What I Did Differently for my BFP. 9.12.17

A whole lot, but also not much at all? As I’ve pushed through each step of round two of IVF, I’ve searched, and googled, and poked through the questions of other IVF patients on forums. All of us are looking for someone to tell us what to do, how to feel- prove to us that we’re not crazy. My husband thinks my obsessive internet searching is bad, but when you’re feeling so many different emotional and physical sensations, it helps you to realize you’re not alone. So I thought I’d put together a list of the things that led me to this first big fat (just barely) positive.

  1. Acupuncture– this is definitely the biggest and most expensive difference, but I feel like it really paid off. The downside is it’s an additional $75 a week. Fertility treatments are SO expensive, so this can seem unattractive to many people, but I truly believe in it. I am an easily stressed out person and acupuncture has helped to relieve so much of that. With each new needle poke, I visualize my daily frustrations and struggles fizzling out from underneath my skin. I also felt instant relief from Lupron headaches and first trimester nausea. Find an acupuncturist that focuses on women’s health, and give it a try! There is nothing to lose (it’s literally a 40 minute nap in the middle of a work day…glorious).

I also had a 25 minute acupuncture session prior to the actual transfer and directly after. I felt a strange sense of calm and relaxation walking into the OR. It was a welcomed feeling after a failed first transfer

2. Lying– we didn’t tell most of our close friends and family about the timing of this round. My Mom and my BFF were aware, and that was enough of an outlet for when I felt the need to chat about it to someone other than my husband. Pretending like nothing was going on helped make me feel like there wasn’t anything going on. It made the two week wait go by faster and relieved some of the pressure.

Just be sure that if you’re actually going to LIE, rather than just not share information, that you have a universal lie to share. Thanks Mom and husband for helping me keep up that charade 🙂

3. Fries– I ate fries at the nearest fast food restaurant after our transfer. If you are a chronic Googler of IVF tips and tricks, you see this one all over the place. This is just an infertility-world myth, but it’s easily one I can get with! Something about the sodium, yada yada, embryo sticks. They were the best fries I’ve ever had…

4. Socks– I wore socks into my transfer. Another myth/tradition! Warm feet = warm uterus according to some.

I do feel like this has some stock to it since my acupuncturist always wants me eating and drinking warm things to keep up my blood flow. She has also asked me to keep socks on around the house as the weather cools down. Go for it! Couldn’t be an easier one.

5. Alcohol– okay technically I had the alcohol the night before the transfer, but some websites and opinions out there tell you to treat your body as if you were pregnant during your prep time as well. Literally the night before my transfer, I was getting a nice buzz off of local sour beers. And it was wonderful!

You will get pregnant if your embryo and your uterus are ready to get you pregnant. Relaxing with drinks and friends the night before IS NOT GOING TO RUIN YOUR TRANSFER. Celebrate this big milestone.

To hit on the other IVF myths- I didn’t eat pineapple core (disgusting), I didn’t drink pomegranate juice, I didn’t meditate, I didn’t sit with one arm in the air and one leg tucked under my chin…okay, that’s an exaggeration…but I didn’t go hardcore and I still got pregnant. I’m barely pregnant, I still feel strange saying I’m pregnant, but it did work.

For specifics, this was a 5-day FET with donor eggs and frozen sperm and a somewhat dedicated but somewhat still cynical mother-to-be….it can be done.



Where Have I Been? 8.28.17

I’ve been absent from blogging during our second round of IVF. There are a few reasons, but the biggest one was to help keep it a secret! We’ve started, completed, and know the results of our second round. This round was with donor eggs, as you’ve seen, and our donor was (anonymously) amazing.

Here’s the rundown:

In July, we started preparing for a fresh transfer. Our donor had her retrieval on July 27th, and 27 eggs were retrieved (weird!). Seven were mature and fertilized, four made it to day five.

We were prepping to transfer the best of those four fresh, but my body decided otherwise. Somehow, through the birth control and Lupron suppression, I ovulated! My body, which couldn’t do anything helpful in round one, over-performed in round two. Less than 10% of patients ovulate through the suppression drugs.

My nurse called and said we’d have to wait for my next period to start prepping for a frozen transfer and we were bummed, but of course happy to do what was best. Our four embryos went to the freezer.

Over the next few days, I kept bleeding. My nurse said it was just spotting, but I knew it was more (trust your gut during IVF!). I insisted that I was indeed on my period, and they said “then let’s get started!” This is when we decided to not tell anyone that the FET (frozen embryo transfer) was back on. Our main reason for doing so was to be able to surprise friends and family with unexpected good news when this round worked! We were manifesting its success.

I quickly started estrogen and progesterone to prep my body…and lots of it. I had a nagging thought in the back of my head that maybe I was wrong and it wasn’t a real period, but nevertheless, we moved on. My nurse told me that “if it seemed like a period, it very likely was”. Uncertainty is a bitch.

Our FET happened on August 9th. I schemed and tricked everyone into thinking it was a busy day and I was unavailable. Really, I was asleep in bed thanks to the acupuncture and valium of the day.

The next two weeks moved on and my symptoms were SO different. I started cramping the night of the transfer and cramped up until beta testing day. I had one acupuncture session. I went to the gym once (my husband said I went too hard on the elliptical and therefore should take the two weeks off). I tried to stay busy and was doing pretty well.

The whole two weeks I was peeing non-stop. Woke up 4-5 times a night, peed my pants, the joys of drugs and an impending pregnancy. I had crazy, vivid dreams. The second week brought on bouts of nausea and severe fatigue. I had about two days of very, very dark spotting. All of these things were signs of pregnancy, but also symptoms of the drugs. I knew that something was different this time, but I couldn’t make myself believe it might’ve actually been a pregnancy. I also had many days where I kept saying “I just feel like I’m going to start my period”. I think this happens to everyone, and shouldn’t be enough reason for worry.

I kept from peeing on a stick until the day before the beta test. Through weird turns of events, we figured out that our air conditioning unit was leaking into our basement and we had to do a quick, sudden remodel. By we, I mean my husband, kicking ass and ripping out the carpet, trim, and door and then replacing everything and putting it back together in a week! And fixing the AC! So that day, I knew the bad news fairies were upon us and this sign meant the transfer didn’t work either. So I gave in.

I peed on a stick at 3pm and thought for sure it was negative. My husband still smiled and said he wouldn’t believe anything until the blood test. Well, a few minutes passed, and a super faint second line appeared. It was positive! Barely positive, but any line is a line.

I thought the worst and figured it couldn’t be a strong positive the next day because it was so faint. But there is talk out there that FET’s lead to late implanters (embryos) and therefore your HCG levels would be lower than those who got pregnant naturally or through a fresh transfer. Well the beta confirmed that I was pregnant, cue MAJOR shock. My first beta was 272, and two days later 524. Not quite double, but a 92% doubling rate. I’ll take it.

We used the rest of the week to tell our family and friends who knew we’d been trying. It was so fun, but still scary. Who’s to say this will last? We’re two days away from a follow up beta and I know that day is going to be INTENSE. I have a good feeling, but how hard is it to believe those after all of the pain and trouble that comes with IVF? Too hard.

Here’s to a lasting, healthy, and strong eight more months.

Sara Test



A Letter From Our Egg Donor. 7.27.17

This needs little introduction. This is one of the most amazing things that has ever happened to me. This process has been awful, but the woman that we so luckily, fatefully, and stressfully chose to be our egg donor, is amazing.

Below is a letter that we received from our fertility clinic. They do not encourage egg donors to reach out to their egg counterparts, but they will allow it if it happens. We feel so lucky to have received this letter. Honestly, it makes me feel so much more secure in my choice because this is something I would do. The description of herself that the donor provides sounds more and more like me, and I feel good knowing that these genes are helping to create my child. Read it! You won’t regret it. And share it, it’s beautiful.

“To the New Family,

Maybe writing you a letter is not typical of this experience, but then, I’ve never been one to follow the norm. J I want you to know that I am SO excited that I get to be a small part of your lives for this one moment. Although I think of both of you all the time, I have found that through this process I feel the most connection with the future (or maybe already!) mom. So, it is to you that I write now, grateful that you trusted me to give you this incredible gift. I promise I did everything in my power to make sure these little baby eggs were as perfect as they could possibly be for you, and I know you can’t wait to see the fruit of that effort turn into your perfect little baby girl or boy!

In just a few days now you are going to be a mother, and I will have the lifelong honor of knowing that I was able to be a part of making that happen for you. That thought has been on my mind ever since I first received the phone call telling me that somewhere out there a couple had chosen me to help them fulfill their dream of becoming parents. In some ways, I still can’t fully believe that I get to do this, that I get to be the reason you are able to be a mom!

Years ago, I had friends who found difficulty in conceiving a child together. As I read her words in her blog, seeing the struggle of her heart as she so desperately wanted to be able to bring a child into her world, my own world was changed. At the time, I had no idea that one day life would bring me to the other side of her struggle, but when I think about this entire process I picture her struggle when I think of you. Though you likely have not taken every step she did and you are a very different person, I know in my heart that you, like her, are meant to be a mother. This child is meant to be yours. I don’t believe in fate, but I do believe that this small piece of me was always meant to be a piece of you. Next week I won’t be losing anything, but finally giving you what was rightfully yours.

When I think of the future this beautiful baby will have with your family, I can only feel that he is so lucky to have parents who wanted him so much. To know what you did, what you sacrificed, how hard you prayed for her, will only be the tip of the iceberg in realizing just how much she is loved. If there is just one thing I would tell him, one thing I want her to know, it’s that you, his mother, could never love him more and that no other person on this earth besides you will ever love her the same. To have you in his life means that he already has the best gift the world could possibly bring to her. That little baby is so blessed.

I know that you have my entire medical history. You’ve seen pictures of me as a small child. You know the color of my hair and eyes and skin. Maybe any more information about who I am doesn’t really matter, but I do want to share just a little bit of me with you. I am a bookworm. I love to read and I love to learn. I excel in science and English, but find little interest in math or history, though I still always manage to get that all-important A! J I adore music and I listen to everything from classic rock to electronic to folksy acoustic music. I like to stay active. I run and hike and twist myself into knots during yoga classes. I love to laugh and find so much happiness and joy in the simple things in my life. Most importantly, I cherish the people I love and would do anything for them.

I wish for you and your new family a lifetime of laughter, of cuddles and kisses and happiness. I know you look forward to so many firsts for this sweet baby that you’re going to have soon, and I know that you will cherish every one of those moments more because of what you’ve been through to bring your child into the world. I hope you know that whenever you cross my mind, I will think of each of you with so much love and excitement for the future that you have together. Your family is such a beautiful one and I am eternally grateful to be able to help you make these moments a reality.

With so much love,


I’m in tears again.



Your life doesn’t have to revolve around your infertility. 7.13.17

But who are we kidding? It kind of does. Especially when you’re on devil drugs and your body kind of hates you and everything hurts. Oh and people with brand new babies are pregnant again. And maybe they had trouble too?! But you can’t help but feel a twinge of jealousy.

Back to the original topic. As powerful, painful, time-consuming, and life-consuming infertility is…it’s not your life. It’s not forever. You will find your family or you will find your new dream (like a farmhouse with a donkey, goats, chickens, and 10 acres…yeah, we’ve thought about it). Eventually the struggle of the inbetween will just be a gross memory.

I have to say, though, infertility is one of those things that you can’t truly understand until you’re in the thick of it. Trust me when I say that you can’t even understand it when you’re walking into it. Over four months in and the game changes constantly.

But what about all of the other great things you get to do? What about your wonderful husband, friends, dogs, mountains, beautiful summer days? I’m trying so hard these days to focus on the positives, and I recognize that I shouldn’t stay focused on the shit storm that is IVF, but it’s very hard to pull away.

I’ve been on Lupron (supression injection) since 7/2. I feel horrible. I’m having body aches, headaches, weird cramps, bad moods. This is WAY worse than last time. The body aches are the most surprising and most painful. My joints even ache. What is so different?! My body seems mad. I didn’t choose this, I can’t control it, can’t this just be over?

We got a call today that after some additional blood work this morning, it turns out that my lazy ovary from our last cycle decided to ovulate. Less than 10% of patients ovulate while on supression meds. How come you had to over acheive this time, righty? Totally unexpected and unwelcomed. The estrogen that I’m taking won’t do it’s job at this stage in my cycle. My uterus cannot be properly prepped for a transfer now. So the phone call came with the instructions to stop all meds, put them aside, and wait on my period. It should take 18-20 days to come on, and with cycle day one, I will once again start birth control. 7-10 days of those devil pills, and then back to the Lupron injections. I’m telling myself that this break will be beneficial. I will take a mini-vacay, try to relax, get in some work outs…and hopefully start back up in a great place mentally and physically.

Maybe this is the best route? But it’s switching our plan from a fresh transfer to a frozen transfer and we don’t love that. Our donor will continue her meds and her egg retreival should happen in about two weeks. We will get continuous updates on that, and then once I am back on my period, we will get a new calendar to determine our transfer date.

Delays suck. Unexpected results suck. Drugs suck. Being infertile sucks. I just want my baby and I just want to move on. But hopefully this is what’s supposed to be happening and the next few months will bring the great news we’ve been so impatiently waiting for…


Took this on our plane ride to Chicago last weekend. I think it’s a nice reminder that there are many other things to be thankful for and many other things happening, other than our time of suckiness.




How to Suck Less at Being Fertile. 6.23.17

WHEW. Hey June, bye June! Where has the month gone? Half of the year has flown by and I feel like I can personally attribute most of that to infertility. My brain, my life, my decisions have just revolved around a calendar of periods, drugs, donors, dates. Trying to travel, work, go to weddings, all while trying to just MAKE A BABY. 2017 will be one for the books.

But I digress. We have updates! First, I’ve been trying to suck less at being fertile by going to acupuncture every week and I’ve started Chinese herbs. Or I could also refer to them as liquid-shits. Not only do they taste and smell like it, but they give them to me too! TMI? 😉

Recently, one more herb has been added, but I rotate through these as I move through my monthly cycle. They’re not great 🙂

Why am I putting all of this effort into being fertile if we’ve decided to use donor eggs? I don’t even know. But I do know that acupuncture can help me to maintain a pregnancy and reduce stress. And my life has been FULL of stress. So I’ll do it! I have to admit though, I’m not as focused on these practices as I should be. I sometimes think that my brain is forcing me to rebel on some of the rules of “how to not suck so much at being fertile” because of our next round of IVF being donor eggs. I honestly just am not committed to giving up ALL caffeine, alcohol, sweets, keeping my heart rate under 140bpm (that’s hard to do when you’re trying to race your husband on the elliptical). Does that make me a bad momma-to-be? I don’t think so. Life is all about balance.

Infertility SUCKS and if I’m going to survive it, I’m not going to try too hard to not be good at it. Are you following? 🙂

I’ve also had the pleasure of squeezing, loving, hugging, possibly-torturing my first nephew who’s here for the summer.

Sara and Felix

I don’t care how much he might drool, spit up, cry, scream…it feels too good to just hold him. He’s so alert, lively, seriously gorgeous, and has the best rolls. I need a baby.

Latest update would also be that we did a genetic screening panel on Dawson to make sure that he is compatible with our donor and that he doesn’t carry anything scary. He came back as a positive carrier for a few conditions, but really nothing to worry about. And we can use our donor!

I started my period and get to start the wonderful birth control today. I HATE YOU BC. I get acne, I get irritable, I feel fat. This is such a not fun part of infertility, another reason to rebel. But this WILL be my last go at birth control…and fertility treatment!

I heard that our donor has not started her period. So that’s good! It means that hopefully we can sync up on this cycle and do our transfer with the next cycle. That means, fewer days to a positive pregnancy test.

Oh hey, a pregnant lady just walked past my window, how’d you make that baby, lady?? This is a question that I find myself wanting to ask of strangers. I never will! But sometimes it’s nice to find out that you’re not the only one fighting this battle.

So…wanna suck less at being fertile? Try new things. Accept your circumstances. Whine when you need to. Count your blessings when you can. And rebel a little. You won’t regret it.



I thought IVF was scary. 6.7.17

I thought IVF was scary.

There are many emotions you experience when looking back on the fact that months of physical, mental, and financial effort failed you. Straight up FAILED. YOU. That’s the whole truth (and remember, YOU didn’t fail). You saved up money, you read lots and lots of information, you got lots and lots of things pushed into your vagina, and you experienced so many feelings…only to fail.

So now, as I’m looking back on the process of IVF, I’m thinking “I thought I was scared then”. I’m so scared now. The feelings of the unknowns and the what-ifs, and the sadness that IVF did not work, are all outweighed by all of the things that I’m scared of.

I’m scared of making the next decision because no matter how we look at it, it will shape our entire future. There are two things I know to be true: 1) making this decision is just a small step in the baby-making process, but 2) it will determine our future.

If we choose to proceed with IVF with my eggs, we are bringing onto ourselves another month of stress, pain, and very little chance of success.

If we choose to proceed with IVF with donor eggs, I have to let go of my genetics. I have to mourn the loss of what a Dawson + Sara baby could’ve been, and choose to explore what a 50% Dawson + 4392498% loved, nurtured, and carried by Sara baby will be (and of course, loved and nurtured by Dawson).

I’ve pored and pored and stressed and stressed and cried over this decision so many times. Dawson has given me my space and been there to support me when I’ve cried. He’s made his preference known, but in the most respectful, kind way.

After weeks of stress-induced acid reflux, a heavy heart so heavy that my chest hurts, distraction, and a few low points…I can take a step back and look at the big picture and realize “We went into this wanting to make a baby, so let’s make a baby”.

I can’t do IVF and fail again. I can’t do it again and know that doing it with my eggs could very well mean we’ll be doing it again in another year. I might look, seem, and sound strong throughout this process, but I am beaten up. I have so much respect for those women who have made it through numerous rounds of IVF.

I want a baby, I want to move on and raise a baby with the coolest husband around. I want to carry Dawson’s baby and I’m going to do just that…with donor eggs.

Hey egg mama (I’ve decided she’s the egg mama, I’m the baby mama). Thank you for your willingness to sacrifice your body, your time, and I’m sure a little of your sanity too to give me what it is I want so, so badly.

Commence “babies, babies, babies” round 2!

Baby Momma Shopping_LI

Egg mama shopping…you guys like my professional editing job of blurring personal info? 😉



White. Effing. Folders. 5.18.17

We have…too…many.


As insignificant as it may seem, each of these folders represents a time that we made a visit to the fertility clinic and our plans changed. The first visit…when we learned how much harder conceiving our own biological children would actually be. The third visit…when we were given contracts, instructions, pricing, INFORMATION OVERLOAD on IVF and what it all means. The day of the retrieval when we were sent home with new medication instructions and rules of what to do and what not to do. Then there’s today, the newest white folder with information and options on what we should do next. Information on acupuncture, egg donors, a 13 page egg donor recipient agreement, a profile page to fill out of what we would want in an egg donor….literally choosing “career, marital status, child status….freckles? Rosy-complexion? Curly hair? Some high school? Professional degree?”. Blerg. Is there a box to check for 50% me and 50% Dawson?

We haven’t decided to use an egg donor. We haven’t decided ANYTHING. And while this new information is sort of overwhelming, I think we also feel excited over new possibilities. Crossing the “sorry, you’re not pregnant” hump into the “where do we go now?” hump. I think the obvious choice is taking our time. My body might be a ticking biological clock, but it won’t do me any good to rush into any thing.

But I must admit how super effing weird it is to think that I might not ever have a child that is actually made up of my biological matter. That I might have to choose someone to mix up with my (truly) perfect husband. That one day I might carry that child and then try to figure out how to explain to them what a miracle/cluster-you-know-what their creation really was.

IVF is hard and every decision feels like it’s the hardest one yet, but woe is me, what is life? Our doctor told us today that all of his patients felt like they were making the hardest decision of their lifetime when they decided to use an egg donor, but now, looking back…it got them to where they wanted to be. It got them to the role of parents and holding a baby in their arms. And isn’t that what we came for?




I’ve Been Sadder than This. 5.10.17

My first IVF-induced panic attack came from all of the rolling thoughts in my head while saying to myself “I don’t know what I’m going to do if this doesn’t work”. And you don’t know. There’s no way to know what your reaction is going to be.

We were told on April 28th that our IVF procedure did not work. We were not pregnant. We weren’t shocked. We knew that there were only two possible outcomes…pregnant or not. It sucked more than anything else has ever sucked when we found out we were not, but I’ve been sadder.

I was sadder when the idea of cancelling or delaying our IVF round was brought up halfway through my STIM shots. Dawson was sadder when we were told that, I too, had reproductive issues. That sadness was one that consumed me on those days, crushed me a bit, and made me unable to focus on literally anything else. But on the day of the news that our $18,000, months of effort, and such precisely scientific impregnation process had failed, we felt this weird wave of calmness. A sort of “okay, it’s over”. Not over indefinitely, not our last shot, not the last time we’re going to try…but these few months of what really could’ve been some of the hardest things we’ve ever done, were over. That was it and we had our answer. And we were going on vacation.

Maybe it’s wrong of me to admit, but having the weight of the looming day of the pregnancy test off of our shoulders was huge. I was really looking forward to a drink, coffee without guilt, and working out again. Taking the two week wait off from the gym was pretty awful (and never in my life would I think I’d say that).

Dawson and I had a five hour road trip ahead of us to get to the beach for a week; it couldn’t have been better timed (and it was not intentional). We were able to speak so freely in those five hours about what we could do next. We didn’t stress, we just discussed. We have one more vial of sperm, maybe we do IVF again? Maybe we move straight to adoption? Maybe…we buy a farm and never have kids and instead have the house that everyone wants to visit! We spoil their kids, bond with their kids, and send them back home when we’re ready to be just us again. We didn’t make any final decisions, but it felt really good to talk about all of these things with my husband. I have the best husband.

I won’t forget the day that followed the pregnancy test, though. I felt a way that I can’t describe all that well and that I’ve never felt before. Throughout the whole day, I was functioning, but I cried whenever and wherever. Literally. We went to dinner at our favorite BBQ place, just the two of us, and I started crying into my smoked turkey. Why? I don’t know. No…turkey doesn’t remind me of the babies that never were. I was just overcome with a sadness. I was heartbroken. I think we’re still a little heartbroken.

I told Dawson in the moments shortly after the dreaded phone call that I felt silly. An emotion I didn’t expect. That I felt like we had just been through this HUGE THING that lead to nothing. And many people were going to find out. But of course, he assured me that this was what we had to do. Never would we have dreamed of not doing it. And I felt better.

I want babies. Lots of babies. Lots of little Dawson/Sara babies. I want them now, I want them yesterday, I want them as soon as possible. But I’m back to my normal routine, I’m going to start some new things over the next few weeks, and I’m going to head into these next months of decision-making with the best partner around.

I’ve been sadder than this.




Two week wait. 4.27.17

TWW, that dreaded acronym. It’s all too familiar to anyone who’s “TTC”…or trying to conceive. Another acronym. Oddly enough, the infertility world is FULL of acronyms. I was at a major loss when I started Googling in the beginning. TWW = two week wait. This is the time from the point of conception to when you should be testing positive for a pregnancy. For me, it’s more like an EDW, or eleven day wait. I will be heading to the doctor tomorrow for my first beta blood test to confirm if I am indeed pregnant or not. I am going in 11 days past my 3 day transfer of 2 embryos…or! 11dp3dt, 11 days past 3 day transfer 🙂 tired of acronyms yet? I kind of hate them.

I came up with some better definitions for the TWW, here we go:

-Tortured while waiting

-Two whiny weeks

-Two wasted weeks (because I can’t think of anything else)

-Terrible waiting weeks

-Terrified while waiting

-Take (me to the) Wine (bar) While Waiting…..ok, it’s a stretch but I could REALLY USE SOME WINE RIGHT NOW.

I think this sums it up:

Infertility Sucks

As seen in my doctor’s office when I went to pick up some drugs yesterday. I couldn’t help but laugh out loud and take a picture. I’m not sure if the girl who was sitting directly to my right appreciated my laugh, but it was much needed.

That’s another topic, the lack of eye contact and lack of general friendliness that I run into in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. I get it. Not a ONE of us is there for any good reason (well, unless you’re back for your second beta after a positive test, that’s AWESOME), but couldn’t we at least smile at each other…? Infertility is weird.

I’ve been quite distracted today by work and volunteering, so I’m happy to see it’s almost 5pm. We’ve got a doggy obedience class tonight that will take up most of our evening, so yay for more distractions! But then I have to attempt to sleep. And wake up early for a big volunteer/networking event where I’m just going to have the nervous sweats for 3 hours because I’m heading to the doctor straight after for my test. And the nervous sweats are the worst kind of sweats, amiright?

LAWD. Here’s to getting this TWW over. Either way, we’re heading to the beach for a week on Sunday, and I couldn’t think of a better time for a vacation…



Blog at WordPress.com.

Up ↑