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

Who is JJ??

Who is JJ??

Oh the question who is JJ? JJ is our Josie Joy. She is the light of our life and the greatest gift to our family. When doing an open adoption, you never know what that entails. But for us it meant that we got to be in love with this tiny person before she was even born. There is the quote, “You grew in my heart, not in my tummy” and it is so very true. So much struggle with infertility and so much hurt, brought us to this person who we would get to be parents to. JJ’s birth mom allowed us into her lives, into her pregnancy. I got to know her, got to see how much love she had and how much she cared about this baby that was going to come into the world. I would take her to her doctor appts. to make sure everything was ok, I would take her to lunch, we created a relationship and for her I think this was important to know who she would be placing her baby with. Getting to see ultrasounds and learning if JJ was girl or a boy were some of the most special days. We were honored to be at the hospital when JJ was born and for me to be in the room was one of the most amazing things I could have ever gone through.

JJ came out perfectly pink and screaming her head off. Right then and there, I knew she was going to change the world, I knew there was something so very special about her. We took her home and life was like a whirlwind. She did all the things babies do; cry, poop, eat… She woke every 2 hours for many many months and loved to be held. We had a bassinet for her next to our bed but she enjoyed our bed so much more. So, for the first 6 months, we had this rolie polie baby in our bed, while mommy slept very little. At 6 months, after not sleeping more than a couple hours at a time, in her crib she went. That was the first time she had ever slept in her crib and the first time she slept 8 hours straight! The girl needed her space and so did mommy! JJ cried a lot as a baby, had reflux, and was often hard to soothe. She was strong willed at the start of her life and to this day is a firecracker in itself.

JJ loves, she’s hilarious, she’s emotional, and so incredibly smart. We as parents often tend to be biased on our own children, and at times I am, but her intelligence is beyond most that I have ever met in a 5 year old. She is witty and “gets” way more than she probably should. I don’t mean she can read chapter books, do division math problems, or has incredible book smarts, but her intellectual abilities are those of a 9 or 10 year old and sometimes I feel like I’m talking with a 12 year old. The things that come out of her mouth are often surprising, because you aren’t sure if she knows what shes talking about but then you realize she does. JJ has a heart of gold but is a very tough girl. She will put up a fight until she wins most of the time. She will watch a movie (Marley and Me) with me and she and I will be bawling together, like another adult.

Our JJ is loved by so many people in this world, and anyone that every meets her is so very lucky.

I could have never imagined such a perfect child for our family. She’s everything we could have imagined and more. SHE WILL MOVE MOUNTAINS AND SHE ALREADY HAS CHANGED THE WORLD!

That’s all for now!

cropped-jessica-joy-3.png

Pineapples are good for what?!

DSC_4311

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

cropped-jessica-joy-3.png

 

Our Embryo Donation/Adoption

And so my dream was coming true to carry a child in my tummy… We were chosen to be the family who would hopefully get to be the parents of these sweet embryos. When most people look at embryo pictures, they see a few blobs but the day that I saw them for the first time, I could only imagine sweet little babies within… Its kind of like ultrasound pictures, when we saw our JJ on the ultrasound and then got the pictures, we could see this beautiful little face and when showing everyone else, they saw nothing. Its like I just wanted to hold them in my hands, warm them up and keep them safe, but I knew that they needed to be kept nice and cold to have a chance…

Our donor family chose us and for that we are forever grateful as I mentioned in another post. I used to think that people were silly for saying things happen for a reason, or whats meant to be will be… Well when our donor family chose us, I got an overwhelming feeling that this was the one, this was the one that was going to help me achieve my dream of carrying a child. Our families seemed so in sync even though we had never met. Our Donor mom and I had never met but we seemed alike in so many ways. We shared things about ourselves over the first few weeks of knowing each other and it felt so right. Our donors wanted an open relationship with the family they would be donating their embryos to and we were also wanting an open relationship. Just as our domestic adoption, we feel that it is so important for children to know where they came from, in any situation. There are children in our donors family that would be siblings to any resulting children with these embryos and we feel like it would be doing the children such a disservice by not allowing them to have a relationship with each other when they choose. We knew that we would be the parents of these precious embryos but that they had genetic connection with another family. This family has turned out to be such a blessing in our lives. Donor mom and I text on a regular basis, send emails when we can, and look forward to meeting in person in the near future. When she and I first started texting we found some really crazy similarities! Donor mom and I have birthdays one day apart, this was so neat because I felt like on an astrological side we would get each other. We both share the condition Premature Ovarian Failure and that is comforting as she would know what I was going through on a different level. One of the craziest things is that our JJ’s birth mom and our donor mom have the same first and middle names. She and I were both shocked when we found this out. I don’t have a relationship with JJ’s birth mom but had wanted one and the fact that our donor mom shares the same name, FIRST AND MIDDLE, was another “meant to be” moment. Donor mom also lives in a town with the same name as a town that I grew up in, the towns aren’t the same but because they have the same name, it was another “meant to be” moment! I know those are such silly little things, but they are some of what make it seem so right… Our donor mom is an amazing woman whom I respect and look up to. She is so very smart, and in R&D, which has been so helpful going through the whole IVF process. We often text about one day sharing our families with each other, having a glass of wine together, and walking down the beach talking together. Before the last transfer, our donor mom sent me a beautiful package with so much wonderful stuff in it. There was a pineapple shaped little dish, a bracelet of hope, chocolate, a little blanket, a picture frame, pineapple gum etc… She is truly a gift and I was so surprised to have gotten this from her. I wear the bracelet she got me every single day. We think our husbands would get along great once they come out of their shells and that our children would also get along so well. So, we can’t wait to see that unfold. We would like to give them a gift of thanks, but I have had such a hard time coming up with what I think is perfect…. Nothing seems good enough, so for now, I try and let them know our thanks and one day soon will give them something to cherish.

So back to the embryos- We had 4 beautifully graded, genetically tested and perfect embryos. Unfortunately, we transferred the one and only girl

20393597_271983076620399_63119573821423616_n(1)
Our little girl embryo 7/26/17

in July and after a grueling  2ww, we learned that I got a BFN (big fat negative)! While this was devistating news, it didn’t take me long to keep going (this will be in another post). The fact that we have these 3 embryos left means that the train isn’t stopping. I still grieve the loss of the one and only girl embryo but also know that there is a reason that sweet embaby didn’t make it. I honestly feel that our JJ is supposed to be our only girl.

So, soon we will transfer a day 6 genetically tested graded AA fully hatched boy embryo.

Picture
Our little boy embryo transfer coming soon..

This time around has been different. I feel scared and excited all in one. I don’t know how I will keep going if this embryo doesn’t make it and it will open a big basket of questions and some changes to our protocol. But for now, I’m trying to stay positive. I know that sometimes there is a learning process and I feel my last transfer was that. I have learned that I need to take care of myself, take care of the body that will be carrying the sweet embryo for the next 9 months. I plan to have several relaxing days after my transfer and do all the things that I didn’t do last time.

I love our embryos, I love our donors and I feel so blessed and so thankful to have the opportunity to get to this point. As I’ve said before, my whole life I wanted to be a mom, and with JJ I got that, and wouldn’t change it for anything. But there was still something I yearned for and that was to be pregnant. I want to feel those feelings, I want to go through all the motions of carrying the little person in my womb, and I will, soon…

Thats it for now! Love ya!

cropped-jessica-joy-3.png

 

Adoption is Love…

adoption is love 6

Adoption is Love… Adoption runs deep in our family and it is truly one of the most amazing things on this planet. When I was a little girl, I never knew anyone who was adopted, I didn’t even know about it. Nobody spoke about people being adopted, at least not in my family. I probably went to school with children that were adopted but never knew, now I wish I did. So many adoptions aren’t recognized, and people go on in their lives feeling like its not something they can talk about. Some children were and probably are told to never tell anyone and that whoever adopted you are your parents and that’s how it is. Someone once told me that they got scolded as a child for mentioning that they were adopted and to me that was so sad.

When we decided to adopt, it came very natural. My husband was adopted as an infant, his sister was adopted as an infant, I have a 10 year old old sister that was adopted by my step-mom and dad at birth, I have a 16 year old brother who was adopted by my step-mom and dad at birth and I have 2 cousins who were also adopted, one at 18 months and the other at 11. All of these made the decision that much easier. adoption is love We knew that whoever was adopted into our family would have plenty of others to relate to including their own daddy.  (Picture right- adopted brother, middle left- ME, middle right- adopted sister, right- our JJ)

There are different types of adoption, but the most basic terms are Open Adoption or Closed Adoption. Back in the day, closed adoptions were much more common than they are now, and many agencies will only advocate for open adoptions. Many agencies believe that the main goal should be to reunify the biological family with the child. In many cases this has worked, unfortunately, its not always whats best for the child.

Open adoption is so wonderful and can mean many things. Open adoption can be as much as sending pictures, and an update to the biological family once per year or actually having the biological family part of the child’s life.

It is so very important to us that we had an open adoption with our daughters biological family. From seeing it work within the other adoptions in our family, it was definitely in our plan… For JJ (our daughter) we have always been 100% honest with her. She knows that we adopted her when she was born, she knows she didn’t grow in my tummy and she knows how badly we wanted a baby. JJ knows that her biological family love her and although we don’t see them, she is in their hearts. adoption is love4

Spending lots of time with JJ’s birthmom before she was born helped me learn what our girl might be like (thats another post). Some days she drives me crazy, but most days she has this personality that I am proud to know that she got it from her birth mom. adoption is love3Maybe not all of her personality came from her genetic side but I lift her birth mom up high. The tough and witty side of JJ that I see, I saw in her birth mom and for that I am grateful. Although we are JJ’s parents, she will always have a piece of her birth mom, and that is love.

I’m sure I will touch more on adoption as time goes on but for now, I feel thankful. I feel thankful that JJ’s birth mom chose us to be her parents, and that we get to give her the life that her birth mom wanted for her.

xoxo

cropped-jessica-joy-3.png

 

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

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