Monthly Archives

February 2018

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Finding My Identify Through Infertility

February 27, 2018

Written by Lauren Bennett, WTF Content Editor

For a majority of my life, I considered myself a typical, normal girl who would grow up to be a typical, normal woman. I would go to college, start my career, get married, have a few kids, travel, and grow old with lots of grandbabies by my side.

I never thought much about how I identified myself, because I never had to. When everything about your life seems like nothing out of the ordinary, you don’t spend much time considering how you categorize yourself.

But, then life throws you a curve ball. Your idea of having it all under the roof of a cute house surrounded by a picket white fence vanishes, piece by piece as your dreams to your “happily ever after” fade. That curve ball for me was infertility. The beast of infertility can take the most joyous occasion for others and turn it into your nightmare.

After years and year of living the reality of infertility every single day, I started to consider that part of who I was. I was no longer just Lauren. In my mind, every thing I did, was done by Lauren who is fighting infertility. Lauren became synonymous infertility and sometimes in my mind, it was hard to separate the two. When I checked out at the grocery store, I was a shopper with infertility buying groceries. When I went to work, I did my job all while doing it with infertility. I slowly began to take this horrible diagnosis and I wore it like a badge of honor. I became vocal about our experiences, advocated for better access to treatments, tried to mentor others through it, and barely went a day without bringing it up, let alone thinking about it.

Then, 5 years after we started trying and years of being an “infertility warrior,” I became pregnant after undergoing IVF. Nine months later, I gave birth to the most wonderful human I ever laid eyes on. And just like that, even though I could finally call myself a mother, I felt a little lost, like I didn’t know who I was anymore. For the past half decade, I made it my mission to make sure I was open about our trouble with fertility so others would feel less alone. I commiserated with others who lived in this world of unsuccessful fertility treatments and heartache.

What now? I had my miracle baby, but I felt stuck between two worlds: infertility and motherhood. Throughout my pregnancy, I would still find myself feeling so sad and hopeless even though I carried my sweet baby in my belly. My heart would still ache hard as if I was still waiting for my miracle. I could no longer “identify” with my peers in the infertility community because I had my baby I waited so long for. But I also felt like I didn’t fit in with typical moms because my heart was so scarred by negativity and the fertility treatment process. Even now, I find myself with pangs of sadness even though I hold my son in my arms.

So who I am now that I’m not “Lauren dealing with infertility?” Honestly, I’m still working through that. But I don’t feel like I have to live exclusively in one world or the other. Infertility was part of my life for so long that it isn’t something that I think ever goes away. All the fears, anxieties, and feelings of bitterness, hopelessness, and jealousy are still so fresh in my soul.

And you know what? I hope they never go away. Because of infertility and feeling all the connected emotions so deeply, it also made me who I am. Living with infertility taught me so much: empathy, patience, perseverance, and humor, just to name a few. I sincerely believe I’m a better mother and human because of my experience. I’ll never forget the 5 years it took to get to my son and I want to make sure he knows all about the journey we took to get to him. Infertility is nothing to be ashamed of and by acting like it never happened does a disservice to not only myself, but my support system who was there every step of the way. So I’ll continue to wear it like the badge of honor I once used to.

Getting my happy ending doesn’t mean my infertility story is over. It has just evolved, like I have. Now, I am Lauren, infertility warrior and advocate, who promises to use her story and experiences to fuel change, bring awareness, provide support, and offer comfort to whoever needs it most. Because no one should have to do this alone, whether it is for the first, second, or third time.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

What Should Be, Will Be

February 20, 2018

Written by anonymous, guest blogger

So the saying goes “First comes LOVE, then comes MARRIAGE, then comes BABY in the baby carriage”.  What this saying DOESN’T say is “Then comes a miscarriage,” or “then comes the dreaded 2ww with a negative result on the pregnancy test,” because lets be serious… then the saying wouldn’t be as popular and as fairy tale as it portrays. This saying comes off as something that is natural and easy – and should come at the drop of a pin, or at least that is my perspective on it. Which for some, it does come that easy, and those individuals are very blessed. But for many, the reality is that it takes a little bit more time, and some tedious calculations which you were never told about before.

Let’s back track to March 2017, when my husband and I got our first positive pregnancy test! Elated, shocked, and scared would be the 3 best words to describe the emotions we felt. It was the first time we tried, and it was successful! Or so it seemed. Fast forward a week and a half later, and I had a miscarriage. Cue a new flood of emotions: disbelief, depression, and shame. All I could ask was “What did I do wrong? Is this my fault? What could I or should I have done differently?” After talking to many, including my own mother who had 2 miscarriages, I learned this was far more “normal” than anyone ever cares to talk about and it was nothing that I could have or should have done to prevent this from happening. It just wasn’t our time.

We got the OK to try again from our doctor shortly thereafter, but I just wasn’t ready to move on yet. My Little Peanut was still in my heart and soul and I couldn’t bear the thought of trying again so soon. Mind you, in this time, I was asked countless times by family and friends if we were cleared and if we were going to try again soon. I know that it’s just because they care about us, but I often wonder why people think its ok to ask these questions! I’ve learned you never know what someone is going through, that’s for sure! Months and months passed, including my due date, and time heals. December came, we decided to try and also decided to keep this very much to ourselves. Until we have some good news to share, we decided not to share anything at all (hence some edited pictures and this anonymous post). And then comes along the DREADED two week window (2ww).

 

The 2ww, I have decided is the meanest, cruelest, and most irritating time period a woman encounters in life. I can’t remember a time when I have been more in my head then I have during this wait. I watch and wait for EVERY.LITTLE.SINGLE. inkling that I MAY be experiencing an early pregnancy symptom. If someone looked at my google searches during this time, I would probably be committed to an asylum. I, of course, try to eat as healthy as can be, drink tea, warm soups, the whole 9 yards to increase the chance for a successful implantation. No drinking, no medicine, try to stay active, and continue on with uplifting spirits and positive vibes, but the voice inside my head gets to me every single time. I look back on my “ovulated” days and I calculate when I should have implanted by. I look on my app countless times, and log/monitor every single symptom to see if I’ll have an update that tells me that this is a sure tell sign that I could be experiencing early pregnancy symptoms. And in the days leading up to either a big reveal, or disappointment I am probably the most irritable, anxious, and mean person to be around. My poor husband, I do feel for him.

I have the most regular cycle. It comes like clockwork, every month. So here is the day I should have gotten my period, and there was nothing. Took a pregnancy test, and…..negative. Wait until the next day – still nothing, and still negative. Well, my period ends upcoming 2 days late. And while I was disappointed, I was relieved in a sense, because now the cycle can start all over again.

UPDATE: Month 2 of trying has come and gone, except this time my period came 2 days early – with 5 days of spotting leading up to it. Sure that it was implantation spotting, elevated BBTs, sore breasts – you name it, I had it. While we will never know for sure, my acupuncturist strongly believes it was a chemical pregnancy. Talk about feeling defeated, and deflated. This journey is not for the weak.

This is the time that I try to pick myself back up, and indulge in a little self-care for just a few days. I have a horrible period, and let’s face it, when you get that negative test, for me it usually comes with terrible cramping and misery, so all you want to do is curl up in a ball, wonder why it wasn’t your time, and also wonder why every month is so excruciating. So I allow myself to eat what I want, have a glass of wine if that’s what I’m feeling, and when the worst of the period is over… I try to get excited to start what feels like an endless cycle all over again.

In ALL of this, I have learned that God will not give you more than you can handle. I have learned that for whatever reason, my Little Peanut that grew inside of me for a very short time, was not meant to grace us on this Earth. I have learned that this is NOT an easy process, and everyone has a very different and unique story to tell. And most of all, I learned that What Should Be, Will Be. Which is my motto that I tell myself every single day. And at the end of the day, that is what helps me through it all. “What Should Be, Will Be”.

Blogs

Can Baltic Amber Help With Pregnancy Symptoms?

February 13, 2018

Written by Jenn Sanders, guest blogger

With that joyous pregnancy comes symptoms that many times do not bring so much joy. Spending every day with your head over a toilet can get nerve wracking and time consuming. There were days I spent yelling at my husband, my kids, the dog…those mood swings were getting to everyone. Not to mention the constant headache I had that the doctor told me not to worry about. I worried about it along with everything else. What I worried most about though was how to treat all this without drugs that potentially could harm my baby.

What I found was that the fatigue, nausea, headaches and mood swings attached to my pregnancy could be alleviated with the healing properties of Baltic Amber. By wearing a raw Baltic Amber necklace close to the pain, its organic healing properties helped soothe my discomfort naturally. Why Baltic Amber? Baltic Amber is fossilized tree resin. Yet unlike other ambers, it contains succinic acid, a water-soluble substance used as a chemical intermediate in medicine. Succinic acid works effectively as an anti-inflammatory, reducing pain and swelling. In fact, Baltic Amber is used cross-culturally as an analgesic, since it aids various pregnancy symptoms. And it’s completely, 100% natural.

With absolutely no side-effects, I read that pregnant moms wearing Raw Baltic Amber experience the relief of symptoms associated with pregnancy. For example, the succinic acid directly addresses pregnancy pains such as backaches and sciatica pain, or in other words, leg pain. By and large, it also increases the energy level of Mom due to its immune boosting properties. For effectiveness, the necklace should be worn against bare skin as opposed to over clothing. By wearing Baltic Amber, the holistic succinic acid is absorbed through the skin into the bloodstream. With this in mind, it reduces pain and inflammation in the body. So I continued to find out where this stuff came from.

Baltic Amber is associated with the Baltic Sea since it was mined around that area. This ancient remedy for centuries in Europe and Asia proved to help not only pregnant women but also teething babies. In reality, healers have turned to Baltic Amber repeatedly for its acid. Also known as Amber Acid, its biochemical properties were used for centuries as a natural antibiotic and pain-reliever. All in all, pregnant moms wearing Baltic Amber necklaces during pregnancy and while giving birth reduce discomforting pain. I found a genuine Baltic Amber necklace at BalticWonder.Com.

The 4 Ways Baltic Amber Specifically Helps Pregnancy Symptoms

  1. Replenishes Energy

The human body produces succinic acid. In sum, the most active substance in the process of respiration in the cell and inter cellular energy creation is the salt of the succinic acid. Restoring depleted energy and oxygen supply to cells, the succinic acid in Baltic Amber assists the body to achieve optimum energy.

  1. Mood Swings

The flood of hormones within a pregnant body makes Mom especially susceptible to being emotional and weepy. Mood swings are common with the fluctuation of hormones. Moreover, Baltic Amber silently purges the body of illness and stress while promoting resilience and rejuvenation. 

  1. Inflammation

An inflamed immune system can cause cells to become severely inflamed. As a result, an adverse reaction occurs increasing the production of free-radical cells. These cells make the body prone to inflammatory-related diseases. However, the holistic healing effects of Baltic Amber naturally decreases swelling and furthermore, it supports self-healing.

  1. Pain Relief

The analgesic properties of Baltic Amber help in relieving the body from all different sorts of pregnancy pains such as headaches and joint and muscle pain. Even with nausea, Baltic Amber has the capability to naturally soothe and relieve morning sickness. In detail, as the succinic acid is absorbed from a Baltic amber necklace, it acts like a natural Ibuprofen, reducing pain and inflammation in the body.

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

What About God?

February 8, 2018

Written by Courtnee East, guest blogger

The deep desire to be a mother has always been deep rooted within me.

As an adoptee, I always wanted to give and provide the nourishment of love to my children through a biological connection I didn’t know growing up. Not born from my mother’s womb, but within her heart has granted me the understanding of selfless love. At a young age, I felt a sense of disconnect from the life I was born into, not understanding why or how I could be just “given away.” Although my parents choose “Open Adoption” , my birth parents were not a constant part of my life. And as a child, I watched my brother and sister’s biological families become a huge part of theirs. My brothers adoption was even aired on the 1990 Special of Adoptions on 48 hours. However, I felt abandoned, not good enough and alone. This developed into issues of detachment, always pushing those away from me. I was never able to cultivate healthy relationships with people in my life.

At the age of 19, I found myself pregnant with my son — alone, scared, and unsure of what life held for me and my baby. I decided that the only way to hold onto my family was to place my child up for adoption. A decision I was very unsure about, but was told it was the best choice I could make, the most selfless choice. With his due date fast approaching, I traveled from Arizona to California to choose an adoptive family for an open adoption.

Fast forward to October 29, 2006, after a very easy labor and delivery, I was holding my son Ayden, with tears rolling down my face. I knew in my heart, I couldn’t let go. I was unable to go through with the adoption, and had to let this beautiful family know. I was selfishly holding on because I couldn’t let my son go through the story of my own life. I chose my son. I chose the hard road. I chose to have people look at me as a teenage mother, who was uneducated and unaware of what it took to be a mother, but honestly, I knew what it was going to take. The one thing I never truly felt due to my own misunderstandings. Love. I had so much love for my son, that I would do anything and everything for him, so I marched on with my head held high. So when the next best thing came around, I attached myself — getting pregnant at 23, in a failed relationship.

2010 is where this story really starts. In May, I was implanted with Mirena, the IUD birth control used to prevent pregnancy. The day it was inserted was the day of our county fair. Just having a baby and breast feeding, I found myself going to the bathroom more than usual, and even had to stop on the way to the fair to use the bathroom on the side of the road. A week later at my follow up appointment, I was told the Mirena had fallen out, so I opted for the NUVA Ring. Between May and December, I had made 2 trips to the emergency room, with excruciating stomach pains, and turned away both times, looked at as though I was seeking medication.

The 3rd time, I told the ER doctor I wasn’t leaving until I knew what was wrong. After blood work and X-rays, it was found that the Mirena had migrated and implanted into my opentum (my stomach lining) requiring emergency surgery for removal. At the time of surgery, my tubes were tied with silicone Filshie Clips. (HELLO! I HAVE SILICONE ALLERGIES!!)

After this I was devastated, I felt scared, and alone, and lost. How could this be? How could I be left without the ability to have children at my own free will, what happens if I get married…..

As years pass, the stomach pain persisted so it was decided that the silicone clips should be removed. I felt if it wasn’t natural and of GOD, then get it out, and the only way my insurance would pay for it was for a exploratory pin surgery. During which, my left tube was cauterized, burned in half with the attempt to be reattached while my right tube was open, functioning as the doctors said. After this trying time, I turned my life over to Christ. With so many questions, the answer I always heard when I asked “Why?” was “The desires of your heart will always be met.”

I emerged deeper into my faith, where doubt turned to hope. My strength was renewed by the Lord. I felt a purpose again — a need to evangelize and to share my story. As I humbly waited on the Lord, the pieces of my life began to fall into place. I met my husband, who didn’t come alone, but with two amazingly perfect children, as did I. We were “Yours & Mine” in real life. Quickly as our love grew we were pregnant, and I mean QUICKLY, I believed he sneezed and conception was done. Out of fear and excitement, we didn’t share the news, and chose to wait until we hit our 2nd trimester.

Sadly, we didn’t make it that far. In May 2017, I was about 11 weeks pregnant to the day when my 30th birthday hit, and on that day, 30 years after I was adopted in love, I started bleeding. Bleeding badly. I knew in my heart that I was being emptied of not only all the faith I had, but of the child I so longed for to have with my husband. What a way to mark my 30th year on earth. My husband and I love and adore our children, and together desire a deeper connection of life together to share in the birth of our own. Month after month, we continue to try. Day after day, we try. Sometimes I feel like a receptacle for my husband, laying on my back, legs held high. Diet changed, month after month, new vitamin after new vitamin no success. My “tubes” tested. Everything seems in order. So we try Fertile Aide. Nothing but excruciating headaches.

So where does one turn next. I am 30, I am healthy and active. But what now?

“Fertility treatments” I tell my husband, that’s our answer! “But what about God? What about God’s promises? God’s word? What do you hear every day in your readings? What about your faith?” This is what my husband tells me to remember. So we pray. Before we invest in monies needed to acquire for the procedures, the time, the gas the missed days at work, we pray. We realized we aren’t alone.

I don’t answer to people, “ LIFE SUCKS! Where has God gone? I’m over worked, emotionally exhausted, and feel like a failure as a wife and human being unable to give my husband a baby.” Instead, I answer, “Life is great. God is good and I am blessed.” I may be gritting my teeth, but I know I am blessed. I have four beautiful kids, a husband who loves and adores me and has patience with the desires of our heart. I am blessed.

So I ask myself every time I feel down and every time I break down, What about GOD, Courtnee? That’s when I look up and realize, really what has he really said. Family isn’t about blood, this I know from my own life. Family is love, support, commitment, and understanding. Family is God. Family is togetherness no matter what and you know you aren’t alone.

I pray for every couple struggling and every woman feeling you are not enough, you are more than enough. Miracles do happen, I know this because I look at myself in the mirror and have realized I am that miracle God created me to be in my life.

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

A Bond That Cannot Be Broken

February 6, 2018

•Written by Katelin Buchanan, Guest Blogger

My husband and I started trying to get pregnant in September of 2013. We were in our late twenties and after 2 years of marriage knew we were ready to be a mom and dad. After several months of trying on our own without any success, my OB referred us to a local fertility clinic where we jumped right in with intrauterine insemination (IUI) procedures. We tried this three times but when it didn’t work, our doctor urged us to move onto IVF for a greater chance at success. We felt like this was our golden ticket! Our first round of IVF resulted in a chemical pregnancy, and then our second round ended in a miscarriage at around 9 weeks. We eventually discovered that we lost this baby because he had Down Syndrome, and our doctor explained that this was very rare so we should keep trying. Our third round ended in an ectopic pregnancy, and our fourth in an anembryonic pregnancy, also known as a blighted ovum. Because we had the blessing of so many embryos, we decided to keep pushing forward to give all of our embryos a shot. We had several transfers that resulted in no implantation and then I had one last miscarriage in January of 2017, which is when we ultimately decided it was time to stop trying with my body. It had been through too much, and while my doctor could not tell me exactly what was wrong, he ultimately determined that my uterine lining was insufficient to carry a healthy pregnancy and that I should consider using a gestational carrier.

This is where my angel and lifelong best friend, Erica, comes into the picture. After our second miscarriage, she offered to be our gestational carrier if we ever chose to go that route. I clearly wasn’t ready to “give up on my body” at the time. Well, after that last miscarriage, my husband and I knew: it was time to take Erica up on her incredibly generous offer. I was officially done trying and knew that the safest way to become a mother was to have our baby grow in my best friend’s body. She had two children of her own and we knew her body could handle a pregnancy, unlike my own.

Our first transfer with Erica resulted in yet another miscarriage, at which point I didn’t know if I could go through anymore fertility treatments. Ready to explore adoption, both Erica and my husband felt strongly that we should give it one last shot.

Well, I am thrilled that this “one last shot” has resulted in boy/girl twins due in April! We just celebrated 26 weeks and our babies and Erica are doing great.

While I realize our journey to parenthood is nothing like most, I am so proud of our journey and where we are today. There have certainly been times when I’ve beat myself up over trying so hard for so long, but I now know this was the plan all along and that if we had not kept trying, we would not be blessed with these exact two babies. As much as I grieved not being able to carry my children myself in the beginning, I know our babies are safe with Erica and we are focusing on being as healthy as possible for when they arrive and we get to take over!

For couples struggling with infertility, my biggest piece of advice is to connect with others. Without the support of Resolve, Instagram, individual therapy, and our closest family and friends who we trust, I truly do not think I’d be an expectant mother today. As tempting as it can be, try not to isolate. Make both your mental and physical health a priority and focus on surrounding yourself with those who improve both.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

From Hopeless to Hopeful

February 1, 2018

Written by Michelle Hoti, guest blogger

Ever since I was a little girl I dreamt of being a mom. I loved playing the “mom” whenever I would have playdates and I was so close to my mom growing up. I would often tell her how I couldn’t wait to be a mom just like her and how she was the best mom to me. Unfortunately, my mom got very sick with stage four cancer when I was only 5 and passed away when I was 13.

My husband and I were married when I was 28. We started trying to have a baby the day after we got married. After a year of trying, we still had no luck. Everyone around me was getting pregnant and I was so happy for them, but in the inside I was hurting so bad.

In December, we went to a fertility doctor that my husband had found. We instantly felt they were a match to help us on our journey. We first did an HSG, which was horrible! But luckily, my tubes were completely clear so it was onto the next test, which was an MRI. I remember it like it was yesterday. My doctor called me with the results and said I had a bicornuate uterus which means my uterus has two horns and a heart shape, along with a wall inside essentially dividing it. I had a hard time processing what that meant! She said it doesn’t usually cause infertility, but in my case, it might be the cause. So that being said, we couldn’t try the first step of Clomid due to the uterus being in half. She recommended we try 3 rounds of IUI, even though it was only a 5 percent chance, it was worth trying.

We agreed and went on to do the IUI. I did monitoring each morning to check my ovaries and do blood work, then after the IUI, I would wait two week to see if I was pregnant. The call always came at 2:00 p.m. so I’m sure my poor preschool students could tell something was up! On those days my head wasn’t attached because I was so eager to hear and each month it was no after no. It was so mentally, emotionally, and physically painful.

After the 3 unsuccessful rounds, we moved on to IVF. I was so scared, nervous, but also excited. I also decided to see an acupuncture and drank an herbal tea while undergoing IVF, just in case it would help. My husband and I went to take the class to learn how to give me the needles and how the whole process would work. While it was incredibly hard, we prayed and prayed for this to work and grew closer  to one another during this journey that God wanted us to go through together.

On the day of the egg retrieval we got 18 eggs! But what I didn’t realize was that each day, you could would lose the eggs due to them not fertilizing or the embryos would stop progressing. In the end, we had three embryos. We decided to transfer one and anxiously awaited to see if this would be our time.

It was.

We were pregnant! I was so happy, but also so scared. I felt as if it was too good to be true. I only did one round of IVF, but had read stories people going through it 5 times with no success so it was hard to believe that this was real. I couldn’t believe I was so lucky! But, at the same time, I was beyond terrified of losing the baby. I went to my RE very frequent due to my pregnancy being high risk with my bicornuate uterus. There was a chance the baby could come early.

But, I went on to have a healthy and happy pregnancy, and our little Gianna Nicole came only 2 weeks early! We feel so blessed and could not have been more in love.

Infertility is hard and can feel so isolating. But I feel strength from the community of others who have experienced it. The support from friends, family, and even strangers, helps when you are on this journey. I love reading peoples stories because it helps you get through it and to show that you are not alone and that there is hope!

What The Fertility

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