Episode 154: Rescripting the Conversation Around Fertility
Today’s guest was thrusted into the world of infertility and soon became a co-founder to address the lack of education when it came to reproductive health. Kristyn Hodgdon was first diagnosed with PCOS after getting married and embarked on a long journey which included IUI, IVF, miscarriage, twins, and everything in between.
Along this journey, Kristyn came to the conclusion that there was no reason to bear the experience of fertility treatment alone. A cathartic blog turned into something bigger, which today Kristyn and her co-founder Abby call, Rescripted.
In this episode, Kristyn walks us through her family building journey, the importance of having family building care, and creating a community filled with support.
Guest: Kristyn Hodgdon, Rescripted, Progyny Member
Host: Dan Bulger, Progyny
For more information, visit Progyny’s Podcast page and Progyny’s Education page for more resources. Be sure to follow us on Instagram, @ThisisInfertilityPodcast and use the #ThisisInfertility. Have a question, comment, or want to share your story? Email us at email@example.com.
Here are some highlights from this episode:
A Sudden Diagnosis
01:28 – 05:00
Dan Bulger: Today’s guest Kristyn Hodgdon learned the hard way about the realities of IVF. She also learned about the tremendous need for support that exists for those who need this life-changing fertility treatment. And so, she created a company of her own designed to help along the way with a co-founder, that company would become Rescripted. And today we’re going to learn all about Kristen’s experiences, and we’ll learn what rescripted has to offer for those who need it.
Kristyn Hodgdon: We always spoke about having kids. It was sort of not even negotiable for me like I always knew I wanted to be a mom. I went off birth control when I was about 27, after getting married, I kind of suspected that my cycles might be irregular since they had been as a teenager, but I’d been on the pill for so long that I never really thought about fertility issues and then never got my cycle back after I went off the pill. So got sent straight to a fertility doctor well first got diagnosed with PCOS and then got sent straight to a fertility doctor.
I was under 30. I was in a fertility clinic waiting room. None of my friends had been trying to conceive, let alone going through fertility treatments. And I sort of had this like how did I get here moment? And also, why is no one talking about this stuff? So that kind of set me on a very long, you know, journey through fertility treatments. I had three failed IUI’s and then went through IVF. So retrieved 45 eggs which was amazing. And transferred a frozen embryo transfer and it failed. And at that point, I said to myself, IVF works for everyone? That was probably my lowest point of that journey. And then my second embryo transfer resulted in my twins.
07:51 – 11:11
Kristyn Hodgdon: Rescripted started about four years ago in 2018 as the fertility tribe, that was my original blog name. And I started it when I was pregnant with my twins because I felt like no one was talking about infertility. And they needed to be. And my background is in book publishing, and I love reading and writing. One of the ways I processed my feelings about everything was just to write about it. And then I like sort of wrote through my pregnancy when I was on bedrest, wrote through my birth, I had a really traumatic birth and then postpartum, writing just felt so therapeutic. Along the way, talking about my fertility issues, like people just kind of caught on, especially on Instagram. And, you know, my voice and my story seemed to resonate. And then I started sharing other people’s stories once I became a mom because I sort of felt like okay, I’m on the other side, there’s so many more stories to be told. I was like, you know what, maybe I can do this for real and quit my full-time job. So, I did that. And like three months later, I met my now co-founder Abby. She is sort of the Yin to my Yang. She had founded an app called Best Shot and that was dedicated to helping people going through IVF log their medications and learn about the different medications and watch medication videos and basically keep track of everything. And we created Rescripted, a media company. For all things, fertility and pregnancy loss. We’re also a digital pharmacy. We also have a marketplace of our favorite fertility products that you can purchase right through our website. My favorite part, because it kind of grew out of the fertility tribe is this really homegrown community and social network, so you can join our site, it’s completely free.
Not Always a Straight Path
11:44 – 20:04
Dan Bulger: Rescripted is a wonderful resource. And the best part is that everything they offer outside of the pharmacy stuff is free. So, I would say that it’s worth checking out. Now, as I said, Kristen was still trying to have another baby. And if you recall, they retrieved a lot of eggs from the previous round of IVF. So, they were actually entering this set of attempts in a pretty good spot with nine embryos. But here’s where things started to get really difficult.
Kristyn Hodgdon: Did a transfer with an untested embryo at my new clinic. I was told to stop my meds because it wasn’t a viable pregnancy. So that was technically called a biochemical pregnancy, which I hate that word because it was a miscarriage. So, I had eight embryos left after that chemical pregnancy and I said I know I want to take a break, but I want to be proactive during the break. I don’t want to take six months off and then not know if I’m transferring a genetically normal embryo. So thawed, biopsied, refroze, kind of was expecting most of them to be abnormal just because I had just had the chemical like what are the odds? They almost all came back normal, out of eight six came back normal. So, I said okay, great. Now these are my six genetically normal embryos. My baby is in here. Back-to-back failed transfers.
Then we had another transfer in early July, and we got pregnant, and our numbers were doubling appropriately while my first beta came back low. They were doubling every time so it was like okay, I think this might actually be happening. Then I had my first ultrasound and we saw a gestational sac in the uterus, so it was not an ectopic, it was not a chemical. Next ultrasound, nothing in the gestational sac. So, then it wouldn’t pass naturally, the miscarriage. They ended up giving me misoprostol, which is the, quote unquote, abortion pill to pass the pregnancy. And I ended up hemorrhaging and needing to go to the ER to have an emergency DNC. So, my journey has sort of like come to a halt.
Nothing straightforward, like it’s almost a process of trial and error. Like it’s not like okay, you have high cholesterol. Your body is unique. Your partner’s body is unique, or donor. And your doctor is basically doing what they think is best, and you will get there, but it’s not always like a straight path. And that’s what I did not know and learned the hard way.
Dan has been in the healthcare industry for the past ten plus years as a multimedia content producer. Better known as ‘Video Dan’ he has interviewed numerous doctors, patients and other experts in the world of fertility. He’s also the producer for this podcast, This is Infertility and the producer behind the Progyny YouTube Channel which features interviews with dozens of the nation’s leading fertility specialists. 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.
Kristyn lives in Long Island, NY with her husband Dan and their two-year old boy/girl twins Brooke & Charlie, who were conceived via IVF. After struggling with infertility, Kristyn co-founded Rescripted, a tech-enabled holistic care platform for fertility patients. Rescripted is changing the narrative around fertility and burning the word ‘normal’ when it comes to what a family is and how one comes to be. They’re rescripting fertility, together. Join the conversation on Instagram @fertility.rescripted.
Music From This Episode:
Artist: Lee Rosevere