Endometrial Scratching Was the Key to Successful IVF
After four doctors, hundreds of injections and years of tears, Stephanie Boes was so convinced she’d never be a mom, she almost gave up. But look at her now!
Stephanie Boes fidgeted at her desk in a San Diego investment firm, pretending to work. Any minute now, the call could come – the call from her doctor. So how could she concentrate on anything else?
Four hours later, she couldn’t take it anymore. “I’m going home,” she blurted to her boss. And there, alone, Stephanie had the biggest cry of her life. And then the phone rang…
“Let’s start our family!”
A family of her own. That had always been Stephanie’s dream. One her high school sweetheart, Austin, shared.
From the moment they met at 17, modeling back-to-school clothes at a mall near their Michigan hometown, they were on the same wavelength. And even as college and work took them to different states, they knew: We belong together.
Both from large families, they loved kids. So even before they tied the knot on a boat at sunset in Key West, they had baby names picked out. Well, a girl’s name at least: Zoe. And at 33, they decided: Let’s start our family!
But nothing happened. And on trips back home, as her sisters all jiggled babies on their hips, Stephanie had no happy announcement to make. Something’s wrong, she gulped. But every test – hormone levels, ovary function, sperm count and more – came back normal. Which was good – and bad. Because there was nothing to fix!
“Now what?” she asked her doctor. The answer: “In vitro.” At least there’s hope, she told herself. But their first attempts failed. “Relax and it’ll happen,” friends and relatives urged. But how could she relax, when her life revolved around blood draws, hormone injections, egg retrievals, embyro transfers – and tears? They knew adoption was an option. But there was no reason IVF shouldn’t work – so they tried again.
This time, Stephanie was so heartbroken, a year passed before she could consider another attempt. Perfect timing, it turned out – because a co-worker going through IVF had another doctor to recommend. One who didn’t rush through patients. At Dr. Samuel H. Wood’s office in La Jolla, Stephanie didn’t feel like a number, like she had before. But IVF failed again. And Stephanie knew… “I’m done,” she said at the post-procedure consult, a kind of team “huddle” to plan their next move. But Dr. Wood had an idea…
“Welcome to the world!”
If he irritated her uterine lining, called endometrial scratching, before the next transfer, he said, her body would speed healing nutrients there – which should help the embryos “stick”. And doing two transfers days apart instead of just one might help, too.
“No,” Stephanie said. “I can’t.” But she’s meant to be a mom, Austin couldn’t help thinking. And this way could work… “One last try, honey,” he coaxed. And there was such hope in his eyes, Stephanie felt a glimmer, too.
Two weeks after the procedure, she went for blood work as usual. Then, because waiting for the results was torture, she left work to take a home pregnancy test: negative. That’s why she was crying her eyes out when the phone rang. “Honey,” Austin said. “Dr. Wood wants us to come to his office.” “Oh, Austin,” she cried. “I know what he’s going to tell us!” But she decided to go anyway. For closure. And when they got there … “You’re pregnant!” Dr. Wood said. This is some kind of awful mistake! She reeled. But home pregnancy tests aren’t foolproof. And repeat blood work confirmed it. She was having a baby!
Still, after everything they’d been through. Stephanie worried every day: Is the baby okay? But nine months later, after a perfect pregnancy and four pushes, she was holding a miracle in her arms. “We’ve been waiting so long for you!” she cried. “Welcome to the world, Zoe!”
Now Stephanie revels in baby Zoe’s every move and changes her outfit – from on extensive collection of pink! – several times a day. “I love dressing her up!” she laughs. Her advice: “there is hope! Just look at Zoe! They didn’t know it when they chose it 10 years ago, but her name means “life.” And, says Stephanie, “It couldn’t be a better fit.”
(Article published in WOMAN’S WORLD, 9/22/08)