Ellen Bartyzal and her husband, Tony, celebrated their twins’ first birthday in August, after planning the event with an extra sense of gratitude for their now family of five. “I have three very healthy babies, when—just a few years ago—I thought I might have none,” Ellen said.
Like any young couple, Ellen and Tony of New Prague never anticipated having any difficulty getting pregnant when they decided to start their family. But as the months ticked by, Ellen watched her girlfriends get pregnant, delight in their pregnancies and deliver beautiful babies—and still nothing happened for her.
After a year, the Bartyzals visited Sarah Bot, PA-C, a fertility specialist at Western OB/GYN, A Division of Ridgeview Clinics. “It was really the only place I considered for care because I had heard such great things about the Ridgeview system,” Ellen said.
Initially, the Bartyzal’s fertility treatment was what any couple would hope for. It was the best possible scenario. There were no apparent reproductive concerns for either parent and all serious complications were ruled out. “I’m really optimistic that we can help you,” Sarah told the couple.
Henry Bartyzal, now age 3 ½, was born 10 months later through intrauterine insemination (IUI).
He was Ellen and Tony’s first blessing.
According to Sarah, “An important part of Ellen’s treatment involved monitoring her ovulation through ultrasound. It was used to help Ellen conceive Henry and would also be a part of her second round of fertility treatment.”
Since insemination worked with the very first try, Ellen was pretty optimistic when they started the process again for a second time. But when her ultrasound found something unexpected, family planning took a back seat to an immediate and serious health concern. Ellen’s ultrasound had uncovered a large mass in her colon which was later determined to be an aggressive precancerous cyst. “Had I not been receiving fertility treatment—and the ultrasound—that tumor would never have been found,” Ellen explained. “My doctor said that had another year or two gone by, it likely would have developed into stage IV colon cancer.”
Ellen gets emotional when she reflects back to how her fertility journey brought more blessings for her family than she could have ever anticipated. “I come from a family of six kids and, after my cancer scare, all of my siblings had colonoscopies as well. Everyone was clear except for my younger sister, who was only age 28 at the time. Doctors found that she had the same type of precancerous polyps, although less advanced. The polyps were removed and my sister is fine.”
Ellen and Tony still wanted more children, so Ellen resumed fertility treatment in September, 2017. The following Christmas morning, she took a home pregnancy test and was delighted to learn that she was pregnant once again. In August 2018, the Bartyzals had twin girls. “Emma and Kate were the perfect addition to our family,” Ellen said.
Today, following her emotional journey to have a family of her own, Ellen often pauses to reflect on her sometimes chaotic life with young children. “When I am with my kids, I give them my full attention—100 percent,” Ellen said. “I feel grateful for all the ups and downs that come with being a parent because of everything I’ve gone through to become a mother. I have three healthy babies when I thought I might have none and I am grateful to be here to enjoy them.”