IVF is BIG BUSINESS Part 2a

I might have been a bit unfair on the lunch thing. 20 years of lunches for my former RE might be a bit of a stretch. If you factor in a 15 buck lunch (hey, it is NYC!!) for 20 years we are looking at 109K…we spent just a little over 80K on three cycles at that clinic in the span of three months. My bad. So, that one foregone lunch gave my RE approximately 18 years worth of lunches – yep, IVF is big business (yes, you have to revert back to my previous post if you want to make sense of what this means).

All I had to do what drop a name. A wealthy name and I was a new patient at a swanky, Park Avenue fertility clinic where I rubbed arms with people we all know – household names. They wore big dark glasses in an effort to hide their identities making me feel confident that I was in the right place..surely if she was here then I was indeed a lucky woman on the verge of creating my very much wanted family. And all I had to do was drop a name and the six month wait list evaporated! Granted, my boss represented millions of dollars so certainly my association put me in a new league..the “there is no waiting list” league. Once they met my dapper, English husband in three piece suit, we were also profiled, I assume (as did they). I loved the conviction with which this doctor spoke to us about our chances in his capable hands “I can get this desk pregnant”, he told us. Much later I found out that he says that to literally every single patient he meets. It is part of the pitch, at the time it was all I needed to hear.

3 cycles – two disasters and the one that worked. The last one was the first time I decided not to follow doctor’s orders, incidentally. I had to trust my gut. As a bit of background – First cycle was the works – PGD, max dose meds and NO NORMALS. They told me that I would have to do another PGD cycle to see if I had any normals at all. In 2007 it was only being considered that embryos can self correct and perhaps a few of those seven embryos would indeed have resulted in a healthy baby. At that point it felt like my world was being shattered in a million little pieces. The next cycle brought a bit of relief, I had three normals out of seven, transfered all three embryos and ended up with a chemical pregnancy. These were back to back cycles, mind you and I was a mess. I started reading all that I could. It seemed as though my embryos might be harmed by the PGD process so we decided to do blast transfer – I essentially went against their advice to test and thankfully got pregnant after transferring 4 blasts. I’m not giving myself credit but had I not read the stories of other women and plenty of studies that suggested high doses of medication and invasive procedures such as PGD were proving to be too much for some embryos, I might not have switched things up and we might not have our now not so little one. I definitely have my opinions about their protocol (they have ONE and it is a max dose medication 300 menopur, 300 follistim and 20 lupron throughout your cycle!) and it is designed to keep your eggs growing evenly. It doesn’t work well for older women and my last cycle there (three years after my success) was an epic disaster. For what it is worth, that clinic was a concierge experience. I had a doctor on the phone within 5 minutes any time that I called, I had many, many conversations about what might be happening and what the plans might be. I had plenty of pep talks and I trusted these people – and I still do. Do I think they are perfect? No. Would I send my best friend there? Yes and no..that would depend on her willingness to speak up and get involved. Do I credit them for giving me my son? Yes. But again, they were willing to work with me and treated me like an individual. I give them credit for always looking outside the box, being open to trying, for example, tamoxifen off label for lining issues. This clinic is small and not trying to have 100 cycles a month. And this clinic did kick the tires – they knew about my blood clotting problem (however minor) and they had checked to see if my body might be attacking the fetus (it looks like it was). They also opened me up before IVF with a lap and looked to find if I had endometriosis (I did). I give them credit for realizing that common sense trumps studies in many cases and for checking things out BEFORE a problem occurs. The way they operate doesn’t appear to be the norm (at least not from the many people I know and have talked to over the years).

Clinic #2 was a disaster for me. The doctor was great – he trained and worked at Cornell and I liked him a lot. He was pretty much up for whatever I wanted to try (AFTER he realized that the protocols he was using were not working, then and only then did I get to try my own protocol, which worked and was based on lowering my dose for quality not quantity – incidentally I did get the same number of embryos)… I will never forget a conversation we had early on in our relationship. I told him that I noticed that most of my friends who had been on the pill (I made sure that I avoided it like the plague) got pregnant fairly easily in their late thirties and early forties. He assured me that it was just luck and that no studies indicate that the pill has any affect on fertility. Fast forward 6 months, I’m in his office and he tells me “Oh, you might be interested, a study came out showing that the pill very well may “suspend” fertility – something about stilling the ovaries”. All it took was a study to have him believe….all I had to do was look around me at everyone getting pregnant mostly RIGHT after coming off a 20 year relationship with the pill.

Like many cycles, doctors have plans or protocols for patients. Rarely are things customized beyond a handful of protocols. Rarely does the clinic, even the very best, perform a series of “kick the tire” procedures before heading full steam into a cycle. Sure they do one day workups but fail to check for some of the common tests that one might consider after repeat miscarriage or failures until AFTER those failures occur. Case in point – my good friend, after two years of trying with CGH normals, donor eggs (normals) – JUST found out that she is missing the beta integrin protein which is important for implantation AND she has the MTHR mutation and needs serious folate supplementation.Is it a wonder that she has had miscarriage after miscarriage? The thing that bothers me is that SHE had to request the testing – they were going to keep on going with her remaining CGH normals never thinking to have some pretty basic RPL tests performed. Why in the hell were these things not discovered two years ago at her first “top tiered” clinic?

What about all of the women who have minor blood clotting issues that go unchecked and have needless miscarriages – HELLO, this is IVF 101!! I cannot understand why clinics wait until 3 miscarriages to test the fetal tissue following a miscarriage, for example. NO, NO and simply NO! All of this is just information begging to be collected. Where are the reproductive detectives? Many of these doctors have likely seen it all and for most patients there is no mutation, there is no missing protein and they will get said patient pregnant after approximately 3 IVFS. That is what the studies say! For most clinics there is no problem until you have 3 or more losses under your belt and that, to me, is profoundly screwed up. I go to arguably the very best clinic in the country and had to ask for the beta integrin test (I was fine) and I had a very long conversation about my immune reaction toward the developing fetus. I got an eye roll. Really! My doctor does not believe in immune problems. Not enough evidence. Well, let’s see – if infertility affects 1 in 10 women and immune issues affect 2% of THAT population, is it worth it to them to put their spot light on a problem that really only affects a miniscule portion of their population, er client base? I wonder aloud. I’ve been to four clinics and interviewed far more clinics. I have hundreds (yes, hundreds) of friends who have gone through IVF and the running theme is to give IVF three tries and then move on to donor egg, three miscarriages and then move on to testing. What is the deal with the number 3??

Let’s face it, this is a business not a rainbow factory…and no clinic wants repeat failures, bad stats and an even worse reputation. In order to grow and be prosperous they need to get results. And what better way to do this than with the eggs of some fertile 20 year old who can give 25 nice eggs which turn into a decent amount of embryos (normally my friends who go the donor egg route end up with approximately 15 mature, fertilized eggs with 8 – 10 blasts to freeze but that is just my sample set!). It appears to me that hand holding a bunch of post 38 year old women, tweaking protocols with the hope that it might work isn’t a great business model for the average IVF clinic. Heck, doctors are busy and nurses, well, they are overworked, underpaid and I don’t know how they keep it all together. I’ve been underwhelmed plenty of times by inefficiency and every time I did get a great nurse, she would get a promotion and leave me. I can’t tell you, other than “concierge clinic”, how many times an office has closed forgetting to call me with my instructions or gave me the wrong instructions for my nightly medication. Is this OK? Not for the amount of money you are paying…not in the least.

When we put our dreams in the hands of someone else we expect them to be acting in our best interest. While I truly believe that most REs want to get their patients pregnant, there are plenty, plenty that just don’t want to bother with the customization and individualization that a majority of us need to get pregnant. They have hundreds of people cycling at the same time and just getting their cycles correct is a miracle, let alone monitoring and tweaking a single’s person’s protocol for maximum benefit. In IVFland, we have to be knowledgeable, be prepared to put in many hours reading, getting to now how our bodies react and using our voice. We mistakenly believe that doctors know everything, well, I did, but no more and neither should you, not 100%. If a cycle isn’t going well, cancel. Learn and try again. Don’t let things happen to you – be your own advocate.

I may be making some pretty big generalizations here but think about it – these doctors are coordinating hundreds of women’s cycles at the same time. I do have to commend CCRM for not manipulating cycles like other large, successful clinics who put an entire group of cycling women on the pill and start stims on the same day to make their lives easier. Actually, they likely couldn’t operate their clinic at all if they didn’t have some sort of regimen as described. I get it. But that clinic would have never worked for me….my body can’t take suppression. How do I know? I’ve had far too many unfortunate cycles that started with suppression – but that is me, it works well for others. Some women need something other than protocol number 7 with saizen – some women likely need immune support and blood thinners and a repaired septum but these clinics are getting so big that they aren’t ticking off the important boxes at the beginning – BEFORE you have been through half your savings.

I’m not done, there is more but writing about this literally makes my head hurt. While I’m trying my best to be fair, I do think there is a problem and no clinic is immune to it. This is a business that employs science but the X factor (that, of course, being the human factor) means that there are times when things get overlooked or mistakes are made and a cycle suffers for it. For the clinic they chalk it up to a little mistake but for some women/couples that little mistake meant the end of the line. My husband thinks I’m alluding to some pretty big accusations but I’m not. I’m saying that I know far too many women who have struggled and had to pretty much take matters into their own hands, demand the tests themselves and even go as far as altering their medication (which is NOT a good idea) to finally take home a baby while others have gone another route to parenthood.

I’m the exception for a lot of things, it seems, and for that reason I’ve not trusted my doctors completely, I’ve researched and taken matters into my own hands. But the point is that I should not have had to do that.. (I refer to the time when I lowered my menopur dose when my doctor wanted to raise it). For 19K, I should have had a phone call with the doctor in which I reminded him that too much menopur gave me two crappy eggs just two cycles previous. Instead I spoke to a nurse who could barely get my last name right and insisted that I keep with the program. Goodness, I have enough to worry about these days, did I mention that I share the same exact name with another woman at my present clinic? Yep, I’m worried about my embryos being destroyed by accident or getting transferred to this “other woman”. Don’t roll your eyes. I was one of the first people to know that my dear friend Carolyn Savage was pregnant with someone else’s baby. Google her….that is one heck of a story and ends in the most wonderful of ways but it might not have. She took matters into her own hands, not once but many times…and that is what we all need to do. I’m not saying that it is wise to second guess your doctor and make up your own protocol but if something doesn’t feel right, get another opinion, heck, get 30 more opinions because this is the most important thing in the world to you right now and there is no need or room for regrets. I write so that you can potentially not have them….

Soon – a list of kick the tires tests and the best diet for getting pregnant according to the people I trust most in the world and they are not doctors, they are people like you and me who saw that something wasn’t working and, rather than wait for a study to tell them that iodine deficiency and Vitamin D deficiency were huge reasons for a spike in infertility or sensory processing disorders in young children, they devised their own successful plan for making sure their bodies were ready to support a pregnancy. It is all common sense but we seem to be woefully lacking in that commodity at the moment. Maybe we’ve all become a bit too big, bloated on information and full of the opinion of others. Certainly I’m just another voice in this chorus but I am not ever going to tell you what to do, I’m going to walk with you and lead you to find your own conclusions and I can guarantee, your issues won’t be the same as mine (oh, other than we both want to have a child).

There I’ve said it, most of it.

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IVF is BIG business…part 1

Infertility is one of the most painful experiences a woman will ever go through.  It cuts you to your primal core and you don’t leave without having changed in some way.  I may have had success but it doesn’t feel that way sometimes.  I’m unresolved, as they say.  But for many women in this world, there will never be a pregnancy or a baby shower or even a marriage once IVF has had their way with them.  These bitter, painful stories don’t get much mention in mainstream media or much sympathy, to be honest. How many times has a woman been told to “just adopt” or be happy for what you have? It could be worse, you could be going blind…..oh the comments.  And then the world celebrates the pregnant celebrity at age 50 with their gorgeous boy/girl twins. The words surrogate or donor eggs might be thought but they sure as hell aren’t getting spoken (unless someone outs them – which does tend to happen).  People bemoan the duty of said celebrity to speak about their journey “for the rest of us” but knowing how painful the whole procedure is, I don’t blame them.   So I get it, the public still thinks that they can have babies at 50 (yes, even my friends in their late 40s and early 50s are still on the pill because they are afraid their OH SO FERTILE bodies will get pregnant).  My point is, this isn’t a slam dunk.  Not everyone has success with IVF and you better believe that has plenty to do with the fact that ART is becoming as popular as the big mac.  Nobody wants to talk about the failures sure as our food industry doesn’t want to talk about what is happening to our bodies or to our children (THAT is another blog post for sure).  In IVF/ART land all is well and there is always hope.  Just like Disneyland – you only see what they want you to see – going backstage is a completely different experience (just ask my husband, he worked at Eurodisney straight out of college – I think the analogy is apt – he describes backstage at Disney something out of a correctional facility, by the way).

IVF is such big business because women are delaying their family building plans (for so many reasons from financial to career to plain old “I haven’t met a guy I want to have a telephone conversation with much less marry”.  The changes in our society are making some doctors very wealthy and the whole industry is getting bigger.  Bigger scares me. Bigger should scare you.

When I started this process (I was in the office of an RE two weeks after I got married), I was a doe-eyed, newlywed, an optimistic little thing with big dreams.  Dreams that were born when I was a toddler (thank you, Walt Disney).

In the beautiful offices of my new RE there were hundreds of pictures of babies and books about parenting on every table.  The entire place screamed “here are where your dreams are made”…I quickly formed an attachment with my affable RE that, looking back, was not healthy.  He was fatherly and spoke with authority. He made jokes and made me feel special…I knew that my future family was important to him.  Whatever this man said was like a word straight from the bible. I asked A LOT of questions and he reveled in the attention.  He told me about “this blah blah conference where I spoke on ICSI”..ladidahdidah. I was enthralled.  I took notes.  He also liked reggaeton. He let me peek into his life and I spread mine open for him to examine (figuratively and I guess literally not to be TOOO crass).  After months of “trying” ahead of my wedding, I was now going to escalate the process.  I was 37 when I married and the clock was ticking.  I was making it happen. I remember taking a co-worker with me to the clinic for monitoring and showing her the 8 growing follicles on the monitor – wondering aloud which would be my child or children.  My fear at that point in life was multiples.  I was terrified that I’d be having six children at once.  I never once considered that I would walk out of there empty handed. Like everything else I’d known to be true, I’d be a mother…that was a given, just as I’d go to college and meet a nice man and eventually have a dog and picket fence.  I’d already created my life long before I started living it, it seems.

In this clinic I started to learn a few of my first lessons in infertility and the business of disappointment.  The first lesson, looking back, is that I was an enormous dollar sign. I represented many, many potential dollar bills. They has assessed me – they knew my financials (where we worked, how much my husband made, how much I made) and they knew my desire was strong. They combined financial potential with desire and came up with an equation.  I was worth at least 3 climid cycles, 3 IUS and 7 IVF procedures.  Oh yes, my commitment was strong and I had really amazing insurance and back up cash at that point..  They started me off on Clomid and let one of my follicles reach 28 before triggering me.  28!  The other was around 24.  I started to get annoyed and thus began my studies in Google MD.  The next Clomid cycle was an interesting one.  I got pregnant but nobody gave me progesterone.  My level was a whopping 5 but I had a positive pregnancy.  Not viable, they said.  Quite likely because I was never given progesterone support.  I left that clinic and never went back – far short of their financial plan for me, that much I know.  I had no plan B for the first time in my life.  I vowed to do a bit more research for the next time. It was 2005 so things like vitrification didn’t exist (or if they did, they were not widespread).  PGD was around and things like CGH were but a hope….  My new boss found out that I was struggling and pulled me into his office. At the time I was working as the right hand for the COO of a very large investment bank.  My boss was extraordinarily success at everything but procreation, it seemed.  He gave me a number and a name of a doctor that would help.  His wife was currently pregnant with twins and they had been trying for six years until they went to the name on the paper. I walked out of his office and dialed the number.  Unfortunately they were full and would not be able to see me for six months.  I mentioned my boss’s name and suddenly the doctor was available to meet me that day – he would forego his lunch for me. It was only one lunch, after all.

Future told, my visit would enable him to eat about 20 years worth of lunches.  Yes, 20 years.

And this is just the beginning.

Time to share…..

I might not blog much but I’m always thinking, always researching and always talking about infertility, the science, the process and I keep my ear to the ground (I mean, I’m listening to A LOT of people). I need to post more about what I am learning because it seems, like so many other things in the world we live in, that information isn’t getting out there. People put so much trust in their doctors and the process that they don’t question why they have failure after failure. The internet is a dangerous thing – someone posts an article and it becomes the truth. Let’s take for example carrageenan (a substance used to thicken liquid – essentially a type of seaweed). There have been a number of studies linking it to inflammation (and inflammation leads to…cancer). What the studies do not tell you are that there are two types of carrageenan – and one is a heck of a lot more harmless than than the copious amounts of sugar one eats every day (which absolutely feeds cancer). I’m not saying the stuff is safe but the key is moderation and thoughtful research/discourse. Just because one person says something is true does not make it so. We have to become our own advocates and know how to uncover the truth. In our attempt to find a quick solution to something that ails us, pains us we often neglect the due diligence process. We get behind people like the Food Babe or Dr. Weil or anyone with the hope that their advice is going to fix whatever ails us. I’m getting somewhere, I promise.

It seems that there are a few smoking guns when it comes to infertility – diet and toxins that we are putting in our mouth are too big to ignore. Back in our great-grandparent’s time women started having kids in their teens and the AVERAGE age for their youngest child was 42. Plenty of woman got pregnant in their forties and there were no infertility experts back then nor were there petri dishes. Sure there were “spinster aunts” that never had children but the fact remains, the food was cleaner, the soil was full of goodness and pregnancy was far more dangerous to a woman than the items that they placed on their dinner plate. So the point of this FIRST topic on doing your homework is that you can’t trust anyone when it comes to your body. Not your doctor, not the internets, not me – nobody. You have to collect information like a scientist (and that is hard when you are feeling bat shit crazy on lupron) so I get it. I’m going to ask all of you who are struggling or even just starting this process to take a hard look at what you are eating and how you are living your life. Go and get a detailed nutritional panel to make sure you have enough vitamins and minerals in your body to sustain a pregnancy, get your uterus looked at professionally with a hysteroscopy by more than one person – because septums are a leading cause of miscarriage AND they are sometimes hard to spot depending on your cycle. And get a toxin panel (thank you, K) because many of you are running around with a high amount of nickel, aluminum, and all kinds of garbage that will either keep you childless or do damage to your fetus.

Try one little experiment – buy some over the counter iodine and rub a dab on the inside of your wrist(about 3 drops spread over a thin area of skin – about the size of your inner palm) Wait and see what happens. If that iodine disappears within six hours (per Dr. Bhatia of Atlanta) you have a deficiency – you really want to see it after 24 hours. Mind disappeared in 20 minutes. I’ve added a sheet of nori (for making sushi) into my diet and so much has changed. The point is that you cannot get pregnant if your body cannot sustain a pregnancy. Your fetus knows what kind of environment it will enter – a stressful, chaotic one, one in which there is little food for people who went through food deprivation and so on. The evidence is there that your mass of cells can decide if the environment is not a good one – if you don’t have enough folate for its development. So get yourself checked out by a naturopath. Make sure your body has what it needs to support a pregnancy. I’m going to list every single test that you should consider and why. In the meantime, get as clean as you can with your eating. I’ll share resources with you because I didn’t start this blog to hear myself talk – I want to help my fellow sisters (and brothers) in IF and help all of us work together to become parents (no matter how that happens). I’d also like to suggest that you do some research on the HCG booster – the evidence is looming that having an HCG shot prior to a FET primes the uterus to accept a pregnancy.

For those of you with uterine lining issues, write a note in the comments. I know a doctor who will help you build that lining using a drug that works – it is off label for building linings but many REs are catching on (just not fast enough).

I’m going to be posting more because I’m getting ready for potential transfer – but a lot of things need to happen first. I do believe in the power of intention and, on that note, I hope you will keep your thoughts positive and understand how powerful you are and how incredible your thoughts can be..if you believe something negative, you will attract something negative. I promise this happens to me ever single day and to you as well…..

Expect to succeed in this process but first, kick every tire. I’ll help lead you to some great articles and most importantly to the fact checkers, the scientists who are not paid off by Kelloggs or Coca Cola to tell you that something they add to their amazing food products is safe- but one thing – let me know when I am wrong. I have too many people reading this blog daily – literally thousands – looking for hope and advice and I cannot give out bad information. Expect to see a lot more of me – because what I am reading and experiencing is promising for the future and might help one of you. I didn’t go through all those shots and sleepless nights not to give back, and give back I will. Keep fighting the good fight.

Starting….to wonder

I came across a piece of paper the other day that was supposed to have been submitted to my accountant. On it was a variety of high ticket items (4k for the pharmacy), 23K for an IVF in NYC, 300 shipping to CCRM (no normals, by the way from that one), 2 x 19,000 for the CGH cycles at CCRM and travel costs (just a few of the examples of what it has cost us financially – not to mention personally – in the attempt to have a sibling for our son). Thanks to a few great companies (both investment banks, by the way who were generous with their benefits) the cost was lessened for our other 8 tries. I believe that, when all is said and done, we have spent well over 200 grand trying to have what normal people do in bed. I feel guilty about it most of the time (hence the relentless work pace and commitment to make up for what I likely deem my failing). Thinking too much. I know it isn’t MY failure but what is it? As I ponder potentially holding one or two children inside my womb at the age of 45 I am faced with a number of really important questions. Such as, will I live long enough to see them graduate from college or even high school for that matter? Will we have enough money to support them and ensure that they are taken care of if one of us isn’t here anymore? Will I be putting their lives at risk and my own? Am I ready to do all of this again? And then I have a little boy who so desperately wants a sibling…..he laments on almost a daily basis. Little comments about how unfair it is that Michael Jackson (his new idol) had three children when he doesn’t even have one. Every comment is a little stab to my heart. I had a long talk with him – a very graphic conversation in which I explained how he we had a difficult time making babies and needed a doctor, about my miscarriage and that I have tried. I also went over the exact process of HOW a child is made (with photos) and he was very interested. I know that sounds a bit premature for a six year/almost seven year old and people have told me that it was a mistake but I disagree. Never will he have that “talk” or he discover it through school yard chit chat (as I did – to my horror “your daddy puts his thing into your mommy’s pee hole – needless to say I was disgusted, afraid of the idea for myself one day and confused). It isn’t a big deal to him and that is what I want, for him to understand that this is a normal and natural process (well, not so much for us but there you go).

So I have been thinking, and reading and wondering if I am the one who should be carrying these embryos. I have one possible person to carry and she is someone who currently works at my preschool. I could help care for her and be there for her every day. I would also miss out on the opportunity to carry my own child….my body also MIGHT kill my child with its ridiculous immune problem. So I made an appointment to see my old doctor. We don’t have a load of cash and I am running out of time but I am determined to use those embryos and give my son, my family and them a chance. I didn’t come this far to give up. I think of them all the time, what they would look like, how they would get on with their brother.

I am also sick. I am not sure what it is but my fingernails tell me. The smoothie revolution continued from last blog until about three weeks ago when we went to England and ate just about everything I never eat (meat, croissant with chocolate, cheese, cheese and more cheese). I have been at my best weight since high school for months. More on that later because I know that people will want to know how I did it. It is amazing. I feel like I reset my body for good. I had a glass of milk the other day – er with my tea and the only thing I could taste was the grass from the cow’s milk. UDDERLY disgusting. I much prefer soy but I think I need to give that up if I am going to do a January transfer.

I have an appointment with my former RE to ask him to manage my autoimmune issues. Blood work came back with elevated APA (blood clotting) and my fingernails are pitting (autoimmune). I cannot chance this not working so we are going to talk intralipid, IVig (at 3K a pop, god help me), prednisone and more. CCRM doesn’t believe in any of it but they do and I know I wouldn’t have Alex without the IVig.

If you have recurrent miscarriage – consider changing your diet and getting off the processed food chain as much as possible. I’m not going to go on a diatribe about GMOs right now.

Not much to report right now but lots more soon.

By the way, most of my family tree has longevity in it. Everyone lived into their 90s. I expect the same to happen over here so I’m going with that for now. I’ll at least get to see him or her or them until I am my age (unless I live as long as my grandmother – she died last year at 99).

I just hope they don’t put me in a home and forget to visit. 😉

Preparing for pregnancy and a smoothie for fertility (not my recipe)

Here is what I am doing for the next three months (combined with yoga, meditation and exercise – walking mainly and weight training) as I prepare for a March FET at CCRM.

•    Taking a baby aspirin (low dose and coated)
•    Relaxing/mediation – going to a “healer” who also adjusts you as you lay there for up to three hours if you want – miracle find and so relaxing (only in ATL)
•    Acupuncture targeted at increasing fertility. I am going local and then heading to Dr. Wu in NYC (he is the best, well IMHO).  I am certain implantation occurred because of him last time…

Perhaps add in L arginine during the cycle (not before) to help with lining issues, doubling up on my vitamin D (everyone is low and it is a huge issue – forget calcium this is why we have such a huge problem with osteoporosis…)  On to the smoothie:
•    And last but not least, drinking Lori Bregman’s fertility smoothie everyday!
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Lori Bregman’s Fertility Smoothie

Ingredients (links are to Lori’s favorite products):
•    frozen mixed organic berries
•    almond or rice milk
•    protein powder (something natural and clean, without a lot of additives or soy)
•    2 shots of wheatgrass (I use a frozen one by Evergreen, but you can use powder or fresh shots instead)
•    maca root powder
•    acai berry 
•    mixed powered greens
•    royal jelly (*Do not use if you have a bee allergy)
•    bee pollen (*Do not use if you have a bee allergy)
•    liquid omegas

Instructions:
Read dose/serving information on back of each product. Mix everything together in a blender. Use more or less milk to achieve a desired consistency.

What it all Does: 
•    Powdered Greens, berries and acai: Feed and promote healthy cell growth and help nourish the blood.
•    Wheat grass: Lowers FSH levels, nourishes cells, helps restore hormone balance, and helps alkaline your PH levels, which makes it better for sperm to live in.
•    Maca root: Nourishes the entire endocrine system, enhances fertility and brings hormones into balance. Also increases sex drive, vitality and gives you tons of energy.
•    Royal jelly: Balances hormones, supports the endocrine system, helps raise estrogen levels in women, and helps increase sperm quality and testosterone levels in men.
•    Bee pollen: Contains high levels of vitamins, acts as a natural aphrodisiac, nourishes the ovaries, increases fertility, regulates the menstrual cycle and helps produce healthy eggs in women, and increases sperm count in men.
•    Protein powder: Repairs and builds healthy tissues.
•    Liquid omegas: Helps stabilize your moods, lowers inflammation in the body, increases blood flow to the uterus, regulates the menstrual cycle, ovulation, and cervical mucus in women, and increases sperm mobility in men.

If anyone has other ideas for FET prep or pregnancy prep for all ages or specific doctors, make a comment to help others…

2013 is going to be the year….we are in waiting mode

My posting has been erratic at best, I apologize.  There is only so much you can say about having nothing to say….but now I do.  I’m gearing up for a transfer and I need help.  Your help.  YOURS?  Yes, yours.  I am at my wits end about how many to transfer.  I’m terrified of two things – getting pregnant with twins and not getting pregnant at all.  My history with Alex included preterm labor but I had a lot of stress around the time it all went down (husband lost job).  I now have FIVE GAZILLION amounts more stress (own a preschool – hello!?!).  I literally have children that I look after and over all day long and I fret.  I am a little “type A” as my husband says.  Ya think?  These kids are someone’s entire life and you better believe that a boo boo or bite or whatever happens in the course of the day is something I’m involved with – I also love being around them which isn’t great since I’m CMV negative (that is for another day).  But I’m going to be 45 and with two CGH normals – one 5AB and the other 4BB – I have a good chance of both implanting.  I think my son was a lower quality embryo and developed slower but the 5AB is a great shot and it is a girl and the 4BB a boy.  I also worry that if one works then how can I go back for the other?  I’ll be 50  by the time my body recovers and I just can’t do that – already 45 feels a bit old to be doing this.  Anyway, I am going to do it.  My DH and I have been having stress arguments. It is normal, I know but not helpful.  He seems to think I should just put them both back in but doesn’t understand that means I will be laying around for 9 months (not running a preschool).  Oi vey.

So how many?  My gut says do an ESET with the higher quality first (the girl) and then if life is so kind as to give us the means to afford a surrogate, we go for the 4BB a year after she is born.  That feels weird and freaky to say so let’s just hope I didn’t jinx myself.  

I’ve always thought I’d have three kids and well, who knows.  I just hope it works.  Something about finally doing it is making me a little unhinged.  It feels so final and what if it does not work?  I have no plan B.

So what do you think, internets?  Should I transfer both?  I did carry to full term even if I was 4cm dilated for about 5 months.  

I am also concerned that the CGH process is going to hurt them – and I’m concerned about my age – although my OBGYN told met hat if I get pregnant it is the same odd as a younger person because a muscle is a muscle and mine has proven to work once.  Whatever the heck that meant, to be honest.  Muscles fail too, you old goat.  MUST.ONLY.SEE.A.WOMAN.GYNO.

Oh and I recently had a huge scare with a lump – that was handled poorly and made me nearly jump off the bridge.  Thankfully it is all normal – so far.  

Lastly, I have an UP band which is an annoying little wrist bandt hat tells you how much sleep, what you are eating and how deep you sleep, etc.  It basically is ruling my world right now. I’ve lost a few pounds since its arrival on Christmas so I guess I like it.  Actually, for what it is going to help me do (have a baby, I hope) it is a fantastic thing and great motivation.  It even buzzes me if I don’t do anything for over 10 minutes.  I guess that is the definition of lazy – not moving your hand for 10 minutes.  Right.

Over to you – help!!!!  I’m looking at a mid March transfer if I can get grumpy husband to agree to all the malarky involved (the trip out, the blood and the cost).  It has to be done and hell, I’m doing all the work.  Decisions.

Happy New Year, Readers.  I promise to be a little more interesting in 2013.  This has been a weird year.  Next year I’m going to rock and roll and i hope you do to (whatever that means to you).  Now off to make an appt in my calendar to schedule an appt with Schoolcraft.  That might take a minute or two (or a week or two).  Onward and upward!

Just when you thought nothing could surprise you…

I’ve been debating posting what I have on my mind. I’ve really thought long and hard about it (yes, I’ll get to it but there is a back story so indulge, please and thank you). I’ve had a pretty horrible few years months. I’ve not told anyone about all of the things bothering me. In fact, I’ve kept almost everything to myself for so long that I’ve become used to it. This blog is about as close as I get to spilling my guts about what is really bothering me and most of you have no idea who I am (er, I suppose).

Let me backtrack…

I went to visit my husband’s family for three weeks in June. It was the first real holiday I’ve had in three years and I REALLY needed it.   This has been a challenging year for many reasons not just waiting for the doctor to approve my chosen surrogate.   I was hoping to relax, recharge and hopefully come back to the great news that Dr. Schoolcraft had approved my surrogate after the “difficult cases” meeting and that our journey could begin. I was rather sure AND as my husband said after reading the pleading letter to the good doctor “there is no way he won’t be moved by that” or something of that nature.  I had pretty much secured the loan from our credit union for most of the costs, I was set. The IS (intended surrogate) was getting a little tired of waiting and I didn’t blame her. But knew that it would crush me and ruin my one chance to rest after a hard few years.  I didn’t think three weeks would make much of a difference and knew that a calmer me would make me able to deal with whatever the decision was with a clearer head.    So I went to the UK blissfully unaware that meetings had been had in Colorado and fates had been sealed. Who knows, they hadn’t called me back despite a few phone calls and emails so I assume that is what was going on. I certainly was not going to have  another hundred or so dollars to talk to him again (plus the 8 dollar phone call charge – love that touch).   I try not to think of the money we’ve spent so far and the phone calls….which have been about 2 minutes long.  What is the hourly rate for that?  A million dollars an hour?

I digress.

So I went to the UK and had a fantastically craptastic time thanks to some work drama.  The highlight was going to Paris for the night, eating a chocolate ice cream cone and working off the calories (and almost dying of heart failure) trying to keep up with my 5 year old ball of energy who literally ran up the Eiffel tower to the first level.  Let me say that the Eiffel Tower is a big deal at my school.  We talk about it a lot.  We draw pictures of the steeple at our school (we reside in a church) and the kids love imagining it with all the lights on it at night.  I have little replicas that they love to hold.  My son was a ROCKSTAR at school for going up the Eiffel Tower so it was worth it….even if I cried all the way down and back on the Eurostar….imagining horrible things that never happened, arguing with my husband over almost everything and nothing and missing my friend who died last year.  You know, the one person you have in your life that you can call and talk to for a few hours and you both walk away from the call having unloaded and feeling like you connected with another person who gets it?  He was that person for me.  I know I’m all  over the place but I just needed him at that moment and well, now….and I don’t have him or anything like him anymore.    Enough with the pity party.  I’ll be fine, I just get sad sometimes and talk to the air imagining he is here and listening (minus his incredibly catty stories about people we know from high school and who is now gay and who is divorcing and….you know, a little harmless gossip with an old friend).   He was gay, for the record and when he died we hadn’t talked because I was so busy, I didn’t return his few calls.  Not because I didn’t care, I was too busy working to save my family.  Another blog post… another regret.

God help me I will get to the point.

So I get back to the US and solve a few of my pending problems, get the news from CCRM, digest it. tell the surrogate via FB (because I could not speak I was so upset)…  A few weeks go by and I’m thinking about how perhaps I could try one transfer with me and then move the other embryo to a clinic (my husband’s wishes) and transfer to her.

Then Aurora happens and I immediately look to see if she is OK (on FB – she lives in that vicinity) and she is gone.  Poof.  She blocked me.  She erased me from her life.  My husband was very relieved that we didn’t proceed further with someone who clearly didn’t see us as anything more than dollar signs…I took it a bit harder..  I felt like I’d been punched in the gut.  The idea of someone carrying a child for me wasn’t easy.  I had pangs and yearnings and questions but I made peace with it because of her.  I also felt a connection to her and knew she would care for my children (if they do turn into children but with a normal CGH embryo made a few years ago, you have a good chance in the right womb).

The person that I almost let carry my children blocked me on facebook.  Just.Like.THAT.

If that isn’t a kick in the pants, I don’t know what is.  All I can say is I hope she isn’t following me.  Fool me once and I get the picture.  I’ve now learned that life is not only about choices but also how you react to the choices of others.

I just keep on thinking…what if she had my children living inside of her and blocked me.  What if, what if, what if.

Maybe I have a guardian angel.  I don’t know.

Let me leave you with the good news – my period is back again.  Heavy too.  I think I am going to build a lining, folks.  I think I’m going to do this myself.  Soon.  44 and pregnant.  Think I’d get a reality TV show?  Good LORD, my friends from high school are having grandchildren now.

Enough counting chickens.

The End of Post 125