Drumroll… It’s a…. ALIEN!

So we aren’t finding out the sex of Baby T, but I can tell you from our anatomy scan that it looks like we are having an alien. In all seriousness though, I still cannot wrap my mind around the fact that this little human is growing inside of me.

I am now 20 weeks. Yay! Half way there!!! I am BEYOND excited about this since my pregnancy has been ROUGH. I was diagnosed with HG (hyperemesis gravidarum) at about 10 weeks, and I have pretty much had to give up my life due to it. I know everyone says it is worth it in the end, but if you haven’t been through it, I pray to God you never have to experience it and you can go about your dreamboat pregnancies. It’s hard. Really, really hard. Luckily having an amazingly loving and supporting husband and family has eased the pain. I would say the only plus side to HG is that I haven’t turned into a whale. I know so vain.

Other than the fact that I throw my guts up all day, every day and my pj’s are permanently attached to my body, the pregnancy has been healthy. It is truly amazing what your baby can endure. Baby T is growing right on time and is developing perfectly. So that is amazing news. ( I have been worried sick about throwing the baby up in the toilet). I am feeling flutters and kicks. Baby T is extremely active and also camera shy, which I have no idea where that comes from since I pretty much started flirting with the camera after I popped out of my Mom.

Anyways, I thought I would give a quick update since it has been a while! Here is a picture of our Alien saying, “No Paparazzi!”. Enjoy xoxo

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A 9 week Secret.

Obviously I am not very good at keeping secrets because I can’t even wait until the “socially correct” 12 weeks to announce, or in the “infertility blog” world people post daily updates about where they are in their two week wait or update about the first minute they pee on a stick and get a positive… I mean I still can’t even believe I am growing a little human inside of me. I have been going back and forth about posting our news for some time now. I would NEVER want a social media post to hurt anyone’s feelings. I have been there. I have been on the other side of pregnancy and birth announcements. There is so much heartache along with happiness that comes with each person sharing their joyous news. I am posting this to give hope to any woman out there who is in the midst of their struggle. There is hope. Don’t give up.

IVF #2 was a success for us. I almost gave up. I almost didn’t want to go through the process again. We would not be here today… 9 weeks pregnant, if we would have given up on our dream to become parents.

Lets back up since I have not posted since our transfer… Here is what has been happening… I will try and be brief:

We transferred two genetically perfect embryos. One boy and one girl. The clinic wanted me to wait until my beta blood test for results, but come on, who can wait 13 days to find out if the process was a success or not! So I decided to test at 6dp5dt because I was having a little cramping and some brown spotting. POSITIVE, what the what. On a first response and a digital. A freaking positive. Now, I have never had a positive ever before, so you can imagine my shock. I thought seeing those two lines would make me feel at ease, but it opened up another can of emotions and ease was not one of them. Flash forward 2 days when I could finally tell my husband, (he had been at work and I thought the news would be best shared in person). He was so happy. It is funny though. Both of our reactions were nothing like I had dreamt up in my head… He was more excited and I was less… Hard to explain.

Then came my beta blood tests… my first one was over 700! Which is extremely high for a first beta. The clinic was looking to see at least 100 closer to 200. That made me feel a little more at ease and it also made me think we were having twins, until…. A week later I woke up in the middle of the night and went to the bathroom only to find bright red blood in my undies. It was the scariest thing ever. To think something bad was happening after all we had been through. I was able to talk to the on call nurse and she told me not to worry, that bleeding can be very normal in early pregnancy as long as I didn’t have horrible cramping- which I did not and the bleeding lasted for only a few wipes. The next day they sent me for a beta blood test and progesterone test to make sure my levels were ok and moved my ultrasound up for a day later. Good news… beta was over.. oh my gosh I can’t remember now… but it was really high still and progesterone was normal too… thank God. The next day I had my ultrasound. I was so nervous to look at that screen…. Low and behold ONE healthy baby pea with an amazing heartbeat! They don’t know where the blood came from or why I had bleeding, but said it was very common in early pregnancy. (I was thinking maybe it was my body getting rid of the other embryo…. which makes me a little sad, but it is also hard to be sad when we have finally gotten what we had always prayed about, a healthy baby). Obviously we do not know the sex now because only one took. I don’t think I want to find out either. There have been no surprises in this journey so I think not knowing the baby’s sex until he/she pops out would be fun!

From there things seem to have taken off… I have all the classic symptoms of pregnancy. I am sooooo sick. The “all day sickness” as I like to call it settled in around 7.5 weeks. Mine seems to be worse in the afternoon and at night. We had another ultrasound and baby is growing perfectly. It now has little arms and legs and is moving around. It blows my mind how fast they grow in there! For all you ladies symptom spotting or want to know if something is “normal” let me tell you… I have had pretty much everything you read about and if you are experiencing it, it is probably normal…

-spotting at 6dp5dt

-cramping on and off through entire first trimester so far- this is normal as there is a lot of growth and action going on in your uterus.

-red spotting

-fatigue- and by that I mean I feel like I have been shot with a tranquilizer gun.

-all day sickness

-bloating

-the one thing I haven’t experienced yet is sore boobs or growing boobs. I am praying things stay this way, as I already have ginormous boobs and I don’t need any more. Thanks.

Honestly, no one tells you how much the first trimester sucks. I mean, maybe girls did and I just thought they were being dramatic. I didn’t believe it. Or maybe you just don’t know until you know. But it sucks. I know I probably sound ungrateful, but I promise I am not. Every day no matter how bad I am feeling, I take a minute to just be thankful as to where I am at in this pregnancy and on this journey. I am pregnant. I can’t believe I get to say that. So for all you other beautiful, strong, courageous women, Don’t give up. Never stop believing in your miracle. Ours was 5 years in the making.

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4 Advances That Make IVF More Successful Than Ever

The world of fertility medicine is on the up and up. Couples dealing with the challenges of infertility can be as stressful as having cancer. Fortunately, the latest advances in in vitro fertilization (IVF) are giving them a better chance than ever of achieving their dreams.

What Is In Vitro Fertilization?

IVF is a medical and surgical approach to conception that involves fertilizing eggs outside a woman’s body. Normally, women produce one egg per monthly menstrual cycle, but IVF requires several eggs to increase the effectiveness of each procedure. To boost egg production, women take a series of medications over the course of two weeks.

Mature eggs are then retrieved during a minor surgical procedure in a physician’s office, and fertilized in the laboratory with the partner’s sperm. After about five days, one or two of the developing embryos are inserted into the woman’s uterus or, more and more these days, biopsied, frozen, and saved for future use.

IVF treats infertility caused by various factors, including damaged or blocked fallopian tubes, male problems (such as low or no sperm count), endometriosis, anatomic abnormality, or unexplained infertility. Increasingly, IVF is being used to preserve fertility (through egg and embryo freezing), as well as to diagnose fertility problems.

Advances in IVF

1. Genetic screening. The most important advances in IVF over the past several years involve embryo biopsy and genetic analysis, which help address the challenge of embryos that look good in the lab, but turn out to be chromosomally abnormal. Having too many or too few chromosomes increases miscarriage rates and the likelihood of problems like Down syndrome.

Traditionally, fertility doctors chose the embryos to place in a woman’s uterus according to a grading system based on their appearance. But even top-rated embryos can turn out to have chromosomal abnormalities. Using new techniques, we can now safely biopsy a few cells from each embryo, send them off for genetic screening, and freeze the embryos while waiting for results.

What we learn allows us to then select only chromosomally normal embryos for transfer, rather than relying on their appearance alone. This reduces the risk of miscarriages by about half.

In addition, couples at risk of having a baby with a genetic disease, such as Tay-Sachs, cystic fibrosis, or sickle-cell anemia, may undergo IVF to have their embryos genetically diagnosed and substantially reduce the odds of transmitting the disease to their children.

2. Single-embryo transfer. Another advantage of chromosomal screening is single-embryo transfer, a method that addresses a major criticism of the fertility industry: multiple pregnancy (twins, triplets, or more). For many years, it was standard practice to transfer two or more embryos at a time to maximize the chance of a successful pregnancy. This led to a rise in women carrying multiples, which increases the risk of serious maternal and fetal complications.

Since genetic screening tells us which embryos are more likely to lead to healthy pregnancies and babies, in many cases we can now select just one chromosomally normal embryo to transfer. Research has shown that even women up to age 42 can achieve an approximate 60 percent pregnancy rate with single-embryo transfer — about the same as with two embryos, but with drastically less risk of twins.

3. Frozen embryos. With the shift to chromosomal screening, embryos are increasingly being frozen and then thawed and transferred in a later monthly cycle. In a recent study published in the Journal of Assisted Reproduction and Genetics, my colleagues and I showed that transferring frozen-thawed embryos to a woman’s uterus during a normal monthly cycle is more likely to result in pregnancy and live birth than fresh embryos placed into a uterus stimulated with fertility drugs.

4. New medications. Another IVF advance involves the medication used to increase the production of eggs and speed their maturation. The traditional means of triggering ovulation is through injections of the pregnancy hormone human chorionic gonadotropin (hCG). However, hCG can be problematic for some women, as it sets the stage for ovarian hyperstimulation, a potentially dangerous condition.

As a result, a growing number of fertility centers are moving toward the use of gonadotropin-releasing hormone agonist (GnRHa), which stimulates the brain’s own luteinizing hormones (LH). LH is the body’s natural trigger for egg production. It circulates long enough to ripen and prepare the eggs for harvesting, but not enough to activate ovarian hyperstimulation.

A new study has identified another promising therapy that stimulates the body’s own LH. Researchers found that administering the hormone kisspeptin instead of hCG effectively triggers egg maturation while preventing ovarian hyperstimulation in women at high risk for the condition. Before kisspeptin becomes widely available, however, further research is needed to directly compare it with GnRHa.

The Sooner, the Better

As you can see, several exciting developments are enhancing the success of IVF. However, if you have fertility issues, the best thing you can do to increase your chances of getting pregnant and having a child is to seek fertility counseling earlier rather than later. Since you are born with all the eggs you will ever produce, and the egg supply dwindles as you age, the sooner you seek assistance, the more likely a fertility specialist will be able to help you.

 

Source: Tanmoy Mukherjee, MD
Associate Director, Division of Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility,
Mount Sinai Health System;
Co-Director, Reproductive Medicine Associates of New York;
Assistant Clinical Professor of Obstetrics, Gynecology and Reproductive Science,
Icahn School of Medicine at Mount Sinai

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My Supplement/Vitamin List

Hey Ladies! I have been asked by a good amount of ladies recently about the supplements I have been taking before + during my IVF cycles, and for fertility in general. I wanted to give you a detailed list of the supplements that I was recommended to take by my acupuncturist, Doctor, + by my own research. I know for a fact these supplements have helped improve my egg quality + quantity. These supplements can also be taken for fertility health without further intervention.

*Please note that you should always check with your own fertility or personal care Doctor before starting anything*

::Supplements to start 3 months before IVF cycle::

**DHEA 25mg – I honestly need to write a whole blog post on this miracle supplement. I believe it is one of the main things that improved my egg quality/quantity on my successful IVF cycle!

CoQ10 (2 gummies)

Prenatal Vitamin with DHA

Folic Acid

Grape Seed 3 capsules 

B-12

Vitamin D

Fish Oil

Baby Aspirin

Vitamin C (powder form, one tablespoon)

::Supplements after egg retrieval for FET::

Melatonin .5mg- I only took this for a couple weeks. While taking the steroids for the transfer I was having a hard time sleeping and this helped. I read it also helps with your cycle during FET.

Kelp (Iodine supplement) 1 pill

Prenatal Vitamin with DHA

Folic Acid

Baby Aspirin

:: I cut out a lot of my supplements after my retrieval because I felt they were more for egg quality and I was now focusing on getting my body baby ready. ::

Please feel free to contact me with any other questions! I hope this regiment is as successful for you as it was for me! xoxo

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Our Embryo or should I say Embryo(s) were transferred this past Tuesday! Everything went beautifully and we have one little boy and one little girl cooking away! One was already “hatching” which is a really good thing. I think they look like my Husband, don’t you? Bed rest is in full swing… Praying these little babes stick! Here’s to a long two weeks!

our first family photo

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The 7 Cardinal Sins of Infertility

Trying to conceive for an extended period of time is brutal. It can change a couple, leading to all sorts of strong and unexpected emotions including envy, anger and lust (or, more accurately, lack of it, but with plenty of sex).

I have seen strangers, friends, acquaintances overcome their infertility. My own journey with TTC (on infertility message boards, that’s shorthand for “trying to conceive”) is still going on. It began in 2011, just a few months after our 1 year anniversary. As two healthy adults with steady jobs and a decent nest egg, my husband and I were fully prepared for me to be pregnant after a few tries. But as the months passed, we watched as seemingly everyone around us was announcing their pregnancies, showing off baby bumps and giving birth, while I was still pointlessly peeing on sticks and meeting with a fertility specialist.

But this story isn’t about the blood tests or semen analyses or egg reserves. It’s about the feelings that many couples experience when their attempts to conceive take longer than expected. These feelings may not make us proud, but they make us human. I call it the seven cardinal sins of infertility.

Envy. Whether you’ve been trying to conceive for a few months or a few years, envy is an emotion you’ve probably experienced more than you care to admit. Thanks to our tendency to overshare, most couples of child-bearing age are all too familiar with the constant barrage of Facebook pregnancy announcements, bump updates and newborn portraits. The jealousy and guilty feelings that such news provoke are enough to make anyone want to deactivate her account.

Greed. If envy is wanting something you don’t have, greed is wanting more of something you do have — and TTC couples are always hungry for more information. I have found that it’s dangerously easy to fall into a nightly rabbit hole of Web forums and scientific studies and articles focused on infertility. We greedily cling to stats and figures that give us hope during a time when it feels like that’s all we’ve got. And it can be exhausting.

Wrath. Infertility can make you feel extra sensitive. And that can result in a bit of rage when someone — a partner or an unsuspecting friend, perhaps — says the wrong thing. It could be anything from the well-meaning “Just relax and it will happen!” to the flippant “Maybe you were just meant to adopt” and the oh-so-hilarious “Are you sure you’re doing it correctly?” I’ve managed to keep from snapping at insensitive comments — I know they aren’t intended the way they feel to me — but that doesn’t mean I’m not carrying around a grudge or two.

Gluttony. Every couple trying to conceive spends two weeks of every month waiting. This wait between ovulation and the start of the woman’s period (or, if she’s lucky, a positive pregnancy test) can be torturous — especially if she has given up caffeine, alcohol and other vices just in case she has finally become pregnant. That’s half of every month abstaining from fun and fantasizing about a baby that could be developing, only to have all hopes shattered at those first few drops of blood. And, if you’re like many, that monthly devastation is often mollified by a few days of overindulgence. So go ahead and drink that bottle of champagne and slurp a few dozen sushi rolls (my own favorite let-down treat). Can your pregnant friends do that?

Lust. Lust and sex go hand in hand — unless you’re trying to make a baby and it’s just not happening. In that case, sex tends to be more associated with ovulation predictor kits, basal body temperature and cervical mucus than any real desire to get it on. The fact is, having sex because you have to just isn’t as much fun as having sex because you want to.

Sloth. Trying to conceive can be an isolating, lonely experience. Even though it consumes much of our daily thoughts, we often keep our struggles to ourselves for a number of reasons: It’s hard to talk about. It’s scary to share something so personal. The reaction of friends and family can make you feel worse. (See “wrath” above.) And there’s also this lurking sense of shame when you feel as if something’s wrong with you. It’s not uncommon for these feelings to cause you to pull away from friends and family members — and even your partner — choosing instead to spend your time alone on the couch with your buddies Ben and Jerry.

Pride. It’s okay to keep your struggles with infertility private, but that doesn’t mean you have to go it alone or feel embarrassed about what you’re going through. It’s easy to forget that for every baby shower invitation and bump update you receive, there’s another couple out there playing the trying game. It may not make it any easier, but it helps to connect with others who are experiencing the same thing you are. For my husband and I, that reminder was sometimes the only thing that kept us from going to a dark place. Don’t feel too proud to reach out for support, whether it’s a friend who’s been through the same thing, a counselor or a local infertility support group.

 

source: washingtonpost.com

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FAT on board + a Transfer date.

Yeah. I had never heard of Intralipid Therapy/Infusions either.

That is one thing I love about our new fertility clinic. Dr. Acacio is super cutting edge with his treatments and medication protocols. At our consultation he mentioned that IVF fails sometimes because of undiagnosed autoimmune disorders in the woman. In short, Your body attacks its own reproductive system. This can cause reoccurring miscarriage and failed implantation. Treatment for this, is an infusion of Intralipids (basically a ton of fat is shot into you and it works to help with pregnancy and I don’t really know how) is administered before embryo transfer and in first 12 weeks of pregnancy.

Intralipids is a cutting edge treatment beneficial to couples who are preparing to undergo infertility treatments such as IVF, who have immune disorders, repeated IVF failure, or recurrent miscarriage. Some types of infertility may be caused by a slightly overactive immune system. When this occurs the immune system can attack egg, sperm, embryo and even a developing fetus. This can result in difficulty achieving pregnancy, maintaining the pregnancy, or repeated miscarriages.  It is a highly calorific mixture of natural fats containing a mixture of 20% Soybean Oil, 1.2% Egg Yolk Phospholipids, 2.25% Glycerin, and Water. It is given intravenously mixed with saline for about an hour. Intralipids have been shown to lower the activity of the natural killer cells component of our immune system.

Researchers and trial studies conducted both in and outside of the U.S. are showing raving results. A lot of studies will target women who suffered from immune disorders and recurrent miscarriages and/or failed IVF cycles and more likely than not achieve a successful live birth after undergoing these Intralipid infusions. A recent trial done by British researchers involving IVF and Intralipids…

“Research on Intralipid involved 96 women – average age 37 – all of whom experienced at least 6 previous failed IVF attempts. Fifty of the women in the group received infusions of the soy-based oil, given by intravenous drip about a week before their IVF was to begin. Forty six of the women received no treatment. All the women subsequently underwent an IVF procedure, which included removing their eggs, combining them with sperm in a laboratory dish, and then implanting the resulting embryo into the woman’s uterus. Fifty percent of the women who received the Intralipid infusions achieved successful pregnancies, compared to just 9 percent of those not treated.  In terms of miscarriage, just two women who received Intralipid miscarried (about 8 percent) compared to seven miscarriages in the group who did not receive the infusions (about 64 percent).” WOW.

The only downside is that insurance does not cover the cost of treatment for Intralipids because it is a newer treatment and is still a bit experimental. So at a whopping $600 for each infusion, I am praying this is the magic potion to keeping these little embies to stick this time around. But let’s be honest… I would pay $600 a minute for an hour if it meant seeing two lines on a pee stick.

I had my infusion this past Monday and our transfer is scheduled for Tuesday March 29! I feel like this has been the longest month of my life. I am getting nervous, but trying to keep my excitement and positivity up. YAY for FAT!

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