How did you first meet Dr. Opsahl, and at the time did you also work with Dr. Wiemer as an embryologist?
We first met Dr. Opsahl and that team back in 2009 and started working with them in our fertility challenges. Dr. Wiemer is the embryologist that created all our embryos for us and Dr. Opsahl did my transfers.
Tell us a little bit about initially encountering infertility problems. Were you shocked and wondering, ‘What’s going on with my body?’”
We had been trying to get pregnant off and on for over a year, when I went to my OBGYN to get tests run on me. Everything seemed to be coming out fine for me so my doctor referred us to a male infertility specialist and that is where we discovered what our issues were. Then we were referred to a few fertility clinics, we chose Dr. Opsahl because we liked the message and practice because they were smaller, felt more intimate and family oriented versus being a number at a different clinic.
Can you tell us a little bit about when you first encountered Dr. Opsahl and your experience with him.
At the fertility center, we had options of physicians to work with. We started working with one because that was all we knew at the time, until we met Opsahl and some of the other team members. We chose to work specifically with Opsahl because the personalities fit better and he’s a very nurturing person. He makes you feel like you are his number one priority, you’re the only person that he’s dealing with and that your issues are the only issues that he cares about at that time. When you go through infertility (and it is such a sensitive thing to go through) you need a little hand-holding. You need that personal touch and that personal relationship and someone especially very supportive. He was extremely supportive and compassionate with us, with our losses we had, he was very empathetic to that. That was the kind of person I needed to be working with, obviously, same with my husband, we both just felt that connection with him.
So I hope this is ok to ask about, but when you say your “losses,” you had some miscarriages then?
Would you mind expanding on that?
Well, it’s something that I actually had to start counseling before I got pregnant again this last time because I was not dealing with it. That was starting to come out and I was really depressed and I didn’t realize how much. Even though we had had my son I never had closer from those babies that we had lost. It is very devastating and it caused me to go into quite a depression, even after my son was born, again because of the closure issues. So that’s something I have had to try and deal with and I am actually working with a counselor now to cope with those issues.
Thank you for your openness. We think it’s really meaningful to other women for you to talk about this. A lot of couples who go through these things, they just pretend it didn’t happen, or they don’t talk about it a lot, so thank you for having the courage to talk about it.
Absolutely. It’s almost one of those issues that people are like “Oh no, you don’t talk about that. That’s a hush hush issue.” If you go through it, you want to hear from other people, you want support people. I found my counselor through a friend of mine’s who had also had some loss and fertility issues. It’s that kind of communication that gets us through to know we are not alone. And for me, I will speak to anybody, at anytime, if someone comes needs to speak to someone who’s gone through it, my husband and I will be there.
Did you encounter people in your life asking about when you were going to have babies, who didn’t know that you were going through infertility issues?
Oh sure, because we didn’t divulge to everybody what was going on. We got comments because of our age, not only from family, but also close friends “When are you guys gonna do this thing?” The people closest to us knew what was going on because we needed some support but, not everybody in our family knew. Of course I wasn’t going to tell my 83 year old grandmother she just wouldn’t understand. So she kept saying “When are you gonna have your kids?” and that was hard. We just kind of went with it and when it happened it was great. Even after my son, we lost two babies last year and people even said “When is number two gonna be coming?” That kind of stung a little bit too because every time you have a loss you think “We had them and now they are gone” so it’s not always the easiest question to answer.
So tell us about your son, how old is he?
My son will be three at the end of July.
What was that like, finally having a baby boy and after all that trying, you’re a parent now?
Having him was a little surreal. We kept wondering when his parents were gonna come pick him up because we had been babysitting him for a long time. You know, we take care of all our friends kids and we felt like it was just another person in our house we were just taking care of. It just seemed a little surreal that he was ours. We absolutely are just head over heels over him. Just like all parents are. We just feel like he is such a good kid, and we waited for so long that we try to take in every little moment of him.
Some people worry about how having kids will change their lives. Did you have any of those kid of worries and is it worth it now?
Yeah it’s worth it. I wouldn’t trade it for anything. You know, we don’t go out to movies as much but, we also don’t want to. We don’t want to leave him with a babysitter and go out. Usually if we leave him, we still put him to bed and just go out later. On a rare occasion, we will go out earlier but, we’ve really only done that a handful of times in the last three years. We absolutely love being parents and there’s nothing we would trade for it. We don’t watch as much tv, we sing kids songs in our heads because they get stuck there and we read books all the time. That’s our life now and I couldn’t imagine it any other way.
You are pregnant now, is that right?
Yes. I am due in 8 weeks.
Are these embryos from the first time in 2009 that were frozen?
Yes they are. We had eight of them that made the cut out of all of them that they created. After I lost the twins last year, they had no reason as to why I should be miscarrying. I’ve miscarried with every pregnancy. Even my son was a twin and we lost his twin early on. So because we only had two embryos left and they had tested these, we would only transfer one and give that a shot. We thought maybe my body just doesn’t want to carry two babies at a time, and sure enough the pregnancy took and it’s been really great from the beginning.
Do you ever think about this baby in me was a frozen embryo, doesn’t that seem amazing?
Oh yeah. It blows my mind. My son was frozen too and we always joke that the reason he is very calm and kind of chill is because he came frozen and it made him chill out a little bit. It’s absolutely amazing to me.
Did you ever in your process give any thought to what Dr. Wiemer does, the science behind it?
Yes because I’m a Google person and I watched shows on tv about infertility and IVF. I read all the articles I could find on IVF, how they go through the processes, and about the different processes they are coming up with now. I would love to be able to get in the lab sometime and see how it all works. I can only fathom an inkling of what he does from media, that’s all I’ve been able to get from it. When we first looked into it, I fully studied the process because I wanted to make sure what we were headed towards and what we were investing in was the right decision for us. Because we did toy with the idea of adoption too. We thought, let’s give this a try first. I wanted to find out what are the risks, the pros and cons. So I did do a lot of research on the process and all that before we even started.
Is there anything that you would like to add?
I would have to tell you that one of the hardest decisions that we have to make every time we go in for a transfer is about what you are going to do with the remaining embryos. If you abandon them, they throw them away, they give them to science, or they donate them. Those are your three options you have to pick. We were just, really not comfortable with any of those options, but we always had to make a decision. Of course, our decision ended up being donating, but even today we have a hard time with that. We have one embryo that’s left still and we are going to give that embryo a try down the road because we feel like we made a moral obligation to try and create a family this way. That is probably the hardest decision to have to think about when you have multiple embryos that were created. How many children do you want and what do you feel obligated to do with these embryos?