Mindfulness for Fertility

When going through infertility, one of the hardest parts is the stress you feel and the weight that is present every single day. We focus on the negatives because we have been dealt pretty shitty cards already with the diagnosis of infertility. We go in downward spirals and feel like we’re suffocating either from unending infertility or process that goes into each and every treatment. We often feel alone, like we are the only ones and that nobody understands us and that is draining and so very emotional.

Like I’ve said in my beginning blog posts, my husband and I have been trying to have a baby for 12 years. I started with clomid, Gonal F, stimulating drugs, and as of recently 2 failed Frozen Embryo Transfers with donated embryos. These last two transfers about killed me. I was depressed inside, I felt extremely alone and once again like a failure… I felt like I couldn’t share with people how I actually felt, I had to be big and take care of our 5 year old, and I couldn’t let her see the sadness that had taken over. I had a hard time getting it together until one day I discovered a 6 week course called Mindfulness for Fertility. I had followed the lady for a while who puts on the course, loving her affirmations and positivity as we were on this journey that felt like Hell.

So, I took the plunge and signed up for the course. I had another Frozen Embryo Transfer coming up and felt like I had to do something different. I needed to get out of the funk, connect with like minded people and be truly prepared for our next transfer. I messaged with Sarah trying to figure out how it would work because I have a daughter and the class was at 7:30 but only 4:30 my time, which meant I would have to figure out what I would do with her during that hour. Well I figured it out. My husband said you need to figure out a way to do this course, bribe her, offer her candy, whatever you need to do. So I did. Every Thursday from 4:30-5:30 I would let her watch whatever movie she wanted and could have a treat after as long as she was as quiet as could be and could be self sufficient for that hour.

So the class began, this was two weeks from time of my next transfer and I was already in a more positive mindset just because I had signed up for the course. This was a conference call that I had to call into which was very easy to do from my computer, and would be easy to do from a smartphone as well. I could see myself and the other people that were doing the course and felt this immediate sense of relief. I wasn’t the only one. I didn’t know any of these other women (there were 10-12 of us) but seeing their faces gave me a sense of realness. (I have an instagram with over 900 followers dedicated to my embryo adoption) This was the first time feeling connected to real live people even though I had no idea their situation. We all waited to get started and then we did. We started with 3 deep breaths, this was extremely relaxing and really helped ease into introductions. We then all told our stories, why we were doing the course. There was everything from trying to get pregnant naturally, trying to reduce stress before their next transfer or IUI, starting over after miscarriage or loss, etc… You could hear the hurt in some of their voices and I hoped that they felt like I felt, just a little bit better knowing they weren’t alone.

After every class Sarah would send us a detailed document of the things we discussed and things to practice before next class, this was helpful as we didn’t really take notes during the class. So after the first class we really dove into how to be mindful during this stressful time of infertility. Every class would begin with the deep breaths and a check in of everyone’s week. There was one person who was waiting to hear if her transfer had took and so seeing her face during the class just made me smile, no matter her outcome, she was so so brave for sharing with us her strengths and weaknesses. We spoke about our ways that we practiced being mindful that week, whether it was taking baths, walking through the forest and listening to the leaves crunch, practiced yoga, did meditation, found a meditation app or maybe we weren’t mindful at all, and for recognizing that, we were being mindful. There was a class that taught some basic infertility yoga poses, with a live yoga instructor that we could follow along (unfortunately, I missed that one but got to watch it later). We talked about the foods we are putting in our bodies and how important it is to eat Organic if you can. One of the classes even taught self hypnotherapy which is so very helpful in this whole process. A great thing about the class was the ability to go watch or rewatch the class at a later time, because well life happens. This class had Sarah and Amira teaching the class, helping us learn techniques and they do it so well.

What did this 6 week course do for me? This course helped me immensely dig much deeper into myself and learn how to do things I’ve never been able to do. One day after my transfer I was walking my dog through a wooded area near our house and I noticed myself smiling as I was walking. I noticed the beauty that I was walking through and I noticed that I noticed. I felt so mindful. Another time during this I took a bath; normally I’m looking at my phone, sitting in the hot hot water not disengaging at all. But this bath was different, I turned on one of the meditation podcasts that Sarah and Amira mentioned and was relaxing more than ever before. Another thing I did during this course was I found myself happy and calm, I found that I could accomplish this if I put my mind to it. I was scared the first two transfers, so scared it wouldn’t work. This time was different. Although it was scary I felt like if it didn’t work I would be ok.

And, after all of this, I am happy to say that I AM PREGNANT! I truly believe that this course helped me to relax, learn to meditate and to pay attention to my body.

The course Mindfulness For Fertility was amazing! I would recommend this to anyone who is trying to conceive, have had loss, and those who are currently pregnant. You won’t be sorry when you sign up!!

Mindfulness Fertiity Series copy

Follow fabfertile on Instagram

Or

Go to http://www.fabfertile.com for more information about this course!

 

Love Always,

cropped-jessica-joy-3.png

I won’t let infertility win…

img_5236

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

cropped-jessica-joy-3.png

You Never Know…

Things have been a little different around here for the last few weeks and I realize I haven’t written a blog post in quite sometime but this is one I’ve been wanting to write for a while.

When diagnosed with POF, I felt so alone, so sad that I couldn’t conceive children, so unhappy. Through the years I learned to deal with it, read lots of books, and confided mostly in my sister and husband. Well in the last year since being very active on the fertility journey I have never felt so connected to the infertility world. I have met so many people who have had their children through adoption or some sort of ART- assisted reproductive technology, and actually have more virtual friends (Facebook and Instagram) than physical friends. Being on this journey has made me very vulnerable and much more outgoing than I’m used to but its the first time in forever I’ve not felt alone in this journey.

When I connected my blog to facebook I regretted it very quickly after as I realized I have over 200 friends on there who many are people that I haven’t seen or talked to in years. Yes we’ve connected on there, liked photos, maybe commented here or there, but most people didn’t know of my journey with infertility and I didn’t necessarily want them to.

Well, one day, a friend on facebook whom I see often but is more of an acquaintance, told me she had read my blog post and that she really wanted to talk. At first this felt weird but then when she continued on I realized she was also in the infertility world! She had told me that her children were conceived with donor sperm and explained her journey. She KNEW what I was going through. I felt so connected to her and so happy that she had read my blog. You just never know…

So this is why I wrote this blog. This woman was the very reason why I decided I couldn’t hold it back anymore. I wanted to connect with everyone I possibly could, I wanted them to know they aren’t alone and I wanted to feel like I wasn’t either. Now, since then, I have disconnected my Facebook from my blog but I am very much involved with my embryo adoption Instagram and embryo adoption/donation Facebook group and hope that I can get followers and at least my blog connected that way. The infertility world is brutal and it takes so much strength to power through. It takes a whole tribe of us to to get through it and if I didn’t decide to take the jump and be vulnerable, I wouldn’t have met all of these incredible and supportive people, I wouldn’t have met our embryos genetic family and I wouldn’t have continued this journey, I truly believe that.

So with that said, we aren’t alone, you aren’t weird or abnormal, and our babies will get here in some way, just don’t give up. I often wonder if I will become cold, and numb to it all, but I don’t think its possible, its just not who I am…

I’m here for you, and thank you for being part of my journey…

xoxo

cropped-jessica-joy-3.png

POF and What its all about…

There are times when you go into your doctor and they tell you what your condition is called. Well in the last 10 years there have been a couple different names of my condition. When I first started my fertility journey, I had a 5% chance of conceiving on my own and would have to use donor eggs in order to be pregnant. I was told my eggs were bad, and that they were old. As the years went on, and as I changed doctors, they worded things differently and eventually I didn’t feel like an old bag of bones. Will go into this in regular posts as this page is more for improving your knowledge on POF itself.

POF- Premature Ovarian Failure- this one being the most disappointing sounding, because as we all know the word failure wont make anyone feel good.

POI- Premature Ovarian Insufficiency- Being insufficient sounds so much better, as it feels like something that is fixable.

Symptoms that occur with POF: (I have all but the vaginal dryness)

  • Irregular or skipped periods (amenorrhea), which might occur for years or develop after a pregnancy or after stopping birth control pills
  • Difficulty conceiving
  • Hot flashes
  • Night sweats
  • Vaginal dryness
  • Irritability or difficulty concentrating
  • Decreased sexual desire

Mayoclinic’s description of POF

Premature ovarian failure — also known as primary ovarian insufficiency — is a loss of normal function of your ovaries before age 40. If your ovaries fail, they don’t produce normal amounts of the hormone estrogen or release eggs regularly. Infertility is a common result.

Premature ovarian failure is sometimes referred to as premature menopause, but the two conditions aren’t the same. Women with premature ovarian failure can have irregular or occasional periods for years and might even become pregnant. Women with premature menopause stop having periods and can’t become pregnant.

Restoring estrogen levels in women with premature ovarian failure helps prevent some complications, such as osteoporosis, that occur as a result of low estrogen.

There are still a lot of unknown causes and factors for POF, so as much research as I have done I will be constantly adding more…

Helpful websites for POF

http://www.ipofa.org/

https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3719365/

A book that got me through learning about POF when first diagnosed

https://www.amazon.com/Premature-Menopause-Book-change-Comes/dp/0380805413/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1506100271&sr=8-1&keywords=premature+ovarian+failure

Image result for images of premature ovarian failure

 

cropped-jessica-joy-3.png