Who Knew How Terrifying Three Letters Could Be. My IVF Journey.
The Story of Beth Kline
July 9, 2019 .4 min read
“You name it; I want to control it. And when I can’t… the result is catastrophic."
Beth didn’t know it growing up, but certainly does now, that she’s a “Type A control freak."
Her words, not ours.
Beth grew up playing soccer and
went from practice to practice, and game to game
for thirteen years straight and lived a life with
and zero opportunity to relax.
But she loved
every second of it.
She was built for this.
But with her need to control every aspect of her like, Beth later developed an eating disorder during her senior year of high school. And by her freshman year of college, the disorder had manifested itself to the point where it completely took over her life. So much so that she had to return home and continue school from there.
When I was a collegiate athlete, the only thing I had control over was what I ate. My time and life was completely dictated. I had to be at this practice, that training, this class, and do that assignment. I was a robot on autopilot.
But it was around the time of finals, that she received a call from her family doctor that resulted in her decision to return home.
Not only did her doctor call with alarming news, but she had several questions.
Your liver and kidneys are beginning to show signs that they’re failing. Your sodium levels are through the roof! Are you making yourself throw up? Why are you doing this?
Flashforward to being married.
Beth and her husband, Eric, were married on June 17th, 2017 in Marshallville, Ohio.
But prior to getting married, Beth and Eric always talked about wanting to have children and wanting to be parents, so in July of 2017, they started trying to have children.
The first month… nothing.
The second month… nothing.
And the third month… nothing.
During this time, Beth still wasn’t experiencing a regular menstrual cycle, so she went to her doctor where she was prescribed Provera to jumpstart her cycle. But it didn’t work.
After a series of tests, it was determined that her hypothalamus was not functioning as it should. In layman’s terms, Beth could not ovulate on her own.
“Dr. Mooney is incredible. He is smart, genuine, and straight to the point. He wastes no time “beating around the bush" as I quickly discovered during my first appointment on December 18th. He diagnosed me with a condition known as “hypothalamic amenorrhea", and gave me an ultimatum - put on 10-15 pounds, or forget the dream of having kids."
Hypothalamic Amenorrhea: When poor nutrition or stress alters your signaling to the brain to regulate the menstrual cycle. Women with this condition may be severely restricting their caloric intake, exercising more than two to three hours a day, or under major psychological stress. It is a common pattern seen in performance athletes and dancers as well as women with anorexia nervosa, with the common denominator of very low body fat levels and significantly low body mass index (BMI). In this situation, your brain doesn’t get adequate energy or macronutrients to pulse the hormones that govern follicle ripening and release of eggs.
Beth always knew she was Type A but was proud of her ability to be healthy and self-disciplined. But never did she think “it" would lead to an eating disorder that would affect her one day, especially when it came to starting her own family.
And all while this is going on, everyone around Beth and Eric were getting pregnant. So not only did this become an emotional and mental battle, but this was a true test to their faith.
Nobody tells you when you’re anorexic the long-term harm you are doing to your body. Every day I wish I could take back the years I starved myself and literally ran my body into the ground. At the time, all I wanted was to be skinny. Now… all I want is to be a Mom.
In January, Beth began taking timed hormonal (Follistim) injections which stimulated her ovaries and allowed her body to ovulate.
So, it worked! Right?
While she was able to get pregnant, at the beginning of March, Beth and her husband suffered a miscarriage.
Not only was this one of the hardest experiences they ever had to deal with, but it was yet again, another experience testing their faith.
In April of 2018, her doctor recommended IVF.
In Vitro Fertilization was something that NEVER crossed my mind. After learning about my non-functioning hypothalamus, I knew getting pregnant would be tough, but I never thought it would come to this. Those three little letters completely tore me apart.
Financially, Beth and her husband were able to pursue IVF due to a budget they had set aside, and because of the fantastic health benefits she had as a first-grade teacher.
She took the summer to prep her body.
And in August of 2018…
She found out she was pregnant, and on April 24th, 2019, Beth and her husband welcomed their baby boy, Luke.
Looking back on her IVF journey, Beth believes her infertility brought her closer to her husband and closer to God. While at times she did feel tested in her faith, she believes not only did she come out stronger but more appreciative of her experience and her outcome.
For anyone considering IVF as a fertility solution or would like to learn more, please visit www.parents.com.
Meredith is a Philadelphia native with a bachelor’s degree in Integrated Marketing Communications from Duquesne University and has worked in digital marketing for over seven years. She’s passionate about writing to women to help them feel more confident in their financial lives.