Surviving Mother’s Day

It has been over two months since my last blog post, these two months have FLOWN by, it’s like I blinked and its already mid-May…how does this even happen?! At the end of March we moved into our forever house and have been busy making it feel like home, we absolutely love it and can’t wait to raise baby girl here! 😊

For the first time in 4-years, National Infertility Awareness Week (April 21-27th) slipped by without me making my yearly post about how much infertility feels life shattering. I thought about writing something every day that week, but the truth is, even with this little peanut growing and kicking inside me, the pain of infertility is still very raw and I’m overly conscientious to my friends who are still waiting for their miracle. I’m also not naive to the fact that some would likely read my awareness post and think “yeah but you’re pregnant now, so shut up and move on” because I know that is exactly what I would have done nearly 7-months ago.

In my opinion, infertility has a weird way of segregating people, those in the trenches of the painful infertility struggle and those who have made it to the other side. When I was in the thick of it all, anyone who made it to parenthood was different. They just were. I felt like they no longer had to feel the pain of what I was going through, and although I was happy for them, I also felt like they didn’t understand. How could they, they achieved what I longed for.

Thinking about it now, I’m realizing more and more everyday that this couldn’t be farther from the truth. Granted, baby girl isn’t here yet, but I.STILL.GET.IT. I get the struggle, I feel the pain, I have not forgotten how every single pregnancy is a gift and a crazy science experiment that could go 2,864,156-ways wrong and 1-way perfect all at the same time. I often wonder how there are so many people in this world when pregnancy can be so complicated. It baffles me. Somedays I can’t believe we are only 3-months away from meeting our miracle and I’m overcome with gratitude that I burst out into happy tears. Otherdays, I’m triggered by something I hear or see online and I’m overcome by empathy and sorrow. It’s still very real. My fears that this will (still) not actually happen for us is very, very, real. It has gotten better over the months, but it is still hard to imagine we’ve made it this far. We are so close.

Mother’s Day is tomorrow. For the last 5 years, Mother’s Day has been one of the most painful days of the year and a tender reminder that I was not a mother. Over the years, I’ve chosen to forgo some family and social events that celebrate mothers, because it was just too hard. I didn’t miss these events because I was selfish or childish, I missed them because I needed to care for myself.  I knew it would be impossible to keep my composure, and subjecting myself to fake-happy is something I’ve never been good at. I remember specifically, two years ago, I laid in bed all day crying on and off on Mother’s Day because the feeling of despair and hopelessness around not being a mother was soo soo real. It just wasn’t fair. This is infertility.

Last year, my 30th birthday fell right on Mother’s Day, with skillful planning and every attempt to avoid what had happened the previous year, we were seated on a ship in the Greek Islands rather then being at home, this was super helpful, but obviously not something we could afford to every year! I’d highly recommend anyone who feels how I felt to get out of dodge and besides sending a card or call to your favorite mothers, avoid the day completely.

Here are a few tips I wish people would have used with me during Mother’s Day weekend (or any other time for that matter)….Do not ask or say anything along these lines, especially if you have no idea if they are struggling with infertility.

  1. When are you guys going to have kids?”
  2. “You guys should start having kids soon, you’re getting older, you don’t want to be like 60 when they graduate!”
  3. “Don’t you guys want kids?”
  4. “You’re so lucky you don’t have kids!” or “You can have mine (kids)!”
  5. “Just relax and it will happen” *Or any kind of conceiving story about how easily you got pregnant.
  6. “I know someone, who knows someone, who did (insert thing) and got pregnant right away”
  7. “You’ll be a mom someday!”
  8. “Maybe it just isn’t meant to be” Or “It will happen when it happens” Or “its in gods plans.”…. Just don’t.

The list can go on and on, but these are a few big ones. If you notice that cousin Susan isn’t at Mother’s Day brunch tomorrow, maybe she wasn’t feeling it. It doesn’t make her a bad person, she isn’t selfish, she isn’t anti-social, she may be protecting herself.

It’s not uncommon for people to NOT talk about their fertility struggles, not everyone is an open book and there is a lot of shame and secrecy around infertility. Don’t pry into people’s reproductive lives unless they’ve opened that door for conversation, they may not be ready. If they’ve posted about their struggles or talked openly about them, chances are high that they will welcome conversation/questions/and support.

To my friends still dealing with infertility, do what you need to do for yourselves this Mother’s Day, it’s okay to say no. It’s okay to not be okay.

To my friends that have no idea what infertility is like, be supportive and listen, it’s okay to not give advice, a sincere ear is much more helpful anyways.

Xoxo,

Tessa and baby (25+5weeks 😊)

mothers day

 

 

6-teen

Yikes, its been almost two months since I’ve posted any updates, I’m sorry friends! Life has been crazy busy on our end, selling our home, finding another and growing our baby 😊.

Things continue to progress perfectly with our little Czech miracle embaby, everyday feels like a huge milestone. It’s hard to put into words the amount of gratitude that I’m feeling over this little miracle, at times I feel like I could just explode with all the joy.

At the time we chose to do this embryo journey, I was utterly defeated around the fact that I would never experience pregnancy and it was crushing. It felt like everyone around me was having babies, trying for babies, or had just completed their families and it made me green with envy. Before we left to the Czech, I was already looking at flights for the following months to plan another try when it failed. I also spent hours researching adoption agencies and considered applying for a foster care license to help meet my raw maternal instincts, I felt desperate, we felt desperate. This is infertility.

We are now 16-weeks pregnant and I’ve got a growing baby bump to reassure me! The last time we got to see baby by ultrasound was about a month ago (aka an eternity). We purchased one of those ‘home doppler heartbeat monitors’ around week 10 and that thing literally is worth its weight in gold. Hearing that thumping heartbeat whenever I need has curbed my crippling fear that something awful has happened.  I’ve been incredibly lucky to feel (mostly) great during this pregnancy so far, there are zero complaints over here. We find out the gender of embaby at the end of the month, my gut says girl, Nick says he “has a logistic mind and there is a 50/50 chance of it being a boy or girl” and most of our friends are guessing boy. Only time will tell but Holy-S do I wish time would speed up 😊.

The emotional mess that infertility has caused continues to lurk around every corner. A few weeks ago, I finally had the strength to ask one of my best friends how long they were trying to conceive when they had their two babies. Her response of only a few short months was a painful reminder of how unfair infertility is for so many of us who spend oodles of aching months, years, and thousands and thousands of dollars for something that we are taught happens so easily. Sheesh. Every child is a blessing. My heart breaks, and probably always will, for my friends who are in the thick of this difficult journey.

My trauma from infertility has caused me to be apprehensive about walking through the baby aisle in stores or talking too much about our pregnancy. I haven’t purchased a single baby item yet. I’ve only taken one ‘baby bump’ photo. I don’t want to jinx anything. Maybe that is why I haven’t written a blog post in almost two months? I know these are unrealistic fears…Our OB informed us that our pregnancy is no different than any other pregnancy at this point, even though we are “high risk” due to the fertility treatments (they consider any pregnancy that uses treatments as high risk). I’ve recently started asking my mom-friends about their ‘must haves’ to create a baby registry for the baby showers our families are hosting for us. The thought of a baby shower for OUR BABY seems so foreign! WE ARE SO EXCITED.

2019 will certainly be a huge year for our family! We officially sold our first home and our offer got accepted this weekend on our dream home in Plymouth! We will be moving at the end of March, the same day we will find out if embaby is a team blue or pink!!!

Xoxo,

Tessa and baby

Baby F at 12 weeks below

baby f

Another milestone!

Ultrasound #2 was a big, giant success!! Our Czech miracle baby is continuing to grow! I was a hot mess before this ultrasound and seeing our baby wiggling around was the best thing in the universe. I still can’t believe it. Happy tears were all over the place.

For those of you who’ve been following my blog the entire time… the craziest thing has happened, and it is truly unbelievable… our official due date is 8/19/2019…eight/nineteen is the exact number that’s been following me for well over a year and a half….and the same number I wrote about in my blog post on September 4, 2018. I’ll never be able to explain it, but I don’t think I can call it a coincidence anymore…

Thank you all so much for the continued love and support!!

xo,

Tessa and baby

babes

Frantzen’s, future party of 3.

On Thursday, December 27th, I got a voicemail from my clinic informing me they needed to move my appointment for tomorrow to 1:00pm instead of my originally planned 3:50pm time. Shit. I couldn’t make that work with my schedule. I figured we’d have to wait another few days to see if it was 1 or 2 of our embabies that implanted, and most importantly if they were growing properly. Ahhhhh the nerves!!!

I rang the clinic, they informed me that due to the upcoming bad weather, they were going to be closing the clinic Friday and all appointments would be cancelled. She informed me they were also closed on New Year’s Eve and New Year’s Day… so the next appointments wouldn’t be until Wednesday. Shoot.

I asked if they had any appointments for that day, she paused for about 1 minute as she was looking at the schedule, then said “we do, what time would you like to come in?” I took the latest possible appointment. I needed time to mentally prepare for what could possibly be really crappy news. I called Nick to tell him, I could tell he was equally as nervous and excited that our appointment had been bumped up more then 24-hours earlier than expected.

At 1:40pm, Nick and I met in the parking lot, we hugged and looked at each other like deer in headlights, both knowing what could happen with this appointment. Nick squeezed my hand and told me we would be fine, we probably have twins growing in there! I love his positivity.

We checked in and they called us back before we hardly had a chance to sit down. The nurse took my weight and blood pressure. After my blood pressure reading, she looked at me and said, “Are you nervous?” I told her “Ah, yes, extremely” she looked at me and smiled, “Your blood pressure is extremely high, we will just have to take it after your ultrasound.”  I muttered “it likely won’t be much better” as I hopped off the chair.

We were brought into the ultrasound room and I was instructed to get undressed from the waist down. They do early ultrasounds with an vaginal ultrasound wand. I’m really used to these, I’ve done about 10,000 of them over the last few years dealing with infertility. Nick and I sat there and waited for the tech to come in….my heartrate was probably about 1-million beats per minute and Nick was probably right there with me.

The tech came in, she was very friendly and talkative. Nick and I both told her we were incredibly nervous and that historically these ultrasounds equal bad news. She informed us that since we are so early, there is a chance we might not see much, so she assured us not to worry. She must have read our chart before she came in, she knew there might be two babies in me and that we had donor embryos from another country. I think she was excited to see what was in there too. Then she started…

I could see a big black space (the gestational sac) right away, she said, “It looks like ONE implanted” She continued to move the wand around looking for another, I looked back at Nick and said, “One is great!” She hadn’t looked at the gestational sac by that point so we didn’t know if there was even a baby in there. Gestational sacs can grow without babies, its called a brighted ovum.

Then we saw it. Our baby. A teeny, tiny, little ball sitting in there. She measured baby several times, measuring 6-weeks 3-days gestation, exactly-where-baby-should-be. Hallelujah!!!!!!!!

Then she said, “your baby has a heartbeat too!” She measured the heartbeat with me holding my breath twice, first measurement was 145bpm, then the second time 120bpm. Happy Dance!!!!

Nick asked a few times if there was anyway embaby number #2 could be hiding in there, she told him its very unlikely. I could see the look of slight disappointment in his face that both our embabies didn’t implant. I looked at him again and said, “One is amazing honey.” He smiled and said, “I know.”

They had me take my blood pressure again as we were walking out. It was magically within perfect range. Imagine that.

We stopped at the front desk to schedule our next appointment for January 9th. I’ll be 8-weeks 2-days at that point. This appointment seems like an eternity away. They asked me to schedule another appointment with the doctor for 4-weeks after our next appointment, I told her I’d rather wait in case something happens. She looked at me like I was batty, but said “its up to you.

We left feeling happy, overjoyed, blessed and grateful! We have ONE healthy baby growing right on track. We have never experienced an “on track” baby before. One more major hurdle down, several more to go, but for now we will be relish in this victory!

As for morning sickness…. I’d call it all day sickness, luckily for me, I haven’t been vomiting, but all day long I feel nauseous and food is a picky subject. I also broke out in hives twice… so that was fun…

Please, please, please continue to send us all your good vibes, wishes, prayers, Etc., Etc., we still have several milestones to get through! 😊

Xoxox,

Tessa and baby Frantzen

baby

It’s a Christmas Miracle!

It’s been 16-days since our donor embryo transfer and I’m still pregnant!

I. CANNOT. BELIEVE. IT. WORKED!!

I’ve had several people ask how far along I’d be since we did an embryo transfer. The simplest way that I can explain it is that an embryo transfer follows a typical cycle, so I found out I was pregnant exactly the same time a “normal” person would have missed their period about ~4 weeks.

Today would officially put us at 5 weeks 2 days along…still very early, but I feel like we waited 4+ years to get to this point. I can’t believe we are finally here.

Last Tuesday (12/11/18) I had my official pregnancy test, also known as the HCG (human chorionic gonadotropin) blood test, this is the hormone that is produced only during pregnancy. I honestly have no idea if “normal” people get their HCG levels tested when they find out their pregnant, but it very exciting when you know it will be positive. The clinic had me do the first blood test on Tuesday, and then the second one 48-hours later on Thursday. In a healthy pregnancy, the HCG number should increase by at least 60% in 48-hours. If its less, it could indicate an unhealthy pregnancy.

My first HCG number was 145, our second was 404. That was an increase of 170+% increase! Yes! (Insert happy dance)

We are scheduled for our first ultrasound on December 28th. We could have scheduled it a few days earlier but with my infertility PTSD I opted for the last possible appointment on a Friday in case we get bad news…that way I’d at least have the weekend to pull myself together if the results were unfavorable.

Infertility robbed me of my naivety, I’m paranoid that something will go wrong at any given time.

I’ve googled more ridiculous pregnancy and miscarriage questions than I care to admit…

I’ve taken upwards of 15+ pregnancy tests just so I could see the test line get darker. *I downgraded to the amazon cheapies so we wouldn’t hit the poor house in the process…

And I constant look at Nick and whisper “I can’t believe it worked!” “What do you think our babies will be like?”

The odds of success are in our favor at this point. Our embabies were genetically tested, which means that we know they are chromosomally normal. From what I’ve read during my many hours googling, 95% of miscarriages in the first trimester are due to chromosomal abnormalities. I’ve read our risk for miscarriage with tested embabies is about 10% after pregnancy is confirmed. Not terrible, but we understand the reality that it could happen.

With all that being said, I’m working really hard on enjoying being pregnant and trying to not worry so much about what I cannot control. What matters at this point is that We’re PREGNANT and I’m feeling pretty good!

I continue on my medications until the 12th week… each morning I take a giant progesterone shot in my upper booty.. I’ve got 2 golf ball sized lumps on both sides that kill if I sit at the wrong angle, every morning I tell myself that this stupid shot is a million times worth it!

10-days until we find out if it will be Frantzen’s Party of 3 or Party of 4 😊 😊 😊.

Please keep sending us positive thoughts, energies and prayers as we slowly creep through the next several weeks with our fingers and toes crossed for ongoing success!

Xo,

Tessa

Transfer, Complete!

Our donor embryo transfer in Brno, Czech Republic went as smooth as butter, the place was incredibly organized, and the staff were very friendly. We were there for approximately an hour and the procedure itself was a whopping 2-minutes. Easy peezy!

After our procedure we still had 6 days to explore the winter wonderlands of Prague and Vienna. These cities are beautiful!!! It was nice having the distraction of the Christmas markets and architecture to gawk at, but the nagging anxiety of uncertainty was present the entire time for both of us.

Did it work? Omg it didn’t work, I know it. Maybe it did work. Was that cramp I just felt implantation? Am I pregnant? Do my boobs actually hurt or is this in my head? Am I normally hungry at this time? Why do I feel so tired, is it the time change?

We agreed that I wouldn’t take a pregnancy tests during our trip, it was too early and we’d likely get a false negative anyways. Not testing was so difficult, I like to know things. I need to know things. I’d pee on a pregnancy test every day of the month if I could afford it. However, I agreed to wait… at least until we got home. The clinic suggested we wait to test until 12/17/2018, 2-full weeks after transfer, which sounds like an eternity if you ask me. If Nick had his way, we would have waited to test on that day. No thank you.

Sunday night we got home after 6pm, 14-hours of travel and a 7-hour time difference, we were exhausted, both physically and mentally, topped with no sleep in nearly 24-hours I felt like a walking zombie.

I waited for my in-laws to leave so I could take a pregnancy test. The second the door closed I ran to the bathroom, Nick said “are you seriously taking one right now? Hold on, I want to be there too.”

I peed on the stick and quickly turned it over so we couldn’t see the results…..that lasted about 15 seconds before I impatiently turned it back over to see the results window. I saw our second line forming right away- I looked at Nick in shock “Oh my god, it worked! It’s freakin’ positive!” He didn’t see it right away since the test was still doing its job considering I had just finished about 30-seconds prior. I had to point it out, but after a few more seconds he could see it clear as day.

I started to happy sob.

I can’t believe it.

We can’t believe it.

It freakin’ worked!

We are pregnant!

We spent the rest of the night calling our family and closest friends to tell them the good news, we didn’t want the first time they hear to be from my blog. I still can’t believe it, I’m in shock that it worked. I’m so happy that it worked. I’m so unbelievably grateful for our double donors. I’m so happy that the term “embryo donation” crossed my path and that we went out on a limb to explore it.

One hurdle down to this journey of parenthood. We know lots can happen in the coming weeks, but for now we are celebrating this giant success!

We are hoping and crossing everything that’s cross-able that this will result in our take home baby or babies. We are so ready for this next chapter.

Please let this be the start of our next chapter.

Will there be 1 or 2??????

pregnant

-Signs-

On Wednesday while Nick was making breakfast he cracked a double yolk egg. I haven’t seen one of those in years. We laughed and both said, “It’s a sign!!!” We joked about transferring 2 embryos, as we’ve done about 19-dozen times since we started this process. We set it aside and went about our day.

Yesterday (Thursday) I cracked my breakfast egg- it was another freakin’ double yolk egg! I quickly screen shot the picture and texted it to Nick. “If this isn’t another sign, I don’t know what is, we should transfer 2!” He called me immediately, “Are you serious?” I said, “No not really, but kinda, if this isn’t a sign, I don’t know what is.” Nick was always a fan of transferring 2 embryos with the hope of having twins, the thought of that always scared me. I told him I’ll email the coordinator to see if it’s even a possibility since we are literally less than 4-days out.

I emailed the coordinator to see if there was a possibility that we transfer 2 if we decided. 10-minutes later I received a response.

Dear Tessa,

I already have both of your embryos to transfer on Monday. So don’t worry already have you transfer 2 embryos.

Best regards,

Michaela

Whhhhhhaaatttttt?????? I called Nick immediately, this entire time they’ve had us down to transfer both our embryos, we would have been in for a MAJOR surprise on Monday had I not emailed them. We both were blown away, and in that moment, we decided that 2 embryos would hopefully find their next 9-months nestled in my 10.79mm thick uterus lining.

We are so excited, the thought of increasing our chances for at least one take home baby gives me chills, the thought of potentially having two take home babies makes me slightly nervous, but all the more excited. Two would mean we’d never, ever have to do fertility treatments again, because our family would be complete.

As much as this was unexpected, we just have to listen to the universe.

Bon voyage!

Xo,

Tessa

eggs