The Road (Less Traveled) to Conception

BY: - 1 Feb '13 | inspiration

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Photo Credit: Katelyn Kenderdine via Flickr

Photo Credit: Katelyn Kenderdine via Flickr

Garmin should create a GPS to navigate the road to fertilization. Instead of entering an address, women could plug in their age, medical information, and family history. The system could map out the fastest route to conception. The GPS could store favorite destinations, such as an OBGYN office and baby shower registration locations. The device could detour around low egg and sperm counts and direct drivers to infertility clinics or adoption agencies. Unfortunately, the journey to motherhood isn’t that easy. At times, women break down. They become depressed and disappointed when they are unable to have children. And when they get home from a tearful trip, they turn on the television and watch stories about Octomom or celebrities in their mid-forties showing off their baby bumps.

But sometimes their travels to become a first time mom have happy endings. That’s why I wanted to tell Natalie’s story to our readers. I changed her name to protect her identity. She wanted to be able to share her most intimate thoughts without worrying about someone judging her. For years, Natalie and her husband tried to have a baby. They finally conceived, but five months later, her water broke, and she lost her baby and her hope. Then, the couple decided to explore IVF.

Why did you want to become a mother? What made you turn to IVF? How long did you try to get pregnant?

I wasn’t “trying” to get pregnant per say, but we stopped using protection on our wedding night back in 2004. My husband and I were open to the idea of having a baby, but didn’t want to put pressure on ourselves. We finally conceived in February 2007 (I was 28; my husband 24.); but we lost our baby girl around 5 months gestation due to my water breaking prematurely with no warning or medical explanation. After her loss, we tried to conceive without medical intervention for two years. In March of 2009, we decided to investigate why we were unable to have children naturally like other young couples we knew.

I thought conceiving would be an easy feat, after all I was healthy; I was young and had no prior indication that trouble becoming a mother would be in the cards for me, but sadly it was. I had a traumatic loss of a beautiful baby girl and was terrified to become pregnant again. Despite this, I wanted so much to become a mother. Now that I was ready, it just wasn’t happening. It took several months to get in to see an infertility specialist. Once I got an appointment, there was many more months of testing, prodding, poking, and more waiting. Then came the meds — boxes and boxes of pills I needed to regulate my cycle and grow strong ovaries before starting the IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) process. The IUI procedure is quite long, but many women must undergo this before the IVF process if they are young and have an “unexplained infertility” diagnosis. So, I began my birth control pills for a couple of months to regulate my period, then I had (painful) HCG shots daily to grow my follicles. I went back and forth to the doctor’s office to check the growth and schedule a day to take the husband’s sperm, wash them, shoot them my way, and then endure an agonizing two-week wait to learn the results. Well, I went though this process FOUR times! I was depressed, disappointed and just simply exhausted. So, we turned to IVF. It was November, and I wasn’t too optimistic. Then, more waiting. Our insurance provider had to approve our request before we could proceed.

Did anyone oppose getting infertility treatments? For instance, some critics say it goes against “Mother Nature’s” plan.

No one opposed the infertility treatments, but I didn’t exactly announce what I was doing to the world either! I told a few of my friends and family members, and everyone was supportive. Given the fact that we tried to have children for years, I think many understood our plight, and we received a lot of positive feedback. I also got great tips and encouragement from infertility chat rooms and blogs. Reading stories shared by other women going through similar circumstances helped a lot.

How did you educate yourself about IVF? Did you feel you had to educate others? What myths and misconceptions do you think surround IVF? Sometimes when people think of IVF, they picture octomom or designer babies.

I read all the literature multiple times and visited the examination room so often I knew the IVF charts by heart! After four rounds of failed IUI attempts and several months of disappointment, I was ready! Contrary to the public media and fanfare about Octomom, most doctors are very persuasive about only using one or two eggs a cycle. They want to minimize chances of multiple births, because it puts both moms and babies at a greater risk. I had very good doctors and was supported by a team of nurses who guided me through my decision-making. I, along with my husband, settled on only one egg for the first round of IVF. I had lost a baby without any medical reasoning and felt no need to take on more stress during what I’d hoped would be my second pregnancy.

Were you worried the treatments wouldn’t work?

After four IUI’s, I was very discouraged about the first trial of IVF. It was more invasive; I had to have my eggs surgically removed (this was very painful) and the odds of me getting pregnant weren’t much higher. I recall listening to doctors tell other patients after the egg retrieval their egg count was 20 or 19. I only had 8! I was extremely disappointed with my low number. What I soon discovered is that quality is a lot more important than quantity. In a day or so, I learned I had 5 good eggs ready to go. My husband and I returned a few days later for the transfer of our best looking embryo on day 5 of fertilization, coded 4BB. This wasn’t the highest grade, but it was ours.

Is IVF a costly venture? How did the price impact your decision making?

IVF can be as expensive as a small car or a small house. Depending on how many cycles one attempts, it can be very costly. However, if you have good insurance and research the policy prior to starting a family, women will find that some insurance companies will cover a few IVF trials.

What was it like waiting for IVF results? Do you remember where you were, the response you had to the good news? Were you worried that the pregnancy would miscarriage?

I wanted whatever blessings I was granted in the form of a baby.

I recall not rushing to take a home pregnancy test as I did for each IUI. Doctors strongly discourage these tests because they aren’t as accurate as blood tests. I refused to look at another stick and read that I would have to start this saga again. I lied in bed on the day after my blood work and just prayed. I let my husband take the phone call from the nurse with the news — good or bad. I screamed with excitement and cried tears of joy and relief when we found out we were indeed expecting. Weeks later, I screamed again when I learned the egg had split, and identical twins were inside my womb!

How has your life changed for the better?

My life now has a meaning I recognize and appreciate much more because I have been on such a journey to motherhood. I feel like I earned my badge on that operating table after my eggs were harvested. My two blessings have opened up a part of me I didn’t know existed. When I was able to hear my babies take their first breaths, I knew I would endure a thousand rounds or testing, poking, or prodding to reap this reward again.

What advice do you have to give other mothers trying to conceive?

My advice to other mothers would be to love your offspring with everything you are because they are what makes you a mother. The road one takes to motherhood isn’t what is important, nor is it taken into account when it comes to how you love your children. I have fought long and hard to have my girls, but the fight isn’t and won’t be worth anything if my children don’t feel my love on a daily basis. In the end, they won’t really care how they got here. What they will remember is how much they are truly loved!

Special thanks to Natalie for sharing her story with the BMWK family. BMWK — Do you have words of wisdom and/or encouragement to offer to other women who are trying to conceive?

About the author

Heather Hopson wrote 59 articles on this blog.

Not long ago, Heather Hopson was an award-winning television host in the Cayman Islands. Today, she's writing a different kind of story as a new mom. She gives readers the key to her diary and shares personal stories about single parenting, dating, transitioning to motherhood and her obsession with being what her family calls an "activity mom." The site features celebrity interviews, parent spotlights and confessional videos. Follow her journey through motherhood on Twitter @dearmomdiary.

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7 Keys to Success in Life and Love

BY: - 1 Feb '13 | inspiration

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Photo Credit: Bohman via Flickr

Photo Credit: Bohman via Flickr

So if your 2013 has been anything like mine you went into it without resolutions and simply prepared for success. 2012 was a year that for many, just needed to end. But good does come from bad. You have the opportunity to be blessed by your struggles and hardships if you allow yourself to learn from them. As the preachers say, “Turn your setbacks into setups!”  The following seven keys, all of which I learned from hardships, will set you up to for success in life and love — to be prepared for your blessings in these areas when they come:

  1. Know your value – Being an expert on what you add to this life, your friends, your family, your community, your job and refuse to be undervalued by those who WILL try to convince you that you aren’t special.
  2. Trust and use your power – When opportunity strikes, don’t spend a single second doubting your ability to rise to the occasion. Stand up, speak up and use all that you have to step into what is yours. If you don’t, rest assured someone else will. Don’t be on the sidelines knowing you could’ve done better what you should’ve been doing in the first place.
  3. Love a little more  – Patience, forgiveness, reassurance…speak words that bear fruit and don’t tear down, refuse to stoop to lower levels when you feel yourself being pulled down, resist temptation when you know you and/or someone around you will be hurt, resist the desire to defend and fight, instead seek concessions, be the peacemaker, see the other point of view — even if it is wrong and speak truth, calmly and assertively.
  4. Surround yourself with people who make you better – This may require you to seek out folks who are better than you. I hope your ego will allow for this to happen.
  5. Talk less, listen more – This shouldn’t need any explanation, but revisit “Love a little more” for a refresher.
  6. Play – If you have any children in your life, watch them for pointers. Set your imagination free, find hobbies that allow your mind to soar: cooking, reading, working, traveling, chasing down that passion on the side (Note to men: if you have a family the bills MUST be paid first and the food MUST be on the table before you begin chasing dreams).
  7. Write down your goals – How do you expect to succeed if you don’t have a plan? You don’t have to physically write them down if that’s not what you do but there’s no way you’re going to stay on task if you don’t have any. And an unorganized mind makes for a disorganized life.
  8. *The bonus point – If you count yourself as a believer, pray and praise with all your heart mind and soul. Pray when things are bad and pray when things are good. Invite God into your life and do this FIRST. And all else will follow.

Leave every unnecessary thing and person on the table, at the door, on the curb with the trash — wherever it needs to go. This way you can live your best possible 2013 strong and filled with life. Do this for your sake and the sake of your family.

Happy New Year!

About the author

Eric Payne wrote 83 articles on this blog.

Named a Top 50 Dad Blogger in 2011 by Cision Media & awarded Top 50 Dad Blog in 2011 and 2012 by Babble.com, Eric writes about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between on his blog MakesMeWannaHoller.com. He speaks around the country about social media and blogging. He is the author of "DAD: As Easy As A, B, C!" and is a regular on CNN's Headline News station and the Jennifer Keitt show on KISS 104.1 FM Atlanta.

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