Giving Up Is Not an Option: Part 8

So, I hate to break it to you all, but in my last post I lied.

10/9/19: I am writing this seconds after saving “Part 7” and secretly I know that I am pregnant. I say “secretly” because I am the ONLY one who knows. I took my first B-hcG test yesterday and it came back as a 45 (anything over 5 indicates pregnancy). I will be going back tomorrow morning to get my second B-hcG; as long as it doubles it will confirm my pregnancy. As I sit here writing this my husband does not know. He thinks my blood work is next week. Why am I keeping this from him? Because I want to tell him when it’s CONFIRMED. I want to ensure the numbers doubled and this is in fact a viable pregnancy. And, I want to surprise him. I can’t even believe this, I am freaking pregnant!

10/11/19: My B-HcG numbers came back at a 168, confirming my pregnancy. I rushed home after work and set up my announcement for Juan (see below).

With all the excitement we wanted to shout it from the rooftops, but we decided to wait. We wanted to wait until we were “safe.” We didn’t know when our “safe” time would be but we knew it wasn’t going to be too soon.

I know the main question is “Why did we decide to tell everyone our transfer was in January?” Well, Juan and I have been so strong in our faith through this all and decided that if this didn’t work we wanted to cope with it privately before letting others know. However, if it did work, we wanted to surprise them; like we always dreamed of doing. We knew being open about our fertility journey may be tough at times, but we also knew it would be completely worth it; and it has.

I quickly came up with the idea of telling our family and friends our scheduled transfer date would be in January. Juan was skeptical as to whether or not it would be believable. Due to a few hiccups with a procedure needing to be done (which did not affect transfer timeline) we were able to bend the truth, and told everyone that the procedure did affect the transfer timeline. When you see the fun baby announcements, and surprises it hard to not want that joy. We were always bummed we wouldn’t get that special moment so we decided, maybe we could have that special moment. So together we decided we would sneak away to Missouri in the beginning of October and not say anything. And man, I am so glad we did.

Keeping the secret was HARD! The evening I told Juan we were headed over to my parents an hour or so after on an unrelated note and it took everything in us not to tell them. This was on October 11th and we wouldn’t be telling any family until November 7th/8th. We were going to North Carolina for a week with all my immediate family and decided that would be the perfect time to tell them, and as soon as we got back we would tell Juan’s family. However, as Nov 6th quickly approached we decided to tell Juan’s family before we left.

Trying to hide being pregnant on a 12-hour car ride with your sister, brother in law and nephew while having all day morning sickness was TOUGH. And I even slipped once but thankfully no one caught on but Juan… My sister is also pregnant and due in January. Juan asked “when is your due date” to which I replied for her; June 20th (my due date) …I was able to quickly cover that up with January, June… same thing. OOPS!

After we returned from North Carolina, we began telling close friends and the rest of our family. And are now announcing to the rest of the amazing people in our lives, that we are in fact proof that miracles happen!

This has been one crazy roller coaster; physically and mentally. But boy, does it make it that much sweeter!

If you are going through fertility issues first I want to say sorry. Sorry because I know what another pregnancy announcement does to you. I know you long for this and I know how hard it can be, but gosh darn it, stay strong! I promise you this is not the end, and your time IS coming! Keep positive and keep picturing yourself holding that little one! Because I am proof, it will happen!

For all of you who prayed for us and gave us your unlimited support, THANK YOU! You were our rock through this all! We are beyond excited for this next chapter in our lives and can’t wait to meet our little girl, Savannah!

♥Dani & Juan


Giving Up Is Not an Option: Part 7

Hi All!

First, I want to apologize for not having any blogs the last few months. We have been moving forward with our fertility treatments. I would like to share just a brief overview of what our past few months have been like.

In April I explained quickly about receiving the call to move forward with treatment and figuring out financially how we would do it. Once we were able to overcome the financial hurdle we moved forward, quickly. We were informed our first egg retrieval would be the first week in June. “First” because we opted to do two egg retrievals for a small additional cost to maximize our chances of this working. Due to having two egg retrievals, that meant two trips to Missouri in two months.

In May it all began, from pills, to shots, to multiple doctors’ appointments, to realizing the mental struggles that came with an out of state doctor. We were informed we would need to be in Missouri on June 3rd but our end date was TBD….um what? Yes, the end date was TBD. We would have to travel to Missouri and have no set return date. It would be anywhere from 4 days to 7 days. We were ready to do anything and everything, however trying to tell work and your dog sitter “we aren’t sure when we will return” as well as not having a flight home and not knowing how long to book the hotel for was a mental game within itself. Towards the middle of May, the shots and medication began, 3 shots a day (each to be given at certain times), 2 pills a day (each at different times), and multiple doctors’ appointments.

In June we made our journey to Missouri, with no return flight. We were filled with nerves, excitement, and confusion. We were so excited we would FINALLY meet our doctor. In addition, we were gifted the SWEETEST gesture of Stanley Cup Finals tickets from a friend who wanted us to have something to “keep our minds off of the stress,” and did it ever! In addition to the excitement there was a lot of nervousness going on. We were not sure when we were coming home, we weren’t sure of how this whole procedure would go, we weren’t sure if we booked the hotel long enough, we wanted to be money conscious but didn’t want to sit in the hotel room the whole time. It was a lot. But we managed to enjoy Missouri, our time together and prep for July. When we walked into MCRM (the doctor’s office) the vibe was like nothing I’ve ever seen. From the front desk, to the staff in the hallways, to our incredible doctor, EVERY SINGLE PERSON was incredible! Absolutely freaking incredible. They made us feel amazing!

We thankfully were informed on day 2 (June 4th) that my egg retrieval would be June 6th. We immediately looked into flights home and realized driving would save us about $700 (yes, the price for a flight home was insane). Then, thankfully my amazing husband found a smaller airport that had direct flights to Punta Gorda. Come day 3, I was becoming home sick, I was wondering if this was all worth it, I was missing home and my dogs (yes, I am a crazy dog mom) and just kept trying to picture the final outcome of it all and drove myself to tears on multiple occasions. It was finally THE day. We got there at 11am and the procedure was completed at 12pm and we were out of the office by 1pm. I had 14 eggs retrieved with 13 being mature. This was fantastic news! Recovery the day of and the day after was rough. I was in A LOT of pain. We flew home Saturday the 8th and began to prep for the next procedure.

I got about a week off of medications and then immediately began again. I felt a litter more relieved going into this next egg retrieval knowing what to expect. However, it was the same scenario as the first egg retrieval, being informed we needed to be in Missouri on July 15th with a return date of TBD. But with knowing how our last trip went we anticipated the same days gone. On July 15th we headed back to Missouri. We again wanted to be conscious of spending money and felt as though we had seen everything we wanted to see the first time. Thus, this trip consisted of a lot of LivePD in the hotel room. To just give you a glimpse into the glamorous life of IVF, we decided to go to the movies to see The Lion King at 6:30pm Friday night. We got the call after purchasing our movie tickets that the egg retrieval would be Saturday, thus my “trigger shot” would have to be administered at 6:45pm. OH FUN! I figured no worries, I will go into the large stall and administer the shot. Unfortunately, when I got to the restroom the large stall was being used by a mother and her child, and I needed to administer the shot ASAP. So, I did what I had to do and went into a regular sized stall. To administer this shot you need one needle to extract the medication and then change the needle to the administrating needle. Sounds easy, right? Until you are in a restroom stall trying to sanitize your every move with alcohol wipes, but in the end, it got done.

I was very anxious going into this egg retrieval knowing the pain I had after the first. Especially since we would be flying out Saturday night (hours after the procedure). Thankfully I had very minimal pain and getting home was a lot less painless than I had imagined.

This egg retrieval they retrieved 16 eggs, 15 of which were mature. So, we had a total of 29 eggs. This trip was when the eggs would be fertilized. We got the update on Monday that 21 of them had fertilized normally. Friday, we got the call that 5 of the embryos made it to day 5 or the “blastocyst” stage. Which I was so excited for, but I knew the next step of genetic testing was the news I really needed to hear. The following Friday 8/2 we got the news that 2 of the 5 embryos were genetically/chromosomally abnormal, meaning they were not viable embryos; which left us with 3 embryos. This was fantastic yet baffling news. I was ecstatic knowing we had 3 embryos, 3 chances, 3 babies. But also baffled because we started out with 21 fertilized eggs. It was a moment of realization of how fragile the process of having a baby really is.

So, with all this said we have 3 frozen embryos, 2 boys and 1 girl, waiting for our next journey to get one transferred.

Our next journey will be in January 2020. During a few ultrasounds my doctor thought she saw something and wanted clarification. Thankfully it was nothing, however due to the time spent on tests we unfortunately missed any open appointments in October. The clinic does not do any transfers in November and we opted to not do one in December, thus January was our next option. Although January feels like a lifetime away, we are thankful for some time off from this crazy roller coaster.

Although this is just a glimpse of what the last 6 months has been, we can’t thank ya’ll enough for standing by us. For the encouraging words, the shoulders to lean on, and every ounce of love ya’ll give us! We are blessed beyond words for our family and friends.

If anyone going through this journey or anyone wanting additional questions answered, feel free to reach out! I try to be as open as I can, but sometimes miss things 😊


Giving Up Is Not an Option: Part 7

This week is National Infertility Awareness Week, a time that is intended to increase awareness of infertility; which affects 1 in 8 couples. We, sadly, are part of that 12.5%. This time 4 years ago we were preparing for our first round of IVF. We were so hopeful and so ready to embark on the journey to only be left with shattered hearts. I can’t help but think; “Can I do this again? Am I emotionally ready to do this again?” I don’t know. But I do know that I want a child more than anything in this world and I am ready to fight for that.

Roughly two weeks ago we had our latest meeting with the doctor in Missouri. She gave us our final test results which both came back good. This was the green light to move forward to the next step in our journey, which will be IVF. We have been asked multiple times; “straight to IVF?” And to answer those wondering; yes, we’re going straight to IVF. This doctor told us that there is a chance we could conceive a child on our own, however with both female and male issues, there’s a very low chance of success. Additionally, the doctor stated if we decided to wait my egg count and quality would continue to decrease. Thus, moving forward with IVF now will be our best chance.

These last two weeks I have been an emotional wreck. After our conversation with the doctor we were BEYOND excited. We were ready for what these next steps would bring but the excitement, for me, quickly turned to terror. We had a rough idea on how much the IVF process would be but learned with all the upgrades needed to better our chances, the price would double. I began questioning whether it was “worth it.” And then I thought, how could I even say that? If I were told I would be guaranteed a child, I would go into a million dollars’ worth of debt with no questions asked. However, there is NO guarantee. We could go into debt and come out the other end with nothing, again. Emotionally I really had to figure that out. After working through the emotions and making the decisions together with our family’s support, we are moving forward.

Once we were able to jump over that emotional hurdle, it was on to finances. With not much time to spare; since the clinic needs the money by April 29th, we needed to sort this out quickly. No pressure, right? We had a rough idea on how we were going to financially do this; however, we hit multiple road bumps on the way and time was not on our side. After multiple setbacks, we thankfully were able to figure out the financials and are looking forward to our next steps.

This past week has been an emotional roller coaster and I am trying so hard to stay positive, but man it is tough. This time around has been much more emotionally stressful than I thought. In the past two weeks I have cried more times than I’d like to admit. I have found myself sobbing in my car, in the shower, and at my desk at work; sobbing due to anger, fear, sadness, and even happiness.

As much as I would love to be transparent and share details of our next steps, emotionally I can’t be. However, I will try and update everyone as much as I can during these upcoming months. Please continue your prayers and support; it means more than you’ll ever know.


Dear God

Giving Up Is Not an Option: Part 6

I want to start off by saying this post may be a little lengthy, but I wanted to include all I can. My blog posts aren’t just to keep our friends and family in the loop; but they are also to help anyone who may be going through this and doesn’t know where to turn. In addition, I am not a medical professional to know whether our doctors did the right or wrong thing; I am just here to share our journey and our feelings.

After contacting Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine (MCRM Fertility) and speaking with the doctor, we began to feel a sense of hope. This doctor and her staff have been incredible. They are quick to respond to any and all questions, via email or phone. When a lab order is sent, they ensure we are contacted in a timely manner for scheduling. When at home labs are sent, they include step by step instructions and the packaging to send back along with a pre-paid label and the mail carriers address of where we need to mail (due to biohazard materials). Due to the astounding care we have received in just this short while, we know that there was a reason she was brought into our lives.

As I discussed previously, we are no longer seeing any local doctors regarding fertility and have completed most of the tests requested by our Missouri doctor. We both have one more test needing to be completed which is a genetic test; which will probably take another month or so. Since that was the only test that was pending, she requested a follow-up regarding the test results she had received.

Prior to calling us, the doctor reviewed not only the tests she required, but also any and all tests or procedures we did previously. She began discussing Juan’s results first (Don’t worry I got his approval to write about this). After reviewing all the records from our IUI’s, IVF, the semen analysis reports from our IVF, the semen analysis in 2018 and the most recent semen analysis she noticed a few red flags. She explained there were several areas of concern from motility, progression, concentration and morphology. She informed us that they were not horrible, but they were on the lower end of the spectrum. She explained that the sperm were moving, but they were only moving in place and not moving forward. The doctor stated this is most likely why our 3 IUIs were not successful.

She then moved on to me. She stated that looking at the information from our IVF that my embryos were of “fair quality” and that my follicles showed signs of developing slowly. She stated that on the day 5 transfer the embryos were in the morula stage. The morula stage, typically, is around day 3. To make a little more sense of this, here is an excerpt I found to help understand it;

*- “In an IVF cycle, a blastocyst forms in a culture system in a laboratory. Eggs are retrieved from a woman’s ovaries, fertilized with sperm, and an embryo is created. The embryo divides and multiplies its cells over 5 to 6 days to become a blastocyst. Embryos that survive to this stage of development have a high implantation potential once transferred into the uterine cavity.”

Thus, our last 2 embryos that were transferred were at the Morula stage on day 5, when they should have been at the blastocyst cycle. The Missouri doctor suggested that embryos in the Morula stage can be transferred but have a very low chance of implanting. In addition, my FSH showed to be a little high which indicates diminished ovarian reserve, which is associated with a reduced number of follicles or eggs, frequently of questionable quality. For my age, normal levels should be under 10mIU/ml, and my numbers were 9.8mIU/ml. So, although they were “within range”, they were on the higher end. Which on its own would not be a huge deal, but with all other factors it is a red flag.

To backtrack really fast, when I did my IVF I had 15 eggs retrieved, 8 matured and 5 fertilized normally. I thought this was a good number. However, this doctor stated that when they do IVF they want to see 75% of the eggs retrieved be mature, where only half of mine were. She stated that my higher FSH could be the reason only half of my eggs were mature.

There were multiple other areas tested through my blood work, 34 to be exact. However, the ones mentioned above were the ones she discussed with us due to red flags.

The doctor proceeded to say that although we have been told multiple times “there is nothing wrong” there is; our infertility is an egg, sperm and embryo factor. This in my mind means everything. My heart sank. All these years we have thought we were fine and now to be told we aren’t, it just truly blew both of our minds.

As I stated previously, our doctor mentioned that she was not only reviewing the records she obtained via her tests, but also records from previous doctors; for both of us. For a quick refresher our previous records contained results from the local fertility specialist, the 2 doctors that I did rounds of Clomid/Femara with, and the urologist for Juan. Meaning, all these doctors had our information containing these issues; primarily the fertility specialist and the urologist. As much as I want to point fingers at ALL the medical professionals we saw. I am truly upset by the two doctors who had me on Clomid/Femara and never did blood work to find these out of range numbers, shouldn’t they have? I don’t know.

However, the fertility specialist and urologist that had the information in their hands and never told us, has brought me to tears many times in the last few days.

You may ask, are you sure they knew? Yes, I am sure. The urologist had the results (the exact same result sheet sent to MO) in his hands when he sat us down to discuss the results. During that discussion the urologist informed us that the sperm analysis showed Juan to be normal/above normal in all categories. Knowing this test was done due to fertility issues; meaning even the slight abnormalities should have been mentioned. Our Missouri doctor stated on most of the areas on the sperm analysis it showed that the sperm was on the lower end of the ranges. Yes, every doctor can view things differently; however, there are ranges doctors go by to ensure the numbers are within the range of that person’s age group. When she reviewed what the ranges were in 2016 it stated the sperm showed being on the lower side.

Next, our first fertility specialist made notes in our records stating the concerns, but he NEVER told us about them. Before he even began procedures, this doctor knew I had a higher FSH (associated with a reduced number of follicles or eggs, often of questionable quality) and that Juan’s sperm showed indication of poor quality. These factors alone, per our Missouri doctor, would indicate we would not be good candidates for an IUI. Yet, he did 3 of them. After all of these cycles, this doctor still never informed us of the questionable egg or sperm quality. We were just led to believe everything was A-Okay and preceded to doing IVF which our Missouri doctor did say was the way to go with everything she saw. Thus, I am not very upset about that. However, I am upset that the local fertility doctor notated fair embryo quality, follicles showing unusual slow development, and the last 2 embryos (which were transferred) not in the stage they should have been; yet still continued with IVF.

At the end of our hour-long conversation, my mind was racing in a million different directions. All I could think was; this really is never going to happen. However, I somehow was able to hold back the tears and ask; so are we even able to get pregnant? Her response was, absolutely.

When we hung up the phone we immediately began crying. Crying because of anger, crying because of fear, crying because we finally received answers. My mind immediately went to the fear of financial worries. Knowing that IVF would be the way we will have to go, which will lead us into a large loan or debt. If you told me I could pay $100,000 and be guaranteed our own child, I wouldn’t blink an eye. However, I fear that gut-wrenching feeling of having to pay back an IVF loan knowing it didn’t work. I fear struggling financially. I fear going through everything and coming out the other end empty, again.

To say I have anger toward our past doctors is an understatement. I feel like we were failed, multiple times. Again, I do understand the local fertility doctor may have hoped these procedures would work. However, when he has this information and does not relay it to us, to give us a say or an opportunity to decide how we want to proceed, is where it hurts. It also hurts that if we could have known all of this information 4-5 years ago, we could have taken supplements or sought out treatment to help ourselves.

With all of our anger and sadness, we are also beyond thankful that we were sent to this new doctor in Missouri. The amount of time she has invested in reviewing all of our old records, the tests she has run and is still running to determine what factors are playing in our “infertility” shows us how determined she is. She has been beyond honest and blunt with us, letting us know conceiving on our own could happen, but probably won’t due to there being a male AND female problem. Instead of rushing into what she believes are procedures that will work, she wants to wait for a few additional test results and try us on supplements to see how our bodies react.

For anyone who is going through a similar journey or if you know someone going through something similar please relay this, be sure to ask questions. Ask every question you can think of. Take notes before to ensure you don’t forget anything. Ask for your records and question anything you feel is off. Do not assume the medical professional is informing you of everything. Ensure you both are tested for everything and anything, even if insurance doesn’t cover it. The truth hurts with some of the results, but it also can help lead you down the road you need to take. Having these tests done and getting results will save money in the long run. It will help pinpoint any issues, and what may or may not work for you. I unfortunately have gone down the path with many potholes and curves; thus, I hope and pray if you read this you can prevent that rough journey.

Again, I want to thank our support system. Without you all this journey would be much more difficult. I want to especially thank our family and close friends. You all have gone out of your way and helped in more ways than you know.





Giving Up Is Not an Option: Part 5

It has been about 2 months since the last update, and within that time a lot has changed.

In the beginning of December I had an appointment with my doctor to discuss the previous numbers. She was not pleased with the significant drop. She, once again stated we should begin considering a specialist. There was something about this time that made me feel as though she was done. She was not planning to prescribe me any more medication until I asked if we could switch to Femara to see how that works. She was hesitant but agreed. Although she agreed, I still felt this would be my last time seeing her. She didn’t ask for a follow up appointment. She didn’t seem hopeful anymore. After this appointment I went to my car and cried.

Again, fertility is a huge emotional roller coaster. Some days you feel like that day is right around the corner and others you feel that day won’t ever come. After I let out some emotions, I decided to suck it up and call a fertility specialist in the area. I called in the beginning of December and was told the first opening they had was February 19th, 2019. Hearing that distant appointment date was a bummer, however I accepted it.

A few days after I made this appointment, my sister took it upon herself to begin doing some research. She found a few out of state clinics that had great reviews and high success rates. One of those clinics was Missouri Center for Reproductive Medicine (MCRM Fertility). After thinking about it for a day or two I decided to call. I was blown away by the friendliness and eagerness they showed. I called on a Friday afternoon and was scheduled for a phone consultation for that Monday afternoon. Within an hour of making the appointment the staff had our patient portal set up, with all the forms and documents we needed to fill out. That following Monday we had our phone consultation. The doctor was incredible. She had already reviewed our documents and knew what procedures we had done, when we did them, how long we’ve been going through treatment’s, etc. We spent an hour on the phone with her discussing each procedure and medications. She also explained other options and other underlying issues that could be causing our infertility. At the end of the conversation she explained multiple tests she wanted to run on both of us. She explained we had two options; we could either fly out to Missouri for one day and get ALL tests completed or we could piece meal it all from here in Florida. We decided we wanted to fly to Missouri, however after looking into flights, hotel, time off, etc., we realized that it wouldn’t be possible. We asked if we could piece meal it, and within days we received our genetic tests in the mail (similar to 23&me but for fertility genetics) as well as our lab work orders.

The members at MCRM have been incredible. They respond very fast and are available for questions any time and have made us feel like there is hope. Once the doctor receives the results for all the tests she ordered, and she reviews everything, we will have a follow up. To say I am anxious is an understatement.

During this waiting period, not only was I starting to schedule appointments for the Missouri doctor, I was still continuing with my Femara and blood work through my OBGYN that I had been seeing. In addition to day 21 and day 28 blood work for my OBGYN, I needed to complete the blood work order from the MO doctor. I completed this blood work January 8th. I was pleased and shocked by how much blood they took, which ended up being 11 tubes. I did not realize how much it would be, but I was content in knowing how many tests were being run.

My current OBGYN doctor’s office was transitioning to a new name which included switching all of their systems over as well. When I called to make an appointment for an ultrasound at the request of my MO doctor, I was asked to call back January 2nd as they did not have access to the new scheduling system until then. When January 1st rolled around they were officially under the new name and system. January 2nd (Thursday), I began calling to get an appointment for the ultrasound. This was a nightmare. I was in a time crunch as I knew their appointment slots filled up quickly, and I knew I needed this ultrasound done the 8th (Tuesday). Trying to get in touch with anyone at the office was a joke. Finally, I was able to reach someone to make an appointment, after writing them a message on Facebook for someone to call me. I read verbatim the ultrasound order from MO to ensure I was getting the correct test completed. On Tuesday the 8th, I arrived at my OBGYN’s office checked in and showed them the work order from the MO doctor, the woman at the front desk told me they didn’t need it. I wanted them to review the work order to ensure they completed it fully since there were 6 different items requested to look for during the ultrasound. I was called up to get checked in and again showed the work order from the MO doctor. She said “it’s okay we don’t need it, we have it in the system”; at which time the ultrasound tech had come to retrieve me. For the third time, I showed the work order and finally the tech took it and read it. At which point she said, “we don’t do this type of ultrasound here.” I felt like my head was going to explode. Now keep in mind, this ultrasound was to be completed during days 3-7 of my cycle. The tech took the work order to the back to discuss with the doctor; she came back and said they could do the ultrasound for 2 of the items requested and that I would need to go to Radiology Regional for the other 4, which they kindly created a work order for. I agreed and immediately let my MO doctor aware of. As you can see, my patience for this doctor’s office was wearing thin.

Jumping back to Femara; I completed my day 21/progesterone level blood work prior to the system change, thus the results would not be updated in the app like previously. I gave it some time in hopes someone would notify me, but I never received anything. Finally, I wrote them in their new system on January 10th requesting results. I received a voicemail from the doctor’s assistant saying, “the results show you did not ovulate.” I was confused since not only did she not provide specific numbers, but lack of ovulation had never been a problem in the past. I wrote them again requesting the numbers. The assistant wrote back letting me know my numbers were 8.8 ng/ml. It was clear that the Doctor was washing her hands of me. Although my numbers were low, those numbers didn’t show “no ovulation.”

In the back of my mind I was so thankful for the doctor in Missouri, as I knew she had taken the lead.

I will be completing the rest of my ultrasound tomorrow which will be the last of our tests. Once all results have been received and reviewed by the doctor in Missouri we should have some answers.

With this past month being filled with holidays, family, and friends; it has been a great way to keep my mind occupied. We are feeling hopeful right now but also know that we’ve been there before and haven’t had the outcomes we hoped for. We will continue to pray and look to our friends who have been and will soon be welcoming their miracles and know miracles really do happen.



Maybe This Time Next Year

Some of my most cherished childhood memories were during holidays, especially Christmas time. My parents always went above and beyond. This meant elaborate decorations, piles of gifts, reindeer prints on the roof, and having an actual Santa Clause come to the house; it was every child’s dream. We still go to my parents’ house Christmas morning and open our gifts while our parents watch – even at 28, 29 and 30 years old. And we all still decorate our own homes in elaborate Christmas decorations.

With all the holiday joy I can’t help but think “if only I had a little one to share this all with.” I think back to the memories of opening gifts, making cookies for Santa, driving around looking at Christmas lights, and realize how much joy it brought my parents.

Each year my parents ask us for a Christmas list, and for the past 4 years all I’ve wanted to answer was, a baby. Christmas for the past 4 years consisted of me thinking, maybe this time next year.  Maybe this time next year another person would be added to our Christmas card photo, another stocking would be hung, and another reason to love Christmas. But “this time next year” comes and nothing is different, everything remains the same except my heart hurts a little more.

Again, I have to say that I absolutely love Christmas and all that comes with it; the shopping, family time, decorating, lights, wrapping of gifts, all of it. But, that doesn’t mean it’s not hard. It’s so so so hard. The sadness for wanting a family of our own, hits a little harder this time of year. Seeing the cute photos of friend’s children with Santa, the “Baby’s First Christmas” ornaments, and those adorable holiday commercials, I stop and think will I ever get to be part of that? Will I ever be a mom?

Until that day comes, I will continue to envision this time next year. I will continue to have faith and know that God has a plan for us. I will continue to know that life can change at any moment.

So, for those celebrating with your little ones hug them a little tighter and treasure those lifelong memories. And to those celebrating with the hopes of maybe this time next year, don’t lose hope.

I want to wish all of our friends and family a very Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!



Giving Up Is Not an Option: Part 4

On the last blog I was in the middle of taking a month off of Clomid due to the doctor being out of town, as well as getting an ultrasound to ensure the Clomid had not caused any cysts. The ultrasound came back clear and I was told that everything looks “beyond perfect.” Hearing this provided me with an overwhelming feeling of relief, which was much needed.

I began my third dose of Clomid in mid-October. This 3rd dose of Clomid was a triple dose (150mg). The side effects from this bumped up dose kicked my butt. I was dizzy all the time which lead to feeling nauseous and a pounding headache; all of which lasted about 2-3 days. In addition to these side effects, the dreadful hormonal acne was worse as well. I just kept telling myself “this will all be worth it.”

With my luck, day 21 (the day I get blood drawn for progesterone level) fell on a Sunday, so I went in on the Friday before to get my blood taken. On Monday, I received my results. Unfortunately they dropped significantly. My numbers went from a 17.9 ng/ml to a 10 ng/ml. As a reminder, the doctor wants to see my numbers at 20ng/ml or higher. When I saw that number, my heart sank. I was beginning to feel so hopeful on this journey but was quickly slapped with reality. I immediately knew the blood draw on day 28 would give me yet another negative, and I was right.

Going into this last appointment I was defeated, as was the doctor. She was sad to see my numbers had dropped. With hesitation, she prescribed me another month of Clomid 150mg. The doctor stated that if my numbers did not rise that we should consider going to a specialist. As soon as she said this my heart sunk even more and I had a pit in my stomach. I again informed her that a specialist just isn’t in the cards for me right now. She seemed to have understood, but unfortunately repeated the suggestion of the specialist a few times. Another point she did make was that for the Progesterone Level test (day 21 blood draw) it should never been done before day 21, if day 21 is on the weekend I should come in on Monday. This gave me a glimmer of hope, thinking that maybe my numbers didn’t really drop, but I just came in too early for blood work. Even though I know that could be the case, my hope is still hanging on by a thread. This appointment just didn’t feel as hopeful as the previous ones. The way I comprehended this appointment was that if my numbers dropped again, this would be the end of the road for this doctor treating me.

I stayed strong during the appointment, but as soon as I got to my car all of my emotions came flooding out. The journey of infertility is an emotional roller coaster. For the past few months of numbers rising and my ultrasound coming back “more than perfect” I was truly beginning to feel like our miracle was close, really close.

I immediately began to think “maybe going to a specialist wouldn’t be a bad idea;” however I quickly stopped that thought process. When going to a specialist you have to be prepared to spend money, lots of money. Our current insurance doesn’t cover ANY fertility treatments. Thus, any procedures would require us to pay out of pocket. Emotionally and physically I would do just about anything at this point, but we financially cannot open that door. So going to a specialist at this time is just not an option.

I am currently in the middle of the 4th dose of Clomid and am praying my numbers rise. Even if my numbers rise, I am unsure of the plan my doctor has. I have begun to look into the USF Fertility Research Center and will hopefully muster up the courage to call and make an appointment.

With this past month being a bit rocky, we are hoping these next few weeks can give us back the hopefulness we lost. With the holidays upon us, I will hopefully be distracted and not spend too much time thinking about this journey. With Thanksgiving being this week, I can’t help to emphasize how truly thankful I am for my husband, our families and our friends. The support system I have is more than I could have ever asked for and I am thankful for each and every one of you. EVERY. SINGLE. DAY.



5 sages


It’s Okay.

My husband and I have been blessed in so many areas of life. We are healthy, have incredible families, amazing friends, great jobs, a beautiful home, and our 2 healthy dogs. We truly cannot complain. But yet, I still sit here asking God, why? Why hasn’t He blessed us in that area of our lives?

I watched a recent interview of Carrie Underwood (link below) in which she explained how she suffered 3 miscarriages between 2017 and 2018. Although we have never gone through a miscarriage, her interview was beyond relatable. As much as I would never wish infertility upon anyone, seeing someone as “perfect” as Carrie Underwood suffer from this makes me feel more “normal.” I know ‘perfect’ is a strong word to describe someone that you have never met. However, I have envied Carrie for years; from her beauty, to her music, to her faith, to her private personality, and most recently for her dedication to fitness. So again, by seeing someone I view as perfect go through a similar struggle makes me feel not so alone – if that even makes sense. There are days that I don’t understand why this is happening to us, so when someone in the spotlight explains they are also struggling, it helps you cope with your abnormalities.

There was one part of her interview that made me think to myself; wow, I’m not the only one feeling that way.  Carrie Underwood said during her interview; “Like, really, what can I complain about? I can’t. I have an incredible husband, incredible friends, an incredible job, an incredible kid. Can I be mad? No.” Aside from the “an incredible kid” part, this is a statement I juggle with all too often.

I feel selfish for getting angry or questioning God’s timing. How can I be angry or question Him when He has blessed us is every other area of life? I will remind myself there are people in this world struggling with a lot more than we are. I have to remind myself how incredibly blessed we are. But there are some days even reminding myself, it doesn’t make this journey any easier.

We are creeping up on 3 years since we began our journey to seek help for our fertility struggles. In these 3 years, we have learned about ourselves, our marriage, different options in the infertility world and most importantly that it’s okay to be sad, angry, hopeful, happy and any other emotion you feel.

To the couples struggling, it’s okay to feel. It’s okay to feel angry and hopeful, at the same time. It’s okay to sit on your bathroom floor and cry while asking God why you received yet another negative. It’s okay to question God’s timing. It’s okay because at the end of the day this is YOUR journey, not anyone else’s.



Giving Up Is Not an Option: Part 3

At my last visit, as previously stated in “Giving Up’s Not an Option #2,” my numbers rose to a 13.1ng/ml. With my last experience on Clomid/Femara in August 2017, my highest numbers were a 9.4ng/ml. Thus, my numbers jumping to 13.1ng/ml was some of the best news I had received throughout this process. The medicine was FINALLY working, and I mean really working. With my spirits lifted going into the second round, I was beyond hopeful.

With fertility medications like Clomid, they provide you with an actual physical calendar, which includes a strict set of deadlines. The deadlines consist of when you need to take the medicine, when you need to have intercourse, when you need blood drawn, and when you need to revisit the doctor. On top of the calendar, there are time frames, to ensure you take the medicine at the same time all 5 days. So although my spirits are high, taking Clomid can be ridiculously stressful. In addition to the stress from living by a highly regimented schedule; the side effects make it even more ‘fun.’ With this round being a double dose, I assumed the side effects would be worse, thankfully they weren’t too bad. I still have the lovely side effects of hot flashes and acne around the jaw line and chin, but thankfully they didn’t seem to get worse. However, I did notice that I bloated more this time around. Again, I remind myself that if this leads to our miracle, then bring on all the side effects.

It was finally day 21, which again means drawing blood to test my progesterone level. It was a Wednesday and I prayed I would get my results by Friday knowing Monday was a holiday, but I didn’t. I was thankful we were going to visit friends to keep my mind occupied. Come Monday, I got the alert from the healthcare app “Your health record contains new results.” I was shocked as it was Labor Day and I just assumed they would be closed. I couldn’t click fast enough to get my results and once again I was met with the pleasant surprise that my numbers had rose to 17.9 ng/ml. I was thrilled, the medicine was continuing to work. I went back for my day 28 blood draw to test my hCG (pregnancy hormone), which came back not pregnant. This was another tug at my heart, but I was staying positive.

Now the calendar starts all over. Unfortunately, when we made my monthly appointment, we accidentally made it a week later than we should have. So, I would be on “cycle day 8” come time for my appointment, which was 3 days too late. This particular doctor likes to see you and then refill the prescription rather than sending in 3 months’ worth. I contacted my doctor immediately when it was cycle day 1 using the message option on the health care app. I did not hear back, so I called and asked if someone could call in Clomid for me. They stated that my doctor was out of town and she was the only one who could call in the medication. They stated they could move my appointment from Friday to Wednesday (cycle day 6), which is the day she would be arriving back to work.  I was praying she would say starting on day 6 was not a problem, but of course that wasn’t the answer.

During my appointment my doctor stated that since we missed day 5 we would have to wait until next month. *INSERT SILENT MENTAL BREAK DOWN.* She was extremely apologetic, and all I could think was “it is what it is.”

Even with the bad news, my doctor lifted my spirits with expressing how happy she was with my numbers. She was so impressed, that the next dose she would like to do is 150mg (3 a day); with confidence this would get my numbers at 20ng/ml or above. She also mentioned (again) that at the 3 month mark is when she has her patients begin to consider other avenues. I quickly informed her that I would really like to continue Clomid for a few more months knowing it is working. However, since Clomid is known to cause ovarian cysts they have to be cautious. So since we are taking this month off, she ordered an ultrasound to ensure I am clear of ovarian cysts and be able to continue for an additional three months.

I am waiting to do my ultrasound, and praying it is clear. I am hopeful my doctor is allowing me to continue on Clomid and that my numbers are continuing to rise. I know our miracle will happen, and I pray it is soon. But until then, I will stay hopeful knowing this medicine is finally working.




Giving Up Is Not an Option #2

During our last visit, as previously stated in “Giving Up’s Not an Option #1”, the doctor was hesitant to begin any kind of treatment with us as she felt we were going backwards. However, she knew how cautious we were with moving forward with more invasive/expensive treatments and decided to start us on 50mg of Clomid. The doctor said she wanted us to begin treatment so these next few weeks/months of debating on whether we wanted to take more time without medical help, seek assistance from a specialist or try the research facility, didn’t go to waste. We both thoroughly appreciated her eagerness and willingness to help.

I was skeptical about starting Clomid since I had already been on this medicine in the past. It was the first fertility medicine that I used and when I tried it in August 2017 my progesterone level dropped from 6.6 ng/ml to 6.0 ng/ml. I was then switched to a different medicine the next month because the Clomid “wasn’t working.” So, I was skeptical to say the least.

I took the medicine as stated on days 5-9 at the same time every day. It didn’t take long for the side effects to kick in. The side effects for this medicine vary from person to person. However, the two that affected me the most are the hot flashes and hormonal acne. Hormonal acne is under the skin cysts around your jaw line and cheeks, and let me tell you – it is not cute. I just kept telling myself if it helps us conceive then it will all be worth it.

Day 21 finally came around, which meant my first blood draw to test my progesterone level. In the past I would get the results the next day, but day 22, 23, and 24 came and passed with no results. Then it was the weekend and I had forgotten about the test results. I was surprised Monday morning I saw the notification “Your health record contains new results.” Of course, I could not click fast enough to see that number. With a pit in my stomach I hit the results button and saw my progesterone level was 13.1ng/ml. OH MY GOODNESS, I was ecstatic! The medicine was working.

When I saw the number, the side effects didn’t seem so bad knowing the medication was working. Now it was the waiting game on whether my period would come, which would mean I was not pregnant. Of course, as any woman wanting to become pregnant, you think “this could be it.” However, on day 28, as if by clockwork, my monthly friend came for her visit. It was a slight pull on my heart strings, but knowing the medication was working continued to give me hope.

I went back in to see the doctor the next day. She was grinning from ear to ear seeing the jump in my numbers. She said that while 13.1ng/ml was good, she would like to see my numbers at 20 ng/ml or higher. So, she wanted to continue with Clomid, but wanted to double the dose this time. Instead of 50mg of Clomid it would be 100 mg of Clomid. She even made a comment of “well he [previous fertility specialist] didn’t get you pregnant, so I will”; her saying this gave me a boost of confidence knowing she was just as eager as me.

I am currently in the middle of the next cycle and hopeful my numbers will continue to rise. I pray this is just what we need to make our miracle happen.


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