Scott and Kristin reflect on the heart-wrenching experience of learning they might never have children, then finding answers, hope and success at TRM.
“Not all fertility clinics are created equal,” says new mom Kristin Lindquist. “You really want to have a doctor that’s on your team. It’s a very hard thing to go through physically, but even harder to go through emotionally.”
Kristin and her husband, Scott, never imagined that they’d find themselves needing any sort of help getting pregnant, let alone in vitro fertilization (IVF). They were heartbroken when a Nashville fertility doctor diagnosed Kristin with unexplained infertility, meaning that a specific reason for their struggle to conceive could not be pinpointed. Though fertility treatment was still an option, reality soon set in that they were now numbered among the estimated 1 in 8 couples that struggle with infertility.
“We learned, through the tears, to accept we may never have children,” Kristin explains. “We made the decision that we would take medical treatment and prayers as far as we could, and then we would have to learn to accept the outcome either way.”
Residents of Nashville, Scott and Kristin initially sought treatment close to home. They endured two failed rounds of intrauterine insemination and six rounds of clomifene (Clomid) and letrozole (oral medications that help women ovulate) that didn’t lead to pregnancy. Before long, it became clear that IVF treatment would likely be their best shot at parenthood.
“Honestly, we had a bad experience at the clinic in Nashville,” Kristin recalls. “We were so scared. We didn’t know what was going on. We were put on meds and not told what to expect. We still weren’t sure we wanted to do IVF and we had so many questions. We did some research on some other clinics, and ran across the success rates and positive reviews at TRM and saw they were one of the best, and that caught our eye. We knew we had to at least go in for a consultation.”
Explaining unexplained infertility
Scott and Kristin scheduled a consultation appointment with Dr. Rink Murray and made the two-hour trek from Nashville to Chattanooga. Hoping to get a clearer picture of the options available to them, Kristin carried a written list of questions prepared for Dr. Murray.
“He sat down with us and talked with us for an hour and 45 minutes,” she says. “My husband and I both work in healthcare as nurses. No doctor sits down with his patients for an hour and 45 minutes. That never happens. He went through everything – all the reasons we might be having trouble, what our odds of success were with various treatment methods, our possible diagnoses. I never even had to reference my list.
“Infertility is such a difficult thing to go through physically as well as emotionally. The longing for a child, the struggle with emotions, the questioning of what is wrong, and the thought of Will I ever have a child? is with you every single day. I remember walking through stores and turning my head the other direction when we passed the baby section. We had a room in our house we dreamed would one day be a nursery. We closed the door to that room. I couldn’t look at the empty room. It broke my heart,” says Kristin.
“I wanted a baby so badly but had little hope I would ever be able to conceive. My husband and I shed many tears for fear we would never have a child. Infertility is hard. For me, being diagnosed with unexplained infertility was even harder. I almost wanted them to find a problem, so we could try to fix it. I wanted answers – a rationale for why we weren’t able to conceive. Perhaps the problem was something on a microscopic level. It’s hard with unexplained infertility,” she says.
“Though we still couldn’t pinpoint the cause of our infertility, after our consultation at TRM, we knew if we had a chance at success with IVF it was going to be with Dr. Murray. He was very knowledgeable and informative but also very personable, humble and empathetic at a time when we were broken and in our vulnerable state. We got a sense from our first visit that he was on our team, and that he was going to do everything possible to give us the very best chance at having a child. We trusted Dr. Murray.”
About one month after their initial consultation, Scott and Kristin made the decision to pursue IVF treatment at TRM.
Tweaking the odds of IVF treatment success
Kristin started the IVF process, receiving injections and medications that stimulate ovulation for egg retrieval. Some lab work and monitoring could be done remotely in Nashville, but the couple often made the drive to Chattanooga for their appointments. They felt it was worth it to have a team that was on their side, and committed to keeping them informed and reassured.
“Our entire experience at TRM was unbelievable,” says Kristin. “From the front desk staff to the nurses that performed frequent blood draws to Dr. Murray and his partner Dr. Scotchie, we were treated more like friends than patients. We really felt like we could trust them.”
Initially, the plan was to transfer an embryo shortly after the egg retrieval in what’s called a fresh embryo transfer. When it came time to do the transfer, Dr. Murray called Kristin and explained that freezing the embryos and waiting might give them better odds of success.
“He didn’t think conditions were ideal for a fresh transfer,” Kristin recalls. “He said the likelihood that it would be successful wasn’t high. He was willing to do it, but he recommended waiting until the next month and doing a frozen embryo transfer.”
Heeding Dr. Murray’s advice, the couple opted to wait. The following month, they transferred a single embryo. They soon got the phone call they’d be waiting years to receive: Kristin was pregnant!
The best Christmas gift ever
Kristin gave birth to her son Finn Lindquist on December 25, 2017, after a routine pregnancy that she describes as “perfectly healthy.” For this couple who wanted so desperately to have a child, baby Finn’s arrival was indeed a gift.
“Sometimes I just hold him, and I think about how hard it was to get him here and how lucky we are that it worked,” says Kristin. “I think it definitely made us just love him that much more.”
Looking back, Kristin wishes they had started at TRM.
“We’ve had other friends that have gone through IVF in Nashville. Some of them have said that they’ve never seen a doctor or only seen a doctor one time. That’s crazy to me because we saw Dr. Murray or Dr. Scotchie at every visit.”
Scott and Kristin still have embryos frozen from their IVF cycle, and if they decide to have another baby, they know where to turn.