1.13.2011

My little miracle:
One woman's experience with the EAGER study


My husband and I had already suffered through six months of infertility and two miscarriages when we were introduced to the EAGER program at the IHC hospital in Provo, Utah. While visiting my husband's father (who had recently undergone triple by-pass surgery) in the intensive care unit one day, we noticed a flier in the elevator that posed the question;

"Have you suffered a pregnancy loss? Are you EAGER to become pregnant again?"

On the bottom were several tabs that you could rip off with the program's contact information. Since my answer to both questions was a strong "yes" and "yes", I gratefully deposited the final tab into my pocket and decided to contact them the following day.

I didn't have any idea what I would be getting myself into, and at that point in time, I didn't feel I had the luxury to be apprehensive. All I knew was that at twenty-six years old, I was a young, healthy woman--a non-smoker, non-drinker, married to a supportive and loving spouse...who was also childless and becoming desperately unhappy.

As luck would have it, the program turned out to be relatively painless--after an introductory phone call, I was told that I qualified for the program and scheduled an appointment with one of their nurses.

During my first appointment--located in a room right on the maternity floor of the hospital--my nerves were quickly calmed by the friendly and professional manner in which the nurse conducted herself. She explained the program and it's procedures in detail, and I never felt pressured to join or answer any deeply personal questions. Once I looked over the written agreement, I signed my name and was ready to begin the journey.

As far as studies go, the EAGER program is relatively routine in nature--during those first few months, I tracked my periods and ovulation cycles with the help of a daily journal and a fertility monitor. Usually the monitors run for about $400.00 retail, yet everything was provided for free from the study. I was also asked to collect samples of my morning urine (to be frozen and then collected at my bi-monthly appointments), partake of the study medications once a day (the first was either an aspirin or a placebo, and the second, folic acid), and attend my appointments. I was even compensated for the mileage that accumulated while driving into the hospital!
Still, the most rewarding part of the experience at that point was the confidence that began to grow inside of me. The EAGER program was giving me the tools and support that I needed to possibly overcome my current situation.

For the first time in over two years, I began to sense a glimmer of hope.

What happened next is nothing short of miraculous in my eyes; after only three months with the Eager program (two period cycles) I became pregnant! I should also mention that as this was our third pregnancy, each of the first two only lasting up to about ten weeks, we had taken other precautions as well. My husband and I had both been working with a fertility specialist in the American Fork area to whom we attribute most of the credit. After being tested, our doctor had found that I have a rare, hereditary blood-clotting condition that caused my babies to expire after a few weeks. He prescribed Heparin (a blood thinner) which I was expected to inject into my stomach twice daily. Along with the aspirin (or placebo?) from the Eager program, something clicked, and my husband and I held our breath as we passed the dreaded ten-week mark...then fifteen...and then, at twenty weeks, we found out our baby was a little girl.

My pregnancy wasn't all roses--each trimester had it's downside. The first trimester was the most emotionally challenging, wondering if this baby was going to stay with me, whether or not he or she would be healthy...then there were the blood draws (twice a month with the Eager program and once a month with my doctor), the normal monthly doctor check-ups, and of course, the medications and heparin shots on top of nausea and fatigue.
The second trimester was better--I didn't have to keep collecting urine samples (a big headache when you are working full-time and already stumbling out of bed and running to the bathroom to stick your head in the toilet) and I was feeling less sick and more energized. I was also able to discontinue the heparin shots and instead was advised to just supplement a small baby aspirin along with my study medication as a just-in-case.
Then the third trimester brought on it's own "normal" pregnancy challenges--I had gained sixty pounds over the nine month period and was swollen, filled with aches and pains. I was tested for gestational diabetes and preeclampsia, but was found to be perfectly healthy. It occurred to me the week of my baby's due date
(I hadn't named her yet, as I was still afraid of a loss) that I may actually become a mother this time.

Indeed, I gave birth to my beautiful, healthy daughter one day after her due date. She was nine pounds, nine ounces, pink, and lovely with dark curls...and when they handed her to me for the first time I knew she was worth every nick, pinch, and ache that I had experienced. This summer she will turn two years old, and she has been the healthiest child I have ever known--in fact, in two years the worst we've dealt with is a small case of the sniffles!

There is no doubt in my mind that I would do it all over again in a heartbeat and we are eternally grateful for modern medicine and those who helped us along the way. If you think the EAGER program might be for you, I highly recommend that you seek out more information. Who knows? Your own miracle might be waiting for you.

-Charami Boyter

For more information about the EAGER program, check out their website at:

http://www.eagertrial.org/about_study.php

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