Monitoring: CD 7 : Relatively "low stim" Protocol

Today I drove to Long Island instead of NYC for my monitoring so I got to see Dr. Braverman himself.  Everyone at the office was super lovely.

Dr. Braverman said that I have 2 follicles on my right side and 1 follicle on my left.  So, we are hoping to retrieve 3 follicles this cycle.  

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He actually mentioned that he may want to bank some more embryos before we transfer.  And, I guess that may be smart, depending on what we get this time, but it does push off getting pregnant and having a baby by a month.  And, waiting is one of the hardest parts of the fertility journey.  But, I am focusing on what I have.  I am blessed to already have one miracle baby and I have follicles coming up so potential for another baby.  And, I am really optimistic this will work this time.  Also, I am in a great situation with a great doctor.  So if it's important to be smart and bank more that's what we will do.  But, I actually am getting ahead of myself.  Let's just see how this retrieval goes.

Tonight, I am going to start injecting 300 iu of Follistim (this is why it's my "relatively "low stim" protocol" - bc that's a lot of Follistim!! but for me it's much less stimulation medication than I have used in the past) with my 5 mgs letrazole.  Hopefully, it helps all 3 follicles grow grow grow healthy eggs that turn into healthy embryos.

Next appointment is Monday.  Talk to you then!

 

 

My "Low Stim" Retrieval Protocol

Hello!!

I have exciting news!  I received my retrieval protocol.  Jump to the bottom if you'd like to see it.

I haven't written for a while as I've been pretty tired from my recent procedures.  My last post talks about my laporosocpy and I also had my tongue tie corrected (aka frenectomy) as soon as I completely healed from the lap. I'll have to talk about my frenectomy in another post.  But, I was run down after having those procedures back to back - I also just didn't have much, fertility-wise, to talk about -- until today!

My period started last Saturday. So, today (CD4), I went in to have my blood drawn and sonogram done to check out my ovaries.  I am happy to say the doctor saw some nice follicles in there.  I had about 2-3 on the left and 3-4 on the right.  For a grand total of about 5-7.

And, I just received the relevant portion of my retrieval protocol. I am super happy to say we are doing a natural start, which means no birth control pills.  I love this because birth control pills make me loopy.  HOORAY!!

Also, I was told my protocol would be "low stim." AND, it is IF you compare it to my last cycle but this much gonal-f could probably blow a very fertile person's ovaries up. So, we are using "low stim" relatively here. Hopefully, for me it's just the right amount.

I am super excited to start and am feeling very optimistic.  

Below you can see what drugs I will be taking.

Today 4/17: 

  • Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime.

4/18:

  • Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime
  • Prednisone- 10mg daily

4/19: 

  • Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime
  • Prednisone- 10mg daily

4/20:

  • Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime
  • Prednisone 10 mg daily
  • GT-Gonal F 300 units
  • Rx Scripts-blood & sonos

4/21:

  • Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime
  • Prednisone 10 mg daily
  • GT-Gonal F 300 units

4/22

  • Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime
  • Prednisone- 10mg daily
  • GT-Gonal F 300 units

4/23

  • Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime
  • Prednisone- 10mg daily
  • GT-Gonal F 300 units
  • Rx Scripts-blood and sono    

4/24

  •  GT-Gonal F 300 units
  •  Prednisone- 10mg daily

 

 

 

 

 

 

My Laparoscopy

Today I am recovering from my laparoscopic surgery (lap).  This is my second lap.  My first was in 2012, before conceiving my amazing son.  Since, my recent transfer didn't work, I decided to go full on Braverman which includes having a second lap.

 Pre lap selfie

Pre lap selfie

What is Laparoscopic Surgery?

A laparoscopic surgery for endometriosis is generally used to diagnose and treat endometriosis.  Yes, you have to have surgery to confirm you have endometriosis - crazy, I know! It is a minimally invasive procedure performed under general anesthesia. It involves four small incisions in your abdomen to insert tools and a small telescope. Your abdomen is also filled with CO2 gas. This allows your doctor to view tissue or take a tissue sample, called a biopsy. They may also remove cysts, implants, and scar tissue caused by endometriosis.

Dr. Braverman now is having all his patients have laser destruction of the peritoneum including the cul de sac during their laps as he has found this significantly increases your chances of having a successful pregnancy.  You can read more about this on his blog here

 Battle wounds

Battle wounds

 

Definitely Research Endometriosis Surgeons Before Hiring One

Interestingly, my first endometriosis surgeon was ahead of the times. I had my peritoneum and cul de sac destroyed during my lap way back in 2102 with Dr. Martin Robbins in Maine, with whom I had a great experience and I would highly recommend.  This time my surgery was with Dr. Vidali, who works with Dr. Braverman and operates in Hoboken, NJ so a shorter trip this time. I also had a great experience with Dr. Vidali.  If you are considering a laparoscopy for endometriosis and to increase your chances of pregnancy, I would recommend both of these surgeons.  It is very important that you choose a surgeon that excises the endometriosis as many surgeons are doing more harm than good for their endometriosis patients.  This is certainly not a time to trust just ANY doctor.

Recommended Endometriosis Surgeons

Dr. Martin Robbins - from personal experience.

Dr. Andrea Vidali - from personal experience.

Dr. Tamir Seckin - Dr. Braverman used to recommend this doctor often (now generally Braverman patients go to Dr. Vidiali) and I have a personal friend and many friends in my reproductive immunology groups who have had good experiences with this doctor.

Dr. Mark Pillitteri - Dr. Braverman used to recommend this doctor often (now generally Braverman patients go to Dr. Vidiali) and I have many friends in my reproductive immunology groups who have had good experiences with this doctor.

My Recent Lap Experience 

I don't remember my lap with Dr. Robbins as well since it was so long ago but I do remember how thorough Dr. Robbins was.  He even came to our hotel room to check on me.  Dr. Vidali also gave Dr. Robbins' work a great review when he saw the photos and notes.  

My lap with Dr. Vidali was just yesterday so I can tell you in detail how it went for anyone who is about to have one and wants to be prepared.

I met with Dr. Vidali a couple weeks before the surgery for an exam and to discuss the lap.

A couple days before the lap he told me to do kind of a mini bowel prep.  I was told to only consume clear liquids after noon the day before the surgery and drink a small 7 dose bottle of Miralax. I was worried because I am a super hungry person and love to eat, but the Miralax made me just nauseous enough that I was not in the mood for food. So I really only drank water and the Miralax after noon. Dr. Vidali didn't have to go near my bowels for the surgery and that I believe is why the mini bowel prep was ok.  I have heard that some of his other patients have had to do a full bowel prep.

The hospital also called the day before.  The nice woman asked me a few questions and told me not to eat or drink after midnight.

I arrived to the hospital at 9 am and the surgery was scheduled for 11 am.

I was rolled in for surgery around 11:45.  I have to tell you hospitals are weird places and it felt strange and a little scary being rolled around in a bed down the sterile halls.

At some point I woke up briefly after surgery and was in pain and they gave me more pain meds.  

I didn't wake up again until around 3 PM.  But, I believe I slept for quite a while in the recovery room after the surgery.  I was kind of awake at some point and could hear myself snoring.  I don't really snore  (I did as a kid but not as an adult) so not sure why I was snoring but I was drugged up and there was nothing I could to do stop the snoring so I just snored away.  After I was awake for a little while, they checked on me and rolled me back to my room.

Dr. Vidali stopped by to see how I was doing and let me know how the surgery went.  He showed me some photos that he took. He didn't have much to do because my last lap was so good. He only found one small spot of endometriosis on my right side, which he excised.  It was in a spot where I have been having pain for a while so I am hoping the pain will now be gone. I also had signs of inflammation on my uterus which he removed.  He also went over my peritoneum including the cul de sac again with the laser.  So I am super cleaned out, looking good and after a few weeks of healing I'll be ready for my next try for a baby.

Bring Your Own Healthy Clear Liquids for After Surgery

After surgery they only let you drink clear liquids.  I recommend bringing your own.  I didn't mind sticking to clear liquids because even though I was a little hungry I just didn't feel like eating too much.  I was offered water and ginger ale by the lovely nurse.  They offer you tap and Schweppes at the hospital.  NJ tap water is full of god knows what (I tasted some and it wasn't great - sorry NJ) and Schweppes is full of gmo corn syrup and natural flavors (which usually is just a way to hide unhealthy stuff in your food)  - there is no real ginger in it so I really don't know how they even are allowed to call it ginger ale.  They also offer you Jello and crackers.  I brought my own gluten free crackers as well and just skipped the Jello (which is also not great for you check out this food babe article regarding how unhealthy Jello is).  So basically the hospital just loads you up with a bunch of GMO sugar after your surgery.  

Something that really bothers me is that hospitals will feed their patients this completely unhealthy food. A bunch of GMO sugar is not good for you.  How is it beneficial to offer this to their patients who are trying to heal? 

As someone with auto immune issues my gut health is of particular importance to me so I am careful about what I put in my body.  If this is a concern for you, I also recommend bringing your own clear liquids to your lap that will hydrate and nourish you after surgery.  Non-gmo ginger ale (ideally organic with real ginger), organic coconut water, gluten free organic rice crackers, organic pasture raised bone broth (if you have an awesome thermos) and a nice bottle or two of Mountain Valley Spring water are all great options.  I am sorry if I sound like a snob writing this paragraph but I do believe that clean healthy food options help one heal more quickly.  

The next step after drinking your clear liquids is waiting to urinate.  It actually took a while for me to have to go at all.  I think we ended up leaving around 8:30 PM.

Then it's time to get dressed.  You will be sore so you will need someone to help you get dressed. Bringing really soft loose clothing and slip on shoes will certainly make this easier.

My Recovery

My lap was on Thursday and today is Saturday.  Yesterday, I was more sore than today.  But, even yesterday I was able to walk around and make my son dinner.  It was easier if I didn't lift anything and had help getting out of bed but I managed lifting my 7 lb dog and getting out of bed if no one was nearby.

I am feeling remarkably better today.  Still sore but I have not taken any pain medication today.  I am still resting and taking it easy though.

The worst pain has been from the gas left over in my abdomen from the surgery.  The day after the surgery there was a lot of pain in my right shoulder and side.  It's like really bad gas pain in a really weird part of your body and it hurts. Today it is much better.

I know some people have a much more difficult recovery from this surgery.  Some may have had more endometriosis removed and that may cause more pain.  My body also seems to heal remarkably well from surgery.  I was up easily walking around the day after my c-section as well.  So if you feel worse than I described above that is completely normal.

Finally, they don't allow you to shower for 48 hours after the surgery so showering before the surgery may be a good idea.  I am certainly excited to shower tomorrow.

 Post lap selfie.  Looking a little tired and puffy but loving my Green Immunity Broth from Embody Wellness get the recipe here http://embodywellnesscompany.com/green-immunity-broth/

Post lap selfie.  Looking a little tired and puffy but loving my Green Immunity Broth from Embody Wellness get the recipe here http://embodywellnesscompany.com/green-immunity-broth/

 

 

 

Going Full on Braverman

After my failed transfer, I warrior goddessed up and decided to get my baby. So, I am going full on Braverman.  

What does full on Braverman mean?  It means covering all my bases and leaving no stone un turned.  It means getting a laparoscopy to look for and remove endometriosis and taking his supplements.  I am taking Endo Optimize Endometriosis Support, Endo Optimize Myo-Insotol and Ends Optimize Greens Formula. Here is a link to the supplements.  

It also means doing another retrieval and transfer with him and following his immune protocol,  without much questioning from me.  I am one of those patients who asks a lot of questions.  But, at this point, I do trust Dr. Braverman (I already have one child because of him) so I try to not to question too much.

I had my laparoscopy yesterday and will give you all the details in my next post.

 

 

Not Giving Up: Warrior Goddess Style

I was done.  I swore it up and down.  One IVF and I was done.  

But, after my recent failed IVF, I was very not ok.  I was go about your day like nothing was wrong but end up bawling ugly tears periodically and then screaming at someone for no reason kind of not ok. I really thought it would work first try.   

I have been working through why it didn't work.  And once we get the immune panel back we will have more information.   

But, I am not done. 

I've had some pretty clear signs that continuing to try to have a baby with Braverman as our doctor is the right thing for us to do.  

And after deciding to keep trying, I have actually felt ok.  No more crying or screaming.  I have renewed hope.

So I am going to put on my warrior goddess armor and slay.  I am going to get my baby and then I am going to live happily ever after. 

 Warrior Goddessing

Warrior Goddessing

First, I have to have a laparoscopic surgery to remove any endometriosis that's come back since my last surgery and remove my cul de sac (more on this in a later post).  Then, I have to wait 6 weeks to heal.  Then, we will do another IVF and pray pray pray that it works.

Do I want to have surgery?  Do I want to continue to take drugs that make me look worse and feel worse physically, mentally and spiritually and live in the limbo and stress that goes hand in hand with the IVF process. He'll no.

 Warrior Goddess, Natalie with her first Braverman baby and super spectacular side kick, Sebastian.

Warrior Goddess, Natalie with her first Braverman baby and super spectacular side kick, Sebastian.

But, I am going to do it?  YES.  It is likely the only way we can have another biological child and a sibling for our son.  So, I am going to warrior goddess suit up and complete our family.  I am going to trudge through these depths of hell - with the most positive attitude I can and keep my focus on all the great things in my life.  I am going to pray and believe my body is healthy and strong and I will stay super healthy and strong through the process.  And when we have another baby, it will be another joyous time in our lives just like when we had our first very loved child and we will know it was all worth it. Then, I will be better than ok.

 

The Two Week Wait: The Torture of the High Stakes Unknown

When you start trying to have a baby you learn about the two week wait.  This is the 14 days between ovulation and when your next cycle should begin.  After the two week wait, is also a great time to take your first home pregnancy test. Although you can get positive pregnancy tests before the two week wait is over.  I have seen people get them as early as 8 days past ovulation.  Waiting for the positive pregnancy test is a time period ladies trying to conceive learn is a difficult anxiety ridden struggle.

For this FET, it is an 8 day wait from the transfer of my 5 day embryo. That is when I go back to the doctor for a blood test. But, I always use home pregnancy tests (HPTs) because when the transfer works the tests will show up as positive well before the 8 day wait.  And I like the comfort of knowing as soon as I can.

 These are my pregnancy tests from when I learned I was pregnant with Sebastian.  I took this photo today - yes I still have them!

These are my pregnancy tests from when I learned I was pregnant with Sebastian.  I took this photo today - yes I still have them!

For every one of my FETs, where I got pregnant, I was able to see a very light line on an HPT by 5 days past transfer. That's today and my tests are stark white...  I may be hallucinating a light shadow of a line on one of the HPTs but most the time even that one is looking pretty stark white.  So, I am starting to freak.  

My brain has been all over the place today.  The pressure is thick and soupy; the anxiety is something from which I have detached.   There have been many times today that I couldn't get my mind off the possibility that this may not work.  I am trying to keep the hope and it really is too soon to tell.  Tomorrow will give me a better idea. But, I should really see something by then.  Or I am going to have a hard time keeping my calm. Praying for a BFP tomorrow morning...

 My stark white tests from this morning.  Praying for a line tomorrow.

My stark white tests from this morning.  Praying for a line tomorrow.

Frozen Embryo Transfer

On January 22, 2018, we transferred our only genetically normal embryo to my uterus.

I took an UBER into the city because my husband had to drop off Sebastian at school.  I arrived about half an hour early and walked around the block.  St. Patrick's Cathedral was on the corner, and it was so neat to see, as it has some significance in my family history.  The story I was told was that my maternal grandfather who was in the navy in WWII prayed at this church as he was headed out on a ship on which his chances of survival were slim.  He prayed that he would make it home alive and promised that if he did he would name his next son Patrick.  AND... I have an Uncle Patrick.

I also pray that this transfer works.  And although the name we picked out isn't Patrick I still hope a new son comes into our family and walking past the church may have brought me some luck.  Although, I have Dr. Braverman on my side so I am feeling optimistic already.  Still, I will take whatever luck or prayers I can get, because nothing is guaranteed.

 This is the embryo that was transferred.  That is a hatched blastocyst!  It looks like the embryo is just shooting out ready to implant, doesn't it?

This is the embryo that was transferred.  That is a hatched blastocyst!  It looks like the embryo is just shooting out ready to implant, doesn't it?

The procedure went really well. You have to have a full bladder and the doctor prescribed a valium. The mood in the room was light hearted.  And, this clinic does a stand up job of covering the patient and having the lights off as they should, unlike another clinic I transferred with in the past. I am really happy with the job they do doing transfers at this clinic.  They also allow your husband in the room which I think is very very nice. The experience is really cool.  Here's a little video I am so happy I was able to capture.

After the transfer you lay down for a while.  Even though husbands are allowed in the room Wesley had to drop Sebastian off and arrived about 10 mins after the transfer - so he just missed it.  But we were able to walk around the city for a little while and have a nice breakfast together at Clement at the Peninsula Hotel, which one of my absolute favorite restaurants in the city.

I love Clement because they care about using quality ingredients and they pay special attention to food intolerances.  I had the huevos rancheros with no gluten and diary and then I followed up with some of their oysters.  The oysters there are so very delicious.  Yes, oysters for breakfast ... pregnancy cravings already?!

 I seriously have to figure out what they do to the oysters.  They are so good.

I seriously have to figure out what they do to the oysters.  They are so good.

 

As we walked to the garage we passed the LOVE sign in midtown.  So we took a photo of me celebrating being PUPO.  PUPO is an acronym in the infertility world which means Pregnant Unless Proven Otherwise.

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It was such a lovely morning and I was feeling super zen and optimistic.  Now it's time to just relax and pray for a healthy implantation.  I will keep you posted with my home pregnancy tests I will be taking soon.

 

Countdown to FET: 8 Days to Go ~ Reminiscing

We are getting closer to the transfer date everyday.  I cannot believe it is only 8 days away!  I am actually feeling very well on the drugs and feeling optimistic about this transfer.  

This time around things haven't gone perfectly but if this transfer works this will be a walk in the park compared what we went through to have our first son.  I think this transfer will work because I truly believe Dr. Braverman is the reason I was able to carry my son to term.  I have gotten pregnant with every FET we have done where we used ICSI so I expect that I will have a positive beta and I also expect that with Dr. Braveran's treatment I will then go on to carry to term again.  That will be two times in a row. 

I thought tonight I would share a little bit about our first and only frozen embryo transfer that worked.

Reproductive immunology is the medicine Dr. Braverman practices.  Before working with Dr. Braverman, our doctor at our last fertility clinic told us that he did not "believe" in reproductive immunology.  He belittled it and dismissed it. Then after two miscarriages, of genetically normal tested embryos, our doctor said "maybe" I am in the two percent that could benefit from reproductive immunology.  This was frustrating because this was very different that what we were originally told.  So we asked if he would work with Dr. Braverman.  He SAID yes.  But, then he never called us back.  This was after we spent around $35,000 there and had two miscarriages with him.  So, we decided to take the last genetically tested embryo we had left and transfer it to Dr. Braverman.

What we were able to do is totally fascinating to me.  We picked up a nitrogen tank from Dr. Braverman's lab and took it to our old clinic.  The embryologist put the last embryo on ice, as terrible thoughts went through my head about what they could be doing to my one last embryo (obviously they took good care of the embryo because it resulted in an amazing baby boy) but I worried, I did.  Then we drove my son as just a blastocyst (a few cells, maybe 100) about 10 NYC streets and a few avenues to Dr. Braverman's lab where we left it until we were ready to do his transfer a couple months later.

 That's my baby!  Just a frozen blast taking it's first ride through Manhattan.

That's my baby!  Just a frozen blast taking it's first ride through Manhattan.

I was so filled with hope AND so much uncertainty.  I really felt this was our last chance because after two miscarriages and so many hurdles we were financially and emotionally drained.  Also, the drugs from Dr. Braverman's protocol were just totally brutal and I couldn't imagine trying again.  

But, what Dr. Braverman did for us worked.  And we are forever grateful.  And I am still upset at how many of the other doctors dismissed this treatment and allowed us to miscarry.  But, we are the lucky ones.  

Many women who could be helped by Dr. Braverman continue to be discouraged by doctors who are not up to date on the research in this field and continue to dismiss something that could help their patients.  So, these women who do not leave these outdated reproductive endocrinologists continue to have miscarriages and sometimes are never are able to carry the biological child they so want to have.  They turn to donor eggs, surrogacy, adoption or don't have children at all.  I hope they all have found happiness one way or another.  But, part of why I am writing this blog is to get the word out that there is a doctor who treats recurrent miscarriages and reproductive immune issues and there is hope for women who are going through this struggle.  

There is legitimate science behind this treatment and Dr. Braverman has great success with some of the hardest cases doing what he does.  Of course, he is not the right doctor for everyone.  But, it's so important for the women he may be able to help to learn that he is there and what he does works.

Now, of course we never know 100% what really happened and what caused my success. There is always a level of uncertainty - really with everything in life.  I am sure reproductive endocrinologists at, what their PR agencies claim are, top fertility centers are going to argue that I just got lucky.  Or as my old doctor said - well sometimes people just get pregnant. But, if this second transfer works and I am 2 for 2 with Dr. Braverman, and 0 for 2 with them I think that will say a lot.

I also know many others who have had multiple miscarriages, many more than I have had, who had success with Dr. Braverman.  Many on the first try. I actually am compiling a list of success stories from people I have met in person and online - so keep a look out for that if you are interested.  One story is from  a women who had 20 miscarriages prior to going to Dr. Braverman and first try with him she had success.  She is now pregnant with her second!

 

 

Countdown to FET: 10 Days to Go and My Lining is "Perfect"

So, I left my house in CT at 7 am this morning and arrived to my appointment at 945!  That was a long traffic filled trip to Manhattan and I was 45 minutes late.  The office was great about it and got me in very quickly.  The most amazing thing about the appointment was that Dr. Vidali said that my lining was perfect!  And what's even better is that I don't have to go back in Monday to monitor the lining. Yay!

And, I cannot believe I only have 10 days left until my transfer.  Feeling super optimistic and Counting down the days!

 

Prednisone: A Love & Hate Story

I just started prednisone.  I have a love/hate relationship with this drug.  I feel confident that the high dose of prednisone is what helped me hold on to the pregnancy with my son.  It also helps with symptoms of inflammation that I generally am plagued with.  So on prednisone, I have more energy, better digestion and less aches and pains. It also is said to keep pregnancy nausea at bay and my nausea during my pregnancy with my son was mild. All amazing things.  The best side effect of the drug is the successful pregnancy - of course!  So what's not to like?!

Last pregnancy, the negative side effects of prednisone for me included:

  • irritability (my husband complains he has a pregnant wife - ON STEROIDS)
  • excess facial hair (nothing a full face wax didn't fix!)
  • insomnia
  • excruciating knee pain (I have a rare side effect to prednisone.  After about two and a half months on 40 mgs of prednisone, I wake up with excruciating knee pain.  My knees cramp up and I cannot walk. The pain level is 10/10 and comes in waves.  After this happens, my dose has to be lowered to 20 mgs.)
  • non-stop hunger
  • Weight gain
  • MOON FACE: This is the worst.  There is no room for vanity on this journey!  That's for sure.  See picture below.
 The left is me on 40 mgs of prednisone in early pregnancy with my son.  The right is a recent photo.

The left is me on 40 mgs of prednisone in early pregnancy with my son.  The right is a recent photo.

 

There is nothing hot about prednisone.  But, having a baby is pretty awesome, so here we go again!

New Target Transfer Date

So it is getting closer!  It's getting very exciting!  I started taking a lot of new drugs yesterday, Saturday.  Also, in other exciting news my husband gave me a shot of estrogen in the rear,  and I started prednisone and lovenox.  So, it was a three  shot day (estrogen, lovenox (it burns) and lupron).

The new transfer date is January 22, 2018.  

Below is what yourduedate.com said when I entered my transfer date along with my responses:

  • Conception will likely take place around january 17, 2018.
    • Wrong conception took place in October in a lab...
  • Take a pregnancy test on february 03, 2018 to confirm.
    • I will be taking a million pregnancy tests WAY before then.
  • The baby will be born during autumn.
    • COOL
  • You are in the first trimester.
    • ALREADY!  And the baby is on ice in Manhattan right now!
  • The first trimester began on january 03, 2018.
    • I am 5 days pregnant!!  And the baby is on ice in Manhattan right now!
  • The second trimester (weeks 13-27) begins on april 04, 2018.
    • Can't wait for April and that lemon size fetus to be in my uterus!
  • The third trimester (weeks 28-40) begins on july 18, 2018.
    • BABY MOON!
  • Your safe range to give birth: september 19, 2018 to october 24, 2018 (full term)
    • Fun fact: This baby boy could be born on his mommy's (10/17) or daddy's (9/25) birthday

 

 

Hysteroscopy: All Clear

 Dr. Braverman really is turning over every rock to make sure this transfer works.  Yesterday, I had a hysterscopy to look into a fibroid that was found during my last ultrasound.

I haven't had one of these before.  And I hope I never have to have one again.  The procedure consists of the normal uncomfotableness of a Pap smear with the added bonus of fluid and a camera going into your uterus.  The fluid causes an intense cramping, imagine a crampy day from your period and then turn the volume up to 10.  It was intense pain but the procedure was over in no time.  Dr. Braverman and the nurse were friendly and helped me get through the non fun experience.

Luckily, everything looked good and we are ready to move forward.  I am still waiting for an updated calendar.  So, I won't know the new target transfer date until I get that.  I am super excited to start the process and get this all over with.

I am now on hold with my drugs and only taking metformin, baby aspirin and lupron.  The lupron was fine at first but over time the side effects have gotten worse.  Some days I have bad headaches and get very dehydrated.  So the sooner I get my calendar and get moving the better!

I just have to keep my eye on the prize.

FET Interrupted

So, on Wednesday, I thought I was going to another easy, no biggie monitoring appointment.  But, we hit a small bump in the road in the form of a fibroid.  

Dr. Braverman noticed a small fibroid (a non-cancerous growth) at the base of my uterus. Often, these growths are totally benign and can often cause no symptoms. But, my cycle is postponed until Dr. Braverman can do a hysteroscopy and make sure 1) the fibroid is not blocking the entrance of the uterus and they can get the catheter through and complete the embryo transfer (aka put the embryo in my uterus) and 2) make sure there are no other fibroids in the uterus.

I have scheduled the hysteroscopy for Wednesday January 3rd and will not be starting estrogen and prednisone on Saturday as planned.  Hopefully, if everything checks out, we will just be pushing the cycle back about 5 days.  If not, well, we will have to cross that bridge when we get there....

So, pray for my uterus!  And hopefully we will be back on track next week.

IVF DETOX, DIET AND EXERCISE

I've written a little about my diet and detox on earlier web posts.  But, I wanted to go into more detail and show the results of my diet and detox.  Not only physically do I look healthier, I feel so much better. We can absolutely heal ourselves through food - there is no doubt.  And, I am always learning more about the perfect diet for my body.

In just 3 weeks I went from a bloated 155 lbs to a slim 139 lbs; I am 5'7.

I didn't take a photo three weeks after the first photo was taken (I wish I had!!) so you will have to take my word for it with regard to timing.  But, I was able to flatten my stomach and lost this weight in just about three weeks AND I have been able to maintain it.  The first photo is from September 10th and the second one is from today December 19th (today I weighed in at 138; last week I was down to 136).

What's remarkable about this detox, diet and exercise program is that I am able to lose that stubborn belly fat that I cannot lose otherwise.  This is so important because that stubborn belly fat is a sign that there is a hormonal imbalance and correcting this is imperative when we are talking about fertility AND health in general.

 Now that I flattened my belly - I am praying this transfer works and we are able to fill it up again with a new baby!

Now that I flattened my belly - I am praying this transfer works and we are able to fill it up again with a new baby!

I challenge anyone to do what I am suggesting for three weeks.  Your life will absolutely change for the better.  It's not easy.  And, it is expensive.  I was motivated because I really want to expand my family.  I will easily be able to keep eating healthy and exercising because of the results.  It is getting just too obvious that the standard American diet is slowly killing me and decreasing my quality of life. I want to be healthy and feel good so I am committed to health and continuing to learn more about health so that I can live my best life.

This is a 3 week plan:

Detox:

Pills:

Metagenics Advaclear: 6 every day for 3 weeks. Two in the morning with the shake, two with lunch, two with dinner

BUY ME

A Shake every morning for three weeks made with the following:

A large glass of water with:

  • Thorne Mediclear Plus - 2 scoops

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    • designs for health Paleo Fiber - 1 Tablespoon

     

    BUY ME

    • designs for health Paleo Greens - 1 Tablespoon

      BUY ME

    IMPORTANT NOTES ABOUT THIS DETOX: 

    • I did this under the supervision of my acupuncturist, Angela Le
    • This is of course not medical advice because I am not a doctor.  I am simply letting you know what I tried and what worked for me, one person.  But, please run everything by a holistic practitioner that you trust or don't but you do so at your own risk. 
    • You cannot do the detox while you are taking fertility (or any) medications so if you start your protocol before 3 weeks just stop the detox but do as many days as you can. Understand, that if you are taking medications they may not work because the detox will be flushing them out.
    • You should also stop your other supplements during the detox. 
    • You also do not want to do this detox while pregnant as it may be harmful to a growing fetus for various reasons.  I was told that the fetus may absorb what your body is getting rid of and that some of the vitamins in the supplements are in such a high dose they may be harmful to a growing fetus.  
    • It tastes pretty gross - but - you can do it!!

    Diet:

    For starters:

    • NO GLUTEN! NO DAIRY! NO ALCOHOL! NO COFFEE! NO REFINED SUGAR! 
    • About 80% Vegan
    • All organic 
    • If animal products are eaten be sure to take care and purchase only organic (or as good as organic) products that have eaten what they are supposed to eat.  (ie no soy feed, grass fed cows, etc)
    • No packaged processed foods

    SAKARA LIFE meal plan:

    CLICK HERE FOR $50 OFF YOUR FIRST ORDER

    • Sakara Life is a meal delivery service.  I did the Sakara Life meal delivery service for most of the three weeks.  They deliver organic plant based vegan and gluten-free meals with no refined sugar.  They are fairly expensive but what they deliver is so valuable.  And it really takes the guess work out of the diet.

    DAILY HARVEST

    • Sakara Life does not deliver on the weekends so I supplemented with another one of my favorite gluten-free, vegan and organic delivery services.  Daily Harvest, sells cups that arrive frozen and are kept in the freezer.  I love their oats, smoothies and soups.  I would start my day with a smoothie and an over easy egg (I was not 100% vegan for this diet).  Then for lunch I would have oats; or, if I was very hungry, oats and a smoothie.  For dinner, I would have a soup that I would make with organic pasture raised bone broth (again not 100% vegan) over rice or quinoa.

    • To mix with the shakes, I use Malk brand Maple Almond Milk or Unsweetened Cashew (which I prefer if it's available at my Whole Foods), Harmless Harvest Coconut Water, Bonafide Provisions Bone Broth or Thai Taste Coconut Milk.

    • USE TRYTHREEFREE for three free smoothies with your first order.

     

    • Here is a sample weekend day:

      • Breakfast: Egg (be sure to only eat pastured organic eggs - ideally from a local farm) over easy cooked with no oil or oil with a high burning point like coconut oil and and apple and greens smoothie mixed with Harmless Harvest Coconut Water.

      • Lunch: Pumpkin & Chai Overnight Oats with MALK nut milk

      • Dinner: Cauliflower & Leek Stew with Bonafide Provisions Chicken Bone Broth over Organic Californian Jasmine Rice

      • Snacks: Smoothies, berries, almonds

    • Here are my favorite Daily Harvest Cups

      • Soups

        • Tips
          • or the soups: I don't fill the cup to the top with liquid and I like to boil down the soup so there is not too much liquid
        • My Favorites:
          • Coconut & Carrot Soup with Thai Taste Coconut Milk over Organic Californian Jasmine Rice
          • Cauliflower Leek Stew with Bonafide Provisions Chicken Bone Broth over Organic Californian Jasmine Rice
          • Miso & Mushroo Soup with Bonafide Provisions Beef Bone Broth over Organic Californian Jasmine Rice
          • Tumeric & Lemongrass Detox Broth with Bonafide Provisions Beef Bone Broth and organic quinoa
      • Oats
        • Tips
          • I also don't fill the oats to the top and I cook them down to a thicker consistency
          • They go great with Malk Nut Milk or Thai Taste Coconut Milk
        • My Favorites:
          • Pumpkin & Spice
          • Dragonfruit
      • Smoothies
        • Tips
          • Sometimes these need a little more liquid to easily blend
          • Also it helps to let them sit for a little bit so that they are easier to blend and not too cold for your digestive system
          • If you are concerned for eastern medicine reasons about eating cold food let the smoothie sit for 20 minutes and blend with a piece of fresh organic ginger
        • My Favorites
          • Carrot & Chia with MALK Nut Milk (especially for wintertime)
          • Apple Detox with Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
          • Watermelon & Cucumber with Harmless Harvest Coconut Water
          • Pineapple Matcha with Harmless Harvest Coconut Water (tastes like a pina colada!)

     

    Exercise:

    Exercise is last here but it is super important that you get moving as often as possible.  I aimed for 7 days a week.  During this three week period, I was getting about 5 workouts in a week.  I was doing these great half hour workouts, my friend Rachel, a beachbody coach, introduced me to called 21 day fix.  It's only $99 for the year to download unlimited workouts.  I absolutely recommend the download.  You can find her page HERE .  Go to the second offer on the page for unlimited downloads for $99.

    To maintain, I have only been doing the workouts about 3 - 4 times a week but still aim for everyday.

     

     

    Big Update! Target Transfer Date Known!

    So, about two weeks ago, I had a ton of blood drawn by Monique at Dr. Braverman's office which she sent to Reprosource for my immune panel.  The results just came back this week and Sandra, my nurse, was able to make up my calendar.

    The calendar of the medicine I will be taking is below, if you are interested in the details.  But, the highlights of the calendar are 1) starting December 30th, I start taking a truck load of drugs 2) starting the 1st of January, I start on 40 mgs of prednisone (my very least favorite drug - bc the side effects are awful - but my very favorite drugs because that's the one I think really does the trick and helps me carry to term) and 3) My TARGET TRANSFER date is January 15th!!

    So everyone!  That means on January 15th, I will be what we in the fertility world call PUPO ~ pregnant until proven otherwise.  Also, funny thing, I will be considered almost 3 weeks pregnant already.  You are pregnant for 40 weeks starting from your last period - so for the first two weeks of pregnancy no one is technically pregnant.  Implantation happens usually during the third week of pregnancy.  By the time I have my beta drawn (likely January 23rd) I will be 4 weeks pregnant (HOPEFULLY!!).

    MY FET CALENDAR

    December 2017

    December 4th - 19th

            Meds: Contraceptives-Birth control pill daily

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin (started Dec 16th)

    December 20th

            Meds: Contraceptives-Birth control pill daily

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

    December 21 - 29      

             Meds: Contraceptives-Birth control pill daily

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

    December 30: (it gets real!)

            Meds: Delestrogen- 0.4cc in PM

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    December 31

            Meds: Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    January 2018

    January 1

            Meds: Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    January 2

             Meds: Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

             Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime

    January 3

            Meds: Delestrogen- 0.4cc in PM

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

             Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime

    January 4

            Meds: Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

             Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime

    January 5

            Meds: Rx Scripts-blood and sono

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

             Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime

    January 6

            Meds: Delestrogen- 0.4cc in PM

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

             Letrozole-Letrazole 2.5mg 2 tabs at bedtime

    January 7

            Meds: Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    January 8

             Meds: Rx Scripts-blood and sono

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

             Rx Scripts-Intralipids this week

    January 9

            Meds: Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Lupron- 5 units in AM

            Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    January 10

            Meds: Delestrogen- 0.4cc in PM

             Prog IM-progesterone in oil 1cc pm

             Doxy-cycline 100mg AM & PM

             Clindamycin-Clindamyacin vag suppos 1 in PM

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

            Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    January 11

            Meds: Prog IM-Progesterone in Oil 2cc PM

             Doxy-cycline 100mg AM & PM

             Clindamycin-Clindamyacin vag suppos 1 in PM

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    January 12

            Meds: Prog IM-Progesterone in Oil 2cc PM

             Doxy-cycline 100mg AM & PM

             Clindamycin-Clindamyacin vag suppos 1 in PM

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    January 13

            Meds: Prog IM-Progesterone in Oil 2cc PM

             Delestrogen- 0.4cc in PM

             Doxy-cycline 100mg AM & PM

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    January 14

             Meds: Prog IM-Progesterone in Oil 2cc PM

             Doxy-cycline 100mg AM & PM

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 1000 mg at night

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

    January 15

    Meds: Prog IM-Progesterone in Oil 2cc PM

             Rx Scripts-TARGET TRANSFER DATE

             Doxy-cycline 100mg AM & PM

             Prednisone- 20mg AM and 20mg PM

             Metformin HCL-Metformin 500mg 3x's per day

             Low dose aspirin-81mg Baby Asprin

             Lovenox- 40mg in AM

     

     

     

     

    Pre-FET Birth Control Side Effect - Nausea

    Hello there!

    It's been a little while since I updated between the Thanksgiving holiday and not great side effects from adding birth control to my new list of drugs, I just hadn't been up to blogging.  Also, not much has been happening with my cycle.  Below is the quick and pukey update from the last week..

    Last week, I started birth control pills.  I was taking 750 mg of metformin at night and Tuesday I started the pill in the morning.  The brand was Kelnon and I started getting nauseous a few hours after taking the pill each day to the point I couldn't stomach much food.  It was suggested by my nurse and some other people I talk to online to switch to taking the pill at night to help with the nausea.  That meant I ended up taking two of the pills in the same day, one in the morning and one at night.  I had to do that because I did not want to risk "breaking through." 

    Well, the nausea after I did this was so bad.  I was couch ridden for the whole day and could hardly eat at all..  I am so lucky my husband was around.  

    I had to change brands of birth control.  I switched to Janel and so far it has been so much better.  I've only had mild nausea.  So, that's positive..

    FET - it begins

    Dr. Braverman called me two nights ago.  His team looked over my file and have decided to add Metformin to my protocol.  I take my first pill tonight.

    If you know me well, you know that I do not like to take pharmaceutical drugs at all.  I believe we can so often heal ourselves through lifestyle changes like food and exercise.  It's been a few years since my last IVF and my knowledge about health and how to stay healthy (as opposed to treat illness) has changed.  If I were younger and had this knowledge, I would definitely give myself some time (not too much time though!) to try to have a baby naturally.  But, I don't feel like I have that time.  And, I know Dr. Braverman was my miracle doctor last time.  He is the reason I have my son.  So for our second child we are going with what we know works.

    But, I am not happy about introducing a new drug.  Still, I have chosen to trust Dr. Braverman and his team. He says there is no downside to adding it to my protocol and they have seen so much success with his patients who have endometriosis using it. So all I can do is lift my glass of water pop my pill and say bottoms up.

    I hope everyone has an amazing Turkey Day tomorrow!

    Update:  I do fairly well on 500 mg of Metformin.  But, every time I tried to go to 1500 mgs, I got a really bad headache and could not sleep.  I also felt a little anxious.  I stopped and started the higher dose a couple of times but every time, I had similar side effects.  So, right now I am on 1000 mgs instead of 1500 as I fare well at 1000 mgs.  

    PGS Results

    ONE.

    Out of the three, only one embryo tested genetically normal.

    It's a BOY!

    FullSizeRender(1).jpg

    We did not get to choose the gender.  It has been chosen for us.  We may have been dreaming of a girl to complete our family but we know what a blessing any child is.  Now it's time to start dreaming of having two boys, brothers, lifelong friends. I am very excited to hopefully have another beautiful healthy baby boy to add to our family and I am feeling optimistic Dr. Braverman will be able to help us carry to term again.