Fertilization Report

We return to our comfortable, cozy, familiar home in time to receive the call from Dr. B with the update on our little eggs.

My heart falls heavy, again.

It turns out we actually retrieved 17 eggs which is wonderful and 13 of them are mature, even better.

The upsetting news is that only 4 of them fertilized.

I want to cry.

If I was more naïve to this process, I would be thrilled.

“We have 4 fertilized!” I would shout.

Instead, I am full of fear and doubt and sadness and question.

“What happened?” “Why such a low fertilization number?” “What’s wrong with my eggs and Hubby’s sperm that they didn’t fertilize well?”

As you can see in the chart below, we have had high fertilization numbers in the past with zero to one healthy PGT genetically tested blastocyst (which is now our daughter).

Here’s a little comparison chart:

Year2018Early 2021Spring 2021 (this cycle)
Final follicles 1717
Mature eggs131013
Fertilized eggs1274
Day 5 Blastocysts21TBD
PGT- genetic test- healthy10TBD

The science and the data point to this being an unsuccessful cycle and I can’t help but wonder if it’s because of the misstep by the clinic regarding the HCG trigger shot a few days ago.

24 additional hours of egg growth could have over-ripened the eggs and the eggs could have become too mature.

An additional day of ‘build up’ on Hubby’s part could have also changed the mobility of the swimmers.

A few unknowns leave me unsettled and those are questions we won’t have answers to.

I can’t control that.

What can I control?

At this point, I need to control my thoughts.

I receive this text from my dad “4 is better than none- love you!”

He is right.

I can be so grateful we have four little ones in the lab.

It just takes one!

This is a space where God can show how big of miracles he can perform. Against the science, against the numbers, He can prevail.

He is the giver of life and right now, today, he has given us 4 little ones.

Now, we must wait, in prayer.

I will pray for His will be done while also asking for these 4 to continue to grow healthy and strong and be formed perfectly for us to be able to transfer into a pregnancy.

In the same space, I learn of a friend’s miscarriage.

God, I am so sad to know the end of a life, the loss of hope.

While also planning a friend’s baby shower and celebrating the gender of another pregnant friend.

How do we hold these different emotions?

How can I feel the disappointment in my own life and not be consumed by the self-centered nature in which I so easily am drawn?

I say I want what god wants, but have a difficult time accepting what is while also staying present and grateful for the facts of what is given today.

If I were fully present and not doubting the past days or wondering what the outcome will be in a few more days, I would be excited that we have 4 little potential lives living in the lab.

God, help me accept today exactly as it is.

Help me show up for friends who are celebrating new life and new adventures while mourning with and for the loss of life.

It truly does remind me that life is not ‘fair’ and any suggestion or promise that it is comes from misguidance.

Life is.

It’s time for me to start accepting it exactly as it is.

Feeding the Body

Many have asked what sort of food I have been eating while preparing for IVF. Keeping my intake simple, I have stuck to the following:

Feed Your Body, Feed Your Brain | Psychology Today
  • Vegetables
  • Protein
  • Grain
  • Fruit
  • Yogurt
  • Olive oil

My doctor recommended I stay away from wheat (flour), sugar, caffeine, and alcohol. Thankfully, I choose not to eat/drink those in my regular life so taking her recommendation has not been an issue.

Here are the specific foods I’ve been selecting:

  • During the menstruation period:
    • Increased iron: meat, fish, leafy green (chard, kale, collard greens, spinach)
    • Bell peppers, tomatoes, broccoli, kiwi, citrus
  • During the follicle growth period:
    • Broccoli, kale, cabbage, cauliflower, olive oil, avocado, eggs, berries
  • During the Ovulation period:
    • Leafy greens (chard, kale, collard greens, spinach), eggs, meat, fish
  • During luteal period: (warm foods)
    • Carrots, pineapple, cantaloupe, sweet potato, bananas

I have a cocktail of vitamins as recommended from the fertility clinic. There were more recommendations but they either had traces of caffeine in them or were sleep aids, both which I choose to stay away from.

  • Myo-Inositol- 2000
  • CoQ10- 800
  • L’Arginine- 2000
  • DHA- 1000
  • Vitamin E- 400
  • Vitamin C- 500
  • Vitamin D- 3000
  • Vitamin B- 500
  • Pre-Natal/Folate- 400
  • NAC- 1000

Starting Up Again

Here we go again! After months of trying to become pregnant without any fertility intervention, we have come to the decision to walk through the IVF process once more.

In some way, I feel my body has let me down. How many times did I hear from people, “once you have a baby you will be able to get pregnant without intervention” or “I know of someone who did IVF for their first baby and was able to get pregnant without help for their next”.

Well, that isn’t our story and I am hopeful as I wanted to be with that possibility of my body ‘healing’ itself through a pregnancy, it didn’t.

Something in my body just doesn’t work to make a baby. Science can’t explain it to me. At this point I have had a medicated cycle for the better part of a year and no luck. Unfortunately, we did learn that my left fallopian tube is now blocked and after a rather expensive outpatient procedure, the doctor was not able to unblock it. With this, we are left with smaller chances of a natural/unassisted pregnancy.

We look to the rather large (yet small in the long run) investment of a second IVF cycle. I know what it’s like and I’m prepared for the upcoming round of shots and hormones my body is about to endure.

I stand hopeful that we will be able to have a second healthy, successful pregnancy and birth and yet still fear that my body is too old and the egg quality has diminished. We ended up with one viable blastocyst (what an embryo is called before implantation) and that is now our growing, healthy baby girl who I refer to as Little Princess in my writing.

I write for me. It’s a way of getting my emotions out. I also write for you. For those who are going through a bumpy, rocky, frustrating fertility journey that doesn’t make sense. It’s nice to know what we are not alone in this journey. We desire to become pregnant, to be able to procreate and do the one thing that our bodies are created to do… make tiny humans. So, what is wrong? Why can’t we just have another baby?

We are stuck with questions that won’t have answers.

This time around, I feel a little more self-conscious about spending the money for IVF. Wondering if people are thinking, why are you doing this again? You already have one, why can’t you just be satisfied and grateful that you have her? 

I choose not to entertain those thoughts and questions very long. I have sat with this decision long enough to know that I want to try and put forth the effort and if we end up with a second baby, praise God! If not, then we will see what the next step is from there.

Our journey continues... back at it.

Isn’t this what life is anyway- a series of steps in a direction that we feel we are to take. So here we go… taking our first step to our second baby.

Why I Quit Blogging (and Why I'm Starting Up Again) | Life Update – Angie  Americana

Little Princess Arrives!

She’s here! Our Little Princess arrived on August 25th and we are overjoyed to have her in our arms.

The story of how she came into this world is not what we thought it would be and we are so very grateful that all are now healthy and healing.

Here’s a general outline:

  • Developed late-pregnancy preeclampsia which put me into the hospital at 39 weeks 2 days.
  • Induced that night
  • Put on a magnesium citrate IV (because of high blood pressure/preeclampsia)
  • Dr broke my water
  • Began Pitocin
  • Labored 15 hours- no epidural
  • Pushed for just over an hour- recalling 3 big pushes that popped her out.
  • Tore my cervix
  • Tore down the birth canal
  • Tore my perineal (2nd degree)
  • Tore my labia
  • Uterus wouldn’t contract to stop bleeding
  • Lost 3 liters of blood
  • Placenta didn’t deliver- Dr had to use her hand to scrape it out
  • The placenta was not completely removed
  • Went to OR for a DNC to get the remainder of the placenta out
  • Discovered I had Placenta Accreta– which can be more common for pregnancies resulting from IVF. It is sometimes caused when the lining is too thin upon conception. Although it’s not said to happen with every pregnancy I have, it is a possibility of recurring in the future and therefore my pregnancies moving forward with be considered higher risk.
  • Dr inserted a water-filled balloon into uterus plus 5 feet of gauze to help with bleeding
  • Received 4 bags of blood (transfusions)
  • Spent 36 hours in ICU
  • Reunited with family and began producing milk! A shock to all since I lost so much blood
  • Little Princess latched wonderfully and feeds well
  • Released from hospital after 48 hours in regular postpartum care

What I can say is WOW! What an incredible experience.

Aside from the scare of the after birth- laboring without an epidural was such a cool experience (that I may never do again) and am grateful to have been able to live through.

Feeling her move through my body with every contraction.

Praying for God to help me through the pain and beliving this is what my body has been created to do.

Being fully present with my thoughts and my feelings as I was experiencing this transition from pregnancy to birth.

Although it did not go according to my “Birth Wishes”, I can see God’s hand in every step of the way.

Hubby was an incredible support and stayed with me through every contraction.

What I thought would be a sweaty, exhausting experience was more of an endurance race for my body… no sweat at all! Not like how they show it in the movies 🙂

My lower back muscles fired with every contraction.

My arms clenched to the side of the bed with each bracing of pain.

My abs and whatever other muscles are down in that area moved naturally to push this baby down into position for birthing.

When the pushing began, I had no control over my body.

It took over and it was my sole job to focus my energy from the loud cry to a deep groan and then into a holding of energy to push fully downward.

A capturing of energy from outward to inward and downward.

Such a beautiful science.

What people didn’t tell me:

  • My expectations (even unconscious ones) held me back from seeing the good in the journey and led me to more discouragement.
  • “She is coming ‘soon’”, does not mean in the next 10 minutes or the next hour, it may mean in the next 4-6 hours. I grew to not like the word ‘soon’ as it was too misleading and discouraging.
  • Having a meal during heavy contractions may not be the best idea. I threw it up within the next hour.
  • Ice chips were a lifesaver in the heavy contraction stage!
  • Dilation takes a longer time than I expected. I was hoping to be in active labor when I was still 4 cm dilated.
  • The pain of childbirth is unlike any other pain I have experienced. It’s ongoing, tiring, repetitive, painful.
  • Hours seem long and patience goes out the window when you don’t know how long you’ll be in that state of pain.

The joys certainly outweigh all the hardship– this is a true statement.

Little Princess was and is worth it!

She is perfect.

Arriving into this world weighing 7lbs 6oz, 20 inches long, full head of brown hair and a perfectly round head. I think I pushed so quickly that it didn’t give her head time to reform as it was moving through the birth canal. Her eyes are grey/blue and I’m hoping they stay on the blue side (Hubby has blue eyes) but am ok if she is a brown-eyed girl (like her mama).

I’m not going to say I won’t birth another child. Maybe next time I’ll go the route of the epidural. Part of the reason I wanted to go without was to be able to A) fully experience the feeling of her moving through my body (which I did and it was amazing!) and B) so I could be fully alert with her afterward.

Given that I didn’t get to live out the second half of that desire and still be okay with my bonding and connection shows that in the future, it might be okay to have the pain relief.

Swedish Hospital was an incredible place to have this traumatic delivery. I was amazed at the care and attention of each of the nurses and staff to me, Hubby and Little Princess. I felt completely taken care of and seen as a person, not just another patient.

Huge shout outs to the following nurses: Mackenzie, Becky, Allison, Mel, Callie, (there were 2 in the ICU that I had that I was too foggy to remember), Kelly, Terri, Mandy, Dani, and the lactation consultant Dotti.

Our journey is not over, as it’s simply just beginning.

I am amazed at how in love with this little peanut I am.

Years of wanting her. Desiring a little one and scared of letting go of my independent, self-centered lifestyle.

One thing I know for sure- the writing of my fertility journey may be over for the time being, but my thoughts and struggles, experiences and trials of being a selfless, caring, discerning, trusting mom are just beginning.

For those of you who have read this blog looking for connection in the fertility journey, I do hope you have felt understood. I certainly have not been alone as I have walked this road and found the more open I have been about my own struggles and emotions, the more connection I have felt.

To those still on the journey- know that it is worth it. Each poke of the needle, pop of a pill, inconvenient Dr. appointment, etc… it’s all worth it to have a little tiny human in your arms, loving and needing you.

We are not sure what our future holds with more children. We would like to have another or more but know that it might look more in the form of adoption than another IVF journey. Hey, we are even open to conceiving all-natural! 🙂 We will see what God has in store for us. For now, we are grateful to have this little one.

Bittersweet: week 37

What a gift these past nine-plus months have been for me. I can’t believe we are weeks away from meeting our baby girl!

It’s been a hot summer and yet I have been so fortunate to have time off from my work to sleep and take care of myself.

Over the past two weeks, my body is progressively feeling more sluggish and the water retention makes me feel like a water balloon.

Crazy to say, I LOVE this!

I really don’t want the pregnancy to end.

I know, I know. It will only get better when she is in my arms. I believe that to be true as well. But I will never be pregnant with her again.

I have loved feeling her kicking and moving on my insides.

Being with her everywhere I go.

I feel bonded and connected to her in a way that only a mother can and I am feeling this sense of gratitude for the mere opportunity to carry a child.

We have waited for FOUR YEARS as a couple to become pregnant.

I myself have wondered for 20 YEARS if I was going to be able to experience this incredible gift of pregnancy.

Now that I have been living it, I don’t want it to end.

I understand the purpose of pregnancy is to deliver and raise a baby to a child to a young adult.

For me though, I knew I would always have children (through adoption if needed) so I knew that the raising of a child would be in my future.

It’s this precious period and the gift of pregnancy that was so unknown to me- so desired.

Will I ever be able to experience pregnancy again?

I pray this to be the case.

At the same time, I’m aware that this may have been my one opportunity.

What a great one it has been.

I mourn the ending of such a sweet time in my life.

The way I feel in my body, carrying this life, is something I pray to never forget.

People look at me with a precious look of endearment and excitement.

I feel this look only happens to pregnant women.

Once Maxee comes, I will join the ranks of all the other women who are mothers and this special space of pregnancy will be in my past.

I’ve heard it said before, “don’t be sad that it’s over, but happy that it happened”.

I can soak in every moment of this pregnancy and know that I have made the very most of it.


Many have commented that they ‘bet I’m ready for her to come out and have my body back’.

Partially yes, I’m ready to be able to roll over in bed or get off the couch without pulling on Hubby or strategically maneuvering my limbs to prop me up. I’m ready to get back to jogging and bending over to stretch my hamstrings.

In reality, though, I don’t want to wish away any minute of this gift.

God, thank you for gifting me with the experience of growing and carrying my child inside of me. Thank you for allowing me to share my body with this sweet little human and provide a safe and healthy home for her to grow and form.

Thank you for entrusting me with one of your precious children.

May these final weeks be savored and these 10 months be engrained in my memory as an example of your love, grace, almighty ability to create life and power for redemption.