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Seeds of Success: The Reeder Family

A radio commercial piqued their interest in an information session about fertility options and also marked the beginning of Marisa and Steve’s journey at RAD. “I happened to be driving home from work one day and heard a radio ad that RAD was going to have a seminar at a local hotel,” Marisa said. “I told my husband about it and we decided to go.” Marisa and Steve attended the event in 2012 at the Christiana Hilton and had the opportunity to meet all of the RAD physicians along with members of every department. “I decided to go just to hear a little more,” Marisa shared, “and I was wowed by the session. Having representatives from the different departments within RAD was wonderful. From that session alone, I knew immediately I wanted to switch to RAD and I knew what doctor I wanted as well.” Steve and Marisa decided to move on from their current reproductive practice that night and they made an appointment with Dr. George Kovalevsky.

Advocacy In Action

Marisa was diagnosed with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) in November 2011 and knew she may have trouble conceiving due to the disorder. “Prior to my diagnosis, I had never heard of PCOS and I had no idea what it was,” she said. Marisa found herself explaining PCOS to others in an effort to raise awareness, “The way that I like to explain PCOS is that it causes a woman’s hormones to be out of balance. It can affect the way you feel, the way you look, and in some cases can lead to serious health problems.”

Marisa Reeder

Many women are fighting an invisible illness, so the biggest thing that I want people to know about PCOS is that it exists at all.

Following her diagnosis, Marisa sought support for the disorder which led to a new initiative, the Facebook Delaware PCOS Awareness Support Group. “I started the support group in the fall of 2012 after feeling alone because I didn’t understand the disease,” Marisa shared. “Even though I had support from my husband and family, I was looking for other women going through exactly what I was going through.” Her advocacy efforts didn’t stop there. Supported by wonderful family and friends, Marisa launched the 1st Annual Delaware PCOS Awareness Walk in 2013 to raise funds for organizations that had a mission close to her heart. The Glasgow Park event has grown exponentially and this year they celebrated the fourth annual walk with proceeds benefitting the PCOS Foundation and the PCOS Awareness Association.

Taking The First Step At RAD

Steve and Marisa visited RAD’s Newark office for their first appointment with Dr. Kovalevsky in June of 2013. “It was a very informative appointment and he was very thorough. I appreciated his style of speaking with us,” Marisa noted. They also appreciated Dr. Kovalevsky’s understanding when he addressed IVF as something they potentially would have to do and not necessarily a starting point.

Following their first appointment, Marisa and Steve decided to move forward with the work-up process. The work-up is part of the diagnostic treatment process at RAD and involves an initial exam and ultrasound, followed by prenatal lab work for both male and female partners. The physician uses this information to create an individualized treatment plan based on their recommendations and the patient’s goals. Dr. Kovalevsky reviewed the results from their testing with the couple and once again confirmed Marisa’s PCOS diagnosis. Marisa and Steve started their first round of treatment at RAD in November 2013 with an intrauterine insemination (IUI).

The Third Time Is The Charm

Unfortunately, after two unsuccessful IUI attempts, Marisa and Steve decided to move on to IVF in June 2014. Marisa said, “I was an ideal candidate for Step-It-Up IVF so we started with that. My body did not respond well the first time, so we tried a second time. The second round included some alterations to the medicine I was taking, but it was still unsuccessful.” Marisa also noted how important Steve’s support was through the process. “Not only did he come to almost every appointment, but he was my hand-holder and injection buddy,” Marisa stated. “Needles stress me out, but Steve is worse, and generally passes out at the sight of blood. He would prep my needles, fill the medicine, and get the alcohol wipes prepped so that I could just clean the area and inject quickly. We became a team.”

After two unsuccessful IVF attempts, Marisa and Steve remained hopeful that the third time was the charm. “It felt like a lot of failure over and over again,” Marisa said. Dr. Kovalevsky was also a source of hope during the tough times. “He always made me feel like there was some other option. Whatever it took, we were going to do something to get there.”

Marisa kept a journal of all of her thoughts and feelings throughout the treatment process. “The journal helped me in a few ways,” Marisa shared, “it helped me remember the years of treatment and also reflect on what I had been through and accomplished.” The couple started their third IVF cycle in January 2015 and were filled with joy as it went well, resulting in ten frozen embryos. Of those ten embryos, one was transferred on April 10, 2015, and two weeks later, Marisa and Steve heard the words that they had been longing to hear, ‘You are pregnant!’

Marisa and Steve’s daughter Lily was born on January 6th, 2016.

‘A Place Where a lot of my Problems Were Solved’

Marisa and Steve reflected on their time at RAD. “I tell everyone that for me, RAD is a place where a lot of my problems were solved,” Marisa shared. The couple valued the welcoming environment at RAD and that they felt like they were a part of the bigger RAD family. “I felt like they knew us, they remembered us, and were invested in us on a personal level vs. just a number in a book. RAD has been the best patient/physician relationship I have ever had.”

Marisa Reeder

“When you are going through treatment, it is important to remember there will always be sunshine around the corner. Don’t give up.”

Marisa’s 4-year fertility journey with PCOS led to a happy ending, the sweetest little girl named Lily, in January 2016. And recently, Marisa and Steve became a family of 4!

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