We are the Cherry’s, I’m Sarah, and my husband is Kyle. We have a son who is 24 whom I had very young. When Kyle and I first met we knew we wanted children together but not right away. We wanted to enjoy our relationship for a few years, take on home renovation projects and focus on our careers. With a son in competitive sports with a lot of travel commitments and us taking on a lot of projects, time went by faster than we expected. After being together for 8 years we decided we better hurry up and jump on the baby train before it’s too late. Both of us at 36, conceived our son within 2 months of trying, we were surprised it happened so quickly thinking age may play a role in our ability to conceive. When our son was 6 months old we decided we wanted one more. We tried for 2 years with no success. The toll it took on both of us mentally and emotionally was exhausting and tested our relationship. So we stopped trying. When our son turned 3 we started trying again. To our surprise we became pregnant within 3 months, but sadly miscarried at 6 weeks. We decided that with age really playing a factor now at 40 we would see our doctor. She referred us right away to Generation Fertility Waterloo (formerly KARMA Fertility) for some fertility assistance. We continued to try on our own for the next 4 months while awaiting our appointment.
Labs confirmed what we had expected, that I was aging, and my body was showing signs of low AMH levels and a diminishing egg reserve. Basically, my bloodwork indicated my time was in fact running out to conceive another child of our own. Kyles numbers on the other hand were perfect. I tried not to feel like I had failed our family and instead put my faith and trust in the hands of the staff at Generation Fertility Waterloo.
It was decided that we would start with cycle monitoring and unmedicated timed intercourse, then IUI, then IVF. We didn’t think beyond that point. If we got to IVF and it didn’t work, then we were willing to accept that and live our lives as is.
Our 1st cycle, unmedicated, didn’t work, on to IUI, 2nd cycle, this time medicated, it didn’t work. It appeared that I make tiny follicles and that was likely a contributing factor to the why. Onto our 3rd cycle and 2nd round of IUI, I had one follicle that was small but appeared that it may release an egg. The size wasn’t quite what the nursing team wanted to see but we decided to go ahead anyways. At this point, looking at my numbers with a magnifying glass I was preparing myself mentally for IVF. I was hesitant to go forward with IVF mainly because I was terrified of any pain as well as the chance that we would have to decide if we wanted one or two embryos implanted, twins wasn’t something we had pictured or thought we could handle.
Fast forward to 9 days past IUI. I was a test-a-holic and told myself this time I wouldn’t test. Now if you are a pee-on-a-stick addict or someone that has been trying for so long, this is nearly impossible to do. I was feeling a little off, but I had been feeling different ever since I started all the fertility medications so I was attributing how I felt to that. I was told that some of the medication can give you a false positive pregnancy test. I didn’t want to test and get a positive and it not be real. So I tried not to test; that lasted about 3 hours, I caved. I tested and got the faintest line I’ve ever seen. So faint that even squinting you could barely see it. I told myself it was the medication leaving my system and was accepting that it didn’t work again. This time I decided to tape that test to a piece of paper and try again the next day. If you're in the thick of fertility you likely follow other mamas on social media and have seen and heard all the tips and tricks. So I was going to chart these tests in hopes they would get darker and if not, I had something to compare the next cycles to. The next day, I got another very, very faint line. I was testing in the morning as everyone tells you to do. I was feeling more off this day so I thought maybe I would test one more time in the afternoon, maybe the morning test was a dud, maybe I didn’t hold my pee long enough. You really tell yourself all the things in hopes that one of them is right. So I tested, on a different brand of test and another test of the initial brand I was using, and to my utter and complete shock, that very, very faint line was less faint and you could actually see it with just a little squinting this time. Again, I taped it to the paper, tested again the following day. 11 days past IUI, and we had a real positive, no magnifying glass or squinty eyes needed. Now whether it be nerves, total coincidence, or real pregnancy symptoms, I immediately felt nauseated after seeing that positive test. I continued testing until I had my beta blood draw scheduled which was still 4 days away. My tests didn’t get much darker so I had convinced myself I was going to miscarry again. My beta results came back, low. I was very convinced this pregnancy wasn’t going to be viable and I was crushed. I had another beta and the numbers just barely doubled, I was hopeful but very doubtful at the same time. I was kicking myself because I felt to blame being of “advanced maternal age” that my time did in fact run out and those tiny follicles I made, weren’t good enough. I got an appointment for an ultrasound, but that was weeks away. In the meantime, I tested, a lot, and to our surprise, they got darker, and darker and so dark that I decided ok, this is for real, we are really having a baby. Somewhere in the back of my mind was that negative nelly that tried to tell me something ridiculous was wrong and when you’re holding into hope so tightly it’s really hard not to listen to those thoughts in your head.
Prior to the ultrasound, our entire house had come down with covid, which again, another worry. Did this affect the baby, will it cause me to miscarry, all those thoughts flooded my brain and when ultrasound day came, I had to go alone. The first thing out of my mouth was please tell me there is a heartbeat. I will never forget those words, yes…there is a heartbeat. Cue the alligator tears. Now with Kyle on facetime, my heart racing so fast you could see it about to jump right out of me, the ultrasound tech asked me if I was ready for her to turn the screen. I recall she said it in a way that sounded like there was about to be a surprise or something shocking. And surprise there was. Not only did my IUI work with my teeny tiny follicle, but that one itty bitty egg split, in two and we were pregnant with identical twins!!!
Our little miracle babies gave us quite the pregnancy though, from hyperemesis gravadarium, to dangerously low iron requiring iron infusions, to twin to twin transfusion syndrome landing us at Mount Sinai twice a week for 13 weeks. It was all worth it. Every needle, every blood drawn, every appointment, every day sitting on the bathroom floor so sick, every hospital visit, every iron infusion, every pound I lost starving from being so sick, every day spent dehydrated and every tear shed. It was all worth it.
Our boys arrived fast and furiously 7 weeks early, but they are absolutely perfect. We can’t thank Generation Fertility Waterloo enough for such a positive experience. The staff were so compassionate, knowledgeable, and gentle with us. They were present every step of the way and answered any questions we had, even if we thought they were silly or repetitive questions. They made us feel comfortable, worked with our schedule for appointments and explained everything from start to finish with the process. Without Karma, we wouldn’t have completed our family. We are forever grateful for their help!
Sarah & Kyle Cherry