Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Still Here, Still Not Pregnant

This May will mark 3 years that we have been trying for a second child.  I so vividly remember sitting on a beach in Mexico, holding my sleeping baby under the shade of an umbrella, and having that discussion with my husband about how we should start trying for a sibling for our daughter.  Isla was around 8ish months old at the time, and I wanted children close in age.  Never in my wildest dreams did I imagine that it would be so incredibly difficult to grow our family.

With 5 unsuccessful rounds of IUI (intrauterine insemination), 3 rounds of failed In Vitro Fertilization (IVF), and 4 surgical procedures under my belt this past year, I finally have my diagnosis: Premature ovarian failure / primary ovarian insufficiency.  According to my doctors, I am the most difficult type of patient to treat.  I am a poor responder to IVF treatments, producing minimal eggs, and the small number that I do manage to squeak out are of poor quality. 

During our first 2 IVF cycles (In September, and October), we lost all of our embryos between day 3-5.  They simply just stop growing and dividing, arrest, and die.  I did manage to get one blastocyst during our second cycle, which they biopsied, then froze, and sent the sample out for PGS testing (genetic testing that determines the quality of the embryo).  The result came back in less than a week.  Abnormal.  Our one little survivor was missing three chromosomes and was not compatible with life.  I was absolutely devastated.  

After my second round of IVF failed, I decided that if I was to do another round, I wanted to push for a fresh transfer, and no PGS testing.  I thought maybe my little babies would develop better in my womb vs. in a laboratory.  I wanted to chance it....I would leave everything up to fate.  I quietly went through my third round in January.  I did a lot of prep work leading up to this cycle including a "vitamin cocktail" that involves nearly 25 vitamins per day to improve egg quality, and daily human growth hormone injections for 7 weeks prior to the start of my hormone stimulation.  We ended up retrieving 8 eggs, and they selected the best looking embryo and transferred it back into my body on day 5.  The rest of the embryos all survived, but were extremely poor quality.  So poor that they didn't meet my clinics criteria for freezing.  

Just like that, everything was riding on this one little embryo that was housed in my body.  Unfortunately, it all went downhill from here.  I knew I wasn't pregnant a few days before I was scheduled for my beta blood test that determines pregnancy.  I started spotting, took a home pregnancy test, and stared down at that 1 lonely line.  When you've spent all of 3 years willing that second line to magically appear, you just come to accept that it will always be negative.  Showing up for my blood test 3 days later seemed like some cruel joke.  My doctor called later that afternoon to confirm that, indeed, I was not pregnant, and that I could stop all medications.  Gee, thanks doc.

There are so many highs and lows within IVF, and when it doesn't work, the lows are a really, really depressing low.  After round three failed, it was a really dark period of time for me.  I was just so exhausted.  Mentally, physically, and emotionally exhausted.  My soul was broken.  There were so many days when it was really hard to get out of bed and I felt like such a shitty mother to Isla.  She would come bouncing into my room, asking me to play with her, and would catch me sobbing into my pillow.  That was my lowest point.  Overwhelmed, and consumed by grief,   I doubted if I would ever have another child.  I mourned the mother that I envisioned myself being; surrounded by children, watching them grow throughout the different stages of life.  Our house full of that chaotic energy that comes with a large family.  I also struggled with guilt.  Daily guilt that my flawed, broken body couldn't give my husband another child.  Would Isla ever have a sibling?  I questioned how many more rounds I would put myself through before eventually giving up.....at what point do I just accept that my body isn't capable of giving me another child?  But then in turn I questioned if I would resent myself in the future for not trying harder.  For not fighting harder.  Would I ever learn to be happy with our small family size? Would those empty rooms that I so thoughtfully planned for future children in our big house that we're building haunt me in the future?

Even though I wouldn't say that I have truly healed from those experiences, time does help.  You pick yourself up, put one foot in front of the other, and move forward.  You start to live, and laugh, and smile again.  You start to feel less broken.  I am not the same person that I was back when I first started back in September.  I have grown and found my strength.  A strength that I never knew existed within me.  I have learned that I am so much stronger than I ever thought possible.

"IVF round four" is something I never could have imagined myself saying.  Ever.  But somehow, here we are.  I have parted ways with my clinic down here in South Florida, and have sought a specialist in New York.  He's one of the leading experts in the field of treating women with my condition.  I was initially reluctant to agree to go through another cycle out of state.  The idea of it just seemed so daunting.  To have to uproot all of our lives so I can go through treatment while living out of a hotel room seems crazy, but I have such a short window of time to continue to pursue treatment, so it's literally now or never.  We're going to try to make the best out of the situation, and make a little family adventure out of it.

I do realize that I'm incredibly fortunate that we have the resources to pursue several rounds of IVF.  Florida does not mandate insurance coverage for infertility treatments, so everything has been out of pocket.  Additionally, it is an incredible opportunity and I feel very grateful for that we have the ability to pick up and relocate to NYC for a month at a time while I go through treatment up there.  I carry around an immense amount of guilt that other women in my shoes won't ever have the family they dream of due to financial restraints.  Infertility treatments are extremely costly, and I've heard so many stories of couples crowd sourcing, borrowing the money, or mortgaging their homes to afford the treatment costs.  It is simply unfair that this is accessible only the privileged or to those who have "good insurance".  Infertility treatments should be accessible to everyone who needs it.

So there's my little life update.  I am heading back up to NYC the beginning of April for the results of the multitude of additional testing that I did, and to receive my "pregnancy plan" from my new doctor, and we anticipate that I can begin round four in the next few months.  I would like to say that I am hopeful, but if I'm being honest, I'm much more guarded with my optimism this time around.  If there's anything that I've learned throughout this process, it's that there are no guarantees in IVF.  Once you decide to embark on this journey, you cross your fingers, close your eyes, and leap.

Thursday, February 21, 2019

Spring Wardrobe Refresh

I love when spring/summer clothing starts rolling out into stores.  Living in a tropical climate, these are the pieces that I wear for the majority of the year.

I haven't posted in a while, but I wanted to pop in here and share some spring outfit inspiration.  This design board features a mixture of new pieces that I've recently added to my closet, and a few others that I have my eye on. 

 As I continue to hone in on my personal style, I look for clothing that will compliment my closet as well as the other pieces that I've collected over the years.  The goal is to create a timeless wardrobe that I can wear for years to come.

One. /  Two. /  Three. /  Four. /  Five. /  Six. /  Seven. /  Eight. /  Nine. /  Ten. /  Eleven. /  Twelve.

Thanks for stopping by! xx


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