Success with Endometriosis

Patience required for low ovarian reserve and endometriosis

If you are reading this, you probably are experiencing some of the same frustration and emotions that I felt.  Infertility is a horrible condition that takes a toll on you.  I am sharing my story in hopes of giving others encouragement to pursue their dream of becoming parents, despite the odds.

Our journey began in 2007 while living overseas.  I was 32 years old when we decided to become a family.  With no luck, my GYN offered 5 cycles of Clomid, and then one with IUI. I was in good health and still fairly young so I couldn’t understand the failures.  After two more years, we moved back to the States and to Pensacola, began again my search for help.  I was 35 at our first appointment with Dr. Ripps, and the testing showed my “ovarian reserve was low” for my age.  As if that were not enough, my husband had low sperm count and I had a large cyst on my ovary.  The first step was to remove the cyst that was severe endometriosis, even though I never experienced pain!?  Hoping that removing the endometriosis would allow “simple” treatment to work, we tried medicines and IUI two more times unsuccessfully.

IVF was our only hope.  The first attempt I was so disappointed, only retrieved three eggs, one embryo to transfer and no pregnancy.  Struggling emotionally, we picked ourselves up and tried a second time, which resulted in 5 eggs. But I was devastated when none grew appropriately.  Do we try again or accept the fact we may never have our own child?  We decided to try again.  This time, my body didn’t respond to the medication, so the cycle was canceled.  I broke down!  Why wouldn’t my body do what it is supposed to do?  This is so unfair.  Why was it so easy for some and so difficult for us?  I wanted a child more than anything, and felt I had no control over the situation.  Although some people were telling me to “just adopt”, we didn’t want to give up on our dream of having a child of our own.  I know so many who would have given up or gone with their doctor’s request to use donated eggs.  But Dr. Ripps and his team were our cheerleaders, and they understood how much we wanted our own genetic child, a part of each of us.

We tried a 4th IVF cycle. I remember waking up after my retrieval and seeing a “6” on my hand.  I couldn’t believe we had six eggs this time, one more than last!  That was really good for me, but I didn’t want to get my hopes up.  It was December, and we went out of town to visit our family for Christmas.  Since we were not in Pensacola to do the blood pregnancy test, I took a home pregnancy test.  When I saw that faint pink line, I was in disbelief!  It was the best Christmas gift ever and in July, our little miracle arrived.

I know you can feel my pain through these disappointments.  I wanted to share my experience and offer advice: “never give up on your dream of having a child”.  I often think “what if” we had not tried one more time.  Thank you so much Dr. Ripps, Linda, Dr. Minhas and the entire NewLIFE team for giving us the support we needed to make our dreams come true!  Hopefully, now, three years later, we can give our son a sibling!

Dawn and John

Success in Southern Alabama means getting to a certified fertility specialists in Florida…

Success in Southern Alabama means getting to a certified fertility specialists in Florida…..

I believe I shared many of the same feelings and experiences of most women frustrated by this evil demon called “infertility.”  How many times I asked, “Why me?”  And the unproductive time spent reading on infertility blogs and “researching” our options on the Internet.  I no longer wanted to attend baby showers or be around pregnant women, and I experienced a lot of sleepless nights worrying about things I just didn’t understand.  I couldn’t be truly happy for friends who called to share their excitement.

We want to share our story, how we became parents, in hope that others will gain the courage, perseverance, prayers, and patience to take the same journey. It’s a long story, but please read through it.

I was 27 years old with infertility when my Ob/Gyn in Dothan, Alabama did laproscopic surgery to discover endometriosis. After surgery I used clomid and in the 2nd month I had a short period of joy, what they call a “chemical pregnancy”.  My ObGyn referred us to a local “infertility specialist” who did another surgery followed by artificial insemination 3 times ending in 2 “tubal or ectopic” pregnancies. I had to have a 3rd laproscopic surgery to remove the second ectopic pregnancy along with part of my right fallopian tube.

Honestly, it was all too much for us, so we decided to take a break and try to relax. My husband and I had always discussed that we would like to become foster parents so during this time we took the necessary classes and requirements and became certified foster parents, welcomed a sibling group of three into our home. Once settled with our new family we could reconsider the fertility path again.

We decided to see a different infertility specialist that was closer to where we lived and had the usual first appointment to “meet and greet” the doctor. After reviewing our records and discussing with us he recommended that we remove my right fallopian tube due to the ectopic pregnancies recurring there. And that was what he did.

So at that point we had been seen my regular OBGYN and 2 different “infertility specialists”. But something was missing, and we were just not satisfied with answers and options. Have you ever felt like you are just “a number”, another body passing through your doctor’s office?

As we prayed for Divine help, a patient from another practice introduced us to our new family and we had our first appointment at NewLIFE with Dr. Ripps, Linda, and the entire staff at the Pensacola office. My husband and I now felt like patients #1, we were Bobo and Amanda from the very beginning.  And we learned that the other “specialists” weren’t really so special, that we were actually missing the board certified specialist part.

Although we had been offered IVF before, it was not until our consultation with Dr. Ripps, that my husband and I were fully educated. Dr. Ripps was upfront and honest and took enough time to help us understand what would be best for our individual case. “Ms. Linda” was awesome with her guidance throughout the duration of the cycle. You couldn’t ask for a better nurse!

Although success took three embryo placements, it wasn’t frustrating because of allBaby_KingAmanda_baby_Ayla_photo the support we received from the NewLIFE Team.  They never gave up, so we didn’t either.  We are forever grateful to G-d and Dr. Ripps and the NewLIFE staff for our precious little girl, Ayla Bayne King. Her middle name, “Bayne” has a strong meaning for us, “long awaited child”. With that being said, our 8 year-long journey of infertility was so worth it!

I’d like to add that shortly after we found out we were pregnant with Ayla we finalized the adoption of the foster children that had been with us. We grew from a family of 2 to a family of 6 in a year’s time.

I know the frustration and heartbreak people feel when experiencing infertility, but I can honestly say without perseverance of hope for our own family, our miracle would not have come true

– Amanda and Bobo

After treating endometriosis and fixing an unusual uterus, taking a vacation worked for us… 

After treating endometriosis and fixing an unusual uterus, taking a vacation worked for us….

Date, fall in love, marriage, then baby…. That’s the usual plan, right? Not so for our family planning. We conceived quickly but we had a miscarriage, and the ultrasound was suspicious for a uterine problem.  Our ObGyn at the Women’s Group did not delay, referring us to the specialist at NewLIFE.  Dr. Ripps found that I had a uterine septum that divided the cavity and was possibly a cause of miscarriage.  When I went to surgery for the septum, Dr. Ripps found that the septum was not simple, as it was long as my uterus.   But I was having some other symptoms as well, and he discovered a severe case of endometriosis, too.

Surgery went well and afterward, thinking we conceive quickly, we tried to conceive on our own for about a year, but it didn’t happen.  Then, an ultrasound showed a new finding of ovarian cysts. So I went to surgery again and found that the endometriosis had progressed rapidly with ovarian cysts in both ovaries.  After surgery this time, we were not going to delay treatment, so we used fertility medicines and IUI without success.

After looking at our options, we were planning for IVF and with one month in between treatments, we decided to take a vacation to relieve our stress.  Well, that’s when our little miracle happened!  We can only feel that our precious son was a gift.

Even though we conceived on our own, I completely believe it would not have happened without the care and expertise of Dr. Ripps and the NewLIFE Staff.  We are grateful to them and consider them part of our family.  Our journey took about 4 years and though a challenge, I believe we are stronger because of it, and because of NewLIFE.

We hope this story provides encouragement to others.  Never, ever give up on making a family!

– Kate and Nick

Success with horrible endometriosis… found an expert

After just two attempts we heard, “Congratulations, you are pregnant!”isaias-marbella After years of suffering with infertility, my OB/GYN suspected that I had endometriosis, and she referred me to Dr. Ripps and NewLIFE. He confirmed the diagnosis with laparoscopy but was surprised how severe it was, affecting both ovaries. I was only 28 and had already had so many problems that I was sure we were not going to be able to have children. But after my surgery, we sat down with Dr. Ripps who said, “It’s not a matter of if you get pregnant, but how”. I will never forget his words. They gave us hope. We talked about our options and decided IVF was best for us.

We canceled our first IVF cycle because I was not responding to the medications. On the next attempt I made few eggs but Dr. Ripps said not to worry it only takes one….and it did. We finally heard what we had been waiting to hear, “Congratulations, you are pregnant!” We were overjoyed. So sadly, the pregnancy ended in a stillbirth, just before my due date. We were devastated and ready to give up. Not knowing what to do or where to turn we decided to go see Dr. Ripps again. It was apparent everyone in the office shared our sorrow and was saddened by what had happened, but were very caring to us. Again with Dr. Ripps’ undying encouragement we decided to try once more and did another round of IVF. We were blessed to hear those wonderful words again, “Congratulations, you are pregnant!” On May 7th I gave birth to a beautiful healthy boy named Isaias who is now the light of our lives.

We really couldn’t have done it without every person on the NewLIFE team. We are very thankful to the entire staff. They gave us the support we needed above and beyond anything we could have expected of them. They helped us with not just our medical needs but our emotional needs as well. They encouraged us and became a shoulder for us to lean on.

Thank you to everyone at NewLIFE for helping us make our dreams a reality.

Endometriosis so bad, only IVF could help us….

Our infertility story began in the fall, three years after we were married. After the first year of trying, my Ob/Gyn prescribed Clomid at one dose for 3 months and more the next 6 months. Only after that failed, did surgery find my “severe endometriosis” but the Ob/Gyn said there was nothing more he could do and was referring us to Pensacola for a specialist, Dr. Ripps.

At the first visit Dr. Ripps spent a lot of time with us and developed a plan to help. After some initial testing and reviewing the prior surgery, he suggested another laparoscopy, this time to remove as much of the endometriosis as possible. It turned out to be more challenging for Dr. Ripps than he had expected and the surgery lasted almost 3 hours! Despite this challenge, Dr. Ripps remained confident and encouraging about becoming pregnant.

After the surgery, we tried the simple stuff with three IUI cycles but were not successful. Again Dr. Ripps kept encouraging us, I guess he knows his stuff. So onward to IVF we went and we made it on the FIRST try….with twins! Our girls, Reagan and Riley, were born on January 13.

Words fail to express how grateful Tarrant and I are to Dr. Ripps and the NewLIFE staff. They all coached us through a very difficult time, didn’t lose hope and, most importantly, didn’t let us lose hope during those years.

– Amy and Tarrant

Treat endometriosis first, then get pregnant more easily…

After repairing endometriosis in just five months, we conceived “My husband and I tried for 10 years to conceive a child on our own. I saw many doctors, each offering different diagnoses including a tilted uterus, blocked tube, and a low sperm count. I then sought the advice of one who claimed to be a “specialist” who promptly diagnosed me with (PID) Pelvic Inflammatory Disease by ultrasound. I was given oral antibiotics for 19 out of next 34 months, and intravenous antibiotics for 2 weeks at the end. Despite all of this, I was told by the specialist I still had PID and the only way to cure it was to have a complete hysterectomy.

Before scheduling the hysterectomy, I saw one more doctor who referred me to Dr. Ripps, a true Board Certified Reproductive Endocrinologist. On the initial visit, Dr. Ripps looked me straight in the eye and said it was his opinion that I did not have, nor ever had PID and that I was a healthy 28 year old woman who would be able to have a child. Well, he was right! Just five months after having corrective surgery to repair the “real culprit”, endometriosis, and our third attempt of insemination, we conceived our beautiful son. He was born January of 2000. Five and a half months later, we conceived our second child all on our own. Our daughter was born in March of 2001. Thank-you Dr. Ripps for making our dreams of a family come true!”

– Melissa & Randy, Panama City, FL

IVF works for endometriosis…

My endometriosis was resolved with IVF from NewLife. I was 32 years old when I conceived my daughter. Even though it had taken me several years to conceive and I took Clomid for a number of months, I thought my fertility problems were behind me. When my daughter was 2, we decided to try to have a second child. After one year on Clomid, my OB referred me to Dr. Ripps for evaluation. The exact cause of our fertility could not be diagnosed right away, but Dr. Ripps was hopeful that I could conceive a second time.

When a laproscopy revealed extensive endometriosis, I thought any hope of conceiving was lost. Dr. Ripps and his staff’s encouragement and extensive knowledge of my disease were reassuring to say the least. When two attempts at insemination were unsuccessful, we considered IVF, but decided against it due to the expense of treatment and our concern with conceiving multiples. Dr. Ripps was very understanding of our decision.

After September 11th, like many others, we viewed life differently. We still envisioned our lives with more than one child. My daughter was now 6 years old and she so wanted a sibling. We contacted Dr. Ripps about IVF. The group information seminar we attended was extremely helpful in explaining the IVF procedure. Dr. Ripps and his staff took us through each step of the procedure with photographs and information.

Four months after deciding to go forward with IVF, we found out I was pregnant with twins. I guess you can say we got our money’s worth. I delivered two beautiful babies on December 30, 2003, Nicholas and Natalie. Thanks to Dr. Ripps and his staff for helping us complete our family.