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!!
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:
“…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
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
“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.
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!
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.