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Written by TTC Couples.


Infertility FAQ for Women of Size -- Success Stories!

Are you a success story? If so, I invite you to e-mail me with information about your fertility battle and pregnancy success -- we need all the incentive we can get!

After 5 years of trying my husband and I are finally expecting our first child. I have seen 3 infertility specialists, the first was helpful but not up-to-date, and the second basically said "go home get down to about 150 pounds and you will have a baby". Yeah, right, the last time I weighed 150 pounds, I was a freshman in high school. I finally found a fertility specialist who never said anything about my weight (nearly 300 pounds). He put me on 50mg a day Clomid and we started trying to conceive. After 6 months of no success, I found this web site and suggested to my doctor that because of my size, perhaps we should increase the Clomid dose. On my second month at 150mg a day, I became pregnant (I am due August 11, 1998). ALL of my infertility problems were related to hormone deficiencies and lack of ovulation, which were taken care of by medication. If I had listened to the second doctor, I would probably still be trying to lose the weight, maybe even resorting to the dangerous diet drugs that have been removed from the market. I hope any women trying to get pregnant finds a doctor as good as Dr. Steven Brisbois (Spokane, Washington) and finds themselves as lucky as we are.

Susan, Steve and little "Wolfgang" (well, we needed a nickname, we can't keep calling the baby "it") Bentjen

My DH and I had decided to get pg. two years after we were married. We actually started trying earlier but nothing happened. I checked out all the books in the library I could find on conceiving and began to chart. My temps were all over the place but I still refused to believe that there was a problem. My cycles were regular and so well-meaning friends told me that I MUST be ovulating. I knew that I should go to the dr. to see if there was a problem but was so afraid that they would tell me to lose weight and then come back. I started having problems with heavy bleeding so went to the dr. and he referred me to an OB/GYN. I wasn't planning to say anything about trying to get pregnant but she asked so I said we were trying. I waited for her to yell at me or tell me how stupid I was for trying to get pg. at the weight I was at - 280 lbs. She didn't. She just started taking down my history and looked at my charts which I had just happened to bring along and before I knew it, she was talking tests etc. I was crying tears of relief after that appointment.

Anyway, that was November of 1994 when I first went to see her. By February it had been determined that DH was fine but that I wasn't ovulating. My dr. put me on 50 mg Clomid and told me that there was a big chance that it wouldn't work but amazingly enough, it did! I ovulated that first cycle but didn't get pg. (I got my period on my 25th b-day) The next cycle, I was afraid that it wouldn't work, that I had missed my chance, etc. etc. My temps weren't like the first cycle - which had almost appeared textbook - and I thought for sure that it was a bust. A blood test at 32 days proved that wrong.

I had a trouble-free pg. except for a rash at the beginning and then my asthma flared up at the end. I only gained 20 pounds and was able to deliver vaginally after 18 hours labour. My due date was Christmas Day but I was 9 days late so Breanna was born on Jan. 3/96 She will be two in January/98 and we are hoping for #2 sometime next year but we all know how those plans go...

I just wanted to add to your wonderful web site my success story. I have a son born 2/27/94, conceived naturally after only one month of trying and I weighed 295 pounds at the time. When I expressed my concern about weight and pregnanct to my OBGYN at the time he said "I have women heavier than you, don't worry". He was right, no pregnancy problems, although I was monitored very closely with bi-monthly transvaginal u/s. My son was born by C-Section for failure to progress after 17 hours of labor, he was 7 pounds 1 ounce . . . and perfect. I gained only 24 pounds through the entire pregnancy. We are now trying for our second and have had no luck yet, but my RE says it is not the weight that is the factor, it is my age(41). There is hope, don't give up!

(Note: The person who wrote this is currently pregnant again following IVF.)

I was 34 when my husband and I were married (career type, never found man who could see past the weight, etc...). Went immediately to RE due to having been diagnosed with PCO at age 19. (On BCPs for 10+ years on and off, never regular periods unless on them). I loved my RE, whom I picked from newspaper ad which stated he was giving lecture on infertility. We had just moved to Rhode Island from Buffalo, NY and I knew no one! He did all the initial testing (blood, HSG, S/A for hubby) and found me to be hypothyroid....why that was never diagnosed in previous years I'll never know. I was started on Synthroid and Clomid 50mg. His office staff and covering partner were just great from the start, always making me comfortable, never embarrassed, and always encouraging my husband to be in on every test...including pap smears. My RE never avoided my weight (appx 318 at the start) but was matter-of-fact in telling us the increased risks like gestational diabetes, etc.

At any rate, after 7 months of increasing doses of Clomid (150mg on days 3-7), along with follicular monitoring via ultrasound, I had a single 10,000 unit injection of hcg on day 17 of that cycle. My husband and I had intercourse on days 15-20 just to be safe and it worked! I also took daily doses of Robitussin around ovulation days, did BBTs for ever, had an angel painting in our bedroom, stayed in bed for 1 hour after intercourse with my legs up against wall, etc....!!

At 10 wks, during a screening 1-hour GTT, I failed! Also failed 3 hr test and was sent to nutritionist to follow ADA diet. I was given a glucometer and had to test my blood sugar levels 4 times a day, keeping within set range, reporting back to RE. I was closely monitored and saw him or his partner WEEKLY from week 12 to delivery. I had ultrasounds every month or so, checking amniotic levels. I also had a level II ultrasound to check for fetal abnormalities. I declined amniocentisis. I lost 24 pounds during pregnancy and never felt healthier. I continued to work fulltime up to 7.5 months. Luckily no morning sickness, etc. At 5 months, my synthroid dosage was increased due to abnormal TSH results. At 7 months, my glucose levels starting becoming erratic and I was placed on insulin injections once a day. Again, went to nutritionist who did diabetic training so I could self-inject. Actually hubby did it great!!

At 7.5 months, began to feel icky (flu-like) and RE suspected toxemia setting in. I was placed on at-home left-sided bedrest. At 8 months, BP became elevated so I was admitted to hospital for observation. In hospital, blood tests and fetal monitoring indicated pre-eclampsia. On internal exam, I was 4 cm dialated anyways, so RE said "let's do it" and decided to induce. I was started on IV magnesium sulfate to hopefully stop convulsions/seizures. I was then started on pitocin, insulin and antibiotics. I also had my BP continually monitored and had a foley cath in place. Now that I think about it, it really was a higher-tech delivery than most, but I always felt calm and had confidence in my doctor and the nurses in the Labor/Delivery area. Unfortunately, due to various problems which all kicked in, I could not have the epidural we had planned on. My blood sugars went crazy, my BP was erratic, my liver function was declining, my blood was not clotting, my platelet count plummeted, etc. During my long, ardous labor (cervical lip kept pushing baby back), I never felt scared, embarrassed or uninformed. I finally delivered my son vaginally, without episiotomy on my 36th birthday!

I left the hospital several days later (kept on bedrest for 48 hours post delivery due to mag sulfate, etc) weighing 42 pounds less than when I had conceived. My son is now 7 months old and we talking about #2. My only concern is that since then, we have moved back to Buffalo (families here) and I know I'll never find a size-friendly RE like I had before!!!

I had such a wonderful experience with my RE and I would love to be able to sing his praises somewhere. Maybe there are some women of size out there who live in Rhode Island/Massachusetts....My RE's name was Dr. Shayne Plosker. He is with Truesdale OB/GYN on President Avenue in Fall River, Massachusetts. I delivered at Charlton Memorial Hospital in Fall River, MA. I lived in southern Rhode Island and he was 20 minutes away from me. Anyone living south of Boston, or near Cape Cod, or in Rhode Island would find his office convenient.

My first pregnancy was a fluke. I weighed 210lbs. at 5'4" and was on birth control pills for 3 years. I had dental surgery done and the antibiotics "cancelled out" the pill. I got pregnant on July 4 1993 and gave birth March 1994 with no complications. My daughter was 9lbs and she is very healthy. I did have nausea most of the pregnancy and only gained 6lbs the entire time.

My second pregnancy happened after one try in August of 1995 but ended in miscarriage at about 7 1/2 weeks. I weighed about the same as the first preganacy when I got pregnant.

My third pregnancy took about 6 months (but I weighed more this time at about 235lbs.) and it also ended in a miscarriage at 7 weeks. This time I flew on an airplane without knowing I was pregnant and my doctor told me sometimes that can be a cause for miscarriage in the first trimester.

Anyways now i have been trying for 3 months and weigh about 220lbs. I have never had a doctor mention my weight in connection to pregnancy and my husband has a low sperm count so I guess we're lucky that we're "connecting" at all.

I am a large woman. I have always had very irregular periods since I was 13. We tried unsuccessfully for a year to get pregnant and my GP referred me to an OB/GYN. I was familiar with the routine and had been taking my temperature daily for several months and charting it. He took one look at the chart and concluded that I did not ovulate regularly and was a prime candidate for fertility drugs. I was on them for six months with no success, all the while charting temperatures (what a pain in the arse). At a repeat visit after six months he decided to double the dose and see if that would jump start things. After two months I was pregnant. Normal pregnancy until 8 months. Then my blood pressure elevated and I was sent for non-stress tests every 3 days (another pain in the arse). We mutually decided not to let the pregnancy go past my due date and I was induced six days early. Easy delivery with some very minor complications and we were the parents of a beautiful, healthy 7lb., 15 oz. baby boy. He is now fifteen months old and I am considering doing it all over again. I already have a referral to my OB/GYN for Jan 98 and most likely (90% chance) will have to go on the clomid again to become pregnant. I pray I don't have twins.

I got pregnant "naturally" the first time, but lost baby in the23rd week due to pre-mature labor caused by incompetent cervix, which was afterwards diagnosed.

We tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant "naturally" for approximately 6 months, and then was referred to a Fertility Clinic by my GYN. There, I did approx. 4 cycles of Clomid 50-150mg./HCG/progesterone suppositories and then 4 cycles of Clomid 150mg/HCG/IUI/progesterone suppositories, (both versions - ovulating, but not conceiving). After that I did 2 ampules(150mg.?) Metrodin daily injections/HCG/IUI/progesterone suppositories and the second cycle I became pregnant with twins to become a singleton pregnancy after 10 weeks. At 13 weeks, I had the cerclage procedure to suture my cervix, and am happy to report at 18 weeks, everything is so far, so good. I have only gained 8 pounds to date . . .

P.S. Although I have heard being over-weight could be an infertility factor, my problems were supposedly caused by hormone imbalances (which I forgot to mention - I did take Parlodel and Prednisone during all cycles), and the Center I went to was run by very-well known doctors and my weight was never mentioned by them as a factor . . .

Kid number one (Dave), born 12/19/81:
How long: 6 months, more or less (I stopped treatment for a month or two to be treated for an ulcer).
Natural cycle.

Uneventful pregnancy, in fact, I gave birth on my due date! I had lost 62 lbs. the previous year, gained about 30 back before getting pregnant (I found it hard to follow both my ulcer diet and Weight Watchers), gained about 60 more during pregnancy. (Including a memorable month in which I gained 15 lbs.)

I had natural childbirth, needed a spinal so I could have a generous epistomy because I was pushing for so long, and his Apgar scores were 9 at one minute, 10 at 5 minutes. He weighed 9 lbs. 4 oz. at birth.

Second baby, Steven, born 9/4/91.

I started trying Valentine's Day, 1986, saw my gyn. for a consultation in late 1987, he gave me Clomid (didn't work, he didn't bother to monitor it either!), I changed doctors, Dr. Number Two wanted me to loss massive amounts of weight before she would treat me, that didn't happen.

I finally asked for a referral to an RE in late 1988.

I saw the RE in Feb. of 1989. He had no problems at all with my weight, tests concluded sub-fertility due to adhesions on one tube (but not both!), a minor male problem, a minor couples problem, and some irregularity in periods (which, while I was being tested, went back to

being regular!). I was given the option of Pergonal and IUI, which I did for 2 cycles (Jan. and June 1990, other months I was traveling, had stimulation of follicles without shots, etc. It's complicated). Finally, in Sept. of 1990 I quit, reasoning that I would rather have just one than live with the expense and headache of treatments.

I got pregnant Nov. 26, 1990, found out I was pregnant Dec. 17, 1990. I was due Aug. 19, 1991, gave birth Sept. 4, 1991 (induced labor).

Big problems in pregnancy were two separate cases of PUP, an intensely itchy pregnancy-related rash (treated by steroid cream in my 2nd trimester, and oral predisone in my 3rd trimester). I also had a lot of morning sickness, and very little appetite. I *lost* weight my first trimester, and ended up only gaining 10 lbs. and that was the month I was on predisone and a cruise!

The baby was 9 lbs. 12 oz. (I don't know his APGAR scores) and has had minor learning disabilities. (He goes to regular school.)

I am currently almost 15 weeks along after a 3rd IVF. I started out very overweight and have lost 10-15 lbs. in the time I have been pregnant. We have been trying for almost five years (all infertility treatment). I got pregnant the first two IVF's, but they ended as chemical pregnancies prior to week six. Both DH and I have infertility problems. I have PCOD and my husband is completely sterile from testicle cancer and a blocked vas deference on the other side. So all of our try's have come with the use of an annonomous donor.

I had been married for a year when I decided to try and get pregnant. I wanted to try and have my baby before I was 30. The first 3 months we tried, I wasn't really concerned. I had been of birth control for over a year, and while my cycles weren't very regular, I assumed that I would get pregnant very soon.

Soon came and went. Each month I became more depressed when Aunt Flo visited again. I did think it had something to do with my weight (at 200 lb.) but after doing well for 3 months, the stress of NOT getting pregnant caused me to overeat and gain more. Talk about a viscous cycle!

I started doing everything I could to get pregnant. I took Robitussin till I felt I was becoming an addict, had sex morning, noon and night. I charted my basal body temps, inspected my mucus, tracked my fertile days, and still nothing. I friend even brought me a crystal which was supposed to enhance fertility and I stuck it in between my mattresses! I regularly talked to the women on OASIS to get ideas.

I went in to see a gynecologist in November, who also did some work in fertility. He gave me a pelvic and it came back normal. He looked over the charts I had made of my periods and told me that it looked like I wasn't ovulating, due to the fact I had such irregular periods (from 16 days apart to 43 days apart!).

In early December (the 12 to be exact) Dr. told me to begin a cycle of Clomid, 50 mgs. I did with great anticipation. In the meantime, everyone around me at work was getting pregnant! I was extremely depressed. Thank goodness I had OASIS to fall back on. Those women saved me and gave me hope every time.

On January 8th, I was so irritated from hearing about all the pregnancies at work, I decided to go and get a pregnancy test so I could take it, find out it was negative. I figured this would give me a good excuse to eat chocolate again (since I was trying to diet from the "I'm Not Pregnant Blues.").

I got the test, the chocolate and went home. I peed on the stick, signed on to the infertility group and started answering e-mails. I looked over at the stick and to my complete shock I saw a line in the window! Of course, I instantly went and peed on another stick and it too came out positive!

I didn't want to get my hopes up. I thought maybe that the drugs from the fertility hormones were interfering with the test and giving a false positive. I went in to the Dr.'s office and peed for a 3rd time. "Oh, yeah," said the nurse, "you are definitely pregnant. You have a very strong positive."

I just about fainted. Everything felt so surreal! I drove to my husband's workplace, walked up to him and put on a sad face. "Guess who's pregnant now?" I said. "Who?" he answered. "Me!" You could have knocked him over with a feather!

On September 18th, Emilee Joanne was finally born. She has been our greatest joy. So, now I guess I have to wait to find out if it was the drugs or just Mother Nature who is responsible for my pregnancy. You see, Emilee was conceived the day I started the meds......

Our first child was conceived after only 6 months of trying. Even then, I had a suspicion that something was wrong, and sent dh for a semen analysis. We found out after discovering I was pregnant that dh had what the doctor called a "borderline" motility problem.

When we started trying for our second child two years later, we assumed it would be just as easy this time as it had been the last time. Were we wrong! After ten months of trying, I saw the ob/gyn for my yearly physical. I mentioned that my cycles were getting irregular, which indicated to me that I wasn't ovulating. He basically blew me off, telling me to try for a few more months, and then come back. I ran to the nearest RE.

The first visit with the RE ended predicably enough: "You're not ovulating, lose weight and we'll see what happens." At this point, I was 5'4" and over 200 lbs (I can't remember the exact number, but believe it was somewhere between 200 and 220). She also sent dh for another semen analysis. This one showed low volume and poor motility and morphology. He flatly refused to see a urologist, saying, "We got pregnant the last time, so the problem has to be that you're not ovulating."

The following month, I went to the RE for a PCT. When that showed a complete lack of mucus, she gave me premarin and told me to come back the following month. Same results. It was only later that I realized that *of course* I wouldn't have mucus, I didn't ovulate those months! After an HSG that showed some "bunching" ("but I can't tell what it is without a laparoscopy"), she put me on 100 mg of Clomid, claiming I needed IUI, and would "never get pregnant without it."

Dh and I decided we would give the Clomid 2 months before we tried IUI. Well, I ovulated textbook perfectly (and have been since), but still didn't conceive. Finally, in June of 1996, after 1 1/2 years of trying, I convinced dh to see a urologist. He immediately diagnosed a varicocele, and recommended surgery. At that point, dh's volume was only 1.0 ml, motility was 13%, and morphology was 7%. Dh finally had the surgery in August of 1996.

On December 28, 1996, dh went back for his followup analysis. We were very upset to learn that he hadn't shown as much improvement as we hoped. His volume was only .45 ml, motility was 18%, and morphology was 36%. Not the best numbers, to say the least. We decided it wasn't in the cards for us to have another baby, although we did half-heartedly continue to "try" that month. In mid-January, we made an offer on a house down the street from my parents. The next day, I realized my period was late, and took a home pregnancy test. It was positive! My LMP was actually 5 days before his last semen analysis. :)

Our beautiful miracle baby, Bridget Kerrianne, was born October 4, 1997. It wasn't an easy pregnancy (I had all-day morning sickness for 14 weeks, gestational diabetes, and toxemia), and I ended up being induced several days past my due date, but it was well worth every test and every medical interevention to have our little girl.

And now, for the first time in years, we're worrying about birth control. Two years ago, we never would have thought that would be a concern.

I am a 23 year old who has been trying to conceive for a year now. I tried for several months and was having problems with pelvic pain and irregular bleeding between periods. My doc referred me to an ob/gyn and he decided to do a laproscopy to see what was going on. I sort of expected endometriosis, but it turned out to be PCOS. I am overweight- weighing 230 pounds.I have always had irregular and painful periods. My gyn started me on Clomid 50 mg in Oct 1997. I took it that month, Nov, and Dec with no luck. In January 1998, he started me on Clomid 100 mg and I just found out yesterday I am pregnant. I will update you on the pregnancy as it progresses. I am thankful for a site such as this. God bless you all!

Copyright © 1997, 1998 by Rebecca Smith Waddell
The text from this page may be distributed as long as
copyright is attached and the use is not for profit.
Last revision: April 17, 1998

Comments are welcome at bbwfaq@fertilityplus.org, but please note that medical questions cannot be answered. These pages are patient FAQs written by patients, for patients. Send success stories to success@fertilityplus.org.

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