Who Am I?

For so many years I was the “infertile” one. The one who desperately yearned for a baby. The one who repeatedly underwent procedure after procedure to finally get pregnant, only to then lose the long awaited for pregnancy. The one who everyone eagerly waited for updates from to see if I was indeed expecting, or “still” expecting. Then, one day, the stars aligned, everything fell into place, and I had my baby. My miracle.

We went through the newborn sleep deprived phase, followed by all the milestones and first holidays. Infertility was not given much thought as life seemed to naturally be a blur at times. Next came the “do we want another”? baby phase, and subsequent fertility treatments. And just like that, I was once again the “infertile” one, the one everyone kept in their prayers and watched for updates from. I was right back where I had been for so long before, it almost felt as if my normal life returned and I had just been on a vacation from infertile me.

When our last ditch effort for a sibling failed, it would only seem suiting then that I seriously began to ponder, “Who am I”? or rather “Who will I be now that I am not trying to have a baby anymore”?

I have spent the last month or so trying to find out. Find the person I was wayyy long ago, before infertility and loss started robbing me of so much of “me.” I have my rainbow, and now I am on the journey to finding me again. Wish me luck.

A Final Farewell

Today was tough. It started out with ants in my kitchen which in turn led to me ripping things apart and cleaning like a wild woman, while at the same time trying to manage a rambunctious toddler who was yelling, “ANTS”!

Shortly after that, I received the news we had been waiting for on the infertility front- the results of the final semen analysis conducted a few weeks ago. While I won’t go into specifics, I will say that it is not the result we had hoped for if we wished to try on our own. Odd as it may sound, I think the hardest part of hearing the results was knowing this was the last time I would be talking to my RE.

After she went over the results and said she was sorry, there was a short silence followed by “I guess this brings us to the end of our journey,” on my end. As I uttered those words, the large lump in my throat made it hard to swallow. I felt like a part of me was leaving. The realization that this chapter is truly and completely over washed over me for the first time in those few moments on the phone with her. I pulled myself together and thanked her again for everything, and she ended the conversation with how much they all love me and to please visit sometime with Miracle.

I then knew it was time to face what I had been dreading. I took Miracle to my mom’s house for a bit, and I began packing up a good majority of the baby stuff that I had been holding onto for so long. All the emotions came and went as I rummaged through bags, boxes, drawers and closets. I packed it all in the back of my car and took it to the local second hand store. Tears were shed, not only because another baby is not in the cards, but because the time has gone so quickly with my miracle. I want to stop time and cherish every minute of him. It just isn’t fair sometimes how quickly it goes.

Meds

After our FET that just failed, we have been stuck with over a thousand dollars worth of unused meds. It makes me sick to see them so I have stashed them away in my closet for the time being. Throwing them in the trash also makes me somewhat sick considering they were so darn expensive. Yes, I know I could donate them, and as a last resort I am sure I will, but I would like to somehow justify the costs in my mind after spending a small fortune on assisted reproduction the past 6 years, all of which was not covered by insurance at all. Even recouping a small amount for them would be satisfying.

I have 4 boxes of unopened Crinone (quite possibly the most expensive drug on the planet) that do not expire for several years. I also have unopened Progesterone in Oil, DelEstrogen, & Estrace. If a fellow blogger out there needs any of these expensive IVF meds, I would be willing to discount them significantly. Feel free to comment or email me at angvfish@icloud.com

Moving Forward

Today I met with our RE for the complimentary follow up visit after an IVF cycle fail. Commonly known to IVF frequenters as the WTF appt.

Even though we know there will be no more IVF in the future & have voiced it to our clinic already, there were still some things to visit. The start of the meeting was somewhat somber with my RE saying again how bummed she was that the last little one did not make it. I tried not to focus too much on it not working, instead I told her how blessed we are that it worked with Miracle. How many women out there never get even 1 baby here on Earth after numerous IVF’s. Of course we talked about the embryo’s quality, the transfer, my protocol, etc. but it was brief as I did not feel the need to search for answers on why it did not stick.

We went on to reminisce about what a miracle he really is & that day back in May 2016 when we found out I was not only pregnant with him, but also with a baby in my tube. A.k.a. my heterotopic pregnancy experience from FET3. She told me how she shares my success story with other women in her practice often to give them hope. Specifically those who have to undergo a major surgery when pregnant, that it can work out. I cried when she told me that because if there was ever any good to come out of all the loss and hurt and IVF crap other than my son, it is giving hope to someone who needs it the most. From there we somehow got into talking about this blog and supporting women in the trenches.

At one point I actually forgot I was talking to my doctor as it was more like a conversation you have with a close friend. And thats when I realized she is a friend. Im truly lucky to have found a doctor like her.

We will be doing a sperm analysis in the weeks that follow. If you have been following along for awhile, you know we are affected by Male Factor Infertility. Back in 2013, my husband underwent a Varicocele Repair. We did IVF 6 months later and that is the last time a sperm analysis was done. It has been almost 5 years now. We are curious to see what it yields. It is out of our hands now & in His.

And Then There Was None

Miracle will be 2 yrs old soon. Hard to believe it. I mean how cliche is it to say time flies, but boy is it so true. The past year or so I have found myself struggling through stages of infancy and toddlerhood only to blink and see a new stage upon me and miss the old stage like crazy.

Back in early 2014, we had 18 eggs retrieved via IVF with ICSI, 8 of which made it to day 6 blasts. 7 were put on ice and 1 transferred back fresh at that time. 5 transfers total, 6 embryos miscarried, 1 miracle baby boy & 1 embryo that never implanted.

Our last embryo was transferred back to us early this month. We had high hopes that it would complete our family and bring Miracle a sibling. The cycle failed. I sort of knew going into it that it would not work. That sounds awful, and so much for the power of positive thinking. I blame myself sometimes for my ‘mindset’, that maybe if I had been more positive it would have worked. If I would have taken it a little easier after the transfer. If, if, if.

And of course I blame my body. The actual transfer itself was a nightmare. The catheter would not go in correctly which was never an issue in our prior 4 transfers. I guess since I dilated the full 10cm during labor with Isaac things changed down there. Who knows. Finally it worked but the cramping was not ideal. I wasnt exactly relaxed.

And then there was the quality of the embryo itself. 30% of it did not survive the thaw. The inner cell mass was still in tact as it was the trophectoderm (aka future placenta) that died off. We were told that successful pregnancies have occurred with even 50% not making it and to stay positive. Sigh. It was just another sign in my mind that things wouldnt work.

But the truth is none of this even matters because in reality if it was meant to be it would have been right? So now we pick up the pieces and try to move on from life after IVF. There will be no more IVF for us. It has taken up too much of our lives for too many years and I dont want it anymore. This cycle brought back so many ugly feelings that I remembered all too well once they surfaced. And I dont want those feelings anymore.

Transfer Day “Stuff”

One benefit to being an IVF vet is that you know what to expect on transfer day and can prepare for it (for the most part).  

Since this is our 4th transfer (4th times a charm!), I feel more prepared than ever before. I am not really talking mentally, although I do feel good about that too. I am referring more to the fun (oh Lord, did I just say fun!?) side of all this I guess? If there is such a thing?! 

Anyways, here is what I have planned so far for FET #3, transfer day #4 (still a few weeks away)-

Transfer Day Shirt-Of course none other than a pineapple would be acceptable (followed by eating some pineapple core)! 

  

Transfer Day Pineapple Socks– ordered online & never worn before! Waiting for the big day to sport these.

  

Transfer Day Pink & Blue Baby Charm Bracelet-passed down to me by a family member, and fellow IVFer who had her miracle twin babies. She wore it during her journey, and now I am wearing it through ours.

  

Transfer Day Drink of Choice… Organic, Sparkling Pomegranate (carbonated water)- This old wives tale drink is delish and we have a pretty good stash ready to go post transfer. 
  

Transfer Day Snack of Choice…Brazilian Nuts! Another old wives tale for sticky feet. All stocked up!

  


Transfer Day Reading-recommended to me from a few ladies in my IG community. This book is so adorable & perfect for any couple trying to conceive! 

  

Transfer Day Therapy- Circle + Bloom meditation continues. Except now its transfer day/post transfer listening time!!!

  

Im sure a few other transfer day things will be planned as we get closer, but I just couldnt contain myself from being excited and thinking about it all today!! 

Prayers for a nice, thick lining at Mondays appointment. 


3 More Sleeps

Until my (hopefully last) Hysteroscopy. It may seem almost pointless to some to even do it at this point; I have already started the suppression part of my cycle with Lupron injections, ordered all my other meds, and paid for the FET itself. Why bother putting me into a drug induced state again to see what my cavity looks like? 

Simple-we just want to know what we are dealing with. Thats it. We all have already agreed we are moving forward regardless of if the mass is completely gone or not, so its not about that. Although it would be nice to know that the treatment the past several months did work if it did. I cant imagine not finding that much out.

Anyways, I have my outfit (socks & lucky fertility bracelet included) all picked out for my procedure…how sad is this that Im now into infertility fashion? I guess a girls gotta do what a girls gotta do. Lol. Will post some pics of this attire after the procedure to bring you a few smiles. 

Oh, and is it pathetic that Im looking forward to the day off and the loopiness that comes along with all the poking and proding? No nervousness at all, Im ready for the twilight. This aint my first rodeo… Bring it on! 

TTC Old Wives Tales

Over the years I have come across plenty of TTC tales. Just as there are Old Wives Tales when it comes to predicting the gender of a baby, there are ones out there on how to up the chances of getting pregnant too.
Unlike the momma-to-be having acne, or baby having a certain heartrate, the tales regarding how to get pregnant seem to revolve mostly around nutrition.  

I should probably have prefaced this post by saying I am *not* superstitious in the least.  I am, however, all about reaping the benefits of eating healthy foods. In my opinion, food is the best medicine out there. So I cant deny that these tales are a little intriguing to me. 

Here are a few TTC tales that stick out-

  1. Upping your Bromelian intake, or eating pineapples ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ๐Ÿ – starting on transfer day, or ovulation day, for about a week, eat a slice of pineapple a day, making sure to keep the core attached to what you eat. I have eaten pineapple on transfer day for a few transfers now. I dont think I continued it past transfer though, not 100% sure.  Supposedly eating this fruit helps with implantation.  Read more about this tale here 
  2. Boosting Selenium, or eating (Brazilian) nuts ๐ŸŒฐ๐ŸŒฐ๐ŸŒฐ-never tried this one, although I have heard about it from a lot of you ladies. Again, some suggest it assists with embryo implantation.  Read more here
  3. Pom Juice for a healthy uterine lining and increased blood flow-again, never tried this tale. I did try Raspberry Red Leaf Tea for this particular reason during one cycle. It did happen to be the cycle my lining thickened quite a bit, not sure if it played a part in it or not. Poms and other fertility friendly food reading 
  4. Keeping your feet warm, or body warm-my nana always taught me this was a smart move since I was a kid, and I have gone on to hear about the health benefits of it in general over the years. I just recently saw it as a TTC tip. More on this here

So my questions for you ladies are…

  • Did you try any of these during your cycle? If so, which ones?
  • Are there any other tales you think are worth while? 
  • Did you achieve success or failure using any of these? 
  • If you havent tried any of these yet, do you plan to try any in the future?

I have no idea if I will pursue any of these tales during our future FET or not. I do know I will continue to keep it healthy though which I believe is most important! 

10 Years

Next year, in 2017, hubby and I will be married 10 years! I cant believe it. I really cant imagine my life without that man. He is amazing and makes me very proud each day! 

Hence this will not be a post discussing how long we have been trying to make a baby for unsucessfully, or anything of the sort. Because in all actuality, over the past 16 years, we have experienced so much more together than just trying to conceive, and it wouldnt be fair to act as if our whole relationship is based on this IVF/miscarriage crap. 

So anyways, I want to start planning a 10 year anniversary trip for us next year. I still remember the day we got married, as we were standing at the altar, ready to say our vows, the pastor told us to never stop planning out our future anniversaries. 10 years, 20 years, 50 years…plan them out & dream about them together.  Those words stuck with me. 

We always do something for our anniversary weekend, even if its just a dinner or a local night away, we make it special.  But I feel like 10 years is a bigger one, and Id like to travel somewhere together. This Christmas, we bought a scratch off map of the world (so cool) and pinned it up in our office. As you visit places around the world, you scratch them off. Yes, just like a scratch off ticket! Lol. Thats when we realized we really havent been many places at all together.  To date, outside of the continental U.S., only Mexico, St. Thomas, & Canada.  

We have kicked around venturing to the Bahamas, its super close by (only a 30 minute plane ride from Palm Beach) and we could also cruise there easily if we dont want to fly.  A few years ago we did a cruise (it was nice), and Im not sure if we should go that route again or fly somewhere instead. We do like the all-inclusive model regardless of the mode of transportation used to get to the destination. 

I would really love some ideas on affordable, romantic spots (preferably outside of Florida) for an anniversary trip from you all!! It doesnt have to be dirt cheap (just not talking a trip to Italy here) and it doesnt have to be tropical either. We are up for snow capped location if there is a diamond-in-the-rough spot to be found.  For example, the Poconos look amazing! 

Here is what we are looking for:

  • Adult, couple-like atmosphere
  • Good service 
  • Good food
  • Secluded but scenic
  • Relaxing! 
  • Physical activities to partake in when desired 
  • More on the quiet side than the commercialized crazy side 
  • Reasonable price 
  • Comfy sleeping quarters 

Okay, friends, please share your secret spots with me so I can start planning out this trip for the BIG 1-0! 

Ohio Trip

It has been a few weeks since I last blogged. I have had a few of my fellow bloggers reach out and email me to make sure I am okay. I found this to be so incredibly thoughtful of them. Thank you!

For the past 9 months, I have blogged at least 3 times a week, sometimes more. If I wasn’t blogging, I was at minimum reading and commenting. But the truth is, I haven’t really been in the mood lately for any of it.  As one of my blogger friends told me, “it happens to the best of us.”  

Anyways, during this blogging break, a few things have happened that I will catch you up on. For one, we finished all of our Christmas decorating, both inside & out. I plan to post all about that sometime this weekend.  

Second, we took a trip to chilly Ohio over the Thanksgiving holiday.  Our trip was great; a perfect balance of R & R and being on the go.  After a long day of working, driving, and flying, we kicked off this trip with 25 of our closest friends and family members at one of our favorite restaurant’s late on Thanksgiving Eve.  We ended up at another local hang out after and Uber drove us home pretty late (guess I am out of the loop with this Uber stuff, first time I heard of it!).  

  
Thanksgiving was spent with our families just relaxing, watching football and movies, drinking wine, eating, and playing games like chess. The weather was perfect, a crisp 40 degrees, ideal for a hoodie and sweatpants to be lazy in! A much needed break from the 90 degree weather we are used to.  

   
 
On Black Friday, I was lucky enough to spend some time with one of my very best friends. We did lunch and shopping, getting completely soaked in the process. The weather was quite miserable, about 35 and raining all day. I love the cold, but not the cold rain. If it’s cold and wet, it better be snowing.  Regardless, it was a good time (as always when we are together) and she helped me solidify my outfit for my hubby and I’s photo shoot.  

Saturday was spent watching the BIG game, a.k.a. The OSU v. Michigan. We hadn’t been home for this since 2002, so my hubby was pretty pumped. Anyone from the midwest knows this game is a major rilvary. Everyone watches it. Period.  Thankfully, OSU won and our day wasn’t ruined! LOL. Saturday night we attended a surprise 30th Birthday party for my first cousin and saw people we hadn’t in probably 10 years. Good times for sure!

  
The remaining parts of our trip were spent going places we miss, love, and cant go to when we are home in FL. We made sure we went to the apple orchard, and got homemade cider and donuts. Delicious to say the least! We also went to the zoo for a Christmas light show which was absolutely beautiful. My hubby surprised me after the zoo and took me to the spot we had our first date over 15 years ago…Subway (we were only in high school). We went in and sat in the same booth we did that night and got chocolate chip cookies. So sweet of him! I am blessed. 

   
   
   
   
On our way to the airport yesterday, we had some very special pictures taken professionally. I will share these pictures soon in another post. I must say the ones the photographer has shared with us so far have left us speechless and I cant wait to share them with my fellow IF/RPL community.  

On our way out, we also picked up a special onesie that we could not resist. It’s the first purchase we have ever made together for our future baby when we are not pregnant. We both know one day our baby will get to wear it! 

  
As for now, vacation is officially over and it is back to reality tomorrow. Today was spent washing clothes, unpacking, grocery shopping, and loving on our dogs who we missed so much.  I had originally planned to get my first of 3 Lupron injections today, but did not. I’ll save the details of that for for another post too! 

I hope everyone had a great holiday, and I will try to catch up soon with where all of you are in your TTC journeys. Until then, baby dust to all !!!