The in vitro fertilization (IVF) process can be daunting and difficult, even for someone who knows her way around the healthcare system, like Ashley Fisher—a nurse at Northwell Health’s North Shore University Hospital. But when you’re not the nurse, and you’re the woman hoping to be a mom, your clinical detachment can quickly go out the window. Fortunately, Ashley’s arduous journey had a happy result: the birth of a daughter and twin sons.
Ashley, 33, and her husband, Bruce, wanted to try for a baby not long after they wed in August 2014. She knew conception might take a while because she had polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), which can trigger the growth of small ovarian cysts, potentially inhibiting fertility.
Four months after the Wantagh, NY, couple began trying, Ashley was pregnant, but complications led to miscarriage. She was given methotrexate injections to nonsurgically end the pregnancy. Because methotrexate is a chemotherapy drug, she had to wait three months before attempting to conceive again.
In April 2015, she began seeing Northwell fertility specialist Christine Marie Mullin, MD, at the Manhasset fertility clinic. After two unsuccessful intrauterine inseminations (IUI), in which sperm is placed directly at the top of the uterus to facilitate conception, Dr. Mullin suggested IVF. Ashley began those treatments in June of that year.
“I hyperstimulated,” Ashley says, explaining how the drugs she injected to stimulate ovulation led her to produce an overabundance of eggs. This made Ashley too ill to have any of the fertilized eggs implanted, so they were frozen while she spent a few weeks recovering. The first embryo transfer, though it seemed promising at first, resulted in what’s called a chemical pregnancy. That’s a type of miscarriage in which tests show a pregnancy, but nothing is detectable on an ultrasound.
Dr. Mullin suggested that Ashley undergo a hysteroscopy to inspect and dilate her uterus before another embryo transfer. “That’s when I got pregnant with my daughter,” Ashley says. Vale, named after Ashley’s mother, Valerie, was born on June 3, 2016.