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Hitting the Unpause Button

July 10, 2018

Written by Stefanie Cargill, guest blogger

I’ve always wanted to be a mother. Not in a way that most women want to be a mother.  I mean deep down, to my very core, it’s what I’ve always wanted to be. To the point that on one of my husband and I’s first dates, I asked him if he wanted kids. I could feel myself falling for him, and if he didn’t want kids as much as I did, there was no point in continuing the relationship. That’s how badly I’ve always wanted children.

Fast forward a few years, and my husband and I decided to take the leap to start a family. We both had great careers, we’d been married a few years, and we’d bought a house. Although it took me convincing my husband we were ready (because let’s be honest, adding another mouth to feed can be terrifying), and everything was in place.

Much to our surprise, we didn’t get pregnant right away.  We’d never known anyone to struggle, so this was all new territory to us. Months went by, my period continued to come, and each negative pregnancy test was like a slap in the face.

After about a year, I decided to pay an extra visit to my gynecologist, Dr. G. I started on a regimen of Femara, Estrogen, and Progesterone, to see if we could kick-start something. Although, my doctor told me if that didn’t work, he had a great colleague who was a reproductive endocrinologist that he would refer me to, if the time came. Several months went by, still nothing. Now the frustration was starting to take its toll. It seemed like everyone around us was getting pregnant without any problems!

I read everything I could on basal body temp, cervical mucus and how it played a role in fertility, soaking in every tidbit I could find about increasing our chances of getting pregnant. At one point, Dr. G recommended an HSG (hysterosalpingogram), which I agreed to. In this procedure (which is usually done in an outpatient radiology department), your physician will insert a soft-tipped catheter through your cervix and into your uterus, filling it with contrast dye.  This procedure is to check for any blockages the patient may have in their fallopian tubes, as well as any uterine abnormalities (polyps, odd shape, etc.). We tried twice to have one done, but at the last minute (both times) my appointment was canceled due to Dr. G having to deliver babies.

About a year into our fertility journey, Dr. G recommended that my husband see a urologist to test for male factor infertility. So my husband did, and then we waited for the call from the urologist. I still remember that call. We had gone to South Padre Island, TX with some friends of ours when Dr. K (my husband’s urologist) called. Based on his exam of my husband and the results from the sperm analysis, my husband had a varicocele (a varicose vein in his scrotum) that was effecting our ability to get pregnant.  Now, most people would be discouraged finding a problem. But I just thought, “Finally!  Something tangible!”  Because you know what comes after a problem? A friggin’ solution! Dr. K’s solution? Surgical intervention.

Wait, what? Whoa, whoa, whoa. We’re not quite there yet, doc.

I took the results to Dr. G, who recommended that we follow up with his colleague that was a reproductive endocrinologist, Dr. R, who was amazing. Our first appointment with him was spent in his office. He had a gigantic oak desk that he sat behind, and big comfy chairs for the people seeking his help. He asked us what our expectations were with this journey, what procedures we were willing to undergo, and what we knew so far.  Basically to make sure we were all on the same page. This journey was going to be tough, but he made sure that we knew that he was on our team.

We brought my husband’s analysis with us. He poured over the results for a few minutes, and very matter-of-factly said that my husband wouldn’t need surgery. He’d gotten couples pregnant before with much worse labs.  Well, if the varicocele wasn’t the problem, what was? Are we really back to square one?  I was so disappointed! I think Dr. R could sense my disappointment, because he was very reassuring.  We would get through this together.

So we started fertility treatments again. We started each cycle with an ultrasound, then went on to Femara, Estrogen, Progesterone, another ultrasound in there somewhere to make sure I was producing mature follicles (which I was). After several months of not getting pregnant, we were labeled with “unexplained fertility”. Everything was working as it should, but nothing was syncing up!

 

During this time, I felt like everyone around us was getting pregnant. Baby showers galore! I remember getting to the point where I didn’t even want to attend them anymore. Those colorful gift bags with bright tissue paper just mocked me. I’d wander the baby aisles, getting gifts for my friends, and feel a gaping hole in the pit of my stomach. It was devastating to me. My dream of becoming a mother, one that we’d been working so hard for, wasn’t even within arms’ reach. Even though our friends were getting pregnant without even trying.

I remember one day in the Spring of 2013 very vividly. I was driving down the highway and one of my dearest friends called me to tell me a bit of news.  Her and her husband were pregnant with their second child.  She was crying. I felt like I was underwater. I could hardly hear what she was saying, only catching bits and pieces.  She was unsure about telling me, because she knew about everything we were going through. I swallowed hard, told her it was okay, and that I was ecstatic for her. I hung up the phone. Even though I was less than two miles from home, I had to pull over. I couldn’t see anymore through the tears. I remember sitting in my car on the side of the highway, my head on the steering wheel, my body wracked with uncontrollable sobs. Why was this so hard for us?!  I spent ten minutes on the side of that highway until I was able to regain my composure and finish the short drive home. To this day, that memory still makes me weep.

Through this journey, I lost faith in God. Like, really lost faith. I grew up in a household where I went to church every Sunday morning, every Sunday evening, and every Wednesday night. On top of going to a week-long camp every summer. My best friends were people I went to church with. Our congregation was a big family—we took care of each other. So when my husband and I struggled to get pregnant, I felt betrayed. I distinctly remember one Sunday morning where I was in our master bath, brushing my teeth. I’m a night shift ER nurse, so to get up even remotely early on a Sunday is difficult for me and rarely happens. I was looking in the mirror, looking at my husband, who was hounding me about going to church, since we actually got up in enough time to go. I shook my head no. I didn’t want to go. “Why?”, he asked me. I didn’t want to answer. Tears filled my eyes.  “What is it?  Why don’t you want to go?”  “BECAUSE I’M FREAKING ANGRY!”  My husband was taken aback by my reaction. “Angry? At me? Why?”  “I’m not angry at you! I’m angry at God! I feel like He’s completely abandoned me!”  My entire life, I’d been completely devoted to God and my relationship with Him. Why would He do this to me? To us? If anyone knew how badly I wanted to be a mother, He did.

So how long would we be willing to put ourselves through all the infertility treatments? Don’t get me wrong, I really loved Dr. R and his nurse. They always made us feel like a part of the family. His office staff, on the other hand (check-in and check-out staff) were absolutely horrendous. On multiple occasions, I would be crying when I left his office. I never could understand how someone who works in an office where women are coming to you because they want to have a baby could be so mean and hateful!  My husband and I decided to take a break from fertility treatments after an encounter with my least-favorite office staff member. I’d scheduled an ultrasound for the beginning of my cycle and when my period came a few days early, I tried to call in to the office to reschedule my ultrasound. The office staff member told me that it was impossible to reschedule. Her response: “It’s not my fault your period started early. There’s nothing I can do.” I don’t know if it was the stress of everything going on, or if it was all the hormones I was on, but that was it for me. I’d had it. I met my husband at work and told him what happened, and he agreed. After almost two years of trying to get pregnant, it was time to take a break.

And, guess what. We got pregnant. Who knew? Our little miracle baby was born on July 26, 2014. Our lives were complete.

After she was born, I didn’t have a period for a long time. In fact, E was about 16 months old.  I didn’t think much of it. I was breastfeeding, after all. I stopped breastfeeding at a year, and didn’t really think about the fact that it took another four months for me to cycle. A few cycles in, I was going to the restroom and had pain so severe in my lower abdomen, that I thought I might pass out. I consulted Dr. Google. I know better. I’ve been an ER nurse for 10 years, a flight nurse for two.  But it was the middle of the night, and I wanted an answer. Endometriosis. I couldn’t have a bowel movement, urinate, or even pass gas without being doubled over in pain.  It all made so much sense!  Our “unexplained infertility”, why I didn’t have a period for so long, the heavy periods. Was it possible, though? I’d never had any symptoms before! I made an appointment with Dr. G to discuss my options. Based on my symptoms, he agreed that it was probably endometriosis. The only way to definitively diagnose it, however, was with an exploratory laparotomy and a D&C. I decided I wasn’t quite ready for that yet, since our chances of getting pregnant would go up immediately following surgery. I didn’t want to have the surgery done twice, so I decided to wait until my husband and I were actually ready to have another baby. However, what I did do was start two different types of birth control to keep my symptoms under control.  And it worked!

Fast-forward a few years, and my husband and I have made the decision to have another baby! We had long discussions about whether we wanted another baby or not. Were we ready to go through this again? The long, sleepless nights, the dirty diapers, the chapped nipples. Especially having to go through the painful possibility of not being able to get pregnant again? Are we ready to go through all that again? I’m going to be honest, it put a strain on our marriage (anyone that has been through this can attest to that). The biggest positive thing we have going for us this time around is that when I get discouraged, I can just look at our miracle angel baby and be content with what we have.

It’s been about six months so far. Two of my coworkers are pregnant, which makes this especially difficult.  Seeing their growing bellies every day makes me a little jealous, let’s be honest. Actually, if we’re being honest, it makes me really freaking jealous. When I discussed this with my husband, he reminded me that we hadn’t been trying very long. While this is true, I think that infertility is something that marks you forever. I don’t feel like we’ve just started trying for baby number two. I feel like we just pressed the “unpause” button from our previous journey. Like we’ve been trying for two years plus six months. It’s so difficult living your life 28 days at a time.  In the six months we’ve been trying, I’ve already gone through 7 pregnancy tests. And each time one of those dang things come back with one pink line, it’s like a fist to the gut.  I hate it. I hate this process. The waiting, the disappointment, the fervent prayers sent up every night so that one day, hopefully, our family will be complete.  Our family may not be complete, but it’s pretty dang perfect the way it is.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

C-Section by Choice

June 22, 2018

Written by Michelle Donati-Grayman, guest blogger

I remember the day we found out we were having twins.

I already knew it, as I had a dream in which my late sister told me she’d watch over my babies, and despite being in a dream state, it was undeniably clear that she used the plural, not the singular noun. My wife, who was the only person I shared the dream with, thought I was crazy. Until the nurse performing my vaginal ultrasound confirmed my premonition.


We were overjoyed to be pregnant with multiples, especially after enduring six months of fertility treatment that wasn’t covered by our insurance as a same-sex couple. But we were equally overwhelmed by the notion, knowing that our lives were about to be turned upside down as first-time parents.

My wife deployed with the Air National Guard about two weeks after that first ultrasound, and wouldn’t return until I was 7 months pregnant. Between her absence, and worrying myself silly about the pregnancy, I didn’t give a single thought about delivery until a doctor at my perinatal practice brought it up to me at about 20 weeks.


“If you can deliver them vaginally, it’s best,” he said.

Over the next several appointments, other doctors, all of whom were male, echoed this point. I started talking to other multiple moms and learned that many who hoped for a vaginal birth ended up delivering one of their twins vaginally and the other via cesarean. I hadn’t made a birth plan at this point, but if I did, recovering from both a vaginal birth and cesarean weren’t in it.

At my next appointment, I saw a female obstetrician at the practice, who also happened to be a twin mom. I asked for her opinion on delivery, not only as a medical professional, but also as a mom of multiples.

“You could be a good candidate for a c-section,” she said.

It was the first time I felt like the decision was my own, and that choosing a c-section wasn’t necessarily a bad thing. After doing my research and weighing the pros and cons with my wife, we decided to deliver the twins via c-section, and would only opt for a vaginal birth if the twins decided to come on their own first. I’m not going to lie, the control freak in me liked the thought of selecting the day and time of birth. I requested to be the first delivery of the morning, so the doctor would be rested and fresh, and that’s exactly what I got.

I wasn’t nervous about the procedure itself, but I also I wasn’t prepared for the responses I’d get when I told other women that I would be delivering via c-section. Most women had an opinion about it, ranging from “I’m so sorry” to “You actually chose that?”

I carried the twins for 38.5 weeks until our scheduled delivery date. I was so anxious to meet the two little people that had grown inside me that the procedure didn’t phase me until I was separated from my wife as I was prepped for surgery. Several minutes passed and as soon as I thought they had forgotten about her in the waiting area, she was ushered in and it was go time. About 15 minutes later, our baby boys emerged into the world three minutes apart. As the medical staff worked to put me back together, I got to enjoy several minutes of skin-to-skin time with our twin boys. After, my wife and the twins were taken to recovery area, and I joined them a few minutes later to resume skin-to-skin and start working on breastfeeding.

I was up walking later that evening, and although the first time getting out of bed was pretty painful, it got easier each time I did it. After being discharged from the hospital I followed doctors orders, taking it easy and getting as much rest as possible, which helped to ensure smooth recovery.


It was such a positive experience that when we got pregnant with our youngest son two years later, I opted to deliver via c-section again. Today I’m a mom to three amazing little boys, and I’m proud of the scar that shows where they left one world and entered another.

I’ve never shared my birth story beyond my close friends and family because of the c-section stigma. And while the procedure isn’t for everyone, it was the perfect birth experience for my family. Having a newborn, or newborns, comes with enough stress. The last thing a mother needs is the added stress that comes with feeling judged by the choices we make during one of the most memorable times of our lives.

I have several mom friends who have shared their amazing home birth stories with me. I’ve been in hospital rooms supporting my sister and dear friend as they delivered their precious miracles into the world. These experiences, combined with my own, has convinced me that however you give birth is beautiful.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Two Faint Lines

June 20, 2018

Written by Makayla Andrus, guest blogger

Two pink lines. That’s it. That’s all I wanted. Until I got them (lightly). Then lost them. Then got them again. Then lost them again. Got them again. Then lost them. Got them. Lost them. Got them. Lost them.

Motherhood was always the end goal for me. I’m a total planner, I can’t help it. I decided that April/May would be a great time to have a child, so that’s what we planned. To our excitement we got pregnant right away. Perfect! We were right on schedule. Until we weren’t. The first signs of trouble came during the middle of a lesson to a group of thirty-three six graders. Not the most ideal time for a break down. Well, one miscarriage isn’t uncommon. Everyone said not to worry, it happens to most people. Well the second, third, fourth, and fifth time came around with the heating pads and muscle relaxing cream never leaving my bedside. I Googled every possible reason and analyzed every time I felt overtired, thirsty, or moody (which was all too often during the Clomid months).

We decided it was finally time to meet with a fertility doctor. We spent the next several weeks doing test after test. Finally we had answers as to why we had so many miscarriages. I have a genetic condition called Balanced Translocation. In simple terms, this mean that two chromosomes break off and switch places, resulting in a miscarriage. There is no cure for this, but odds were if we kept trying we would eventually have a child. It was such a relief to finally know the reason why, but the the percentages were not in our favor. Each time we are able to get pregnant we have an 80% chance of having a miscarriage. The only medical option was to do IVF, with only a 20% chance of having 1 healthy embryo to transfer. Since we needed extra testing to make sure the embryo was healthy, IVF would cost around $19,000 with no refund if it was unsuccessful; nevertheless, we decided to give it a try. Two weeks before we were supposed to make our first down payments for IVF, we found out we were pregnant. To our total surprise we were able to carry that child full term. He is the best thing that has ever happened to us.

I know what it feels like to make a dozen cute pregnancy announcements (but never be able to post them), smile through baby showers, and anxiously await those two minutes before you feel confident enough to check for those two little lines. The bathroom floor can feel like the loneliest place. To the women out there who have your favorite ovulation calculator site, single handedly paid for First Response’s corporate bonuses, and downloaded and deleted too many pregnancy apps to count, please know that you are not alone in this trial.

This is the sole reason why we started Declan Roe. We are a children’s clothing/accessory deal website that gives 15% of our profits to families struggling to pay for IVF, adoption, or surrogacy. We have partnered with a non-profit called Bundled Blessings to give our profit to this year. We hope to be able to give to several different non-profits each year as we grow our business. The late nights of writing emails, ordering product, and shipping orders will all be worth it to bring those precious souls to their parents. It’s what drives me to make this business work and that pay day will be worth more than any check. Too many couples know that the costs of infertility treatments are crippling. We are committed to lessening that financial strain and thanks to you, Declan Roe is fulfilling that commitment.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Did Someone Say Diaper Duty?

June 15, 2018

Written By, Alexis DelChiaro

I don’t wanna be a bragger, but I’m kind of a diaper changing expert. I mean, if you think about it between Grant and Gigi in the last two years I’ve changed roughly 10,000 diapers.

I think that qualifies me as an expert, right?! So I was pumped when Happy Little Camper Baby gave me some diapers and wipes to try out and now I’m hooked! Let me tell ya why.

First off it’s a monthly subscription box that’s delivered right to my doorstep, saving me time and money. Then the diapers are super soft and comfy but also ultra-absorbent for bigger messes. And most importantly Happy Little Camper Baby products are natural made from soft, gentle and clean ingredients. I’m talking ZERO harmful chemicals go into the stuff that touches my babies precious skin and I feel great knowing I’m giving them the absolute best diapers on the market.

Plus when you’re trying for a baby, ditching all those products with harmful chemicals is an absolute must to increase your fertility! So why not do the same once your precious babe arrives?

Want to try Happy Little Camper Baby for yourself! Use the promo code HLCMOM20 ar check out HERE to get $20 off your first monthly box subscription. That way next time you’re elbow deep in a diaper change, you can think of me.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Finally My Father’s Day

June 14, 2018
Written by Matt Martin, guest blogger

 

In 2016, I married the love of my life and best friend. Like many other couples, we planned on starting a family, sooner rather than later. As soon as we got back from our honeymoon, we decided that now was the time to start trying. After a few months of it not being as easy as Teen Mom makes it seem, my wife spoke with her OB. They did some blood work and ultimately found a mass on her brain, which turned out to be non-cancerous, thank God, but it was keeping her hormones slightly out of whack. Once we got that under control, we continued on our path to create a baby.

A couple of more months go by and no baby, so her OB put her on some fertility medication and gave us a strict super romantic (…………..) regimen for baby making. All was unsuccessful. He suggested that, maybe before upping the dosage for my wife’s medication, that I go get checked just to cross that off the list.

I went to a super sterile and cold office one day to deposit my best baby making formula in a cup, never once thinking about the possibility of the outcome. A couple of days later, I got a call from the doctor. There was no sperm in my semen. The one thing that I had to do in this whole process, and it wasn’t happening. I wasn’t going to have kids. I wasn’t going to be able to give my wife the one thing she had always wanted in life.

We both had a weekend of freaking out and drinking our blues away with friends, and then got right back on the road to getting and/or making children. We found out that I was a carrier for the cystic fibrosis gene which created a mutation that caused me to not develop vas deferens, thus trapping my sperm and not giving them a tunnel out.

BUT, there was good news! After a simple (albeit INCREDIBLY PAINFUL) procedure, we could still have kids! They would need to take sperm out of my testicles with needles (yes, they numbed me, and yes I still felt it, and yes I passed out for a few seconds), take eggs from my wife’s ovaries, and combine them in a lab to make our embryos and then transfer the embryo(s) back.

Our first IVF cycle was unsuccessful. We were devastated.  We had such a long road of “no”, we thought that this was going to be our “yes”. We mourned that negative pregnancy test with anger, sadness, and confusion. We prayed to God and looked for answers that we didn’t quite yet have the answers to. We talked for a while and decided that we would do one more cycle and if that didn’t work, we would take a break. We were emotionally exhausted, and my wife was physically exhausted from all of the fertility medication. Our second cycle, we transferred two embryos with the hopes of at least one sticking.

During the transfer we decided to play “Drunk In Love” by Beyonce. She must’ve rubbed the twin magic off on us, because God answered our prayers and I am now the father to the most amazing twin boys, Jack Carson and Cam Dawson. As long as the nights (and days) are, I can’t help but be thankful that we got this far when so many don’t. I am overwhelmingly blessed to get to be the father of these two boys and I can’t wait to see where God leads them in their life.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Sharing Hope for Success

June 11, 2018
Written by Jen Ward, guest blogger
Hope…

I share this story with a desire to provide hope to all the women (and men) out there in the throws of infertility. To give strength during a time that feels hopeless, lonely, and uncertain. During my struggle, I was desperate to connect with others who were going through what I was. I wanted to hear success stories so I knew there was a chance for me. Often times you read the stats, the heartbreak, and how perfect the stars must align to successfully get pregnant it almost feels hopeless.  So here is my story…When I was 17, I was diagnosed with PCOS. I didn’t think much of it at the time other then I had irregular periods, cramps, and small cysts on my ovaries. As I got older, I learned some of the more serious side effects of PCOS, difficulty getting pregnant being the main one. Even with that I still thought ok, maybe it will take some planning but it should be fine. My husband and I tried for a year before we decided to meet with an infertility specialist.  Age was not on our side as I was just about to turn 35…. (the dreaded cut off age they all talk about).

I remember the first visit feeling so overwhelmed. Questions, upon questions, family history, blood work, ultrasounds, financial discussions, testing for my husband etc…. it seemed impossible, yet I was excited to get the ball rolling. Through our testing, we learned that both myself and my husband were the problem and naturally getting pregnant was close to impossible. So this is where we embarked on our infertility journey.

We started with IUI. I should mention that our insurance did not cover infertility at ALL! So every visit, ultrasound, blood work, and follow up were all out-of-pocket costs. Anyone who has been through infertility knows how many times that actually is! Anyway, that’s why we started with IUI using Clomid. The first time I was so hopeful! I remember after thinking “Omg. I could be pregnant!” Every odd feeling, cramp, body ache made me think “Am I preggo?!” That dreaded two week wait felt like 2 years!

Unfortunately we were unsuccessful. We tried 3 more times but each time was a soul crushing “I’m sorry but you’re not pregnant.” We decided to move onto IVF. Before we began however, we had to decide financially how we could do this. We had already spent so much money and time, and IVF was an entirely different ball game. We decided to take out a loan. They worked directly with my doctor’s office. I’ll never forget the conversation my husband and I had. He sat me down one day and said I know you don’t want to think about this, but we have to decide when to stop. How many times can we afford to do this? IVF is not a sure thing and there might come a point when we have to pull the plug and we need to have this conversation now. I lost it. Realistically he was right, but we hadn’t even started and that was a decision I didn’t want to even have to think about making. I would give up everything to have a baby and my husband knew that. I know now, it was his job to stay level headed about our situation, but in that moment I just felt devastation that he would be willing to walk away from having a baby.

Finally, after getting everything together for the loan we were able to begin. I started to feel hopeful again, until I learned the loan did not cover the medications. Anyone who has done IVF knows how expensive those shots are. I broke down for what seemed like the millionth time since I started this journey. Someone happened to see me in the waiting room and approached me. Her brother’s wife had just finished the process and was currently pregnant and didn’t use most of her medication. They ended up selling $10,000 worth of medication to me for $900. They were my guardian angels!! It just happened to work out it was all the stuff I needed.

We could FINALLY begin. The shots every night, the regular ultrasounds, the blood work, etc. Things were looking good, until one day I ended up in the ER with terrible pains in my sides. Turns out I had an obstructing kidney stone that required me to do lithotripsy to remove it. This was unrelated to anything I was doing for IVF but unfortunately I needed to take care of it before I continued my journey. So everything needed to be put on hold until the kidney stone was removed.  Yet again, more bad news and devastation! It’s such a process to get to this point, and now I have to start all over!!

During the wait, it was hard not to be bitter. With every pregnancy announcement, baby shower, birthday party, I found myself falling deeper into depression. My marriage was stressed, my body was failing on me, I was bloated, fat, tired, and consumed with the fear that I would never be a mother. If one more person asked me when I was going to have kids, I might just lose it completely!  I wanted to join the mom club all my friends were a part of!

Fast forward: Kidney stone removed IVF begins again. Things look good. I’m responding well to the medication. They were able to retrieve 12 eggs, 5 of which made it to the blastocyst phase! As I was preparing for my transfer, I couldn’t help to feel plagued with stories that IVF rarely works the first time. I wanted to be hopeful but also realistic. So much was on the line for me as I did not have much money left for another cycle.  The transfer went well, and they sent me away with a good luck, like it’s that simple, and then we enter the dreaded 2 week wait yet again! Each day was longer than the next.  Looking back now I wonder how I didn’t lose my job. I don’t think I focused at work during the entire time I was trying to have a baby!

About 6 days in I decided screw the rules, I’m taking a pregnancy test. It was negative which I expected it would be. The next day I took another one, and I see a verrrry faint second line. I took pics and sent it to my mom just to make sure I wasn’t seeing things. She saw it too! Each day after, the line got a little bit darker. By the time I went for my blood test, the lines where clear as day. PREGNANT! I knew I couldn’t be excited until test results came back. I’ll never forget that day the doctor called: “Congratulations Jennifer, you’re pregnant!” Words I never thought I would hear! We cried, we laughed, we screamed, we called our parents, and then we panicked!

Those first few weeks, I was a ball of emotions. I know what can happen, as much as I wanted to scream it from the rooftops I knew I had to be cautiously optimistic. I literally would go to the bathroom just to make sure I was still pregnant (As weird as that sounds). I had waited for so long for this, and I was so afraid of something bad happening. I’m so happy to say that it did not! I had a beautiful baby boy named Lucas who is now 3. I also have a beautiful baby boy named Dylan who is currently 10 months old that is also an IVF baby from my frozen embryos. They are the loves of my life!

I tell my story because when I was going through this process, I so desperately wanted to hear the success stories. Like I stated earlier you often hear how rare it is that IVF works on the first time. I’m here as proof that it can. It did for me both times!  I realize how blessed I am, and how rare my story is. My babies are miracles and I know that. I also know that so many people out there that struggle with infertility suffer devastating losses along the way. They feel alone, sad, frustrated, and scared. Each story is unique. Sometimes you just need to know you are not alone.  I did not go through half of what so many amazing women go through, but we all share the same ache for a baby. If this can give even one person just a little hope, then writing this was worth it. Sending all my love to all the women waiting for their miracles! It will happen!

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Under The Palm

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

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

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

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

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

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

Visit Carly’s blog BunBunBook for more on her journey, and be sure to follow her on Instagram as she shares all her joy love and fun in her latest adventure of motherhood!!
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From WTF Sisters: Successful Frozen Embryo Transfer Tips and Tricks

April 17, 2018

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

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

Here are some of the highlights:

Image courtesy of American Pregnancy

Acupuncture: 

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

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

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

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

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

Image courtesy of Gaiam

Diet and lifestyle:

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

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

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

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

Unsuspecting protocols:

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

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

 

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


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

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From WTF Sisters: The Best TTC Advice

March 27, 2018

One thing (well, one of the many) that we love about the What The Fertility (WTF) community is the compassion towards others and willingness to share! Whether that means sharing stories, advice, tips, or just joining in on all the feels when someone is celebrating or needs a pick-me-up!

Last month on our Instagram and Facebook pages, we asked you: “What was the best advice you were given while trying for a baby?” And boy, did you answer! Here’s what some of our TTC sisters had to say:

About marriage while TTCing:

“I’ve learned to take the advice with love, no matter what. But in return, I give them the honesty of my journey. I was depressed. I’ve lost friends. But through it all, I lean into the love of my marriage more and more. That’s saved my soul.” – @bloomingwithcare

“Some of the best advice I got was to remember my husband through the process. Trying for a baby can be all consuming and feel very “mechanical.” Even more so when experiencing infertility! Take time for your partner, check in on their feelings, and remember that you are in this together.” – @laurenjbennett

No success on the actual baby making but just keep talking to your significant other…keep good lines of communication open because chances are they are struggling as much if not more than you are. Keep each other close, don’t let not being able to conceive get in between what brought you together in the first place LOVE. – Alexis

(Image credit: Scary Mommy)

On paying attention to your body:

“Be proactive, get your body checked out to see why infertility may be occurring so you don’t over look or not look at important aspects!” – @sexdoccarli

“Listen to your body. It knows what it’s deficient or nutrient rich in and if I can support you and a growing baby.” – @shreeberry

(Image credit: FertilityTips.com)

Taking the journey in stride:

“Some of the best advice that I received was try not to put so much stress on the process. Take your meds, relax, get a massage, and leave it in God’s hands. Once I really relaxed and put it all in God’s hand it worked. I was on my last cycle of IUI before IVF. Due later this year.” – @mrsnatvirture

“The best is for someone to listen to you and offer no advice.” – Carrie

“Get a support group and block out all the advice and lean on the ones who offer nothing but love- no advice no nothing but being there. And know your partner is in this too- and they might not reach out but they need a person to lean on too.” – Talia

Do you have TTC advice that you would like to pass on to others looking to start a family? Drop them in the comments below! And be on the look out for our next post from the WTF community around ensuring a successful embryo transfer!

What The Fertility

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