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Unexplained Infertility

My mom told me for my graduating kindergarten class we had to get up in front of the parents and tell them what we wanted to be when we grew up. A lot of the kids said things like: firefighter, lawyer, nurse or teacher. Well when it was my turn to go up to the microphone I said, “when I grow up I want to me a MOMMY.” Thus began my mission!

When I married my husband in 2013 we both knew we wanted to be parents. We talked a lot about kids during our engagement and knew we wanted a big family one day. Like most couples, we thought we should wait at least a year before we started trying so we could enjoy some time alone and maybe do a little traveling.

Our first year of marriage began and I moved from Chico to the Sacramento area and stopped working for my dad in the funeral industry. I continued to keep my funeral director/embalmer license current but decided not to continue working in the industry for the time being. During our first year of marriage I helped Paolo with his business. He's an orthodontist and has a few practices in the area. So I would help build relationships with different dentists in hopes of getting referrals from them. It was a job I didn’t mind doing. I love talking with people and enjoyed putting together little goodies for their offices. I knew this was temporary and soon enough I would be taking care of babies. In March of 2014 we went to Mexico with some friends and family for an all-inclusive trip. It was a blast, and while we were there we thought we would “not-not-try.” Ha, I am sure many of you are used to that saying! I will never forget that feeling I had while we were there and thinking, here we go, we are going to get pregnant anytime now.

Well months went by of actually trying and I still wasn’t seeing that double pink line. It would break my heart every time. It was almost like I was going through a loss even though there was nothing to have lost yet. I went to my OBGYN and told her I wasn’t getting pregnant and was nervous something was wrong. My doctor told me not to worry since I had a regular cycle, I was young and had no health issues. She said I needed to wait a year before we explored other options. During this time we were praying so hard for God to bless us with children; it was a desire I always had and didn’t understand why it wasn’t happening...on MY time. A Bible verse would come to mind often during this time, Phil 4:6 “Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything with prayer and petition, with thanksgiving present your requests to the Lord.” I memorized that verse during this time.

After one year of trying naturally and having no luck I went back to my doctor and she told me she would put me on a drug called, Clomid that would help stimulate ovulation. She wanted me to take prescription and then she would perform a non-invasive procedure called intrauterine insemination (IUI). I needed to track my cycle and come in to get ultrasounds while taking the Clomid to make sure I had follicles (the sack that holds the egg). I felt like my world was slowing stopping. All my attention was now on trying to get pregnant and the fear of not being able to. It seemed to control my life. I had to put things on hold. We spent two months trying IUI with my doctor and was unsuccessful. She then referred me to a specialist.

At this time we really didn’t include our family with what we were going through. Looking back, I think some of this was because I was in denial, maybe? Everyone around me was getting pregnant so easily. I would get invited to baby shower, after baby shower and would get emotional and not really talk to anyone about it. By the time we went to see the specialist we told our families what was going on. Most of them had an idea but didn’t want to say anything. I felt instant relief when we told them because I knew we had more prayer warriors!

We called Northern California Fertility Medical Center right away hoping to move forward with our infertility journey. Thankfully they were local and I didn’t have to travel far to see them. Before we were able to begin the process we had an overwhelming amount of paperwork to complete and they even required panels of blood work. It probably took about a month to complete everything before we were able to start.

I had just turned 30 and my husband surprised me with a trip to Disneyland and it was such great timing to get away from everything we had been going through. When we got home and back to reality my fear started to creep in and remind me of what we were about to go through. This was in the month of December and we had just moved into our new home at that time. I went to take a shower and the steam from the shower was on my bathroom mirror and once I got out I could see writing on the mirror. I kid you not, written (most likely from the previous owners) on the mirror was Phil 4:6. I remember yelling for Paolo to come and see. I couldn’t believe it. I was so thankful to God and cried realizing God is in control. I needed to let go and allow God to guide us along this journey.

After my fun birthday week and making sure we got NCFC everything they needed we began the process. Looking at our history they believed it was unlikely that we would need to do IVF. They wanted to try and few non-invasive procedures first. Once again I was put on Clomid and monitored daily to make sure I had follicles so they would know when to move forward with IUI. Three more months went by and we were unsuccessful. They try and encourage you not to take pregnancy tests during this time because they want to monitor it. However, I couldn’t help myself and I would take tests daily sometimes. The roller coaster ride was getting really old.

The doctors wanted to have a meeting with us about what the next steps would be. We were told that we were “unexplained infertility” and unfortunately they wanted to go ahead with IVF. Our insurance didn’t cover any of our expenses and we knew IVF was costly. We needed to pray about it. My gracious in-laws came over for dinner one night and told us they wanted to gift us the IVF. They told us it was as much a gift for them as it was for us. They were excited to be grandparents. I am crying as I type thinking back to this moment and how grateful we were for this gift.

After more paperwork and going over with a nurse what my body was going to be going through, we were ready to begin. I’ll never forget sitting in the room with our nurse and having her explain how to give myself the injections. It seemed so surreal. Days later I received a large package in the mail with all my medication. It was so overwhelming and quite frankly scary. I would cry to my husband a lot and vent to him how scared and nervous I was. It’s always uncomfortable to do something you are unfamiliar with. Thankfully, my husband was such a great support and always would give me scriptures to lean on. I also had a few friends I was able to lean on during this time who knew the true emotions of this. IVF has been a quiet conversation for a while. It was so helpful having some friends I could call and talk to about my emotions. I would continue of course, to pray and felt God’s comfort during this time.

For those who maybe aren’t familiar with IVF, here’s a quick overview. It’s called in-vitro-fertilization which means it helps with fertilization, embryo development and implantation. It’s used with medication followed by a surgical procedure. We started the medication not too long after we received it. It was about 10 days of doing injections and then going to NCFC to get ultrasounds. The doctors assumed I would overproduce (follicles) since I was young and healthy. However when I went in for my ultrasound, the doctors were pretty disappointed with what they were seeing. I didn’t overproduce at all. In fact they wanted me to start over and increase my medication. I told them no, and that I wanted to still go ahead and just pray they at least get a few mature eggs. They increased my medication for about two days and then did another ultrasound and saw a few more follicles and felt like we should be okay.

In September of 2016 I had my surgery and they told us they would call us in a few days to let us know how things were going. They did let us know they were able to get about 7 eggs. After they retrieve the eggs an embryologist fertilizes the mature and healthy ones and they monitor them for a few days. Those next few days were brutal. I hated waiting. Finally, I received the call and the embryologist told me out of those 7 eggs they were only able to fertilize two of them but out of those two, only one was thriving. They asked me to come in so they could place the two embryos in my uterus. They told me most likely only one would survive. We went in and they gave me some valium and had me drink a ton of water and they placed both embryos in my uterus. We were able to watch on the ultrasound as the doctor did this. It was actually amazing. It was amazing to see my babies. After they sent me home they told me to rest and in 10 days to come in for more blood work.

For those few days I rested most of the time, I was worried and wanted to make sure I was drinking lots of water. I was also so excited. I lamented to God more than I ever have before. Well, the day came and we got a phone call. We were both at home and I had it on speaker. The nurse sounded happy so I thought that was a good sign. Finally she said, “YOU’RE PREGNANT! We both cried and screamed for joy. They wanted me to go in for more blood work to confirm my levels were rising. We immediately called our families letting them know the good news! Everyone celebrated with us and I believe everyone’s faith grew that day!

We found out the other little embryo didn’t make it but we had one healthy little embryo and couldn’t wait to meet our new baby. I had a healthy pregnancy and we were so blessed with our sweet firstborn, Anthony Robert.

I truly pray this post brings you hope wherever you are in your journey. I know stories like mine don’t happen every time. I have friends that have tried many times and sadly have not gotten pregnant. I do believe that God gives us the desires of our hearts. Sometimes it may look differently than what we had pictured, but God is sovereign and we must continue to trust Him.

James 1:2-3 "Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance."

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Shawntel Newton
Shawntel Newton

Thank you! We actually got pregnant naturally with Leo ❤️


This is such a beautiful story. Your faith is so inspiring. I am so glad God blessed you and your husband with a beautiful boy. Did you do IVF with Leo as well?


Shawntel Newton
Shawntel Newton

Yes, it was such a surreal moment! I really felt God’s presence ❤️


Such a touching story. I was just getting to know you during this time, and it is so crazy to read about it. I hadn't heard you mention the verse on the mirror before...what a beautiful sign.

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