Tag: Czech Republic

Could It Be Immune Related??

After our second loss we were really starting to wonder if it was a streak of bad luck or possibly something immune related. We were transferring genetically tested HIGH quality blasts – something didn’t seem right.

In March of 2017 I made an appointment with my state side fertility doctor, Dr. Trolice. I thought if anyone could figure out what was going on, it would be him! We drove to Orlando for our appointment and we were SUPER excited; we were FINALLY going to have an answer to our questions! I brought up my concerns and almost immediately I was told that my losses didn’t count as recurrent pregnancy loss because I’ve only lost 2 pregnancies, not 3 (for some reason, with most doctors, 3 is the magic number for “official” recurrent pregnancy loss). It was also during this meeting that I found out he doesn’t support the reproductive immunology idea. He basically chalked my losses up to bad luck/unexplained. We felt he was REALLY pushing us to do an egg donation cycle. I would have had NO problem doing an egg donation cycle IF I would have had a reason as to why I lost two pregnancies in a row, but without that solution, we refused to pay $20K for another blind gamble. He was NOT happy that I went overseas to do a fertility cycle and he told us that “you get what you pay for”, implying our losses COULD be due to an inferior experience. Looking back, I’m still not sure why he said that or feels the way he does about it. We were kind of in shock. Yes, it is MUCH less expensive to do treatment overseas, but I can PROMISE you, it is not an inferior “product” or experience and I personally know multiple women that have had healthy pregnancies and babies from Reprofit. Our health care system here is WAY out of whack – I could go on and on about it, so I’m just going to zip it lol! I do want to say that I LOVE Dr. Trolice, but that day definitely changed the way we viewed him. It was almost like he didn’t want to be a part of our journey anymore UNLESS I was going to cycle with him. We had to push VERY hard for him to agree to do just basic immune testing to see if I had a clotting factor in my blood.

Here’s the deal…if you do any research on how/if your immune system effects your fertility you will find there are two distinct sides – those who believe and those who don’t. There are some doctors that have dedicated their practice (Dr. Kwak-Kim and Dr. Braverman) to helping those of us with immune related fertility problems and yet there are other highly acclaimed doctors that think it’s all hocus pocus (Dr. Trolice). The basic theory is that your immune system sees the embryo as a foreign body and attacks and kills the embryo. After doing a TON of research and speaking to many women that have had successful pregnancies with treatment after multiple losses, I firmly believe that your immune system CAN play a role miscarriage and recurrent pregnancy loss.
I got my tests back from Dr. Trolice and everything seemed pretty normal as far as clotting goes. I have an AMAZING OBGYN, Dr. Miller, that does believe in reproductive immunology and she agreed to run some additional basic tests for me. Those tests came back ok, but a little on the high side. I also had some genetic testing done and I tested positive for the MTHFR gene mutation!

VERY quick and basic rundown of MTHFR (no, it’s not an abbreviation for a swear word, but it IS a mother f*cker if you have it!) –
MTHFR is a gene mutation that affects the way your body processes folate. It often doesn’t present any obvious problems but many women that have this mutation often find out after repeated miscarriages or stillbirth. Research has shown that the MTHFR mutation can cause blood clots during pregnancy between the growing placenta and uterine wall which prevents transport of nutrients to the baby. It can occur early in the pregnancy when the fetus is super vulnerable causing repeated miscarriages or later in the pregnancy when a clot forms in the placenta or umbilical cord and causes stillbirth.

There was some additional testing that I wanted to have done, but it wasn’t covered under insurance AND was super crazy expensive (over $3k for one test alone!). I also REALLY wanted to be seen by Braverman or Kwak-Kim, but once again, they are NOT covered by insurance (at least in my state with my insurance) and I just couldn’t bring myself to pay $5,000 for a Dr.’s visit – one that could possibly still tell me they don’t know what’s wrong.

In doing my research, I learned about a clinic that does embryo donation in Barbados! Now don’t get me wrong, I LOVE Europe and the Czech Republic, but the thought of a quick flight to the Caribbean was sounding pretty good! I did a phone consult with their Dr. and she reviewed my records and she too agreed that it sounded like an immune issue. She agreed that it would be nice if I could afford to get the extra testing done, but said that regardless, my treatment would be THE SAME!! She gave me her general Immune protocol which consisted of adding Lovenox (blood thinner) and Prednisone (steroids to lower my immune system) and Bromocriptine to my current cocktail of baby aspirin, estrogen, progesterone and antibiotics. I ultimately decided to NOT go with that clinic – partially due to cost (still about $2,000 more than the Reprofit) and I wasn’t crazy about the embryo selection they had available at the time. I DID however hold onto that immune protocol and sent it to my doctor in the Czech Republic. He agreed to do a cycle using the immune protocol and scheduled my next cycle for June!!

Third Time’s a Charm?

Hi all! Sorry to keep you waiting! I think we all know by this point, that blogging is NOT one of my better qualities lol! I’m working on it, so we’ll see how it goes! As many of your probably already know, we have decided to move full steam ahead with traditional adoption. But getting here from where our last update was wasn’t an easy move. So, I’m going to do my best to bring you from there to here in the next few posts!

Our story basically left off with our 2nd cycle in the Czech Republic. Our first cycle worked, but we unfortunately lost that twin pregnancy. Since we knew it worked, I went back for a 2nd cycle in July of 2016 and NOTHING happened. The procedure didn’t work. We were super bummed out, but couldn’t wait to try another cycle.
I gave my body a short break and went back to Reprofit (in Brno, Czech Republic) for my 3rd cycle the first week of December 2016. First of all, let me say…Christmas in the Czech Republic and Austria is AH-MAZING. I fell in LOVE with the beautiful Christmas Markets in both Brno and Vienna. I’m not a fan of the cold or winter, but these TOTALLY changed my perspective. If it’s not on your bucket list – please add Vienna Christmas Market. It won’t disappoint!

My transfer day was easy and we transferred two perfect blasts! Three days later I flew back home and started counting down the days to test time. Because I’m somewhat of a pee on a stick addict, I tested 3 days after I came home….and it was positive!! Yes!! It worked again!! Since we had experienced a loss, we were cautiously excited, but excited nonetheless. I went in the next day for my first beta and it was low, BUT it was very early, so we weren’t too concerned. Went back 2 days later for my second and it only went up a bit, not even close to doubling (should come close to doubling every 48 hours). So, I went back for another beta 2 days later and it ALMOST doubled. Two days later I went for another draw and it doubled!!! I had two more betas after that, both doing exactly what they should! We were ecstatic!! It really felt like a Christmas Miracle!



***I want to add that I was peeing on a stick two times a day during this process and getting ALL kinds of crazy results that in turn made me feel super crazy. From a recovering pee on a stick addict, don’t do it. For real, y’all…don’t do it!!***

December 23rd I had some VERY light spotting, but because of my prior loss it really freaked me out. I called the doctor right away and she assured me that unless I’m cramping or having REALLY heaving bleeding that all is well. The spotting stopped almost immediately, so I did my best to just relax (but if you’ve ever experienced bleeding while pregnant, you know there is no TRUE relaxing)! The next day was Christmas Eve, so we ran some last minute errands and visited some friends and family. I felt fine. We grabbed lunch, got home and the all too familiar pain started, followed by a huge gush.

Just like that; all of our hopes and dreams for that pregnancy and baby were over. We lost the 2nd pregnancy at almost the exact time in the pregnancy that we lost the first. We thought the first loss was due to a somewhat forceful/uncomfortable ultrasound, but now we were starting to wonder. We knew we wanted to try again, but weren’t sure where to start. Was it just a streak of bad luck, or was there something more to our losses?

Hello? Hello? Is this thing on?

Okay – I’ll admit, it’s been a hot minute or two since I’ve posted!! Which is crazy, because we’ve had SO much happen since I’ve posted last. Good news, bad news and everything in between. BUT…I’m very excited to update you on everything that’s happened and where we are now!

So watch this space…updates are coming soon!!

Expect The Unexpected

 

Hi All!

I had planned on blogging as soon as I got home, but jetlag kicked my butt this time around!!  Plus I basically went right back to work the day after I got home…work + jetlag = one tired girl…lol!  I think and hope that I’m finally caught up!

So, you’re all probably wondering how everything turned out, right? We had our “official” blood results back on Friday, but needed a day or two for it to all sink in.  I have to admit, the time from transfer to blood test feels like an ETERNITY and during that time I become a pee on a stick addict. I should seriously buy stock in First Response. I tell myself every time that I’m not going to obsess over testing and that I will stay away from Google…I once again failed…lol…it’s so freaking hard!! I started testing at 4dp5dt (four day past a five day transfer) as that’s when we got our positive last time around (I know it was super early, but it was twins so it showed positive).  I tested every day, at least twice a day (I told you I have a problem) and was getting negatives each time.  But, we still had hope.  A lot of women don’t get positives until closer to 8 or 9 days past their transfers and some even later if only pregnant with a singleton.  I had my beta (blood pregnancy test) at 9dp5dt.  The Dr called shortly after 9am while I was at work the next morning. “Hi Michelle, this is Dr. Salter and I have the results to your blood test”.  My heart was racing; I took a deep breath in.  “I’m sorry to say, you’re not pregnant.” I didn’t really hear anything else she said after that. My heart sunk.  I kind of knew that I wasn’t going to get a positive based on our at home results, but I really had hope that just maybe the blood test would come out positive. Actually hearing the words come out of my Dr’s mouth made it official and that sucked.  Getting the news at work really sucked.  All I wanted to do was to crawl into my bed, under my covers and cry. Instead, I went into the bathroom for a quick cry, and then somehow pulled it together for the rest of the day and did my best to act like it was any other Friday.  Life goes on, right?

This isn’t our first rodeo, so we’re used to the whole failed cycle scenario, but it doesn’t make it any easier when it happens.  You experience this horrible feeling of loss, the loss of something you never physically had, but it still hurts the same.  It worked for us last time, so we expected it to work this time (although we know you should NEVER expect anything when it comes to infertility treatments). Plus for me, since it’s my body I can’t help but to feel like it’s somehow my fault.  Deep down I KNOW it’s not my fault, but it’s a feeling that’s hard to shake. So we are on our way to healing.  Are we okay today? Truthfully? No.  Will we be okay?  Yes…in time.

We KNOW this process works!  It’s worked for us before. We don’t know why it didn’t work this time. My lining looked perfect, the embryos looked perfect (looked being the key word since we didn’t have them genetically tested), but for whatever reason they never attached. So, the big question….are we going to do it again?  I’m going to let my body recover (pumping it full of drugs to make it think it’s pregnant, then suddenly stopping makes my body hate me!) and then we’ve decided that we are going to try again in December or January (recruiting for a travel partner has officially started…you know you want to go!).

I received a lot of questions while I was away about the process and my trip.  In the upcoming weeks I’ll try to cover everything in detail so I can get all of your questions answered and if anyone has any other questions, please don’t hesitate to ask!

Thank you to everyone for your prayers and positive thoughts.  Although we didn’t get the outcome we were hoping for, knowing that you were all rooting for us and have our backs makes this grieving process a little easier.

Xoxo – Michelle & Bill

 

Busy Is A Good Thing!

Hey All!

Sorry it’s been so quite here lately! We’ve been BUSY…like really, super busy!  But busy is a good thing right?  In addition to our day jobs, we’ve been booked pretty solid with photography (www.mybphotos.com) AND I’ve been pretty busy fulfilling orders and making new designs (coming soon!) at my Etsy Shop (www.etsy.com/shop/HopeStrengthandWine).  But like I said, busy is good…it’s helping us pay our medical bills from my last 2 surgeries (2 in 3 months…yikes!) AND it’s also allowing us to go back to Reprofit in the Czech Republic for another round of embryo adoption!  IF all goes as planned (I’ll know for sure June 29th when I get my ultrasound), I will be leaving July 2nd for the Czech Republic!  We are super excited, but after TWO cycles in a row being cancelled just days before I was to leave, we are a little cautious with our excitement. I will be taking my trip alone this time, so if anyone wants to fly half way across the world with me, just let me know…no, really 🙂

For the past few days, I’ve just had this gut feeling that something good is about to happen.  I’m not exactly sure what it is yet, but I’m really hoping and praying that it’s for this next cycle! I will updated everyone after my appointment on the 29th!

Xoxo – Michelle

good things

 

A Bunch of Randomness

Hey All!

Three posts in a week…I know, it’s a lot for this busy blogger and is probably why this one is one big pot of randomness!  So here it goes…

I had my second surgery on April 20th.  All went well with the surgery and we are just patiently (okay, not so patiently) waiting for the pathology reports to come back. The doctor said it didn’t look like a traditional polyp, it was more of a flap, but she’s not ruling polyps out.  IF all is well with pathology (and I really truly think it will be), then my hope is to go back to the Czech Republic in June. My doctor has decided to start me on a lower dose of estrogen and slowly bump me up in hopes that I don’t develop any more polyps.

Next…

We’ve been presented with an amazing opportunity to share our story and raise infertility awareness…I can’t go into details yet, but it’s pretty cool! But before we can do so, said storytellers are looking for someone who is a surrogate or someone who is working with or getting ready to work with a surrogate.  Is that you?  Is that someone you know?  If so, please contact me and possibly you can help!

Next….

We often get asked about what people can do to support us.  We would love any support people are able to give us!  Here are some ways to help

Next….

I’ve been meaning to share this for a while because although painfully truthful, it’s hysterical. Bill and I feel like someone based this video off of us…lol!

 

XOXO – Michelle & Bill

Here We Go Again…

Just wanted to give everyone a quick update on our trip (or lack thereof)…

I had my pre-trip ultrasound yesterday (supposed to leave on Friday for the Czech Republic) and once again they found a mass.  I sent the report to my doctor in the Czech Republic with fingers crossed that he would still let me proceed with my transfer.  Unfortunately things didn’t turn out in my favor.  He responded back this afternoon and would like me to have surgery…again…before we proceed with our next cycle. So, once again my trip is cancelled and our hopes of having a baby are on hold for a little longer.

xoxo

Michelle

Ready To Try Again

Good Morning….and YES it is a GOOD morning!  Although I have been mentally ready to go back to the Czech Republic for another try at embryo adoption, my body hasn’t been…until today!  I’ve been given the go ahead from both my Czech and US doctors to try again and it’s much sooner than anticipated.  I leave for my next trip to the Reprofit Clinic on April 1st!  It’s crazy to think that if all goes well I could be pregnant this time next month! As always, we remain cautiously optimistic, but deep down inside we are both REALLY hoping that this is the one!  Thank you all for your continued love and support!

xoxo – Michelle & Bill  surrender

Trust The Timing Of Your Life. Trust Your Journey.

Trust the Timing of Your Life. Trust Your Journey…this is one of my favorite quotes and I’ve really tried to lean on it during our infertility and adoption journey, but sometimes it’s just so hard to do!

As many of you know, we were matched with a new set of embryos and we made arrangements to travel back to the Czech Republic on January 30th. Unfortunately, I’m not writing this from the Czech Republic…the trip was cancelled 🙁

Three days before I was set to leave I went to one of my pre-trip doctor’s appointments.   These appointments are usually super quick – just a quick ultrasound to check your lining, they give you your results and you’re gone.  This time was a little different.  When the ultrasound was done I asked the tech what my lining was, she verbally gave me the results (Which were perfect…if you’ve been through IVF you know how crucial this is!) then asked which doctor I would be seeing that day.  I told her that I wasn’t seeing a doctor and that I just needed the printout to bring with me on my trip.  She left the room, telling me that she was going to go get the printout.  When the door opened the next time, it was the doctor, not the tech.  I immediately felt a pit in the bottom of my stomach.

The doctor told me that they found 2 small masses in my uterus and that she wasn’t exactly sure what they were.  Her actual words were, “They could be polyps, it could be scar tissue from your miscarriage, or they could be cancer. We don’t know.” At that point, I would have been okay with just the “we don’t know”. The pit in my stomach grew deeper.  They scheduled me for a saline ultrasound (it gives a better picture of what’s going on) and biopsy that afternoon.

My head was spinning when I left the office! I hadn’t asked yet, but had a feeling that they were going to cancel my embryo adoption trip.  I went home crying, grabbed Bill and then we headed to my next appointment.

The doctor did my saline ultrasound and biopsy in the same room she did the ultrasound to confirm my miscarriage.  I became flooded with emotions.  After my test she couldn’t confirm WHAT the masses were, just that they were indeed there.  She also told me that not only was I going to have to cancel my embryo adoption trip, but that I would need surgery in the immediate future as well.  Cue the tears, and surprisingly for me, anger. The doctor and nurse were trying to console me – “I know this must be tough, you’ve been through so much”.  Ummm yeah, I realize that.  I just wanted out of there.

The next few days were kind of a blur between cancelling all of my trip arrangements, communicating with my coordinator and clinic in the Czech Republic, getting my surgery scheduled, and the major pity party we were holding at our house! Canceling our trip and embryo adoption was hard enough, but now we were trying to wrap our heads around the fact that my health could be in danger and that I would be having surgery! It just didn’t seem fair, we didn’t even get to TRY this time, the chance was taken from us.  But infertility isn’t fair. Infertility is like the Grinch on Christmas morning, but honestly, I think infertility is an even bigger ass hole.

In order to keep going, we always eventually move onto the “what’s, next” mode.  Okay, so this isn’t going to work this time, what can we do next? When can we try again?  My doctor in the Czech told me that after he reviews my surgical reports and if all looks well that we could try again in May or June.  I know to most that doesn’t seem far away, but if you are in our shoes it’s an eternity.

So over the past few days I’ve been repeating, “Trust the timing of your life. Trust your journey”, trying, REALLY trying to have faith that there is a plan bigger than I can even imagine set in motion for me and my family. I’m going to be honest though, I’m not there yet, but I am REALLY trying.

We are still pursuing traditional adoption, but unfortunately we do not have the large amount of money saved up yet to pay upfront to work with an agency.  If you or someone you know or even a friend of a friend is currently looking for a family for their unborn baby, please think of us and send them our way.  Those of you that know Bill and I personally know that we have so much love to give and that it would really make our dreams come true to become parents.

Oh, and by the way, my surgery is scheduled for Monday, February 8th, so please send me all the good vibes you can!!

xoxo – MichelleTrust the timing of your life

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