- Patient Stories - IVFReproductive Medicine & Fertility Care at Billings Clinic
(406) 238-2500, ext. 2904
(800) 332-7156, 2904
Under the care of Reproductive Specialists at Billings Clinic, this is the story of the journey to add a new member to the family.
Cross Family Story
Dr. Montville & Keri Cross
Every little girl has dreams of her life as an adult. Maybe that dream includes falling in love. Maybe that dream includes having a great job. Maybe that dream includes getting pregnant and having children. For Keri Cross, she is living her dream, but it didn’t come easily.
Keri completed nursing school, is now a charge nurse at Billings Clinic and takes pride in her professional work and accomplishments. In 2002, she met Kenny and celebrated that she had found true love in her life partner. Kenny and Keri married in 2005 and agreed to start a family right away.
But this part of the dream was met with obstacles. Keri became pregnant. Keri and Kenny shared plans to go to the doctor, to create a nursery in their home, to plan financially. But the excitement ended when Keri miscarried near the end of her first trimester.
Sad, disappointed and scared, Keri and Kenny took time to heal and gain the strength to try to conceive again. This time, the pregnancy was again celebrated but quietly, with an attitude of caution. This time, the news was not shared so publicly. Sadly, this second much-wanted pregnancy again ended in miscarriage at the end of the first trimester.
Discouraged, Kenny and Keri knew that the clock was ticking. Keri was now 36 years old. They both realized that they needed to do everything possible that could help Keri conceive and carry a baby to term. They called Keri’s OB/Gyn, Dr. Camille Osborn at Billings Clinic, to talk about possibilities and options. Dr. Osborn recommended that Keri monitor her ovulation. She also recommended that Keri try oral medications to induce ovulation. Keri tried these medications for one year, but she tired of the irritating side effects and she was still not pregnant. Dr. Osborn had one more suggestion -- she introduced Keri and Kenny to Dr. Christopher Montville, a new physician at Billings Clinic who brings a new specialty to our region: Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility (REI).
Loaded with her arsenal of lab data, Keri arrived at Dr. Montville’s office with the results of her chromosomal test, genetic test, and immune disorder tests. Dr. Montville then asked for Keri to get tests to evaluate the function of her ovaries. The test results all came back normal. The next step was education about infertility so that Keri and Kenny could fully understand all the issues, which would help them make fully informed decisions.
“The amount of information is overwhelming but Kenny and I were so happy to learn that we had options,” said Keri.
Infertility affects many couples but usually the infertility is the result of age. Older women, specifically women over age 35, may have challenges becoming pregnant. Women are born with a set number of eggs but over the years, those eggs are depleted as the ovary ages. As a woman ages, degenerative changes also affect the quality of the eggs in the ovary. This means that by age 35, the diminished quality and quantity of eggs makes it more difficult for a woman to conceive.
There is also a male component to infertility. Combined male and female factors are present in 40% of couples having problems getting pregnant. But men do not need to worry as much about the issues of aging and deterioration. Unlike women, who have a set number of eggs, men produce millions of sperm monthly, or even daily. Although age can affect reproductive function in men, the impact of the age of the male partner is less dramatic than the effects of female age.
Couples are evaluated by Dr. Montville for a variety of reasons. If the woman is over 35 years old, it is recommended that she seek treatment after six months of unsuccessful attempts to conceive. The first process is to figure out why the woman is not getting pregnant. Blood tests may be ordered to evaluate egg quality and quantity. Semen is analyzed to check for problems with sperm production. A procedure called a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) is performed to check to make sure that fallopian tubes are open so fertilization can take place. The inside of the uterus is checked for fibroids or polyps that could impact the implantation of an embryo.
And then a treatment plan is developed. This plan may include medication to help women ovulate. If the problem involves a tubal factor, a surgical procedure may be recommended or the possibility of in vitro fertilization (IVF) may be considered. If the problem involves not enough sperm being produced or the sperm are abnormally shaped or don’t swim well, intrauterine insemination (IUI) is used to place the sperm directly inside the uterus for an attempt at better fertilization.
“Dr. Montville explained all of these aspects of infertility to us and we discussed our options. I did not want to go out of state and I wanted to progress conservatively. We created a plan together,” said Keri.
Keri would try ovarian stimulation with IUI. It was agreed that she would try the procedure three times and then they would discuss the possibility of IVF.
Two weeks after her procedure, Keri and Kenny received the results of a blood test that showed that Keri was pregnant. She was monitored carefully and counted the days through her first trimester.
“This whole process has been both devastating and elating. I am so grateful for the support from the people that cared for me through my miscarriages,” said Keri. “And then to have Dr. Montville understand my fears and be supportive of my moments when I was scared mattered so much.”
Keri’s first and second trimesters are now complete. Keri and Kenny look forward to the birth of their baby in May. This is their dream.
For more information about Billings Clinic reproductive medicine and fertility care in Bozeman, call 406-587-9202 or 1-866-587-9202 and in Billings, call 406-238-2904 or 1-800-332-7156, ext. 2904.