Without allowing a blocked fallopian tube get in her way, Shilpa Patel was determined to be a mom. The day after finding out that none of her embryos had reached the blastocyst stage on her second IVF cycle, she got a call that a late bloomer was going strong. Read her story here.
Where are you from?
North Brunswick, NJ
How did you get pregnant?
How old were you at the time?
What was your infertility diagnosis?
Blocked fallopian tube
Tell us about your fertility journey.
It was a long 3 year journey. We started trying late 2012. At first I wasn't serious or concerned because no one in my family had a hard time getting pregnant.. so why would I? Right?!
Well by Summer 2013 it was clear something was wrong. I went for several exams and found out I had a blocked Fallopian tube due to some scarred tissue (another story in itself).
We immediately consulted with the doctor and started our IVF journey in September 2014. After a failed fresh transfer in November 2014 and a frozen transfer in March 2015, we decided to take a break because I was emotionally and mentally dead inside. It felt like my body had become my worst enemy and I couldn't get away from it. What came so naturally for most was not happening for me and I just couldn't understand why?! My family and friends were supportive yet I felt so alone and isolated myself because no one could truly relate with my situation, anger, sadness and most importantly my struggle. No one in my immediate or extended family has been through IVF.
I celebrated my birthday on August 9th and woke up the next morning with hope and wanting to give IVF one more try. We decided not to tell our family or friends. I had my retrieval on October 27, 2015 which also happens to be my husband's birthday :) On November 1, 2015 we got the call advising us that none of our 3 embryos had reached the blastocyst stage so there would be no transfer. I remember sitting there crying and wondering if I could continue anymore..to make the decision live a childless life or if we should consider another retrieval due to emotional/physical/mental and mostly financial reasons.
I guess destiny had other plans for us because the next morning we got the call saying one embryo had reached the blastocsyt stage and would be frozen. Words cannot describe the joy I felt and knew there was something special about this little late/lazy bloomer. It was a fighter! We started the process for a frozen transfer and nicknamed it (gender unknown at the time) Elsa, because it was literally frozen haha
We had our transfer on December 6, 2015. We came home very nervous and scared to even get excited, hope or even feel an ounce of joy since we had two failed attempts already. The next 9 days were the LONGEST of my life... On December 15, 2015 I went in for blood work and then went to work. I told my husband if it's good news please come during lunch and tell me in person and if it's not just call me.
We waited for our call for what felt like an eternity. The last two times we had received our calls well before noon. It was now past noon and past my usual lunch time so I asked my husband to just come down and we would deal with the call if we got it while at lunch. A little while later he told me he was downstairs so I started making my way to the elevators. He was walking towards me holding our dog and I looked at him starting to say "why did you bring coco...?" And he interrupted me with a huge smile on his face and said "hi mommy" All I remember doing was cryring out loud because I couldn't believe it and believed it at the same time. An emotion that can never truly be described or understood unless you have been there yourself.
On that day our IVF journey ended and we became parents because our Elsa chose us as her parents.
What factors do you believe contributed to your success?
After the March 2015 failed attempt I decided to try acupuncture. I continued that throughout my pregnancy. I also started walking as a way to relieve stress which also benefited me because I lost 18lbs.
We also decided not to tell our family and friends about our last journey because it was already hard having to deal with the failed attempts but when you have to repeat the words "it didn't work" over and over again it kills you a little more each time.
So I would say all three were factors that contributed to our success.
What positive element(s) came out of your experience?
First of all I have a newfound respect for science. But what this experience taught me is that there is so much more to life then the petty things we complain about daily. I am much more grateful for everything and everyone in my life. My husband and I are a lot more closer than we have been in the almost 10 years of togetherness.
But the most positive element of our experience is our little miracle, our frozen embryo, our Elsa, our world :)
What life lessons did you learn along the way?
It is okay to feel emotions even if they are negative but the key is to then move on from it. I learned to stop blaming myself for not being able to get pregnant.
We are humans and our nature is to be good and bad but don't let the bad become ugly. One bad day or moment is not our entire destiny and it doesn't determine who we are. Each day can be a gift or not just depends on your perception.
What is your best advice for anyone having a tough time conceiving?
Please be patient. And don't feel guilty and blame yourself at any point. This is a tough process to begin with but the emotional, mental, physical, and financial strain is even more overwhelming and trying. Even if you feel isolated because of the inability to do something which comes naturally for most women, please know that you're not alone . There is an entire community of women like us. You just have to reach out and we will all be there for you <3