Monthly Archives

July 2014

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Tough Pill(s) to Swallow

July 24, 2014

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Does this look familiar? Pills and lots of them. Gabe and I are still moving forward with adoption, but we’ve also decided to do whatever we can to improve the quality of my eggs.  Voila…here’s $130 worth of supplements and vitamins from Whole Foods. I consider myself a pretty healthy person to start with, but some Doctors believe that there are certain things you can do that will actually make your eggs better, which means a greater chance of either getting pregnant on our own or succeeding in IVF. We got the majority of information on how to improve egg quality from 3 sources.

First the embryologist who biopsied our embryos in the last round of IVF, recommended 4 things-more sleep, more water, vitamin E and vitamin C. The water and vitamins are an easy fix. Done and done. For the first time in 10 years I am not on a schedule that wakes me up at 3:00 am or some ungodly hour. When I was on that schedule I would sleep maybe 4 to 6 hours a night, not enough I know. I’ve never been bothered by my sleep deprivation, but apparently my little eggs are. So now I make an effort to get 8 to 10 hours of sleep every night.

Secondly, we researched the findings of Doctor Schoolcraft of Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine. He is one of the premiere fertility specialists in the country. His name may sound familiar because that where my bff (in my head) Giuliana and her husband Bill went to conceive their baby Duke. He recommends a “Fertility Cocktail” of supplements for women about to undergo IVF. While he is not actually our Doctor, I strongly believe in his findings.

Lastly, several people suggested I read a book called “It Starts With the Egg” by Rebecca Fett.  This author had difficulty conceiving so she went on a journey to discover how to help her eggs. She was so fascinated with her findings that she wrote a book about it.  The book has different recommendations for different women (and men) based on your fertility situation. Fett also believes that the best way to increase your fertility is by reducing your exposure to harmful toxins. There is just so much we have to learn.

In addition to these new approaches, I am continuing to eat healthy, especially those greens, skip on the coffee and keep my mind in a good place. Basically treat my body as if I’m already preggo. So here’s to hoping my eggs like this new fancy schmancy attention. I guess we’ll find out in a few months when we try IVF one more time. Fingers (and toes) crossed.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Praying For Our Miracle

July 15, 2014

It’s been about a week since we got our devastating news. Gabe and I have had time sorta (I started a brand new job last week) to hang on to each other, deal with our feelings and figure out our options. So here’s where we’re at…

We are going to do a 3rd round of IVF in the near future. There is a chance, albeit very small, that my body can make a healthy egg. An egg that, when biopsied, is determined to be chromosomally “normal.” In essence, we are hoping for a miracle. In the meantime I’m doing what ever I can to improve the quality of my eggs. (Some doctors don’t believe that there is anything that can be done, it’s simply a matter of genetics.) We are taking the advice of our Embryologist who says among other things more sleep, more water, vitamin E & C are helpful. Whatever the results of this 3rd round of IVF, we refuse to believe that we can never have our own baby. We just don’t accept that belief. We do however recognize that my body may need a little break from all the hormones, shots, medicine and general stress that comes with medical treatment.

Gabe and I on our wedding day, believing we'd start our own family in no time.

Gabe and I on our wedding day, believing we’d start our own family in no time.

With that said, Gabe and I are moving forward with adoption. Adoption is something I have always been open to, in fact I always imagined that after we had our own children we would adopt one or two more kids. Apparently, God’s plan for us is different. The thought of helping change the life of a child that needs a loving home brings me so much joy and I truly look forward to that.

Buuuut, have you ever looked into adoption? It is so complicated and confusing. First off there are a million agencies to chose from, how do we know which one to go with? Then there are so many choices to make…international, domestic, open adoption etc. And there’s the child itself, do we take whatever child is “next in line” looking for a home like special needs babies with alcohol or drug dependency or can we be more selective…chose a newborn, spend time with the mom while she’s pregnant, have a say in the crucial first moments and days of the child’s life. The options are unbelievably overwhelming. Not to mention, the process is very expensive (on top of the thousands we’ve already spent on fertility treatments) and it takes a very long time. Once we decide which route we’d like to go, an adoption can take up to a year and a half, maybe more. Ugh. It seems as though the sweet baby we dream of will never be in our arms.

So please do me a favor. If you are reading this, share this with your friends, post on your facebook page, email it to your family and maybe ask them to do the same. My husband and I want to provide a loving home to a baby that needs really good parents; to love and cherish the baby as our very own; to give that baby a beautiful life. I figured I’d check with you guys first, my network of support and strength and see if you know someone who is pregnant and is in a situation where she’s unable to provide for her baby? Maybe that’s you and you’re reading this right now? We would be honored if you would consider us as potential parents if that’s a decision you’re facing. Perhaps we are looking for a needle in a haystack, but I had to ask anyway? Meanwhile we will continue our path toward parenthood, praying for our sweet little baby and imagining the day when we are finally together.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

My Prayer

July 14, 2014

Today I received the most beautiful message from a total stranger. A woman, who I do not know, filled me with peace and hope and faith just by leaving her words on my blog. Thank you for taking the time to reach out to me and lift me up in prayer. I am moved beyond words. 

Alexis-
God has a plan for you. When it all happens, it will make so much sense. Right now you can’t see the big picture. There is a bigger picture and God will show himself thru that bigger picture.
Jesus I lift up Alexis and her husband to you. I know that you know the plans that you have for them as you write the story of their lives. God I know that you are more than able to give Alexis a child, but there is something else that you are trying to accomplish in her right now. I pray that Alexis would pray and seek your wisdom as to what direction or steps that she needs to take. I pray that she would set her will aside and seek yours. I pray that your Holy Spirit would encompass her with your love and fill every void that she may be experiencing in her life right now. I pray that you would fill her overflowing with your love and compassion. That you would heal her aching heart and help her to put her focus on you and to trust you in the storm. I know that if Alexis would of been pregnant now, no one would know her story, but God I know you have something amazing for her. It is going to be huge and encourage so many watching her story unfold knowing that you have directed her story. God I pray that she would not lose hope, but that you would help her to continue to put one foot in front of the other and forge on in the name of Jesus. God I know we are all victorious in you and I pray that Alexis would realize the victory that is already hers and that she would begin to claim that over her life in Jesus name. I also pray over the child that she will one day mother. I pray that even at a young age that child would be set apart for your work. God I know you are at work here. I know there is a child waiting now that needs Alexis as a mother, and I pray that you would lead her to that child. God I pray that when she walks in obedience to you that you would begin to heal her physical body and bring her all her hearts desires. In Jesus Name we believe that you can and will do all that we ask. Amen

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Jeremiah 29:11

July 8, 2014

Today was supposed to be my transfer day. In a few hours I would have 1 or 2 teeny tiny embryos implanted in me with the hope that they would grow into my healthy little babies.

That’s not happening and perhaps it may never. The Doctor told me yesterday that all 5 of my embryos tested abnormal after the PGD screening. That’s very unusual for a woman my age and health which indicates that my chances of ever having my own child is slim to none.

Gabe and I are struggling right now to even comprehend this information. We may never have our own biological kids. Even typing the words makes me physically ill. This is literally THE most devastating news you could possibly tell me. I am beyond sad.

Our Doctor suggests that we try one more round of IVF to see if perhaps it was a “bad batch.” Besides that he believes it’s time to start looking at out other options, like adoption. Adoption is definitely something we’ll look into once the dust has settled a bit.

This is the time when our faith is really being tested. Asking us to believe in God’s greater plan even though it’s not what we want. Hoping that we will trust Him even though our hearts are aching. I am at a loss for words right now. The only thing that gives me the slightest comfort is Jeremiah 29:11 which basically says, “God has a plan, trust it.”

 

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Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Report Card

July 6, 2014

Yesterday I didn’t feel like writing. I figured no one wants to be reading about my fertility issues on a holiday weekend. Isn’t everyone outside at the beach, in a pool or at a lake having a beer and BBQing with friends and family? Aren’t we all celebrating America’s Independence and enjoying a few days off? Well maybe most people. Gabe and I tried our best to get into the patriotic spirit this weekend, but we just didn’t have it in us.

On Friday we got some tough news. Out of the 13 eggs we got, only 5 of them fertilized?! I was suuuuper disappointed. That’s an understatement. I thought for sure we’d have at least 10 eggs to chose from? The small number complicates things because with such a small amount of eggs, would the PGD testing even make sense? Ideally you do the testing when you have a large sample so you can get more information. And then if we do the PGD testing on Day 3 would we even have any viable eggs left for the transfer on Day 5. Ugh. 

I woke up at 7:00am this morning to a buzzing cellphone. My Doctor was on the other end. While I was sleeping, my eggs were being graded. Seriously, it’s the only way to determine the overachievers from the flunkies. My sweet little 5 embryos passed! They report read like a high school report card…A+, A+, A-, B+, B-. Not bad little babes!! (Isn’t it so funny that even at 3 days old the kiddos are already being graded. No wonder so many kids have self esteem issues later in life. Can’t they just be kids!) So the Doctor recommends that we go ahead with the PGD testing. With 5 healthy embryos, it’s possible we’ll glean some important information.

 I should say…while I’m very relieved to hear that my sweeties are currently thriving, I am cautiously optimistic. We were in the exact same spot last round of IVF. We had 6 good looking embryos on Day 3. It was Day 5 when it all changed. They didn’t grow and develop properly. We transferred 2 anyway, hoping that they would take, but obviously they did not.

Soooo, that’s where we are. Kind of in a weird place. In addition to all this, we got some bad news about my Nonni  (grandma in Italian) yesterday. My sweet little 94 year old Nonni fell in the middle of the night and broke her hip. She had emergency surgery yesterday morning and is ok now but it’s going to be a long road to recovery. She already has dementia so you can imagine how difficult this on her body. Poor little love. She’s just the funniest, sweetest, kindest woman. I fear that she may never be “herself” again. Also, my heart breaks for my Nonno. Those two have been married for 73 years…together for 77! He doesn’t even know what to do without her. These next few months are going to be tough on them and my poor parents. (My dad is an only child so he takes full responsibility for their well being.) Gabe and I are going to make an effort to get back to Sacramento as much as we can to be with them. There is nothing that would bring me more joy than to tell they are going to be great grandparents. (We actually did tell them the first time we were pregnant. Yes, I realize we may have told them a bit too early, but you just never know how much time you have left with someone. We recorded their reaction…it is priceless. I will share it with you all someday.)

My cute little Nonni and Nonno a few weeks ago at their home in Sacramento.

My cute little Nonni and Nonno a few weeks ago at their home in Sacramento.

During IVF, everyone tells you to relax and don’t stress. But ya know what, life is stressful.  There’s nothing you can do to stop the world around you. Sometimes stuff happens and you just can’t control it. So I say embrace it. To quote a book/movie that I really love The Fault In Our Stars, “Pain demands to be felt.” If ya wanna stress…STRESS! If you feel like crying…CRY!  And as my husband says, if you feel like a glass of wine…DRINK!

Oh and here’s a tip….going through this process, there is literally nothing more annoying than when someone says, “Don’t stress.”  Seriously? If you were on a drug induced emotional roller coaster ride would you be stressed? Well let me tell you the answer is YES! Life can be sad and painful and scary, but it is also precious and sweet and beautiful. I choose to recognize and embrace it all. 

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Lucky #13

July 3, 2014

Retrieval Day is done! Phew, I’m glad that over. It’s not the procedure itself that makes me nervous as much as being put out. Anytime, anesthesia is involved it’s kinda scary. But thankfully everything went well.

As I laid in the bed waiting for my turn in the OR, I tried to deep breathe and visualize my beautiful baby or babies! I even listened to a guided meditation to take my relaxation to a different level. By the time the anesthesia hit, I was calm and in a good place. (Btw, that quick minute before the “juice” hits is so nice. Ha! Not a damn care in the world)

I awoke after the procedure to find out we retrieved 20 follicles, but only 13 eggs. That was disappointing news for me. I was definitely hoping for more. The more eggs means the better chances to have a healthy embryo obviously. The Doc assured me that 13 is totally normal and even a great number, but I’m still a little bummed out. Gabe thinks I’m crazy for feeling down about this. Hopefully it won’t matter because all we need is 1. Our one little miracle baby. 

Post-surgery before I woke up. The Doctor said I did great.

 

The next big hurtle for us is the PGD testing, Preimplentation Genetic Diagnosis. This happens after fertilization and before we transfer the eggs and it basically gives us more information about why we’ve had such difficulty. The more eggs = the more information.We’ll find out how our little babes are doing in the coming days. Until then, I’ve got a white light around my loves in their petrie dishes. Ya know, 13 is supposed to be THE unluckiest number, but we’re betting on it. Soooo come on lucky number 13. 

Anyway, now I’m cuddled up with Lola watching So You Think You Can Dance (secretly believing I will one day make the show) and recovering. Giving my body the time it needs to rest and relax and of course prepare for the next step.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Text Support

July 3, 2014

This was the very best text to wake up to on the morning of my retrieval. It was sent to me by a dear, dear friend who always seems to be there for me when I need it the most. My follicles and I got a good laugh outta this (especially #8) and then we teared up a little. (It’s the meds) Thank you thank you my sweet friend. I love you. XO

19 great things your follicles should know about you…..

1-you’re beautiful inside and out.

2- you can walk the talk.

3- you love your friends

4- you love And believe in God

5- you are never afraid to tell those you love how you feel

6- you will always stand up for what u believe in

7- your friends adore you

8- your smile and laughter can brighten up a room with or without wine….lol

9-family is important to you.

10-you know that everything happens for a reason (lived through it, past it and beyond it)

11-you believe in fairy tale love

12- you fear no Camera

13-you are hot as a blonde or a brunette

14-you’re passing them an amazing work ethic

15- you leave a lasting positive impression on those you meet.

16-you’ve learned that true love always finds it’s way home

17-you have the courage to share what would make most run to seclusion

18-your determination to succeed is what got them this far

19-you acknowledge and appreciate exactly how precious each and every one of them are!!!!

I love you my sweet friend!
Now Go give those eggs girl!!!

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

T’was the Night Before Retrieval

July 2, 2014

 

It’s the night before the retrieval and surprisingly I feel pretty calm and relaxed. I’m not sure if it’s because I’ve been here before or because I know there’s no sense in worrying. Mainly though I think it’s because of all the love and support I’ve gotten from YOU. The emails, texts and messages of solidarity continue to flood in. I am honored and humbled that you trust me with your stories of fertility as well. No matter what happens tomorrow or in the coming weeks, without a doubt I will have my babies. I am sure of that know more than ever. Thank you for keeping me hopeful friends. (Oh and if ya don’t mind saying an extra little prayer for me and my 19 follicles tonight, we would really appreciate it.)

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Babe In My Heart, Blogs

19 Follicles and Counting

July 1, 2014

I had a GREAT Doctor’s appointment today! I went in for a sonogram to determine how my follicles are progressing and when they’ll be ready for retrieval. Doctor D was immediately impressed with my fabulous follicles! She said we’re right on track with 19 follicles! 19!!!! OH. EM. GEE! I felt like I hit the egg lottery! Last time we only got 7…so 19 is HUGE! In fact, the Doc said this is actually what an egg donor looks like! Me, an egg donor doppleganger? WTF! It was as if she just told me my ovaries resemble Beyonce! (Now my follicles have a huge ego!)

Those precious 19 also explain the pressure I’m feeling in my belly and that “I just ate a huge Thanksgiving meal” feeling. (Thank goodness for yoga pants!!) As the Doc was counting and measuring each follicle I felt like a proud mama already. So happy that my little guys are growing and developing just as they should.

Because of the size of my follicles and my slightly high progesterone level, the Doctor decided it’s time for retrieval. I’m scheduled for a Thursday morning surgery! That means that all meds are now halted. No more growing the follicles because if they’re over stimulated, they might “go” on their own which is really bad. Sooo, all that’s left is the trigger shot…HGC. This shot (given in the badonka donk) tells my eggs to get moving in exactly 35 hours. WTF? I am in awe of science. How they made a medicine that does exactly that I’ll never know?

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Now we wait and we pray. On that note, after releasing my first WTF blog several girlfriends asked me if I’ve ever heard of guided meditation for fertility. No, I haven’t. It supposed to be a great way to relax, de-stress and actually visualize what’s happening to your body. I’m all about visualization so of course I downloaded a program. I’ll check it out and let you know what I think.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

WTF: Thank YOU

July 1, 2014

Can I just say I am blown away?! I never would have imagined the outpouring of love and support from you all. I was in tears reading all of your kind messages, tweets, emails and texts. Gabe said, “Why are you crying babe?”  I sniffled and said, “Because everyone is being so kind to me.” Yes perhaps, the massive amounts of drugs in my system are making me overly emotional, buuuuuut still your words made my heart smile. 

In sharing my story I am definitely hoping to help others, but also selfishly I wanted to help myself. I felt like I’ve been carrying around this heavy secret forever now and it’s really weighing me down. Avoiding friend’s phone calls so I don’t have catch them up on my “situation”, dismissing the “are you preggo yet” questions on Facebook and trying to hide the most important decision in my life. It’s exhausting! Welp, now that the cats outta the bag and I feel lighter, relieved and somehow peaceful. So thank you. 

I was truly amazed by all the messages I got from others who shared similar WTF experiences. When you’re going through something tough, it real does help to know you’re not alone. Safety in numbers, right? I won’t reveal any names, but check out some of these responses…

“Just read your story I will be thinking and praying for you daily. It took my daughter 13 yrs to get pregnant doing everything your doing, then without trying 5 yrs later she got pregnant by surprise with her 2nd.”

“I had 12 miscarriages, a prolapsed uterus after my first child. I had a second after all those miscarriages. They told me no more kids, but six years later, pregnant, and was in bed from the fifth month on and all my babies were fine.”

“We did 5 rounds of IVF (all unsuccessful) and finally “gave up” and just started looking at other options years ago. Long story short, I think the stress of infertility was the worst part, and after we stopped pressing and were researching other options such as adoption, we got pregnant naturally. I know it sounds silly, but I heard similar stories from other friends of ours who did the whole IVF thing too. We were fortunate enough to have two wonderful daughters now.”

“After about 5-6 years we literally gave up and felt like it was just going to be “us” for the rest of time. At 9 years we both got check out and like you guys the dr said we were not only good but above average and should have no problem conceiving. We had one miscarriage at about 8 years and finally after giving up God blessed us with a miracle.”

Those are just a few of the dozens of beautiful messages I received. I feel overwhelmed by your love and inspired by your strength. What a wonderful network of support we’ve created here. Thank you friends. I’m off to an important Doctor’s appointment now. We’re counting follicles and finding out our retrieval date!! Wish me luck! 

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