Going Global 

Recently, an Australian journalist for the World Press Institute asked if we would be willing to do an interview about our IVF/RPL experiences.  

She came across our family photos (below) and would like to feature an article with a few of them along with the interview. We happily said yes, anytime we can help others we are in. Plus, I secretly always wanted to be a journalist so I have to help another one out! 

Here are the questions & answers, along with the photos we chose to have in it. 

Questions for Angela

  1. What name would you like to use in the story (for example – just “Angela” or both your first and second name – this is totally up to you) Angela is good. 
  2. How old are you? I am 33, will be 34 in November of 2016. 
  3. Is it OK if we say you live in Florida in the US? Yes 😊
  4. What is your partner’s name? How long have you been with him/been married? Shane & I are 16 years in the making now; we met in 2000. It was my senior year and his junior year of high school. It was pretty much love at first sight (sounds cliche, but its true). We were engaged in 2006, & married by August of 2007.  
  5. Did you always want kids? Yes, I did! I wasnt exactly sure how old I wanted to be when we did though. I was 25 when we married, and he was 24. Shane always wanted kids too, but said he wanted to wait about 5 years to have them. We never thought we would have to actually “try,” we thought it would just happen when we were ready one night!
  6. When did your journey to have a baby start? How old were you at the time? We stopped being careful about a year into our marriage, so I was close to 27. 
  7. When did you realise it might be harder than you thought? I think we both thought something was odd pretty soon after we stopped being careful that first year.  
  8. What made you decide to try IVF? After a few years of trying on our own, tracking ovulation, charting my body temperature, testing for ferns on my saliva, taking all sorts of herbs & superfoods, we realized it wasnt going to happen naturally for us. 
  9. How did that process unfold? My OB referred us to a fertility specialist, or Reproductive Endocrinologist, after my husbands first sperm analysis came back showing significant male factor infertility. 
  10. You’ve had some difficult experiences along the way. Can you tell me about those..? The road has not been easy by any means. After our diagnosis of MFI, we felt confident that our first IUI would work. When it didnt, it got even more real. Then when the second one failed too, we knew IVF was the path we needed to pursue. I was 30 and my husband 28 at that time. 
  11. How many pregnancies have you lost? 3 IVF pregnancies, with a total of 5 babies being lost. 
  12. Are you still hopeful IVF might give you a baby? I do still have hope. The day I lose hope will be the day I stop treatment! 
  13. On Facebook we discussed the idea that the story of women who fail at IVF is never told. Why do you think that is? I think the medical world wants everyone to believe its the end-all-be-all, the magic pill, that it ‘just has to work.’ If more people knew how often it didnt work on the first try, they would be a lot more cautious with their hearts. We were naive & thought it surely would produce a child right away. I also think a lot of couples choose to keep their stories quiet because of the pain and embarrassment they associate with the IVF failure, even though its not in anyway their fault. 
  14. Why did you start your blog? I started my blog after our 3rd miscarriage. I wanted others to know they are not alone. So many nights I cried myself to sleep thinking no one understood. I knew there had to be someone out there that I could relate with, and likewise, someone who felt they could relate with me too. I immediately made the blog public, and linked it to my personal social media sites. It literally felt like a ton was lifted off of us when we finally told our story. Hiding infertility treatments are one thing, hiding miscarriages in conjuction with them is entirely another. Thankfully, the support through my blogging community and through our friends, family, & co-workers has been a lifesaver. 
  15. If you think about the IVF industry and the ethics of that industry…is there anything you’d like to say about this (some of the other ladies I’ve interviewed have bought this up with me)? Of course, I think it would be great if more financial assistance (across the board) was available since infertility is a disease, although many do not recognize it as one. Not sure if that falls into the ethics category or not. I will say that overall we have been blessed with doctors and nurses that have have an ethical bedside manner and a listening ear.  
  16. Is there anything else you’d like to say? No two journeys are the same. I have found comparison can be the thief of joy. When I first began treatments, I didnt rejoice in others success stories as much as I should have; instead I would wonder what was wrong with us & why were we being punished? Once I realized their success had nothing to do with me, I started really living again and not being a prisoner of IVF and pregnancy loss. That being said, each day I wake up & choose happiness!

   
  

  

Guest Post–A Happy Ending for a Couple Diagnosed with Unexplained Infertility

Today I am featuring a guest post from a couple diagnosed with unexplained infertility who are so very dear to my heart- my 1st cousin, Nina and her husband, Bryan.

Although I am sad that we both have had to battle infertility, I am forever grateful for the support and love we have been able to give to one another through this time in our lives.  Those of you who follow my blog know that I always say infertility has brought my husband and I closer.  Well, I can easily say the same thing about my cousin & I’s relationship, too.

Here is their story.


Nina & Bryan’s Story

So, when Ang asked if we would want to share our journey, I right away thought yes of course….then I thought oh goodness I am no writer and have never really written out our story….but quickly let her know that we would be honored to be a part of this amazing avenue for those on the infertility rollercoaster!  I am so proud of you Ang!

If you would have told me 7 years ago that I would be sharing our story on an infertility blog, I probably would have said, “No certainly not me…you must have the wrong couple!”  I say 7 years ago because my husband and I just celebrated our 7th wedding anniversary on June 21!  As newlyweds, we knew we wanted to have a year to enjoy being married, but wanted to start our family soon after.  We envisioned choosing a month to start trying, become pregnant and soon after have our sweet little bundle of joy!   Perfect picture right?!  Well, the reality was much different….

After about a year of trying with no success one of my very best friends (who was going though infertility) told me she would, without a doubt get to the doctor to get things checked out.  Without hesitation I did just that, all the while still thinking we weren’t going to find anything wrong and would be pregnant soon enough!  My friend advised that it was a good idea to start with the male factor to rule out anything.  For this, I would have to get a referral from my OBGYN first.

Here begins our journey!  To be quite honest I am horrible with dates and I cannot remember the exact timeline.  But, here are the steps we took.   First, I made an appointment to see my OBGYN.  We explained our concerns and asked for a referral for my husband to have things looked at.  She reassured me that I was young and healthy (I had no previous issues, regular cycles, etc.) and that these things take TIME….oh boy was she right about the TIME thing!  The next step was heading to the Urologist for Bryan.  We found that Bry had sperm for days, but they seemed to be taking a vacation.  Our urologist also informed us that Bry had some sort of infection.  One that could easily be taken care of with an antibiotic and that after we would do another analysis.  Fast forward to a few more visits to the urologist and a few more tests….she basically tells us that she is stumped and isn’t sure what to do!  Hence, our unexplained infertility diagnosis.  It felt like months of “wasted” time!

So, I then make an appointment to see the fertility specialist for a consultation.   It was over Christmas break, being a teacher I took any appointment I could get…that being said Bry couldn’t get off work.  So I take my sisters along with me for support and extra ears!

December of 2010 began our journey with the amazing Dr. Karnitis!  He thought that we were great candidates for IUI.  We started up right away.  We were so excited….first IUI cycle was simple.  Clomid, trigger and Bry to the office for his “intimate” alone time, then the procedure…wahoo we were sure to be pregnant after all of this!  We had everyone praying and hoping for the great news.  We choose to be pretty open about everything.  We figured we needed the prayer and support regardless of what was going to happen!  The IUI’s continued….another round of Clomid with injections, then we tried Femara with injections.  Nothing seemed to be wrong, but things just weren’t working!  Even with the injections my eggs didn’t seem to mature like they should be.  We tried a few more rounds of IUI, thinking it just had to work.  But after 5 failed IUI’s, we were finally ready to move on to IVF.  You are probably wondering why we continued trying IUI’s.  I think it was a combo of our doctor being very conservative and careful, and honestly I’m not sure that we were ready to make the IVF move quite yet!

We started up on our 1st round of IVF.  We were both very excited, knowing that with this more invasive procedure our chances of having the sweet babe we have been longing for was pretty great!  Dr. K was always so very optimistic as well.  During this process we were very fortunate to have a wonderful support system and prayer chains galore!  After our many rounds of IUI, we were able to find out that my body did react a little funny to the meds.  It was almost like I would need them upped, but when he would my body would go a little too crazy when they were.  We had to tread lightly.  Again, my eggs weren’t quite what Dr. K wanted, number or size, so he would up the meds just barely.  The eggs ended up getting there, but my levels shot through the roof.  He said it was too dangerous to trigger and continue with the retrieval.  We were so extremely devastated that our cycle was cancelled!  We then took a little break to give my ovaries and body some recover time.

Then it was on to IVF Round 2.  This time around we used a little different med concoction.  Things were going very smoothly, many eggs were developing and my lining was just where he wanted it.  My levels were getting nice and high, which was scary, but he felt comfortable moving forward to the egg retrieval.  YAY!!!  I apologize for not having many details, but to be honest I have difficulty remembering it all.  What we were living day to day, that I never thought I could forget, seems like a blur!

I will tell you that I did not forget any part of the egg retrieval.  We were so excited to finally get to this part.  We were one step closer to our goal!  During the retrieval I was in twilight and was feeling very good.  I remember trying so hard to focus because I wanted to see every single egg Dr. K got and wanted to be sure everything was good to go…as if I could change anything that was taking place!  Dr. K was able to retrieve 17 eggs!!  The next few days were just crazy…we got calls daily explaining how our embryos were doing.  By the end, we had 4 awesome day 4 embryos.  4 days later we did our fresh transfer of 2 embryos.  The other 2 were then frozen.  The day of the transfer was super calm and easy.  We just took it easy and prayed!

I thought for sure that it didn’t work.  I am a worrier to say the least…I didn’t feel any different and I was totally bummed.  Then watch out….here came day 11.  Bry was actually sick with the Norovirus.  So to get me away from it all my mom took me to Outback to eat.  I felt a little queasy, thinking I had caught the awful bug that Bry had.  Oh my goodness was I wrong!  I was a hot mess.  I was getting sick, had migraines, and was passing out on the bathroom floor.  We were on the phone with Dr. K who advised us to get to the clinic, which was located in the hospital and that this was actually great news.  Ummm…I felt absolutely terrible, how in the world could this be good?!

I got there and was hooked up to IV’s right away.  I was extremely dehydrated and had OHSS (Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome).  They kept me all day.  Dr. K then decided to do a beta….he said it was early and that if it was negative, there was still the possibility that it could be positive, but if it were positive I was in fact pregnant!  He came back shortly, and the news we had been waiting to hear for years was given to us!  CONGRATS…we were pregnant!!  I am going to be honest we literally looked at each other, smiled and kissed.  I then tried to fall back asleep!  We had def pictured something a bit different, but hey who the heck cares!!!  We were going to be parents finally!  As Dr. K walked out of the room he had a smirk on his face and said under his breath, those are twin numbers!!!  Oh my…could it really be!? I felt pretty terrible for weeks after.  I remember Bry literally carrying me to put me into the bathtub!  He is my ROCK!   I looked like I was 4 months pregnant in the matter of a few days, due to the fluid because of OHSS.

Our next appointment was scheduled at 7 weeks to have an ultrasound.  I was still under the weather, but doing a bit better!  We were nervous…so so nervous.  We just wanted to be sure we really were pregnant.  We wanted to see that heart beat!  In comes Dr. K and here we go…“Yep….2 sacs, and 2 heartbeats”!!!!!! WHAT…….we literally looked at eachother and started laughing!  It was a nervous, super excited laugh!  Dr. K joined in the fun!!  Then I had to triple check that they were both healthy so far and look just as they should!  He reassured me they were.

We gave birth to two beautiful babies on September 8, 2013.  They just couldn’t wait to meet us and came 2 months early, but we made it through the 5 week NICU stay!  We thank God everyday for our sweet miracles.

Thank you for allowing us to share our story!  I hope that it can give everyone reading this hope.  No matter where are you in your journey!  Infertility is so very frustrating and it can be easy to lose all hope.  We were there on numerous occasions…keep the faith!

You are all in our prayers ,

Nina and Bryan

Our miracles!!!
                         Our miracles!!!