My Journey: By Sher St. Louis Patient Tess Padavan
My husband and I met in July, 2010 when I moved across the street from him. We hit it off and decided only a few months later to get married. Before getting married, we discussed having children. I had a 9 year old and it was important to me to make him a big brother some day. He had 10 year old and a 14 year old and a vasectomy right after.
Soon after we got married, we met with a fertility specialist who decided our best route for conception was a vasectomy reversal even though he had his vasectomy 10 years ago and the chances of it being successfully reversed was decreasing. He had the reversal November, 2011 and were told it could take up to a year to see positive results – such a long time to wait to find out if it was even successful. We went in every month to find out if it had worked yet. Three months later, on Valentine’s Day, we received a phone call that the operation was successful and I should be pregnant in no time. We were so excited.
After six months passed with still no luck, I met with my OBGYN who said I wasn’t ovulating properly and decided to put me on Clomid. He was confident it would work. I know many people who easily got pregnant with the help of Clomid so I figured it would work for me, too. The first month failed and so we doubled the dose. Again no luck. My Dr. said I could only increase the dose once more before needing to see a specialist about IVF. I cried the whole way home. IVF seemed so far out of reach and the stress was overwhelming and consuming. I was miserable to be around. We decided to try the last round of Clomid and then call it quits. That last month was painfully long. When the day came, I woke up and took the pregnancy test. Negative. I cried all morning. That same evening I received a phone call from my niece, “Guess what? I’m going to be a big sister! My mom is having a baby!” I could hardly respond. I was so happy for her and excited for their family but I also felt like sobbing. It wasn’t fair.
My neighbor and a cousin of mine had both suggested I visit Sher St. Louis. My cousin told me about a free seminar coming up with the chance to win a free round of IVF. We decided to attend. We didn’t win but we did leave with a lot of info and a free consultation.
On January 24, 2013 we met with Dr. Sher and told him our story. He suspected I had endometriosis and natural killer cells and my husband had anti sperm antibodies. Surprisingly, he said it seemed simple enough but would require IVF. After everything else, we felt a little reluctant. I’m sure he sensed this because he then looked me in the eyes and said, “If you don’t walk away from this with a baby, I will quit my job and I love what I do and have no intentions of stopping now”. We also found out we qualified for a grant from a program called Compassionate Care which helped pay for some of our medication, making IVF much more affordable. We decided to sign up and hope for the best.
Everyone at the Sher St. Louis clinic was so helpful and welcoming. They were available during our IVF cycle whenever we needed them and talked us through everything. The whole process was relatively easy and painless. The worst part for me was the egg retrieval, which left me pretty sore for a few weeks- but worth it. We had two embryos transferred in April. The days after seemed so long as we waited for the phone call. My husband told me to take off work one day and surprised me by taking me to the baseball game to keep me distracted. The Cardinals were playing the Mets which was appropriate since he’s from NY and I’m from STL. It was the eighth inning when my phone rang. As soon as I answered, the Cardinals hit a home run. Merry Kay was on the other end: “Congratulations. You’re pregnant”. I think I managed to squeak out a “thank you” before the tears welled up and we hung up. The entire stadium was on their feet cheering and the fireworks were going off and in that moment I pretended it was all for me. I hugged my husband and cried. I no longer felt defeated or sad or anxious. After the game, we went to the souvenir shop and purchased two Cardinals onesies: a pink one and a green one.
Our daughter was born on January 24, exactly one year to the date after we first sat down in Dr. Sher’s office, desperate and hopeful. I put her in her pink Cardinals onesie for the first time a few weeks ago on opening day and reflected back on our journey. We are so thankful to have walked in that office, and for Dr. Sher and his entire Sher St. Louis staff. Thank you for our beautiful baby and for making my son a big brother.