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.

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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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

 

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Today’s Question: 

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

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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.  

 

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 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
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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. 

 

Another Surgery & Thoughts on God

Another Surgery & Thoughts on God

I recently did a post-surgery ultrasound to check to see if my body went back to normal after my surgery in September (due to missed miscarriage). I’ve had so many ultrasounds over the years that I’ve learned to spot abnormalities on the ultrasound even before the ultrasound tech shows any indication of something being off. Unfortunately, this time I was looking at a black mass on the ultrasound screen that I knew should not have been there. 

The ultrasound tech could not confirm exactly what the black mass was and said she would show the images to my doctor to review and he would get back to me within the next few days (due to him being out of the office). On the morning of October 15th I did my own Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Loss Day at home. That was the first time I participated and although it was therapeutic it was also emotionally draining. So imagine how I felt when later that afternoon I got the phone call that there was in fact something off about my ultrasound. My doctor referred to that black mass and said, “It could either be retained products of conception or it could be an indicator of Persistent Gestational Trophoblastic Disease from a partial molar pregnancy. But we should definitely do a second surgery.” In the past I needed two surgeries from one miscarriage to clear my uterus, which was not a big deal other than the inconvenience of a second surgery. But the main difference between that time and this time is that I wasn’t dealing with a partial molar pregnancy before. 

 

This ultrasound photo is not a picture of my ultrasound, but it appears very similar to what mine looked like with a black mass and cloudy or “snowstorm” appearance surrounding it, typically found with molar pregnancies.

 

 

I asked my doctor, “So what’s the next step if this second surgery doesn’t work and it looks like something is still there or develops more?” My doctor told me that I would need to start the medication Methotrexate. His nurse had mentioned that same medication a few days prior when I asked her a similar question. I had assumed that Methotrexate was similar to Misoprostol, which is a common medication I’ve had just prior to each of my surgeries for miscarriages. Misoprostol is a medication softens the uterine lining to make the surgery process easier. I decided to Google what this new medication Methotrexate was, since I was unfamiliar with it. Neither my doctor nor my nurse fully explained what it was. As I was reading the description, all the words fell away except one…chemotherapy. Methotrexate is in fact a type of medication to treat cancer. 

My doctor wanted me to have my surgery the following day, but I chose to wait a couple days so I wouldn’t have to take time off work. On Monday (October 21st) I went to my usual surgery center. Out of curiosity I asked my doctor how many times I’ve had surgery there, because I had actually lost count. He looked at my paperwork and told me that this was my fifth surgery there. That did not include the two surgeries I had out-of-state in Seattle for my first and second round of IVF. So in total I’ve had seven surgeries related to infertility and miscarriages from 2016 – 2019. 

As of today, October 24th, I’m still waiting for the pathology report to learn what exactly that black mass was. Ultimately this next phone call from my doctor will determine whether I will need chemotherapy or not. I’ve been trying not to worry about it, although the first few days after the 15th were the hardest. I was tossing and turning at night and not getting enough sleep. I told my husband and my Mom. Both of them tried to reassure me by saying “Try not to worry.” But the primary emotion I was feeling was not worry, it was anger.

I was angry at God. I was so angry and frustrated for all of these years of struggling and now He decided to throw in a potential cancer diagnosis. Then my thoughts began to expand out to everyone I’ve known who has battled cancer and how much they suffered. I was thinking, “How could a God allow so much suffering?” God took my Dad away from cancer in 2016 and my mom has survived cancer twice. Then I kept seeing so many commercials on TV for St. Judes Children’s Research Hospital with all those little kids and babies who were completely innocent suffering from cancer. I just could not wrap my mind around any of this.

But I had a conversation with my Mom the other day on the phone that helped me to see things differently. Mind you, I’m not particularly religious. I was “saved” years ago, but after dealing with so much loss over the years my relationship with God was now hanging by a thread. After talking with Mom it helped solidify a thought I had and bring it more to the forefront of my mind. I believe there is a Creator, something greater than us that helped get this world spinning. But as far as a God that intervenes in our daily struggles, well I’ve moved on from that belief. 

Believe it or not, I feel more at peace with this concept that God does not intervene. I still believe there is a usefulness to prayer. It can be a way to socially connect on a deeper level and to set positive intentions together. Prayer can also bring us the quiet contemplation we need to help us to potentially find solutions to our problems if we choose to use prayer in that way. What I no longer believe is that praying hard and often leads to the outcome we want. I prayed so hard for each of my babies and set all my intention on positive outcomes. It was suggested to me by various people that perhaps I wasn’t “praying hard enough” or that I needed to “pray more.” I think my issue at the time was my idea of God was changing yet the people around me continued to talk about God the way I used to view Him. These past several years I felt like giving up on my faith. It took me so long to develop a new view of God that He could simply be a Creator and not necessarily an intervener. For me at least this brings me a sense of comfort and peace.

I should be getting my pathology results here soon. I will let you all know what they are once I get them. For now I will be taking it easy resting after this recent surgery. I went back to work the following day after my surgery, which I think was good for me because it serves as a good distraction. I’m trying to take it easy this first week as far as movement goes, by taking a break from exercising. I feel pretty good but have some twinges of pain here and there. I’m going to try to stay optimistic while I wait for my results.

Thank you for reading. 🙂

Today’s Question: 

Have your spiritual beliefs changed over time through your infertility struggles? If so, how have they changed?

Comment below with your response to receive a bonus entry to the current contest.

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 Photo Image Source for Ultrasound Picture: MedPix National Library of Medicine
URL:
https://medpix.nlm.nih.gov/case?id=7fd9d54c-da23-4248-bb30-bd4993d6efb9

Movie Review: “Don’t Talk About the Baby”

Movie Review: “Don’t Talk About the Baby”

HopingForBaby.com Rating: 4 out of 5

Don’t Talk About the Baby” is a great documentary to watch if you’ve experienced Pregnancy and Infant Loss and you feel you are prepared to hear other people’s difficult stories. I believe sharing stories is so important for healing, especially sharing to others who understand. I’ve dealt with a lot of loss over the years and I believe I’ve developed more resiliency over time. This movie is great if you also feel you are at a point where you are mostly past the initial stages of grief. That is the only reason I gave it a 4 out of 5 rating because it may be too triggering for some viewers. 

I strongly believe in people sharing their story, but I personally choose to not tell everyone graphic details of the trauma of pregnancy loss. I believe this part of my story was best processed with a therapist or through journaling. I also believe expressing this through works of art can be therapeutic for others. Everyone processes their grief in their own way, so if you believe in fully expressing every aspect of your loss more power to you. If you find yourself easily triggered by traumatic details, I’d recommend taking that into consideration when you decide to watch this documentary. 

Don't talk about the baby

Image Source: princetonlibrary.org

 

On the flip side of that word of caution, I think this movie did an absolutely fantastic job of showing so many different stories of courage and hope. I felt a huge sense of connectedness to the women that were interviewed. I’ve watched a handful of other documentaries about infertility and IVF, but this one really touched my heart. There were several instances I just wanted to reach through the TV screen and hug the woman being interviewed. There was such a rawness with the emotions they shared, that takes an immense amount of courage. I find it hard sometimes to write some of my blog posts about my recurrent miscarriages, but I always feel better after I do.  My hope is maybe someone reading my posts might feel a little better knowing they are not alone during their struggles. I feel this film was created with this same spirit. 

I love how the documentary interviewed a variety of women who are at different points in their journey. Some are still deep in the emotions of their recent loss, others are a little further along, and some who have moved on from their loss and share their stories of how they healed. Another important aspect of this movie is that they take the time to interview multiple doctors who specialize in pregnancy and infant loss. The statistics they share may initially seem overwhelming to hear. But I believe the filmmaker’s intention was to emphasize that so many women experience this kind of loss and to show viewers they are definitely not alone. 

Finally, the subject that I found most important in this film is the need to fight the stigma of pregnancy and infant loss. There is a huge stigma in our culture around this type of loss. As our culture becomes more comfortable talking about the hard subject of pregnancy and infant loss the stigma will begin to fade away. One of the women in the film remembers how cancer actually had a stigma and some people would avoid talking about it. But over time more people openly talked about cancer which created more awareness. More awareness resulted in more funding for research. Now there is an immense amount of energy put into raising funds for cancer research and education today. All of that effort has lead to a greater understanding for the public to know when to get screened for cancer, helping to catch it early on and save more lives with treatment at just the right time. The film “Don’t Talk About the Baby” discusses our culture can do the same exact process of openly talking about pregnancy and infant loss just as we now openly talk about cancer today. 

That cultural shift can be duplicated with conversations about pregnancy and infant loss and maybe one day there won’t be as much of a stigma. The more people actually talk about it the more likely funding efforts will increase. Increased funding can allow for more research efforts to potentially find the causes to “unexplained infertility” which is said to account for up to 30% of pregnancy losses (Sadeghi, 2015). More research also needs to be put towards learning more about Sudden Infant Death Syndrome (SIDS). Even the diagnosable conditions still have many questions surrounding what the root cause might be. It is incredibly important to increase research and educating the public to help prevent pregnancy and infant loss, and this includes  reducing the stigma.

Thank you for reading. 🙂

 

Today’s Question:

What have you done to help reduce the stigma of pregnancy and infant loss? Have you educated a family member or friend on this subject by sharing your story? 

Comment with your response to receive a bonus entry to the current contest.

 

Click here to watch “Don’t Talk About the Baby” on Amazon

 

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

 

This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here
Sources:
Featured Image: https://www.donttalkaboutthebaby.com/
Full Image of “Don’t Talk About the Baby” Poster: https://princetonlibrary.org/event/film-and-panel-discussion-dont-talk-about-the-baby/
Sadeghi, Mohammad Reza. “Unexplained infertility, the controversial matter in management of infertile couples.” Journal of reproduction & infertility vol. 16,1 (2015): 1-2.

Remembering My Babies on October 15th

Remembering My Babies on October 15th

This was the first year I participated in the October 15th event of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I had to work that night and chose not to go downtown to participate in the community event, but I took the time to do this at home. I didn’t even realize a new miscarriage and infant loss group had started up again in my city. That group organized the event downtown for October 15th. A few years back I went to one of those meetings but I was only one of two people, shortly after I went I got a letter in the mail saying that group had ended. Maybe I’ll start going to the new group. The other reason I didn’t go downtown for the October 15th events is that I didn’t feel like sharing that moment of remembrance with strangers. I’m sure it could have been nice for some people, but I felt like this first year of doing it would be more meaningful if I did it at home.

Several things happened on the 15th that were really difficult, I’ll address those in a future post. But for this post, I wanted it to focus on Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. I wanted to light a candle for each of my pregnancy losses and remember each of them individually. I decided to take some photos to remember today. After nearly four years of infertility and six miscarriages, I finally decided to take part in my own way at home. 

I used my Moroccan candle holder as the centerpiece, and put six tea light candles inside, each one representing one of my pregnancy losses. I lit each candle and took one minute between lighting each one to pause and remember each baby. I said a prayer for each one, each prayer slightly different than the last. There was something about this process that gave me a sense of peace and I could feel the heaviness in my heart lifting. 

 

Lighting the candles one-by-one, saying a prayer for each of my babies.

 

I have a temporary keepsake box (good ol’ shoebox) of my letters, cards, ultrasound pictures, and this little stuffed elephant. Eventually I will get a nice keepsake box. I bought this elephant with my first baby and gave it to Kurtis when I first shared my pregnancy news with him. Someday this little elephant will be cuddled, drooled on, squished, and dragged around by my future baby. I put flowers around the candle holder to add some color and bring a delicate beauty to the centerpiece. 

 

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Overall I found the experience to be more emotional and meaningful than I had anticipated. Some women choose to honor their baby on the day they would have been born. Initially I had done something like that but after six losses I honestly cannot remember the dates. I think part of that is that I was emotionally blocking out that info. I plan on contacting my doctor in the future to find out this info so I can either buy or create a necklace with the birthstones for each one. I have a necklace with a birthstone for my first pregnancy loss but I haven’t added on to it. I believe it would have been too overwhelming for me to honor each of my babies at six different times throughout the year on their would-be birthday. So the idea of doing it once a year on October 15th is easier on me emotionally. I think it’s important to remember our babies and the hope that they brought to our lives. Just as when someone comes to the end of their life it’s important to remember the good moments. I remember the good moments of announcing the pregnancy news to Kurtis, family, and friends. I remember seeing strong heartbeats on the ultrasound that I never imagined possible, I saw this two times. Those heartbeats were a sign of hope. 

 

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Writing a letter “To each of my babies in heaven.” Writing a letter to your baby, to God, or journaling your emotions and thoughts can help you process the loss and feel more at peace.

 

It’s important to take care of yourself emotionally. I think participating in Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day is a way to stay connected to our past and not forget how strong each of us really are. If you’ve experienced this kind of loss just know that you are not alone and there are so many others out there going through the exact thing you are. 

 

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

Today’s Question: 

If you’ve experienced pregnancy loss and/or infant loss, what healthy coping skills have you done to help you heal?

Thank you for reading. 

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page. 

ENTER TO WIN THE LATEST HOPINGFORBABY.COM CONTEST.

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.


Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15th

Pregnancy & Infant Loss Remembrance Day on October 15th

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

pregnancy-infant-loss-remembrance-day

 

Did you know that October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day? In 1988 President Ronald Reagan declared the month of October to be Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. President Reagan gave the following speech on the subject:

“When a child loses his parent, they are called an orphan. When a spouse loses her or his partner, they are called a widow or widower. When parents lose their child, there isn’t a word to describe them.  This month recognizes the loss so many parents experience across the United States and around the world. It is also meant to inform and provide resources for parents who have lost children due to miscarriage, ectopic pregnancy, molar pregnancy, stillbirths, birth defects, SIDS, and other causes.

Now, Therefore, I, Ronald Reagan, President of the United States of America, do hereby proclaim the month of October as Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. I call upon the people of the United States to observe this month with appropriate programs, ceremonies, and activities” (October15th.com, 2019).

 

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Years later in 2002, October 15th became the official day of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. In 2004 the International Wave of Light is a global candlelight vigil, “Lighting begins at the International Date Line, in the first time zone, remaining lit a period of one hour, with the next time zone lighting respectively, moving through each time zone as the Wave of Light circumnavigates the globe. The result is a continuous chain of light encompassing and spanning across the world and around the globe for a 24-hour period, illuminating the night in love and light in honor and remembrance of our children” (Wikipedia, 2019). It is both a beautiful way to remember as well as feel a greater sense of connection to others who know exactly what you are going through.

 

5 Ways to Remember Your Baby

1) Light a single candle or one for each of your losses.

 

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2) Write a letter to your baby or journal your feelings.

 

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3) Share your story. Join a support group or talk with a friend you trust.

 

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4) Make a donation to a charity in your baby’s honor.

 

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5) Wear remembrance jewelry or clothing.

 

I have a necklace with simple silver wing with a diamond for the birthstone for the month my first baby would have been born. I have yet to add more birthstones for my other losses but I will probably do that in the future. It felt really nice to have that to remember my baby and to help me heal.

Jewelry

  

Baby Name Necklace – ROI – Dainty Feet Footprints Charm – Memorial Infant Loss Gift – 5/8 Inch Disc – Handstamped 14K Gold Filled Jewelry – Personalized Birthstone

 

 

Gold Angel Wing Necklace – ROI – Dainty Memorial Charm Gift – Delicate Loss Pearl – Handstamped Jewelry – Personalize Initial Crystal Color


 

 

Angel Baby Memorial Charm • Miscarriage Necklace • Tiny Winged Heart • Sterling Silver • Too Beautiful for Earth

 

 

Tiny Angel Wing Necklace – Dainty Silver or Gold Guardian Wing Necklace Minimalist Jewelry – Memorial, Miscarriage Infant Loss, First Communion Gift

 

 

GLAM ”Always in My Heart” Sentimental Quote Thin Brass Bangle Hook Mantra Bracelet

Clothing Items

TeesPass October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month Shirt Hoodie

 

Heart Blue Pink Ribbon Pregnancy Infant Loss Awareness T-Shirt

 

Mom of an Angel Shirt Infant Loss Grieving Mom Gift Gift for Mom Miscarriage Gift Gift for Grieving Mother Angel Mom Shirt

 

Angel Mommy T-Shirt. Miscarriage Awareness Infant Loss Tee

 

Daddy Of An Angel T-Shirt National Pregnancy and Infant Loss

 

Grandma Of A Little Angel Pregnancy & Infant Loss Awareness Long Sleeve T-Shirt

 

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

Today’s Question: 

Have you participated in a Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness event? If so, how would you describe your experience?

Thank you for reading.

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page. 

ENTER TO WIN THE LATEST HOPINGFORBABY.COM CONTEST.

 

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. 

 

 

Image Sources:

Featured Image:
https://www.funeralwise.com/digital-dying/october-15th-pregnancy-infant-loss-remembrance-day/
Wave of Light Image:
https://cmvaction.org.uk/news/baby-loss-awareness-week-9-15-october-2017
Woman Writing Image:
Photo by Negative Space from Pexels
Support Group Image:
https://fcionline.com/fertility-blog/monthly-infertility-support-group/
Donate Image:
https://www.kiplinger.com/article/taxes/T032-C001-S003-donate-your-rmd-tax-free-to-charity-in-2016.html
I Will Always Wonder Image:
https://handtohold.org/national-pregnancy-and-infant-loss-awareness-day/

 

Best & Worst States for Infertility Services

Best & Worst States for Infertility Services
This post may contain affiliate links. You can read the disclosure here

 

During my research for my post Top 7 Websites Comparing IVF Clinic Success Rates, I came across Resolve.org’s State Fertility Scorecard. It shows a color-coded map of the United States as quick visual of the states that have better grade for access to infertility services. You can see your state’s grade and compare your state to others based on the following criteria (quoted from Resolve.org):

 

  • “Number of peer-led RESOLVE support groups in state for people experiencing fertility issues
  • Number of physicians specializing in infertility in state, at SART-accredited fertility clinics
  • Number of women in state who have experienced physical difficulty in getting pregnant or carrying a pregnancy to live birth
  • Insurance mandate information in each state” (Resolve, 2019).

 

 

Best States for Fertility Services with a grade of “A”:

  • Massachusetts
  • Connecticut
  • New Jersey
  • Maryland
  • Illinois

 

Worst States for Fertility Services with a grade of “F”:

  • Alaska
  • Wyoming
  • Mississippi

 

 

Resolve.com Fertility Score Card

Resolve.org’s Fertility Scorecard map of the U.S. The states with the best access to fertility services are in green, the worst states in red.

 

 

Overall Alaska ranks the worst out of every state, with Wyoming shortly behind when based on the highest number of women with zero access to fertility services. Although I was somewhat surprised that Alaska (my state) ranked so low, I didn’t imagine we would be one of the top three worst states to live in for those struggling with infertility. But in a way it also makes sense. I’ve had to fly out of state for both my first and second round of IVF treatment. We have zero support groups of any kind for infertility. A few years back I attended a miscarriage support group and I was just one of two in attendance, but I learned that group has since ended. That was the only group in the city related to infertility. Since my reproductive endocrinologist (RE) retired earlier this year there are zero RE’s within my health insurance’s network. I’ve heard from my OBGYN there isn’t a single RE in the state anymore. That means 15,612 women who have dealt with infertility or pregnancy loss does not have any access to a fertility specialist either (Resolve, 2019). Yet there are zero laws on the books regarding fertility treatment, which also means there is no obligation to provide insurance coverage of any sort. Not even partial coverage is an option here.

 

 

Resolve.com Fertility Score Card Alaska

Alaska’s Fertility Grade of “F” as viewed on Resolve.org’s Fertility Scorecard page.

 

 

Having learned all this, I feel very strongly that I should speak up and encourage our legislators to include at least partial insurance coverage for fertility treatment. I believe reproductive rights should include fertility treatment.  There are so many women like myself who are unable to have a child naturally. I understand that I will probably have to navigate many questions during my time advocating for change. But through everything I’ve already faced, I feel like I’ve developed thicker skin which is probably going to serve me well when I get involved in the legislative process. When I think about it, not only am I advocating for legislative change for other women but it would also benefit myself too. I’ve got nothing to lose and a lot to gain. 

 

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

Today’s Question: 

If you live in the U.S., what is your state’s Fertility Grade on Resolve.org’s Fertility Scorecard?

 

Thank you for reading. 

Catch up on past entries by clicking here for the archives page. 

ENTER TO WIN THE LATEST HOPINGFORBABY.COM CONTEST.

 

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. 

 

Sources & Images:

Resolve.com Fertility Scorecard: http://familybuilding.resolve.org/fertility-scorecard/

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