Babe In My Belly, Blogs

Not Letting Endometriosis Win

March 13, 2018

Written by Nicole Brown, guest blogger

Endometriosis is a term that I became familiar with in my teenage years when my mother had a full hysterectomy at the age of 37 due to complications from endometriosis. Throughout high school and college, I was on hormone therapy because of my irregular and very heavy menstrual cycles. But, I experienced none of the other symptoms that my mother suffered with.

In 2012, I married my best friend and we knew eventually after a year or so, we wanted to start a family, so to prepare I stopped taking my birth control pills. After a year of trying, we still were not pregnant but also not very concerned, so we tried for another year. But still, nothing. By year three we decided to track my ovulation via over the counter ovulation prediction kits. To my surprise, I was not ovulating regularly. I talked to my doctor who did not seem concerned at all because “I was young and had plenty of time to have children”.

Seven months later and with a high dose of Clomid, I became pregnant! We were so excited, we told our whole family, took announcement photos, etc. Around 8 weeks pregnant, I began to spot. At my next appointment, I had ultrasound and heard the baby’s heartbeat. My doctor reassured me that everything was fine. But at my 12 week appointment, we received the devastating news that our little baby did not have a heartbeat.

Not long after our miscarriage, I became sick. I was experiencing stomach pains, acid reflux, dizzy spells, sciatica, blood in my stools, and migraines. I spent the next year visiting doctor after doctor, having every possible test done and no one had any answers. I switched OBGYNs in 2016 and it was the best decision I ever made. He performed an exploratory laparoscopy, where he discovered stage 4 endometriosis and two large ovarian cysts. When I woke up, he told me that I was in surgery for 5 hours and it was the worst case of endometriosis that he had ever seen. My ovaries, intestines, stomach, and bowel were glued together by scar tissue. He told me that if we wanted to have children, we needed to strongly consider IVF.

After a year of many late night emotional discussions and breakdowns and one more surgery to remove a large mass and additional scar tissue, my husband and I took the plunge and decided to do IVF. On September 26, 2017, we transferred one frozen embryo and I am happy to say that we are currently 26 weeks pregnant with a baby girl. This pregnancy has not come without complications and I currently have another large cyst on my left ovary but I have a great team of doctors who monitor my progress very carefully.

Infertility is a hard and painful journey. Do not be afraid to get a second or third opinion. Advocate for yourself, trust your gut, and assemble a team of doctors who are knowledgeable about endometriosis. To my endometriosis warriors, DON’T GIVE UP!!!

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

That Moment When

March 6, 2018

Written by Brooke Papp, WTF Contributor

One of your oldest, best friends, someone you respect SO incredibly much for their good doings in life, someone whom you have been through so much with…

Tells you their pregnant when you’re struggling with infertility.

They tell you, and instead of hugging them and showing them ALL OF THE LOVE, you shake, crying [ sobbing ] uncontrollably.

It’s not that I don’t want this for her. I actually think she will be one of the best mommies I know. She has the biggest heart, an infectious smile, extreme intelligence. She’s warm and caring. She’s one of those people that LISTENS to you, instead of waiting for you to finish so they can talk. She remembers everything. We can all learn something from her.

Plus? Her and her husband are supes cute and are going to produce ridiculously adorable offspring.

It’s not and never will be that I don’t want this for her, or any of my friends – it’s that I want it for me, too. To go through this journey WITH them.

I left her with the feeling of guilt. I said to myself ‘I just don’t want to talk to any of my friends anymore’, ‘I never have good news’, I will just seclude myself so I don’t show hurt’.

‘I’ll talk to them when things improve’ when I’m ‘less hormonal’.

I called someone, pretty much the only one who knew what that felt like and she begged me to not go into hermit mode. Day to day, I can’t say that I am strong enough that I don’t want to do that. But I’m trying.

Each time I pull up social media I see a new announcement, a new baby picture. I saw S I X announcements on New Year’s Day. A year to the date we conceived last year. Ouch. It’s like a sting I’ve never felt before.

It’s been almost a year since my miscarriage and almost 10 months of trying for another little babe. We found out in November, that I don’t ovulate. Or at least not regularly, at all. So yes, we did get pregnant. But it’s going to be hard to plan and succeed without help.

I start my first round of clomid soon and I’m S-C-A-R-E-D, y’all. Have you ever read the side effects? Um…maybe you don’t want to talk to me for the next few months. Cause? Crazy lady walkin’.

But, with nerves comes crazy excitement. Time to try something new and the hope for the future is real.

Hope for a healthy babe, hope for not being overly crazy and hope for understanding.

I’ll keep you updated, until then…fingers crossed

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”.


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!

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Our Plane Ride: From Infertility to Surrogacy

January 29, 2018

Written by Brittany Ortiz, guest blogger

Often people say “You have to experience it yourself to understand.” And in most cases I tend to disagree. I personally feel that one can understand something without personally going through it. They can relate in some way or put themselves in someone else’s shoes per say. However, there is one situation you have to go through personally to fully comprehend; the loss of a baby. Whether the physical loss or the ability to have your decision to have one ripped from you. Until you have tried and tried for a child that you physically and financially cannot have- until you become pregnant finally after years and years of treatment and are on this amazing plane ride of joy and happiness to suddenly have it ripped from you- pushed out of that airplane without a parachute, you simply just cannot truly understand. Welcome to our plane ride.

Our journey began on in the spring of 2013. My husband and I had been married for a little over a year and we made the decision for me to go off birth control and “see what happens.” When I didn’t fall pregnant that first month, I immediately had this feeling that something was wrong. Call it an intuition, but I literally told Harrison that I felt it wasn’t going to be easy for us.

A month turned to six months, and six months turned to a year. I went to my gynocologist who ran a bunch of blood work and swore I was perfectly healthy. I was put on Femara (a similar drug to Clomid but with less side effects) and we tried that for another six months, adding in Estrogen and Progesterone. Harrison did a semen analysis and his swimmers were almost Olympic athletes. I specifically asked my doctor after researching Google for hours on end if I could possibly have PCOS or Endometriosis. She swore I could not as I had no symptoms of either. I ovulated fine every single month and my periods were regular — every 28 days on the dot. No pain, no fuss. I was young and should just keep trying.

That wasn’t good enough for me. I may have only been 24 but I was beyond ready to be pregnant. So we asked for a recommendation to an RE which lead us to Dr. Homm and Dr. Devine at Fertility and Endocrine Associates. At our consultation, Dr. Homm looked at me and immediately told me that he believed I had Endometriosis. I argued with him assuring him that my doctor told me I could not and that I had no symptoms. He told me that the next steps were to do an HSG test (where they inject dye into your uterine cavity to see if your fallopian tubes are blocked) which would cost Harrison and I $1,000 since we did NOT have infertility coverage. This test would tell Dr. Homm A) my tubes were open or B) my tubes were blocked and either way he would have to then do a laparoscopic surgery to explore and figure out the issue which my insurance WOULD cover. He offered to skip the expensive HSG test and just go straight to the surgery which we chose to do. Why spend $1000 if regardless I’d have to do the laparoscopy? Right?

In April 2015, I had my laparoscopic surgery. Upon waking from the anesthesia, I laughed and told Dr. Homm “See I didn’t have Endometriosis, did I?” Joke was on me. It was stage II Endometriosis! It was one of those moments where I was relieved to finally have an answer to our problem, but terrified there was something was really wrong. I also felt tremendous guilt. It was my fault I couldn’t give my husband a child. It was my body that was failing us. We tried for the following three months naturally (still on Femara for assistance) with big fat negatives each month.

Next steps were IUI. We tried three rounds total. All failed. Big fat failures. Our last attempt would be IVF. We consulted with Dr. Homm and realized it was our absolute best chance, but it was costly. VERY costly. With the help of our family we were able to go forward with our treatment.

I began stems for IVF in November 2015 with my egg retrieval in December. We decided to do PGS testing on our embryos to ensure the quality before we transferred so transfer would have to wait a month until January 19th, 2016. Out of the 12 embryos that we retrieved, 10 fertilized, thanks to ICSI, and only 5 made it to blasts five days later. Out of those 5, we had 3 perfect embryos- 1 boy and 2 girls.

We decided to implant the 2 girls giving us a whopping 46% chance for twins and an over 87% chance of pregnancy. I got my positive pregnancy test just four days after transfer. We were ecstatic! Our first ultrasound showed 2 perfect embryos with heartbeats! We were going to be parents to twin girls. Finally. After 3 years, we were finally pregnant.

I shared our entire journey on Facebook. I documented with pictures and made videos explaining the entire IVF process and each step we took during it. I had so many family and friends following our story. They were just as ecstatic as we were. Each ultrasound we fell more and more in love with our girls. We went out at week 8 and purchased their nursery furniture. I purchased their first onesies and just couldn’t wait for October to get here!

March 3, 2016. Harrison and I argued that morning because he forgot to request off to go with me to our 9 week scan. He felt terrible about it and promised he wouldn’t miss any more. So I went alone. We lived in Louisville, KY but our entire family lived in Dayton, OH, where we are from. I remember that appointment vividly. I was super excited to see the girls looking more like gummy bears than specs. They would have little nubs for arms and legs now. I was so excited!

I remember Dr. Devine beginning the scan and seeing that Baby B was MUCH smaller than Baby A. I said something about it and Dr. Devine smiled and didn’t say anything. But I could see her eyes. I knew something was wrong. I kept saying over and over in my head “It’s okay. You still have Baby A. It’s okay. I know you wanted twins. It’s okay. You still have another baby. It will be okay. You can do this. Losing a twin is common. It’s okay.” Dr. Devine moved on to Baby A. She kept pushing on my lower stomach. Moving the wand around inside, putting pressure on my belly, asking me to move here and there saying “I’m just having trouble seeing clearly.”

Then I said “Baby A grew!” Because Baby A did grow! She was much larger! She looked like a little gummy bear with nubs for arms and legs! Dr. Devine smiled again and removed the wand and gently said “Yes, but unfortunately I cannot find heartbeats on either baby.”

…. I sat up. ….

She explained I was most likely in shock. I was. 100%. This wasn’t happening. It’s just not possible. She explained the process of miscarriage to me. I should start to bleed within the week and if not, I would return to her office and we would schedule a D & C. I just wanted to get out of that office. I couldn’t get dressed and out of that room fast enough.

I made it out the door and halfway down the hall before I fell to the ground. I collapsed and cried. I curled up in a ball and cried in the middle of a hospital hallway with people walking around me. I don’t remember much in that moment. I know someone stopped and tried to console me. I remember pushing them away and standing to search for a restroom, and to that person I am truly sorry. I know you were trying to help me and I appreciate that, but in that moment I just wanted to run away.

I made it to a bathroom and immediately thought I needed to call my boss and tell him I’m working from home. So I did. Thank God he was flying at the time and I could leave a message. I still broke down crying in the middle of it. Then, I called my husband. He answered excited. He wanted to hear all about the girls’ scan. Instead he heard his wife sobbing on the other end. I could only get out “I lost the babies. They don’t have heartbeats.”

I don’t remember anything else of that conversation. I called my mom at work and she answered just as excited as my husband had. I sobbed “They died.” She tried to console me and I just got out “Get here.” My mother, who was 3 hours way, immediately left her job and drove to me. My husband left work and met me at home. My boss called me and told me to take as much time as I needed.

I just laid in my room. For days. I felt like a failure. My body failed me once again. It killed my babies. I had to have done something to kill my girls. It was my fault. I couldn’t give my husband a child. I failed. I felt disgusting. I was carrying two dead babies in my body. I wanted them out. I wanted it to be over. I couldn’t handle it. I hated anyone who tried to tell me “God has his reasons.” That was the WORST thing anyone could say to me. Or “At least you got pregnant.”

Yep. At least I got pregnant. $20,000 down the drain. But at least I got pregnant.

The miscarriage happened 6 days later. Nothing could prepare me for that experience. If you ever have to choose the option for a natural miscarriage or a D &C, do yourself a favor and take the D & C. I started to have contractions like labor. They grew more and more intense as time went on. I bled through my pads, sweats, towels, and sheets on our bed. I screamed through each contraction and arched my back in pain gripping our headboard. My husband felt helpless and watched as I suffered. I felt the need to push so I would go to the bathroom and sit on the toilet. I’ve never seen so much blood in my life. I tried to shower to get it off me, pushing more and watching my tub turn into a horror film. This continued for hours. Finally, I was on the bathroom floor screaming in pain at 4am. Shaking. I had NO energy left. I had been going through this since 8pm the night before. Harrison came to the bathroom and picked me up off the floor and told me that was enough. We were going to the ER.

I bled through a brand new super plus pad and my thick sweats on the 10 min drive to the ER. Blood was pouring from me as we walked into the ER waiting room. As they tried to take my information, I passed out and seized. Later we found out that the girls tissue had gotten stuck and kept my cervix open- causing me to lose all that blood.

We went to my scheduled appointment with my RE at 11am that morning after spending the early hours in the ER. I had passed everything. Dr. Devine called me “strong”. I laughed. She said that we could try again with our remaining embryo in 3 months. But I was still mourning the death of our twin girls who I just ‘ birthed’ hours ago.

Harrison and I talked about what our next steps would be in the next couple of months. We both didn’t want to use our final boy embryo. There was something about losing the girls that were PGS tested and perfect that made me feel uncomfortable putting their brother in and risking that happening all over again. Plus, if I miscarried again we would move to surrogacy and I would have to do another round of IVF to get more embryos anyways. And if I endured another loss, I didn’t know if I would be strong enough to go through that again.

We decided to start from scratch. IVF round 2. We named our girls Hope and Faith because without getting pregnant with them, we wouldn’t have had the faith and hope to continue with the IVF process. My strength was tested majorly during these next couple months before our next round. Our nursery furniture was delivered to our home — for babies we had lost. It sat in our nursery in boxes as we passed it day by day. I had a cousin who was exactly 10 weeks ahead of me in our pregnancies would post bumpdates when I should be posting my weekly bumpdate too. I had to move forward with caution. I would cry at the drop of hat when I saw babies in the grocery store or was asked by a coworker who didn’t see the news of our miscarriage how my pregnancy was going. It was rough. My lowest low.

I began stems again in June 2016. We retrieved 9 eggs this time. I felt defeated. That was worse than our first round. But as the days passed and we got our daily updates, I became more and more encouraged. All 9 fertilized with ICSI. All 9 continued to grow until day 5. We lost only one embryo as 8 had made it to blasts for PGS testing. Out of our 8 blasts, we had 6 that were viable for transfer after PGS — 2 girls and 4 boys.

July 27, 2016. We transferred 2 perfect girl embryos. This time my RE put me on Lovenox as a precaution. I knew I was pregnant again two days past transfer. I had the exact same symptoms I did with Hope and Faith. I broke out all around my chin and mouth, which I NEVER breakout. My pregnancy test was positive again on day four. I went in for my BETA early at 7dp5dt. It was 99!!!! Then it doubled to 210 on 9dp5dt. I requested one more at 13dp5dt and it was 2,488!! I knew I was pregnant with twins again.

On August 12, 2016, we went in for our first ultrasound. There were two perfect gestational sacs. I was terrified. I went in weekly this time for ultrasounds. I was so afraid that history was going to repeat itself. Somehow, we made it to week 8. The same time Hope and Faith’s hearts stopped beating. But this time we still had two healthy babies. Then it was week 10 and I was graduating from our RE! I took it week by week. Each week I grew more confident in my pregnancy. When I made it to 15, I finally relaxed. We were going to have these babies.

Parker Reagan and Emery Kate Ortiz were born at 5 lbs 9 oz and 5 lbs 10 oz on March 28, 2017. They were worth every single heartbreak. Every single penny. Every shot. Everything.

Infertility is one of the hardest things someone can go through. This journey is hard. It forces you to endure pain unlike any other. I wouldn’t wish this journey on my worst enemy. But, it also makes you strong. It makes you one hell of a mother before you even ARE a mother. You fight as hard as you can for just the possibility for a baby. There is no guarantee when you are spending thousands and thousands of dollars on treatments. There is no guarantee when you are giving yourself shots after shots and popping pills after pills that make you literally go hormonally insane. It tests your marriage. It tests your strength. It engulfs your life. It makes you appreciate being a parent SO much when you finally overcome.

I still share and post about infertility continuously. I believe that couples shouldn’t be afraid to share their struggle. I want to be a voice for them. I want to encourage and help them in any way I can. Because I get it. I have been there. My journey brought me to motherhood. Thankfully. However, some cannot get here. They need a little more help. So now… my journey has brought us to Surrogacy. I want to help a couple have what we have. They deserve to experience every single bit of happiness we get to experience. I’m hoping I am approved and will be the perfect fit for my intended parents. I hope that my body will help them bring their beautiful baby into this world and provide them with their dream come true.

I want to help as many couples who are struggling in any way I can — through my voice, being a surrogate, or donating what little I can to help them. I know what it is like to watch everyone else’s dreams come true while knowing yours are slipping further and further away from becoming reality. I know that the woman struggling is strong, but she’s exhausted. I know she is brave and broken all at once. She is me. I am her. We are all in this together. Infertility is a loss. It’s the loss of a dream. It’s the loss of an assumed future. And like any other loss, it too will be grieved. Know that you are allowed to scream. You are allowed to cry. You are allowed to break. But do not, DO NOT give up.

Because when you are pushed out of the plane without a parachute, you realize that you have wings. And one day you will be writing about your plane ride instead of reading about mine.


Babe In My Heart, Blogs

How Infertility Changed My Marriage

January 25, 2018

Written by Nicole Briand, guest blogger

I read a statistic that near 80% of marriages end up in divorce after the loss of a child. I don’t know if this is true or not, but I wouldn’t be surprised. This whole process—infertility, miscarriage, and child loss, is a tough road to travel.

Growing up I had this idea of what life would be like. You get married, buy a house, pop a few kids out, etc.
When I look back at that naivety, I laugh.

After dating for a few years, my husband and I got married after a short engagement in a intimate October wedding. We closed on our first home just a few weeks after the wedding. So far so good, right?

I went off birth control a few months prior to the wedding because we knew we wanted to start a family right away. My husband is 10 years older than me so that was definitely a factor. But more so, I just felt this strong desire that I was meant to be a mom.

After not getting pregnant the first couple months, I became obsessed with trying to conceive. I was charting my cycles, taking my temperature, peeing on every type of stick I could get my hands on, and examining every bodily fluid with a fine tooth comb. As I’m sure most people in this community know, when you are determined to get pregnant, sex can become very not sexy. At least that’s how I felt. It became so transactional. “I’m ovulating so we have to do it X number of times in X number of days.” And afterwards I needed to lay with my legs in the air (as if that actually makes a difference.) Talk about taking the magic out of the honeymoon phase. The more time elapsed that we weren’t getting pregnant, the worse my anxiety got. I became obsessed and desperate to have a baby.

As we started fertility treatments, things only got worse. My husband would often say things like “ I want my wife back.” And he was right. I had become a monster with one goal in mind-a baby. After learning that our fertility issues were my own, I became angry and insecure. I was so angry at my body for letting me down and I took a lot of that anger out on him. In hindsight, I wouldn’t have blamed him if he threw in the towel right there. The man is a saint. I don’t give him nearly enough credit.

Even when I finally got pregnant with our twin boys, my anxiety never let up. Having such a difficult time conceiving and miscarrying just a few months earlier, I had a very difficult time allowing myself to enjoy the pregnancy. I lived in constant fear that something bad would happen. I began to socially isolate myself because I just wanted to stay home and protect my babies. This was especially difficult for my husband because he is, by nature, a very social person.

When we learned that one of our boys, William, passed away, just a few weeks shy of our delivery, our world was rocked. In the moments following when the doctor said the words, “I’m so incredibly sorry, but there is no heartbeat,” I remember thinking about how thankful I was that my husband was by my side. I just wanted him to hold me, which was something I hadn’t wanted in a very long time.

The coming weeks were the most difficult of my life. It was little things like hearing my husband sobbing in the shower, that broke my heart in a way that I can’t even begin to describe. However, as difficult of a road as it was to get to that point, I began to realize that he wanted to start a family just as much as I did.

In grief counseling, we talked often about how men and women grieve the loss of a child differently. And I can imagine that it is very similar in how we deal with the struggle of TTC and infertility. I would often get angry with my husband and accuse him of not caring—about starting a family, about miscarrying, about losing our son, because he wasn’t grieving in the same way I was. But what I have come to realize is that we just express these feelings differently.

This whole journey has changed me. It’s changed my husband. And it has changed our marriage. Some days are good and some are really damn tough. But I’ve learned to hold my husband closer, instead of pushing him away. In an unlucky situation, I have been very lucky to have him by my side.

What The Fertility

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