The Gift of Life

Preya Shivdat and her husband, Ravi, wanted desperately to have a child.

Like a lot of married couples, they had waited to start their family because they wanted a nicer home and to feel more settled before adding a baby into the mix. Then, in 2001, the Winter Garden couple, owners of Kona Ice of Northwest Orlando, decided they were ready to have a baby.

But things didn’t go as easy as planned. They tried for an entire year to get pregnant without any positive results, so they sought professional help. “By 2002, we realized there was an issue. My OB referred me to a fertility specialist,” says Preya.

The Emotional Impact
Preya, who vowed to do anything it would take, was diligent about charting her schedule and following her doctor’s advice. “I’m the type of person who if I have a problem, I come up with a solution,” she says. But, sadly, she realized she had little control over the final outcome in this situation.

Next, the couple tried intrauterine insemination (IUI). “I was on a limited amount of medication that went with my ovulation schedule,” says Preya. After several unsuccessful IUI treatments, they moved forward with plans to try in vitro fertilization (IVF).

But still they had no success, only lowered spirits.

In addition, the whole process began to chip away at their insurance, which luckily, at that time, covered fertility treatments. “Some people are mortgaging their houses to pay for these treatments. Not only are you dealing with the emotional impact, but you think, ‘I have no way to make this happen financially,’” says Preya.

Knowing the challenge they were up against, Preya searched online to see if others were having the same problem. “I found and connected with other women. There were late nights when we were posting our stories. There are form boards, and so many resources and support groups,” she says.

A New Doctor & A New Treatment
“Infertility can make or break a marriage,” says Preya. “I learned a lot about myself and my body and our marriage and each other and that this was something I couldn’t control.”

She went to see Dr. Mark Trolice, who had experienced a similar challenge with his wife. He was greatly encouraging and sympathetic to the Shivdats’ troubles.

“I thought to myself, ‘It’s not that I can’t have kids but it is a whole emotional journey,’” says Preya. Her difficulties in getting pregnant affected not just her marriage but her family, also. “My parents were devastated too and hurting for me. It goes beyond just you. It goes to your marriage and extended family. But you have to be open to gaining support because suffering in silence doesn’t help anyone.”

In 2004, Preya and Ravi were close to giving up. “Our insurance coverage was running out and I was worn out from all the medication I was on,” Preya confesses.

Dr. Trolice suggested they try a natural IVS. “He said to try acupuncture. He wanted me to start it as a way to relax,” says Preya. Although a non-believer in such a method, she decided to give it a try with six treatments. “I did it to get my doctor off my back. I did it also to help with stress.”

And then, Preya missed a period without realizing it. “It never dawned on me that I might be pregnant. I didn’t want to get my hopes up,” she says.

The Miracle
In October of 2004, the Shivdats finally got that positive fertility test. One of the first people Preya told was her mom. “I found out a few weeks before my birthday,” she says. “I sent blue and pink roses to my mom’s house. She was thrilled.”

In June of 2005, the couple welcomed their son into the family. “We named him Ajay. It means unconquerable,” says Preya. “I’m positive the acupuncture worked. I wasn’t on anything else. Making some changes to what I was eating helped too. Surrounding yourself with positive folks is really important. Stress is a huge deterrent to getting pregnant.”

Preya says that the best advice out there is to know that you are not alone. Seek friendship because you never know who you’ll talk to and what door that will open.

“Preya is the rare combination of compassion, generosity, and tenacity,” says Dr. Trolice, director of Fertility C.A.R.E. (Center of Assisted Reproduction and Endocrinology. “After admirably overcoming her fertility challenge, she worked with my non-profit, Fertile Dreams Foundation, then created A Family of My Own to provide hope and education to women who struggle to build their own families.”

In January of 2008, the couple was blessed with another son. “We had no plans on having a second child because I didn’t want to go through treatments again,” says Preya. “I had a weight loss, [and] then got pregnant with Taran, my second miracle. His name means Heaven.”

Preya has since traveled around the country helping other women with fertility issues. “I want our story to help others and to give them hope,” she says.


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Written by Kimberly Kimmel

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