Seeds of Success: The DiMarco Family
Marah and Paul DiMarco watched their son Colby growing quickly when they decided it was the right time to continue building their family. Although Marah was already in her late 30’s, her healthy and relatively easy pregnancy with Colby led the couple to believe there would be few complications.
However, the couple’s attempt at trying for a second child was accompanied by many roadblocks. In addition to experiencing secondary infertility after trying to conceive for a year and a half, 37-year-old Marah noticed some irregularities: “I noticed that my period was very irregular all of a sudden, which was not normal for me.”
One of Marah’s close friends had found success at RADfertility, so the DiMarcos decided to schedule an appointment. During the couple’s initial meeting with their doctor, Marah said that she felt at ease immediately. “It was a definite right out of the gate comfort level with my doctor,” Marah said. By referencing Marah’s OB/GYN lab work, her doctor originally suspected Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS), and ordered additional lab work to investigate further. Marah and Paul remained hopeful.
“It was a definite right out of the gate comfort level.”
An Unpleasant Surprise, But A Blessing In Disguise
The additional testing revealed polyps as well as an ovarian cyst. Her doctor scheduled Marah for hysteroscopic and laparoscopic surgery to remove and correct these issues.
Unfortunately, what seemed to be a minor procedure to remove what appeared to be a cyst turned out to be a granulosa cell tumor. The discovery was accompanied by a stage 1 ovarian cancer diagnosis.
“It was a shock that we weren’t expecting,” Marah said.
The couple received the news on their wedding anniversary. “It is cancer,” Marah said after receiving the call with the pathology results. Paul hugged Marah, “We’re going to get through this together.” The couple stayed strong. “We had to embrace it and move forward, and whatever we were told to do, we were going to do it,” Marah said. Ultimately, Paul and Marah’s secondary infertility led to early detection, saving Marah from ovarian cancer.
Facing A Cancer Diagnosis
Following the discovery of the cyst, Marah’s doctor referred the DiMarcos to Dr. Mark Borowsky at The Helen Graham Cancer Center.
He shared that Dr. McGuirk removed the entire mass and there were no other traces of cancer. They could choose surgical staging as a preventative measure by completely removing one of Marah’s ovaries and the corresponding fallopian tube. Since Marah wanted to build her family, she could wait until after treatment to increase her chances with the ovary and fallopian tubes intact. Dr. Borowsky also recommended IVF as a means of getting pregnant.
After an unsuccessful course of Clomid, the DiMarcos decided to try IVF, especially due to Marah’s age. “I definitely felt this ticking clock because I’m older,” Marah said.
“IVF was just such a big decision,” said Marah. Timing was of the essence due to her cycle.
At the time, Paul was on a trip with little cell phone service, and Marah got in touch with her husband on the side of a mountain. Paul told his wife, “if you emotionally and physically feel like you can do it, I will support you.”
Our Little Soldier
With cost of care being one of the biggest factors in the DiMarco’s decision to move forward, RADfertility referred the couple to Ferring’s Heart Beat Program, an organization that helps offset the cost of IVF for patients facing a cancer diagnosis.
While the Heart Beat program was able to alleviate some of the financial aspect of IVF for the DiMarcos, it was important that Marah maintained a positive attitude throughout the emotional part of the journey. “You just keep your eyes on the prize,” Marah said. “The most nerve-wracking part I think is leading up to the retrieval and just not knowing what the outcome is going to be.”
Following a single round of IVF, the DiMarcos had one healthy, viable embryo able to be transferred. The couple discussed their fears with their doctor, who encouraged them to take their chances with the single embryo.
“My doctor told me to have faith and know that every little embryo has a fair shot,” Marah said. “We called him our little soldier.”
“My doctor always had a way of giving me peace of mind to see the bigger picture,” Marah said.
So, after following the advice of her doctor, Marah and Paul waited, hoping for a successful outcome.
“RADfertility will go out of their way to give you amazing, compassionate care and share their knowledge. Believe in miracles; they really can happen.”
An Incredible Feeling
On April Fool’s Day, Marah received good news, but it wasn’t a joke.
She described the feeling as “incredible,” but she also worried about the pregnancy, having suffered a miscarriage in the past: “You’re just so terrified that it’s just not going to stay, and this is all going to be crushing.”
It wasn’t until she was about 10 weeks into her pregnancy that she began to breathe a bit easier, according to Marah. And she only felt peace of mind when she reached the second trimester without any complications.
The rest of the pregnancy went as planned, and Marah gave birth to Gage Xavier on November 25, 2015.
Marah and Paul live with their sons, Colby and Gage, in Wilmington, Delaware.
DiMarco: Family of Four
“He was our tough cookie from the gate,” Marah said of her second son. “His strength and determination is very apparent to this day.”
“Every time I think about it, I get emotional,” said Marah. “You never think it’s going to be you. I don’t know what could have happened. I want to scream my story; I’ll tell it to anybody.”
Marah and Paul are thankful for everyone at RADfertility who helped to facilitate their family’s journey.
“I didn’t realize how bad I wanted a second child until I thought potentially we could not have one,” said Marah. RADfertility “makes you feel like you’re a part of a family, always putting you at ease.”
“RADfertility will go out of their way to give you amazing, compassionate care and share their knowledge,” said Marah. “Believe in miracles; they really can happen. We are forever grateful for RADfertility.”
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"I feel so lucky to have found RADfertility. I tried two other clinics before I expanded my search and found RADfertility. I drive an hour each way to go to them but I don’t regret a thing. They are so caring and so professional. Every time I message them they respond quickly. Every time I see them they have a friendly smile and warm welcome. They explain everything so well and I never feel lost in the process as I did elsewhere. They also took the time to figure out what was wrong. Other clinics threw up their hands, said 'I don’t know' and pushed me to try IVF."
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"I cannot begin to explain how wonderful RADfertility is. We were frustrated with trying to start a family and it not working for us. The entire team of doctors and nurses made us feel comfortable and hopeful that we would be parents. We experienced so many ups and downs but we never felt like we were on our IVF journey alone, we had our RADfertility team every step of the way. If you're looking for a supportive team on the IVF journey, look no further. RADfertility is the absolute best."
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Silverside Medical Center
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Wilmington, DE 19810
Eden Hill Medical Center
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