nia-vardalos-tease-002-today-160316_d3e981ea194c6db477a6321d009fdb92.today-inline-largePhoto “Today”  

{via Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine}

 

Nia Vardalos is opening up about her difficult battle with infertility, revealing that rounds of IVF, attempts at surrogacy and miscarriages left her feeling “embarrassed.”

“It was a sad process for me to become a mom, and a long process,” Vardalos, 53, told People of her nine-year struggle. “I felt so embarrassed that I couldn’t have a biological child.”

 

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE

 

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{via Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine}

The power of vitamins. Studies say vitamin D may improve your chances of successful ‪#‎IVF‬ implantation.

 

Vitamin D May Improve IVF Success

Vitamin D is a steroid hormone that is produced in the skin as a result of sun exposure as well as absorbed from fortified foods. It’s generally associated with bone health, but animal studies have shown that the hormone affects fertility in many mammals. A study published in the Endocrine Society’s “Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism,” examined vitamin D’s role in the success of in vitro fertilization (IVF) cycles, and it found that it’s linked to better quality embryos and higher successful implantation rates.

Researchers followed 154 women who were vitamin D deficient and 181 women who had sufficient levels of vitamin D in their blood. The women who had sufficient vitamin D were nearly twice as likely to conceive through their IVF cycle as their deficient counterparts. Women who had vitamin D levels of at least 20 ng/ml in their blood were considered to have sufficient levels of the hormone. Levels of 30 ng/ml are recommended for general health.

“Although randomized clinical trials are needed to confirm the findings, our results certainly suggest that low levels of vitamin D contribute to infertility,” said Alessio Paffoni, MSc, of the Ospedale Maggiore Policlinico in Milan, Italy, and one of the study’s authors. “Since vitamin D supplementation is an inexpensive and simple intervention with few relevant side effects, additional study in this area has the potential to markedly influence the way infertility is treated.”

But Dr. Tanmoy Mukherjee, associate director of the Mount Sinai Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and co-director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York, says women shouldn’t necessarily run out to grab vitamin D supplements quite yet. Instead, he advises all of his patients, men and women, to take a multivitamin as a part of their fertility protocol. Even if patients have a great diet and lifestyle, a multivitamin insures the body is getting everything it needs to function at the best possible level.

If you think your level is low, you can increase your vitamin D by getting out in the sunlight more and eating fortified foods like orange juice or milk. Cheese, egg yolks and fatty fish, like tuna and salmon, are also foods that are high in vitamin D. Don’t take supplements in excess of 1000iu per day without first consulting your medical doctor.

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Yes, yes and yes!

If you have a friend struggling with infertility please read this. I have often been asked what CAN I say to be supportive, and my response is always the same….just listen. I didn’t need someone telling me the “upside” to infertility, or about God’s will. I simply wanted/needed someone to hold my hand and let me cry. To agree with me when I said it sucked, and to let me have my dark days when I needed to.   #‎infertility‬.

 

{via the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine}

10 Things You Should Never Say to a Friend Facing Infertility

 

I have nothing to hide. But, sometimes, I forget to mention that I’ve faced things that seem more private than others. I’ve talked about all sorts of things. But not this. Not in a while. Let’s re-open the darkest time in my life. Make me cry. But for a good cause. Let’s talk about 10 Things You Should Never Say to a Friend Facing Infertility (because they were all said to me and they all cut to the bone).

  1. Maybe it’s for the best. When I heard this I wanted to say: “So, what? Is it for the best that my DNA doesn’t get spread around?” Nope. It’s not for the best. I just want what 16 year olds get in the backseat of a car when the condom rips. Nothing more. Why would that be for the best but not me having a baby?
  2. Just think of all the fun you can have without kids. Just kick a person when they’re down. In the ribs. And then throw salt on it. There’s no fun without kids when you want kids but can’t have them. It’s all bittersweet. And, when I was facing infertility–the bittersweet was just bitter.
  3. If you just stop trying, it’ll happen. This is like a big, fat lie. Trying has nothing to do with it. Should women facing infertility go back on the pill? Because the gist of “not trying” is doing the opposite of trying…gah! It’s just bullsh*t.
  4. You can have my kiddosThis is why (and the article that inspired these thoughts again in me).
  5. Just relax. This is the one that hurt the most. Because it has nothing to do with relaxing. You can go shove your relaxing up your–
  6. It’s just a shot–people do that all the time. No, it’s not JUST a SHOT. It’s like 3-10 times a day. It’s an IV once a month. It’s sitting still while you do all that and watching other people go about their lives. It’s tiring. And painful. And it’s scarring (I had bruises for almost 2 straight years). Its not just a shot. It’s a million pin pricks.
  7. These things take time. Aaaand, no. They don’t. It’s not like there’s a reservoir of sperm that has to build-up before an egg is released and they can come together in mitosis. No, it takes 1 time. When you say that…it’s just a bald-faced lie.
  8. It doesn’t make you less of a woman. Inside, I screamed: “Yes it does. I can’t make a baby, so it makes me less of a woman. Because that’s how I feel. Don’t set my feelings aside. They are valid and my pain is valid.” Don’t try to take the sting out.
  9. Just think of how wonderful it will be when it does happen. This made me cry. Because, yeah, I knew it would be wonderful. And that person…well, I was SUPER appreciative that she reminded me of how wonderful it would be…if there were, you know, babies.
  10. Enjoy the time alone with your spouse. I’d like to shove this one down my “friend’s” throat. You enjoy it when you 1) don’t feel like a woman 2) are having sex on a schedule 3) take a million shots that hurt 4) have to listen to all this malarky…and on, and on, and on…Yeah. Enjoy that.

 

The only thing you should say to your friend: “Wanna talk about it?” Because, I’m the first to tell you, it’s no fun. It’s not something you an laugh about later. It’s painful and, for some (including me), the most painful time of your life. No reason to make light of it. Just be a friend. A real one. And listen.

http://ht.ly/YaSQb

 

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Have you ever googled Thankful for infertility? I have. And all of the articles at the top of my search were written by women who had reached the other side. They were the ones no longer in the trenches and throes of infertility. The ones who have had their adoptions finalized. The ones who have given birth to healthy babies. The ones who have had their dreams fulfilled, no longer pouring every last penny into medicine and doctor appointments. And they were the ones no longer gasping for air from the deep heartache of a miscarriage or a failed adoption.

Given the fact they were living on the other side, I believe it was easier for them to look back and be thankful for all that infertility had taught them. They could see through the eyes of grace how it strengthened their marriage, renewed their faith, and brought them blessings in disguise. They could see how their journey through their miscarriage made them stronger and braver. They could see how everything that went wrong, helped make all things right. And they could see all of this because they were on the mountain top looking down.

But you– the one still fighting for your dream. The one whose heart is still painfully aching from a miscarriage. The one who just discovered another treatment cycle has failed. And the one who is hanging onto hope by a thread. I am writing this article for you. Because I want you to know that this Thanksgiving, as you carve the turkey, pass the stuffing and put way too much whip cream on your pumpkin pie, it’s okay if you are struggling to be thankful.

Sure, you can name one thing or even several things…your home, your job, your spouse, or even the food in which you are about to partake…but the one joy you thought or hoped you were going to be thankful for this Thanksgiving holiday, you can’t mention. And maybe it is because you have recently learned that the miracle that once filled your womb isn’t going to fill your arms. Or the plans you made in order to make this year different, have failed. And failed miserably. Or maybe it’s because the dreams you believed were coming true, have instead turned into a nightmare.

And my heart aches for you. Because I get it. I understand. I even understand the pressure you are under to still be joyful and thankful for all that still remains. And I understand the guilt you feel when you can’t and the shame you have when you aren’t, even though you know you should be. You know you live an abundant life, but it’s just so hard to see it right now. And so this guilt and this shame on top of all of this heartache? It just makes the stress of the holiday much more difficult to bear. And it makes you feel like a horrible person, am I right? But friend, as you venture into Thanksgiving this week, I want to tell you something from my heart to yours: It’s okay.

It’s okay if you are unable to fight back the tears as you gather around the table to give thanks.

It’s okay if you can’t see how your miscarriage could ever be woven into some master plan of good.

It’s okay to be sad…even outraged…that your life isn’t going according to plan.

It’s okay if you need to lock yourself in the bathroom and cry when the emotions become too overwhelming, the thoughts become too painful, and the heartache you have becomes too strong.

It’s okay to be angry and confused at the unfairness infertility brings.

It’s okay if you don’t sweep your emotions underneath the kitchen rug you are standing on while you peel the potatoes, but rather open up and tell your family how your womb aches. Your heart hurts. And the hope you have is fading.

And it’s okay to shake your fist to the heavens and tell God exactly how you feel. Not holding anything back.

It’s okay to question why your plans are not good enough or the timing isn’t right.

It’s okay to be mad that you have spent thousands of dollars and countless hours at the doctor’s office just to be given a chance to have what seems to come so naturally and easily to others.

And it’s okay to hurt, to cry, and to still feel disappointed even though others think you should have moved on by now.

It’s okay to tell your Aunt Judy with grace that it’s not really her place to ask when you are going to have children.

It’s okay if while grocery shopping for thanksgiving dinner you see a pregnant woman in the same aisle as you and you need to turn your head. Even move to another part of the store.  Or wipe away a tear.

It’s okay if you decline the invitation to hold your cousins baby or walk away from a conversation about motherhood.

It’s okay if you decide to cook a meal for just you and your spouse…forgoing the traditional family affair.

Friend, basically I want you to know it’s okay to not be okay this Thanksgiving.  

So give yourself the gift of grace.  Because you are not a horrible person.  You are a normal human being with normal emotions after experiencing loss and constant disappointment and heartache.   Even the most perfect person has occasional trouble seeing the joy through the pain.  So, sweet friend, don’t beat yourself up or kick yourself down.  Just do the best you can and try to remember through the holiday season that it won’t always be this hard, or this overwhelming, or this stressful.  Because just like the women in the articles wrote, night always turns to dawn.  Seasons always change.  And the valley you are in today might be the one you are looking down on tomorrow.  But until that time comes, just know that it’s okay to not always be okay even if it is Thanksgiving.

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How 40 years of fertility science has brought hope, struggle and new ways of procreating – Timeline

 

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{via the Source: timeline.com}

The science of fertility was once akin to alchemy, with bizarre “cures” and diagnoses that just made things worse for couples already battling childlessness. And women had it worse. They were called barren. But things have changed. Roughly 5 million people are now on the planet thanks to in vitro fe…

What a timeline! What progress!

Since the first test tube baby, Louise, was born in 1978, over 5 million people on the planet are here thanks to in vitro fertilization and related procedures. Have a look at how 40 years of fertility science have bought hope, love and families together.

Read Article Here

 

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This is going to rank pretty high up there as one of my “Best Days EVER!”

– After nearly 8 months of back and forth with the IRS (fun times) and multiple denials, I just received official word that Starfish Infertility Foundation has finally been approved as a 501c3!!!! I wish I could put into words how exciting/fulfilling this is for me!!! P.S. Those of you looking for “end of the year” donations, please consider!!

 

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Brandon and Kara hosted the 1st annual Glow Golf Tournament at Windtree Golf Course in Mt. Juliet, TN.   Golfers enjoyed 9 holes in the late afternoon followed by dinner, and then took to the course for the remaining 9 holes in the dark.  Watching glowing golf balls flying around the course was incredible!  The event sold out and raised over $4,000 PLUS they received a generous $5,000 donation at the event!  There are already plans in the works for this year’s tournament!

 

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DENVER – Can infertile women have a baby with their own eggs?

Yes, according to Dr. William Schoolcraft, the founder of the Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine.

“This is sort of a revolutionary concept,” Schoolcraft said. “In the past, it was thought that menopause meant no eggs.”

The Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine is currently looking for women under 40 who are unable to have children because of primary ovarian insufficiency to partake in a study of In-Vitro follicle activation.

Primary ovarian insufficiency is the term for when women have a low number of eggs in their ovaries. It is a leading cause of infertility among women.

Schoolcraft says women are born with a million eggs and even when they’re going into menopause, there’s a few thousand eggs left in the ovaries. He says those eggs are in an immature state where they can’t grow and ovulate.

“Those last few thousand eggs won’t come out, won’t ovulate, so the woman’s ovaries act like they’re not working,” Schoolcraft said. “But you can see eggs in the ovaries if you look with a microscope. They are there.”

The in-vitro activation helps stimulate the immature follicles in the ovaries.

IVA requires one ovary to be laparoscopically removed and treated outside of the body. The ovary is re-implanted near the woman’s Fallopian Tubes.

The women in the study would then be treated with hormones to stimulate the growth of the immature follicles and prompt the release of eggs which could lead to pregnancy.

CCRM reports this is the only active study of its kind taking place in the U.S. It has been approved by the Institutional Review Board.

Schoolcraft is partnering with infertility specialists from Stanford University and Japan, who pioneered the IVA procedure.

An initial IVA study in Japan involved 37 women in 2013. Researcher collected mature eggs from in-vitro fertilization from six of the women Two of the women had successful pregnancies and now have children.

Schoolcraft admits this is aggressive and experimental, but he’s excited about the positive outcomes.

“For patients where their only option is donor egg but they’re just hoping to try one last thing with their own biological material, this is a way for them to have a baby with their own genetics,” Schoolcraft said.

To learn more about the IVA study at Colorado Center for Reproductive Medicine, call (303) 788-8300 or email: IVAstudy@colocrm.com

(© 2015 KUSA)

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These are just a few of the ways your infertile friends feel at this very moment.

 

I have been unsuccessfully trying to have a baby for nearly four years. During that time, I’ve had four miscarriages, six IVF transfers, two IVF egg retrievals, and lost twins during delivery. Needless to say, I could be president of The Infertile Club.

But I know that your ability to have a baby (or many babies) is not what keeps me from having one of my own. I also know you are confused about how to approach me — afraid your abundant fertility will send me into a deep pit of despair.

This isn’t a me problem or a you problem; it’s an us problem.

June is World Infertility Awareness Month. I actually didn’t know this until a few weeks ago, but I love the concept because infertility is a worldwide issue. What better time to walk you through exactly how to support your infertile friends?

1. Just listen.

Seriously, just listen. Don’t offer advice because I’ve heard it all. I know how babies are made, and trust me, I’ve tried that. Just listen to how I’m feeling because it’s so lonely to go through this without you.

2. Give me a hug.

A nice hug can go a long way. It shows how much you care about me and how I’m feeling without saying a word — a universal sign of friendship.

3. Admit you do not understand.

People say they understand when they really don’t. I’d much rather hear that you don’t understand but would like to learn more.

4. Offer to go with me to appointments.

Do you have any idea how often I’m at the doctor? It’s ridiculous. My husband cannot attend every visit or he’d be out of work and we’d really be screwed.

And, despite the fact that we’re all going through the same thing, the waiting room at my fertility clinic is dead silent. I’d love for you to attend not only for the company, but also to learn more about the process.

5. Ask me how I’m doing.

Being infertile is physically, emotionally, mentally, and financially crippling, and I’d love to share it all with you. Especially when you’re celebrating Mother’s Day, Father’s Day, Thanksgiving, etc., think of our friendship and what it would mean to me to have you check in.

6. Don’t try to solve my problem.

Just because something worked for you or someone else you know does not mean it will work for me. Even if that someone else also struggled with infertility, there are many different types. Chances are, we don’t have the exact same problem, and thus the exact same solution will not work for both of us. Best to leave the solution up to my doctor.

7. Choose your timing wisely.

We’re friends, so of course I want to hear the good news in your life. But if I’m having a rough day, perhaps this very moment is not the best time to share it with me.

Think about it: If you just lost your job, I wouldn’t turn around and tell you how I got yet another promotion at work. Why approach this any different? Read the situation, and tell me when the time is right so I can celebrate properly with you.

8. Don’t avoid me.

You not calling or coming around does not make my infertility go away. I need you in my life now more than ever.

9. Give me space when I need it.

I know I just said don’t avoid me, but there will be times when I need some space. Trust me, I’ll let you know when I need it and when I’m ready to let you back in. Sometimes I just need a day or week to grieve on my own. It’s just part of the process — it doesn’t mean I don’t appreciate our friendship.

10. Don’t suggest I “just adopt.”

Adoption is a beautiful thing, but it’s not right for everyone. Do you know how much it costs to adopt? It can cost $40,000 or more, and that’s if the adoption goes through the first time. Many adopters experience “false starts,” lose their initial investment, and have to start over. There is no such thing as “just” adopting.

11. Allow for the possibility I might not get my happy ending.

Not every story has a happy ending, and mine might be one of them. I hope not, of course, but that’s the reality of infertility. I know you look at your children and it hurts you to think I might not be able to achieve that same happiness, but instead think how I feel. Let me work through this without labeling me a Negative Nancy.

BONUS: Learn more about what it means to be struggling with infertility.

If you want to learn more about life with infertility, I highly recommend listening to my new weekly podcast (Beat Infertility) where we get real about infertility, empower listeners to take back control, and provide them hope for the future.

Each episode features two main interviews: someone who’s overcome infertility and had a baby or is currently pregnant, and someone who’s still on their infertility journey. I will cover the whole range of infertility diagnoses, including Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS), endometriosis, diminished ovarian reserve, luteal phase defects, male factor infertility, recurrent miscarriages, secondary infertility, unexplained infertility, and more.

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I am a wife, a mother, a friend, a teacher. A lover of all things penguin. I love to write and to read.  If I was to have a second career, it would most likely be in some form of writing.  Writing has always been my go-to when I am struggling with life issues. I journaled through my entire infertility/fertility process…my 2 1/2  year journey to get pregnant with my daughter.  After I had her, THE LIGHT and JOY of my life, I began a blog to post pictures and update family on my life.  Quickly this blog has become my outlet.  It’s been a way to educate others about miscarriage and a candid take on how I am handling my grief with infertility and miscarriage.

 

So here’s my story…

 

Three years ago I started the journey of IVF to conceive my 2nd child, a sibling for my daughter. We transferred one beautiful baby girl in January of 2012. I was naive. I thought I would get pregnant right away and that would bethat. Well I DID get pregnant and “that was that”- or so it seemed.  My first blood test indicated that I was pregnant.  An ultrasound at 6 weeks
confirmed my pregnancy. I felt such joy seeing the heartbeat of this tiny little miracle inside of me.  I wouldn’t have taken that moment for granted if I knew it would be taken from me, but I didn’t. It’s so easy to take every day moments for granted. Despite some bleeding, my 8 week ultrasound showed that my little bean was growing and we could start to see what looked like a baby forming inside of me.  At 9 weeks I had a horrible gallbladder attack. I was in so much pain.  My husband rushed me to
the ER, and long story short, I was going to be ok (I just had to watch my dairy and fatty food intake).  Even better, we saw on the ultrasound our little girl  was absolutely fine too! At our 10 week appointment/ultrasound we felt like we were starting to be
out of the woods despite a bit more spotting.   I was told that I had pools of blood in my uterus, but that my baby was completely fine.  We started to share our good news.  We even had a name picked out, Lauren Elizabeth.  We told our 3 year old daughter that there was a baby growing in my tummy. She was elated to be a big sister! Between weeks 10 and 12 I had a picture perfect pregnancy. I felt great. I didn’t have any more spotting.  We started setting up the nursery and started thinking ahead to the little miracle growing in my tummy.
At 12 weeks, 4 days, I went in for my “2nd trimester” appointment.  This part is so hard to write about because I feel as though I am reliving the horridness of that day.  I went in to the doctor without a worry in the world.  The doctor was not able to hear the heartbeat by doppler, so we went in to the ultra sound room.  I undressed and sat up on the exam table waiting for the doctor.  Suddenly, fear over came me and I started praying–begging to God to allow my baby to be ok.  As the doctor squeeze cool gel on my belly and began the ultrasound I knew right away. I could see the perfect outline of my precious little Lauren, her head, her skull, her arms, her legs, her abdomen…where no heart was fluttering like it had before.  I asked “Is my baby ok?”.  The doctor shook his head and said she had stopped growing at 11 weeks 5 days.  8 days before, my sweet little Lauren’s heart stopped beating. And there she lied motionless in my womb. I didn’t believe the doctor. I started begging him to check again, that he must have missed something.  I begged him to do another ultrasound.  He did another ultrasound and then turned on the bloodflow to indicate that there was no bloodflow in her heart, and then he showed me her brain, there was no blood flow and no brain activity. The doctor and nurse left the exam room where I collapsed to the floor and heaved hard heavy sobs for about 10 minutes.  I picked myself up, dressed, and walked out to my car.  What came next was equally excruciating…
The phone call to my husband.  With shaking hands I dialed his number and as soon as I heard him answer I screamed/sobbed “she’s dead. Lauren is dead!!” After sobbing for several minutes I was able to choke out what had happened.  I drove home sobbing, yet so numb.  The pain of my broken heart was overwhelming. I had never experienced pain like this. The doctor said
that the placenta had detached which suffocated Lauren. We called the necessary people to share the news and scheduled a D&C
for the following day.  I didn’t hardly sleep at all that night.  The next day I was numb.  My eyes were swollen, my face puffy and red.   Every new tear on my checks stung from the gallons of tears I cried the hours before.  We got to the outpatient desk and I just started bawling.  I got checked in and was escorted back to out patient surgery.  The nurse went through the double doors and I just stopped, dead in my tracks. I couldn’t move. I literally could not move.  I started sobbing horrific sobs.  Walking
through those doors meant that I was allowing someone to suck my baby out of me.  I didn’t want this. Never in my life had I wished that something hadn’t happened. I wanted someone to make it better, but no one could. Eventually, God gave me the strength to put one foot in front of the other. Right before I went under, I started sobbing, fighting the anesthesia as much as I possibly could. I was sobbing into my mask. I didn’t want to fall asleep because that meant when I awoke, my baby would have been ripped from my being. I didn’t want that. I awoke and went home a few hours later. I thought this would all be put behind me.  But the aftermath was almost worse. I kept bleeding profusely and despite a followup with my doctor, the massive bleed outs and blood clots I was passing was almost frightening. After ending up in the ER in my hometown my hemoglobin was down to 9 and the following morning down to 8. I received a blood transfusion and then was transported by ambulance to a larger neighboring town, where I doctored.  I was admitted to the hospital. After another blood transfusion, a platelet transfusion, another D&C, surgery to remove my gallbladder and exploratory surgery, they found that I had retrograde bleeding and  almost a pint of blood was removed from my abdomen.  I still had placenta in my uterus which caused me to bleed out and nearly lose my life. After we lost Lauren I felt like my house looked like a mortuary.  People sent flowers, brought food, sent cards, emails, texts.  My parents came and we planted a pink rose bush in the front of our house in remembrance of Lauren.   Picking up my life and putting the pieces of my broken heart back together was hard.  But, in my mind I thought if I hurried up and tried again, that a new baby would fill the void.
In July 2012 we transfered twins, a boy and a girl. I was nervous, but pretty optimistic  I thought I had my “one” miscarriage out of the way, and there was no way it was going to happen again. My blood test came back with high strong numbers, indicating possible twins.  Two weeks later at 5 weeks, I began bleeding, hemorrhaging.  My husband rushed me to the ER.  An
ultrasound confirmed that there was no pregnancy. So whether I was pregnant with one or two, both were lost.  I was shocked. How could this be?  So fast? I didn’t even feel like I had bonded with this baby yet.  A few days later we followed up with another Beta (blood test) which indicated that I had miscarried because my levels were starting to decline from 3,300 to 1700.  The doctor wanted to continue doing Betas until my number was down to 0.  48 hours later my beta went back up to 3500.  I was shocked and in disbelief. The very next day we went to the doctor and found our one little survivor. A baby! With a heartbeat! The doctor was worried about the placement of the baby (low lying, right above my cervix), he said time would tell.  Four days later I went in for a beta and another ultra sound. My beta went up to over 12,000 and there was a strong little heart
beat! We had a fighter! What the doctor thinks happened is that I miscarried one twin, but the other one survived. Unfortunately a few days later I miscarried that baby.  I was devastated. Again the doctor wanted to follow my pregnancy hormone down to zero. A month later my beta was still around 3,000 so I endured yet another D&C. We took a break and then in January 2013, we tried again. We started back up on injections…my stomach and butt looked like a total battlefield. After weeks and weeks of injections, my uterine lining would not thicken to optimal thickness to support a pregnancy, so my cycle was canceled. I was yet again, devastated. But, like I always do, I pulled myself together, and moved on with my life.

In July 2013, we decided, with 4 embryos left, we would take another stab at it, so we geared up for our 4th IVF.  Again, back to the self-inflicted-shots, medicine, strict fertility diet, and lots of praying that this would work. We transferred two more beautiful embryos, one boy and one girl.  Everything seemed perfect. My lining was great. My hormone levels were outstanding. Unfortunately, after 10 days, we received the devastating news that neither baby “took” and I was not pregnant. I am so thankful and grateful that I have my daughter Ava.  However my heart is broken.  Some days are better than others.  By the grace of God we hope to try again. We have 2 babies left in the freezer ready for transfer.  We are FINALLY to the point of trying again. However, we have exhausted, every single financial resource. We’ve borrowed money from the bank, borrowed money from family, maxed our credit cards….we have literally exhausted every resource. So while I’m ready to try again, we can’t afford it, which brings on a new sense of grief all over again. What kills me the most is that insurance companies treat infertility as “elective”.  Most insurance companies don’t treat infertility as a disease, and therefore do not pay a CENT for infertility treatments.  There are so many great foundations out there who raise money for different illnesses and diseases, but there are none, to my knowledge, that raise money to helpgood people, fulfill their dreams of parenthood. Those who want
desperately to have a child, or more children have to fund their own way. Some easily say “well just adopt, there are lots of children who need a good home”. This is true, but did you know it costs $25,000 to adopt!?! So “just” adopting isn’t an option for many. I will always carry all  of my children in my heart, but as for now, just one I carry in my arms as well.  She truly is ablessing, and I do believe that one day I will meet my 2 little girls and one baby boy in Heaven. But for now, they are safely in Jesus’ loving arms.

                                          Sincerely,  Ann Foster

 

I have a blog in which I journal about our battle with infertility. THANK YOU for helping those of us who need financial resources.  THANK YOU for spreading the word. THANK YOU from the very bottom of my heart.
My blog is: “A Day in the Life of the Foster’s”
http://markandannfoster.blogspot.com/


Ann Foster
3-6 Title Teacher
Certified Instructor for PSI
Gothenburg Public Schools

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As a first-time mother who had complications with conception, I know all too well the sting that Mother’s Day can have for the many women out there who are on the trying-to-conceive roller coaster. The week leading up to Mother’s Day is always painful for a woman who wants nothing more than to know the joy that she sees many of the friends in her peer group sharing on their Facebook news feeds. It’s bad enough when it seems like everyone is pregnant around you; Mother’s Day can be an added layer of pain.

I get it, I really do. When I was trying to conceive, I really wanted to be happy for my friends who were already pregnant. But every weekly baby bump selfie, update on a friend’s nursery project or “It’s a Girl/Boy!” status burned in me an envy that overshadowed the happiness I truly wanted to feel for them.

Don’t get me wrong; it wasn’t that I didn’t want to be happy for their blessing. It was that I felt shame, shame that I was some how inadequate in my own womanhood to not be able to produce the one thing I felt my body was biologically constructed to do. I felt like a failure, and seeing all of their success reminded me of that failure every.single.time.

I was the woman who was diagnosed with Polycystic Ovary Syndrome (PCOS) years before I knew I wanted children, and before I even understood what that would mean to me when the day came that me and my husband had finally decided it was time to try. I can still remember my doctor telling me that I had PCOS and that it would be difficult to conceive, at the time I scoffed it off because I didn’t think I wanted children. But then, like a slap in the face, those words spoken in a distant memory revealed themselves again all too clearly when we realized that being off birth control for over a year and having sex when we thought I was ovulating wasn’t enough.

Turns out, I wasn’t really ovulating when I thought I was, if ever at all. Years of irregular periods and unbearable cramping when they did happen, and a quick Google search of what PCOS actually was, and it all finally made sense to me. It really would be an uphill battle for us. Which at the time, seemed to be the story of my life.

It was the Friday before Mother’s Day and I had just found out that my second cycle of Clomid had been an epic fail. Clomid is a drug used to treat infertility in women to essentially force ovulation. My doctor had me on three successive cycles of it, increasing the dosage each time. If the Clomid didn’t work after the third round, we would have to explore other options. The lab results after the second cycle indicated that I had not ovulated at all. Even though I knew we had one more round left, I still felt defeated and with Mother’s Day looming over my head, the void in my heart (or more accurately, my uterus) just felt more empty than usual.

I went back to work after my appointment, upset and in tears. I pushed through the day and was relieved when it was finally over so I could go home and do what I really wanted to do, which was feel sorry for myself. On the way out of the building I worked in, a co-worker wished me “Happy Mother’s Day!” and it almost stopped me in my tracks. I wanted to scream at her and tell her to shut the hell up. Hadn’t she known I wasn’t a mother? It was the salt in the open bleeding wound that was my heart. Damn this holiday! I thought.

That was two years ago, today, and as I type this I am sitting next to my 14-month old, who is sitting in her highchair gnawing on some carrots. Fortunately for us, our struggle to conceive ended the very next month as our third cycle of Clomid had been successful. Ironically, I almost didn’t take that last dosage because I didn’t want to be disappointed again. Then, I decided, screw it! I’ll do it, and if it happens it happens, but I had no hope that it would. In fact, I was so positive that it wouldn’t happen that I had to take six pregnancy tests before I would believe that I actually was pregnant.

But this letter isn’t about me or my struggle. It’s about yours. The woman who is tracking every period and every ovulation cycle on her iPhone app, plotting the days and times you have sex and has enough ovulation and pregnancy test sticks to last her through Armageddon. To the woman who has a savings account, not for that vacation to Fiji or for the new car she’s been meaning to get since graduating college, but instead dedicated to future IVF treatments. To the woman who just had her second miscarriage, and doesn’t know if she can mentally or emotionally give it another go. To the woman whose baby was stillborn, who doesn’t understand how the greatest blessing in her life turned so tragic. Lastly, to the woman who has been told she will never have children and is still having trouble accepting it.

To all of these women, I am here to say that this year, on Mother’s Day, you are not forgotten. Your struggle is felt, it is understood and is real. I don’t know if one day your story will be my story. What I do know is that if I had not gone through that struggle, I don’t think I would appreciate the blessings that I have now as much as I do. It was a horrible time, yes, but in an odd twist of fate, I am thankful for it. This Mother’s Day, my heart and prayers are with you beautiful, strong women. May you find peace on this day and solace in knowing that you are not alone in your heartbreak.

This post was originally published on A Navy Wife’s Life.

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23 Things Everyone Who’s Trying To Get Pregnant Can Relate To

If only it were as easy as birds and bees...

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1. Your life is now divided into the two weeks before ovulation and the two weeks after.

2. And during the “after” weeks, you’ll become convinced that every single burp or fart is definitely a sign of pregnancy.

3. You buy pregnancy tests…

Read Full Article Here

 

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I was SO incredibly fortunate to find a group of women who truly understood what I was going through. I consider them some of my closest friends/family. I don’t know what I would have done without them!

 

 

INFERTILITY

http://www.chesterchronicle.co.uk/lifestyle/women2day-the-agony-of-infertility-9004155

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According to a 2010 National Survey of Family Growth from the CDC, 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility, but less than 30% of employers provide coverage for treatments. This would be amazing!

 

One in eight women have fertility problems but most employers don’t cover treatment. Is this the next frontier in working parent benefits?

 

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In 2013, Katie Lelito was a graduate student and research assistant at the University of Michigan. She and her husband were ready to start a family, but months of trying brought no success.

Tests lead to an infertility diagnosis and one possible solution for conception: in vitro fertilization (IVF). Unfortunately, the expensive treatments—which run about $10,000 each and come with no guarantee—weren’t included in Lelito’s healthcare coverage, and she and her husband couldn’t afford it themselves. Their only alternative was to petition her employer for coverage. Lelito started with a letter-writing campaign using templates provided by Resolve, a national infertility association.

 

READ FULL ARTICLE HERE!

 

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