Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Do you hear what I hear?


Baby monitors are an extra set of ears- that allow you to keep tabs on your sleeping baby. The most basic type of monitor is an audio monitor. It operates within a selected radio frequency band to send sound from the baby's room to a receiver. Each monitor consists of a transmitter (child unit) and one or more receivers (parents units)

The biggest challenge for a monitor is to transmit the sound over a distance with minimal interference- static, buzzing, or any other irritating noise. You need to make sure that you keep your monitor away from cell phone, computers, and cordless phones. So try to move things around to get the best reception. Overall interference is the biggest complaint that parents have about monitors.

Some monitors also have lights, like the photo show above, which show the baby noises- it's nice if you need to make a phone call, you can turn the sound off and still see if the baby is crying- the louder the baby cries the more lights light up. If you live in a large home having two receivers can be helpful- you can keep one receiver in one place and the other receiver in another place.

To minimize the possibility of interference purchase a monitor that operates on a different frequency band then other wireless products in your home. Generally cordless phones run a 2.4GHz frequency.

The most popular monitors are:
Evenflo, Graco, Fisher Price, Safety 1st, Sony, Summer Infant, and The First Years- they range in price from $15-$200. Remember the more expensive the monitor does not always equal a better monitor.

Monday, December 28, 2009

Adoption Leave, Short Term Disability, and Day Care- OH MY!

As we continue our preparations for our adoption journey today it was finally thinking about what happens when the baby comes home and what happens when we have to go back to work, how does this new baby fit into our lives?

The day started with calls to human resources at John's work- and much to our surprise John gets paternity leave, a lot of paternity leave- all paid at 100%. He gets 12 weeks of paid adoption leave starting when the child is placed with us. WOW! How great is that?! On the other hand I get NADA! Because my firm is less then 50 people they are not required to offer us FMLA, so all I get is my vacation time. So luckily John can be a stay at home dad until the baby is 6 weeks old and is old enough to go to day care. I have to admit, I think he is really excited about that!

I also took a tour of a daycare center today. I think I found a good one- its a large day care center around the corner from my office. They do not have a waiting list- which is good for us. They take children from 6 weeks up to kindergarten. The location is great, the price is reasonable and the facility is clean and taken care of. Each child has their own mini crib- and their own cubby- in which bottles, formula, wipes, and snacks are kept. They are also kept with children their own age, which is great for socialization. All in all I am very happy with my first visit- and it's defiantly the front runner right now. The fact that it's so close to my office is great- if anything happened I would be close by. It's hard to find a place that you think is good enough to leave your child all day- but its the choices that every mother must make.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

The Rancic's Season 2


The Rancic's are back and it's better than ever for season two! From the previews it looks like season two will focus on Guiliana and Bill trying to get pregnant. There are several scene's are the doctor's office and then poor Guiliana having a negative pregnancy test. Having been there and done that I cannot help but wonder if the Rancic's are infertile? Guiliana is 36 years old, so her clock is ticking- and Bill is 38 so they need to get moving if they are going to have kids. They have been married for over two years so if they have been trying since they got married they meet the definition of infertility- no success after one year of trying.

I hope they have kids- I do not wish this journey on anyone, and they would make such cute babies- they are both so attractive. I am so looking forward to season two which premieres in January 2010.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Wait, hold up! There is a infant seat in my house!


John and I are in the final stretch of our adoption classes. We have one more class on Saturday and our final home visit this week. We have checked everything off on our lists and our house is 100% child safe! I got a killer deal on a Graco car seat- I had several coupons and a cyber monday deal so I jumped on it. So now we have a brand spanking new Graco infant seat in our house- I don't even know what to do with myself. I feel like I need to call Fed Ex and tell them that they made a mistake, and it was delivered to the wrong house.

So we are busy researching cribs, mattresses, toys, and other baby items and getting ready for the holidays- it's very busy at our house!

I have to admit that I have never felt better. I will keep everyone updated. Happy Holidays everyone! Enjoy and be safe!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Wait! My child is too big for their infant seat!

When you get to the point where your child reached the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of the seat for their rear-facing infant seat, they can ride forward-facing in a convertible seat. However, it is best for her to ride rear-facing to the highest weight or height allowed by the manufacturer of her car safety seat. Children should ride in a forward-facing seat with a five point harness until they are least 40 pounds, newer convertible seats are holding children up to 65 pounds. The longer your child can ride in a five point harness for as along as possible.

Most convertible seats are attached through the LATCH system, if your vehicle was manufactured after 2002, you will have LATCH in your vehicle. Convertible car seats are also attached using tether straps. A tether is a strap that attaches to the top of a car safety seat and to an anchor point in your vehicle (see your vehicle owner’s manual to find where the tether anchors are in your vehicle). Tethers give important extra protection by keeping the car safety seat and the child’s head from moving too far forward in a crash or sudden stop. All new cars, minivans, and light trucks have been required to have tether anchors since September 2000. New forward-facing car safety seats come with tethers. For older seats, or if your tether is missing, tether kits are available. Check with the car safety seat manufacturer to find out how you can get a tether if your seat does not have one.

Some of the best convertible car seats are the Britax Boulevard, Britax Marathon, The First Years True Fit, and the Graco My Ride 65. All of these can be found at Babies R Us, or online.

Monday, November 23, 2009

How Do You Install a Car Seat Safely?

Did you know that 7 our of every 10 kids are riding in a car seat that is installed incorrectly? I am going to take the next few blog entries to discuss car seat safety. It is found that so many parents have no idea what kind of car seat to use and how to use it propertly. Motor vehicle crashes remain the leading cause of death of children, ages 3-14. However, many of these deaths can be prevented through the proper use of child safety seats. According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), child safety seats can reduce fatal injury by 71 percent for infants and by 54 percent for toddlers, ages 1-4.

Babies should be in a car seat starting with their first ride home from the hospital. The American Academy of Pediatrics (AAP) recommends that all infants should ride starting rear-facing. They should remain rear-facing until they reach the highest weight or height allowed by their car safety seat’s manufacturer. At a minimum, children should ride rear-facing until they have reached at least 1 year of age and weigh at least 20 pounds. There are 2 types of rear-facing car safety seats: infant-only seats and convertible seats.

Infant Seats are the very popular because the actual seat can be taken out of the car without disturbing the baby- and the base stays in the car, the base is what the seat snaps into. The newer infant seats are made to fit children up to 22 pounds and some manufacturers like Chicco and Graco are making infant seats that can safely hold a baby up to 35 pounds. The new Graco Snugride 35 can be seen above.

Convertible car seats can be used rear-facing, then “converted” to forward-facing for older children. This means the seat can be used longer by your child. They are bulkier than infant seats, however, and do not come with carrying handles or a separate base.

Have higher rear-facing weight and height limits than infant-only seats, which makes them ideal for bigger babies. Most people use the infant seat until the child is too heavy for it and then switches to a convertible seat.

When installing a rear facing car seat make sure the car safety seat is installed tightly in the vehicle and that the harness fits the child snugly. Remember, never place a rear-facing car safety seat in the front seat of a vehicle that has a active front passenger air bag. If the air bag inflates, it will hit the back of the car safety seat, right where your baby’s head is, and could cause serious injury or death. If your rear-facing seat has more than one set of harness slots, make sure the harnesses are in the slots at or below your baby’s shoulders.

Be sure you know what kind of seat belts your vehicle has. Some seat belts need locking clips. Locking clips come with all new car safety seats. If you’re not sure, check the owner's manual that came with your vehicle. Locking clips are not needed in most newer vehicles. If you are using a convertible seat in the rear-facing position, make sure the seat belt is routed through the correct belt path. Check the instructions that came with the car safety seat to be sure. If your vehicle was made after 2002, it may come with the LATCH system, which is used to secure car safety seats. Make sure the seat is at the correct angle so your infant’s head does not flop forward. Many seats have angle indicators or adjusters that can help prevent this. Most importantly, be sure the car safety seat is installed tightly. If you can move the seat more than an inch side to side or front to back, it’s not tight enough.

It's always a good idea to visit a certified Child Passenger Safety (CPS) Technician to double check your car seat.

Monday, November 16, 2009

Not as I planned- and that's okay.

This journey of infertility has been hell, but it's also been an eye opening experiece. I have always been the person who had to have things right now and just how I wanted them and I am realized that unfortunelty that is not how life works. If I dictate my life I would have had a baby 2 years ago and I would have the most beautiful pink and brown or blue and brown nursery for that little baby to come home to. Well, things have not worked out as I would have liked, but I am realizing that it's okay and I can be flexible and go with the flow. John and I have "the brown room" as I call it and it's an empty room in our house that is for the nursery. When we moved into our home we had it painted chocolate brown for a reason- because if we had a girl it would be accented with pink and brown decor and if we had a boy then blue and brown.

Well, now that we have taken the road towards adoption, I am learning that green is a really pretty color, and green goes with chocolate brown really well. So my pink and brown or blue and brown room is now going to be a green and brown room. John and I are both planners and we want to have the nursery set up when we get our baby- so I have been researching green and brown nusery's because it's gender neutral. I have found some super cute bedding sets that are very affordable, and I'm really starting to like green and brown.

I have really learned that things do not work out how you initially wanted or even hoped and that's okay- because there is another path that is right for you. Just becasue I don't get my pink or blue and brown nusery does not mean that I can never have that. The child is going to grow up and I will have the opportunity to redecorate when the child moves into a toddler bed or an adult bed so just becasue I don't have it right now does not mean that I will miss out on having it down the road.

I have never been a patient person and infertility has taught me to be more patient and to really be gratful for what you do have in life, and if you want something bad enough you will have it- it just may not be the way you invisioned.


Friday, November 13, 2009

Gender Disappointment?!

This a message board that is titled Gender Disappointment, and it is filled with women who are upset with the sex of their child. It's either someone who wanted a boy and is pregnant with a girl or vice versa. Now, while I understand someone may be initially upset when finding out the sex of their child, there are some women that are downright pissed off. Who say their kicks are annoying and they are seriously considering having a late term abortion.

I cannot begin to tell you how sick this makes me! While John and I have always wanted to have a girl, I can tell you that if I became pregnant or we had the chance to adopt a baby boy we would jump at the chance- we would never in a million years turn away a baby just because of the sex.

I cannot believe that there are women out there who are so immature that they would actually be upset that they are carrying a baby boy or a baby girl, just because they wanted the other sex. Freaking be happy that you can get pregnant and have children you selfish bitches!





Monday, November 9, 2009

Dinner with new friends

We went to dinner last Friday with a new couple, a couple that we have met in our adoption class. They were so fun- and it felt so good to talk about our hopes, dreams, and our fears of this adoption process with people that understand what we are going through. I think the hardest thing about going through infertility was that no one understood- no one understood the pain and the hurt that we continued to feel month after month and cycle after cycle.

It felt wonderful to share my feelings with someone who truly understands what it feels like to stand in my shoes, because their shoes have walked the same journey and somehow someway our paths have crossed.

We have been through a lot with our friends lately, so I hope that we have found some new ones, that we can share fun times as couples, and fun times as families.

Monday, November 2, 2009

Insurance Companies can suck it!

I was having a conversation with a girl the other day who was asking if she could talk to her human resources department about changing their insurance plan to cover fertility treatments. I told her to go for it- the worse they can say is no, right? After doing a little research we found out that 91% of employers offering infertility treatment have not experienced an increase in their medical costs as a result of providing this coverage.

So to make a long story a little shorter- my friend spoke to her HR department and was told that fertility treatments are a "life choice" and not something that will be covered under their plan, because having children is your choice.

Well, needless to say when I heard this I was furious, a life choice? Are you kidding me- yea and I chose to be infertile and deal with this shit!

It really infuriates me that my insurance will pay:

1. To treat someone who has diabetes, and that has that diabetes from poor eating choices, or being obsess, or not working out- and pretty much making poor life choices.

2. For oxygen for someone who has emphysema because they smoke- or the chemotherapy needed to treat the lung cancer that they will get from smoking. Isn't that a decision to put that cancer stick in your mouth? It freaking says on the box, if you smoke this you will get cancer, HELLO!

Smoking is a choice, drinking is a choice, poor eating habits and failure to work out is a choice- being infertile is not a choice. Infertility is a medically documented illness- and should be treated as any other disease. If you are not going to treat infertility or pay for the procedure to help infertile couples conceive then you may as well diagnose someone with cancer, or diabetes and say "well, you need chemo" but we will not pay for it. It's the same thing that happened to me and my husband, oh you need IVF, because your sperm sucks, but we won't pay for it- so you need to pay $15,000 cash for your procedure.

This is all because having children is a choice. Insurance companies, human resources managers, and politicians could not be more wrong. So until insurance companies tell those smokers with lung cancer and emphysema to come up with the money to pay for their chemo and their lung transplants us infertiles will continue to fight for equal insurance rights.

For more information on infertility and insurance companies visit resolve.org



Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Fast Facts about Adoption

I will get more in depth about adoption- but I am going to start with just a few quick facts.

- One in ten Americans has either been adopted, been a birth parent to an adopted child, or an adoptive parent.

- Most adoptions today are "open" or "semi-open," which means that birth parents and adoptive parents share personal information with each other, either directly or through an agency. Anonymous or "closed" adoptions have become increasingly rare.

- The first step for someone who is pregnant and thinking of giving their child up for adoption- if she doesn't already know someone who wants to adopt the child--is to contact a state agency and talk to a lawyer about filing the necessary papers. And the baby's biological father has to sign consent forms.

-Sometimes it's not until adoptees hit their teen years that they "find out." Learning that your parents aren't your birth parents after all can be confusing and even upsetting.

-Adoption has been around for a long time. It's mentioned in the Bible, and was not uncommon among the ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians and Babylonians.

Monday, October 26, 2009

A New Path

I thought I would finally come out of the closet, we have decided to pursue adoption, and it feels so good. John and I started talking about adoption about a year ago, but really did not start getting serious until the last few months. After our second IVF failed we decided that being parents was more important than me actually being pregnant. We are pursing adoption through the county, and we will have to be foster parents first. The biggest reason is that the child has to be in your custody for six months before an adoption can be finalized.

We are about half way through our classes that we need to take- they are 3 hours every Saturday, and are actually really fun, we are learning a lot. We have also met some really nice couples, some who have been through the fertility roller coaster, This is where our social worker comes and meets with us at our home. She also inspects our home and tells us things that we can do to make it safer for children.

So that is what is new in our life, we are really excited our new path to parenthood. We will be finished with class right before Christmas, and hopefully fully licensed soon after the first of the year.

Monday, October 19, 2009

The Right to Choose?

After all these months of trying to conceive without success I have gotten very upset about the entire thing- so recently I started thinking about why am I so mad? If you asked me 5 years ago about having kids- I would have said that was the farthest thing from my mind. But there is something about getting married that changes all that. The first thing that changed for me was that I was with someone who I could actually see myself having kids with, and he wanted kids too, he will be such a good dad!
The second part is that we are taught by society that it's what we are supposed to do, get married and have kids.

If someone asks me why I want to have kids, I really don't have an answer- is it because that is what we are supposed to do or is it because I really want kids? But wait- we have gone through hell and high water to have a baby- am I serious that I don't know why I want to have a baby? No WAY!? So what all this has been for nothing?

Well no, that is not exactly true- when it comes down to it- I just really want to be fertile- I want to be able to choose to have a baby. When you are dealing with infertility that choice is taken away from you, and you have no control over it. Going through fertility treatments is a way to take back some of that control. Fertiles have the choice of when or even if to have a baby- I don't have that choice and that is what is so frustrating.

Now, just so you understand I want to be a mom more then anything- I have told myself that I will do whatever it takes to be a mom, actually there isn't anything I wouldn't do if I knew it would result in a baby. But it's interesting to look at the motivation- it's about choice.

Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Pregnant with 2 babies, but wait they aren't twins!

Imagine Todd and Julia Grovenburg’s surprise when doctors found not one, but two babies on Julia’s ultrasound – and then told the parents the babies weren’t twins,

Doctors think Julia and Todd conceived baby girl Jillian first, and two-and-a-half weeks later conceived baby boy Hudson, according to statements from KFSM-TV in Ft. Smith-Fayetteville, Ark.

Jillian and Hudson have different due dates, and this rare development is called superfetation – when a mother conceives another child while pregnant.

“It does really sound like this is a true case of different conception times for these children,” said Dr. Karen Boyle of the Greater Baltimore Medical Center. “When the woman had her ultrasound initially, they saw one sack, one baby developing, and that baby had a certain gestational age; then they noticed a second heartbeat in a child that was much, much younger developmentally.”

Dr. Boyle told ABC News she has only heard of 10 reported cases of superfetation.

However, superfetation cannot be absolutely determined until after the babies are born, and doctors are able to conduct chromosomal and metabolic tests on the babies.

Thursday, October 1, 2009

Follow up about Jewelyn

With the recent death of our dear "nestie" I have done some research on her cause of death. It's amazing how in the year 2009 women can still die in childbirth, isn't that something that happened back in the medieval times, not now, at least that's what I thought. Jewelyn died from a Amniotic Fluid Embolism and Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation (AFES) which is a catastrophic condition that occurs during pregnancy or shortly after delivery. Suspected risk factors have included tumultuous labor, trauma, multiparity, increased gestational age, and increased maternal age. However, many patients who develop amniotic fluid embolism have no obvious risk factors and unfortunately there is not a lot that can be done.

The paypal account that was listed in the post below is still accepting donations, but if you have any diaper or formula coupons to send please forward those to:

The Jewelyn Okamoto Memorial Fund
P.O. Box 235971
Encinitas, CA 92023-5971

Anything that is not used will be donated to the Liz Logelin foundation, which is a great foundation that was created by Matt Logelin after the death of his wife last March. I will discuss this foundation more in my next post.

Please if you can send some thoughts and prayers to the Okamoto family to help them get through this difficult time.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Tears for someone I never knew





Today I found out that a fellow "nestie" as I so affectionately call them passed away during childbirth. Her name was Jewelyn and she and her husband Phillip were so excited on the birth of their first child, a girl. Jewelyn went into labor on Saturday and ended up needing an emergency c-section. She then suffered from an Amniotic Fluid Embolism and Disseminated Intravascular Coagulation. She passed away on Sunday at 11:30 am PST.

Jewelyn was a fellow nestie from California and was a frequent poster on many boards that I am part off. The Nest is a group of women who have always been there for me, we have planned our weddings together on The Knot and then all moved over to The Nest and discussed everything from husbands, family, jobs, and having children. The women on that board are some of the most wonderful caring people I have ever known.

Of course my nesties have amazed me once again and have already set up a fund for Jewelyn's husband Philip and baby Gabrielle. A PayPal account under the email address 4jewelyn@gmail.com has been set up. You can make a donation there. All proceeds will be donated to Philip Okamoto. I am sure any amount donated will be extremely helpful even if it's only a dollar. I have been informed that this money can be taxed so the girls are looking into setting up an official fund. I will update the blog with this information when I receive it.

This makes you stop and think how precious life is, hug your loved ones a little tighter tonight as we never know when our last day may be. My thoughts and prayers go out to Jewelyn's husband, and family, and especially her little girl. May God give you strength to get through this and bring you peace.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

My take on the embryo situation.

First off, I have to say that my heart goes out to this couple. First to go through the pain of infertility and then to go through IVF to get pregnant only to find out it's not your biological child, I can only imagine the pain that she is going through. I give her a lot of credit for being able to carry a child for another couple, I don't know if I could do that. On the other hand, what a wonderful gift she is giving to another infertile couple, a child is a priceless gift.

I do have to question this IVF lab that made this mix up, having gone through 2 IVF's at 2 different clinics I will say that security is very high and over and over you are saying your name and the lab is verifying that they are giving you the correct embryo. I remember right before my embryo transfer the lab tech asked me my name and double checked it against the petri dish that contained my embryo. So it's a shame that this happened, however humans are still involved and humans make mistakes, although this is a big mistake. But I can assure people that this does not happen everyday- this is a rare isolated incident. But that does not stop the ignorant opinionated people from voicing their opinions.

I have been on two different websites that both were playing the same video of this couple and I could not believe the comments that people were making. These were some of my personal favorites;
"Serves them right, that's what you get for messing with God's plan"
"People who go to these lengths to have kids are selfish"
"So what you can't have a baby, get over it!"
"Why don't you just adopt"
"IVF should be illegal, this is God's way of saying survival of the fittest."

Honestly, I really do not even know where to start. The people who said these disgusting comments should really learn to keep their mouths shut. They obvioulsy know nothing about fertility treatments and I really hope that none of them have to endure the hell of infertility. First of all, IVF is not playing God- there is still alot that has to happen once the embryo is transferred back into the uterus- and I feel that is when God's plan takes over. Secondly, there is nothing selfish about wanting to have your own children, that is a basic human desire, that everyone should get to experience if they choose to. The next comment upsets me the most, "get over it" are you serious! That is the rudest thing you can say to someone. As for the adoption comment- yes adoption is a great alternative for people to build their family- but for some it's not right. Personally, I am totally up for adoption, but I will still pursue fertility treatments to have my own children. And last but not least- God is weeding us out by making 1 in 6 couples infertile, does that mean that if you get cancer you should die, because that is God's plan? HELL NO! My life is not dictated by infertility- it's a disease just like Cancer, Diabetes, or AIDS- it's not a bad person's disease- it just happens, and you get through it, and it makes you stronger.

I hate that there are so many ignorant people in the world who feel that it's their duty to put other down, I think the old school rule of if you have nothing nice to say then say nothing at all applies in this case.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

My opnion of The Daily Beast Article


After reading the article that was posted on The Daily Beast I was so mad I think there was smoke coming out of my ears. First off to call wanting to have a child an "obsession" is completely wrong! There is nothing obsessive about wanting to have a family, that is a basic human desire for some. I can think of nothing better to spend your time or money on, its a baby for goodness sake- not a pair of shoes.

To put others down for their decisions when they do not effect the lives of others is so wrong. My decision to pursue IVF does not in any way impact any one else, only me and my husband are affected. There were several people in this article that had medical issues that were causing issues and just because they used assisted reproductive technology (ART) in order to have a child that is wrong. I didn't know that having Hepatitis or HIV banded you from having children. If someone has a disease and they use ART in order to not pass a horrible disease onto their child that is smart, not wrong.

I do not wish infertility on anyone, but in this case- the author needs to walk a mile in our shoes and see how it feels to be disappointed month after month because you cannot get pregnant, then maybe she will have a different opinion about using whatever method necessary to have a baby. I am happy that we have the technologies available to us. This is an instance in which if you do not have anything nice to say, do not say anything at all!

The ignorace of some people!!

This was posted in The Daily Beast today and boy does it stir up a lot of emotions in me and other people going through fertility treatments, enjoy:

From embryo adoption to sperm washing, making a baby is easier—and more complicated—than ever. Doree Shafrir on parenthood's new frontier.

Today's birth announcements come in all shapes and sizes. "Steve and Michael are Preggers!" "Sally, Maria, and Sebastian are Having Twins!" "It's an Adopted Frozen Embryo!"

We live in an age when the obsession with having a child has reached a fever pitch. Single men and women, and couples gay and straight, have more options than ever before—and they're taking advantage of every single one of them. The $4 billion fertility industry has couples going to untold lengths to conceive, and has pushed pregnancy toward the realm of science fiction. People are adopting embryos that would have otherwise been used for stem-cell research, and HIV-infected sperm is being washed clean so it can fertilize an egg. (Whose egg? Maybe the 50-something single lesbian's.) There are sperm banks offering discounts to soldiers who want to store their sperm for their wives to impregnate themselves with in case they die overseas. And more and more often, close family members are acting as surrogates.

With the art of baby-making going from surrealist to abstract, The Daily Beast talked to couples (and singles) whose paths to parenthood were circuitous, but perhaps all the more touching for the length of the journey.

The Sister-in-Law Surrogate

Mindy Denney, a former TV news anchor, had a partial hysterectomy at 19 because of hemophilia in her family; she still had eggs, but no uterus. When she started thinking about having children, she turned to her sister-in-law, Gina, whom she'd known since junior high school. Over a bottle of wine, Mindy and her husband discussed it with Mindy's brother and Gina, and Gina agreed. "For three months she had to take huge progesterone shots in her back every day," Mindy said of Gina's ordeal. "We had to get our cycles together." Mindy's cycle had to be lined up with Gina's so that Gina's uterus would be ready to receive the eggs at the exact moment they were ready.

Diagnosing an Embryo

Mindy also knew she was a carrier for hemophilia—the reason she'd had the partial hysterectomy—and so her embryos underwent PGD, or preimplantation genetic diagnosis. "We had 13 embryos, with eight cells to each embryo. They'd pull one cell off at a time and send it to a clinic, and the clinic would test that one cell and send us back the paperwork and say this one has PGD, this one doesn't, etc. We only had 13 embryos in consideration." Of course this raises the issue of genetic selection, as Mindy herself points out: "People say, oh, you decided not to have the hemophilia child." She declined to say what happened to the rest of the embryos.

The first two clinics Mindy tried refused to work with her because of the genetic disease issues. The third, the Huntington Reproductive Clinic in Southern California, agreed. "The doctor said, I've never done anything like this before. Let's do it," said Mindy.

Adopting Her Own Son

After the embryo was successfully implanted in her sister-in-law—who was living in Austin, Texas—Mindy discovered, months later, that there was another potential wrinkle: She had to get a court order saying that she and her husband, not her sister-in-law and her brother, were the parents. "Otherwise, we would have had to adopt our own son," she said. Today, Mindy's son Alec is a healthy 3 year old. But she and her husband know if they want to have more biological children they'll have to find a new surrogate: While she was pregnant with Alec, Gina developed the anti-E antibody, a condition that can result when a mother's blood type is incompatible with her child's. As a result, Gina is unable to carry any more children as a surrogate, though she can still have more of her own biological children.

Sperm Washing

Today, even a man who’s HIV-positive can conceive with relative safety—he just needs to get his sperm washed first. Dr. Ann Kiessling, a researcher at Harvard Medical School and the founder of the Bedford Stem Cell Research Foundation, pioneered the use of so-called sperm washing in the United States. Sperm washing can be used when a man with HIV wants his own biological child but wants to be sure he doesn’t pass along the virus.

The process foregoes soap and water, and skips right to the spin cycle. Sperm is spun in a centrifuge and the healthy, presumably non-HIV-infected sperm are the ones that are left in the center. The healthy sperm are then fertilized using IVF or through the "cup" insemination method. According to Kiessling, 101 babies in the U.S. have been born using this method since 1998. "We were going to have a big party when we got to 100, but we realized that most people who have gone through this don't want people to know who they are," she said. "There are quite a number of pregnancies ongoing now."

At first, she said, she had trouble finding fertility specialists who were willing to work with sperm that had been "washed." "Vladimir Troche, who runs a fertility program in Arizona, was the very first to step forward and said, I'll help you with these people. After he started, other programs had started." Sperm washing can also be used by men with hepatitis B, which, according to Kiessling, is "one of the few viruses that can infect the developing embryo."

Claiming a Frozen Embryo

Monica, a 38-year-old woman living with her husband Gary outside of Philadelphia, is pregnant with her first child. But the baby won't share any genetic material with either her or her husband. That's because she adopted the frozen leftover embryos of a Milwaukee woman who had undergone fertility treatments. Many women who undergo IVF either discard their leftover embryos or donate them for stem-cell research. But some IVF users—especially Christian ones—believe that life begins at conception and refuse to destroy or donate their leftover embryos. Instead, they pay to keep them frozen and, in a process that has become similar to adopting a child, wait for the right person to come along to adopt the embryo. The resulting children have come to be called snowflake babies.

Monica went through an agency called Embryos Alive, which has been run by a Cincinnati woman named Bonnie Bernard since September 2003. Bernard matches leftover embryos with women like Monica; the embryo donors must approve each adoption. "On her Web site there's a list of the anonymous donors—what they look like and what they're looking for, and how many embryos they have," Monica explained. "It also says what the mother and father's backgrounds are, and what faith or religious beliefs they have." The couple she chose to adopt her embryos “was perfect,” says Monica. “They fit what we look like and our Christian beliefs, and they wanted a closed adoption.”

Monica and Gary had to submit a background check, birth certificates, baptismal records, deed to their house, health-insurance cards, proof of life insurance, and information about the neighborhood they lived in, as well as three letters of recommendation. Bernard's fee for everything was $3,200.

The Adoptee's Adoption

When it came time for the embryos to actually be transferred, however, Monica hit an unexpected snag: The father of the donated embryos was himself adopted, and had incomplete medical records. Several fertility clinics they contacted refused to do the transfer because of his unknown medical background. "They were afraid they would contaminate the other embryos," said Monica. She finally found a clinic in Delaware that would do the transfer, for which she paid $3,500. Despite these fees, Monica said, embryo adoption "was the most affordable way to go about having my own child." She’s due two days after Christmas.

The Divorcees' Conception

Dr. John Jain, who founded the Santa Monica Fertility Specialists clinic, recalls one patient who had frozen her eggs at age 40 when it seemed that she and her husband would divorce. One year later, at age 41, they reconciled, and the couple came back to Jain's clinic for IVF after she had had a miscarriage. "Miscarriages at that age are related to chromosomal abnormalities—the egg gives rise to genetically abnormal embryos," said Jain. At that point, he said, the patient decided to use her frozen eggs. "I decided to do ZIFT (zygote intrafallopian transfer). I put the eggs in her Fallopian tubes. This was a woman who was in her forties and likelihood of pregnancy through any standard in vitro fertilization method is poor. She'd already had a miscarriage, which showed eggs were on downward side of quality." ZIFT is a laproscopic surgery performed under general anesthesia. Through ZIFT, the woman ended up with a healthy baby.

Seeking Single Motherhood

Staceyann Chin, a lesbian author, poet, and activist, is working on a documentary called Baby Makes Me with the filmmaker Tiona McClodden about attempting to become a single mother. The documentary, which will begin shooting soon, will also explore other women's nontraditional paths to become mothers. "Even if I did have a kid with a partner, I'd be making the choice to have a child who will grow up without a father," said Chin, who has started visiting sperm banks to explore her options. "This whole idea of choosing a kid—when you go to buy sperm, you have Chinese sperm, black sperm, white sperm. You can pay extra to look at a picture of the donor as a baby, to see what your baby might look like."

Chin, who grew up in Jamaica of African and Chinese ancestry, said that embarking on this quest has also raised difficult questions about race. "I had this idea that I'd like to have a kid that looks like me," she said. "When you have a kid, you think, 'My child is going to look like me and my boyfriend.' So that we all look like a family, if i was with another black woman I would choose black sperm. When you don't have that in mind when you're going solo, it's an eeny miney mo setup. You get to manipulate the race of your kid."

Making Other People's Babies

Rick Dillwood and his wife, Amelia, who have been married for seven years, don't have children themselves, and have no plans to. But there will be five children who owe their existence to the two of them. Several months ago, Dillwood, a 29-year-old grad student in North Carolina, donated sperm to his friends, a lesbian couple named Melanie and Karen, who used to be his neighbors. Their baby, a girl, is due in November. And before Amelia, who is now 34, met Rick, she had donated eggs. "So there are four children in the world who share my wife's genetic material who she has no contact with," said Dillwood. "Those kids can contact her when they're old enough. I think part of the reason that Melanie and Karen approached us is because they realized we were into the idea that we didn't want to be responsible for our biological children."

Before Dillwood handed over his sperm, Melanie and Karen drafted a contract stipulating that he knows why he's doing this and what it will lead to. "I have no say in anything about the child," said Dillwood. "I'm not responsible financially in any way for the child." Dillwood said he's not telling his parents about his daughter until the so-called second family adoption goes through. "A couple years ago, my mom said, 'Do you think you're ever going to have kids?' And I said, 'I don't think.' My parents are pretty traditional, and I could tell that didn't make any logical sense to her. So now I'm going to tell her that not only am I not going to have kids, but I'm giving kids to someone else."

Dillwood made a 10-minute film about his experience called How to Make a Heartbeat that screened at the Austin Gay and Lesbian Film Festival last week. His parents, he said, don't know about the documentary, either.

The Homeless Fetus

Dan Savage, editor of the Seattle alt-weekly The Stranger and the writer of the Savage Love sex advice column, adopted his son D.J. from a homeless woman before the child was even born. Savage has written extensively about D.J.'s adoption in two books: The Kid: What Happened After My Boyfriend and I Decided to Go Get Pregnant and The Commitment: Love, Sex, Marriage and My Family. D.J.'s birth mother, whom Savage calls Melissa in his writing, was an inconsistent presence in his life in his early years; there was a period of about a year and a half where Savage thought she was dead. But today they see her about once a year. "She's no longer homeless," said Savage. "She's settled a little more than she used to be. The thing that's complicated now is that it takes them a little time to warm up to each other. D.J.'s shy and so is his mom."

Savage was quick to clarify reports that labeled Melissa a drug addict. "She was using drugs and alcohol in recreational quantities when she got pregnant. The minute she found out she was pregnant, she stopped."

Nine months after D.J. was born, his father showed up. "Then he disappeared and we never heard from him again." Today, Savage is in touch with his son's step-grandmother (his biological grandfather's wife), and says that no one knows where D.J.'s father is; he does know that "D.J. has a half sibling out there somewhere."

Monday, August 31, 2009

This takes "just go on vacation" to a new level!


I can understand the idea of a babymoon, a vacation taken right before a new baby is born. Enjoying one last (for a while anyway) trip before your life becomes a crazy blur of diapers and late-night feedings almost seems medically necessary. But taking a vacation with the sole purpose of getting knocked up - a procreation vacation - well, that sounds a little too "desperate marketing ploy" to me. Can't people just have sex at home? Or just go on a trip and say "We're gonna go on vacation, have a lot of sex, and see what happens" without making pregnancy the objective? Apparently, the Westin hopes not.

The Westin Resort on Aruba wants couples looking to take their own procreation vacation to book a stay this fall. The Resort is offering a $300 credit, to be used on on a future visit, to any couple that conceives while staying at the resort between September 1 and December 19. During that time, the Resort's "Classic Package" is $399 per night for two and includes all meals and drinks, including alcohol. Guests who book by September 30 will also receive a $100 Resort Credit.

It's an attention-getting promotion, but I doubt many couples will be able to collect. Getting pregnant seems like a crap shoot that requires the perfect storm of several factors. No matter how much sex a couple has over the course of their stay, the odds that the woman will happen to be ovulating and get pregnant within that time frame are slim. But if it does happen, the couple just needs to provide a doctor's note confirming that conception was on or around the dates of their stay, and they'll receive the $300 credit. For those who do receive a visit from the stork, I suppose it's a nice incentive to return to the Westin for the first post-baby vacation.

WOW!! Seriously this takes baby making to a new level, hell it's a lot less then IVF! Maybe we should try it, although if I had a quarter for every time someone told me to relax or go on vacation and I would get pregnant I would have enough money to buy the Westin!

Friday, August 28, 2009

We Won The $333 Million Mega Millions Jackpot!


We won the $333 million Mega Millions jackpot! Or at least I was hoping to be able to say that tonight. A few months ago I had discussed the sequence of numbers 333. Ironically, the most searched keyword on Bring Us a Baby is 333.

For a blog specifically about infertility and the inability to conceive having the meaning of 333 being the most searched topic is kind of unusual. Don't you think?

The numbers 333 have been following us consistently for months making us wonder what does it mean. During our last IVF transfer the egg transfer took place at exactly 3:33 pm. We had thought that this was it for sure. But it was not.

This morning while reading the business section of CNN.com it stood out to me like a sore thumb. Mega millions: Jackpot swells to $333 million. We went down to the state line of our home state of Nevada to the border of California and bought 10 tickets.

It wasn't really the thought of winning so much money to go on some sort of shopping spree. It was more the unlimited amounts, well almost the unlimited amounts, of IVF cycles that would be available. On second thought it was an unlimited amount of IVF cycles. Maybe not just for us, but for others too.

Shannon and I have really been thinking of ways to help and support others facing infertility. Tonight I wrote a check for $100,000 before we bought the lottery tickets. The check made payable to Nestie IVF's was going to be our first supporting effort for those who could use it.

Although, we didn't win the $333 million jackpot today, I so want to be able to write checks to be people who don't have the financial resources or insurance to help deal with infertility medically. One day I know in my heart we will be able to do such thing.

The original concept to find those in need would be based on stories submitted to us along with their current financial situation. That may have changed or tweaked in some way, but for now we would love to hear your stories. Write to us at bringusababy@gmail.com.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

You stole my name, bitch!

Names- this can be a touchy subject when it comes to babies. Some women are very funny about "their" names and protecting "their" names from others stealing them. Honestly I never really thought about this, yes John and I have our children's names picked out and I really have not told many people what those names are, but it's not because I am afraid someone will steal them, its more of the I want the surprise factor when we announce the name.

I have heard horror stories about friendships being ruined over someone taking someone Else's baby name. This is actually such a big deal that it was a story line in Sex and the City. Charlotte (who did not have kids) was made when her friend took her baby name, Shayla.

I had a run in with this situation just the other day. My dear friend, who struggled with infertility for over 3 years is due to give birth any day to a baby girl. Now baby girl is still nameless, so I have been joking with my friend that she needs to come up with a name. Well, yesterday she told me that she had it narrowed down to Layla or Kennedy, and she wanted my opinion. Now, Kennedy is my #2 girl name, if I had twin girls one would be Kennedy. So I told my friend that I LOVE Kennedy, but that Layla was very different and with her last name I thought Layla fit better, then I added that Kennedy is my alternative girl name, and she immediately starting saying how sorry she was. Honestly, I was shocked I could not understand why she was sorry. So I asked her, and she said well I stole your name. I explained to her that first off there is more then one Kennedy in the world and her and I have never discussed names so she did not do it on purpose. I told her if she liked the name to use it- it will not change my decision to use it one day in the future.

She was so relieved when I explained all this to her, and I have to say that it was nice to see how concerned she was, even though she had no reason to be. I think it's silly that people get upset over names. Now if someone takes your name on purpose then you have a reason to be upset, but who actually does that? Think of all the Jennifer's there are that were born in the 80's, there are a ton!

So my suggestion is name your child what you want, love the name and go with your gut! Do not worry about what others think, if people get mad then screw them, they are your kids it's your decision!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

40 Reasons to Have Kids

I found this list online, its by Danielle Crittenden: 40 Reasons to Have Kids:

One: They give you an excuse to eat ice cream for nine months, guiltlessly.

2 For all their ingratitude and cost, they are a constant source of cheap entertainment.

3 Don't fool yourself: That area was going to sag anyway.

4 They honestly let you know when an outfit makes you look fat.

5 How else would you stay in touch with the world of reality television?

6 You'll never again have to accept an invitation you don't want: They "get sick" suddenly and without warning. 7 You look silly going to a Pixar movie by yourself.

8 Compared to plastic surgery, they are a less expensive and more natural way to stay young.

9 One of them might actually turn out OK and take care of you in your old age.

10 Over the long term, they are less smelly and do less damage to the furniture than cats.

11 They sleep with the dog(s).

12 You'll never want for costume jewellery.

13 The flowers they pick you might not be fancy but they are the most sincere and beautiful you'll ever receive.

14 Leftover Kraft Dinner.

15 You get to board airplanes first.

16 You get faster service in restaurants --or else.

17 They are useful for fetching things from upstairs.

18 They allow you to feel like the smartest person in the world, at least until they reach grade 6.

19 They can fix your computer issues and show you how to work your cellphone and other electronic devices.

20 They will never, ever "friend" you on Facebook.

21 They know of every useful time and space-saving device ever advertised on television.

22 Once a year you get lumpy pancakes and watery coffee brought to you in bed.

23 You are never without hand sanitizer or a handy wipe.

24 You are not allowed to stay fixed in your ways -- or even get fixed in your ways.

25 They make swift work of phone solicitors.

26 Sometimes they will shovel the drive.

27 You'll never know what self-sacrifice is until you take a long car trip with kids.

28 You become an expert on which chains of gas stations provide cleaner bathrooms.

29 You find it easy to say no.

30 You will never fall for homeopathic remedies again.

31 It's hilarious to watch them annoy people without kids.

32 There are no greater teachers of humility.

33 They make you stronger than you ever believed you could be.

34 You get to read all your favourite childhood stories again. And again.

35 They will wash and detail your car for $5.

36 Cuddling.

37 Baby Gap and OMG, "those adorable shoes!"

38 They can always find spare change to pay the pizza man.

39 If we don't have them, cockroaches will inherit the Earth.

40 And finally: because there are too many aging, self-righteous, selfish and kid-phobic Baby Boomers in the world -- especially in France.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Prayers for Sweet Annaleigh

One of my fellow nesties and her husband lost her baby girl today. Sweet Annaleigh was with us such a sort time, but touched more hearts than she will ever know. These women, my nesties, are my second family- we are there for each other in times of joy and sorrow. They are truly the strongest women I have ever known. Here is a tribute that we all put together as our tribute for Annaleigh.


Friday, August 21, 2009

Footprints

One night a man had a dream. He dreamed
he was walking along the beach with the LORD.


Across the sky flashed scenes from his life.
For each scene he noticed two sets of
footprints in the sand: one belonging
to him, and the other to the LORD.



When the last scene of his life flashed before him,
he looked back at the footprints in the sand.


He noticed that many times along the path of
his life there was only one set of footprints.



He also noticed that it happened at the very
lowest and saddest times in his life.


This really bothered him and he
questioned the LORD about it:


"LORD, you said that once I decided to follow
you, you'd walk with me all the way.
But I have noticed that during the most
troublesome times in my life,
there is only one set of footprints.
I don't understand why when
I needed you most you would leave me."



The LORD replied:


"My son, my precious child,
I love you and I would never leave you.
During your times of trial and suffering,
when you see only one set of footprints,
it was then that I carried you."

Monday, August 17, 2009

Are the Rancic's infertile?


I started watching the new reality how on the In Style network Giuliana and Bill- it follows the lives of Giuliana and Bill Rancic. Giuliana is the host of the E! news and Bill is the first winner of Donald Trump's The Apprentice. They have been married 2 years on September 1st. They are a super cute couple and their reality show is very real and funny. In the latest episode Giuliana is talking a young girl who is getting married and she tells her that Bills "thingings" don't swim and that's why they don't have kids yet. Now I know that that does not automatically mean that they are infertile, but to me it sure points to the fact that they are having problems conceiving. Giuliana just turned 35 and Bill is 38- so they are not getting any younger, they need to get cracking. Now it has been said that there is a big surprise that will be revealed during the finale, but if she was pregnant it would be all over the tabloids by now, that would be very hard to keep secret, considering the fact that the show was taped months ago.

I really wish celebrities would come out and be open about their battle with infertility. Brooke Shields, Sherri Shepard, Courtney Cox Arquette are just a few who have admitted to doing IVF to have their children. There there is the list of celebrities that we wonder about. Sarah Michelle Geller and her husband of 6 years Freddie Prinze Jr. are expecting their first child this fall- and it was been whispered that they have problems conceiving, same with Jennifer Lopez, but to date they are being hush hush.

In a way I understand not wanting to air your entire life to the public, but that is something that so many women suffer from, it would be nice to know that celebrities are going through it as well.

I am interested to see where the show with Giuliana and Bill goes, but for now we will just have to wonder!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

No, I'm sorry you only get ONE shower!

Since moving to Las Vegas I have noticed that things are done a lot differently on this side of the country. I know it sounds stupid, but it's really true. One thing that I find totally strange out here is that number of baby showers that people have. Women that are pregnant with their 2nd or 3rd child have another baby registry and another baby shower. Now, I can tell you that where I am from this does not happen, and I find it totally strange. There was only one situation that I felt it was okay to have another shower. A friend of the family had a child back when she was 18 years old, well now 17 years later she is married and pregnant again- now that is okay in my book. I think that 17 years between children is long enough to need another shower, so this did not bother me. But the people who have a 3 year old and are pregnant again and have another shower for baby #2 that's just greedy in my book.

According to etiquette books the true purpose of a baby shower is to help new parents acquire the gear and supplies they'll need for the baby. But when you already have all the stuff from your first baby there is no need to have a second shower. Now I am not saying that you cannot celebrate a second or third baby- but there is a way to do it in good taste. Having a small get together with family and friends where everyone brings diapers and wipes (which are always needed) AKA a Diaper and Wipes Party is acceptable and a fun way to just get everyone together. Another option is to have a party once the baby is born so everyone can meet the new baby.

I am not saying that every child should not be celebrated, however there are ways to do it in a tasteful way so that guests do not feel as if they invited to a shower just so they bring a gift.




Friday, August 14, 2009

Facebook is evil!


I will admit I am hopelessly addicted to Facebook, it's great to see where everyone is at and what they are doing with their lives, especially since I live 3000 miles away from my hometown. I now understand why Facebook has lead to people not attending high school reunions, because all people really care about is what does everyone look like and what did they do with their life, and with Facebook we can see all that with the click of a button.

For me, and all other infertiles Facebook is like salt in the wound. Facebook is filled with pregnancy announcements, ultrasound photos, and family pictures, it's devastating. I have seen pretty much everyone I have gone to high school and college with get pregnant, have their perfect baby, and I have had to watch it all unfold online. Now I know that I don't have to look at it, but when it's right there in front of you what can you do? How do you not respond to someones "I'm pregnant!" status update! It's rude to not say congratulations. I think I should put my status update as "I'm not pregnant" and see what happens.

In the past 24 hours I have seen a "we are having a girl" announcement and "we are pregnant" on my Facebook wall, it really makes me feel physically ill! All day long on the infertility message boards girls are writing in how Facebook and Myspace makes them feel so bad about themselves, because it's so hard to be happy for others when you are so sad for yourself. There really is no quick fix to this, other then to completely take yourself of these social networking sites, which right now is seeming like a good idea to me.

I know that people are excited about their pregnancy, but does it have to be broad casted to the entire world via the Internet. I would hope that people are not using these sites as an excuse to tell good friends and family exciting news. I can tell you that if my mother found out I was pregnant from Facebook she would be pissed! I also feel that posting zillions of photos of your kids on the Internet can be dangerous, do you really want those floating around in cyberspace? No one knows who has access to photos of you and your child, there are some sick people out there!
It's like the people who post on Facebook that they are going on vacation, are you stupid!? You just broad casted that your home is empty- why not just put a sign on your front door that says "please rob us" it's not that hard to get people's address's.

So not only do us infertiles have to get over seeing pregnant women everywhere we go, seriously when the entire world start having kids! But we cannot even go online without having it thrust into our faces, nowhere is safe!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Hello God are you there, it's me Shannon?

That is how I have been feeling lately. I feel like all these prayers I have been praying have gone unanswered. I feel like I have been talking to a wall, because nothing is going right. I don't get it, John and I have such a wonderful life, we have great friends and family, a beautiful home, good jobs, a good marriage, and yet we cannot have a baby. I have never considered myself a "holy roller" by any means, but I was raised Catholic and John and I are practicing Christians, and I have never had my faith tested in such a way.

I keep trying to tell myself that everything happens for a reason, this is teaching you something, you will understand this journey one day. Well, for the life of me I don't get it. What type of God would put someone through this much pain and heartache? John and my hearts are completely broken- sometimes I wonder how either one of us manages to get out of bed each day. There are days where I really cannot do it anymore, I feel like I am faking it- my entire life right now is a lie. I have to hide my pain and suffering from everyone because no one understands what we are going through and I am so sick and tired of talking about it and explaining it to people.

I am feeling a bit more human today- I am going to try and get it together to go to a friends party tonight. Hopefully next week will be better. I am just dreading going back to work.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Met with doctor this morning.

We met with our fertility doctor this morning to discuss what the hell went wrong with our cycle. First and foremost he feels that I was indeed pregnant, but that something just didn't take and something just wasn't right with the embryo. He also feels that we should move forward with another IVF cycle and he would keep my protocol mostly the same, however maybe a bit more aggressive this time, but he does think that I had a good number of eggs. He also feels that we just could have just fallen on the wrong side of the fence and its partly bad luck. Great thanks!

Now as much as John and I would love to do another IVF cycle, we have used up all our insurance money and just don't have millions of dollars laying around for fertility treatments, I wish! Part of me feels really good with being done with IVF- at least for now- maybe in 6 months I would consider doing another cycle. We have done 2 cycles in 4 months, I am just exhausted. I need some sort of a life back.
We are thinking about doing some IUI's since those are still covered under my insurance- and it can't hurt- we could get lucky. We are also starting to research adoption. I think maybe we are in this situation because we are meant to help a child that is out there for adoption. We have such a great life, why not share that with a child.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Beta not so good this morning.

My beta went down- which means that things are not meant to be this time. I took it really hard. I spent the majority of the day in bed crying, yelling and not understanding why this is happening to us. My heart is broken into a million pieces, and I have no more tears to cry. I am just numb.

Where Did You Go Liitle One?

Where did you go little one?
We had a picture of your start. So, we knew you were there?
Where did you go?
Mommy figured out you would be here April 15 next year.
Where did you go?
The door was open to your very own room.
Where did did you?
There is a house full of love waiting for you.
Where did you go?
We wondered what you would be. Boy or girl? We didn't care which.
Where did you go?
Mommy and Daddy can't bare to be without.
Please stay. Please don't go.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

To my baby

Dear little one:

You have done such a great job, I am so proud of you- you have survived 5 days in the lab and grown big and strong, now you are back home where you belong, with me. Please stick around for a few more months, 9 to be exact. Daddy and I are so in love with you already- I cannot stop looking at your first baby picture, one day I will show it to you and explain the journey that brought us to you.
I love you with all my heart and cannot wait to meet you, hold you and love you.

All my love,
Mommy

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Our blast and future child


We had our embryo transfer this afternoon. We transferred one great looking blast- and two others will be frozen tomorrow. Our doctor stated that we should transfer one because of the great quality and my young age. He said that transferring two really only increases our chances of having twins. Our clinic specializes in single embryo transfers (SET) because they do a special test (embryo marker expression test) to check and see which embryos have the best chances of implanting, all three of our blasts scored well on the test. So here's to a few days of rest and relaxation.
Please God let this be it!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Fertilization Report!

I can barely keep the tears from flowing as I write this, but wait, they are tears of JOY!! I was not expecting to hear from the doctor until this afternoon, but lone and behold he called at about 10AM this morning. When he called he said, Hey Shannon it's Dr. F I have your fert report then he said "are you sitting down" I though oh no, here it comes bad news. But no, he said first off all 10 eggs were mature- there was one that was a little slow- but it caught up so we were 10 for 10 for mature eggs, and then on top of that we had a 100% fertilization rate- all 10 eggs fertilized!
I think my heart stopped when he said that! He said they are going to do the marker test, which helps them pick the best embryos to transfer- and we are still pushing out for a 5 day transfer on Tuesday, other than that I didn't hear anything else, I just kept saying 'thank you so much' over and over and then hung up and burst into tears. I am so happy! I know we still have a long way to go, but this was great news and I need to just enjoy this for the time being.

I cannot beleive what a change from our last IVF- we had a 50% fert rate before, so to go from a 50% to a 100% is huge! I think it's a combination of better quality eggs, a better lab, and fertilizing the eggs sooner.

Wow, just wow that's all I have to say right now, I couldn't be happier.


Thursday, July 23, 2009

My Dear eggs letter:

You have heard of a Dear John letter, well this is a twist on that- I call this my Dear Eggs letter.

Dear Little Eggies:

Thank you for growing the last week and coming out healthy and strong. Daddy and I love you so much already. We know that you are going to all fertilize and divide and grow to be rockstar embryos so we can put you back into my nice ware uterus for you to grow and thrive for 9 months. I know that you cannot wait to come home with us, but I need you to be strong and grow in the lab for the next 5 days, so snuggle into your petri dish for the time being, and in just a few days I will bring you home and never let you go.

Love you lots,
Mommy

First PIO shot tonight!

Tonight I did my first PIO (progesterone in oil) shot. These are considered the devil shots in the infertility world. Honestly it was not that bad, it was much better in my mind that it was in reality. It's definaltey a large needle and it's thick, because it's oil, but it's not that bad.

I have read such horror stories online about it and watched horror videos about it on You Tube that I was scared to death. My suggestion would be to others is DO NOT research it. As much of a message board junkie I am, I love thenest.com, stay away from reading the posts about the shots. Just suck it up and judge for yourself. The PIO and the Lovenex injections were not as bad as everyone made them out to be.

Good luck!

Egg Retrevial today!

Today was my egg retreival for IVF #2 it went very smooth and I have almost no pain afterwards. I came home and slept for several hours and feel pretty good right now (about 6 hours post retreival) they got 10 eggs, 9 of which were mature. It's a good number, our doctor was expecting 13- but obviously 3 follicles did not contain an egg. We are still waiting to see if that final egg was mature or not- so we may have 10 out of 10. I am happy with 9 mature eggs though- hopefully they will be better quality then last time. I am counting the hours down to our first fert report to hear how things look this time. We had a horrible fertilization rate last time so I will be interested to hear this time. I pray things are different. This IVF has gone so fast, I feel like I have not had any time to think about it, which I think is a good thing, I almost feel numb, like I am just going through the motions. Maybe that's my way of dealing with things so I don't get hurt anymore.

Tonight I start my PIO shots- I am scared- that needle is so big!!!



Monday, July 20, 2009

WOW! Stimming fast this time.

I had my ultrasound today to check my follicle process after 6 days on stims, and I have 16 follicles that are looking to be mature, with a few lagging behind. I cannot believe it! I am on a lower dose of meds this time and for less days and I have more eggs, who knew!? I think it was the Menopur that screwed me up last time, the Luveris seems to be working much better for me. I go back tomorrow for another ultrasound and I should be triggering tomorrow night and my egg retrieval should be on Thursday. So excited!!




Thursday, July 16, 2009

4 shots a day!

Today I added yet another yet to my drug use, my Luveris. This is a new drug for me, my last cycle I used Menopur. My new doctor feels that the Menopur is way wrong for me, and that it damaged my eggs, he feels the Luveris will be better for me, and it helps with getting better egg quality.

The shot itself was easy, its in the belly and the medicine doesn't hurt at all. I really feel that I could have a serious career as a druggie if I ever needed to. As bad as that sounds it's so true. My PIO came today, which is the progesterone in oil, and I am a bit scared of that. Its a big needle and the medicine is thick, it's an oil, and it goes in your butt so I am not looking forward to that, but I don't start that for awhile.

I have my first ultrasound to check my follicle growth on Monday, I am excited to see how I am progressing, in the past I have been a slow responder- so I am expecting my dosage to be increased, but we shall see.





Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Day 2 of Lovenex Injections

I could barely sleep on Sunday night because I was so terrified of my first Lovenex injection that I had to give myself on Monday morning. Well, much to my surprise it was super easy. Its a sub q injection- so it's given in the belly- where the fat is, and its a small needle. It doesn't burn, but it does sting a little when it's done, but nothing that I could not handle. I watched a video on youtube, which totally freaked me out- the girl in the video stated that to avoid bruising you should put the needle in very slowly, not pinch the skin and inject the medicine very slowly.

I have to disagree with the video- I say pinch the fat- hold the needle like a dart and go for it and inject. The syringes are prefilled and they have a very springy plunger- s it's very easy to inject quickly. I say screw the bruises- who cares if you get a bruise- it's your belly.

I was seriously so upset for no reason, they were a piece of cake. I will have no problem doing these shots for 9 months- hey if it gives us a healthy baby, I will do anything.




Monday, July 13, 2009

IVIg alternative- Intralipids

For those women who need IVIg therapy but cannot afford the heafty price tag that comes with it will be happy to know that SIRM doctors ar pioneering the field and have had great success with Intralipid treatment.

SIRM physicians have long advocated aggressive treatment of immunologic implantation dysfunction in women undergoing IVF. In cases where there has been Natural Killer Cell activation (Nka) (as evidenced by an abnormal K562 target cell test) we have championed the use of IVIG to down-regulate (deactivate) the Nka. In this manner, many women who otherwise might not have achieved success with IVF have gone from infertility to family.

Adviating the use of IVIG over the last decade, has come at a considerable price. Clearly, women requiring IVIG have been concerned about the cost (more than $4000 per dosage), reported side effects and, given the HIV/hepatitis scare, have been reluctant to receive a blood product. To make matters worse, under-informed critics have for unexplained reasons played on such unfounded fear often raising it to the level of alarm. The fact is that over the years we have administered IVIG to thousands of women, without a single report of viral transmission and few significant (but always transient) side effects.

About a year ago reports began to surface regarding a low cost (about ten times less than IVIG) synthetic product called Intralipid, which upon being infused more than a week prior to embryo transfer would lower Nka and further more, was virtually free of side effects.

About a year ago, we began evaluating the effect of Intralipid in patients who had activated Natural Killer cells, and for whom IVIG therapy would otherwise be indicated.
Thus far we have treated more than 30 women with Nka using Intralipid 20%. More than 60% of the patients achieved viable ongoing pregnancies, showing Intralipid therapy to be at least as effective (and perhaps even more so) than IVIG. There were no significant side effects and patient tolerance of this treatment was high.

Against this background, SIRM physicians have collectively decided to virtually abandon further use of IVIG, in favor of Intralipid.

Below are some clinical details about Intralipid:

Intralipid (IL), is a synthetic product composed of 10% soybean oil, 1,2% egg yolk phospholipids, 2.25% glycerin and water. Based on research performed at SIRM and elsewhere, infusion of IL lowers Natural Killer cell activation (Nka) as effectively as does, intravenous gammaglobulin (IVIG.) When indicated IL (as with IVIG) is infused 7-10 days prior to ET and one more time again after a positive pregnancy in women whose Nka is due to an autoimmune causes (antiphospholipid antibodies and/or antithyroid antibodies). In cases of alloimmune implantation dysfunction (DQa and/ HLA matching between the embryo recipient and the male partner) the same applies but in this situation the infusion is repeated at 2-4 week intervals until the 24th week of pregnancy.
SIRM physicians have supplanted IVIG with IL therapy in a significant number of women undergoing IVF , and who had immunologic embryo implantation dysfunction. The results thus far have been excellent, way beyond our initial expectations.
At last we now have a safe and inexpensive alternative to IVIG therapy...Intralipid! What is more, IL costs about 10 times less than IVIG, is not a blood product and is without significant side effects.

So there is now hope for women who need IVIg treatment, but cannot afford it. To get more informaiton about Intralipids and the nearest SIRM center visit, www.haveababy.com.



Sunday, July 12, 2009

What is IVIg Therapy?

Having to go through one miscarriage can be terribly upsetting; experiencing multiple miscarriages can be devastating. However, depending on the reason for your recurrent pregnancy loss, treatment may be available to help you maintain a pregnancy. Intravenous immunoglobulin G (IVIg) is an intravenous drug given to women prior to conception through to the sixth month of pregnancy. Although it won’t help all women, those who have experienced recurrent pregnancy loss due to autoimmune factors may find that IVIg is just what they need to maintain their pregnancy.


Using donor blood that has been washed and processed, IVIg is made up of human-derived antibodies. These antibodies help to keep your immune system from recognizing an embryo or fetus as foreign and attacking it. More specifically, IVIg aids in minimizing the actions of natural killer (NK) cells. Amplified levels of NK cells can prevent an embryo from implanting as well as interfere with the proper development of the placenta, which in turn prevents the embryo from developing normally. All of these factors can result in a miscarriage.

Precisely how IVIg works is not entirely clear. It is thought that the drug may block those antibodies that cause your body to reject a pregnancy. However, it is also speculated that IVIg may work by soaking up and defusing the harmful antibodies that can interfere with a pregnancy.

In general, women who have elevated levels of natural killer cells resulting in recurrent miscarriages are thought to benefit the most from IVIg treatment. Yet, recent research has also shown a connection between increased natural killer cell activity and antiphospholipid antibodies (APA): it appears that those with APA are more likely to have elevated NK cells.

Typically, women whose miscarriage problems were linked with APA were treated exclusively with heparin and aspirin. Because of the relationship between APA and NK cells, however, more fertility specialists are testing women affected by APA for NK cells as well. If there are elevated levels of NK cells, then these women will likely be treated with IVIg instead of the common treatments for APA.

In general, IVIg therapy should be started from the first month of pregnancy and continue until the 28th week of pregnancy. However, there is some evidence to suggest that administering IVIg infusions even before pregnancy occurs may be beneficial in preventing miscarriage. IVIg therapy is often done monthly and doses can be given anywhere from one to three consecutive days.

Because IVIg is administered intravenously, to receive this treatment, an IV catheter will be inserted into a vein in your hand or lower arm. This will allow the IVIg solution to slowly drip into the vein and enter your system. Although IVIg can be administered in your home under the supervision of a nurse, the very first time you receive treatment you will need to visit your fertility specialist. The first infusion is always done in a clinical setting under proper supervision in case you experience a severe reaction to the drug.

In order to guard against unpleasant side effects, IVIg infusion must be done slowly. This means that one session can take several hours to complete. However, if you seem to be dealing with the treatment well with minimal side effects, it may be possible to complete treatment sessions sooner. Just how much IVIg a person should receive can vary as dosage is calculated according to your weight.

IVIg can greatly improve your chances of having a successful pregnancy after recurrent miscarriage. Some studies have shown a success rate as high at 80% with the use of IVIg therapy. However just like fertility treatments this therapy comes with a hefty price tag.
Depending on how much IVIg is required for your treatment, each dose could cost as much as $1500. This means that receiving IVIg therapy during your pregnancy could cost in excess of $10,000. Unfortunately, many insurance companies do not cover IVIg therapy (although it doesn’t hurt to contact your insurance provider to double check). As a result, not every couple will be able to afford this treatment.


There are some alternatives to this therapy that are more affordable for women, I will discuss these alternatives in our next blog entry so stay tuned for some valuable information.






Thursday, July 9, 2009

I had an apifiny today!

I was talking to my friend and co worker- today is her grandson's 5th birthday and she was saying how the sun rises and sets in his eyes, and she is so serious! She is so in love with her first grandson Tyler its adorable. Now, Tyler has a brother Gavin and he is almost 3 years old. I asked her if she loved Tyler more- and she said yes and no. She said he will always be her first grandchild and that holds a special place in her heart. Now let me say that she reminds me so much of my mother- it's almost scary. And that's when it hit me! I now realize why my step sister having a baby before me bothers me.
First off my mom and I are super duper close, like almost too close! Now I am an only child, but I have 2 step sisters. One of my step sister's is not married and she is not close with my mom at all. My other step sister lives in NC (which is about 3 hours from my mom) and she is pregnant with twins. Now she is close with my mom, not as close I am, but still somewhat close. And it bothers me that my mom will have her children first and grandchildren and they will be so close to her.
Now my step sister is very close with her mother, who lives in Florida, so I know that those babies will be much closer to my step sisters mother then to my mother. But in a way I am mad that my sister is making my mom a grandmother before me, its the ITS MY MOMMY and I want to make her a grandma first.

I know that my step sister is not blood related to my mother, and I am her baby, per say- but still it's hard. I think also the fact that my step sister is close to my mother and I am 3000 miles away is hard. I hope that I can make my mom a grandma soon, becasue she will be such a great grandma. I think part of why I want to be a mom so bad is because I have such a great one, and all the love that I have to give needs to go somewhere.

So this was my realization today, it all makes sence now. I explained this to my friend who said she agreed with me, but not to worry to much, she said once the babies come, both my sisters and mine we will just all seem like one big happy family. I know my mom has enough love to go around, she has a big heart!



Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Lovin Lovenex!

Yeah right! More drugs came in the mail today. First off I must say how much I love our insurance- I paid a whopping $50 for all my Lovenex and my Luveris- they are both very expensive drugs and I am very grateful to have insurance coverage for all of it.
But can I say the Lovenex injections are kinda scaring me. They look like little guns-at least they are small needles- and they are sub q shots- so they go in the belly. I just keep hearing how bad the medicine hurts. I will do whatever it takes to get pregnant and carry our child to term, so this really isn't not a big deal in the grand scheme of things, but goodness how much does one person have to go through to have a baby. Not only do I have to go through IVF, but I have to shoot myself up with drugs on a daily basis. Poor John thank god I don't have to ask him to give me my shots for me, because he can't even stand to be in the room when I do it. I think it's more he feels bad for me because all he has to do is jizz in a cup.

This is my first time with the Lovenex and I really hope this change helps things, I keep hearing how good it is to have the medicine before you get pregnant when you have the clotting disorder I have. So here's to the lovin the Lovenex and may it do its job!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Paying tribute to "the best daddy"

I think the entire world's hearts cried today with the Jackson family and especially when little 11 year old Paris Jackson stood up at her fathers memorial service to pay tribute to her father, who she called "the best daddy". Today Michael's daughter came out from the behind the veil and the masks that Michael Jackson kept her behind for years and years and put the dad hat on her dad. For once we all saw Michael as a dad, a person, not just a persona or the "King of Pop".

Rest in Peace Michael.

Lab Created Sperm?!

A team of British scientists have claimed to have created human sperm using embryonic stem cells, in a medical first that they say will lead to a better understanding of fertility.

Researchers led by Professor Karim Nayernia at Newcastle University and the NorthEast England Stem Cell Institute (NESCI) developed a new technique that allows the creation of human sperm in the laboratory.

They stressed that the sperm, developed from stem cells with XY chromosomes (male), would not be used for fertility treatment, as this is prohibited by British law and in any case is not their main interest.

"This is an important development as it will allow researchers to study in detail how sperm forms and lead to a better understanding of infertility in men -- why it happens and what is causing it," said Nayernia.

"This understanding could help us develop new ways to help couples suffering infertility so they can have a child which is genetically their own."

He said more investigation was needed to decide whether the so-called in-vitro derived (IVD) sperm, could be used as a fertility treatment, for example for boys who became infertile after receiving chemotherapy for cancer.

While such a treatment would not likely be developed for at least a decade, Nayernia said legislation should be put in place "sooner rather than later" to allow the technique to be licensed.

The team's work involved developing stem cells that had XY chromosomes into germline cells -- cells that can can pass their genetic material to future generations.

These were then prompted to complete meiosis, or cell division, which then produced "fully mature, functional sperm."

Stem cells are immature cells that can develop into different cell types.

The scientists tried to develop cells with XX chromosomes (female) in the same way but they did not progress beyond early stage sperm, called spermatagonia. The team concluded that the genes on a Y chromosome are essential for sperm maturation.

The research, published in the journal Stem Cells and Development, could also lead to a better understanding of how genetic diseases are passed on.

However, other scientists expressed doubt about the work.

"As a sperm biologist of 20 years' experience, I am unconvinced from the data presented in this paper that the cells produced by Professor Nayernia's group from embryonic stem cells can be accurately called 'spermatozoa'," said Dr Allen Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield.

"While the cells produced may possess some of the distinctive genetic features and molecular markers seen in sperm, fully differentiated human spermatozoa have specific cellular morphology, behaviour and function that are not described here."

So whatever comes to be with this new information this is a huge step forward in the world of fertility- this shows that infertility is becoming an true disease, like cancer, and AIDS and we need to find ways to cure it or at least treat it, so that couples around the world can fulfil their dreams of parenthood. IVF was a huge step in the fertility world many years ago, but there is so much that we do not know. Especially when it comes to the actual egg and the sperm, we do not know what makes a bad egg or a bad sperm- if they can figure out how sperm form then we can figure out how to fix bad sperm.
This may not be the end all be all in sperm testing, but its a step forward in learning more about the sperm. Who knew it was so complicated?!