Movie Review: “Making Babies”

Movie Review: “Making Babies”

“Making Babies” (2019)

Writer & Director: Josh F. Huber

Length: 87 minutes

Watch on Amazon

HopingForBaby.com Rating: 4 out of 5

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Spoiler Alert! Click here to watch the movie first if don’t want to read some of the spoilers below.

I don’t care about what movie critics say, this was a good movie. I see it as a rom-com with infertility as the main conflict in the storyline. It was funny, surprisingly funny. It was really silly at times, but in a good way. I laughed out loud when Katie (played by Eliza Coupe) used an Irish accent to talk dirty to her husband John (played by Steve Howey) as she “assisted” her husband John (played by Steve Howey) in the specimen room. I haven’t laughed that hard in a while. In fact, I don’t know any other movie out there like this one that has taken the subject of infertility and had a good balance of dealing with real emotions while also having funny moments too.

I feel many of the scenes and dialogue were inspired by personal experiences because the different scenarios were all too familiar for those of us dealing with infertility, including cliched advice. Katie’s sister-in-law Maria (played by Elizabeth Rodriguez) told Katie to “just relax,” “go on vacation,” and “Have you thought about adopting?” Although the intention is to be helpful, most of us who’ve struggled with infertility know those statements are overused and become incredibly annoying to hear over and over again. But Maria makes up for it later by apologizing and telling Katie she didn’t realize how difficult it really was for her until she saw how long Katie had been struggling to conceive. Katie and Maria are on the opposite ends of the fertility spectrum, with Maria having three children right after getting married while Katie was still struggling to conceive after five years. But Maria opened up to Katie and explained how she had panic attacks after having her first child. Maria expressed that she didn’t think she could tell others about her postpartum mental health. And Katie might not have felt comfortable talking about her infertility at times. Although this scene happened at a fairly fast clip in the movie, I felt like there was gold in that moment. The societal expectations of women becoming mothers and what being a “good mother” looks like weighed on both Maria and Katie but in different ways. I think there was a really good message in that moment, we can still support each other even if we haven’t walked the same path as other women. 

I liked how there seemed to be an equal amount of both Katie’s perspective as well as John’s. After trying to conceive for five years and spending so much money on IUI and IVF it started to weigh on them not just financially but also emotionally. There was a very raw scene near the end of the movie where they have an argument. Although it didn’t fit the majority of the movie’s comedic feel, that scene was so important to show. Their fight was about the huge toll infertility treatments were taking on not only their finances but their emotional health as well. John sacrificed starting up his dream brewery business in order to put money towards the cost of treatment. Katie explained how she had to sacrifice so much physically and emotionally.  

After watching that scene it felt like the argument was inspired by a real event. Most couples doing infertility treatment will reach a point where they begin to question when they should stop treatments. Based on my own experience as well as many of my online friends doing treatment have said, at some point you are going to disagree on when and whether to stop treatments. Many times couples are not on the same page or have a hard time figuring out a reasonable compromise. It takes a lot of good communication and listening to each other to figure this out.

For many of us that is our reality, we put all our other hopes and dreams on hold. Our dream of having a child demands a hefty price to pay. The average cost for one round of IVF is between $10,000 – $20,000. The overly simplified “just adopt” solution we get told often is incredibly expensive too, averaging at $40,000 – $50,000. It was no wonder John and Katie reached a breaking point when they had no money left and no patience left with each other either.  

Director and writer Josh Huber did an excellent job showing how many of us put everything on the line in order to try to start a family. I liked that he also had Katie and John reach a pivotal point in their relationship where they either need to stop trying in order to stay together, or choose to go their separate ways. Many couples struggling with infertility have gone through this. I personally know of several friends whose relationships ended due to infertility, it’s sadly common. I think that Josh Huber initially grabs our attention with the humorous aspects of infertility and he drives it home with a really good message knowing when to focus on your partner and when to take a break from trying to conceive. 

Some movie critics wrote some snarky and downright mean things about this movie. I definitely get the sense those people never experienced infertility. Yes, the movie had some cheesy and silly moments, but overall I thought it was a good movie. The only reason I gave it a 4 out of 5 was part of the storyline was confusing. The doctor told Katie that she had nothing wrong with her at all, and that their infertility was due to John’s low sperm count. But then later they talked about how Katie had several infertility issues and this was part of their argument. I don’t recall any mention of Katie learning she had issues in her doctor’s visits. So for John to say in their argument something to the effect of he didn’t want to be with someone who couldn’t have kids, it didn’t make sense to me.

I like that it showed a good amount of the male perspective through John’s character. I feel like we need to hear more of the male perspective relating to infertility. I think that a good amount of men feel they need to “suck it up” and not express their disappointment, anger, and even depression during infertility. But this can really drive a wedge between partners. It’s okay to show emotion during those times because it is a very emotional experience. Holding it all in does no one any good. When John blew up at Katie I felt like it was that kind of situation, where he was holding things in for so long until it finally boiled over. Even though us women may be injecting ourselves with the medicine and dealing with the physical aspect of fertility treatments, this does not mean our partner’s are not going through a lot of stress and emotions around the whole process. This movie did a good job of showing that. I recommend watching this movie yourself, and tell me what you think in the comments below. What parts of the movie did you like?

 

Watch the movie “Making Babies” on Amazon by clicking here.

 

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Merry Stressmas!

Merry Stressmas!

I am so happy to be off of this birth control! I was having daily headaches that turned into full-blown migraines 2-3 times per week. I am almost positive it was due to the birth control my doctor wanted me on until my FET next year. I was supposed to be on birth control to prevent pregnancy for six months after my last miscarriage. I am in this really sensitive time window during these six months because if I were to get pregnant now I am at high risk of developing Gestational Trophoblastic Disease, due to my last miscarriage being a partial molar pregnancy. But my quality of life really sucked with all the headaches that I decided enough was enough and I stopped. Technically I don’t need to be on birth control until just prior to my FET in April. And just like that, I’d say my daily headaches dropped to one or two in a week that were not that bad. So I’m convinced the biggest contributor of my recent headaches were the birth control pills.

For some reason when I went to refill my prescription for my migraine medicine the pharmacy said that they had “closed” that medicine. I ended up playing phone tag between my doctors office and my pharmacy of the next couple days. By that point I woke up with a killer migraine and it took all day for them to fill my prescription even after I had called several times. I’m talking one of those migraines where you wish you were dead. Yes, that bad. My husband drove me to the pharmacy and then picked us up dinner. I just laid in the car silent the whole time because I couldn’t even stand the sound of my own talking reverberating through my head. I was so thankful when the medicine finally kicked in because I really don’t need another ER bill.

I suppose my $800 out-of-pocket ER trip from earlier this year for a migraine actually was worth it because I got a good piece of advice from a nurse there. She said there is a place here in town that does IV hydration therapy had they use almost all the same IV medicine that the ER does for only $170. Say what?! I have yet to try them out, but that is a $630 savings for essentially the same medicine. 

With my miscarriage earlier in the year and then another one in 2019 there were a lot of medical bills. I had multiple ultrasounds, many blood draws, several surgeries for miscarriages, and post-op follow-ups, it’s no wonder I had so many bills that it was hard to keep track of it all. This year alone I had 28 separate medical bills, only three of which were written off because I had gone over the out-of-pocket maximum for the year. 

So why am I talking about all my medical bills? Because one medical bill derailed my debt-repayment plan which included being debt free by the end of the year. I was waiting for one of my medical bills to come in the mail, but never received it and I had assumed it had been one of the ones I didn’t need to pay because I reached the out-of-pocket maximum of $6,800. The insurance company told me that I would not get a bill once I reached my out-of-pocket max. I was set up on a payment plan already with the hospital for a different bill. To my surprise, and without discussing it with me, they added that second bill into my payment plan which increased my total amount of debt. As it turns out that bill was just prior to me reaching the out-of-pocket max so I still need to pay it. 

 

 

This one stupid bill created a domino effect. I wasn’t going to have enough money for giving the Christmas presents that I wanted to this year. I won’t have enough for the Vegas vacation in January I planned at my doctor’s urging. He said, “You two really need a break. Go some place warm and enjoy yourself.” I won’t have spending money now for that trip, so I’m not sure how I’m going to enjoy it. I was also going to use some of that money to cover the expenses for my trip to Seattle to do my FET. That one, unexpected f**king bill ruined a lot of s**t for me. 

For the most part, I try not to let things get to me. But this bill became the most recent slap in the face from reality that just when you think you are almost getting ahead, you will be knocked back down. Money is tight already. I’m working my last overnight shift tonight. Overnight shift pays slightly more but you sacrifice so much for your health by working overnights. At my OBGYN’s and my neurologists’ urging they insisted I stop working overnights because it was probably contributing to my sleep deprivation, migraines, growing waistline, and high blood pressure. My husband could see that I was getting more and more irritable working that shift. So for health reasons I decided absolutely no more overnights starting mid-December. 

The problem with this change is now I have less options for the other shifts to work (I’m an on-call worker). There is more competition for shifts working days and evenings. For example, my boss texted me about two open shifts, a good chunk of money that would have really helped me. I didn’t hear my phone though. When I saw it 15 minutes later, I responded that I would take the shifts, but I was already too late and someone else had taken them. 

I thought about getting a regular day job but there are two problems with that; 1) We already have our tickets booked for our trip to Vegas near the end of January, and 2) I had planned on not working if I got pregnant from my FET in April. So if I got another job now, they might not be so accommodating if I tell them “Yeah I’m going to be gone several weeks in January and February. And oh by the way I’m also going on another trip in April and I’m not coming back to work after that. So is it cool if I just work a few weeks here and there and then you won’t see me at all after April?” I know I’m being flip about it, but that’s essentially what I’d have to tell them if I was being truly honest about my schedule. That’s why being an on-call worker is kind of a better fit at the moment. But if my hours really slow down and I don’t have enough to pay bills, well I just might have to find a temporary job to hold me over until April. New job equals new stress. And like most of us are advised by our doctors, “find ways to reduce stress in the months prior to the frozen embryo transfer.” Riiiiight. Merry Stressmas to me. I might be a Grinch this Christmas, but I know it can always be worse, I guess that gives me some comfort.

 

Blue Typographic Christmas Card

 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here

 

Experiencing infertility or recurrent miscarriages? You might have a genetic issue and not even know it. 23andMe offers one of the most comprehensive genetic testing services on the market. Click here to order the 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service: Personal Genetic DNA Test Including Health Predispositions, Carrier Status, Wellness, and Trait Reports.

 

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Documentary Review: “Modern Baby” by ABC News Documentaries

Documentary Review: “Modern Baby” by ABC News Documentaries

“Modern Baby”

ABC News Documentaries

Available on Hulu and YouTube (click here to watch full documentary on YouTube)

Length: 48 minutes

HopingForBaby.com Rating: 5 out of 5

 

Spoiler alert!: I do talk about the pregnancy outcomes in this post, just a heads up. Go watch the documentary first and then come back to read my perspective on it if you haven’t seen it already. Don’t forget to comment below what you thought of the documentary.

 

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Image Credit: AVNblogfeed.com

 

Much like my own experience has been with infertility, this documentary was a roller coaster of emotions. With each positive pregnancy test and each miscarriage, I knew exactly what these women were going through. After hearing the beginning of each couples stories I had made assumptions with who would probably have a live birth first, all of my assumptions were wrong. You truly never know what the outcome will be until you try. The hardest part of infertility is taking the next step forward after a loss. Each of these couples were incredibly strong and had amazingly supportive partners. If any of the couples happens to read this post, I know the pain and joy each of you have felt and I wish you all the luck with continuing to build your family! 

Chris & Kerry’s Story

Kerry: 34 years old

Chris: 39 years old

2.5 years trying to conceive

Low Ovarian Reserve

Kerry and Chris only planned on doing one round of IVF with Kerry’s own eggs. I could relate very strongly to their story because I also have Low Ovarian Reserve and I had a round of IVF with similar numbers as Kerry who had 5 eggs retrieved, 3 fertilized, and 0 normal embryos. Kerry said, “It was literally like losing our children” when she talked about losing her embryos. I felt the exact same way. I grieved losing three children at the same time it felt like, even though I had called them “embryos” up until the point I had heard I lost them. It is incredibly emotional and I cried while watching their story, because I know that pain. 

Kerry and Chris considered what their next step would be between an egg donor, embryo adoption, or traditional adoption. They chose to go with embryo adoption. Chris explained why he was open to the idea of embryo adoption, “Part of me said, ‘well it’s only fair,’ it’s not Kerry’s DNA so why should it be mine?” I felt myself grieving with Kerry and Chris when they shared the news that their first embryo transfer had failed. They were determined to try again with their last adopted embryo out of two. Happily they conceived with their last embryo they adopted and they had a healthy live birth. I’m so happy they had a good outcome and thankful that they were able to share their story to the world. 

James & Latanya’s Story

Latanya: 35 years old

James: 34 years old

6 years of trying to conceive

Tubal Factor Infertility (damage to Latanya’s fallopian tubes)

James and Latanya had been trying for over six years to have a baby. They had lost their baby boy when Latanya was a little over six months pregnant. She also had damage to her fallopian tubes and was told she would have to have IVF in order to get pregnant. They started a GoFundMe account asking for financial assistance to help pay for IVF due to the high cost of the procedure. James decided to get a loan to help pay for their round of IVF. The documentary shows James and Latanya’s egg retrieval procedure where she had 27 eggs retrieved. They decided to transfer two embryos at the same time. I was over the moon happy for them when they said that they were pregnant with not one baby but two! So it was heartbreaking to hear that she had lost her babies at week 22 of her pregnancy. 

Although I am not a strongly religious person I have questioned my faith and how God works through my own infertility journey. The part of James and Latanya’s story that I related to the most was how they had asked God why it was happening to them. I’ve been told many times, “You would be such a good mom” so I know the struggle of wondering why God works the way He does. The part that stuck out to me the most about their story was how James said, “Our faith has been a staple in who we are, and even having to reconcile the walk of faith with the outcome.” That statement to me was very powerful because it shows that although they experienced such a devastating loss of two babies that were stillborn, they were able to draw on their faith to carry them through. They talked about how the support of their friends and family was also important for them to move forward. James and Latanya decided they plan to look into IVF again in the future.

Adam & Aviva’s Story

Aviva: 29 years old

Adam: 29 years old

Male Factor Infertility due to Testicular Cancer

Adam battled testicular cancer and amazingly survived. Adam and Aviva had one child prior to Adam’s cancer diagnosis and they wanted to try to give their son a sibling. They knew their odds of success would probably be low for a positive outcome due to a very low sperm count. They were hopeful and chose to pursue IVF. The documentary follows Aviva as she has her egg retrieval procedure. 

I was so excited to see Aviva have 29 eggs retrieved, way more than the highest number I had retrieved with 8 eggs. It’s hard to not compare numbers like these, as many women in the infertility forums tend to do. I think it is part of wanting to seek out other women in situations similar to ourselves and see if there is hope. I had been overjoyed to hear their happy news of their pregnancy and then I felt so sad for Aviva and Adam when her pregnancy had failed. They tried again with a second round of IVF and the documentary left off with them expecting their baby to be born in a couple months.

Sarah & Yessie’s Story

Sarah: 32 years old

Yessie: 38 years old

3 years of trying to conceive

Experienced a Miscarriage

Yessie and Sarah had been trying to conceive for three years. They said that age was a factor in how they decided who would attempt to get pregnant first in their same-sex relationship. Yessie tried first and it was so sad to hear about her miscarriage. Yessie talked about how writing poetry helped her heal and cope with her loss. Miscarriage is so devestating, and at the risk of Yessie expiencing another loss they carefully considered what they would do next. They decided to have Sarah try IVF next with her own eggs and they choose a sperm donor. 

I liked how they talked about the process of how they chose a sperm donor. For same-sex female couples, single females, and couples with male-factor infertility it is a major decision to choose a sperm donor. It was interesting to hear their perspective on how they decided on their donor. They talked about how some people might have the tendency to pick a sperm donor based on their physical attributes, but what I really liked about their decision is that they based it on the sperm donor’s essay and how he would be happy with knowing his child was being raised in a loving home like Sarah and Yessie’s. I felt so happy for them when Sarah was able to have a healthy pregnancy and to hear that they were trying IVF again to give their firstborn a sibling.

 

Today’s Question: 

What parts of the documentary could you relate to the most? 

 

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here

 

Experiencing infertility or recurrent miscarriages? You might have a genetic issue and not even know it. 23andMe offers one of the most comprehensive genetic testing services on the market. 

Click here to order the 23andMe Health + Ancestry Service: Personal Genetic DNA Test Including Health Predispositions, Carrier Status, Wellness, and Trait Reports.

Book Review: “Dirty Genes” by Dr. Ben Lynch

Book Review: “Dirty Genes” by Dr. Ben Lynch

HopingForBaby.com Rating: 5 out of 5

Disclaimer: I am following some of the advice from this book. I spoke with my medical providers prior to changing my own individual treatment plan. Please speak with your medical provider about your own treatment plan prior to trying any suggestions from this book and whether you would benefit from those suggestions or not.

Have you been trying to conceive for more than one year? Have you had more than one miscarriage? It’s possible you may have a genetic mutation and not even know it, and it’s more common than you might think. “About 30 to 40 percent of the American population may have a mutation at gene position C677T” (Healthline, 2019). I have a MTHFR gene mutation at C677T, so I am apparently in good company with the rest of the world. In Dr. Ben Lynch’s book “Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health” he shares information about some of the most common genetic mutations or “snips.” Dr. Lynch is a molecular biologist and has a genetic mutation himself, the MTHFR gene mutation. His personal experience combined with his academic findings motivated him to write this book and share his knowledge on the subject. 

It is important to note, there are those in the medical field who are dismissive of Dr. Lynch’s medical claims, mostly on the basis of there not being enough studies yet on the subject as well as how a large portion of the population has at least one genetic snip. Some patients may be told by their doctor, “Many people live with a genetic mutation” or “You don’t need to be tested for it.” But I personally believe knowledge is power. If you are having unexplained infertility and recurrent miscarriages, you should definitely consider genetic testing. Why have genetic testing? Because you may actually have a genetic snip and you may benefit from certain supplementation or diet changes. 

After I confirmed I had a MTHFR gene mutation through my OBGYN’s test, I learned that the folic acid in most prenatals I was taking can actually block the activated form of folate that my body needs. So now, instead of folic acid, I take a methylfolate supplement. My RE, OBGYN, and Dr. Lynch’s book has all pointed me in that new direction, away from folic acid and instead to take methylfolate. As far as natural forms of folate, dark leafy greens are really important if you have an MTHFR snip. Not to mention, most people should eat dark leafy greens anyway. I am still in the beginning stages of learning about my gene mutation. But I am hopeful the new lifestyle changes I’m making, in part from reading this book, might help me to possibly have a child in the future.

 

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here

 

Order your DNA Test today from 23andMe to learn if you have a genetic mutation, as suggested by Dr. Lynch in his book “Dirty Genes.”

 

Purchase Dr. Ben Lynch’s book “Dirty Genes: A Breakthrough Program to Treat the Root Cause of Illness and Optimize Your Health” by clicking here.

 

 

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Contest Announcement: Win $25 + “It Starts with the Egg” Book by Rebecca Fett

Contest Announcement: Win $25 + “It Starts with the Egg” Book by Rebecca Fett

 

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Winner: $25 sent via PayPal + First edition copy of the book “It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF ” by Rebecca Fett

How to Enter:

Enter your email address to subscribe. It’s easy!

Just go to the right side bar, under “Follow Blog Via Email” type in your email address and click the “Follow” button just below there (see image below).

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Earn Bonus Entries:

  • Write a Guest Post (5x bonus entries), minimum 500 words. See topic suggestions on my page Submit a Guest Post. If you write a guest post and have a blog or other website I will let you link to your page. 🙂

 

Contest Dates:

Starts: December 1st, 2019

Ends: December 1st, 2020

 

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Don’t want to wait to get your copy of “It Starts with the Egg” by Rebecca Fett? Purchase today by clicking here. 

 

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Early Preparation for FET

Early Preparation for FET

As time has gone on, I’ve learned to take things one step at a time with my infertility journey. I used to get way ahead of myself with planning and anticipating all the different scenarios of what could go wrong and all the various solutions. Yeah, that was no way to live. I was so stuck in my head all the time. I didn’t take time to just breathe. 

I chose to wait until I was closer to doing my Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) before doing research. As long as everything goes according to plan I’ll be doing my FET around April or May of 2020. My OBGYN told me to start preparing for the FET by trying to get in as healthy of a state as I can. I needed to face the facts; I’m 40 pounds overweight, I need medication to manage my blood pressure, my eating habits suck, and I have a Ph.D. in couch potato activities. I need to make some changes in order to help my little embryo have a chance. I don’t want to make things harder on my embryo.

This week I’ve been shifting gears and focusing more on my health. I have been sticking to a 1200 calorie a day diet and have already lost two pounds in four days. “Girl, you need a salad, not french fries” I’ve been telling myself. For those of us with the MTHFR gene mutation it is incredibly important to eat extra folate, which can be found in dark leafy greens. And as I’ve been eating salads more lately I do feel better. I feel full and also just generally happier because I know I didn’t eat crappy food. I have been trying to reign in my cravings and replace them with healthier habits. I’m hoping I can lose a good amount of this weight before my FET next year.

I still need to do more research on specific ways to improve “stickiness” for a successful FET. I’m sure that last statement may have elicited some confused looks from people who don’t know what I mean by “stickiness.” But for others who have done an FET they are probably nodding their heads in agreement, “oh yeah, you gotta improve your stickiness.” Essentially what that means is doing all you can to improve your uterine lining’s thickness to where it creates the best opportunity for the embryo to “stick” resulting in a successful implantation of the embryo. “About 20-30% of healthy embryos that arrive in the uterus do not implant, on average” (Pacific Fertility Center, 2014). So although the odds are in favor of a successful implantation, there is still a somewhat high chance of a failed implantation. Hence the reason I am focused on improving my “stickiness.” 

 

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Many women opt to wear lucky socks to help them stay positive during the FET procedure. Credit: The Journey Starts Here

 

The stakes are higher for me too, since I have only one embryo that resulted from two rounds of IVF. As long as I know I did all I possibly could, I will be at peace with whatever happens. Honestly, because I’ve experienced so much loss along the way I would be blown away if this actually worked. I am hopeful but also realistic of my chances of success. Even in the healthiest of women, there is still the chance that the embryo will not implant. In those cases, there is still a lot of research that needs to be done to determine what causes failed implantations. Based on the various articles I’ve read, there often times just isn’t an explanation due to lack of research and studies on the subject. IVF is still a fairly new science with the first IVF baby born in 1978, and there is still much to be discovered. 

In the past I’ve briefly glanced at what women were saying worked for them for a successful implantation. I’ll tell you what, this is a hotly, hotly debated subject in infertility forums. Some women say don’t eat pineapple at all, while others say you have to gnaw on the pineapple core at a certain time. Others are convinced the order of french fries they ate immediately following their FET did the trick, while others say “No it’s just before the FET that you need to eat fries” or “No, no you shouldn’t eat any fries at all before or after the FET.” To me it all seems a little absurd the back and forth and the “my way is the right way” mentality. 

Part of me wants to be a troll and ask, “What about during the actual FET procedure having my husband feed me fries at one-second intervals while I tap my head with my one hand, rub my belly with the other, and everyone in the room chants like Buddhist monks?” But I feel like my attempt at a joke might actually make someone chime in and say, “Yes that worked for me. I did it and now I have my baby girl.” To me it is all confusing, conflicting, and downright silly at times. There are so many variables that go into a successful implantation that we don’t know about yet, and some that I’m sure only God currently knows. We just need to do the best we can to be as healthy as we can. Most of all, you’ve got to consider your source. Listen to your doctor, read scientific journals that have done researched-based studies on the subject. Don’t just take Susie Q’s advice because she is convinced that the 2-hour handstand she did after her FET was what worked. But then again, maybe Susie Q might be on to something with using gravity’s assistance to aid the embryo’s journey. Joking aside, take the time to do your own research and determine what is best for you. I’ve got a lot to learn on the subject and I will be doing posts on implantation in the future. If you are also at the stage where you are preparing to do your FET let me know what you are doing to improve your chances of success.

Comment below to Today’s Question and receive bonus entry to the current contest.

Today’s Question: 

What is the craziest piece of advice you’ve heard for improving implantation? In contrast, what is the best piece of advice you’ve learned about for improving implantation?

 

Check out my previous posts by going to my archives page.

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Learn ways to improve your egg quality. Purchase Rebecca Fett’s book “It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF.” It’s currently the #1 Best Seller on Amazon.com’s Reproductive Medicine & Technology list. 

 

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8 Ways to Handle the Holidays During Infertility

8 Ways to Handle the Holidays During Infertility

These tips have proven helpful for myself and  other women I know during the holidays. Some of these ideas I learned from other women on infertility forums that I found to be really useful. They may not be the best option for you, so consider your own life circumstances and decide what is right for you. Consider the pros and cons if you were to do the following tips. Above all else, consider what is best for your own physical and emotional health.

1) Declining a Holiday Party Invitation is Okay

I had to do this a few times when I knew there would be pregnant women and small children. I seem to be a magnet for little kids. As much as I love kids, after having a miscarriage so close to a holiday it was just too much to bear. So I made the decision for my own mental health take a step back and take care of myself. Other people may be confused or irritated by your decision but it’s so important to take care of yourself if you feel like it will be too difficult.

2) Ask for Your Partner’s Help

During one holiday gathering of just a small group of my husband’s family, I requested he speak to his family on my behalf and that they please not ask questions related to my miscarriage or infertility. I wanted to be able to go to the holiday event, enjoy myself, and not deal with any questions regarding my infertility. I only recommend doing this for very small gatherings where you feel people would be understanding and respectful of this wish. It was nice to be able to go out and not have to deal with the questions when my heart was still hurting from a recent loss. 

3) Address Potential Questions Ahead of Time 

Sometimes you want to share what you are going through but you may not want to do it during Thanksgiving or Christmas when there’s a whole room of people you may not want to hear your story. So if you know there are certain people who are curious by nature, try chatting with them before the party if you feel comfortable doing this. You can share what you are going through if you feel like doing so. You can even ask them “Please don’t share this with anyone.” Don’t forget to thank them for letting you share. But also keep in mind whether they have a track record of having loose lips if they have a few drinks. In that case it might be best to avoid talking with them before the party, because they may accidentally talk about what you said to them.

4) Be Vague 

Sometimes the best response is a vague one. I’ve had some people in my life ask me “When are you going to have kids?” and when I say, “Hopefully soon” I get a slew of not so savory responses. Some of those responses include, “What are you waiting for?” or “You’re not getting any younger” and the all-time most detestable one… “You better get on that” with the emphasis on “that” being a purposeful innuendo. Really people?! So rather than leaving the door open for a plethora of insulting comments, I’ve decided to have a canned response that not a single person felt compelled to push the subject or make stupid comments. My go-to response to the question of “When are you going to have kids?” is now “Whenever God lets it happen.” So far not a single person has pressed the subject or made any demeaning remarks to me when I use that line. In my experience, this is a polite response that shifts people’s attention to God as opposed to anything I’m personally doing. Because you can’t argue with God.

5) Be Honest 

Most people do not intend to be hurtful with the questions they ask. I’ve found that people are just curious or are trying to be helpful. With that in mind, you can choose to speak up about how you really feel. For the people who continually ask questions you really don’t want to answer you can simply say, “I appreciate your concern and that you care enough to ask, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet. If I do want to talk about it I will let you know. Thank you for understanding.” For the people who truly care about your feelings they will understand. I told a coworker years ago that line and they gave me an angry look and left the room. In that situation I knew that person loved to gossip and I believe she was hurt that I didn’t give her information she wanted to spread to the office. As I said, if they truly cared and respected your emotional well-being they would most likely not respond that way. You are not obligated to share your story if you don’t want to, nor do you need to justify your reason for not sharing.

6) Change the Subject

This one is probably one of the easiest tricks in the book when you sense the conversation is turning towards your fertility. If you are chatting with a group of women who are all mothers and they are talking about raising children and pregnancy, it’s possible they will begin to ask you questions about your experience or lack thereof. Sometimes you can change the subject in a subtle way without completely diverting the conversation on another tangent. For example, you can ask questions about their children. You can learn a lot of good parenting advice this way too without the focus being on you and instead focus on them and what they’ve learned over the years.

7) Relate in Other Ways

People love to be heard and understood. Just because you don’t have kids does not mean you can’t relate on any level. When people share some of their parenting stories they might remind you of your experience with your nieces or nephews or if you’ve worked with children. You can find ways to talk about children without being a parent. For the most part I find it incredibly rare that someone makes the comment, “You don’t understand because you’re not a parent.” Sometimes people say this because they feel like you cannot relate or understand. You can deflect this comment with something like, “What do you normally do that helps in that situation?” this way you sidestep their  comment, get them to focus on a solution, and you can possibly learn from them.

8) Have an Exit Strategy

I remember years ago after my first miscarriage my husband thought it might be good for me to get out of the house and enjoy the holidays. I went to a Christmas event with him. I realized it was not a good idea after having several parents hand me their infants while they got something to eat, toddlers insisted I play with them, and people were asking me, “Why don’t you have any kids yet? You are so good with them.” I ended up crying in the bathroom multiple times. I asked my husband if we could leave but he told me we couldn’t because we had been parked in by four different cars. There was no escaping. So I continued to cry in the bathroom off and on until it was time to go. It was horrible. The following year I decided to ask him to park away a bit so if I needed a break or if I wanted to leave early we could. One time we went for a brief walk and that helped too.

 

The holidays were meant to be enjoyed. Don’t be afraid to speak up for your needs, because oftentimes people will not understand your perspective unless you say something. It’s possible to still have a good time if you plan ahead and anticipate certain scenarios and what you can do about it. From our family to yours, Happy Holidays!

 

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Source: Pixabay

 

Comment below to Today’s Question and receive bonus entry to the current contest.

Today’s Question: 

What advice would you give someone experiencing infertility during the holidays?

Check out my previous posts by going to my archives page.

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here

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Featured Image: https://www.verywellfamily.com/family-gatherings-and-infertility-1959983

 

Want to Get Pregnant? Nah, You Need Birth Control

Want to Get Pregnant? Nah, You Need Birth Control

I call this chapter in my infertility journey “The Deer in Headlights.” Some women choose to take a break from TTC for a multitude of reasons. The biggest one being they need a serious emotional break, but my current situation is a little different. My doctor adamantly told me recently, “Absolutely do not get pregnant for the next six months.” He went on to explain that I am at risk of Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) due to the suspected partial molar pregnancy I had with my sixth miscarriage. GTD can turn cancerous. I interpreted his professional explanation into something like this in my mind, “Julie, don’t be the world’s biggest idiot and go get pregnant if it puts you at risk of cancer.” Got it! Message read loud and clear doc.

Although it’s a seemingly simple task, it’s also a real mindf***. It’s too easy to inadvertantly condition my mind to think “sex is bad” over and over again for six months. Not to mention the fact I’ve had so many miscarriages over the years it would be a very easy belief to take on. But my doctor did not say, “Don’t have sex” he instead said, “He needs to use protection and you should be on birth control.” As much as I hate being on birth control, if it means potentially preventing a flare up of GTD that could turn cancerous I will happily take that daily little pill.

I normally hate being on birth control. Years ago I took a birth control pill that I think caused my blood pressure to go so sky high my nurse said it was at “stroke levels.” I decided to stop taking the pill immediately, making no other lifestyle changes. When I came back to the doctors office several weeks later they told me my blood pressure was completely normal and said, “You must be exercising and eating better.” To which I replied, “Nope I’m still a couch potato and eating junk. The only change I made is I stopped taking that birth control pill.” To this day I’m convinced the pill caused my blood pressure to reach “stroke levels.” I learned that one of the possible side effects of that birth control pill was “increased risk of stroke.” 

Flash forward about one decade later to today and my blood pressure is genuinely high and I need medication for it. I’m hoping once I lose some weight it will help lower it. So what do you do if you have high blood pressure and your doctor tells you you need to be on birth control? Ask about the progesterone-only pill or “mini pill.” Thankfully I am able to follow my doctor’s orders and it not affect my blood pressure by taking this alternative pill. But it is not some magical pill, it comes with side effects too.

 

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List of side effects from mini pill including mood swings. (Image Credit: WebMD)

 

The biggest side effect I am experiencing currently with this birth control pill is mood swings, mostly feeling weepy. It is so damn hard to keep my emotions in check. Even a simple moment of drama in a movie can cause a tear to roll down my cheek now that I’m on this pill. And a hard day at work…don’t even get me started. Let’s just say Kurtis is getting lots of hugs and sniveling from me lately. Both he and I are legitimately concerned about the effect of this pill on me. “Why do you have to take the pill if I’m using protection?” he asked me. I explained my doctor wants us to be doubly sure we don’t get pregnant until my body is ready. I’m also dealing with daily headaches and some have been turning into full-blown migraines. I am not a happy camper lately.

I plan on asking my doctor about what he thinks as far as the mood swings and this pill. I imagine he will tell me they will wane as my body adjusts to them. When my neurologist (for my migraines) was asking about any new medication I was on, told her about the mini pill and how I was concerned about how I’m having more headaches and mood swings. “I would think those would go away soon because you are getting a steady supply of hormones with no placebo pill week.” This was reassuring I suppose, but I haven’t yet reached that state of equilibrium. Hopefully within the next week or so I won’t be so weepy over nothing.  

 

source

 How I look watching a drama on birth control pills. (Credit: GIPHY )

 

Comment below to Today’s Question and receive bonus entry to the current contest.

Today’s Question: 

Have you taken a break from trying to conceive? What was that experience like for you?

 

Check out my previous posts by going to my archives page.

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here

Learn ways to improve your egg quality. Purchase Rebecca Fett’s book “It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF.” It’s currently the #1 Best Seller on Amazon.com’s Reproductive Medicine & Technology list. 

Featured Image Credit: https://www.vox.com/the-goods/2019/6/25/18715504/birth-control-side-effects-pill-iud
GIF Credit: http://gph.is/VwMZN7

Book Review “To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel” by Eowyn Ivey

HopingForBaby.com Rating: 5 out of 5

Recently I was thinking about how I haven’t seen that many novels where the character was facing infertility issues. Many of us enjoy reading novels as an escape from reality from time to time. But I also like reading stories where the character is relatable on a deeper level. I want to see how characters handle a situation similar to my own. Perhaps I can even learn from the characters to help improve my life.

Eowyn Ivey has written two novels where the main character dealt with infertility and pregnancy loss, including “The Snow Child” her debut novel, and her second novel “To the Bright Edge of the World.” It’s been years since I’ve read “The Snow Child” and I’m about due to read it again. Infertility and pregnancy loss is such a difficult thing to live through and Eowyn Ivey has managed to delve into the hard emotions and resiliency of her character Sophie in “To the Bright Edge of the World.” 

I found Sophie to be a very relatable character with her infertility struggles. I don’t want to give away too much of her story because I think you should read it for yourself. But I will say I was incredibly surprised by how well written the ending was for her character. One part of the book I will mention is that Sophie has learned to combine her hobbies into a good distraction from her infertility struggles. She loves bird watching and learns the new technology of the 1800s photography in order to capture beautiful pictures of the birds that visit her near her home. Pursuing hobbies, whether new or old, can be very therapeutic for anyone dealing with infertility. Sophie’s character reminded me of how important hobbies are for making us feel alive and happy.

There are many layers to Sophie’s character and you can see how she grows over time. Sophie’s husband Colonel Alan Forrester is on a potentially dangerous expedition to Alaska in the 1880s. While he is away for months on end Sophie has to learn how to cope not only with the loneliness of her husband being away but also how to deal with a fertility issue on her own. Although Sophie has acquaintances who try to be supportive Sophie ultimately needs to learn how to cope independently. Most of the book is written as letter correspondences between the different characters. 

It took me a little while to get into the book at first, but then I became hooked and I was reading it daily until I finished it. I became attached to the characters and genuinely cared about what would happen to them. If you are dealing with infertility, this book can help bring a sense of solace and reassurance to you during your journey. I think this book was definitely worth the read and holds a special place in my heart.

Comment below to Today’s Question and receive bonus entry to the current contest.

Today’s Question: 

Have you read a novel where the main character was dealing with infertility? Please comment below the name of the book and how it helped you.

 

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Get your copy today of “To the Bright Edge of the World: A Novel” by Eowyn Ivey

 

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Tested for Uterine Cancer

Tested for Uterine Cancer

As you could probably tell from my last post I was dealing with a lot of heavy emotions regarding potential Gestational Trophoblastic Disease (GTD) and possible uterine cancer. My doctor wanted me to have a second surgery right away to remove a mass they found in my uterus. He suspected it was one of two things; 1) remaining products of conception from my most recent miscarriage, or 2) tumors that have developed from GTD. If it was the latter, I would need to begin chemotherapy.

I got the phone call from my doctor last night with the results, and I am happy to announce that I do not have cancer! It turns out the mass they found was part of my placenta from my last miscarriage that hadn’t been cleared from the first surgery. I feel so relieved, especially considering I know two infertility bloggers who just recently got diagnosed with uterine cancer right around the same time I was waiting to hear back about my results. The one blogger is starting chemo and the other had a hysterectomy in order to save her life from the cancer spreading, and she now has to find a surrogate to complete her Frozen Embryo Transfer. I keep thinking, “That could have been me” and “I could have been dealing with permanent infertility, a hysterectomy, or battling cancer right now.” I dodged a major bullet. It could have easily been me. 

My Next Steps:

  • Continue weekly blood draws until hCG levels are back down to zero
  • Once hCG levels drop to zero must do monthly blood draws (to monitor if Gestational Trophoblastic Disease develops)
  • Per doctor’s orders wait 6 months before doing Frozen Embryo Transfer (FET) (April or May at the earliest)
  • Before FET must do SIS (Saline Infusion Sonohysterography) procedure
  • Fly to Seattle for FET in mid-2020

 

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Sunset on the Homer Spit in Homer, Alaska from August 2019. It was my first visit to Homer and I absolutely loved it. It was one of our “mini-vacations.”

 

This recent cancer scare has really put a lot of things into perspective for me. It got me to reevaluate my expectations of God and to renew my faith but in a different way. I feel like I have a greater appreciation for how short life can be. A while back I created another website (still being developed) where I wanted to track my life goals or “Bucket List.” I want the site to include resources for people to pursue their own life goals too. It would be kind of similar to HopingForBaby.com in that I’d want it to be a hybrid of a personal blog plus informational posts. I would be talking about my progress with my life goals and posting articles related to self-development and achieving goals. 

The high cost of infertility is definitely a major obstacle when it comes to pursuing other life goals. Recently my husband and I realized that he and I haven’t gone on vacation together for three years. For a couple that loves to travel that is a really long time. We are planning to go out-of-state together here in a few months as long as his time-off request gets approved.  All of my money has been going towards paying down my medical bills since my last round of IVF. It’s so easy to get tunnel vision when it comes to trying to have a baby. But perhaps this recent cancer scare was meant to shake me out of that all-or-nothing mentality. I need to create more balance in my life, and I think pursuing my other dreams could help me gain that balance. 

Comment below to Today’s Question and receive bonus entry to the current contest.

Today’s Question: 

What life goals do you have that you’ve put on pause while dealing with infertility? What is one of your life goals you can start working on today?

Thank you for reading. 🙂

Check out my previous posts by going to my archives page.

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here

Learn ways to improve your egg quality. Purchase Rebecca Fett’s book “It Starts with the Egg: How the Science of Egg Quality Can Help You Get Pregnant Naturally, Prevent Miscarriage, and Improve Your Odds in IVF.” It’s currently the #1 Best Seller on Amazon.com’s Reproductive Medicine & Technology list. 

 

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