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      Infertility and Beyond

      Guillermina's Story

      Guillermina's Story

       

       

      @guillegomezgonzalez

      Hello! My name is Guillermina from Argentina and my husband Patricio from Mexico.
      We first wanted to thank you for featuring our story and for continuing to bring awareness around infertility and loss.

      Our story began July 6, 2019 on our wedding day. This was the day we started trying to grow our family.  We were full of joy, happiness, and prepared to see those two beautiful pink lines on our pregnancy test. Even though I had this gut feeling that it was going to take us a while to conceive, to our surprise in August we found out we were pregnant!

      It was unbelievable, I will never forget that moment. I got back from a work trip to Germany and felt something different I couldn’t explain.  I ran to the store and bought a pregnancy test. Got home and went straight to the bathroom. Immediately I saw the two pink lines show. OH MY GOD!!! IM PREGNANT. I wanted to do something super special for my husband so before he got back from work I had baked brownies, made a beautiful card and left the pregnancy test for him to see.

      Patricio was shocked, over the moon happy, we immediately told our family and close friends.
      This pregnancy was going to be extra special because I was going to by pregnant at the same time as my sister! She was 9 weeks ahead of me! This was our life long dream. Have babies together!

      It was a week before our 8 week appointment that i started with light spotting. I called me doctor and they said it was normal for some women, not to worry and wait for our appt.

      At our 8 week appointment we heard the words we will never forget “I’m not seeing what I’m supposed to see. Here, this is your baby, but I don’t see a heartbeat. I should see one by now. Let me call the doctor”. Baby had developed to 7 weeks and 1 day.
      Our hearts sank. We immediately started sobbing. Asking questions, why, what did I do, how did this happen? Why us?
      We were told it was “common” to have one miscarriage. We were assured we were healthy and that we should try again.

      I had my D&C on sept 12, we did not test the embryo since it was considered “common”.

      Three weeks after my D&C I was surprised I did not get my period. Called my doctor and they asked to take a pregnancy test. 
      And ... we were pregnant again! Wohooo!! Amazing! “I guess we are fertile” is what we thought.

      This time we were very happy but didn’t do any of the special stuff we did after we found out we were pregnant the first time. We just told our family and close friends.
      Fast forward 8 weeks, I started spotting a little and fear set in. I had this feeling things went wrong again. I waited for our appointment and the exact same thing happened. No heartbeat. Baby developed to 7weeks and 3 days.

      The shock hit just as hard the second time we heard those awful words again from our ultrasound tech and our OB.
      Same options were put on the table to miscarry at home or do another D&C, we went for D&C on Nov 21.  This time we wanted to test the embryo and try to understand what happened.
      Results indicated our baby boy was a triploidy. He had one full  extra set of chromosomes from mom and it was not life compatible. This meant that my egg did not complete miosis II, it did not divide. We were told this was extremely rara.  Once in a lifetime occurrence... There was a 0.0001% chance of happening.

      We went back for a consultation with our OB to see if there was anything else we could do. He gave us all options and we went for all of them. We did extensive blood work, ultrasounds, we even did genetic testing on myself and Patricio. Nothing was found. We were told we were incredibly unlucky, we should try again.

      Tried again. And till this day I cannot believe the EXACT SAME story repeated itself. This time they wanted to wait until I was 9 weeks for our first ultrasound. In the mean time I went to 5 beta tests to make sure everything was looking good, and they did!
      Three days before our appointment I started spotting. At our ultrasound, again no heartbeat. Baby girl developed to 7 weeks and 3 days.
      D&C on April 3 > genetic testing > maternal triploidy.

      WHAT IN THE WORLD?????
      How??? How are we so terribly unlucky.

      This was the time when our OB said “unfortunately, I can’t do anything else for you right now. I think you should go to a Reproductive specialist”.
      And this is where our IVF journey started. We consulted with 3 different clinics to make sure we were going to the best possible place.
      We are so incredibly lucky to have found our clinic, nurses are amazing and the doctor is super understanding, patient, and sets realistic expectations.

      We started in May with a ton of blood work, saline ultrasound, more genetic testing, and review of our medical history.
      In late May we found out our chances of a natural successful pregnancy was between 3-5%. This was due to our DNA being damaged by heavy metal exposure (this is a whole other topic I’m happy to share about later). My heart sank.
      But then he told us with IVF after 4 cycles, we had 70% chance of a successful pregnancy.
      We put all our hope and faith in the clinic and decided to have our first IVF cycle in July.
      This was a pretty “easy” cycle. My body responded as expected and ended up with 16 eggs, 14 mature, 11 fertilized, 5 day 5 blastocyst, 1 normal PGS embryo and 1 low level mosaic.
      We were going to transfer in August, but decided to give it another go and try to create more embryos for a higher success opportunity.
      So we did our second IVF cycle in September. I went into this cycle with my expectations from the prior one. The meds will work great and everything will go as expected. And let’s just pray for ONE healthy embryo.
      Little did we know, this cycle was COMPLETELY different. It was a wreck. My body wasn’t reacting to menopur or cetrotide, they had to triple my dose. My estrogen was lagging, and my follicles were slow and unevenly growing.
      Before each check up I was praying and hoping things would be OK.
      We made it to retrieval day thank goodness and yielded extremely different final results.
      16 eggs retrieved, 12 mature, 10 fertilized, 4 day 6 blastocyst, THEE PGS normal embryos!
      WHoly smokes how did that happen?!? I’m going to believe it was prayer.

      And here we are today, getting a call from our doctor after our check up this morning and ready for our transfer on Oct 22!

      I’m excited, anxious, nervous, but mostly hopeful that we will hold our 🌈 baby in 9 months.

      Through our journey so far, I’ve learned how helpful it was for me to talk about my losses to people.

      It was important for me to accept that I needed to go to a counselor and work on my mental health and not be ashamed by it.

      It was important for me to learn and believe that there is NO SHAME in miscarrying.

      I learned that a community of TTC warriors makes you stronger. And to share my journey to help others, just like others are helping me.

      I learned to not compare journeys. I had a tough time with this, considering my sister was pregnant. But I took faith and courage that my time was going to come and was there for the birth of my nephew, and it was beautiful.

      I became to fully understand the absolutely MIRACLE it is to conceive a baby. And how each one of us in this earth is an Incredible miracle, that every tiny little step went well and we have ears, mouth, eyes, legs, and every single organ keeping us alive, including a rapidly beating heart.

      I learned to celebrate the little victories and not hold back because you are afraid things will fall apart in your next doctor visit. Something really small I started doing is making a special meal every time we get good news, and jump with excitement and do a silly dance whenever we get the good news. This is what makes my soul happy. Let it be happy with no limits

      I learned that I’m STRONGER THAN I THINK. Every single one of our losses has knocked us to the ground, has opened wounds we never knew existed, but we lean on each other to have the courage to get up and try again. Because it will be worth it.

      Most importantly, I learned to not give up on God. Even though there’s times that I felt completely abandoned, lonely, and destroyed, I know HE has a plan for me and Patricio. A plan that will fill us with joy and happiness.

      Don’t give up. The best is yet to come!

      Alyssa's Story

      Alyssa's Story

       

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      @healthyivf

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      My husband and I started trying to conceive 19 months ago. We were hopeful, excited, and thankful for our health. After 6 months of trying we started to get nervous and I saw a doctor. Within a few weeks I was sitting in my RE’s office listening to him say “You have two uteri (uteruses) and one tube, you will not be able to get pregnant naturally. Let’s talk about IVF!”. I had surgery on my tube due a rupture, but they had told us that the tube remained open. However, my RE noted that in the minute by minute surgery report it specifically states that the tube was closed. Doctors in the past had missed this. We were upset that this mistake was made, but we were eager to move forward with IVF.

       

      I was born with two uteri and the one attached to the working tube was not accessible. We didn’t ask many questions, just signed on the dotted line and thanked our RE. To be honest, we didn’t even grieve the loss of being able to conceive naturally. We started IVF right away and we were met with amazing results-- 12 PGS normal embryos! We let my body rest a month after the egg retrieval and then we transferred our strongest most perfect embryo in October of 2019. The pregnancy was hard from the beginning. I was high risk and seen almost weekly. We also got uncertain 1st and 2nd trimester screener results and needed an amnio. By week 18 we realized something serious was going on. By week 22 a Whole Exome Gene Sequencing test confirmed our worst nightmare: we would lose our baby boy, Cole, to a rare genetic defect. That Saturday I ended up in the Labor and Delivery emergency room. I was diagnosed with adjustment disorder and was heavily medicated. On Friday, March 20th, 2020, one week into the pandemic SIP, we lost our son at 23 weeks. It was a multiple day process. My husband was able to be by my side the entire time. They dilated me on Wednesday using a spinal tap and laminaria sticks. We went home that evening and enjoyed the last few kicks of our baby boy.

       

      My husband had just started to feel him move on the outside. On Friday morning we went into Labor and Delivery. After some time I was put to sleep because my body was in danger. My baby boy and I went to sleep at the same time and I woke up without him inside of me. We had about an hour with Cole before we had to say goodbye. It will forever remain the most heartbreakingly beautiful moment of my life. The weeks following the loss are still a blur. I could barely get out of bed. It’s hard to try and navigate how to deal with postpartum without your baby, while also grieving his loss and being stuck at home during a pandemic. It wasn’t until my first postpartum period came that I started to feel myself again. Started to gain hope. We did PGD testing for the single gene defect on the remaining 11 embryos and we were left with 7 healthy embryos. Hope. We had SO much hope. This is what kept us going. Losing our baby was hard. It was probably the hardest thing we will ever have to go through as a couple. I just remember thinking, I am SO grateful for science and technology. Without it, we wouldn’t have been able to identify Cole’s defect. We wouldn’t have been able to test our remaining embryos to ensure we didn’t have to suffer a loss like that again. And we wouldn’t be where we are today, one step closer to a healthy pregnancy and baby. On June 16th, 2020, just three months postpartum, we decided to transfer another embryo. Another boy. We had so much hope during the TWW. I saw rainbows EVERYWHERE. We knew this was it. I could feel it in my heart. Until 9dp5dt when I got the call. It was negative. We cried.

       

      We felt defeated. But we got our RE on the phone for an immediate consult. What went wrong? It was confirmed that everything looked perfect. The embryo, my hormones, my lining. He reminded me that sometimes, actually 35% of the time, it just doesn’t work. He thinks my body needs more time to rest. More time to heal after such a late loss. So, we’re taking July off and will try again in August. We have 6 embryos left and our hearts are still full of hope. My body, and our hearts, have been through the wringer. However, we’re still full of hope and gratitude. I feel it’s so important to keep pushing forward, keep reminding yourself that this fight will be worth it. And that, without IVF, many of us wouldn’t even be able to make it this far. My heart was eager to try again, but my body wasn’t ready. I’m hopeful that this next month off will give us a little more time to heal both emotionally and physically. IVF is hard, loss is crippling, and dealing with all during a pandemic is debilitating. But don’t give up. Remember that you’re not alone. Hang on to that hope. Listen to your body. Give yourself time. I promise it will all be worth it.

       

       

      Monica's Story

      Monica's Story

       

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      @monicabivas

      Monica Bivas was born in Colombia South America, when she  was 32 years old she and her husband were informed that she  had severe endometriosis that had cause the double blockage of her fallopian tubes, so her only option to become a mom was In Vitro Fertilization (IVF). Even after doing a laparoscopy to try to unblocked them it didn’t work so IVF was now the real only option. Her husband Moshe Bivas was supporting all the way, however the emotional stress was very heavy on both of them.  Her first cycle was successful, they retrieve 34 eggs and 14 fertilized , 4 were transferred and she was a mom of a girl whom today is 14 years old. She thought it was so easy that next cycle will be the same, but it was not…..

      In 2009, Monica and Moshe decided  to have a second baby.  Due to a mistake made by the clinic in the dosage amount of medicine, Monica got  OHSS and her cycle had to be cancelled. The RE offered them another cycle at no cost assuming their responsibility in this mistake.

      This time Monica and Moshe decided to do chromosomal testing, because  they wanted a baby boy.  They had 4 embryos, 3 were male. The single female embryo was the less developed. They decided to transfer all 4 .  Oddly enough, they got pregnant with that baby girl. 

      Monica’s pregnancy was good all the way, including the amniocentesis, which confirmed she was expecting a girl.  Everything was normal. But no one knew that Monica was developing a blood issue.  At 39 weeks, few days before the delivery due date, their baby girl Isabelle died in her womb due to a blood clot in the umbilical cord.

      Monica had to deliver her anyway. Devastated and lost, She felt guilty for what happened. It was very painful and empty. So empty that Monica and Moshe pursue a 4th round of IVF less than 2 months later.  Monica did get a positive test but from the sadness, the loss, the stress and the fear combined with other personal issues, She miscarried at 7 weeks.

      In 2011, Monica and Moshe got to the point of being completely lost, with no sign of how to find their way again. Driven by fear and ego, their relationship with each other turned into a disaster and they almost got divorced.

      They  choose to made some changes . They  choose love. 

      In 2012, Monica and Moshe decided to go for another round of IVF the 5th and final. This cycle was an amazing experience; full of love, healthy dialogue and peace.  Which was a direct result of the internal struggles and then shifts They  made, together, as a team.

      This last round of IVF is their other girl whom now is 6 years old.

      Monica is today and IVF, Fertility and life coach, she is the author of the book The IVF Planner. A Personal Journal to Organize your Journey Thorugh In vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Love & Positivity.

      She also is the stepmother of an 18 year old Girl. She lives in NY with her husband and Daughters.

       

                        







      Jordy's Story

      Jordy's Story

       

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      @JPSBIVFJourney..

      Hi!!! My name is Jordan but I go by Jordy and my husbands name is Stephen. He is 39 and I am 36 years old. Here is our IVF story. Stephen and I met in 2004 at a Honda car meet up club. We became fast friends and hung out quite often. We were just best friends for quite some time. He was always my plus one to weddings, my “date” to fun events, concerts and on fun wild adventures. I never honestly thought he would be the man I would marry. In 2013, Stephen and I took a “just friends” trip to Cabo, Mexico. Now I know most of you are thinking “Yeah right, you don’t go to Mexico as just friends” Well we did. While we were there we went to dinner and he said he couldn’t imagine life without me in it, he wanted to take care of me and have a life together. Well how could I turn him down. After 8 years of being best friends I decided to say yes. Our dating life was amazing, we had fun, traveled to lots of places together and were enjoying life to the fullest. Stephen ended up proposing to me on November 18, 2016. I knew I was going to spend the rest of my life with this man. I never wanted to have kids-but when Stephen talked about having a family it changed my mind instantly. I was adopted from Korea and I also felt like having a child would be so amazing. Someone to share the same genetics, have the same blood I do and for someone to share my looks. Whenever someone says “Why don’t you adopt-you’re adopted” We have thought about adoption and would love to adopt-but I would love to have a child who has the same DNA as I do. Being adopted-I have longed to have a child who shares these things with me.


      In 2017 we got married and it was seriously the best day of my life. The week of our wedding-I experienced our second miscarriage. I am thankful we were getting married because that helped me to keep my mind off of the miscarriage. Yes, it was hard to go through and it happened pretty quickly without drugs-so maybe it wasn’t meant to be! We realized that after having a second miscarriage we needed to go see someone. We ended up going to our first clinic and this is where we found out that I had a unique uterus. It is called Unicornuate 🦄Uterus. I was born with only 1 fallopian tube. My uterus is half the size of yours. This was causing the embryo not finding a place to settle. We decided to switch clinics and I am so thankful we did. The REs at the new clinic are absolutely amazing and I love them. They have been amazing. 


      We are on the last night of Stims and triggering tonight. We are doing our retrieval and even though I am trying to stay hopeful there is still a part of me that is being careful about being too hopeful. The best advice I could give anyone going through either an IUI or IVF would be to be gentle with yourself. Love yourself. We are working hard to have our bodies make a baby. Love yourself for being strong. You are doing an amazing job. There is light at the end of this tunnel. Also I find it so important to share with your loved ones whether it be your partner, your family or close friends how you are feeling. It’s so important and don’t lie about your feelings. They will be there to support you no matter what. I am always an open book so feel free to reach me at @JPSBIVFJourney and I am happy to answer your questions. Wherever you are in your TTC Journey I wish you all the best. Sending love to you all! Xoxox 

      Emily's Story

      Emily's Story

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      Instagram: @womanhood_102
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      My husband and I got married last year and since I am 36 (35 at the time) we knew we wanted to start trying right away (even if he is 7 years younger than me ... ). I remember the excitement and I remember all of my friends who had kids seemed so blissful, and never once mentioned anything about struggles or hardships in conceiving, so everything I knew was this would be an easy journey.
      We actually got pregnant the first try. I was shocked! I told my husband in the sweetest way and even my OB was shocked how quick it was and we scheduled our 8 week ultrasound. I didn't know any better so I just kept testing and realized a week and half later the tests started getting lighter. That's when I first learned what a chemical pregnancy was.
      Our OB said "this unfortunately happens all the time. when you are ready you can try again." So we waited a month and tried again. BAM! Pregnant again! This time I was a paranoid wreck, so I made sure I was in the office every other day testing my HCG levels which were amazing and rising as they should. But I still had some bleeding so we did an ultrasound, and another doctor who was brash said to me "I'm going to be honest, I don't think this pregnancy will last. Do you see how it looks squished, that tells me your body is actually trying to get rid of it. I would expect to miscarry. We will re-run your blood but it will need to be 18,000 for this pregnancy to be viable" 
      At that time I thought THAT was the hardest part of my life. We got the call the next day ... 22,000, viable preganany and that doctor is an ass hole. So we waited another week in which our doctor told us we would need to see a heartbeat. Waiting in the waiting room 2 days before christmas knowing we had to see a heartbeat or we would have to call this, it was the most nervous I've ever been in my life. I remember my sweet doctor trying to get my mind off my nerves, asking how my symptoms were, small talk. I knew the moment it was over as I saw her face react and become somber. "I'm so so sorry Emily, but there isn't a heartbeat. In fact the baby is measuring smaller than it was last week. This is unfortunately a missed miscarriage." Walking out of the office was a blur. No words could describe the shock of hearing that.
      Since this was during the Holidays the office was closed the following few days, so we had to wait for a DNC the day after Christmas. We were told a DNC was 99% successful. Luck have it, turns out I'm that 1%. Our DNC failed and not just failed to remove everything but failed to even reach our baby. It was called "failure due to false cavity". As the instruments were trying to access my cervix, instead of following the path of least resistance it created it's own path into my uterine muscle ... And it took the doctor a moment to realize what he was pumping out of my body was not our baby. I also remember the panic of the doctors faces as well as my husband, that was officially the worst day of my life. The doctor sent me home with cytotex pills. 6 should do the job but I took 40 ... over the next 7 days. Which I have been told my other doctors in retrospect is dangerous and borderline reckless of that doctor.
      My body did nothing. It wasn't responding to the medicine. So we scheduled a second DNC hoping the false passage had closed up. It hadn't. That DNC also failed to reach my cervix. 4 days later my body finally released the baby.
      This lead us to our RE but before we could test it took my body 11 weeks to release the HCG. But a whole host of tests later I was diagnosed with a uterine septum and it was removed. Next to the septum the found the implantation site of our pregnancy. They were able to confirm that this was the reason for the miscarriage and the reason the baby looked "squished" because as it grew the septum was restricting its growth and blood supply. NOT because my body was rejecting it. This also explains why my body refused to let go. It was going exactly what it was supposed to be doing, but the septum prevented our baby from growing.
      We tried again after the septum removal and had another chemical, so decided that since this had taken a year, and that we want more than one kid (and my AMH and age) it was best to pause before "Getting pregnant naturally" again, because the doctors feel confident we can. But not confident that a year or two from now we will be able to conceive again. So we pressed pause and pause to do IVF in hopes of being able to freeze our eggs for baby two.
      In all honesty, I thought that would be easy, we would get some eggs frozen and move on. But unfortunately our first round of IVF completely failed. We actually only got 1 mature egg and it didn't make it to blast. The doctor let us know we gained valuable information that he believes it's an LH issue and that we can overcome that by adding another drug to the mix.
      We just started round two and are anxiously hoping it works. If it does it signals that this was probably the issue and reason for miscarriages and the 0 eggs from our first round. IF it doesn't work it will most likely signal an egg quality issue which ... as we know there really isn't a fix for.
      So that's where we are as of now :)
      What helped us the most through this time : Being proactive. Having something next to focus on doesn't give me enough time to sit and wallow over what hasn't worked. But also in the same regard ... acknowledging this is just absolutely shitty and letting that be okay.
      Advice : I wish someone had told me that this will NOT go as you plan. And everything is so much more complicated than the generalizations we assume to be true. This is YOUR journey and no matter how similar it is to someone else's it won't define your outcome ... good or bad. 
      Additional Advice : Miscarriage is common, we have to stop pretending it's not. And just because it's common doesn't make it any easier to get through. A chemical pregnancy is still a loss, a failed transfer is still a loss. Infertility is also more common that we know. And IVF is not a solution for all things. This journey will be hard, but it will not last forever, this is only a season.