Every day at VCRM is not like the other. We see so many faces walk through our door, each coming in with their own story and dream, to leave with a story that gives us goosebumps whenever we think about it.
Because of that, we decided to feature patient stories weekly — of course with their help and consent!
Our first story is a beautiful one that brings tears to our eyes.
Meet the beautiful and tenacious Alicia Wood!
When we reached out to Alicia about sharing her story, she told us, “It’s been a journey but I’m proud to share it, in hopes others won’t feel alone!”
“I’m one of those girls who knew I wanted to be a mom, like that was my calling in life. I dreamed of the day I could rub my big belly and feel every kick, wait in line at the elementary school in my minivan for school pick up before soccer practice, and plan crafts and after-school snacks. I studied hard and graduated college with a degree in Interior Design but with the end goal of landing the perfect job of being a stay at home mom. In high school, I always dealt with debilitating periods and when I was 24 years old I was finally diagnosed with endometriosis. The diagnosis was devastating and felt that my dreams of carrying a pregnancy, and being a mom, had been crushed. At a young age I was introduced to adoption and I learned that “family” wasn’t defined by DNA or by color but I didn’t understand how I could tie my desire to be a mom with carrying an adopted child.
Years later I met my husband, Brady, the conventional way, on match.com. One of the first things that drew me to him was the way he spoke of his nieces and nephews, his heart for a family, and his same outlook that family is defined by love. We married just months after we met and started to try for a family right away knowing of my endometriosis and that our age wouldn’t be on our side forever (we were 29 and 34 when we married).
I started a strict diet, we tracked my cycles, timed everything perfectly and were ecstatic to see two lines on a pregnancy test after 6 months of trying. Right away I envisioned the life that was growing inside of me. Unfortunately, just weeks later we found ourselves crying in the bathroom in the middle of the night, knowing we had lost our dreams and that I was miscarrying. First endometriosis, and now a miscarriage, I felt this was a cruel joke when my number one goal in life was to be a mom.
My cycle never returned even months after my miscarriage, so I was referred to a local fertility clinic in Oklahoma. There, I was diagnosed with PCOS, another blow, but felt I was in the right place to get pregnant. We started fertility drugs and my body always responded perfectly so every failed cycle was another rollercoaster ride. Eventually we were labeled “infertile” and were told our only option to carry a pregnancy was IVF. Around this time I had discovered embryo adoption/donation and felt this was exactly the road for us. At this point we were over the uphill of the roller coaster thinking a cycle was going to work only to be let down, and we felt that using embryos that had already led to successful births vs unknown would be the best for us, emotionally and physically! We were put on a waitlist at the clinic in Oklahoma, spot #4 and told it’d be 4 months MAX wait but that it’d move quickly. After almost 6 months of staying in the #4 spot we decided to look elsewhere.
Brady and I had families in big cities so we sought after fertility clinics in Dallas, Indianapolis, and Northern VA (where I was born and raised). Right away I ruled out clinics who either sent me right to a voicemail, didn’t return my call or had unfriendly front desk staff. I contacted VCRM, discovered that they had 3 sets of embryos we could choose from, and loved the responsiveness and friendliness of the staff. A few days later, on April 19th, we had a Skype call with Dr. Fady Sharara and just knew that this was the man who was going to make our dreams come true! We were sent the 3 profiles and after prayer and consideration we picked the set of embryos. Not long later I flew to Virginia to meet with Dr. Sharara and start the testing required. At one point I asked him if we had to do all the tests on this list and his response was, “the goal is to get you pregnant and be a mom, right?” Exactly. So I loved that he “dots his I’s and crosses his T’s”, he does lots of tests to make sure we are best set for success. His staff was there with me the entire way, cheering me on through every question, self-administered shot (Brady is beyond terrified of needles), and test result.
I was given my calendar with the estimated transfer date of June 19th, exactly 2 months after our first call with Dr. Sharara! That morning I arrived, with way too full of a bladder, and was handed a photo of our embryos.
What a sight to see the little cells that had the potential of growing inside of me and making us parents! While it was a rough journey to get to that day, I have to say being able to see that photo is priceless. Transfer went off without a hitch and I was officially “pregnant until proven otherwise”. I flew back to Oklahoma, with a big but careful pep in my step, and waited as patiently as possible for the first blood draw. A few hours after my first blood draw I get a call from Jessica with words I’ll never forget (in her most excited but trying to be quiet whisper voice), “Alicia, you’re pregnant!!!”.
We literally had all our eggs in this basket and it worked! We were still cautious, seeing if this rollercoaster would drop us, but with each blood draw my numbers continued to rise and this embryo was making its’ home for the next 9 months.
I write this, 30 weeks pregnant today, with tears in my eyes and rubbing my big belly, so thankful for Dr. Sharara and his staff. They gave us our dream. I now walk into my son’s almost done nursery, a room I questioned would ever hold a crib, grateful and beyond words for what VCRM has given us. Though my time was short with VCRM, we felt that our goal was their goal, and that our success was not just a statistic they could add to their list but something they cared about just as much as us.”
Alicia always walked into our office with the biggest smile and the most love. We could not be any happier for her and her husband, and cannot wait to meet their soon-to-be little baby boy, Ellis.
Follow us on Instagram at @vcrmfertility for more stories!