Pregnancy and Parenting Features

A Little about Our Host - Michele

Hi everyone! My name is Michele Elliott, and I have been married to my husband Matt, for 11 years. We are proud parents to our miracle IVF-FET boy Conner, born 12/2/95, after 6 years of struggling with infertility treatments and emotions.

We live in New England, home to awesome fall seasons and wonderful winter playlands. I wouldn't want any other climate in the world - fall is incredible, as the trees all look like they have burst into vivid flame with beautiful colors.

My journey through the world of fertility obstacles began when I was 21, one year after we married. I had an initial consult with a Gynecologist, just before we married, and was uncomfortable with his tendency to chalk my questions and discomforts up to "aggressive sex". (I am not joking here.) I scheduled a follow up appointment with a new practice, and the doctor discovered a cyst, supposedly on my ovary. We tried to shrink it down by a 3 month trial of birth control pills, to no avail. Opted for an elective surgery, because the cyst was annoying and often painful during intercourse.

After a 4.5 hour aggressive procedure, I was told my odds of having children were, at most, 10%. A case of appendicitis from when I was 15 years old severely damaged my reproductive system. The doctor had worked diligently in her attempts to piece back together my fallopian tubes, but the damage was intense - in fact, although she was successful in replacing them where they belonged, the ovaries had even adhered with my tubes.

We really worked at natural conception those first few months - I tried Clomid, to force ovulation, and everything. But the Clomid backfired and ruined my cervical mucous, and the HSG x-ray showed that my tubes had completely sealed shut again within 4 months after the procedure. My reproductive system looked like a battefield. Our doctor was quite honest and recommended two options - another laparoscopy to try and open the tubes back up - at most this would give us a 10% short-term chance again... or to head straight to IVF at whichever clinic we felt comfortable with.

After 2 IVF's, 3 Frozen Embryo Transfers, 1 surgery to remove my fallopian tubes (the theory was that my damaged tubes were emitting a toxin, prohibiting pregnancy) and several tears later, my stubborn son clung to my uterine lining. Nine months later, a 10 lb 13 oz little boy came out, via c-section, caterwauling at the inhumanity of operating room lights. 4 years later, he still shows, on a daily basis, every ounce of determination if took to bring him here. I have since teased the embryologist that she must have been concentrating so intensely on making a successful cycle for us that he absorbed her intensity. He is amazing.

I quit my full time job at a local CBS affiliate to become a career mom, and have never looked back. The first few months required a massive adjustment to the realities that stay-at-home moms have to endure, but once I found my niche, it was wonderful. I have never worked harder, and never enjoyed what I do so much.

When Conner was three, we started cycling to try and bring another miracle into the world. On top of my primary diagnosis, we are also dealing with PCOS now. After three IVF's, we did succeed, with twins, but lost them to a miscarriage at 7 weeks. We are piecing our hearts and strengths back together to do it again; I feel it is no different than what we try and instill into Conner - pick yourself up, dust yourself off, and keep on trying for those dreams.

Infertility has given me a precious gift - it has indeed made me a better parent than I ever would have been - extra appreciative, very patient, etc. etc.... but more importantly, it has taught me respect for fate, circumstances beyond my control, and for other people, silently suffering their own circumstances. My compassion has woken up, and lives through my heart on a daily basis. I am no Saint!! I have a hot temper, and quick to flash, and tend to hold onto my pain... but I have learned inner strength, how to find peace in a stressful situation, and to always appreciate the beauty of the moment when possible.


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