Schneider Family TTC Journey

They say it takes a village to raise a child, but sometimes it takes a village just to make one. The team at Laurel Fertility was a vital part of that village for us.

We came to Laurel Fertility for our second attempt at IVF, and I remember feeling anxious as I walked into Dr. Smikle’s office for the first time. It was the height of the COVID pandemic, so I had to attend the appointment alone, which only added to my nerves. But from the moment Dr. Smikle greeted me, I knew we were in good hands. His warmth, compassion, and realistic approach immediately put me at ease.

Throughout our cycle, the nurses, staff, and Dr. Smikle were nothing short of amazing. They held our hands through every step of the process, answering our endless questions with grace and patience.

They adapted our medication protocol to suit my body’s unique needs, and their communication was excellent. Their attentiveness to detail and willingness to modify our treatment when necessary was truly exceptional. Thanks to their expertise and care, we achieved a successful cycle, more than tripling the number of euploid embryos we had yielded in our previous attempt.

I wish I could say that it was all easy from there, but that’s not the cruel reality of infertility. My husband and I had to move to the East Coast, for work and family. We shipped our Laurel cohort out shortly after and resumed the arduous process of trying to conceive with our embryos from Laurel at a nearby clinic.

We were on our last attempt at a frozen embryo transfer when we got a call from our nurse, at the new clinic. She didn’t have good news. We were given the option to proceed with the transfer under less than optimal conditions or cancel the cycle. We weighed the pros and cons, agonizing over the possibility of losing more embryos to poor odds. But our nurse encouraged us to take the chance, and we did. Looking back now, I am forever grateful that she did.

After 3 years of hormone injections, painful setbacks, and heartbreak we finally found success.  That is our miracle baby girl from our Laurel cycle. I remember the day I cheated on the two-week wait and took an at-home pregnancy test early. It was two days before Mother’s Day. I wanted to prepare myself emotionally for whatever the result might be. I looked down at the test and saw a faint positive mark.

At first, I laughed it off, convinced that it was just a broken test giving me false hope. But then I took another test, and it too showed a faint positive mark. I’m talking so faint that you had to squint your eyes and hold it up to the light, or take a black-and-white picture on your phone to see the line – but there it was!

To have it confirmed on Mother’s Day was the ultimate gift. I still ugly sob just thinking about it. The first few appointments were uneventful. We watched a little blurry blob on the ultrasound gain mass but it still didn’t feel real. It wasn’t until we heard the baby’s heartbeat that my husband and I realized we were going to be parents.

We were no longer just looking at pictures or listening to doctors, we were parents in the making. Listening to her heartbeat was and still is the most magical sound in the world. Our daughter Daphne (her name is the Greek word for the laurel plant) arrived two weeks early, on January 9th, at 8:46 PM, weighing in at 6 lbs and 5oz. She is more perfect than we could have ever imagined.

Our hearts are forever touched by those who helped us navigate through the challenges of infertility – the care of the doctors, comfort of the nurses, support of the staff and the encouragement and hand-holding of so many others. The list runs long. This journey has been a reminder of the strength that comes from coming together as a village, and the incredible things that can be accomplished when we support each other.

So to Laurel, thank you. Thank you for being not just our clinic, but our support system, and champion as well. You have opened our hearts to so much love and gratitude in ways we never thought possible. We are better people and parents because of it. We are forever grateful.

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