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.  

IVF After a Vasectomy {Dana’s Story}

ivf after a vasectomy

Each week I interview someone who has experienced infertility firsthand. This week, I’m happy to be sharing my interview with Dana from Creating Baby H.  She talks about her experience with infertility, IUIs, and IVF after a vasectomy. I hope you enjoy the interview!

IVF After a Vasectomy

Q. Tell us a little about yourself.

My name is Dana Hnatyshyn, I am currently 27 years old and have been married to my wonderful husband for only 6 months now…it has been the best 6 months of my life! I come from a very small and close knit family of an older brother, younger sister, mom and dad. I currently live outside of Annapolis, Maryland for about a year now but previously lived in Baltimore City for about 5 years. I went to a small liberal arts college in North Carolina to ride horses and received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration with a concentration in Accounting. I have been working for my families business for 5 years now as their payroll manager and administrative assistant, working with family is not all wonderful but I love my coworkers so it makes coming into work more enjoyable. I met my husband back in October of 2013 when my house was burglarized and he was the police officer who came to help me fill out a police report. He actually told me about a place where he took his dog to for daycare and that I should check it out with my dog, I started taking my dog to the same daycare and I approached him in December to see if he remembered who I was. After talking for a bit he asked me on a date and on December 27th, 2013 was my last first date I ever went on! I love all animals and currently have a cat, dog and a horse but have grown up around all sorts of animals.

Q. How long have you been trying to conceive and what issues are you facing?

Our issues with fertility are a little different. We knew before we got married we would have to seek fertility treatment in order to have a biological child. My husband was married before me and had to get a vasectomy because if his ex-wife got pregnant it would’ve paralyzed her. Now, my husband is a very caring man and did this for her but wanted to save some of his sperm in case he wanted to have a baby one day and had that option. So we started with 6 samples frozen. We went to our clinic in Annapolis, Shady Grove, and started with our testing before our wedding in August, 2015. My husband is older so we knew we would want to start treatment right after we got back from our honeymoon.

Our doctor told us we should start with a natural IUI cycle with a trigger shot since all my numbers came back fine and my husbands count on his frozen sperm was very high. Our doctor also told us we could try IUI a few times, and using a procedure called PESA, they could still get sperm from my husband even if we ran out from our samples. We felt less pressure this way and thought natural IUI was a great way to start and we hoped it would work.

In July, before our wedding and before fertility treatments, my husband was diagnosed with chronic Leukemia. This was heartbreaking all around and not what anyone wants to hear before their wedding but we did receive good news that there was a chemo drug that my husband would be put on to get his numbers under control and get his Leukemia under control. My husband is currently in remission but will be on this chemo drug for the rest of his life. We were nervous going into fertility treatments now with this new diagnosis to consider. We went through our first IUI in September, right after our honeymoon, and didn’t get a positive. We told our nurse that we wanted to be a little more proactive in our treatments because we now only have the 6 frozen samples to work with and we aren’t sure what the chemo drugs have done to the sperm in his body.

Our next cycle was IUI with Clomid and a trigger. I produced 1 large follicle on day 12 so we triggered that night and waited. Again, we were met with a negative. After this negative we decided to move on with IVF. We are currently on day 5 of injectables for our first IVF cycle and are staying hopeful that we will get some good embryos!  Continue reading “IVF After a Vasectomy {Dana’s Story}”

Infertility, Foster Care and Faith: Erin’s Story

This post contains affiliate links.  You can see my full disclosure here.

erin-infertility-foster-care-faith

Each week I interview someone who has experienced infertility firsthand. This week I’m chatting with Erin about infertility, foster care, and faith. I hope you enjoy her interview as much as I did.

infertility foster care and faith

Q. Tell us about yourself.

I’m a lover of Jesus, wife of 4 ½ years and soon-to-be foster momma. My husband and I moved back to our little Indiana town about a year ago to pursue ministry and be closer to our families. I am a hairstylist in a small, hometown salon. I love all things cooking, spending quality time with my little family {Darek + 2 pups}, visiting local breweries and wineries, playing with watercolors and brewing Kombucha.

Q. How long have you been trying to conceive and what issues are you facing?

We had been trying to conceive {seriously} for about two years when we finally met with our doctor. In January of 2015, I was diagnosed with PCOS and Endometriosis. My husband, 0% morphology. Once the doctor decided we weren’t candidates for Clomid, we decided to stop Western medicine treatment and enter into Homeopathy, which we’ve recently paused to pursue foster parenting.

Q. Which book has been an encouragement to you?

Oh girl! You must read Every Bitter Thing is Sweet by Sara Hagerty- it spoke right to my soul and had me bawling like a baby. And, believe it or not, I’ve spent some pretty heavy time in the book of Lamentations and the Psalms. There is something really beautiful about realizing how kindred hearts become while enduring suffering.  {Note from Lisa: I’ve read Every Bitter Thing is Sweet and also HIGHLY recommend it.  It was one of my favorite books of 2014.  If you’re interested in learning more, you can read my full review and my interview with the author, Sara Hagerty}.

infertility foster care and faith

Q. Do you and your spouse cope differently?

Most. Definitely. YES! I think it’s mostly because my husband and I are just two completely different creatures. Can I first just say, my husband is amazing and wonderful and great. But he’s also an extreme optimist. I tend to be a realist. My sad days are much more visible than his, which can lead me to forget that he’s hurting too. When my emotions get the best of me, I go to Target. He doesn’t do that. Enough said.

Q. What made you decide to blog about your journey?

When we were first diagnosed, I started writing as an outlet. But when we moved back to our hometown, I made the blog public in order to keep our friends and family in the loop. And once we started becoming more transparent about our journey, folks started coming out of the woodwork with their infertility and loss stories. I realized {more than ever} that no one was talking about infertility. Women and men were sitting quietly with their hurt and anger and doubt. It’s such a lonely journey. I wanted to share so others could share. And more importantly, I wanted to dig deep into how The Gospel applies to all of the aspects of infertility.

Q. How have you taken care of yourself physically, emotionally, and spiritually?

This has been really hard- all of it! Infertility takes such a toll on your inner being. There is so much spiritual warfare. But I did find some things that continue to ensure self-care. Physically- YOGA! I realized how much I love yoga. It quiets my busy mind and helps my ‘hairstylist back’. Emotionally- searching through emotions has always been really hard for me. I never know what I’m feeling or why I’m feeling it. The best thing for me has been to watch sad movies and shows and just cry! Morbid, I know. Spiritually- I ran from God almost immediately after our diagnosis. But what he’s taught me over the last year is that He desires to show himself to me and He always desires His best for me. His grace is ALWAYS sufficient.

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

Throughout the month I can sometimes have pretty severe pain. This past summer I had three nights of agonizing pain- each night worse than the previous. I remember lying in the bathtub on the third night pleading from the depths of my soul for The Lord to take it away. I was completely maxed out on pain medicine, could barely walk and debated whether or not I should go to the ER. I woke up after the third night in tears. I felt tortured, betrayed, forgotten. I cried out to My God and, yet, he seemed to be ignoring me. And even though it took me a few months, His grace a mercy pulled me through.

Q. Have you been able to find a silver lining in your infertility?

Yes, but it’s taken me about a year to get there. Haha. He really does make beauty from ashes. Infertility is the strongest reminder that this world isn’t how it was meant to be. The hurt, the pain, the grief. But when you can find joy in Jesus- that is the beauty in the brokenness. That He meets me right where I am. That no matter how I feel toward Him, He still calls me ‘beloved’.

Q. Is there anything else you would like to tell our readers?

There will be a time where you have to make a decision to take the next step in growing your family. That might mean more treatment, finally calling the adoption agency or getting signed up for foster parenting classes. It’s going to be REALLY hard. And while your decision might set you on a different path than what you originally intended, that doesn’t mean you have to say no to your original plan forever. You’re just going to have to choose to focus on a different path for a little while.

Many thanks to Erin for sharing her story with us. Please leave a comment below to let her know you appreciate her.

If you enjoyed this interview, check out my other interviews here!