Yearly Archives

2018

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

Channon Rose: Our Fertility Journey

May 21, 2018

Channon Rose and her husband, Travis Dean, have been trying for their baby since 2015. Through years of surgeries, treatments, and a miscarriage, Channon has been open and documented her journey from day 1 through her vlog.

Their journey is raw and real. And we are grateful for the awareness Channon and Travis are bringing to how infertility affects people’s lives. We’ll let her video do the talking! Watch Channon’s video below to hear about their journey from the start!

For a more in-depth look at where they’ve been and where they are at, be sure to check out Channon’s YouTube channel!

 

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

The Waiting and Waiting and Waiting Game

May 15, 2018

By Rachel Roth, guest blogger

When people would find out that we struggled with infertility, two topics were commonly brought up: fertility treatment options and adoption.

My husband and I came to adoption after exhausting our fertility treatment options financially and emotionally. (If you don’t know my story, you can read about it here). We researched agencies and different types of adoptions. Upon choosing an agency, they told us that domestic adoption has an average wait time of one year whereas international adoption can have anywhere from two to five years depending on the country. Since at the time we went through this process we were childless, we decided on domestic infant adoption.

The process began with a lot of paperwork. 75 pages worth. It felt like being back in school with a TON of homework. Then there were physicals. And clearances. And SIX letters of reference. All of that was before we got to the three interviews, which were two hours each. Once accepted into the program, we had to make something called an adoption profile book. It’s like a digital scrapbook for expectant families to look through to get to know you as a family.

Once that was made, we began to wait.

And wait.

And wait.

Does this sound familiar to anyone who has had fertility treatments? That dreaded “two week wait”? You would think we would be MASTERS at this whole waiting thing after just having gone through all of that. Not so much.

When there is an expectant mother/family we might want to show our profile to, our agency will notify us on a private message board online. We get details about the situation and have about 48 hours to pray and think about whether we are ok with the known aspects of the situation – the expectant mom’s medical history, expectant father information (if available), how involved the expectant mom wants to be in the baby’s life, number of visits per year she desires, etc. If we feel comfortable with the information, we tell the agency it is ok to show the expectant family our profile book. However, if we say yes to showing our profile, we are committing before being chosen. If we show our profile and she chooses us, we are expected to move forward. It’s a lot of pressure to make the right decision in 48 hours.

A few weeks ago, we were notified of an expectant family. It was a difficult decision because there were some things in the medical history that concerned us. We ultimately decided that God wanted us to adopt and that meant trusting Him through the process. So we told the agency it was ok to show the family our profile. A few days later I received a phone call I have not gotten in 6 months of waiting: “The birth mother wants to meet you.”

It was a strange feeling – on the one hand it was thrilling to get this far. To know that we were closer to bringing home a sibling for our son. On the other hand, it brought along a whole host of questions and concerns.

What do I wear? I don’t want to show up in my Sunday best, but I’m certainly not showing up in my yoga pants.

What do I say? There are so many aspects of this that are sensitive. I don’t want to say or ask anything that might offend her, but I also don’t want to be dishonest and misrepresent ourselves.

What do I ask? There are a couple of topics that are off limits because of her specific situation.

How do I act? I can feel awkward in certain social situations and this definitely fits that category. We will be sitting in a room with a woman who has a child that we are hoping she allows us to take home to be a part of our family. Oh, and it won’t be just the three of us. It will be the three of us, her mom, the social worker, the pregnancy counselor, and the intern. Just an awesome circle of awkward.

What do I bring? Our agency suggested bringing a gift to her as a way of saying thank you for meeting us. Problem is, we are not the only couple she is meeting. She hasn’t chosen us and may choose the other couple. This is basically just an interview. The agency suggested flowers or candy, but that isn’t us. (I eventually settled on a homemade “thank you” card and a candle of our favorite scent).

Mind you all of these questions came to mind in the 10 seconds I got off the phone with the social worker. The next few days were spent doing research, talking to the social worker, and praying. In the end, I figured it was likely the expectant mom felt as nervous and awkward as I did!

As it turns out, all my questions were moot. I received another phone call that I haven’t ever gotten before: “The birth mother changed her mind. She only wants to meet the other couple.”

My first reaction was “Why? What did we do? What’s wrong with us?” The answer is nothing. We just are not a fit for this expectant mom. It’s not meant to be. And that’s ok.

And so we continue to wait. Wait for another opportunity. Wait for another phone call. Wait to be chosen. Wait for our child.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

From the Pain a Project Is Born – Nine 16 Designs

May 11, 2018

Written by Shannon Hughes, guest blogger

Once upon a time, my husband and I had the conversation about building our family and after about 2 minutes, we decided that it was time to start trying. Little did we know that it was not going to be as fun and stress free as they make it seem. Flash forward 3 years, and there were still no babies in our house. Something wasn’t right.

After several tests, on both our parts, we were diagnosed with infertility and jumped right into this world filled with appointments, medications, ultrasounds, injections, emotions, a lot of questions and A LOT of waiting. At the time, I was working as a nanny, but the appointments and non-stop feeling like crap (no better way to put it) led me to the life of unemployment. I didn’t mind, because all I wanted to do was sleep.

I had been toying around with the idea to start this side hobby of making t-shirts and selling them, just to give me something to do, but mostly to help distract me from the stress of IVF. Once my job transitioned to ‘stay at home wife’, I took the t-shirt biz a little bit more seriously, and decided that if I was going to do this thing, I was going to do it right.

With that decision, Nine 16 Designs was officially launched as an online apparel shop! 9/16 is the date that my bearded hubs and I had our very first date, so we thought it was fitting for the name of our new venture. Also, it made the logo easy to design and just sounded cool.

The first few months of business were pretty lackluster, but it kept me busy. This was something I needed once we got the results from our first round of IVF…negative. The transfer didn’t work. I was devastated…like, couldn’t breath or stop crying kinda vibes. It was a huge blow to our confidence that IVF was going to work. We never had a doubt in the world that it wouldn’t. To make matters worse, they ran some tests afterwards to see if they could find the reason as to why our embryos didn’t implant. The results were even more devastating than the negative BETA results.

They found cancer in my uterine lining. IVF was off the table for a minimum of 6 months, maybe even more. Now what? What am I supposed to do for 6 months, while we work to get my body clear of cancer cells?

I decided that I wasn’t going to just sit around and mope, so I jumped back into the business but this time, I decided that it needed something more. I wanted to DO something more.

I had been trying to think of an organization that we could team up with, to donate a portion of our proceeds to, but nothing was really clicking for me. I wanted it to be a good one, one that I would have a passion for. I didn’t really want to team up with big companies that wouldn’t directly benefit from our donations.

Then one day it hit me.

I had gotten to know SO many individuals struggling with infertility and the number one topic, or cause of stress during this process was money. The cost of fertility treatments is overwhelmingly high. You could buy a brand new car and pay cash for it, then probably buy a few designer purses or Rolexes on top of that. That’s the kind of money that people are dishing out, just for the CHANCE of having a family of their own.

So that was it. I wasn’t going to work with an organization, or any big companies. I was going to work with individual people, and I was going to work with as many of them as possible.

With that, Project 1:8 was created, and I was SO excited about it. We started asking people to share their stories with us, and spread the word. We would choose a couple, or individual, and work with them for a two week time span spreading the word about their story, sharing their pictures, and just letting the world get to know them. Any order that was placed during that two weeks, a portion of the proceeds goes into a pot for the couple to get. We also opened up a direct donation link, for those that didn’t really see anything in the shop that they liked.

When we started, our list of applicants was about 10-15 people. We are now only a few months into it, and our list has grown to over 100! It is our goal to work with every single one of these warriors, and even though what we donate might not be in the thousands, we know that every little bit helps. We’ve helped pay for entire orders of progesterone, we’ve shared the word with friends and families, resulting in large direct donations, and most importantly, we’ve helped get the word out about infertility.

As my husband and I struggle through our own treatments, it has been a very welcomed task to organize and run Project 1:8. We are thrilled to be able to help others who aren’t fortunate enough to have insurance coverage. We are even more excited that we are getting the word out there. I will continue to spread the word, share the love, encourage and support any and all men and women who are going through this extremely difficult time.

At the time this post is being written, we have donated over $2,000 to our applicants, and it is my hope that that number grows exponentially over the next several months.

<3

Want to win some Nine 16 Design swag of your own? Head on over to our Instagram page for your chance to win!

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

Lessons About Love and Loss

May 2, 2018

Written by Sarah Banks, guest blogger

I’ve often wondered how I would tell this story. Where do you even begin, after 10 years of infertility and loss, when the journey is still underway? I can still vividly remember the first miscarriage – it was 2008 and we had just moved to Colorado Springs. I was doubled over in excruciating pain, crying at work. I didn’t know I was pregnant, so I didn’t know what was wrong, and I remember saying to a coworker, “If I didn’t know better I would think this is what a miscarriage feels like.” When the Doctor told me I was pregnant and that I was having a miscarriage, a flood of emotions and thoughts washed over me. Most of all, I felt desperate for this life that I didn’t even know was there before that moment. I immediately loved this child and longed to meet him or her. Now it was all gone. Weeks of tears, waves of sadness and shock, lots of questions, and a lot of guilt came and went during that time. Miscarriages 2, 3 and 4 are more of a blur.

“I’m sorry, it looks like you’ve just rolled snake eyes too many times,” one of the Doctors said to me. Snake eyes? Really? You’re making a craps reference about my fertility? Do people even say that? Apparently they do because I will never un-hear those words being spoken to me.

Over the course of the next 4 years, I saw 3 different Reproductive Endocrinologists in 2 different states. I had every test they offer administered, and re-administered after another couple of miscarriages, only to be told that I’m perfectly healthy and there’s absolutely nothing wrong with me. Except, of course, for the fact that I couldn’t carry a baby past 9 weeks with no medical explanation of why. I think it might have been easier over those years if there was a reason, some kind of medical diagnosis that I could wrap my head around, undergo treatment for….something.

 

Pregnancy #5 is clear, too clear to forget any of the details, much like pregnancy and baby #1. Baby #5 and baby #6 were twins. I hadn’t taken any fertility drugs or undergone any treatment, but I do have twins that run in my family. I was so excited and so hopeful, but I was also cripplingly terrified. My anxiety and panic over something going wrong was almost suffocating. At my 8 week appointment baby A had a heartbeat but baby B did not. I was crushed, but also hopeful for baby A. A week later during ultrasound, baby A no longer had a heartbeat. During those moments I was so angry with myself and my body. It had failed me, yet again, and I didn’t know how to cope with that. I went through a long period of anger and resentment about why this was happening to me. I questioned my faith. I questioned why others could have children but I couldn’t. I questioned the fairness of it all.

I knew it before I even missed my period. After 5 pregnancies I knew my body so well, I knew I was pregnant days before my period was due. My chest was swollen and tender and it hurt to walk around my house without a bra. That was always my first sign of pregnancy. This time, pregnancy #6 and baby #7, felt different. I was nauseous, incredibly tired and I wasn’t as panicked and anxious every waking second of the day. I had a calm and peace about this pregnancy. That whatever was going to happen, was going to happen, regardless of what I did or didn’t do. I travelled to Peru at 8 weeks and rubbed the water at Machu Picchu on my stomach. I prayed, I begged, I bargained for the life of this child, but I maintained a sense of peace like I hadn’t in the pregnancies before.

I remember sitting at the Doctor’s office at week 38 and begging the Doctor to induce labor. I didn’t trust my body, even though my pregnancy had been fine, and I wanted her out. My beautiful miracle daughter was born on November 6, 2014. I have never loved anything or anyone as much as I loved this little girl.

I wanted more children, but I just didn’t know if it was part of the plan for me, and I was ok with that. I didn’t know how much more loss and fear my heart could take. Even before the positive pregnancy test, I knew I was pregnant with baby #8. We were thrilled and hopeful, and the Doctors assured me that after carrying my daughter to term I should absolutely be able to carry another pregnancy to term. But this was just like babies #1-6. I knew it, because I knew my pregnant body too well, and it was a blessing and a curse. After you’ve had as many miscarriages as I have they will see you before the 8 or 12 week mark, so at the 6 week appointment we could clearly see a baby on the ultrasound but I was measuring behind and there was no heartbeat yet. At the 8 week appointment they confirmed that the baby had stopped growing at 6 weeks 1 day. The inevitable conversation with my Doctor followed, “Would you like to do a D&C or try to miscarry naturally?” I’ve had this conversation too many times and I had become numb to it. We lost baby #8 in October 2017, 9 years after this infertility journey began, almost to the day.

As I write this, 15 weeks pregnant with baby #9, I think about the sweet souls in heaven that I’ll never meet. I wonder whether they were girls or boys, what they would have looked like, what they would have become. I wonder if I will tell my children about their brothers and sisters in heaven. This has been a devastating journey filled with too many tears to count and too much hurt to measure, but it has also taught me more lessons about love and loss than I could have ever imagined. I cherish every waking second with my daughter and am hopeful that I will get to meet baby #9 in October.

Infertility is painful beyond words, but I haven’t lost hope. I lost it at times, but I didn’t lose it forever. If I had given up, I never would have become a Mom, and I know that I was meant to be one, to all 9 of these children.

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

Life After Two Pink Lines

April 27, 2018

Written by Megan Elliot, guest blogger

In December 2017, we went into our 4th and final round of IVF; a couple months before I had a laparoscopy to remove a cyst and I ended up having stage 4 endometriosis that was removed during that same surgery. We felt like a weight had been lifted off of us. Finally, this might be the answer to our infertility. We went in to our 4th round of IVF with our heads held a little higher and with a little more hope than the previous rounds. However, we were still protecting our heart as we have been disappointed each round prior.

We had recently completed a home study with an adoption agency. This made us feel like we were ready to take on a new journey if this last IVF round did not work. With this last round of IVF, the plan was to send all of our embryos for genetic testing and do a frozen transfer in February but in the world of infertility, you can’t really have a plan. Your body makes up the rules. After having 12 eggs retrieved and 10 fertilized, we were devastated to hear the news on day 2 that all but 1 embryo had stop growing. Each day we got a call to let us know we may need to come in for a transfer and to stand by. We ended up going in on day 5 to transfer 1 blastocyst – it was this or nothing.

The chances of this working were slim and we knew it. I wanted to protect my heart so I started secretly testing before my beta test. The first day I tested I saw a second line. I fell to my knees and cried in disbelief. Could this really be happening? No way would I tell my husband, I needed to protect his heart and did not want to get his hopes up. So every morning I would quietly unwrap a pregnancy test, look at it and store it away in the bathroom drawer but not before taking a picture and sending to a friend to see if she thought the line was darker then the one before. Even though there were two lines, I questioned it; “What if it was a chemical pregnancy? What if the line is not darker the next time I test, what if my beta numbers are not high enough or do not double?”

I was feeling so many mixed emotions of disbelief and honestly just terrified. My lines did get darker, my betas doubled and we got the official call from our doctor 3 days before Christmas that we were pregnant. Our very own Christmas miracle seemed too good to be true. Unfortunately, pregnancy after infertility is not what you imagined it would be. I always thought, if it could just get pregnant everything would be fine. I would be happy again and my world would be right. Little did I know how stressed and scared I was every single day. The joy I thought I would feel was not there, instead I felt an overwhelming sense of fear. I obsessed over what symptoms I had or should be having. I kept taking pregnancy tests until I was about 8 weeks just to make sure it was still positive. At each ultrasound appointment I could not even look at the screen until someone told me it was okay. I was crying before the Doctor would even come into the room and had multiple breakdowns to my acupuncturist. I constantly counted my heartrate to make sure it was still beating faster than normal (I didn’t even know what my normal was) and I refused to talk about being pregnant, let alone tell anyone, and begged my husband to not get excited. The wait in between appointments destroyed me. It was like I could not even function in the real world because I was so consumed with negative thoughts and fears. I was so angry with my infertility journey. I felt that it had not only robbed me from not only the normalcy of trying to get pregnant but also the joy of finding out I was pregnant. But just with most things, with time, you heal.

As I sit and write this at 19 weeks, feeling flutters of my daughter moving around in my stomach, 1 week shy of our 20 week anatomy scan, I still cry but I cry tears of happiness and gratefulness that we have been blessed with this miracle. We thank God every day for blessing us with this one embryo, which continues to grow strong and beautiful against all odds.

My husband and I have started to feel grateful for our infertility journey. It has made us knowledgeable and we feel good when we use big words and ask the tough questions in front of our OB! It has strengthened our marriage, our faith, and has reminded us to never to take any part of this new chapter for granted. My husband and I lay in bed listening to her heartbeat almost every night. We talk about how she is going to be such a strong little lady who will do amazing things. She is already such a fighter and we are already so proud to be her parents. We have started talking about her nursery and what we need to do to make room in our house for our growing family. We take weekly pregnancy pictures; we read What to Expect When Your Expecting, and talk about my symptoms and what they mean. My friends even set a day for my baby shower. MY BABY SHOWER….what is this world I am living in!? I am living a dream and vision that felt so far away and even not existent for so long.

I am so glad we never gave up and I am so glad we never stopped believing in miracles. Infertility sucks. It is hard and it is life changing. Pregnancy after infertility sucks too and can sometimes be harder or more stressful but as time goes on and you start to feel more secure in your pregnancy, it becomes a dream come true. I still can’t believe I am carrying a miracle, my daughter, my little fighter.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Under The Palm

April 23, 2018
Fertility warrior Carly Kenihan shares why April is a special month and the latest project that benefits families going through fertility treatments!

When I think of that negative pregnancy test. Heck-hundreds-of negative pregnancy tests – I still feel the sting. And I say hundreds because you better believe I took not one but five each month just to double triple five times confirm the disappointing results. There were lots of tears on our journey. Feelings of failure. But there was also lots of hope! Which I never – ever – let go of! I now have two beautiful babies so believe me when I understand gratitude to its entirety. And this month I’m feeling extra delicate and just extra mushy, all over!!

The month of April has become the month of all the feels. April is National Infertility Awareness Month (well, it really only has a week, but I’m making it a month), and April, is the precious month my little twins were born. There’s no doubt in my mind that the two go hand in hand. I mean, Slater and Zoe weren’t technically due till June, so it’s no coincidence they chose April, more specifically the very first day of National Infertility Awareness Week last year to surprise us! You can read more about our infertility journey here and our birth story here, but today I’m excited to share with you the babies and my first little project!!!

We collaborated with Softsie on a baby capsule that resembles peace, strength and hope – all things Softsie founder Natalie and I found through part 1 of our journeys, that are still ever so present in our hearts while we venture through part 2. The privilege of motherhood! Our life tales are nowhere near how we imagined them, but oh how we hope to always find peace with their perfect imperfections.

Our collaboration embodies all of these things and we’re so excited to share it with you! My babies Slater and Zoe finalized the pattern and together we decided grey and white was the most versatile color combo – it’s gender neutral and works year round! The fabric is THE softest thing you will ever feel! The styles are all practical for both sleeping and playing. Everything is functional for life! We love to wear our palm under the trees at the beach, but we love to cozy up in them under imaginary trees at home just the same 🙂

The clothing ranges from $19-$45 in sizes 0m-6T and you can use code UNDERTHPALM for 15% off any Softsie purchase during the month of April! A portion of proceeds will be donated to Pay it Forward Fertility Foundation to provide fertility treatments to mamas in the making, so they too can sit with their dream, under the palm.

Visit Carly’s blog BunBunBook for more on her journey, and be sure to follow her on Instagram as she shares all her joy love and fun in her latest adventure of motherhood!!
Babe In My Arms, Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs

From WTF Sisters: Successful Frozen Embryo Transfer Tips and Tricks

April 17, 2018

Infertility isn’t a journey anyone should travel alone, and sometimes our biggest supporters are others we haven’t met physically, but have interacted with countless times through social media.

Last month, a sister came to us with a question about what others did to help an embryo stick after a frozen transfer. We posted the question on our Instagram because we knew you would answer the call. You did not disappoint or let this gal down! The responses were so amazing, we wanted to share with the whole community!

Here are some of the highlights:

Image courtesy of American Pregnancy

Acupuncture: 

“…good ole fashion Chinese medicine and acupuncture! Most docs will say no to the herbs but yes to the needles. Best thing I ever did.” – @katiedlwood

“I also agree with acupuncture. I did my doctoral study on acupuncture and embryo transfers.” –@vacay_girl_ali_dnp

“Acupuncture! I did it for 4 weeks prior to transfer then the day before and after transfer.” – @dawnsterzzz

“My acupuncturist gave me a Moxa treatment several days before my transfer.” – @pamelaf77

“I agree about acupuncture! It didn’t help with any medicated cycle but my first FET stuck and I’m 33+ weeks pregnant!” – @kwmcm

Image courtesy of Gaiam

Diet and lifestyle:

“I did acupuncture leading up to my transfer, and right before & immediately after the transfer. I ate pineapple (the core) for a few days leading up to my transfer and then a few days after. No caffeine (even chocolate and decaf coffee were cut out sadly) to increase blood flow to the uterus. The Circle & Bloom IVF meditations were great for me, too. My doctor required bed rest the day of the transfer and the day after and I really loved that time to relax and take it easy!” – @vmmayer

Agree with Circle & Bloom meditations and walking helped my mindset too. I did acupuncture along with the transfer and during the TWW.” – @simplywellcoaching

“Circle & Bloom guided meditations! They have them specific for FET and I really think they helped me relax and visualize success.” – @lyndsaysmiles

“I’ve read about a ton of stuff. They say pomegranate juice and Brazil nuts could help.” – @latersbaby0829

Unsuspecting protocols:

“I did a Lupron FET…and it was successful! I also took 30 Viagras that time to help with my lining.” – @mrs.kuddles

I used Viagra for my lining, but just a week and had endometrium scratching.” – @little_beea

 

What did you do leading up to and during your successful FET cycle? Drop your experience and advice in the comments below! And be on the look out for our next post from WTF sisters around unique ways to raise money for those expensive fertility treatments!


It is important to note that What The Fertility is not a medical website and the content here is in no way a substitute for professional medical advice or treatment. You should always consult with your physician or reproduction endocrinologist about your course of treatment, what is best for your body, and address any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

When Social Media Steals Your Joy

April 10, 2018

Written by Nichole Czarnecki-Cayer, guest blogger

March 2017. It’s been one year since my fiancé and I started trying to conceive after my first laparoscopy and endometriosis diagnosis. A year of high hopes that slowly diminished with each cycle. Our dreaded “infertili-versary”. An anniversary really not called for any sort of celebrations; except for a pregnancy announcement posted up on social media.

They were the first of our friends to announce a pregnancy (which is truly exciting) through the time we’ve been trying to conceive. But of course, when it rains it pours and it just happened to be announced a week after calling my gynecologist to book our “when we hit one year with no two lines” appointment (to make this time even more exciting, my gynecologist just so happened to give birth to her baby a week prior to our phone call. We didn’t even know she was pregnant because it’s been so long since we seen her!). At this time our friends did not know that we have been trying to conceive, let alone now officially being diagnosised with infertility.

In that moment, staring blankly at my phone screen, I have never felt such a twist of emotions between jealousy, disappointment, disbelief, and guilt. At the first glance of that pregnancy announcement, the guilt set in quickly after jealousy flowed through. I felt like such a terrible person for being so envious of our friends. The jealousy and guilt sat so heavily in my chest. Our good friends were announcing their first pregnancy and a new adventure in their life! We should be genuinely happy for them and jumping for joy! Instead, I sat there bawling, consumed by how upset I was and disappointed that it wasn’t us making an announcement.

End of March 2017. I began my first social media break. I had to for my own sanity and emotional health. As much as I loved seeing others’ hobbies, travels, art, and smiles, the pregnancy announcement and other people’s adventures with their children tore through my heart. Any time I opened up Facebook, the only posts that my mind would absorb was anything pregnancy, baby, or family related. Every time I caught a glimpse at a pregnancy announcement while scrolling, my heart hurt. I already know that removing Facebook and Instagram from my phone was not going to hide our friend’s pregnancy, but it helped remove me being consumed with comparing how “terrible” my life is and how great other people’s lives were.

Our friend’s life is great. Their joys are meant to be celebrated and not brought down with negativity and sadness. I wanted to show them that we will love and support them through this new journey in their life. But first I had to love and support myself through our own journey. Choosing to remove social media was giving me a chance to refocused my emotions and allow me realize how amazing my life was also.

A couple weeks into my social media break, which ended up being more of a complete break from people all together, my fiancé visited with our soon-to-be-parents friends for the first time after their pregnancy announcement. My fiancé had mentioned to me that through conversation with them, he had shared about our fertility struggle. I actually felt a weight lift from my chest knowing that we weren’t in the shadow any more. Knowing that our friends may now have a better understanding of why we did not respond to their social media announcement. I thought maybe this could be a way for us to be more honest, comfortable, and closer as friends?

After a few weeks of solitude, meditation, and reflection with myself, I felt a calling to log back into Facebook. The first post I saw was a ‘pelvic pain support group’ our friend tagged me in. My heart fluttered – she did understand and she does care! Even through her joys of pregnancy, she also cared about my health and our journey that she just learned of. And I know that they will be there for us through every step in our journey as we will for them.

It’s now March 2018. We have still yet to see two pink lines on a pregnancy test. We’ve been working with a naturopath to guide us on living a healthier lifestyle with a better diet, vitamins, herbal supplements, seed cycling, castor oil packs, essential oils, testing, tracking, blood work, semen analysis, acupuncture, a second laparoscopy. Basically “the holistic works” of infertility trial and error. I’ve grasped better control of my anxiety with social media posts and other triggers. We’ve also opened up on social media and to family and friends about our infertility struggle.

I still take mini social media breaks as soon as I start feeling the sad, anxious, or negative feelings arise when I see baby or pregnancy posts from others.

Our friends are now parents to a beautiful girl whom we, and everyone, absolutely adore. They are so supportive, open, and understanding with conversations about their life as parents and our life as a couple experiencing infertility. We have gained so much emotional support from everyone, including our friends, family and acquaintances that have become parents/pregnant through our 2 years of infertility.

My fiancé and I are determined that this year will be our last year of infertility. In 5 days, we have another appointment with my gynecologist to discuss further fertility treatments and hopefully begin our first round of treatment. But until then, happy(?) 2nd infertili-versary to us!

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

When Family Answers The Call: From Sister-In-Law to Gestational Carrier

April 4, 2018

Written by Cammie Heaton, guest blogger

My husband and I began trying to start a family in 2013 when I was 27 and he was 29 and after a year of trying and no results, we made a doctor’s appointment. We were both checked up and down multiple times. I had countless scopes, surgeries, ultrasounds, and labs with no findings. I have been a type 1 diabetic for 22 years and we knew if I were to become pregnant, it would be considered high risk. With clearance from my endocrinologist and nephrologist, I was given a prescription for Clomid and took it for the maximum time with no results. I was ovulated monthly but never had a positive pregnancy test.

We were then referred to a specialist in Wichita, KS; a good four hour drive from our rural hometown of Hugoton. We waited three months to get an appointment and after all the buildup, we left extremely disappointed. Dr. Tatpati felt as if it would be too dangerous for me to try IVF and possibly carry multiples with having a chronic condition.

It was time to discuss next steps: we talked about just enjoying each other, having our dogs as our “kids”and spoiling our nieces and nephews, whom we love as our own. We did an adoption phone consultation and were told to expect the cost to be nearly $50k. In the end, we decided to take it day by day and continue to pray.

About a month later, my husband came home from work and told me that his coworker said his wife would be willing to carry our biological child. I was in complete shock, sure that she didn’t really understand what it would all entail. We met with her and ended up back in Wichita. Fast forward through multiple appointments, labs, contracts with attorneys, social workers etc., and we were ready! I had an egg retrieval and they fertilized 24 eggs. Unfortunately, our carrier’s lining wasn’t materializing and so they had to freeze the 6 embryos that made it to blastocyst and we were told that maybe the next month we could try.

A week later, I was in excruciating pain and vomiting blood. My husband drove me to the ER but I was transferred to a bigger hospital an hour away. My abdomen had swollen and at every extraction point of an egg there was a leaking blood vessel. I had a horrible and severe form of OHSS.

Next thing I know, my already fragile kidneys were shutting down and I was in the back of an ambulance going to Wesley Hospital in Wichita. I had a paracentesis and they drained over two liters from my abdomen. While I have recovered fine, my kidneys will never function as well as they had. We did what we were told was safe and ended up in a very critical state.

Six months later, our carrier’s body was still not responding to the hormones as it should. Her lining would not thicken and had fluid, a cyst, and other concerns. We were told to find another carrier, as if it were that easy!

After some discussion, we made a plan. My husband asked his sister, Tina, who is married to Greg and have three children, and also happen to be our neighbors. We discussed the process over a spaghetti dinner and left their house with hopeful hearts to have a baby again.

We had to begin the legal process, labs, contracts, appointments, etc. all over again. A potential transfer date was scheduled for February 2017, but just like the first carrier, her lining was too thin.

We were frustrated…deja vu.

Eventually we transferred a frozen embryo in April, and nine days later the pregnancy test was negative.

We jumped right back in and transferred again in June, and this time it worked! She was pregnant! We were over the moon. Just a short week later we were told it was an abnormal pregnancy and she ended up having to a have d&c.

Lots of things were unknown after this. Do we try again? Financially, can we try again? Is Tina still willing to try?

We waited till October. This was to be Tina’s last try and we transferred two embryos, On a Sunday evening in November, we saw two pink lines. We cried, we were so excited but also so scared since we had just gotten these results in June, only to be left heartbroken.

The day before Thanksgiving, we saw one baby via ultrasound and there was one heartbeat! I thought I might have a heart attack. I was holding Tina’s hand and realized afterwards how hard I was squeezing her. That Thanksgiving was that much more blessed than I ever could have imagined.

Tina took 10 weeks of progesterone shots and through it all, was so strong. She truly is the most selfless person I know. She has never complained, whined, had a “poor me” attitude, or wanted any praise. She is a trooper, always positive, and I get goosebumps typing this as she is an answer to so many prayers over the last five years.

We found out on Valentine’s Day that we are expecting a baby girl. She is due the beginning of July and her name will be Gracyn Jo Faye, sharing a middle name with both myself (Jo) and Tina (Faye).

I frequently feel like I need to pinch myself as we look at baby cribs, talk about paint colors, and dream about who she will look like. This road has been rough, there have been more bumps and setbacks than times we were happy. Tears of hope, joy and fear. When times were hard and hope seemed dim I relied on our faith, family and friends.

I owe Tina the world and want her to be recognized as my hero. Without her, we would not be able to have a biological child. She is doing this without any large compensation and from the bottom of her heart. A true warrior and friend.

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