January 2008

We are entering this New Year with new hopes for fertility and will do anything to make it happen.

I have found a new OB/GYN closer to my home that was willing to work with me and my IVF pursuits in Czech. I must say that I am thrilled with my new doctor. I have told him my history and our struggles and he was very supportive of my decision and encouraging of getting my treatment abroad.

He went over my records, called my infertility doctor I used to see here in Atlanta and discussed with her some ideas about what further tests he could possibly order to find a problem.

The following tests were done:

  • Biopsy of my endometrium sent to pathology and microbiology for testing for TB and chronic
  • Mycobacteria infections
  • Blood:
  • Antithrombin III Activity
  • Protein C
  • Protein S
  • Lupus Anticoagulant
  • PTT-LA screen
  • DRVVT screen
  • Faktor V (Leiden)
  • Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase (MTHFR)
  • Anti-TSH autoantibodies; TSH Autoantibodies
  • Rheumatoid factor
  • SCL-70 Antibodies
  • Cyclic Citrullinated Peptide CCP AB IGG
  • Cardiolipin IGG AB
  • Cardiolipin IGM AB
  • Thyroid Peroxidase Antibodies
  • Homocysteine Cardiovascular
  • Prothrombin gen analysis – G20210A (Prothrombin/faktor II)

I was hoping that this test was going to show us where the problem is, we’ll fix it and we can finally be on our way to a family.

When the results came back, the doctor was just shaking his head. He said that ALL of my test came back PERFECTLY normal.

So again he confirmed, that there is medically nothing wrong with me, at least that today medicine, he has access to, could detect so I should be able to get pregnant on my own without any problems, but hasn’t happened even after multiple IVF attempts.

I have been told again that I just have to keep trying and it will happen eventually.

Well, this time I was determined to do everything possible to prepare my body and mind the best I possibly could for my next attempt.

All of my failures and attempts that were just keeping me with empty hands, broken heart and this huge guilt towards my husband for constantly letting him down.

I have decided to seek the help of a psychiatrist as I new at that point that I will need some medication to help me get my strength and life back.

In addition to anti-depressants my doctor highly recommended a help of a therapist to help me work out through some of the issues as medication will not solve a problem it just helps me to face it and deal with it.

I have been seeing a therapist, who herself had fertility issues and struggled to have a baby and eventually had to go down the route of egg donation. She could relate to what I was describing and she understood as it took her multiple attempts to get pregnant herself.
I have also started my acupuncture regimen and Chinese herbs and I added yoga to my workout.

I must say that combination of all of these treatments have made a huge difference not only in how I feel but how I see life, my fertility struggle and instead of breaking down and giving in I can see the light at the end of the tunnel and I have the strength to face my problem and fight it!
The biggest compliment came from my husband as he has been affected by my moods and ups and downs of my failures the most, which bothers me.

But he was the one who has told me that I am a new person – I am more positive, relaxed, optimistic and he loves being around me again and he enjoys every minute of it.

February 2008

A few of our patients have introduced me to a book called The Secret by Rhonda Byrne. I have purchased the book, the CD and the DVD. I must say that I like the CD the most as I can listen to it as I drive, exercise or fall asleep. I also like the additional power it has from all the people featured on the CD and their attitude in their voices. I have been listening to this CD everyday and I have totally fallen for it.

I have discovered a new way of life and I may have discovered why my fertility is unexplained (in the eyes of the doctors).

April 2008

I have been working on my body to give myself the best chances at our next IVF. My OB/GYN suggested a laparoscopy and hysteroscopy with D&C, since I have had multiple cysts, adhesions, endometriosis and polyps in my uterus. He wanted to check on it again and maybe correct some of these issues to give me the best chances.

I was stunned when I woke up from the anesthesia and the doctor told me that my procedure was very quick as he didn’t have to do anything. He has showed me pictures of my insides and was telling me that he didn’t find any cysts nor adhesions. My tubes were nice and pink – healthy looking. My ovaries were healthy as well. He has just found one little spot with endometriosis but he said that it was so minor that it has no effect on my reproductive system at all. There were no polyps or myomas in my uterus and the product of D&C was sent to pathology (the results came back later normal as well).

I kept thinking about it over and over and believe it or not, I was upset that they couldn’t find anything! It wasn’t until I talk to a dear friend of mine who finally opened my eyes. She told me: “Mag, you are looking at your entire experience the wrong way. The fact that your surgery revealed no problems, even the issues that were there two years ago and are gone, is a sign that your body is healing!”

I guess after all the years of trying to get pregnant and not being able to I was expecting a problem to be revealed and I totally forgot to focus on all the good signs that I have been ignoring. My body is getting better and hopefully finally ready for a healthy and successful pregnancy.

June 2008

As I started to plan our next IVF, I have had another person in my life refer me to this website: http://www.rialab.com/miscarriages_prevented.php

The more I was researching this website, the more it made sense to me. There can be issues related to miscarriages that need specific testing to detect them and fix them.

I have immediately contacted Dr. Matzner and we have scheduled a phone consultation.

I have provided him with all of my history regarding IVF treatments, medical history and all of my recent test results.

He has also asked me some other questions regarding my as well as my husband’s health. He said that I have had some of the testing for recurrent miscarriages done by my OB/GYN but not to the fullest extend his lab is capable of. He then went into details of autoimmune issues related to recurrent pregnancy loss. Dr. Matzner has also given us great hope as he said that once the problem is detected they have ways of correcting the issue that can be as simple as Aspirin, Prednisone, Heparin or more complex as series of IVIg and other medications. He has given us hope and without hesitation my husband and I have made an appointment with our primary care physician to have our blood drawn according to Dr. Matzner’s lab instructions.
We have FedExed our blood sample from Atlanta to California using the overnight service and we are now waiting for the results and recommendations.

The best thing is that Dr. Matzner is willing to work with patients from all over the world and he is also able to work with any fertility clinic around the world. I have already spoken to doctors at Reprofit and they are awaiting dr. Matzner’s instructions.

July 2008

We have received results of our immunology testing. At first we were scared that there were so many things wrong with us but at the same time we were excited that FINALLY we have found the problem, we can focus on it, fix it and finally get pregnant and carry to term.

In a nut shell and very plain English: my killer cells (cells in our bodies that detect foreign objects in our bodies and attack them before we would get sick) are over active- seeing and attacking our embryo(s) as foreign objects and destroying them.

Also, women’s uterus is the only place in our bodies that allows “foreign” objects as embryos are (as they are half of the woman and a half of a man). Female uterus also releases so called protective blocking antibodies that “coat” the embryos and prevent them from being attacked by the killer cells. Well, my uterus was producing close to none of those. And to top it all off, Jeremy and I share a gene, making it even harder for my body to detect the embryos wanting to implant and doesn’t protect them from my killer cells.

Would you believe that I am too healthy for my own good!!

When we have had our consultation with Dr. Matzner over the results, he has recommended the following regimen:

  • Fragmin 5,000IU daily
  • Prednisone up to 30mg daily
  • Baby aspirin 81mg daily
  • Prenatal vitamins
  • IVIg for 3 consecutive days (intravenous Immunoglobulin)

Dr. Matzner has given us hope that once his patients are diagnosed and proceed with their treatment, they are successful in 80% of them. We were excited and determined to proceed with the treatment immediately.

I started doing more research on the IVIg treatment and calling our insurance company for coverage.

To our amazement, in the search for Rx coverage, we have learned that we also have fertility coverage – IVF was covered at 100%, including all the stimulating medications. We took this as a miracle and a sign that this is probably it.

We have long debated if we should travel back to Czech to undergo our next IVF – back to the clinic we knew and were very comfortable with or if we should change clinics in hopes of a change that could mean a difference.

Although, all of our patients come to Czech for vacation and treatment, every time I came to Czech, I was so busy assisting and entertaining others that treatment in Czech was lots of stress and running around for me. Also, I felt bad for lowering Reprofit’s success rate with my constant failures.

So with Reprofit’s doctors’ support, we have decided to undergo our next IVF in the US.
On July 8th was our first consultation at Georgia Reproductive Specialists in Atlanta, with Dr. Kaplan. I have brought all of my past IVF treatment results and insisted on a very mild stimulation due to my past easy hyperstimulations. Dr. Kaplan told me that normally they stimulate patients at least at double the dosage I was requesting but she still agreed.
I have had lots of testing including cystic fibrosis, insulin challenge test, FSH, LH and STDs. Jeremy had to have his STDs tested as well together with a sperm analysis.

All tests came back normal so we could proceed with long stimulation protocol that started with Provera and Lupron shots.

And the cost? That was another thing that got me totally upset.

As we were going through the financing agreement and insurance coverage, I couldn’t believe the cost.

The clinic stated that the IVF at their clinic, for self paying patients, starts at $17,500 plus around $4,000 for testing and $3,000-$5,000 for meds. That is a total of up to $26,500 for one IVF attempt that still doesn’t include the anesthesia and embryo freezing.

I couldn’t believe when we found out what the negotiated cost between the clinic and our insurance company was – less than $6,000. What does that tell you? That for less than $6,000 the clinic can not only carry out this entire treatment but also make a profit, otherwise they wouldn’t accept insurance, right!? It just turns my stomach to know how much it costs them to do IVF and how much they charge those who don’t have insurance with IVF benefits.

Followed by baseline ultrasound, Doxycycline pills for myself and Jeremy and 150IU of Gonal F.

Here is what the delivery of my medications looked like – even our cats couldn’t believe it!

I had to commute to the clinic every day or every other day for ultrasound and blood tests. It was very unusual for me as in Czech there were only a few visits necessary and I was never treated as a pin cushion. Fragmin and Gonal F shots were doing a good job of bruising as it was. (The purplish dots are from when iced the area before and after enough; the bruising occurred when we didn’t ice the area injected with Fragmin enough – the picture below is what my belly looked like after only 1 week of shots).

Also every visit to the clinic was at least a 2 hour task as the clinic was 45 minutes’ drive from my home, then waiting in the lobby to be called to another waiting room inside the clinic and then just waiting and waiting to be seen. I am sure, I have seen at least 5 different nurses, technicians and doctors each visit.

August, 2008

I must say that other than the long and very frequent visits, the stimulation was very similar to those I was used to from Czech. I was also visiting my acupuncturist 3 times a week to improve my chances.

Each time, ultrasound revealed lots of follicles in each ovary but they were not growing enough (there was a huge size difference between the biggest ones and the smallest ones). It looked like we were going to have only about 9 mature eggs. I was actually surprised that I was told to stop taking Gonal F only after 9 days of stimulation when the doctor together with the embryologist decided to end my stimulation with a trigger shot.

I have been anticipating swelling and bloated belly, as used to happen to me before from about the 8th day into my stimulation, but this time nothing.

On day 9, 10 and 11 into my stimulation I had the IVIg treatment. I have read and been warned about all the possible side effects of this treatment, including the fatal ones so I was very anxious about this treatment. But I was lucky to have a great nurse come to our home and administer my IVIg in the comfort of my living room. Thanks to high Benadryl dosages, I slept through most of the 3 hours of each IVF, having my fury sweethearts keep guard and watching over me.

The IVIg was the only major expense during our IVF treatment. Although, this medication has been prescribed to me by a specialist as the only treatment to help me get pregnant, insurance company wouldn’t cover it as it is not and FDA approved treatment for recurrent miscarriages. So the 3 day treatment has cost us close to $15,000 just in this medication.

The day before my egg retrieval, still no swelling or bloating – I was actually feeling great scrubbing and cleaning our house. More reason for me to believe that we were going to have only a few eggs.

My concerns have risen in the morning of the egg retrieval, when in the past I would be so full I couldn’t wait to get those eggs out of me. Here, my stomach was actually “caved” inwards and my pants were falling off of me. I was actually scared that there were going to be no eggs to retrieve.

When we arrived at the clinic, instead of being taken to a room with a bed, we were taken to a small room with just a reclining chair. There I was awaiting my turn for egg retrieval.

I then walked into the operating room, I was put to sleep and woke up back in the reclining chair being asked by the nurses to start getting dressed as they wanted me to “sleep it off” at home, unlike in Czech where they want to make sure everything is OK after the anesthesia wears off and even serve patients a little snack to make sure they can hold food and drink down. In Atlanta, I was rushed back home. But the number of retrieved eggs has made up for everything – they were able to retrieve 17 eggs, what a surprise!!!!

Although we were excited about the number of mature eggs retrieved from me, the next 5 days were a night mare – I have swollen incredibly from chest down, could hardly walk and breathe – I have developed yet another mild hyperstimulation.

I have started using estrogen patches (1 every other day) and as far as progesterone, I have asked for progesterone in oil shots – this is the only version of progesterone I have not used yet. I knew it was going to be painful but I was determined to do it. Actually, the shots were not bad at all, after my husband and I studied the following u tube video and warmed up the oil, the area before and after the shot. This was the best way I have taken progesterone: video

I have modified it a little. I have used 22G 1 ½” needle for drawing the oil and also for the actual injection.

As I was warming up the oil in the syringe, I was also using the heating pad to warm up the area where Jeremy was going to inject the oil. Using his thumb and index finger he stretched the injection site. First you also have to draw a little at first to check if there is no blood being drawn into the syringe (if so, you have to change the injection site). After the oil was completely injected, we used the same heating pad and massaged the area helping the oil get into the tissue and not cause any clots. I think it was thanks to the heat and massage that made this administration virtually painless.

We have not been given daily updates on our embryos. Just on day 3 we were told that all of our embryos are still in the game and our transfer will be on day 5. I was told to come with a full bladder and have intercourse the night before the transfer (that was really hard to do as I was still so swollen and retaining lots of water, I could barely move).

When we arrived for our embryo transfer, we were given a picture of our embryos that have been that day selected for our embryo transfer (no consultation and our decision which ones and how many to transfer). We have been waiting for our transfer so long that I actually had to ask the nurse that I couldn’t hold it any longer and had to use the restroom, and even then we waited long afterwards that I had enough build up.

In the transfer room, the collection of our selected embryos into the catheter was not being transmitted (as we were used to from Czech) but pictures of chosen embryos were posted on the monitor.

We were also told that two other embryos were being frozen at that time and we would be updated on the rest of them within a few days.

Our embryo transfer was actually done twice as one of the embryos got stuck in the catheter and the procedure had to be repeated to get both of our embryos into the uterus.

I had to insist on at least 5 minutes’ rest after the transfer, in Czech we would get 10-15 but here they wanted me to get up and leave immediately upon the transfer. Later I understood why, there were about 5 more couples waiting for their transfer – I really felt like in a “baby making factory”.

Because I was doing all that I could to make this treatment the most successful one yet, I have also been seeing an acupuncturist 3 times a week. Before the transfer she suggested a session right before the transfer and one immediately following the transfer.
It nicely relaxed me.

September, 2008

Two days later we were informed that one more embryo was frozen on day 6, so we had a total of 3 embryos frozen.

Now it was just the never ending two week wait.

To my surprise, I was pretty relaxed, had Eva, our Czech coordinator in Brno, come over and spend some time with me, keeping me company which helped a great deal. We were sightseeing, shopping and having a great time. I also felt great and had no doubt that this treatment is finally going to work. The closer it got to the testing date the more excited I got as I couldn’t wait to finally see that positive sign on that pee stick.

The only side effect I was experiencing, but I was warned about it in advance, was constant hunger and water retention caused by Prednisone. Other than my bruised belly from Fragmin shots, I was doing and feeling great.

I was crushed when my home pregnancy test was negative. I couldn’t believe it, I was feeling great, I even had some of the “metal taste” in my mouth, I was queasy here and there; I truly believed that this time I was going to see that test turn positive. I cannot even describe all the feelings that were rushing through my body but none of them were good.

The following day, the negative result was confirmed by a blood test.

That was it, the end of my rope!

Jeremy and I have been talking about the possibility of a surrogate if we keep failing at IVF. I have been looking into this option for a few months and saving all the information I have ever found. I knew, we were not going to use an agency but I was going to find our own surrogate.

I have spend the rest of the day after the negative hCG test, researching online adds placed by women wanting to be surrogates.

I have found two women from the Atlanta area that have posted their ads about two days ago. I was thrilled and contacted them both immediately. I was no longer going to wait nor put “all of my eggs in one basked” – how appropriate!

Both of the ladies contacted me immediately and we started our interviewing process.

When we met with Tanya, we knew we have found the best “Baby Mama”. She is young, has healthy children of her own, she was a successful surrogate previously. Besides that, she was smart, witty, funny and we enjoyed meeting with her. We have also met with her husband and her children. She has a very supportive husband and her children are the best behaved children I have ever met. Every time I talked to her or met with her and her family I was more and more assured about our choice and I was giving thanks for her every chance I got.

Tanya was ready to get started and so were we. We have agreed on the terms of our contract and two days later we went together to GRS for our initial consultation for FET with a surrogate.

At fist we were all excited as dr. Kaplan liked Tanya a lot (personally and medically) so we started to move things along to immediately proceed with treatment.

That’s when obstacles started to come up:

Original cost of frozen embryo transfer went from $3, 250 to $8,500.

My husband and I had to complete an FDA testing (same one we did before our IVF, just that this time the tests must have been sent to a special FDA approved lab). Of course this testing is not covered by insurance company and cost us $1,500 out of pocket. We had our blood tested, I had my GYN exam and Jeremy had a male doctor check him out. Besides all that, we had to fill out a very extensive questionnaire and we were treated as DONORS, which I didn’t like at all. I was told that they don’t really have “surrogacy” questionnaires. Well, I have failed as a “donor” because some of the questions were about spending time abroad and specifically in Europe – well, I am from Europe! Tanya herself had to have a very extensive testing done herself. She was so great and went to take care of it right away. Unfortunately, her doctor’s office didn’t take one of her tests right and overlooked the note on her test report that that particular test could not be completed and we were without results to present to GRS. Yet another issue, I guess that is the story of my life!!

Another requirement by GRS was to undergo a psychological evaluation. Well, the key thing was to use one of GRS approved psychologists who, of course, charge cash only, and our 3 hour session (Jeremy and I, Tanya and her husband, and all of us together) was going to be $1,500. As I wrote earlier, we were willing to do anything to make this happen so we went for it. Unfortunately, Tanya’s husband has a very unpredictable job schedule and couldn’t attend this only time frame we had scheduled and without it, we couldn’t proceed with our treatment at GRS. We were also being told, well urged more than recommended, to use one of their recommended attorneys for the contract and legal aspects. Why?! We had a good one in place and more than any contract in the world, I had a proof that Tanya was a surrogate before and new all the steps. Why should we spend additional $15,000 for something we already had!!??

The clinic started to make this very simple transfer so difficult and stressful for everybody that I started to panic. Simple FET was turning into a major expense (over $20,000 not including the surrogate’s fee instead of a few hundred dollar procedure at Reprofit). Tanya new about what I do so I have asked her, if she would be willing to travel with me to Czech for the transfer – I have to mention that this was about 2 days before her expected period and the day she would have to start her hormonal treatment for the FET.

I have already contacted doctors at Reprofit and asked them if they could help us. Everybody was absolutely great and I received Tanya’s protocol within a matter of hours. Tanya liked the idea of a European trip so we started all of the necessary preparations.

First we needed to get her a passport. Since we had no time to spare and I didn’t want to take any chances, I have had her passport expedited, using services of the following company: here

Tanya has received her passport within a few days.

October, 2008

Tanya has started her protocol on October 1st and I started looking into our airfare and means of transporting our embryos to Czech. I have done extensive research but I couldn’t find a company that would transport embryos (sperm and egg yes, but not the “final product”). I have finally found Angela at Xytex (tissues@xytex.com) whose experience and willingness to help make it all happen.

I have booked the shortest and the most direct flight to Brno. Tanya was taking her medications and I have scheduled an ultrasound for her 10 days into her protocol to have her endometrium thickness measured with my OB/GYN, who has been so supportive during my journey. Her lining was 7.6mm and everything looked great.

I rented a dry shipper from Xytex, this shipper was FedExed to my home in the morning of our departure for Czech, on the way to the airport I have stopped at the GRS’s lab and picked up our 3 frozen embryos with thawing instructions (I have also had lots of paperwork written up and signed by the clinic and my husband, just in case). I picked up Tanya and we were headed to the airport and our “girls’ trip” to Brno.

I had no problems at the airport, on the contrary. We were getting special assistance and privileges, we didn’t have to wait in any line. At the security check point, I have asked the TSA supervisor to handle our dry shipper as it had to be kept upright at all times and I demanded that it couldn’t go through the X-ray machine. They have just checked my paperwork, verified it against my passport and we were on the way to the gate.

Since we were early, we have taken our “frosties” for a quick dinner at TGI Friday’s. It was a funny scene. Tanya and I had a little dues table and the box with our babies was sitting next to us as we were eating and drinking our relaxing cocktails before we boarded the plane.

We were also among the first ones to board the plane as our dry shipper was stored in the flight attendants’ closet and it was braced in so that it wouldn’t move.

I was amazed how much support, encouragement and special handling we have received from the crew. They were checking on our container every so often during the flight to make sure it was still upright.

We took the dry shipper straight to Reprofit, where we were already being expected and they have transferred our embryos from the dry shipper into their units.

In Brno, we have joined the other couples that were there undergoing their treatment at Reprofit. Before our transfer, we all went on a day trip to Macocha caves and had a great time as the sun started to shine and really showed off the beautiful fall colors.

I have also checked on our embryos’ thawing process, we were informed, that 2 embryos are looking great and the third one is still making up its mind. Our transfer was scheduled for the following day at 1PM.

When we arrived at the clinic for our transfer, we have been informed that the two embryos were eager to attach into the uterus, in the morning they were hatching blastocysts and by now they hatched out of their shells. The third embryo didn’t make it and was classified as Lysis 50% (Greek λύσις, lysis from lyein = to separate) refers to the death of a cell by breaking of the cellular membrane, often by viral or osmotic mechanisms that compromise its integrity).

Dr. Machac, doing the transfer, kept saying how beautiful the embryos are, how well Tanay’s body is prepared and he was really happy for us. We were also told that at this stage, our embryos should attach within 24 hours. We were thrilled!

The actual embryo transfer was very uneventful and very smooth. Tanya and I both watched on the monitor as they zoomed in on the embryos about to be put in a catheter and transferred. Both embryos have been transferred into her uterus and the position of the embryos was then confirmed by an ultrasound. Everything looked good and we were left in the transfer room for about 15 minutes listening to a relaxing music and hoping that this transfer works.

30 minutes later, we were back at the hotel, Tanya was going to bed to watch a movie and I was meeting my parents.

I was back in a couple of hours and we went out to dinner. Tanya really liked the food in Czech and I was making sure that she got unlimited access to it!

The following day we met with the rest of the couples in Brno and went for a relaxing 45 minute session in salt caves. Sorry, cannot share any details as I promised, after we all “slept together”, what happened in the caves, will stay in the caves!

The rest of the time in Czech, we spent shopping, walking, dining and having a good time.

Tanya is amazing; she is such a calm and confident person, very content and relaxed. She was confident from day one that she is going to get pregnant, she was keeping me calm!

To complete our PLANES, TRAINS, AUTOMOBILES, TAXIS AND BUSES journey, we took a train back to Prague (as I booked our plane tickets so late, there were no more flights all the way to Brno, as that is the best way to travel). Also, the major highway between Brno and Prague is being renovated and it is not the most pleasant ride.

We booked an express train from Brno to Prague. It was a very smooth ride and we also had lunch in the dining car

From the train station in Prague, we took a taxi to our hotel at the Prague airport – we recommend this to everyone flying from Prague as this way we got to sleep in, have a delicious breakfast and we were just minutes away from the terminal.

In the morning, we got ready for a long flight back to Atlanta. I must say that traveling back to the US with an EMPTY shipper was so difficult and at times almost impossible. Knowing that, I would have shipped it from Brno back to Xytex.

On our 10 our flight back to Atlanta, we slept, ate, watched movies and slept some more. But still, by the time we landed we were ready to go home and crash. The 6 hour time difference was already taking its toll on us.

Then next morning I was so groggy as I kept waking up every 30 minutes after 3AM. Tanya also called me and said that she couldn’t sleep and wanted to know if I also, was feeling nauseous. She said she was vomiting. She was worried that she caught a virus but she didn’t have any other symptoms. We ate the same thing, pretty much breathed the same air. I was getting very nervous as all I could think was that YET AGAIN we are not going to be parents. I was trying to hope for the best but I was restless.

The next morning, I called Tanya and she told me she was at the ER because she was that sick. I was worried that she was throwing up also the medication to continue the treatment.

I could tell from her voice that she was tired so when she told me to sit down as she had something to tell me, I was expecting the worst. Instead, she said that according to the doctors, she is VERY, VERY pregnant.

I couldn’t believe it, just 4 days after the transfer, the urine pregnancy test they did on her at the ER showed positive results. I couldn’t contain myself, I was so excited!!!! Tanya was given fluids and some anti- nausea medication and was discharged with diagnosis of Hyperemesis (Hyperemesis gravidarum -from Greek hyper and emesis and Latin gravida; meaning “excessive vomiting of pregnant women”- is a severe form of morning sickness). When I called Jeremy to share with him the news, he was ecstatic. After he called all of his family members and brought them to tears, he called my parents back in Czech after he came home from work. Well, at that time it was close to midnight in Czech so he gave my parents a very unusual wake up call. Of course, you can only imagine my parents’ initial reaction when they got a call from their son-in-law in the middle of the night. All they could think of was that something happened to me. He kept yelling “babicka” (grand mother in Czech) on the phone and they were not getting it!

I think it took them a couple of minutes to put it together and me getting on the phone to understand what we were sharing with them. They were thrilled (the next day mom told me that she couldn’t sleep for the rest of the night – thank goodness it was Saturday).

We realize that we shared the news early and it could be very premature, but we had this very fertile woman (Jeremy nicknamed her Fertile Myrtle), our embryos didn’t only made it through the trans Atlantic flight in frozen stage but they made it through thawing and we eager to become full term babies; the clinic was very optimistic and encouraging, we couldn’t help ourselves. We have been very reserved about our last positives but this time, we wanted to feel and act just like any other couple that finds out the great news that they are about to become parents. We just hope and pray everyday that this pregnancy will progress smoothly and uneventfully, resulting in a full term delivery.

10-28-08 (10 days after ET) – hCG 102

10-30-08 (12 days after ET) – hCG 255

Numbers are nicely doubling so we couldn’t be more excited. Our first ultrasound is scheduled for November 13th and we are hoping to hear the heart beat for the first time!

November 13, 2008

This was the biggest day in our lives so far, we were going to hear our baby(ies)’s heart beat for the very first time. Poor Tanya, she has been up all night sick and coming to the appointment, when she would rather just stay in bed, was miserable for her. I felt so sorry for her. Jeremy and I couldn’t contain ourselves, we were so anxious to find out how many babies we are expecting and hoping for that sign of life – healthy heart beat.

And there it was, faint but healthy and right on target – one baby, one heart beat! It was an amazing feeling. We saw and heard our baby for the very first time.

Tanya had some blood in her uterus, visible on the ultrasound but the doctor didn’t seem to be concerned about it, he said that it happens. She just needs to take it easy and it will disappear.
We were given a due date of July 8, 2009.

We have another appointment December 1st to check on the baby’s progress and to make sure the blood has dissolved.

Our embryo is officially a PEANUT.

Here the arrow is pointing at PEANUT and its heart beat.

Dear Fellow Fertility Warriors,

It has been almost 3 years since I have launched our website and started sharing our most personal and intimateIVF diary on-line. Although, I have believed that I would conceive immediately with IVF (after years of trying) and finally end the horrible roller coaster that we all are so familiar with : sex becomes robotic instead of romantic; flowers and candles are replaced with ovulation sticks and calendars. But it didn’t happen.

We all assume we are going to have children, and when it doesn’t happen, especially with advanced medical help, we want to understand WHY.

I thought that our situation was the worst and I just couldn’t see the light at the end of the tunnel. And while we were busy trying or created a new family, we forgot about the one we had : each other. I have been very fortunate to have each and every one of you for support.Whether you provided me with encouragement after my failed treatment or shared with me your story (that many times was harder and more serious than mine). You helped me keep things in prospective (well, to a certain degree. As we all personally know, a failed treatment for any one, who has been trying hard, is just the end of the world).

We all have learned, during our journeys, that no matterhow well our friends and family know us, how much they love us,they have no idea what we are going through and that is why they often don’t understand us. They wonder why we are avoiding certain gatherings, why we don’t jump with joywhen a person close to us announces their pregnancy, why we look away when we spota baby, why we break down in tears at a grocery store for no reason to them (unlike us,they haven’t noticed all 5 pregnant women in the last 3 isles). It is not easy.I have been recently introduced to a site that honors and acknowledges us – INFERTILITY WARRIORS. As we often don’t show any symptoms of a horrible disease, by our community, we are seen as young, healthy, successful,happy,… as we ache and suffer inside. Millions of us struggle in silence.WWW.LIFEMEDALS.COM recognizes all the men and women who face, suffer and fight infertility every minute of their days. Infertility doesn’t have to be something to be ashamed of ! I proudly wear my infertility warrior shirtand talk to anyone who asks. The more educated our community is, the more support we can expect from them. Besides, I just LOVE the symbol!

In the last 3 years, I have read and heard thousands of stories of lost hope, guilt, broken relationships and despair. Some of you have been throughmore than most of us can imagine. So why do we put ourselves through it? We all are driven by a feeling, genetically coded in our bodies – feeling of procreation, urge to nourish, love and teach.

The good news is, that we all can experience this. It may not be the way we’ve imagined. Some of us may need donor eggs, donor sperm or both, others need surrogates and some of us opt out for foster parenting or adoption. It may take us some time, lots of pain and gallons of tears but at the end we can pass our love onto another young human being.

Jeremy and I are no exception. If you read, or have followed, my IVF diary, you’ll know that we have tried. God knows, we have tried our best but unfortunately, no herbs, potions, Eastern & Western medicine,fortune tellers, fertility exercises could help me get pregnant and carry the pregnancy to term. So before looking into adoption, we have decided to try with a surrogate.
We would like to take this opportunity to officially announce that ouryears of pain, tears and emotional roller coaster have been rewardedby a wonderful woman, Tanya, who is 13 weeks pregnant with our baby.

We have received the best Christmas gift ever and I am wishing, hoping and praying for each and everyone of you (and unfortunately, millions of others) that you too, get your miracle in the new year 2009 or very near future.

Happy Fertile New Year!

Magdalena & Jeremy Cogbill

  

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