PROFILES IN PARENTHOOD: STEPHANIE’S STORY
The oldest of six children, Stephanie Winters never thought she’d fall into the ‘infertile’ category. But, in late 2016, after she and her new husband had been trying to start a family with no luck, she grew worried.
At 25 years old, the Levittown, Pa. native thought maybe her irregular periods had something to do with it.
While Winters didn’t know exactly what was going on, she knew timing was important for fertility, and didn’t want to waste another minute. She made an appointment with her OBGYN, and that’s when she got an unofficial diagnosis.
“You probably have PCOS,” she heard the nurse say. “We should send you to a specialist.”
Polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) is a hormonal disorder that can prevent ovulation, making it difficult to get pregnant. Women with PCOS often have irregular or absent periods, so the diagnosis made sense to Winters. That didn’t make it any less difficult to hear, and she left the appointment on the verge of tears. Gathering herself in the car, she realized she had only one option: to seek help.
She immediately made an appointment with Reproductive Medicine Associates of Philadelphia (RMAPHL), and by late March 2017 was sitting in the Langhorne, Pa. office, awaiting her first consultation with Dr. Art Castelbaum. As he looked at her chart, he confirmed she likely had PCOS, but that didn’t worry him.
“We’re going to get you pregnant,” Winters remembers Dr. Castelbaum telling her.
“I was obviously very happy to hear that, so I asked him, ‘when?’”
“Maybe a month,” Dr. Castelbaum said, and Winters couldn’t believe what she was hearing. His confidence rubbed off on her, and the two decided on her treatment plan: medication to induce ovulation, a trigger shot to ensure the release of the egg, and timed intercourse to get her pregnant.
After her second attempt on that protocol, on May 25, 2017, she got the call she’d been hoping for: you’re pregnant.
“Are you serious?” Winters asked the nurse on the other end of the line.
“We don’t joke about things like that here,” the nurse replied.
Again, Winters was on the verge of tears, but this time they were tears of joy. After she learned she was pregnant, she came in for several more appointments with Dr. Castelbaum and the RMA team, but when it was time for her to be discharged into the care of her OBGYN, Winters hesitated.
“I just wasn’t ready to leave this amazing care team,” Winters said. “They really spoil you there, and I’m just so lucky we came to RMA and had Dr. Castelbaum and every single nurse, too – everyone was so incredible, from remembering who you are to answering all your questions, it was just a great experience.”
“I had to do something to show my gratitude, so I came in with bagels for everyone on my last appointment.”
Eight months later, more good news: the birth of her daughter Kennedy, born Jan 20, 2018. Winters calls her a “dream child,” who is content, happy and healthy.
“People say you never understand love until you have a child, and it’s so true,” Winters said. “I’m so grateful to Dr. Castelbaum and the whole team at RMA of Philadelphia.”
“I feel they did so much for me, and I just want to give back to them in any way I can.”