What to Expect When you Need Help Expecting


Lullaby WishesBurlingtonVT Moms Blog is partnering with Northeastern Reproductive Medicine to bring you our latest series titled “Lullaby Wishes: raising infertility awareness.” 1 in 8 couples suffer from infertility and yet the subject is often not openly discussed and seems to carry a stigma. Through this series we hope to open the dialogue and help women battling through infertility know that they are not alone. Thank you to the courageous women who have chosen to share their stories as part of this series, as we know that this topic is often deeply personal and difficult to discuss. Our desire is that those reading this series will find encouragement in the hope and beauty that is weaved into these stories of heartache, loss and love.

 What to Expect When you Need Help Expecting

First comes love. Then comes marriage. Then comes baby in a baby carriage stirrups, bloodwork, hormone shots, vaginal ultrasounds and a roomful of doctors and nurses when you finally get knocked up.

This is how many of the 1 in 8 couples suffering from infertility are creating their families.

While technically not infertile, my husband and I utilized Assisted Reproductive Technology (ART) and a gestational surrogate to grow our family due to my heart condition. Our surrogate, who is also one of my best and oldest friends, endured two failed embryo transfers but finally achieved pregnancy with our last embryo. Our rainbow baby, Sunnie Violet, was born in November, 2014.

Jessi pic 2

The Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) I met with during the initial consult discussed how in-vitro fertilization (IVF) works and what to expect during the process. Having done very little research prior to my appointment, I found myself overwhelmed with information and a bit too excited about finally starting the process to retain much of what he said. In retrospect, though, he touched on these four key areas:

  1. It’s expensive. Unfortunately we don’t live in a state where infertility is treated as a medical condition and mandated to be covered by health insurance. Each IVF cycle at our clinic costs $9,100. Additionally, we had to pay out of pocket for medication and surrogacy legal fees. I’ve never experienced such intense fury as I did when we learned the first IVF cycle failed. We had spent THOUSANDS and had absolutely nothing to show for it. So, like any other sane couple would do, we signed up for another IVF cycle.
  2. It’s emotional. The phrase I remember hearing was “PMS on steroids.” In addition to the mood swings, irritability, and discomfort associated with hormone treatments, there’s the “waiting for the other shoe to drop” phenomenon because failure exists at every step in the process. Creating life in a clinical setting makes you realize that, as cliché as it sounds, every baby really is a miracle. Your ovaries have to respond favorably to the hormone stimulation, your eggs (if you get any) have to be of good quality, once fertilized your embryos need to develop properly in a foreign environment, the uterine lining needs to be thick, but not too thick, etc. Each step in the process is a tiny victory that leads to another step with its own unique set of what ifs and anxiety. It was an all-out emotional roller coaster comprised of the highest of highs and lowest of lows, by far the most psychologically exhausting experience of my life.
  3. It’s all-consuming. While I was taking medication to stimulate my ovaries, I had to be monitored at least every other day. This entailed leaving home or the office, driving to the clinic, having blood drawn to check hormone levels and the infamous stab ‘n scan otherwise known as a vaginal ultrasound to check my ovaries. Then, you wait for the doctor to call back and let you know if you need to adjust your meds. Then, it’s time to take your meds which usually involves mixing drugs from one vial to another, loading syringes and stabbing yourself with them. During this time, you can kiss your workout routine goodbye (as if I really had one to begin with) because you have to stay relatively sedentary to reduce the risk that one or both of your GIANT ovaries will become twisted, cutting off blood supply which is a serious medical emergency.
  4. It’s a gamble. While our clinic’s success rates were better than the national average, that still only left us with a 40% chance of a live birth. If it fails, as it did twice for us, there are no answers because no one really knows why. There is still so much that we don’t understand about what really happens around the time of conception that it’s almost impossible to know why it failed. So with each new attempt at attaining pregnancy you’re living on blind faith and hoping that whatever happened last time won’t happen again. This is where we pulled out all the stops – acupuncture, old wives tales, fertility idols, pineapple core and anything else we’d heard or read about. Pineapple core was our ticket to success, in case you’re wondering.

What I didn’t expect, however, was how deeply appreciative and humbled I am by the science, technology and generosity of our surrogate that led to my daughter’s existence on earth.

Not a single day has passed where I haven’t marveled at how all of those tiny victories were won and collectively produced our beautiful, healthy daughter. She was our last embryo, our last attempt at growing our family through ART, our Hail Mary. We finally landed on the right side of statistics in the high stakes game of IVF roulette and we are forever grateful.

Jessi pic 1


Northeastern Reproductive Medicine is graciously sponsoring our ‘’Lullaby Wishes: Raising Infertility Awareness” series…and we would not have it any other way!  We are passionate about all that they are doing for women and couples in our community, and we encourage you to contact them to help in your journey to becoming a mother too.

To learn more about Northeastern Reproductive Medicine or schedule an appointment, please contact ::

1 (802) 655-8888


info {at} nrmvt {dot} com

Written by Jessi Jacobs

Jessi bio picJessi is a lifelong Vermonter, currently residing in the beautiful hills of Cambridge.  She graduated from Champlain College with a degree in Business Administration in 2002 and three weeks later started her career working for Vermont’s largest health insurance carrier.  In 2012, she returned to academic life to earn her MBA at Norwich University.  Wife to her husband, Ben, and momma to her daughter, Sunnie, Jessi enjoys boating on Lake Champlain, morning coffee on the back deck and vacationing to the tropics.


  1. So nice to hear a success story. I have heard the experience and technical skill of the lab staff and Flexibility of the doctors are keys to success. I know that so many couples in Vt pay ouy of pocket And wonder if any consider going out of state to a clinic that performs 100 times as many cycles as the few ART options in Vt. I recognize that the time away from home would be an expense and may make the process more stressfull but if you are going to spend the money I may consider it.


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