique wood products and gifts. I also work as a freelance writer and run my own blog, The Natural Verve.  Ryan works for a great company called JMX Brands as a portfolio marketing manager.

We’re Sunshine State natives that enjoy family time, getting outside, traveling, and a great bottle of wine!

Q. How long were you trying to conceive and what issues were you facing?

Our infertility stemmed from two different sources. For starters, back in 2008 my husband was paralyzed in a water skiing accident. His paralysis affected him from the waist down and made having children more difficult.

While we thought this would be the only issue we’d have to work through, we quickly learned that I was suffering with undiagnosed PCOS which would make getting pregnant more of a challenge for me.

All in all, our infertility journey lasted around two years. While we faced over a year of general testing at different facilities to figure out how Ryan’s accident had affected his fertility, and then surgery for me to remove a uterine polyp, by the time it came down to our IVF cycle we were one of the lucky couples to find success after just one try.

Q. Which books, quotes, websites, verses, movies, songs, etc. were an encouragement to you during your journey?

Early on in our IVF journey, I joined an IUI/IVF Support Group on the website BabyCenter. I found this sisterhood of women so comforting throughout our infertility journey. Every time I recognized someone else’s thoughts and emotions as ones I’d experienced myself I felt a little less lonely about this journey. Though a sad reality to face, there’s so much solace to be found in the fact that you are not alone in your experiences.

I found the following quote to be quite uplifting after Ryan’s accident and found myself coming back to it during the lowest points in our quest to have a baby: “You never know how strong you are, until being strong is the only choice you have.” It reminded me to find strength, no matter how impossible a situation may seem. It helped give me the drive I needed to endure and overcome.

Q. Did you and your spouse cope with infertility in the same way or did you handle it differently?

I’m a researcher by nature, so when faced with the issue of infertility, I threw myself into learning as much as possible. Reading articles, facts, and statistics helped to keep me calm and allowed me to channel my negative emotions into something productive. On the other hand, though, I would also let myself cry when necessary.

Ryan, on the other hand, is a bottler. He’s never been the type to openly speak about his emotions and prefers to deal with them individually.

At the beginning of our process, however, we made an agreement to openly communicate about our experience the whole way through if one of us felt it was necessary. We’d seen first-hand how couples struggling with infertility could be pulled apart by not talking about the situation or avoiding their problems. Our decision to remain open with each other about our circumstance provided each of us with a sounding board and kept us both sane throughout our IVF cycle.

Q. How did you take care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually during your struggles?

Throughout my cycle, I relied heavily on acupuncture, meditation, and old wives’ tales to get me through! If there was a food to eat or a beverage to drink that might improve my lining or help with implantation, I was a wiling participant.

We also found that taking long walks was the perfect exercise to keep my body moving and help clear our minds throughout the process.

Q. What was your lowest point and how did you survive it?

I can still remember the day I received my PCOS diagnosis like a movie playing out in front of me. I’ve always dealt with irregular periods and had gone in for some testing to try and figure out the cause. While sitting at work one day, a nurse called with my results.

In the most insensitive tone possible, she told me I had PCOS and asked me if I knew what that meant. When I told her I’d never heard of the disease, she explained that it meant I would never be able to get pregnant, and even if I did, my body would not support the baby and I would lose it.

I was understandably devastated. All of the effort we’d already put into understanding our situation and trying to have a child seemed pointless. I remember sitting on the phone, biting back tears until it was acceptable for me to hang up. I sobbed for I don’t know how long after that.

Thankfully, however, I’m a researcher. With the help of my good friend, Google, I ransacked every site I could find about PCOS and its effects. That’s where I learned that there was hope. Many, many women had received the same diagnosis as me and went on to have beautiful families of their own. I also made an appointment with my gynecologist who reaffirmed the idea that there was nothing stopping me from becoming a mother.

She said it could be more difficult, but that with help and perseverance there was still such a good chance I’d be able to carry and deliver my own biological child.

Q. Were you been able to find a “silver lining” in your infertility?

My daughter.

When we first started trying to have a baby, I held a lot of resentment. What I wouldn’t have given to just get pregnant the old-fashioned way. Looking back, I am so grateful of our experience. Had it not been for infertility, for Ryan’s accident, for IVF – we might not have our little girl.

Sure, we may have had another child at some point, but it wouldn’t be her. For that, I will forever be thankful for our unique journey.

Q. Anything else you’d like to share with my readers?

To any man and woman struggling with this disease, please know that we are with you. No matter what your situation or story, this battle is one we fight together. I can’t help but feel a sort of kindred connection to anyone I meet or speak to that’s on a similar path.

Whether we know each other personally or we’re merely a connection made through this screen, know that we are rooting for you. Best wishes and baby dust to all of you that are still waiting for your miracle.

Many thanks for Kristen and Ryan for sharing their story!  Please leave them a comment to let them know you appreciate them!


If you’re looking for more encouragement during infertility, be sure to check out my book, 31 Days of Prayer During Infertility.  

  • Barbara Ann Brooker-Finney

    Beautiful story and a Beautiful Family…

  • Sarah

    Such an interesting aspect of infertility that I had never thought about. Thanks Lisa and thanks Kristen and Ryan for sharing your inspiring story!