Thanks to the LAAM Laparoscopic Fibroid Removal, Sherri Only Needed One IVF Cycle
Sherri C, New York, fibroid patient traveled to The Center for Innovative GYN Care for a LAAM myomectomy in 2015 to improve her chances of being able to conceive, and recently welcomed her first child, Emersyn after a determined search for the right donor.
“When you meet and fall in love, you don’t think about all of these things that you start to think about when you are looking on paper. That was the longest part of the process.”
SHERRI’S JOURNEY TO MOTHERHOOD: UTERINE FIBROIDS & PREGNANCY
Sherri had gone without healthcare insurance for about a year, and during that time, her fibroids had been growing. The effect of uterine fibroids on pregnancy depends on their location. Submucosal and intrauterine fibroids can cause an embryo not to attach or can cause miscarriage or premature birth as the tumor and embryo have to fight for space and blood supply.
Once Sherri had a job with medical insurance and saw a doctor, her fibroids were so big the loss of blood with her monthly cycle resulted in her becoming anemic.
“I was getting winded walking up subway steps. That’s not me. I recall bleeding so heavy that I felt like I couldn’t leave the house. I don’t want to feel that kind of restraint. Especially now, with a child.”
GYN conditions are often dismissed by patients and doctors, due to the normalization of pain with a woman’s menstrual cycle.
“Fibroids can make your stomach big and cause fatigue. When you have something slowly sucking the blood out of you, you don’t realize that’s adding to your fatigue. I just assumed I’m old and I’m overweight.”
Sherri had met Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD 10 years prior for a laparoscopic myomectomy. After some research into specialists in New York, Sherri chose to return to the surgeon she trusted.
Read Sherri’s Original Story | Traveling For Fibroid Surgery With Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD
“When I had the fibroids removed this time, and I was on the anemia medicine, suddenly it was “Oh wow, this is what it can be like!’ After the surgery, my recovery was about 2 weeks. I worked from home for a week and then I was back in the office the next week. That required a lot of movement, taking the train into the city.”
LAAM is a laparoscopic fibroid removal technique for fertility. It is a hybrid of laparoscopic and open procedures, taking the best of both techniques: small incisions and thorough fibroid removal. The minimally invasive specialists at CIGC developed this groundbreaking technique with only 2 small incisions: One 5MM incision at the belly button and a 1.5 inch incision at the bikini line. Patients recover from the surgery faster and are back to normal activity in 10 to 14 days.
The benefit of the LAAM procedure is the ability to remove large or many fibroids, including very small seedling fibroids that are often missed in other laparoscopic procedures, including robotic myomectomy.
TREATING FIBROIDS EARLY CAN IMPROVE FERTILITY
Fibroids affect about 80 percent of women. They affect about 90 percent of African-American women, who tend to have more complications including larger fibroids and frequent recurrence. Fibroids can affect a woman’s ability to get pregnant, or carry a child to term.
“It wasn’t until the CIGC procedure that I found out that my cousin went through a couple of surgeries. It was only then that I knew there was some family history. My mom told me that she had be told by her doctor that there were fibroids there, but she had four healthy pregnancies, so she never had any procedures to remove them.”
“I never knew that your periods shouldn’t be this heavy and that you have choices. And I want my daughter to know that she has choices early. If kids are in her future, I want her to be able to maintain her fertility and have every option.”
IVF IS A MAJOR COMMITMENT OF TIME, MONEY & EMOTION
“I had told Dr. MacKoul that I had wanted to try to get pregnant. He suggested I follow-up in December to make sure I was ready. I had recently turned 40. That was when he said if you want to try to get pregnant, you need to start now.”
Fertility begins to decline in a woman’s 30s. Once a woman reaches her 40s that decline is exponential and time is a factor in attempting to conceive.
“My health insurance just added a new vendor that would provide $25,000 in benefits towards fertility. Prior to that, my insurance company didn’t really have any money set aside for fertility, so I needed to wait for the vendor to kick in. I made some appointments with a fertility institute in New York for February.”
“Given my age and my history, the doctor said we should try to go to IVF first if your insurance company will pay for it. I went through a whole battery of tests. All of my tests were great. I found out about some traits that I was carrying, but nothing significantly life-threatening. I started with the prep, the shots, and my protocol was pretty easy and well timed. My body responded pretty well.”
“They took 8 eggs from my right ovary. One of the embryos survived. My insurance wouldn’t pay for a 2nd round of egg retrieval if I had frozen embryos. We decided to try with the one embryo and it took. I continued with shots until 11 weeks.”
PREGNANCY COMPLICATIONS HAVE A HIGHER RATE OF OCCURRENCE AFTER 40
“For my first trimester, I had a uterine hematoma. I had four bleeds, heavier than a period. The first time it happened, I thought I miscarried. I went to a hospital and my reproductive endocrinologist told me to get to the clinic first thing in the morning.
“I had seen the heartbeat the week before. When I got to the fertility clinic, the doctor immediately found the heartbeat. He reassured me that this sometimes happens in the early stages of pregnancy. That happened three more times. As soon as I hit 20 weeks, it stopped. They couldn’t find the hematoma any more. At that point I just thanked God, and did everything I could to maintain the pregnancy.”
WELCOMING EMERSYN TO THE WORLD
“I had a C-section at 37 weeks. She was healthy, but her lungs were not staying inflated, so they put her on a CPAP machine and whisked her off to NICU for a few days.”
After a couple of days, Emersyn was breathing on her own.
“Since bringing her home, Emersyn is a happy and healthy baby. I went back to work officially a month ago. All is good.”
BOOK A CONSULTATION
The CIGC state-of-the-art specialists are available at three locations in the DC metro area. Virginia patients can visit the Reston, VA location, and Saturday appointments are available. Maryland offices are located in Rockville, MD and Annapolis, MD.
CIGC is dedicated to providing information and materials for women to help navigate the complicated healthcare system. The CIGC founders, minimally invasive GYN surgical specialists Dr. Paul MacKoul, MD and Dr. Natalya Danilyants, MD, developed their advanced GYN surgical techniques using only two small incisions with patients’ well-being in mind. Dr. Rupen Baxi, MD is a CIGC-trained minimally invasive GYN specialist with extensive fellowship training and a respected speaker and researcher.
Their personalized approach to care helps patients understand their condition and the recommended treatment so that they can have confidence from the very start. Our surgeons have performed over 20,000 GYN procedures and are constantly finding better ways to improve outcomes for patients.