First of, I want to apologize to everyone who was worried for our babies – I’m sorry to cause such angst. We both have been extremely busy starting in November, because I started a pop-up leggings shop in town (www.nimbustights.com), and will continue to do this on the side while we get ready for the boys! It was a blast and I learned so much (I will only have the retail location until the end of January, but continue to sell online). Feel free to check it out! But in the meantime…
The reason I have not updated is simply because we haven’t had a chance to Skype with Yuliya since October! Our November session was while we were traveling on vacation, and the last session, which was actually on Christmas Day. I emailed BioTexCom about skyping with Yuliya on Christmas Day, and they advised that they would set it up and send me the details. However, on Christmas Eve, I still hadn’t heard from them, so I sent another email over – but it was too late, and we once again missed our Skype session. We have still be receiving our scans and reports, but honestly, without connecting with Yuliya, it doesn’t seem real, and I don’t feel nearly connected to Yuliya and the babies than two months ago. To be honest, it really upset me that I wasn’t able to Skype with her on Christmas Day, especially since the next time we are to Skype is on the 30th of January, but I am sure it will pass by faster than ever. Below I’m attaching all of the reports for both of the missed visits:
We’re both a bit anxious now, because we need to start planning our trip over there, and start to work on the second floor, which has received absolutely no love since November! We’ve started to tear out the bathroom, and just bought a new tub to install next week. The flooring folks will be back in a few weeks, so we got to get to painting pronto! Baby showers are also happening next month – One is in California, and the other in Indiana. So there are lots of things happening, but all I wish I could have is to spend some time hearing about how the babies have been doing – we’re wondering if they’re still measuring ahead, if they’ve been active in their belly, etc. So hopefully, we will have more to report in two weeks. But as far as we know, they are healthy and fine, and so we will update you next time (and more on time)!
This post is not meant to be hurtful in any way, but I feel it is so important to educate those who love their friends but don’t know what to say during their difficult times getting pregnant. My personal goal has always been to never become the bitter friend who doesn’t attend your baby shower or is unhappy when you announce your pregnancy, and in this aspect, it’s been a good run so far. In fact, I tend to go the other route where I get very excited and ask a ton of questions as if I were literally having the baby myself – pretty much doing the whole living vicariously through your friends thing. However, if you do happen to have a friend who feels this way, please be gentle with her and allow her to have her feels. Most likely, she has been given every piece of unsolicited advice under the sun from friends and family, and even a few strangers sprinkled in between, all who have good intentions but no clue how much some of those suggestions sting.
I can only speak for myself, and so I will share just how infertility has affected me. My usual method to attacking any obstacle in life is to research the hell out of it, make plans A – Z, and then execute them one by one. And believe me, we’ve done it all. And that is precisely where the struggle lies – that you feel helpless and unable to do anything to improve your outcome. As much as modern day medicine has made headway through the use of IVF, there are just as many matters that still remain murky and unexplained. Having spent the majority of my thirties trying to figure this out, has frustrated me beyond words. So I hang onto any little thing I can do, like trying to lose weight in between cycles and continuously researching for studies I can participate in to help further science. But do I handle not being able to affect anything very well? Not really, especially because in the past, I was more on the side of not doing something about an issue, out of pure hatred towards myself mixed with low self-esteem. It was only in my mid-twenties when I realized that I am capable to do most things through hard work and the grace of God, and my life turned around for the better in various ways. I attempted to try to do things that I was afraid to fail at, and I certainly did fail at some things, like becoming a therapist, which was a dream of mine – but I believe I still fulfill this desire in different informal ways to great satisfaction, so I don’t feel like I am missing out.
But I’m veering here, so back to fertility – it has been one of the most difficult things that I’ve gone through because no amount of blood, sweat, and tears made a difference. Not only that, I was constantly told by very well-meaning friends that my efforts to lose weight were in vain, that I just needed to go on a long vacation, that I should just relax and not think about it, because that’s when the magic happens. It would hurt me to hear these things, especially since I had repeatedly explained my situation of not ovulating like normal folks, and that simply relaxing wouldn’t make an ounce of difference – but it seemed to fall on deaf ears and we continued to have the same conversations. I understood that it worked for them, but it will not necessarily work for me. And although I adore my friends, I started to pull away and see less of them, simply to avoid these conversations that started to feel like motherly admonishment for not doing the pregnancy thing the right way. After around our third year of struggling, it was not uncommon for K to attend social events by himself because I had either just failed a cycle or miscarried, and didn’t have the energy to be my usual-go-lucky self, which I would then feel guilty about at times later, that I wasn’t being a solid friend despite my own troubles. In addition, I also have friends who are single and wanting children, and I felt it disrespectful to talk about this topic when they were hurting in their own way. I know that I have definitely been guilty of saying the wrong things to friends who were struggling with fertility in the past, simply because I had no idea of how it felt, so I am not on a soapbox here. In fact, I think about those times and wish I could take those things back and regret saying such things very much.
Again, I don’t have all the right things to say, but I do believe in my case, all I wanted was someone who would listen earnestly, give me a hug, and love me, instead of offering me their children, or telling me that maybe I was making an idol of having children. So, in order to help shed some light into the plight of the infertile, below are the top ten things to avoid saying to someone who is struggling with infertility – and if you have some of your own, feel free to add them in the comments.
Top Ten Things To Avoid Saying To Your Friends Struggling with Fertility
1. Just stop thinking about it. My neighbor/cousin/sister/etc tried for years, and when she finally gave up, she magically got pregnant. Stop stressing about it. Go on a long vacation. Did you know stress can affect your period? Just relax and don’t worry about a thing and it’ll happen when it’s “meant to happen”.
2. From friends who have too many kids/their kids stress them out – Are you sure you really want kids!? You can have some of mine! I wish I could still go out drinking and have a night out on the town. Or you could adopt. It only takes an indefinite amount of years and costs around 30 – 60k.
3. Have you tried acupuncture (which I have)? My neighbor/cousin/sister/etc got pregnant right after 3 sessions! Unfortunately, recent studies suggest that it doesn’t work for PCOS folks like myself, so that was a ton of money down the drain.
4. Just stop all of your fertility treatments – it’s not God’s/the universe’s way. All those drugs are unsafe and not proven to work. Enjoy your money and live a lavish life!
5. Or instead, try this concoction that has ground up deer antlers and dried bone marrow, that’ll spruce your ovaries right up.
6. Maybe it’s because you should lose 40lbs – the number one solution of Korean doctors. They don’t seem to understand that those 40lbs were gained through the fertility treatments.
7. Maybe this is God’s/the universe’s way of saying you wouldn’t be good parents/kids would be unhealthy. Would that be really what you want? Wouldn’t push this if I were you!
8. From friends who are single and getting older – at least you can try to have kids. I don’t even have a partner to procreate with, therefore, my problem trumps yours. Having a child is a privileged lifestyle choice.
9. With the world becoming what it is everyday, you’re probably sparing yourself some major grief by not having kids.
10. Have you tried having sex upside down/when the full moon is out/when your astrological sign bids you good fortune?
If you’re like me, you’re cringing when you go through the list, but each of these has happened to me numerous times, and I’m sure there are many other women who have endured much worse. I am thankful that I have a supportive family on both sides and that there never had been any pressure, but the shame that I place upon myself is a heavy enough yoke. So I hope that if you have a friend that is struggling right now, that you’ll give her a listening ear and love on her dearly.
Surrogacy isn’t for the faint of heart, and many have asked what made us decide to pursue it. To be honest, surrogacy wasn’t even on our minds when we first started trying to conceive. Unfortunately, I have a disease called polycystic ovarian syndrome (PCOS), which in my case, means that I only have periods about 3 or 4 times a year. A regular couple with no issues has a 25% chance of conceiving within the first year, and so you can imagine how difficult it would be for a couple like us to time it right.
We started the journey by seeing a fertility specialist, who started us off on Clomid and Femara, and then moved onto injectible hormones, similar to what they use in IVF. All together, throughout the course of 4 years, we have completed 13 medicated cycles, the last six paired with an IUI. Unfortunately, never once did we see a positive on a pregnancy test, and we knew we’d have to move onto IVF, and hoped that it might be our answer.
When we started IVF in 2016, we were extremely hopeful, especially after my first egg retrieval, when I produced 37 eggs! 10 of those were mature and fertilized normally to day 5, and went to be frozen. Most of them were excellent quality embryos, and we were delighted. Our first cycle, however, ended anti-climatically by resulting in a negative pregnancy test, which was really discouraging. What’s worse is that the next three cycles of IVF that we had all lead to a positive pregnancy test, but would always end in a miscarriage around the 8th week. We lost two sets of twins and a singleton, and it was an extremely dark period in our lives. In addition, because we had three losses in a row, I now had the label of “unexplained recurrent pregnancy loss” to add to my long list of infertility ailments. Our doctor couldn’t find any reason why I was losing them continuously, and suggested surrogacy at our last appointment, which was incredibly disheartening, because I always wanted to have the experience of being pregnant. Everything, from growing a bump to feeling the baby kick, I wanted to have the full experience, but it felt like my dreams of carrying a pregnancy was crushed in a single blow.
For two days after that appointment, we struggled with the idea of surrogacy. We had never really considered it seriously up to this point, because we thought we would get pregnant eventually through IVF. Now, I had to give up the thought of pregnancy, and it broke my heart even more. But compared to the thought of being childless vs. having our own bio kids, we definitely knew that we wanted to keep pursuing the latter, especially since our embryos were always high quality, and it is literally just a womb that we needed to have our embryos be born. Hence, we began our journey into surrogacy, and to Ukraine!
Bye bye Boston! Here we are embarking on our journey to Ukraine. We are both nervous and excited, but haven’t felt this hopeful in a while, so it’s a good feeling. Our total travel time to Kiev, Ukraine is about 14hours, with a flight to Munich, and then to Kiev. We are taking the german airline Lufthansa, because they have flexible policies in case we need to change our dates on return. Tickets to Kiev from Boston ran anywhere from 600 – 1200, with the summer months being the highest, and the price going down in September. Just some tips for you to consider when planning your trip to BioTexCom!