Connected support aids one couple in their journey to expand their family

Asia S. and her husband Kamran had been married for two years when they decided to start a family. "We tried to get pregnant for about a year," Asia says. "We weren't trying that hard or anything, but I decided to go to my doctor to make sure everything was okay."

Asia, who was 25 at the time, went to see her regular obstetrician/gynecologist, Austin Regional Clinic's, Paul Bushart, M.D. "I love Dr. Bushart and the ARC staff," Asia says. "ARC has a great family atmosphere and I know I will always get my concerns addressed there."

After an examination, Dr. Bushart told Asia that she wasn't ovulating in a regular, predictable way and referred her to endocrinologist and reproductive specialist, Maya Bledsoe at ARC Seton Northwest. "I was pretty scared at first. I worried that something was really wrong," says Asia, who has been a long distance runner since high school. "I know runners sometimes have fertility issues so I have always made sure to stay at a healthy weight."

Dr. Bledsoe immediately alleviated Asia's concerns. "She was awesome," Asia says. "She explained everything really well and put us at ease that there was no real problem." Dr. Bledsoe explained that the biggest hurdle was to get Asia ovulating in a predictable way. "She put me on oral medication to regulate ovulation," Asia says, "I also had to get frequent ultrasounds and take my temperature every day." Asia remembers having lots of questions for Dr. Bledsoe. "I sent her email messages and she always responded quickly," Asia says.

Once Asia was ovulating in a predictable way, Dr. Bledsoe scheduled her for an intrauterine insemination or "IUI." She explained that this fertility treatment would facilitate fertilization by placing Kamran's sperm directly inside Asia's uterus while she was ovulating. Asia describes the procedure as simple, painless, quick, and minimally invasive.

"I could do everything I normally do," Asia says. "I didn't even have to stop running." Dr. Bledsoe told Asia and Kamran that it took an average of 6 IUI procedures to get pregnant. "We assumed the pregnancy would be about six months down the road," Asia says, "but two weeks after the first procedure, I took a pregnancy test and it was positive!"

Dr. Bledsoe monitored Asia for several weeks and, when she was satisfied with the health of Asia's pregnancy, sent her back Dr. Bushart. "Dr. Bushart was always available to answer my questions and he was really supportive of my running," Asia recalls. "He was so relaxed about everything and that really helped me."

Asia is grateful that she had an uneventful pregnancy and that she was able to run until a week before her daughter, Roya, was born. "Roya is super funny and she sleeps amazingly well," Asia says. She remembers asking her pediatrician if Roya's 13-hour nights of sleep were normal for a 4-month old. "She told me not to complain." Asia laughs.

Asia, who graduated from Saint Edward's University with a master's degree in counseling, has stayed home with Roya for the past 18 months. "I never pictured myself as a stay-at-home mom for any period of time," Asia says, "but it felt like the right thing for me. It's fun to see Roya grow and see everything she does for the first time."

Asia describes Roya as an "awesome baby" who is "interested in everything" especially the family's two dogs. "The dogs love her because she drops so much food on the floor—sometimes on purpose to feed them," Asia says.

When Roya was about 7 months old, Asia and Kamran went back to Dr. Bledsoe to plan for a second child. This time it took three IUI procedures before Asia became pregnant. She is expecting a baby boy. Roya will be 21 months old when the baby arrives.

"Roya doesn't know what's coming," Asia says. "It will be interesting to see how she reacts."

Asia, who plans to stay home for a while longer before beginning her counseling practice, says, "I am considering a specialty in women's fertility, pregnancy, and the post-partum period." This decision grew out of Asia's own roller coaster of emotions surrounding fertility and pregnancy even though she knows she "had it really easy."

Asia and Kamran, who met in a running group, run every morning. Most mornings they start at 5:30 AM and take turns so they are both home by the time Roya wakes up at 8.

"It's a bit of a role reversal," Asia says. "Parents up early and baby sleeping in." She is hoping the new baby sleeps as well as Roya does.

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