Our Egg-straordinary Journey {Mini Nini 2}

“The probability of having a biological baby, is really, really, really unlikely.”

“One in billion? Maybe”

“Just relax, and you’ll get pregnant”

In 2015 I was told my ability to have a biological child was just not going to happen. I remember not long after that appointment I was faced with more heartbreak. It was a rainy day I had a homecoming (deployment) photo shoot at 5:30am, we had to go into the clinic right after to sign papers to dispose of the last embryo containing my own DNA. I pressed my head against the cold foggy window, sitting in silence tearing up knowing this was the last time my husband and I would be combined in one {unfortunately not perfect} baby. Signing those papers I felt my heart sink, mourning so much more than I could ever imagine, I was 21 years old, all 7 embryos tested abnormal, walking away from something I dreamed about and just leaving them behind- I felt defeated. It just wasn’t meant to be I told myself. However we get our family it will be beautiful, but at that moment, I didn’t know if I’d ever have a family.

From the moment we welcomed our sweet baby boy (via Egg Donor IVF 2016) we knew we wanted to grow our little tribe. We’ve always wanted a big family and having 3 embryos remaining -from our amazing egg donor- had given us that opportunity, but I wasn’t ready to give up on myself. I’ve always had the strongest desire to prove the impossible possible, especially with something I am so passionate about. I never thought my journey of motherhood was complete. I love having the option of putting in our 3 embryos in me at any time of my choosing, but what did that mean for me? Do I finally accept that I will never have a biological child? No. I couldn’t possibly be ready to just walk away at the age of 24 from a dream I’ve had since I was 4 years old. I wanted a biological baby. It wouldn’t mean that I would love my egg donor son any less or a bio baby any more, I just wanted to experience the beauty of two people very much in love, combined in one perfect human being, so many people get this amazing gift, many take for granted. But not me.

 

 

 

 

 

One in a billion were my odds. How many 21 year old women fail IVF (twice) and have to resort to Donor IVF? Let alone have 5 losses? Being young doesn’t always mean everything works. It doesn’t mean I have all the time in the world to get it right. Remove that charade from your head that so many people have thrown at me. It DOESN”T WORK LIKE THAT, as much as I wish it did. If I wanted to get pregnant naturally and STAY pregnant, I was going to have to do more than I could imagine to make it happen. Discipline and Determination would set me apart from the millions of dreams and turn it into a beautiful reality. Doctors still predict I’ll be around 26 when menopause hits. Time is so sensitive for us to have our dream family. Our vision has changed many times as to what our dream family even looked like anymore. Honestly, if Jackson is all we get, I’m 1000% okay with that. We are so lucky to even have him in our lives.

I couldn’t “just relax” and get pregnant even if I wanted to. If I did that I’d find myself battling more miscarriages and the very high possibility of having a very sick child if they were to survive a pregnancy. Although “not trying” has reduced stress for many women who go on having healthy pregnancies, I didn’t have that option. If I didn’t do everything in my power to prep my eggs for a healthy pregnancy, it wouldn’t survive. I knew when we had decided we were going the natural route before using one of our embryos that we would need a game plan. I didn’t want to drag out any more years of heartache to achieve something we just didn’t know was even possible.  I wanted to try 3 months, or 2 miscarriages, whichever came first. Honestly, I don’t know if I could take 2 more losses, heaven forbid that be my future I probably would’ve thrown in the towel after one more loss, used one of the embryos and called it a day. Because egg quality can take a minimum of 3 months to change, we decided our plan in October 2017 to begin TTC in April, because after my emergency C-Section, I was advised to wait a year before getting pregnant. I had to quit breastfeeding early because some of the vitamins I was going to be taking weren’t breastfeeding friendly, which was okay because we had already known that, so every time I fed Jackson I would pump the other side. The freezer stash got him to his first birthday, having at least one bm bottle a day, if not more (except our trip to London for 2 weeks, it was too difficult to get it overseas). Still a HUGE success for me and made me feel better about quitting at 7 months.

Having decided that April was the month we were going to start trying, we took a “Pre-Pregnancy-Prep Couples Getaway” in January 2018. After that trip I immediately started my new nutrition, vitamins, weight-loss, and chemical free lifestyle… to give my body enough time to be ready in April for baby making.

My nutrition lifestyle change had me going crazy, worth it but very challenging at times. I was  Gluten free, Soy free, No alcohol, preservatives, caffeine (yes- including chocolate) Organic ONLY, non-gmo, hormone free, happy cows/chickens on happy farms, VERY limited natural sugars, no processed foods… INTENSE. I really miss going out to eat and feeling like a normal human, but it was all for a good cause. We also eliminated all chemicals in our home, such as standard shampoo/conditioner, laundry detergent, household cleaning items, etc.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I took tons of vitamins as well! Prenatal, Cod Liver oil, Baby Aspirin, Folate, Ovaboost (egg quality), Coq10, Vitamin D drops, Probiotic, and Methyl-B12.  Acupuncture and essential oils were in full swing for baby making, and the big one was POSITIVITY. In case you haven’t noticed on Instagram I have been doing so many positive posts in my stories to keep spreading the sunshine around. It’s important to feel good about yourself and to make others feel good too, it goes such a long way for your body and mind when you think positive.

I weighed 138lbs after the holidays. For fertility BMI (Body Mass Index) is so very important, it’s the only time I truly believe that BMI actually matters. I needed to be in a Normal range (18.5 to 24.9), I came in at 26.1 Overweight. The ideal fertility range is 20-24, but honestly anything under 25 we would be happy with. I had done Beachbody workouts since October, losing a couple pounds here and there, but it wasn’t until I changed my nutrition that I saw insane progress.

**I did NOT do the Beachbody nutrition/shakes, they were not fertility friendly for me and it couldn’t match up with the needs my body had for baby prep reasons are posted below the blog after the timeline photo**  I’ve found a great community of women that really encourage each other, I added this information about the nutrition below because it can make getting pregnant more difficult for those who really want to try for a baby. (Not just Beachbody, any protein based shake/food item)

My goal was to get to 130. I went from 138 to 112 in just a few months. A lot of people threw shade at me for losing weight, saying how lucky I was for being in a size 2 again or just looking thinner, which isn’t cool guys! It’s not like I sat on the couch eating taco bell and complained that my weight was dropping, I worked SO hard to drop that weight, sacrificing nights out with friends, drinking, and having cheat days. I had to be extremely disciplined to get to my goal and only eat EXTREMELY clean foods helped more than just working out every day. It is possible to lose weight in a healthy way, and can even be as simple as looking at the ingredients you put in your body, you just have to be disciplined to do it.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nutrition and Weight Loss were in full motion so our next step was to find a naturopath. I was recommended by my mom (who is also my fertility coach) to the AMAZING naturopathic Dr. McCarthy at Protea Medical Center. His job was to make sure my hormones were right where they needed to be. I knew he was our doctor when he threw my previous medical chart on the table and said “this is bull—- they used you. We can fix this.”

Our first panel, taken in February 2018, we learned my T3/T4 and Estrogen were in very much need of hormone help!

He gave us two options after our blood review.

1) Aggressive and quick route, Clomid and trigger shot. Had you asked in 2015 when our IVF journey began, I would’ve jumped at the quick solution, we could be pregnant by next week if we wanted, but I didn’t accept that option. Infertility has taught me so much patience, but that doesn’t mean it wasn’t a hard decision, I was literally rejecting everything I wanted now. I just knew in my heart, that wouldn’t fix me. It would be a temporary fix that might not give us our best chance.

OR

2) Take 90 days of hard core prep (which we were already doing) and retest a lot and hope everything aligns and truly gives my eggs the best chance to become healthy. I knew in the long run this would be better for my body. So we did it.

He gave me some thyroid medicine to increase my T3/T4 and Vitamin D drops, hopefully it would naturally make my estrogen rise. Biggest request was that I was to remain STRESS FREE, so soon as my husband hears that… all these crazy stressful ideas come into his head… like let’s buy a house! Luckily it did pay off but stress was certainly a factor at the time.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

As we sat down to review all my progress in April we did NOT get cleared to try to conceive. I was super upset. However, if I’ve learned anything in this journey, it’s that timing is everything, and I really just needed to trust the process. We continued doing what we needed; although levels came up they still needed to get higher. We retested again in May just to make sure the increase to my medicine was working, and everything looked really good. With all the positive news we decided to bet on ourselves, so we booked a trip during my June ovulation (that would be the first available ttc month we would be allowed, hopefully). So Ovulation Celebration would allow us to get some couple time in and my husband was leaving for London the following week so we just tried to make the best of it even if we weren’t cleared to try.

We sat down again June 7th after at least 8 blood draws and maximum effort, and we were given the green light!! SO EXCITED, but that’s when the hard part hit me. I always liked the idea of the doctor calling the shots. It meant we weren’t ready to face the ugly side of what many years of fertility brought us. So many emotions running through my mind it really scared me, Am I really going to do this to myself again? What happens if I lose another baby and Jared is gone and I’m with Jackson alone? Could I do this to my family, again? Reality slapped me in the face and decided that Mother Nature was coming early. Thus ruining the purpose of Ovulation Celebration but nonetheless it was needed, my body was telling me it’s time and it’s not going to wait for my vacation.

 

June 23rd Jared left for London, which was supposed to be for a month. June 25th I grabbed one of the 6 pregnancy test boxes that Jared shoved in my Christmas stocking, all the thoughts in my mind raced around for those 3 minutes, And there it is, a faint line of hope. Later that evening I got a call that Jared broke his arm and was being sent home from his business trip to possibly face surgery. It was an insane weekend. 20 tests later, the lines grew darker, hope was being restored but we had so many obstacles to get through. Our first month of trying, we were successful. That really was no surprise, I could always “get pregnant” I just couldn’t “stay pregnant”. So I held my breath, prayed every time I had to use the restroom that there wouldn’t be blood. I found out I was pregnant at 3w1d, big milestones approached 4 weeks, 5 weeks, 6 weeks, and on the 7th week I found it’s little heart with my home Doppler. With Jackson I wasn’t able to hear him until 8w6d but this little miracle shared it’s music with the world at 7w6d. So much stress vanished.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We saw the doctor at 6w4d and baby measured 6w2d, which scared me but we detected the heart and saw the little blob, so for now that’s all I could do. They referred me to a specialist for week 12 testing in late August (send good vibes please) to make sure baby is healthy. We are announcing a little earlier than we did with my son because no matter what happens I wanted to share our journey (again) in hopes that others can have their miracle moment. This is our Longest Natural Pregnancy, which makes us very very hopeful. Our furthest pregnancy was 8w4d which was our 4th loss in January 2015.

 

 

I do want to mention when I bring up our prior losses, it is not a sore subject by any means. I’ve been very open about our experiences and I am so blessed to be where we are right now. I wouldn’t change the past because I am so in love with my present. I do think of my lost ones on days that were significant to them but not in a sad way. I am proud of what I have gone through and I know they are being loved in a better place by others that were taken too soon as well. I do not cry sad tears for their absence; I cry happy tears for the time I got with them. If you or someone you know is struggling with loss feel free to message me, if you just need someone to listen I am here. Loss is a very difficult thing, and even though I have found ways to move forward sometimes we need a little help.

As this baby continues to grow, we ask for prayers and good vibes along the way, I am still a very high risk pregnancy. Links of the Mini Nini Baby #2 Prep Team will be listed below the pictures.

There are no words to describe how I feel about this pregnancy. From the extremely rough days of just waiting, only doing vitamins, keeping a strict diet with absolutely NO cheat days, feeling so misunderstood at times or beating myself up when it got hard and I question why I didn’t choose the fast route. I can smile with tears in my eyes, saying It was worth it, again. There is a miracle I was told I’d never have growing inside me. Having gone from this dream ripped away at 21 years old and completely changing the way I viewed how my family would be, to this. I encourage you to never give up.

As far as my prior fertility journey with my son, I do want to say I LOVE my doctor in San Diego, I really do. There are things I wish I had known before IVF but who I am to complain, I got my beautiful son from their hard work. However, I am a little bittersweet because in the end it does feel like a business. No one even told me I couldn’t have coffee during my first IVF cycle, I basically threw away $20,000 that first round… I was 21 and had NO IDEA what was happening. Or how I could fix my egg quality. I am not angry and I still keep in touch with the office and they are so very supportive of my journey, we even had the pleasure of having Jackson meet the amazing team that made him. I am very blessed that at the time I was away from my family and going through the most difficult chapter of my life, it felt like Dr. Shelly was family. She took me in and made me feel very safe and loved. I will never look back and hate my experience; I just wish I had done the research first.

As for the team that helped me in this pregnancy, Dr. McCarthyChelle StaffordJoy Lechner, every nurse that did the blood draws for me at Protea, my Husband, Instagram Infertility Warriors and my amazing few friends that really stepped up these last 3 months (even if they didn’t know what to say when I cried about missing gluten and trying to decipher pregnancy acronyms) and my Jack Jack- For being the reason I did all this in the first place, you made me strong, baby. My love for you will continue to grow as fast as you do, you are so perfect and the best thing that could ever happen to us.

THANK YOU EVERYONE. This would not have been possible without your love and support.

 

If there is a voice telling you that your journey isn’t over, listen to it. I will always bring awareness to infertility and helps those who struggle. It is my passion and such an incredible community. Miracles happen every single day. Positivity changes the outcome. It’s not about relaxing and things will come your way. It’s about taking charge of your life and knowing that you can change your stars. Don’t stop until you are proud.

Here are some reason why BeachBody Shakes (and many other protein based shakes) are not fertility-lifestyle friendly for those TTC/Treatments…
1. They are not Certified Gluten Free.
2. The Whey that is the base for most shakes is not grass-fed, organic and if it’s not grass-fed organic that means the cows are eating genetically modified corn and soy which is not allowed for fertility prep.
3. Pea Protein, Peas are a NATURAL BIRTH CONTROL, just like Peppermint! (prolonging many women from immediately getting pregnant or worse)
4. Folic acid, although that has lots of it, if you have MTHFR your body can not break down the synthesized form of Folate also known as Folic Acid. Therefore it is not beneficial to your body or the process of trying to conceive.
5. Processed foods, include protein powders like the Whey, are introduced to chemicals during the process of extracting the protein. That is a No-No.

One thought on “Our Egg-straordinary Journey {Mini Nini 2}”

  1. Shiloh;
    You are an amazing woman we are in awe of your strength through all that you’ve been through. You are my hero for sure.
    Your Grandpa and I are so proud of the woman you’ve become.
    Your journey is heart wrenching to say the least, and we pray daily for you and your amazing miracles. We love you all very much.
    Give Jackson and Jared our love.
    Grandpa Bill and Grandma Jeannie

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *