By Madison Burke
When you look at newborn Harper Hopkins, you may notice his adorable round cheeks and big beautiful eyes that follow you around the room. But you probably don’t know the journey his parents, Jake and Sara Hopkins of Jefferson City, took to get him here.
Jake and Sara struggled with infertility for three years before meeting surgeon Clay Mechlin, MD of Urology Associates of Central Missouri.
Their journey began in 2012, when they got married and hoped to conceive right away. As months went by, and their frustrations mounted, they both decided to get checked out by professionals.
“Sara checked out fine, but I went to a local doctor, and he told me I have a varicocele, which was probably preventing us from getting pregnant,” says Jake.
A varicocele is a varicose vein that does not allow blood to flow and function properly, causing infertility for many couples. Around 10 percent of all men have varicoceles, and among infertile couples, 30 percent of men have varicoceles.
“My doctor in town recommended I take medication and advised against surgery. He talked about possible complications, and it kinda scared us off,” says Jake.
The medicine had some uncomfortable side effects and as more and more time went by without conception, Jake and Sara became frustrated.
“It wasn’t working, and we had now been trying to get pregnant for years,” said Jake.
After a year of medication, Jake and Sara decided they wanted to find out more about surgery. They were recommended to see Dr. Mechlin. Dr. Mechlin answered all of their questions about the surgery and left them feeling good about their options.
Dr. Mechlin explained the surgery is usually done under general anesthesia as an outpatient procedure. It works by the surgeon making a small incision near the affected veins and then correcting the veins so that blood can flow freely.
“He really calmed our nerves and made us feel confident the surgery was the right decision,” says Sara.
“He went through the whole process and broke it down and explained how everything would work. We really appreciated that,” says Jake.
One of their biggest fears was that Jake would have chronic pain following the surgery. Dr. Mechlin was able to assure him that chronic pain was unlikely and share some of his success stories with him.
“One of the most satisfying things we can do as surgeons is to promptly diagnose correctible conditions and provide permanent solutions that can greatly alter patients’ lives for the better. Jake’s story was a classic tragedy before I saw him. He and his wife had wasted a great deal of time, money, and endured unnecessary stress and disappointment because they were not offered the right treatment for his fertility issue,” says Dr. Mechlin.
Jake and Sara say Dr. Mechlin’s experience and confidence in the surgery was what really made them decide that surgery was right for them.
In January of 2015, Jake had surgery and then in February of this year, they found out Sara was pregnant.
“I was a day late, and I decided to just take a test and see. I totally freaked out when I saw the positive sign. I had never seen that before, and we had been trying for four years! I went home and surprised Jake with a cake that said he was going to be a daddy. We were both so excited,” says Sara.
Haper was born August 28, 2016 healthy and strong.
“I was fortunate to meet Jake and be able to participate in his care. Success stories like these make us appreciate our profession and it was extremely rewarding to see Jake holding his new baby boy,” says Dr. Mechlin.
Dr. Mechlin is currently accepting patients and performs varicocele surgeries at Boone Hospital Center. You can make an appointment with him by calling Urology Associates at 573.499.4990.
Hopkins Baby Story from Boone Hospital Center on Vimeo.