This is Infertility is a bi-weekly podcast where we fuse narrative storytelling with experience and science to give you a new perspective on what it’s really like to go through a family building journey. Each episode dives into the emotional, physical, and financial burdens carried by those who experience infertility on their path to parenthood. Be it IVF, IUI, egg freezing, surrogacy, adoption, etc., the path is never the same and it can be long, painful, and lonely. It’s our mission to give those struggling a platform to be heard, a community connection, and an opportunity to raise awareness of the 1 in 8 who, for many reasons, struggle with infertility.
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This is Infertility

Episode 179: From Surgeries to Success: Haley’s Path to Parenthood

The journey to ideal health is a constant battle. And when emergency surgery is needed, most may not think twice about the impact this will have on their future fertility. In today’s episode, we hear from Haley, who shares her family building journey. It’s one marked by multiple diagnoses, surgeries, and financial strain. Despite these setbacks, Haley was determined to become a parent. She advocated for herself and found a doctor that she could trust. She then learned her employer had a fertility benefit, which relieved the financial pressure and helped her to reach her goal.

Haley’s journey embodies the realities that many face on the path to parenthood: a mix of setbacks, doubts, and ultimately, hard-won victories.

Guest: Haley, Progyny Member

Host: Shannon Zuber, 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 thisisinfertility@progyny.com.

The right doctor in a difficult situation

03:44 – 6:39

Haley: She went ahead and ran some blood tests to check for ovulation. The results weren’t stellar on those. She’s like, you know, you can try Clomid if you would like. I was like, do you think my tubes could be blocked I had these issues when I was 19 with my appendix rupturing could scar tissue of them out because I had sepsis. She was like, well, you could check, but still kind of implied that you know, that I’m under the mark. So went ahead and did two rounds of Clomid still not pregnant. And at that point, I was just starting to get more and more convinced that I’m like, I think something bigger is going on here. And so, after nine months of trying I said I want to go see a specialist.

At first visit with him, it was the first time in the nine months that I’d started to feel like okay, I wasn’t crazy. And I distinctly remember saying during her appointment, I was like, I think my fallopian tubes are blocked. And without hesitating, my doctor was like, I think you’re right. It was nice to have someone acknowledge what I was saying. He ordered some blood tests and then also an HSG scan to check my tubes. And sure enough, got on there during the scan. And it wasn’t good news. But I remember, at the appointment I was relieved to find out that, yes, I wasn’t crazy, something was wrong. The tubes looked salvageable from the scan. So, we were really hopeful, looked like maybe surgery was on the horizon.

Getting used to bad news

08:57 – 15:17

Haley: So, after I had the surgery, I had to heal for a few months. And then they brought me in for another HSG scan. So, I’m getting my hopes up this time, like, oh, maybe it is unblocked. And I’ll get pregnant during the few months while we’re waiting. But that obviously didn’t happen. And then I went back in for my second HSG scan to see not only was that tube still blocked, but I also had a hole where the removal did not heal shut.

Shannon Zuber: It’s safe to say that Haley has some pretty rough luck when it comes to medical things. So, both tubes would be removed. Haley knew that IVF was their best option to move forward. So, they were moving forward with IVF. IVF can be very expensive and at the time that they did the retrieval cycle, they had no coverage for it. So, they were out of pocket, but by the time they were ready to transfer an embryo that actually changed, and they were able to access the Progyny benefit to support their treatment through Haley’s husband’s employer.

Haley: We were grateful. Because, yes, we had paid for the retrieval cycle, but transfer cycles for the embryos aren’t cheap, either. And so, it was a moment of kind of like, okay, we have help going forward. There was a lot less pressure with IVF and my quality of care at my clinic was excellent. I feel like quality of care is where skills and knowledge and compassion intersect with each other. And I feel like doctors that are working with fertility patients, have to be a special kind of person. And my doctor was just so sweet, compassionate, very, very intelligent, and knew what he was doing.

Shannon Zuber: So, they had embryos and it all should be straightforward from there. But unfortunately, they ran into another obstacle, their transfer was canceled due to some fluid in her lining. So, they needed to cancel that one and try again later.

A positive test!

15:39 – 19:20

Haley: I was heartbroken at that point, you know, I was like, I’ve gone through all this, my process is a little longer than most too because I had to have all these surgeries. SoSo, I ended up having another surgery in March of 2021. And my fertility doctor was able to do that surgery, but when he got in there, there were polyps and fluid which he was able to clean. And then in April, we started another transfer cycle.

I got COVID. So, one of the scariest experiences ever is waking up with a fever after you know that you’ve had an embryo placed. We went in to have the blood test and I wasn’t pregnant. That was a rough grieving process, but we were like this, unfortunately, happens. We grieved that process, but then we were ready to try again.

I went in and got a pregnancy test. And I remember I like, oh man, should I do this, like if it’s negative, you’re still going to be holding out hope because it’s early. So, it could be a false negative. But I was like, but if it’s positive, then we’re just going to be through the roof. And so went upstairs to our room. I remember testing, waiting with my husband. And looking down and seeing that it was positive. And after almost two years of failures, it was like, oh my gosh, this is actually happening. So probably one of the happiest moments in my life.

Shannon Zuber

Host

Shannon Zuber
Provider Marketing Manager, Progyny

Shannon’s spent the past 5 years at Progyny, previously supporting communications strategy and currently, managing all content, education, events, material, etc., needs for Progyny’s premier Provider network. She’s also worked with This is Infertility since its second season and is humbled by its growth! ! Having studied Journalism and Women, Gender and Sexuality Studies while at Penn State University, Shannon now fuses her passions to highlight the intersection of women’s health and storytelling. In her previous role, Shannon worked as a publicist for clients across spaces including health, fintech, real estate, and others. She’s based in New York and her hobbies include scouring vintage/antique shops, keeping up with the latest movies, and playing with her cats.

Haley, Progyny member

Guest

Haley
Progyny member

Haley is a stay-at-home mom, writer and small business owner. She started freelancing in 2021 with the goal of working from home when she became a mom. With the birth of her son in 2023, Haley can happily say that dream came true. She and her husband have a strong faith and are so grateful God blessed them with the opportunity to become parents—they would not have made it through their infertility battle without God’s guidance. In Haley’s free time, she loves reading, watching a good show (Better Call Saul and The Sopranos are a couple of her favorites) and going for walks with her husband and little boy.

Music From This Episode:

Artist: Andy G Cohen
Track: Oxygen Mask
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/
Track: A Perceptible Shift
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/

Track: Space Full
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/

Artist: Doctor Turtle
Track: The Ants Built a City On His Chest
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/

Artist: Jahzzar
Track: Family Tree
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/
Track: Sleepin
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/
Track: Talk to me
URL: https://freemusicarchive.org/