Archives for posts with tag: IVF

I know that a lot of people stumble across my blog, thanks to google. Many of them are looking for hope and encouragement in their fertility journey. Since infertility will always be a subject close to my heart, I want to get this information out there in case it might be of help to someone. 

When we were trying to improve DH’s sperm count, motility, and morphology, I researched natural ways to help. It seems there is an overwhelming amount of information on the internet for natural supplements, but it’s all scattered around here and there and takes forever to sort through. As I sifted through everything, I compiled this list. 

Keep in mind, I have no medical degree and I certainly am not advising anyone to take this huge pile of supplements. In fact, I can’t even tell you that it will up your count or quality at all. All I know is, whether or not it contributed to the miracle conceptions that God blessed us with, it certainly didn’t hurt. Most of these supplements are good for your general health, regardless and are things DH needs to be on to keep other health issues at bay. So, here goes.

Vitamin C – 1,500mg

Vitamin E – 800iu (I prefer to use the natural version of vitamin E, vs the synthetic)

Zinc – 60mg

B12 – 100mcg (We actually take a b-complex that is methylated for better absorption. I’ll gladly tell you what it’s called if you want to know.)

Selenium – 200mcg

CoQ10 – 100mg

L-Carnitine – not sure of amount

Vitamin A – this was in a multi he was taking at the time, so I’m not sure on the dose of this either

Flax oil and/or Fish oil – 1,200mg 

L-Arginine – 500mg

Vitamin D – 5,000iu

Astaxanthin – 12mg

Obviously, you should check this list over with your dr before taking these things. Particularly if you are on medication as the supplements and meds could interact. I just wanted to put this list our there in case it could help someone else. 

*For reference, DH’s last semen analysis (he’s had many) was 1million, sub par motility and 0% morphology. We have gone on to have 3 successful pregnancies through ivf and spontaneous conception since that test. 🙂 

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I came across this in my archives. I wrote it about 2 years ago but wanted to share it again in case it could help anyone else.
I guess I should start with a disclaimer – I’m not a dr, DUH. I don’t know everything or even really that much about clotting issues but I have them so… take that. 
I have been wanting to write about this for awhile now but today I read a blog that was the final straw. As you know, I have MTHFR which is short for Methylenetetrahydrofolate Reductase – not what you thought, ha! I am homozygous with the C677T variation. All a really long way of saying that my body has a hard time methylating b vitamins especially b12, b6 and folic acid. I can’t absorb most b vitamins unless they are in their methylated forms so I have to buy a b vitamin supplement that is already broken down. (It’s called Homocystex Plus.) MTHFR also causes blood clotting issues. It’s actually more common than you think but hardly anyone gets tested for it because A) they don’t know to, B) drs are pretty ignorant about it (sorry drs. study up on this please!) C) practically nobody understands it or how to treat it, D) it’s expensive to test for and it’s usually on a whole panel that requires 14 vials of blood. ( I also just found out the other day that I had actually tested positive for Anti cardiolipin antibodies and have an elevated prothromibin time. Nobody thought it was important to tell me that but I read it in the report that I have a copy of from when I had that testing done. Thankfully, they are also treated the same as MTHFR.)
 
The fact of the matter remains, MTHFR causes infertility, implantation failure, both early and late term pregnancy loss and is incredibly easy to treat. Drs can disagree with that all they want but many other Drs agree with that statement. But you know what? It’s just one of a whole bunch of little known and “minor” issues that potentially cause clotting especially in the smallest blood vessels – in the uterus where the baby is trying to dig in and implant and where the placenta is drawing it’s life giving blood and oxygen from. 
 
MTHFR and a host of other “minor” clotting disorders can be treated by injectable blood thinners such as Heparin and Lovenox along with low dose Asprin. The blood thinners and asprin are started after ovulation/egg retrieval or asprin can be used continuously (which it usually should be if you have a clotting disorder – check with your Dr) and blood thinner shots can be started with a positive pregnancy test. You should also be on a methylated b vitamin supplement (regular b vitamins are not usable by your body) if you have MTHFR. Most drs will prescribe you a high dose vitamin b compound but it’s not as useable as just getting a high quality methylated supplement.
 
So, back to the blog that was the final straw. A woman with RPL who’s latest loss was at 20 weeks! Finally, for her SEVENTH pregnancy, somebody had the brains to check her for clotting disorders and they found that she had a “minor” one and given her “history” they decided to FINALLY treat her with Heparin. (Ya think??) Carried that baby to term. Case closed. I could also tell you the story of my friend who had at least 9 losses but carried her last baby to term and used blood thinner during that pregnancy. 
 
Obviously I’m not saying that blood thinners could prevent all loses. Definitely not!! There are genetic issues in the baby sometimes that cause losses, infections, incompetent cervix and a host of other reasons which I don’t really need to spell out, but clotting related issues can often times be treated! 
 
My RE didn’t seem to consider my issues to warrant any action. I talked to my IVF nurse though and she said if I wanted to cover all my bases, I could go on a low dose of Lovenox. I think they were mostly just letting me use it so I would feel proactive and so that they could say all my bases were covered. Turns out, as it was quite obvious during my pregnancy with Truett, blood thinner was quite important! So much so that my dose has been upped for this pregnancy. Again, I’m not saying it is fail proof. But with Tru, thank You Jesus, it helped! I hope that this time, the blood thinners will help keep my baby safe in there. Please God, protect this baby according to Your will and help it to get all the blood and oxygen flow that it needs in my womb. I pray that it will be safe in there and live and grow and be well and strong and healthy. In Jesus’ name, amen. 
 
All that to say this, if you have stumbled over this blog and you have had repeat failed IVF’s, RPL, or unexplained losses, please push your dr to test you for clotting and immune issues. And if they find ANYTHING, I don’t care how “minor” it is, (because let’s face it, when blood vessels are clogging, is there really anything “minor” about that?) and I don’t care how they feel about issues like MTHFR, get on Lovenox or Heparin and Asprin. If your dr refuses to treat you, see another dr! This is serious business. I have seen this happen SO MANY TIMES on SO MANY BLOGS. Women couldn’t get or stay pregnant, after tons of failed cycles or so many devastating losses, got treated and bam. Finally they have their baby(s). 
 
Something to think about. 
Shared: Implantation Failure, Failed IVF’s, RPL, Unexplained Infertility – Please Read This – http://wp.me/p34rdD-tI

Remember how how I said that maybe I had ovarian cysts that were preventing my cycle from coming? Well, it finally did come on CD 47 (!!!) which is the latest I have ever been without being pregnant. But I really don’t know why it was so late. 

On CD 44 I went to see my RE. We basically had a pre-conception consultation and talked about the possible cysts and ran blood work to check where all my hormones are falling at now. Progesterone was elevated so I definitely did ovulate, according to the Dr, which I was almost certain I had. And I am about 100% certain I didn’t ovulate late yet I was 3 weeks late to start….? All the other tests came back within normal levels. (Testosterone, thyroid, FSH etc) 
They did an ultrasound while I was there and the Dr asked if I had ever been diagnosed with PCOS because my ovaries almost looked that way. Even I could definitely see lots of black spots (cysts) on them. I told him I hadn’t been diagnosed with that before (thankfully!) so he ordered AMH on the blood work as well. It came back at 6.87ng/ml which is within normal range but actually higher than when I was 22. ETA: I am actually a little confused about this. Higher AMH is usually thought to be good because it points to higher ovarian reserve, but I’ve also read that it can indicate PCOS…  He didn’t say anything about the cysts making my cycle late though so maybe my theory was bogus. The Dr didn’t seem overly concerned about the cysts…? I am supposed to follow up in Feb. 

He asked if I wanted to give a couple cycles of medicated TI a try before doing a SA and possibly moving on to other treatment (I am thinking if we move on to more advanced treament, it would probably be AT LEAST another year). I decided to go ahead and try Femara 2.5mg for 2 months. Because, why not…. If he thinks it’s worth a try then I might as well try it. I opted not to take Clomid because I had such a horrible time on it last time I tried it 6 years ago. I’ve never tried Femara before but I am on day 2 of 5 now. I guess we will see how it goes. I have realistic expectations but I also know what my God can do so I am leaving it in His hands. So, yeah, that’s where I am at right now. Very thankful for good test results! 🙂 

I have been surprised by the compassion Truett has for people lately. He gets really concerned if he thinks I am sad or upset. The other day, he could tell I was moody. He kept asking me if I was sad. A little later he came up to me and said “Mom, I pray.” and he put his hand on my head to pray for me. Awhile after that I was having my daily prayer time in my room. I usually have the door shut but I guess it wasn’t latched because Tru came in and asked me what I was doing. I told him I was praying but he must have thought I said that I was crying because he said “I get songs.” He ran out to the family room and came running back with his little piano and plopped it in front of me saying “I got songs, Mom!” Obviously he thought some songs would cheer me up. Then he laid down on the floor next to where I was kneeling and said “I wuv you.” This little boy just melts my heart! How can someone so tiny and so young have such a heart of compassion and desire to make things better? I love him so much!

Lately Levi has been running up to Tru to hug him or laying his head on his shoulder. Tru always is so happy and tells me frequently “Mommy, Baby wuvs me.” I think they both really understand now what *Love* is. 🙂 He wants to make me happy all the time and will ask me from time to time “Mommy happy?”

One day when Levi was acting up, Tru said “Baby bad.” and I explained to him that baby isn’t bad, he was just having a hard time at the moment. Then Tru told me “I a bad boy.” and it just broke my heart! I reassured him that he is not a bad boy, he is a good boy!! I’m not even sure where he got that idea as we certainly don’t tell our kids that *they* are bad when they misbehave. But I have definitely been making a point of telling them that they are good boys just randomly throughout the day or when I see them doing something nice like sharing etc. I guess I never really realized how deep of thoughts such tiny little people have! But now that I do see this with Truett, I am trying to make sure that he always feels safe and reassured in his environment.

They really understand more than we give them credit for. They might be young but that doesn’t mean they don’t understand.

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I know it's blurry but I sure love them.

I’m pretty sure I’ve said it about every age and stage but… this age is wonderful! Like right now, Tru is playing in a giant plastic tote. He’s calling it his castle. Imaginative play is happening all the time now and he definitely likes to talk to imaginary friends or something like that. I hear him pretending to be me sometimes. He will say “Tru, come here! Get in the car. No play in the (sand)box!” I got a video of him saying this stuff and it’s positively hilarious! I would post it if I knew how.

He loves to build things with mega blocks. Which we have well over a hundred of them now… a whole large plastic tote full. Like the kind you would store Christmas decorations in and the like. My mom had accumulated a ton of those mega blocks over the years and gave them to the boys last week. But no matter that we have so many blocks, the boys still fight over their TWO favorite blocks, the ones with wheels. Tru loves to make trains, fire trucks and cars.

Life with Mr. Independent is really fun and becoming more and more adventurous! Tru wants to do everything on his own. He cries if we don’t let him climb (cwimb) into and out of his carseat on his own, which takes longer but makes him feel so proud! He also tries to buckle it on his own which is pretty tricky. “My do, my do, MY DO!” is becoming a more and more common thing for him to say. He definitely has an opinion about everything. I would say that he has a strong-willed streak but I don’t mean that in the “My kid is a brat but I call him *strong-willed*” way. Like, it’s a good kind of stubbornness that, yes, makes parenting him challenging at times, but also makes him very determined and I am thrilled to see that trait in him!

Now that Truett is fully vocal, being in public with him is getting more… interesting. I foresee myself being embarrassed a lot! I needed to buy some bras the other day. The first non-nursing bras I’ve bought in years. As soon as we walked into the bra section, Tru started pointing to all of them and saying “BOOBS!” very excitedly. And this went on over and over and over the entire time I was shopping. No matter how many times I tried to quiet his enthusiasm. And yes, there were other people around who heard him and, I imagine, stifled giggles. Then he started getting really excited about a “monster boob” which turned out to be a bra with skulls on it. (Seriously?) But yeah, that was an adventure.

That same day, I bought the boys cheeseburgers and I handed Tru his burger still in the wrapper. He took it with excitement while asking “This a present burger, Mom?” I told him that yes, it was a present burger and when he finished eating it, he said “Mommy, danks for the present burger!” I almost melted with love!

I have been fixing my hair in french braided pig tails recently since it keeps my hair off my neck and helps me stay cool (but not *cool* haha!). Anyway, when I fix my hair that way, Tru says “Mommy, you a girl!”

Tru likes to dress himself all the time and even cries sometimes if I try to help him put on his shoes etc. But after months and months of being able to dress himself perfectly, he keeps getting his clothes on backwards now. He had been taking off his pants every single time he went pee since he always takes himself now (he doesn’t even use the foam potty seat cover any more!) and he can’t climb on the toilet with his pants on. But lately he has been going standing instead so he doesn’t have to undress and redress 10 times a day. 😉 I can’t tell you how wonderful it is to have him fully potty trained and taking himself. It’s a process to get to this point and it’s not fun at all but once it’s done, it’s wonderful! 🙂

Dear God, thank You so much for the amazing blessing of getting to raise Truett and watch him learn and explore his world. Please watch over him and protect him. In Jesus’ name, amen.

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Tru with turtle number 2. We let him go after a couple days because he seemed to have had a rough life and I didn't want him to be sad. This poor turtle looked to have been shot with a paintball gun as he has green paint on his shell.

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We have been taking these snack/activity boxes to church to entertain the boys and Tru loves it! As soon as we get to church, he always asks for his snack box.

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Playing in the sandbox at my sister's house

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Tru drew faces on these dinosaurs and I can't get over how cute it is! I didn't realize he knew where to put eyes ect. He even gave some of them hair. I was shocked when I flipped through the book and saw all these dinos with faces drawn on.

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Like this dino with it's eyes up way too high. Haha! Tru LOVES to color.


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A face only a mother could love...

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He loves to draw fish too. I told him to draw DH a fish and Tru was so cool about it, doing this little "boom" sound at the end lol. DH and I were cracking up!

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Watching the fish at DH's uncle's house.

I’ve been sorting through pictures the last few days as I work to get all my SD cards loaded onto our computer so I can have back up copies of everything. On top of it being monumentally hard to sort through 8 very jumbled years worth of pictures (roughly 8,000) from various cameras, disks and phones, I’ve been shocked by the emotions this has stirred up for me.

Usually when I look through our pictures, I am not looking at years worth of good, bad and ugly. While I treasure all of our photos from years past, it’s a lot to take in all at once. I know this probably sounds dramatic but I see a picture that I’m in, usually with a smile plastered on, and I know where I was in that moment. I remember how I actually really felt and what the current grief was. What procedures we had tried, surgeries, drs we were seeing, even pictures of us in the clinic having our first ivf….

I don’t want to make it sound like we didn’t have good times prior to having kids – we absolutely did!! But our lives were so wrapped up in finding a diagnosis and going through all the various treatments that we tried for YEARS and it really did become extremely consuming. There was a time period where our marriage went down on the rocks badly and I didn’t think we would make it. We were young to begin with and having went through so much had taken such a toll. We/I argued constantly and looking back, it’s easy to see why everything felt so important. With no control over our fertility, obviously our fights over petty stuff spiraled way out of hand due to trying to have something go my way. Pictures during that time are extra hard.

And then there are snapshots of my sil and bil bringing my niece home from the hospital. I remember that day. It was so beautiful and sweet… but of course it was yet another arrow in the heart of the infertile. And pictures of my sister’s baby. So gorgeous and adorable, but I was saving every penny for ivf at the time and I remember going to the hospital to meet the baby and my sweet sister asking me how it was going saving up. She shouldn’t have had to worry about my feelings at a time like that, but she did, bless her heart.

If there’s one thing I learned in our journey (I learned quite a few things actually) is that I wish I  would have lived life instead of holding my breath waiting for life to start. Of course, that would have been easier if I had know I’d have kids eventually. But I should have been enjoying life then too. Much like I’ve learned in motherhood that I have to embrace the moment we are in now instead of looking back and being sad at all the moments I’ve missed in my childrens’ lives already and all the time I wish I could have back.

That said, even the recent pictures are bittersweet in their own way. I saw a video tonight of Tru last summer out on the porch with me pointing to the “fowees” and “goggie”. He says so many more words now!! He would point and make his own little words which are now replaced by “Wook, mom! See?!” As beautiful as it is to watch my babies grow up, there’s the pangs of knowing those days are gone and I’ll never get them back. It’s the way it’s meant to be. And I’m thankful to watch my boys grow more and more every day. I just never truly realized how fast you can blink and the moment is gone. It makes me treasure every picture and video of the boys that much more, seeing as how it can bring back so many memories just to watch a short little clip. Stuff I didn’t even know I’d forgotten.

I will be so glad when I’m done organizing all the pictures into their folders and can open them as I want to instead of having so many years worth of emotions pouring over me at once. And as for the pictures from the years of infertility? I think they’ll always be a little hard to look at.

Three years ago when I started this blog, I was part-way through my second IVF cycle and desperate to make a connection with someone who could relate to what I was going though. I had plenty of family and friends who did their utmost to be there for me and who were/are so supportive and loving and really helped to give me strength through what had been a long 4.5 year battle with infertility. But as much as I loved and appreciated their support (and still am so thankful for their support and prayers and desire to understand) sometimes I just wanted to talk to someone who understood. Someone who I didn’t have to explain things to and didn’t have to try not to offend with my anger. And I had things I wanted to share with others too! Support I wanted to give; to be that listening ear. God, in His unwavering faithfulness carried me through and I wanted to share that with everyone. If it wasn’t for God, I wouldn’t have made it 4.5 years without a single friend who really knew or understood what I was feeling.

I had found forums where I could discuss things with “cycle buddies” and didn’t have to explain procedures to and I had seen that a few of them had blogs. I started reading a blog or two and thought, I’d like to try that. But I really didn’t dream I would ever have over a hundred followers reading my own blog! I just really needed a place to journal my feelings and progress and hopefully find a few friends who could relate. WOW, you all really came through!! The sense of community and support was overwhelming and it really helped to lift my spirit during a tough time. Then, once I was treading the new, frightening yet exciting waters of pregnancy after infertility, I found a whole new world of support I was not expecting I would even need, let alone, find. Pregnancy after infertility is different. At least it certainly has been for me and I know a lot of others who would vouch for that as well as parenting after infertility. I had a whole different set of fears and struggles that I wasn’t aware would come up and I found a whole community here waiting to share their support once again. I couldn’t thank you enough.

I know that word *support* keeps coming up… because that’s what it’s all about! Thank you for reading along and sharing your stories and for letting me share mine. 🙂

So, this should be a quick update since there really isn’t much to say. Last month was a flop as I never really determined what was going on with my body. I think I f inally ovulated around CD 22 even though I had thought I was ovulating around CD 14. We most likely BD around whatever was my actual ovulation. So basically I had a forever 2ww. It was a bit torturous for whatever reason.* DH and I both decided it was just too stressful to think about it right now and made the decision to not track my cycle for now. No OPK’s etc. I don’t know what CD I am on now and it is very freeing! It is hard to let go but it feels so much more “natural” this way. If you think about it, “normal” fertile couples don’t half the time even know about, much less understand ovulation and they get pregnant ALLLL the time. Therefore, we shouldn’t have much less of a chance of hitting ovulation than they do. The name of the game for now is not trying/not preventing. I know I should  have AF (period) come around Christmas time but I don’t know what day and I’m not getting the calendar out to check. I know my cycles are probably still going to be wonky for a bit due to breastfeeding so I’m taking that into consideration. I’m very careful to take my low dose aspirin every day in the off chance that I may conceive since it is absolutely vital that I be on some form of blood thinner in order to have implantation and sustain a baby.

*I was talking to someone the other day about how awful it felt to spiral back into the world of obsessive TTC and I realized that probably the reason why it stresses me out so badly to track my cycles now, even though I am not desperately wanting another baby at the moment, is because it takes me back to THAT time period. The desperation of those years. The futility and struggle and fear. It’s like a horrible f lash-back and I don’t know how to just “normal people” try for a baby. It’s all or nothing. So I have to do nothing right now for my sanity’s sake and also because I don’t want to miss out on my babies that I already have because I am struggling to have another. I just want to place it in God’s hands and see what He provides. I am not against the idea of trying in the future, but for now I just have to step back and let it go.

I was looking through the search terms that people use to find my blog. I found it kind of interesting that my blog comes up when you google these things. Thought I would share it with you.

  • Chiristmas ideas for wife ivf – This one touched me. Some cute husband out there probably getting his head bit off by his lupron crazed wife. Just wanting to find something thoughtful for her for Christmas. Aww. Just aww.
  • uti after embryo transfer – this is actually one of my hottest search terms. I had a uti right after my egg retrieval and throughout embryo transfer and part of the 2ww. So stressful! The dr put me on keflex I think and eventually macrobid. It’s ok! If you googled this and found my blog, relax. It is ok. 
  • ovidrel shot 4 minutes late – This one is just cute. I understand how important it is to get that shot on time. Especially because the nurse and drs stress it so much that it needs to be ON TIME!! 4 minutes late is ok though. Breathe.
  • loud dizzy wen chewing infertility – Kind of confused here. You are chewing infertility?
  • it drives me crazy to wait for pregnancy test – Me too sister. Me too…
  • why is ivf so hard – I’m not sure what viewpoint this is being asked from. It could have different answers depending on who is asking and why they are asking it. Ivf for me is hard because it’s not a guarentee. The shots aren’t hard. The side effects aren’t even too hard. The driving nearly 2 hours 1 way to each appointment every other day isn’t hard. The waiting IS hard. The not knowing IS hard. Leaving my embabies in a lab, growing in a petri dish IS hard. Knowing that I have no control over the situation IS SO STINKING HARD!
  • hot flashes normal during ivf – Oh, so you have them too? Good to know me and every single other woman who does ivf isn’t alone. I’m sorry you are experiencing that, but think of it as progress!!  I’ve gotten this search term a LOT!!!
  • what do hot flashes feel like when on ivf  – Set oven to 350. Climb in for 2 minutes. Climb out and jump in a snow bank. Just kidding. NEVER DO THAT!!!
  • compulsive worrier on my pregnancy – Well my blog came up, so…… yep. 
  • anxiety ivf pregnancy – Again. You found me. 
  • should I secretly up my dose of gonal-f – I understand where you are coming from but ARE YOU OUT OF YOUR MIND? Wait, you are doing ivf…. anyways, no. Please for the sake of your ovaries, no.
  • infertility….is a baby ever going to happen for me – This one makes me really sad.  I wish i could say yes. I don’t know, but I believe that if you set your mind to it, you will get a baby someday, somehow. Just don’t steal one. It’s tempting at times, I know.
  • infertility happy trail/hormones causing happy trail – It  happens. I swear it will fall out…. after you have the baby. 😉
  • i hate ivf – It’s a love hate relationship. 

I can’t believe nobody googled “painting nails during 2ww causes bfn”, “toothpaste dangerous during 2ww”, or “going pee after embryo transfer causes embryos to fall out” (just to be crystal clear here, it doesn’t). Come on ladies! You’re making me look like a lunatic.

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…and by God.
      When people get this card this year from us, some of them will have almost no idea what all we went through to get to have one of these cute little family photo cards. I never did one before this year. I’m very open about out IF struggle. Just a lot of people don’t know the whole story. They will just see a young couple and their adorable baby. (He is adorable!!! Right? ;)) And that’s probably as far as their thoughts will go. They won’t see 5&1/2 years waiting, crying and praying, 6 clinics including 3 ob/gyns, 1 urologist, and 6 RE’s. 2 surgeries, 2 iuis, 2 ivfs and hundreds of shots, pills and hormones. They will just see a very normal looking family. I guess that’s what we always wanted. And yet, I don’t feel normal. Not at all. I’m not sure what I feel. Surreal comes to mind. In disbelief and infinitely grateful. Scarred by the experience but thankful for it. I see motherhood in a way that I know I personally wouldn’t have. I think I just would have taken it for granted. Now I value motherhood at a very very high price. Every moment is a precious gift and a miracle. Every little fussy cry or dirty diaper, a privilege to tend to. All brought to us by God, blood, sweat and tears.

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