Once a month, I host a Guest Blogger who shares about their infertility journey! Meet today’s Guest Blogger, Stacey!
Hi! My name is Stacey Merwin. My husband, Josh, and I have 16 month old boy/girl twins, conceived through IVF. We live in New York City, on the Upper West Side of Manhattan. There are so many twins in NYC and we even have a Twin Mom Group for those of us on the Upper West Side! Living in NYC with children can be a bit more of a challenge in terms of space, transportation and costs but we love living here. Central and Riverside Parks are minutes away, along with multiple options for classes, schools and playgrounds!
Our journey to conceive began in December 2014. After 6 months of trying naturally we became pregnant in June of 2015. After an early miscarriage, 2 failed HCG shots, a failed IUI and a chemical pregnancy, we decided to begin the IVF road in June of 2016. We had 2 successful egg retrievals and one cancelled cycle. In each retrieval, we were able to get one Grade A embryo. I didn’t produce a high volume of eggs when going through the retrieval process so my doctor was focused on quality, not quantity, with me. In November 2016 we had our embryo transfer and then found out we were pregnant at the beginning of December. After a very difficult and stressful pregnancy (another blog post for another day LOL), I gave birth to Jack and Samantha Merwin at 32 weeks + 5 days (both in NICU for over a month).
What led you to the decision of the route you are pursuing or pursued? We decided to go with the IVF route as we were ready to be more aggressive in our journey to become parents. As mentioned, we had a miscarriage (along with a very traumatic DNC), 2 failed HCG shots and a failed IUI. Though we live in NYC, we decided to have Dr. Michael Allon at Advanced Fertility Center of Texas in Houston as our doctor. Josh and I are both from Houston so it was great to have a support system there while going through everything. Dr. Allon helped my brother and sister-in-law have their miracle twins after doctors told them they would never be able to conceive. Dr. Allon is incredible and his whole facility is top notch! I was able to be monitored while prepping for egg retrievals in NYC by RMA but I flew to Houston for the egg retrievals, hysteroscopy surgeries and embryo transfer. The HCG shots and the IUI attempts took place in NYC with a doctor in NYC (Dr. Vasilios Goudas) who Dr. Allon recommended (and who actually eventually moved to Houston to work with Dr. Allon!).
How did you and your spouse encourage each other while on this journey? Josh was my rock. He helped me with all the shots and face timed with me when I had to do the shots myself. I would find myself feeling so lost and so alone throughout the journey. Even though I had Josh, I had this black cloud over me so often. I felt alone and isolated. Josh was my cheerleader, my fighter. I, too, was a fighter and was focused on daily prayer for us. This whole process taught me to lean on my faith more than ever. As Jews, we are taught not to question God. I kept praying and waiting for answers, begging for answers.
Infertility can often be very expensive, what have you done to help alleviate the costs? Josh and I were very fortunate. My job at the time had coverage for up to 3 rounds of IVF with the insurance plan we had. In addition, my medicines were mostly covered, saving us thousands. I was able to donate my extra leftover meds to another woman in need and she is about to have her baby!
Are you going to share your infertility journey with your children? Absolutely. I want them to know how much they were hoped and prayed for. I want them to know that science is amazing and beautiful and can cause miracles!
In what ways has infertility changed you and affected your life? I have made it my mission to be very, very outspoken about our infertility journey. There are so many people that can’t or won’t discuss it. I shared our struggles, I shared our successes, I shared my diet, activity schedule and feelings on social media using Instagram. I cannot tell you how many times people have messaged me to say thank you for sharing. I’ve also been able to be a support system for many women going through what we went through. I never want people to feel as lonely as I did. I went to a support group here in NYC but it made me feel even worse after the few times I went, so I stopped.
What is the most valuable piece of advice you’d like to share with our readers? Never lose faith. Whether you are religious or an atheist, never lose faith in miracles happening.
How can readers contact you? Email:firstname.lastname@example.org Instagram:yecats912