Episode 126: Unexpected Detours: A Black Woman on the Journey to Parenthood
Frustration, confusion, and disappointment may be common feelings when going through a family building journey. But to have those feelings directed towards your physician is entirely different. For Delaine Williams, she felt dismissed by her doctor and the weight and reality of navigating the healthcare system as a Black woman became a bigger challenge.
In this episode, we hear how Delaine had to advocate for herself, the split decisions she had to make about her body after being diagnosed with uterine fibroids and endometriosis, and how rounds of IUI and IVF lead to questioning what path was right.
Guest: Delaine Williams, Progyny
Host: Dan Bulger
For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources.
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Here are some highlights from this episode:
Something Doesn’t Feel Right
01:43 – 02:46
Delaine Williams: It was on that vacation that I felt like something was not right or something was not going to be easy. As soon as we got home, I talked to my doctor about some of the hormonal issues I was experiencing. I asked if she thought this is going to play into my fertility and I had an infertility issue. We weren’t really getting anywhere so we went into the doctor’s office. I remember, every month when my cycle would come on, I would just have these massacre-like pains. I just thought it was so strange and I was not feeling great. I was not getting pregnant, and she thought maybe it’s the fibroids. We realized then that I probably needed to do surgery.
Male Factor Infertility
06:12 – 06:48
Delaine Williams: There are some objective things to figure out before getting pregnant and one of those things would be a sperm analysis. It’s just to be mindful for something like a sperm analysis to see if you have male factor infertility and you can do that before you get married, or before you start trying to plan to have your family. That’s something that requires having a partner or requires being ready to get started to identify. It seems like it should be the first course of action, quite honestly, when someone is trying to conceive. It’s often the last course of action.
07:53 – 08:52
Delaine Williams: I went through two rounds of IUI, and they were unsuccessful. I remember the day that we were told that we would need to do IVF, I felt really diseased. I know that’s like an interesting word to use but I really felt diseased and broken like something is wrong with me. Why can’t I have a baby? What is my body not doing? Why is this my story? I kind of always had that thought in my mind that I was going to have an infertility situation because I had a really unusual menstrual cycle my entire life. I was a little suspicious of that and to have this happening, it really felt like the world was coming down. Little did I know this was just the beginning of the journey.
Joining the Progyny Family
25:28 – 26:37
Delaine Williams: I think about how that initial diagnosis of infertility was so devastating. Then I think about how it all led to me now working at Progyny, where I bring my whole self to work. It’s an amazing thing to have a career environment where you bring your whole self as a Black woman, and although you’ve been hurt, you’re accepted and able to advocate for yourself and be fully present. It’s another thing to be able to bring the parts of your own personal journey and be able to talk about it as your job. It has been so incredibly healing, to be in a place where that story is not only welcome, but a part of my career. It’s a blessing to be in the family building business and I wouldn’t wish infertility on anyone.
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the last six years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he as interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility. On a personal note Dan’s parents started fostering kids when he was four years old, and he considers himself a proud older brother to over 100 foster children.
Delaine advocates for organizations to adopt equitable and inclusive fertility and family building benefits in order to increase access to fertility care. Diagnosed with infertility in 2017, she is passionate about achieving health equity, with a focus on black maternal and reproductive health. Delaine resides in Tampa Florida with her husband Michael and their one-year-old daughter Nandi, who was conceived via IVF, which was available through her employer’s health insurance policy.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Lee Rosevere
Track: Easy Life
Track: Small Steps
Track: Main Square