Journey to Hope

To inspire and empower the millennials, the independent women and career driven women about their fertility.

Our fertility is fragile. It doesn’t matter how well you take care of yourself. You have options and it is an investment in your future and your family’s future.

I wish I had known….

My husband and I decided we wanted to add a little pink to our family of four boys. Through a 3-year emotional and physical roller coaster of IVF we chose to use an egg donor. My heart is full with our Baby Girl Hope.

Photo Credit Brion Price

In November 2012, we began our journey and decided to make an appointment with an IVF doctor. My husband Joe was very sincere as we were taking our evening walk one night in November, when he asked me what I wanted for my Birthday.  He answered his own question with “you want a baby girl, don’t you?” After many appointments and frustration as well as not liking the bed side manner or assumptions of this doctor we had been seeing, we left that part of our journey. Recommended by my OBGYN at the time we were directed to Dr. McCarthy of IVF MD Jupiter in 2013.

Our first meeting with Dr. McCarthy gave us both hope and we now began on our hopeful journey to our Baby Hope. Dr. McCarthy was very aggressive starting treatment with me, with the intent of using my eggs, after learning that both of my grandmothers were pregnant at the same time my mother was pregnant with me. My Grandmother on my Dad’s side was 46, and my Grandmother on my Mom’s side was 39.

My body was filled with hormones and vitamins, picked and prodded over many cycles. Trigger shots were mailed to our home in a large aluminum foil container and we told our boys it was a ham. Our efforts didn’t quite make the egg count though that would ensure a nice quantity of eggs for retrieval. Then my body started to reject treatment and began to make cysts that eventually cancelled treatment cycles but then led to a scheduled DNC at my doctor’s office.

We had now come to a fork in the road of our journey. Do we stop? Do we give up? Say we tried or do we take another road – that was a very emotional decision. This decision of acceptance that my eggs were not healthy. The decision of the only option that would possibly give us our Baby Hope?

Photo Credit – Crandall Studios

I was not educated with the fact that even though I took care of myself by eating and drinking in moderation, I didn’t smoke or do drugs, and I exercised regularly….my eggs were not healthy and they were my biological age of 48 even though to most I looked a decade younger.

Egg Donor???

Baby Hope would not be made up of my DNA….have my dark hair or characteristics from me, but of a loving mommy, who was willing to donate her healthy eggs for a couple like us. A couple who wanted to and yearned for family balancing. Baby Hope would be 1/2 of my husband Joe and 1/2 half this mommy, who we had no idea what she looked like or where she came from or where we would find her? We were given a big book of Egg Donor Agencies to call. The agencies then would give us a password to look at their donors on line. This seemed like a dating service as we put in the search engine eye color, height, weight, education, etc….. characteristics that we would like our Baby Hope to have.

We worked with an agency of our choice Donor and even gave a very substantial deposit to hold her for a future cycle at my scheduled implantation time. She was a ballerina currently overseas, which was very appealing to me growing up a dancer. A potential characteristic I would like my daughter to have in her. Content with our choice, months needed to pass until she returned home to the states, before we could start a cycle together.

Months went by and that is when we received a very upsetting phone call. The Donor egg agency Director called to inform us that the Donor we had secured was not coming home for a cycle and was no longer interested in donating. Disappointed is an understatement. The Director assured us that she would have another Donor candidate soon, and she was interviewing some currently. My husband and I began to feel this was a bait and switch game and if we were going to financially commit to our Baby Hope we were not going to settle. Continuing with the Director at this agency no longer felt right, and after many emails of saying no…asking for our deposit back and a possible threat with a lawyer calling we received our deposit back.

At another meeting with Dr. McCarthy on our journey, accepting that my eggs were not healthy and the Donor we had secured was no longer ours anymore. Here we were at yet another bridge to cross in our journey, but we didn’t know which agency to go to, and the Donor program within Dr. McCarthy office had a long wait list. My biological clock was clicking triple time as I approached my 48th Birthday. We begged for her to use my eggs, but after she talked to her team – a phone call, while I cried as she told me the survival outcome of a baby using my eggs was very low, and she wouldn’t feel comfortable ethically taking the chance.

Remembering so many parts of our journey this is the meeting when Dr. McCarthy phoned the IVF MD SFirm Donor Dept to put us back on the list and it felt as if we were being considered as top priority. I remember crying in her office feeling and thinking that my Dream of having my own daughter would never become a reality. I was emotionally and physically overwhelmed and my strength to continue had become a feeling of defeat and hopelessness. I wiped my tears and looking into my Blue Eyes aka Joe said okay we will pray for a Donor to be given to us. I recall a couple weeks went by and on that very fate filled morning in September and on the other end was the SFirm Egg Donor Dept calling to tell us that there was a Donor that fit our profile and were we interested? Were we interested? Oh my goodness, Baby Hope was becoming a reality! Yes!

Amongst more hormones to regulate my cycle to the Donors cycle, vitamins and oh, the shot treatment now started at home as well as more poking and prodding such as a weekly blood drawn to be tested.  I should note that I was never one who had a high pain threshold, however mind over matter certainly came into play with my IVF treatment plan, and another bridge I had to cross daily. Joe was instructed to now give me a shot in my bottom every day. I asked him to do it first thing in the morning, before I even got out of bed so I could then go on with my day. Yes, every morning for 3 months! He was suggested to switch sides of my bottom as my poor bottom began to bruise and oh my I was sore but mind over matter to the fateful day of implantation it was what I would say to myself as he stuck me as gentle and quickly as he could. I counted the days…each day as they passed.

December 6th was another fateful date. This was when Joe had a very special 7:00 am date with IVF MD in Miami. It was the Daddy’s turn to donate his very important swimmies. An experience he can only tell, but he did share with me that he was led into a tiny room…. provided with magazines and a lounge chair and a cup. As he tried to think of me although I was miles away Daddy provided enough for the specialists to work with. Joe left with the hopeful feeling that the most important part of his contribution would work out. An early morning on Day 3 when the Donor Eggs were then fertilized with Daddy. According to treatment plan you were now to make a phone call to get very basic results then you were scheduled for your implantation!

Another trip to Miami would now be scheduled.

I was recommended by Dr. McCarthy to visit Jiji of Family Acupuncture in Jupiter for treatments, before my implantation. Jiji is very gentile, and I believe my implantation was successful with the additional treatments of acupuncture.

This part of my treatment was supposed to help draw all negative energy out leaving only positive energy. More needles I know, but mind over matter and the feeling of no worries was a big benefit!

December 11th, 2014

Baby Hope’s Beginning!

We left at noon for our drive to Miami filled with anticipation for this day, which had finally come, after several years.  Our appointment was at 2:00.  We checked in at the front and awaited our names to be called. It was time!  I changed into a gown, then we were directed into a room to lay down.

I started to cry when Dr. McCarthy walked in.

This was a party of three for one Baby Hope!

I cried again when the embryologist gave me the first photo of Hope.

We had the IVF MD Embryologists’ perform chromosomal screening & gender screening.  We had only “1” normal female embryo to work with – Baby Hope! We had a complication as Dr. McCarthy started to sterilize me due to progesterone discharge, and she couldn’t see my cervix. Dr. McCarthy had to add sterilized water through a catheter to my bladder so it was fuller to see my cervix.

The embryologist came in once again with an arm long needle and through uncomfortable cramping Hope traveled into her Mommy at 3:45pm.

I rested laying down elevated for 30 minutes, while I cried and held my husband’s hand. I remember looking into his big blue eyes of reassurance that everything was going to work out. We had come so far, and this was a very momentous day.

Daddy & Mommy were sent home!

***We watched “Miracle on 34th Street” the night of December 10th.

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Hope is our 5th child, and Hope was implanted at 3:45.

Baby Hope is our miracle on Southwest 62nd Place! ????????

There was no guarantee that this cycle would be successful and a baby would be conceived. There was no guarantee that this baby would grow to be full term and that there would be no complications. We had hope. I was instructed to bed rest for a week.  No, not me! I bed rested myself almost a month. I would move from the bed to the sofa and then back to bed if only to pee which while being pregnant happened often. My exercise became walking in the grocery store pushing the cart and oh I started to joke it was all about the bass as my pregnancy progressed. When I became stronger Joe and I would walk every day outside. I had to be careful with a summer due date not to go into labor early.

Labor well that is another story with a long phase of false labor. I had a scheduled Dr. appointment and at that appointment was told I was going to deliver my baby. I cried with emotion. A quick trip home to pack, back in the car, I called our sons and our parents to alert Code Pink!

Time to check. Into the Jupiter Medical.

Our beautiful daughter Baby Hope was born on August 19th, 2015

As a National Title holder, I knew it was a blessing, and my chance to share my Small American Dream during my reign of my Big American Dream and now I would be living both Dreams together. We all have Dreams and some days our Dreams are what get us out of the bed in the morning. Motivate us to our next goal or our personal bucket list.

No Dream is too BIG or too SMALL!

 

As your Mrs. Elite American Dream one of my goals is to raise funds for the Hope Fund! If you’ve never heard of the Hope Fund, it is a Fund I am commissioning to set up with Dr. McCarthy of IVFMD in Jupiter, FL to assist families in affording IVF, and achieving their dream of having a baby.