FROM MARTI’S HUSBAND, BRIAN

The song “Through the Fire” was written by The Crabb Family back in the year 2000, where it became the #1 song for Southern Gospel that year.  The lead singer, Jason Crabb, was struggling through infertility of his own at the time and he had the inspiration to write such a beautiful and touching song.  My wife and I just thought the song was great and didn’t think it would have any true bearing in our lives, until we began struggling with our own infertility issues.  In March 2008, I had the opportunity to meet Jason Crabb before a concert in Knoxville , Tennessee .  I was able to explain all the heartache and pain my wife and had been through and what a blessing his song meant to us.  I was also able to tell him the good news that my wife was expecting twins in a few months.  This song can reach out to everyone who may be struggling with any issue, and just reminds you that no matter what, God will step in and intervene and take you “Through the Fire”.

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from Patty, February 2

As I mentioned in my earlier entry, we didn’t always have success with each cycle while we were undergoing our IVF treatments.  We first began treatment with an IVF doctor that was recommended by Jim’s urologist.  We remained under his care for a few years, taking small steps along the course of treatment.  We were later told all patients started at “Point A,” and progressed as far along the course until treatment was either successful, or discontinued.  We were spending upwards of several hundred dollars a month, on such things as ovulation predictors, medications and procedures, without seeing any results.  It was after one of these failed treatments that I became over-stimulated from the medications, and was home on bed rest.

I wouldn’t always read the morning newspaper, but when you’re on bed rest, you are looking for something to fill the time!  I got into the habit of perusing The Hartford Courant, and saw that  New Britain General Hospital was holding an Open House to welcome a new infertility doctor to their staff.  He was Dr. Claudio Benadiva.  That night I showed this to Jim, and we decided we would attend to hear what treatments were available.  It was here we first heard about ICSI.  Once I heard this, I had a feeling it would work for us.  Jim’s sperm had a low motility rate, and the fact that it had been frozen and thawed just compounded matters.  We spoke to Dr. Benadiva briefly after the presentation, and he said we were perfect candidates for this course of treatment.  He suggested we schedule an appointment for a consultation.  This all came about in the summer and fall of 1995.

from Marti, February 2

The beginning of our infertility journey started with a hysterosalpingogram (HSG). This is a test to see if my fallopian tubes were blocked. For this test they put a tube through the vagina and then put dye through so they can see the dye as it travels through the fallopian tubes. If the dye does not travel through the fallopian tubes then there is a blockage in the tube or tubes. My test showed that one tube was blocked and the other tube was open. My OBGYN, decided to send me to an infertility specialist who would then perform surgery to open the one blocked tube that I had. The blocked tube was due to scar tissue that grew from surgery I had as an infant. My doctor wanted me to have the best surgeon possible because she felt it would be a difficult surgery, so she referred me to Dr. Keenan.

In our first meeting with Dr. Keenan, he told Brian and I that he was not sure what he would find when he opened me up. That it was a 50-50 chance that both my fallopian tubes may have to be removed due to the scar tissue that could be present. We went back to my Mother’s house and I cried fearing that both my tubes would be removed. Brian told my Mom that the doctor did not say that both would have to be removed, that he just had to say the worst possible thing that could happen. We then called my sister-in-law, Tracy Morrow, who had personal infertility experience, and both she and my Mother reassured me that nothing like that was going to happen, that doctors always just had to tell the worst possible outcome.

The surgery was scheduled as an outpatient procedure at UT Medical Center in Knoxville, TN. My husband, mother, and one of our dear family friends, Mary Holmes came to hospital to give support.

When I woke up from the surgery I could not open my eyes or move my body, but I could hear the medical personnel talking about this girl who “lost” both her fallopian tubes and how sad it was because she was so young.  I remember thinking, “How many other people could have had this same surgery that I had?” Then I realized it was ME they were talking about, that I was the “poor, young girl that lost both her tubes!”

The next memory I have is being rolled into a hospital room and my husband waiting for me in the room. Then I saw my Mother gathering herself outside the doorway to prepare to come in, of course I knew why she was so upset, but they did not know that I also knew. Mother came in with Mary and also with Mary’s daughter, Judy along with Judy’s daughter Sara. Judy had grown up with me and I knew that she had been called with the news. Judy later told me she hated to come with her daughter, but did not have anyone to keep her. Judy and I had grown up together and had been there for each other through many things and now she just wanted me to know she was here for me. One of the most painful things for me was to see the hurt and pain on everyone’s face and yet none of them knew that I also knew this “secret” that they knew would devastate me.

Once they left I looked over to my husband and said “They took both of them didn’t they?” and he just nodded with tears in his eyes. At the time, I thought finding out the way I did (hearing the staff talk about me) was the worst way anyone could be told! Several years later, I realized it was God’s way of saving my husband from having to tell me this terrible news. Brian later told me he just did not know how he was going to tell me, but God took that burden away from him knowing we had many more to face.

Marti Bailey

Brian and I got married right out of college in 1998 and started “trying” to have children three years later. In 2002 Dr. Keenan had to remove both my fallopian tubes because they were blocked. This blockage was due to scar tissue from a surgery I had soon after I was born. What a shock it was to go from trying to have children “naturally” to then being faced with traditional adoption or In Vitro Fertilization. After many years of unsuccessfully going through IVFs then traditional adoption we finally got to where we were supposed to be, embryo adoption. In April of 2008 our dream of having a child finally came true. We were not only blessed with one healthy child but two. They were born at 30 weeks and had to stay in the NICU for 49 days. Julian and Natalie are now 21 months old and are on the go all the time! It was a very long journey to get here, but now we are enjoying our time with our children more than we ever thought possible. God has truly blessed us!

Patty Cassidy

Hi, my name is Patty Cassidy, and I’m happy to be sharing my infertility and open adoption experience with you.

I’ve been married to my husband Jim for almost 20 years, and we have 3 sons, Ryan (13 yrs), Joel (8 yrs) and Chad (4 yrs). We were fortunate to find an infertility doctor who specializes in an infertility treatment known as Intracytoplasmic sperm injection, or ICSI as it is commonly referred to. This was the answer to our prayers, but it took many long years to reach.

I’m excited that Marti and I were asked to participate in this blog, because I think it will help others who are unsure of the next step in their pursuit of a family. It can be scary at times, and although family and friends say they “understand what you are going through”, I don’t think they really do. How could they, unless they have had a similar experience? I know they mean well, but sometimes it isn’t enough.

I can remember when my husband Jim and I first found out we would have to have infertility treatments. He had been diagnosed with testicular cancer, so the infertility issue took a backseat. It wasn’t until a few years after his operations and chemo treatments that we addressed this new wrinkle. We didn’t know a soul who had experienced this, but as I started to talk about it, I found out that many had, only they weren’t open about it.

As we (rather I) underwent treatment, I would often times wish there was somewhere to turn to for guidance and support. Maybe at the time there was, but I never found it. I hope this blog will be that somewhere to turn.

Patty Cassidy