The Lil’ Embryo That Could…

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It has been a while that I have come into this space. When I first started this blog, it was meant for educating the world of infertility and also a space for me to write down all of my feelings; fears, accomplishments, daily motions that go along with the dreaded infertility. As you all know we adopted 4 embryos last April from a lovely family and are just now coming up on that year of knowing them. We had two transfers that did not succeed and from there we decided to switch clinics. Switching clinics meant that we would have to transport these embryos to another clinic in Seattle and hope that this was the right place for us, and our embryos. When I first went to the new clinic I got such a great feeling, it was warm, comforting and the staff was like night and day from the last clinic. Now not many people really know me, but those that do know that I am a sensitive soul, need a lot of coddling and I felt that after all we been through this was definitely the case this time. The nurse remembered my story and my situation every time I came in for my appointments. She would remember what we did the last time and it all fit together like a puzzle. I remember years ago at one of the clinics I went to, I was treated like a new patient every single time. Every time I would go in, I would have to re-tell my story and where I was in the journey, it was awful! This new clinic like I said was different.

When the clinic gave me my transfer date, they told me the doctor that I would be with, and to my surprise it was not the doctor that I had been seeing. I had originally said there was no way that I wouldn’t be with my doctor but when they told me the soonest date I could transfer was with this other doctor, I just agreed. At first I was scared as I had never met him before but when I read his background I felt better about him. He was one of the first doctors in the embryo transfer world that had created the catheter that would pass the embryo to the patient. That to me seemed really important, so I then became excited. It was about 2 weeks before transfer that they let me know the for sure date and then we would start the medications. I started some progesterone gel that you insert vaginally, progesterone in oil injections, and estrace. I felt like at this point me and the husband were pros at this and couldn’t wait to get started. And so it went… the days leading up to transfer I was very calm but optimistic, different than the times before.

TRANSFER DAY… Oh man transfer day. It was truly amazing and I get chills just thinking about it. We go into the office and wait for my in office acupuncture. The lovely acupuncturist comes out to get me and asks if my husband would like to join us? We looked at each other, smiled and agreed that that would be awesome! I took my valium and got on the bed where the lady inserted the needles while explaining what they were for. It was euphoric almost and one of the most special things was having D there. After acupuncture they led us into the transfer room and I got undressed from the waist down and lied on the table. Shortly after the doctor came in. He was so calm seeming and I had explained to him that I had done my research on him, he smiled and was impressed. At this point I was super relaxed and was so excited D was sitting next to me. We watched the camera as they did a mock transfer, just seeing exactly where the embryo would go and I felt so confident that this was the one. They brought in the embryo from the lab and in it went. It was quick and painless and the embryo was in! After transfer, we stayed in the transfer room where the acupuncturist came back in to insert needles in me. That was really relaxing and seemed like it was working, again a sense of euphoria. So, after we left and went out to lunch where I had a burger and fries and was so ready to take a nap.

THE 2WW (two week wait)… Well this two week wait was definitely different. I was way more calm than the previous two. I felt like everything went so different that this had to be the one. I took walks with my dog, we took our daughter to the snow, I enjoyed the thoughts of being pregnant and I didn’t once POAS (pee on a stick). Luckily this 2ww was only 9 days so didn’t feel nearly as long.

TEST DAY… I had to be at the clinic bright and early and for this I was ok with that! They drew my blood and then I was told that it would be several hours that they would call with my beta numbers. I went to target, killed some time and then went home and watched One Last Shot, a documentary about a couple with infertility. I cried the whole time thinking I wasn’t sure if I could handle the heart break again, I honestly wasn’t sure.

THE CALL… “Hi Jessica, this is Beth from ***, I wanted to let you know that your first numbers are great and you’re pregnant, and you’ll need to stay on your medications and come back on Monday to make sure your levels are rising…” I was in utter shock. I’m not sure I knew what shock felt like before that, but that call definitely left me in shock. I was sweating and crying and called D asap. He sounded also in shock and we were just so happy that this one worked. D said he prayed that morning and I said I did too (I’m not the praying type). After sharing the news with my very closest loved ones I had to wait until Monday to make sure it was going up! Longest weekend of my life. Oh and what did I do as soon as I got off the phone? Immediately peed on a stick or 4! And there two lines! img_6825.jpg

And so, there I was, I was pregnant! What?! I couldn’t believe it! I couldn’t believe that it finally worked. Yes there were so many things that helped this transfer and this little one was definitely meant to be… My levels continued to go up and things were all looking good and we are happy to say that…

After many years of infertility, 3 costly frozen embryo transfers, 135 injections in my back side, and a whole lot of heart break, WE ARE PREGNANT… Due Nov, 2018

baby clothes

Love Always,

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ART- Assisted Reproductive Technology

embryo_transfer pictureI’m super excited to be able to share some resources to help others on their infertility journey! When I started the process of Embryo adoption/donation I didn’t have these resources and I am so thankful that I do now! Choosing a clinic can be scary and sometimes overwhelming, but these resources will be very helpful in helping you make decisions.

One Website that has soooooo much information: https://nccd.cdc.gov/drh_art/rdPage.aspx?rdReport=DRH_ART.FindAClinic&rdRequestForward=True

Below is a direct link for finding clinics in the location you are looking into and will give statistics on the ART of the particular clinics…

https://www.cdc.gov/art/artdata/index.html-

  1. This is where you can put in your state or city and it will bring up every single licensed fertility clinic in that area! So for instance- if you put in California, it will come up with 77 clinics.
  2. Then once you click on the clinic you choose it will give you information like this
Clinic Service & Profile  
ART for single women Yes
Donor egg services Yes
Donor embryo services Yes
Embryo cryopreservation services Yes
Gestational carrier services Yes
SART member Yes
Verified lab accreditation Yes
2015 Clinic Summary Number
Total cycles 1013
Banking cycles 108
Pregnancies 277
Deliveries 212
Total infants born 239
Singleton infants 186
Multiple-birth infants 53

Here is some National data that might be helpful to you that came from the CDC website- these are numbers from 2015

National Services & Profile  
ART for single women 98%
Donor egg services 91%
Donor embryo services 74%
Embryo cryopreservation services >99%
Gestational carrier services 87%
SART member 81%
Verified lab accreditation
Yes 92%
No 6%
Pending 2%
2015 National Summary Number
Total cycles 231,936
Banking cycles 45,779
Pregnancies 74,665
Deliveries 60,778
Total infants born 72,913
Singleton infants 48,820
Multiple-birth infants 24,093
Multiple-infant births (e.g. twins, triplets, or more) with at least one live infant are counted as one live birth delivery.

But it has so much other info too!
Another site that would be helpful in your journey would be-

http://www.sart.org/

SART- Society for Assisted Reproductive Technology

This site has so much current information on IVF or other fertility treatments. SART can help you find a clinic, predict your success and give you facts and success rates! I would say these things are so very important when doing any sort of Fertility treatment.

One article that I enjoyed reading from SART

Yoga Helps Infertility Patients

Nov 01, 2017

Author: ASRM

Published in: ASRM Press Release

HIGHLIGHTS FROM THE AMERICAN SOCIETY FOR REPRODUCTIVE MEDICINE’S

2017 SCIENTIFIC CONGRESS & EXPO

Note: Press room open Sun. October 29, 2pm-5pm CDT; Mon. October 30-Wed. November 1, 8:00am-5:30pm CDT. 210-582-7029

San Antonio, TX– Infertility patients who do yoga see reduced stress levels and higher pregnancy rates according to new research presented this week at the American Society for Reproductive Medicine’s Scientific Congress in San Antonio.

A team from New Delhi examined the impact of yoga on pregnancy rates for women who had already undergone one unsuccessful IVF treatment.  Over 100 women undergoing frozen embryo transfers were randomly assigned into either a control (no yoga) or treatment (3 months of yoga sessions) group. Following embryo transfer, 63% of the women in the yoga group achieved pregnancy as compared with 43% in the control group.

A team in Chicago presented preliminary results of an ongoing research project on the value of yoga for infertile patients. They reported enrolling 26 patients into online or in person yoga training, with preliminary findings showing a significant reduction in anxiety scores from patients in both the in-person and online arms of the trial.

“We know infertility patients suffer from very high stress levels. These studies show that yoga represents a promising therapy for reducing patient stress during infertility treatment and even potentially improve outcome of such treatment,” said Richard J. Paulson, MD, President of the ASRM.

Because in case you didn’t know, I love yoga!!

So as always, I really appreciate all of your support and love, and I hope that I can help others like they have helped me. Love you guys!

xoxo

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Let it Be…

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Sometimes you just have to let it be… Sometimes you have to feel the feelings before you can move forward… Tomorrow I turn in the consents to our old clinic so that they’ll release our embryos and I can then transport them to the new clinic…

While I was pretty down yesterday, it was so dark and cold and I felt really lonely and bored, today was a much better day. It was another day where I found myself wanting to cuddle up with blankets and take a nap but it was also a day of more clarity. I feel glad to know that we are about to get this show on the road.

Earlier this week I got to babysit a friends 2 month old baby boy for a little while and wow did that make the want and desire for another baby feel heavy! He was so peaceful and really didn’t do much except sleep, but he was just a sweet little peanut and I cannot wait to one day soon have my own baby boy! I was online today and so badly wanted to purchase this “little brother” outfit, but I refrained (hubby would be so proud)! I have purchased a little onsie and a jammie for our future baby boy and luckily already have a few hand me downs 🙂 I cannot wait for the day I can say I’m pregnant and for it to be real, the day that I can truly see him in his room and his big sis holding him. The two embryos that we have are so very special and I have very high hopes for them.

We as a family have high hopes for 2018, and not too sure what it will involve, but don’t worry you’ll all be finding out…

I’m looking forward to 1/24 as thats when we’ll be having our talk with the new doctor about the embryos, what the plan is exactly going to look like going forward. The doctors protocol is different enough from the old clinic that I feel confident its going to be a good plan. So if all goes well we’ll be pregnant for our 12 year wedding anniversary! I’ll of course be updating along the way, but may be a little discreet with dates and such 🙂

Anyway, trying to get motivated to exercise and get healthy again after the Holidays so if you have any good ideas pass them my way!

Love you all, thank you for following my journey!

xoxo

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I won’t let infertility win…

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Oh, I have so much to say and don’t know where to start. The beautiful flowers in this picture are from our embryo donors, I can’t express how special it was to receive them but it meant so very much. When starting the process of embryo adoption/donation, we had no idea what it would entail, but we are so lucky that we met our match and we feel so blessed to have it gone the way its gone… They not only donated their embryos to us, they have so much hope for them and know that they have so much potential.

With that said, unfortunately we have lost 2/4 embryos with my FET’s 😦 this has been an emotional ride and at times I have felt like too much to handle. With my first transfer, I thought it would just work, I would get pregnant and stay pregnant. Well, not so much, it failed. The questions remain; what failed? Was it my body? Was it the embryo itself? Was the unfreezing process? Was it the incompetence of my clinic? I don’t know and unfortunately I don’t know if I ever will. After the first failed transfer, it took many many days to get through these questions and processing it all. Nobody understood exactly the amount of pain I was in but I also didn’t need to share that with the world. Within about a week I was ready to move forward. I put the picture of our sweet embryo away and got ready to start the process again.When I got the call that I wasn’t pregnant I set up my wtf appt with the RE. Unfortunately he was out of town, so it would be about 3 weeks before we could go in. Once we went in, I had a list of questions and concerns to go over. Someone very dear to me who had been through the process many times helped me come up with some main points to discuss. This was important because during this infertility journey I have felt like these doctors rag doll and I let them run my show. I feel like they are so smart and know what they’re doing so they should be able to lead me the right way. Well, I went in with my questions and guess what, almost everything I said was shot down or bypassed. This was not what I was expecting but once again, I thought, he’s a doctor and knows best. So, we left with a plan of starting the process again and to go for transfer number 2, protocol the same, nothing different. What a fool I was/am, to listen and not demand a protocol change.

Estrogen and progesterone shots were exciting this time. Every time D and I would head upstairs for my 9pm shots, we were giddy and excited. It was like we both had the feeling that this was gonna be the one. During my 2ww after my 2nd transfer I rested for 3 solid days and then continued to be gentle with myself in that 2 weeks. I felt what I thought were symptoms every single day. I had twinges, sore breasts, cramps, you name it it was there. I was convinced it wasn’t just the progesterone, I thought “I am pregnant”.

Well, I got the dreaded call 10 minutes before I had to go pick up Miss Josie from the bus. Boy was that the wrong time. Why they had to wait 4 hours to call and tell me this horrible news, no freakin’ idea. So I pick up the phone, I hear “Happy Birthday to you, happy birthday to you” in the background and the nurse says, “oh hi Jessica. I’m really sorry to tell you that your pregnancy test was negative”. Not only was I shocked that it wasn’t positive, but I wondered why the f couldn’t she have gone in a quiet room and showed some compassion. Mind you the nurse that called was the same nurse that tried to do my SHG and hurt me so bad while causing so much trauma and fear. So there it was, the very sad news.

So, that day sucked, and the day after that sucked too. It didn’t get easier very fast especially as the next day was hubby’s birthday and we didn’t get to celebrate what I thought was going to be great news. This time hit me harder than the last. I guess I felt like now that I’ve had 2 failed FET’s then it was never going to happen. While I watch my family members fall pregnant, time after time, and it all comes so easy and naturally, it really makes me question any spiritual connection I thought I had. People said, “oh God is on this journey with you” “this is the one, God told me so” “I can feel it”, and after I got the news, I decided that I need to get back to reality and know that there is no magic or higher power that is going to make this happen. My body, the embryos and the doctors are in control at this point and if it works one day, it will be because of those things.

So now, 2 weeks after my negative results, I am moving on. I have switched clinics, with a consultation next week and we have some high hopes for whats next. I am sad still, and more scared than ever, but I can’t let it get me down. I will not let fertility win, not now and not ever. We want a baby in this family, more than ever… Miss Josie asks about the baby seed all the time and we just let her believe its just going to take a long time to grow, we will do everything in our power to complete our family, but right now, its not complete, we aren’t done yet.

Thank you so much for following my journey!

xoxo

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Pineapples are good for what?!

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So its been brought to my attention, that pineapples are good for implantation… along with so many other things. I’m trying to figure out how people came up with all of the things that are good for the uterus and will help your body to say YES to embryos!

Here are some of the things that I have been doing or will be that are supposed to help with implantation and support your uterus or pregnancy in some way:

  • pineapple core- pineapple core has bromelain which is really good for your immune system and can act as an anti-inflammitory. You should eat a few slices of the core every day for about 5 days after your transfer.
  • pomegranate juice- pomegranate juice apparently will thicken your lining and help blood flow to your uterus so I drink one big glass of it a day.
  • Brazil nuts- Brazil nuts have selenium in them which is supposed to help thicken your uterine lining. They also apparently increase blood flow to the uterus. You should eat 5-6 per day in your 2ww.
  • warm soup or warm anything- This helps to keep your uterus warm
  • red raspberry leaf tea- it is said to strengthen and tone your uterus, I drink 2 cups per day for a couple weeks before transfer.
  • legs on the wall- this provides circulation to your uterus and gets your blood flowing and will will thicken your lining. You can do this as many times as you like but a friend recommends no less than 2 times, morning and night for 10 minutes each. I think its a really comfortable pose so I do it sometimes more than the twice a day.
  • acupuncture- it is recommended that you do acupuncture for several times before an FET. Also, if possible to do it right before your transfer and right after (I’m working on making this happen). Acupuncture is so very relaxing but also supports your reproductive system, lining and helps with your hormones! I love it and fall asleep almost every time 🙂

and probably so many more…

So, I’ve come to love all of these things! I keep seeing pineapple things and now want my house with pineapple decor everywhere, ha! People say, “nobody used to do those things” or “that’s an old wives tale”. Well, yeah, who the heck cares. I also can’t get pregnant the good old fashioned way, so I’ll do anything at this point.

Well, that’s all for now! Thanks for reading and see you next time! Oh and if you have anything to add to my list of things to do, please let me know! Love ya!

xoxo

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My Story…

My Story…

I am 34 years old and my husband is 45, yes I know, woah! Big age difference… oh well, we fell in love and here we are 14 years later, still in love!!

We got married when I was 22 years old. Before getting married, we imagined ourselves having 4 children, and thought how cute they would be… my husband is adopted and longed for some genetic connection so we wanted to jump right to it!

After a year of not getting pregnant I saw an obgyn doctor where we tried 6 rounds of clomid that made me an emotional crazy b*%#!… after that didn’t work it was time to move onto a fertility specialist as my doctor said, “there’s nothing else I can do”. She had expressed my extreme FSH levels and was shocked by the numbers of all of my hormones. So, on we went. We went to a very good fertility specialist in the Bay Area where we had my husbands sperm tested and all of our genetic and auto-immune tests…. well, yay for my hubby, he came back with millions of fast and furious sperm, so that meant the problem lied within me. After all of my test results were in, we were told to come in to have a discussion. I had no idea what to expect but I didn’t plan to go in and leave so very sad. The doctor said “Unfortunately, I don’t have good news. You have diminished ovarian reserve and unfortunately by the look of your hormones, you are in premature ovarian failure, and your eggs are old” I thought wtf does that mean?! I’m only 24 years old!!! He told us that I had a 5% chance if that of conceiving on my own and that we would need to use donor eggs with hubbies sperm. They told us they would give us a profile to look at of egg donors, and we had a financial discussion.

I left the appt. so very sad, probably more sad than ever. I couldn’t believe that at 24 years old I couldn’t have children especially as this was something I yearned for my whole life. I starting questioning my life decisions, maybe choices that I made, did this affect my fertility, what did I do to deserve this. I went home in complete sadness and for weeks was depressed and confused. I felt inadequate, and less of a female. I was so disappointed that I could not provide a child for my husband, who so badly wanted a genetic link, someone to call his own. We both wanted someone that looked like us, a combo of us both… it was so hard to get past the hurt but eventually I realized it was time to be proactive. I had gotten a book that got me through my darkest days. A book that explained my infertility, my loss. A book that not only explained what premature ovarian failure was but made me feel like I wasn’t abnormal and that I was still just as much a woman- that book is called “The Premature Menopause Book”.

My husband and I moved forward with the thought of donor egg and looked through the many profiles. We found women in the binder that looked just like me and often we felt excited. The financial aspect for us started getting scary as it would have been at least $25k and that wasn’t feasible at that time. So, again a major set back and disappointment. After a couple years of going back and forth with doing egg donor or not we decided that it wasn’t the right decision so we closed that door.

I went back to a different fertility clinic where a doctor told me that she believed she could get me pregnant stimulating my own eggs and that we should try it. Well- week after week I would go in- we would do ultrasounds etc… and couldn’t ever see anything. I did shots in my stomach to try and stimulate something and only a couple times could they see anything. I left crying that office almost every time. I would have to go back to work in utter shock that my body was failing me… the drugs wouldn’t even work that they gave me, that I would inject myself every day… so unfortunately that door closed too.

A little side note- adoption is huge in our family- my husband, his sister, my brother, my sister, several cousins and more are all adopted.
So, it only seemed natural that we should look into adoption! So we did- we went through an agency my sister and cousins were adopted through and took all of the necessary steps to become adoptive parents. We wanted an infant and that we got. We made a book of our family, took many classes, and more. 6 months after we had finished our home study our dreams had a come true. We were contacted by our agency that a birth mom was due in June (this was april) and she was interested in us! I was in school at the time of the call and was on cloud 9! Our dream was coming true. Well- it did, our daughter Josie was born in May and we got to see the birth and bring her home from the hospital. She has been the biggest blessing and we know that she is ours for a reason. All that we went through led us to her and for that we are forever grateful!

Well fast forward 4 years and we so badly wanted a sibling for our Josie, and I still so badly wanted the opportunity to carry a child. We went to the fertility center and explored our options… our doctors told us about embryo donation and how this would be a good option considering there didn’t seem to be any underlying reasons my body wouldn’t be able to carry a child. So we moved forward with more tests and got on a waiting list for embryos within our clinic. My husband and I decided that we wanted embryos that would fit well with our family.  Although these requests seemed set, every time the clinic would present us with embryos of different race, we were definitely open to it, especially as my husband and I are of different race (he’s Mexican and I’m white). Well none of the embryos they said were available seemed right and so each time we would pass…

In the meantime I became a member of an embryo adoption/donation Facebook page. This was a place where women could confide in each other and also post their profiles where possible donors could see them. Well one day I went out on a whim and replied to a donors profile. She had posted what she and her family were looking for in a family to adopt their embryos. She had very specific requests and I liked them! Well shortly after I replied, she wrote back and well she and her husband chose us! So they donated 4 embryos to us and we were ecstatic. She and I meshed really well, had many similarities and we immediately started the legal process to have the embryos transferred to us. Yes, I know sounds like a business transaction, and to be honest it kind of was. But with that came a whole new friendship and love for another family and this set of embryos. We are forever grateful to our donor family and look forward to the future of getting to know them and meet them in person 🙂

So we had our first embryo transfer in July and after the horrible and very long 2 week wait, we got a negative. I was devastated again and wondered wtf is wrong with me! How could this not work?? I thought the embryos are genetically tested, I have good insides, it’s just supposed to work. Unfortunately the body is a very big mystery and sometimes we don’t know why things fail. I was sad, really sad. Nobody understand that this was a huge loss for me. Nobody understood except for my infertility community, that I was assumed pregnant for 2 weeks and then not. So I grieved sort of and moved on… this was the only girl embryo we had so I had to really get through the fact that our next transfer would be a boy. Don’t get me wrong, I love little boys and being a boy mom in my mind sounds so lovely, I just had a hard time grasping it…

So here we are, less than a month away and we just signed our consents for our next transfer, Starting injections and mentally preparing…

xoxo

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