Her Story: Cherice Dana

May 10, 2021 1:02 pm Published by

Where to begin?! I got married at the age of 17, and thank G-d, had a beautiful baby girl one year later in 1988. When I was 19, I started trying for a second baby. At the time, all my friends were getting pregnant with their second child, and we all wanted to have kids around the same time. But things did not really go as planned for me.

After a year of trying naturally, I went back to my OB-GYN in the city and asked for guidance. The doctor told me to try for another six months, which really felt like ten years. After the six months were up, I started to get frustrated and I asked for medicine to help me get pregnant, at which time my doctor referred me to a Reproductive Endocrinologist.

For one year I worked with the same specialist, undergoing multiple rounds of timed intercourse with and without Clomid. I wasn’t given the opportunity to do an intrauterine insemination (IUI) like doctors do nowadays. It wasn’t so common back then. That wasn’t the “next” step after trying for months on end.

That year of working with the specialist was draining. I wasn’t pregnant and my body didn’t look the way I wanted it to – the hormones really took a toll on my physical appearance and I couldn’t handle what I looked like. From that doctor, I went on to see maybe 15 more doctors in the span of 5 years, yet I still wasn’t pregnant. One doctor even told me I was menopausal and that I would never have children of my own again. I really felt helpless; like my life was ending. All I wanted was a big family. My friends were all on their third and fourth kids by now; I felt like I would walk down the street with my one child and people would look at me and talk. So many years went by with no success.

Once I reached the 5-year mark, I was in total frustration mode. I really took it out on my body. I thought I should focus on making myself look my best, trying to get as skinny as possible. But that didn’t make me happy. And I certainly didn’t look healthy. I didn’t have another baby, and I was very, very thin.

At this point, my aunt, who was a social worker at SBH, stepped in. She pushed me to see another Reproductive Endocrinologist that came highly recommended. That same week, I had made an appointment with an adoption agency. I felt like I was never going to get pregnant again on my own, but I still wanted more kids, so adoption seemed like the best next step.

I went to the specialist. He recommended a laparoscopy – a procedure to remove any sort of scar tissue in and around the uterus. Essentially, a clean-out of my uterus, like a clean slate. He asked me to work with him for a few months. I decided to do that before following up with the adoption agency. I felt a glimmer of hope and I went in for the laparoscopy. The doctor said he removed a lot of scar tissue. We aren’t really sure where the scar tissue buildup came from, but my drastic weight fluctuations could have contributed to it. The doctor explained that weight changes could definitely cause my hormones to change a lot.

One week after the laparoscopy, the doctor started me on hormone medication to bring on my period. After that, we did one IUI and just like that, I got pregnant…with twins! I welcomed a healthy baby girl and boy in 1994. I was on bed rest for most of my pregnancy, from 16-weeks on, because of early contractions, but I really didn’t mind. I was so thankful to be pregnant and I was even more excited that I was having twins! So many years of waiting and trying and I was finally pregnant.

One year after my twins were born, I got that “itch” for another baby. I went back to my fertility specialist and he monitored me as I tried naturally for a few months. I did one IUI and it failed. I got pregnant on my second IUI and welcomed my third baby girl in July of 1996.

After four kids, I was so thankful to have the family I always dreamed of. And yet, that fear of infertility stuck around with me. My three daughters – what would it be like for them when they got married and started trying? Every time a daughter got married, I found myself praying. I prayed that pregnancy would come easy for each of them. I prayed that they would have healthy pregnancies and big families. I started praying for women that weren’t even in my family. I would go to weddings, and while the bride was under the chuppah, I would pray for her. Really, I now pray for every woman – that she may have an easy time getting pregnant, a healthy pregnancy, and a beautiful, growing family. Infertility was one of the hardest things I have ever went through and I pray that others won’t have to experience it.

Thank G-d, my oldest daughter now has four boys. My son has a baby girl. My youngest daughter has three children. But things came full circle for me with my second daughter. Her periods were never regular. At age 19, her OB-GYN diagnosed her with PCOS and gave her birth control to regulate her hormones. She got married at age 20 and tried to get pregnant naturally for about a year. I didn’t waste any time stepping in and getting her in to see a specialist. I was never going to let my daughter go through years and years of uncertainty and pain. That same week that we had booked the appointment with the specialist, we found out that she was pregnant! What a relief! She had a beautiful baby girl.

When my daughter’s daughter turned two years old, she started trying again. She tried naturally for about nine months but didn’t have any success. She went to her OB-GYN, who gave her Clomid for multiple cycles and recommended timed intercourse. After quite a few rounds of timed intercourse, her period completely stopped, her cycles likely manipulated from the medicine.

We went to see a Reproductive Endocrinologist. That doctor wanted her cycle to become regulated again, so she focused on normalizing her hormones along with timed intercourse for a few cycles. After six months of timed intercourse, and 10 months of trying with this specialist, my daughter did an IUI and got pregnant…with…twins! Baruch Hashem, now she has three children.

I was such a big advocate for my daughter, so much so that I found it difficult to listen to the doctors and have patience. I was pushing the specialist to do an IUI well before my daughter did. I just didn’t want her to suffer like I had. I don’t want any women to suffer. I wanted to protect her from that pain. Years went by for me, and I got nowhere. But now I was able to support my daughter and guide her, hopefully ensuring that her experience would never be as long or as painful as mine.

Looking back at my journey, I never had the support that I can now give my daughter. There was no SBH Fertility or friends to lean on. It wasn’t something we talked about. We suffered quietly. The SBH Fertility Support Division is truly amazing. It’s a sisterhood. It’s something we all need. We all need to support each other and hold each other’s hands. We need to have faith and pray for one another. Baruch Hashem, I now have nine grandsons and two granddaughters. I pray that all those experiencing infertility get pregnant quickly and have healthy pregnancies and healthy babies.

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