Chrissy Rodriguez and her husband David both have children from their first marriages, and had initially felt that their family was complete. However, soon after getting married, they realized they wanted to have a child together and knew they had to explore possibilities as David had had a vasectomy.
Their next steps to expanding their family were nothing they expected. Here’s their story, and why Chrissy is using her lifestyle platform to help break the taboo of infertility.
Q: Why did you initially pursue IVF?
David has had a vasectomy so we assumed that’d be our reason for going the IVF route. After routine testing we found that I had polyps, scar tissue from an egg retrieval, endometriosis, PCOS and a blocked tube! We expected a rather straightforward approach to conceiving but all of our plans changed after my first couple of appointments.
We recently completed a full cycle including FET and things seemed great. I had 64 eggs retrieved and 11 embryos ended up being frozen. After pgs testing we had 3 embryos to use. The cycle failed and I was – and still am – crushed. I never imagined this cycle would fail especially because I did everything “right”. So now we are prepping for another FET in April and attempting to remain positive despite our number of embryos quickly dwindling.
Q: Why did you decide to document your infertility experience? How did people respond?
I decided to document the experience because I had no clue how common fertility issues were and because I’d spent my entire life with pain that I assumed was normal. This infertility journey isn’t something that should feel shameful yet to so many it is. We hide, we don’t even want family to know, we give ourselves zero support. I wanted women and men to know these issues are ok to talk about and that there are so many others going through the same thing. I aim to be transparent and honest about all we are going through. We also wanted to show what IVF is like as a traveling patient. This doesn’t seem to be as common.
I decided to document the experience because I had no clue how common fertility issues were and because I’d spent my entire life with pain that I assumed was normal. This infertility journey isn’t something that should feel shameful yet to so many it is.
It’s been interesting because I’ve made some amazing friends and I’ve gotten support to keep me going when I want to quit. The outpouring of love is tremendous and something I really didn’t expect.
Q: You mentioned on Facebook that you had gone to three other doctors prior to the one you’re with now. Can you speak about the importance of second opinions and/or finding the “right” doctor for you?
We all deserve the very best care possible. We all deserve to feel heard and to be comfortable both with any diagnosis received and the course of treatment. Sadly, I didn’t feel that way with a few local RE’s. My husband and I bounced between a few doctors because this process is scary and I while I didn’t need hand holding I did want to feel like my fears and concerns were heard. I wanted someone to take the time to answer my questions and to seem like I wasn’t a number but a real person that desperately wanted to have a baby.
When I found Dr. Kiltz from CNY I was sold. Their clinic is incredibly busy with patients from all over the country coming to their locations. Dr Kiltz takes the time to respond to texts and phone calls at all hours. What doctor gives their patients their personal cell number and really doesn’t mind sitting and listening to what’s going on? David and I felt the warmth and concern from each doctor at CNY and even the nurses. I got very sick with severe OHSS and the staff was with me daily (even during the weekend). A good clinic really makes a hard period of time more manageable. I know they will do everything possible to help us.
Q: Given your background in fitness, is there anything that helped you mind/body cope with infertility (yoga, exercise, etc.) that you would recommend?
IVF is much more of a mental challenge than expected! I’m an athlete. I ran track in college and then became a personal trainer but this tests me more than anything else has. Physically when doing IVF you are sore, exhausted from the stress and drugs, and most days I want to curl up in a ball and just sleep or cry. It hurts to sit (thanks PIO injections), I’m nauseated all day and I can’t sleep thanks to the hormones and night sweats! Mentally I now worry about everything. I have spent more hours than I’m willing to admit, to you all and especially to my husband, on message boards and Google obsessing over every little thing. I have spent a small fortune on pregnancy tests including a beta that I ordered for myself (way too early).
I think the biggest thing I kept hearing is that infertility isn’t an issue a certain age or we shouldn’t be concerned with it until our late 30’s or 40’s. I’ll be honest, even I assumed that since I was only 32 I’d have no issue getting pregnant.
The only thing besides my amazing family and support system that helped me through this process has been keeping my body as healthy as possible with clean eating and things like meditation and acupuncture. Since I was at such a high risk for OHSS exercise had to be cut out but taking time to meditate, stretch and re-center myself had kept me from really spiraling. I strongly urge those going through IVF to take care of themselves physically, but especially mentally.
Q: Are there any misconceptions about infertility in general that you aim to educate people on?
I think the biggest thing I kept hearing is that infertility isn’t an issue a certain age or we shouldn’t be concerned with it until our late 30’s or 40’s. I’ll be honest, even I assumed that since I was only 32 I’d have no issue getting pregnant and that my egg quality would be as good as it was when i was younger.
The fact is, our fertility starts to go downhill around 27. So many women don’t consider this – I know I didn’t. Things like freezing your eggs can buy you time if having a baby at these younger ages isn’t what you’re after. I think women should at least consider what they may want later in life.
Q: Anything else you want to add?
Ask questions and don’t stop until you have the answers. I grew up with a painful chronic condition that I didn’t even realize was “a thing”. I suffered in silence because I assumed it was normal. My period was painful (and could last up to 3 weeks), sex was painful, I was going to the hospital monthly for pain that was so bad I’d lay on the floor crying unable to move. No one knew what the issue was. I now know that endometriosis and PCOS were the culprits. On average it takes 10 years for a woman to be diagnosed with endometriosis. That is mind blowing.
I didn’t know what questions to ask to have these pains really looked into. I didn’t know that it was ok to be my own advocate. I hope sharing my story will empower at least one woman to demand answers and to know that you don’t have to silently live in pain. Take control of your health and really, your life.
You aren’t alone.
Listen to stories, share your own, and get feedback from the community.