07 January 2013

A Wonderful, Exciting, Romantic Weekend - Egg Retrieval Included

Here I am in Dr. Braverman's office....he's the best infertility doctor I've ever been to. 
I used to think being infertile was one of the worst things that could ever happen to me.  It was like I thought I would be less of a woman or less of a wife if I couldn't have children.  And as you can imagine, viewing the world in that way led to a lot of pain.  I learned firsthand that pain is so far reaching.  It affects the way you interact with the world, the way you feel when you lay your head down on your pillow, even the way you walk and breathe.  

But along the way, I learned to turn things around completely and free myself from the pain.  It was simply a choice I could make - a choice to start on a different path.  And making that choice has led to SO many good things, including a wonderful experience so far with our IVF.  After a few weeks of medications, we just had our egg retrieval yesterday!!  And so far, this entire experience - from start to finish - has been nothing short of beautiful, calm, exciting, and yes - romantic!  :)

I've been trying to think of how this has happened.  And I think the absence of fear, blame, or anxiety about the outcome has had a huge affect.

 OK, and this...


We have immense gratitude for each other and our desire to be parents together (that is the best part of this!  I could never take for granted a loving husband who wants to have kids with me.  I experienced the opposite in my first marriage and well, let's just say having a true companion by my side is the most beautiful thing ever :).  
Danny has been so sweet these last few weeks.  Here he is making me one of my favorite meals ever the night before the retrieval.  Zucchini Ribbon Pasta  :)  :)  :)


Our last shot had to be administered at 3:00 am on the dot.  Our nurse drew a bull's eye for Danny.  And now you've seen my bed head.  :) 

Also, we really, REALLY love our doctor, Dr. Braverman.  He's one of the few Reproductive Immunologists in the country and we're so glad we found him.  He is the best infertility doctor I've been to (and I've been to many!)  We probably would have done IVF much sooner, but just never felt confident in the care we were getting until now.  He's the only one that took "unexplained infertility" seriously and did all the tests he could to discover what was wrong BEFORE scheduling an IVF.  He even calls us regularly for updates and his nurses and embryologist are really, really good.  Oh, and for my autoimmune issues, he even recommends a gluten free diet, fish oils, antioxidants, Vitamin C, CoQ10, and green tea supplements.  (I actually already knew this stuff, but to hear it from my infertility doctor...that was a first for me!)

(Also, in case anyone wants to know, the infertility injections for the egg retrieval are shockingly painless and easy.  I barely could feel a thing!  The last one was so long, though, that it actually made Danny cuss when he saw it.  But I am telling you, I really, really could not feel it!  I kind of laughed each time and said, "What?! You're done?")


And, we're grateful for a car!  I've had to drive to and from Long Island every few days for appointments, and holy moly, I feel spoiled to be able to drive there.  And look at these views!  Seeing the city from the BQE always takes my breath away - sometimes I still can't believe I live here. 


And here's Danny carrying my bag on our way to church.  We headed to do the retrieval just after that.  For anyone interested, the retrieval was EASY!!  I was all geared up to face something horrific, but it was painless, took about 10-15 minutes, and was seriously easier than going to the dentist or getting a routine blood test.  I feel really lucky that it went so well.  I know other people have difficult experiences and those are generally the ones you hear about.  So if I may just throw out a positive experience...well, here it is.

The sedation was short lasting and I felt really normal immediately afterwards.  Here we are leaving the doctor's office.  I had not been able to eat or drink before the procedure, so we headed to Chipotle afterwards (one of our favorite places for a hearty - and gluten free - meal.)
And, the ride home was relaxing and beautiful.  We felt so grateful, peaceful, hopeful, and excited.

 P.S.  Today we found out the results of the retrieval and so far, all of the eggs they retrieved have fertilized!  So excited about that!!  We actually have some Danny + Mara embryos on 23rd St.  I really can't believe it.  We are rooting for them to develop well over the next couple of days.  ALSO, they found a couple of signs of endometriosis, which was suspected by Dr. Braverman.  Does anyone have that?  The next step for me is now a laproscopic surgery.  I'll also be following all of these natural suggestions found here, including acupuncture. (any tips or suggestions welcome!)  And until my body heals from the surgery, any healthy embryos that we have will be frozen in the meantime. 

P.P.S.  To anyone who IS in pain - my heart goes out to you immensely.  I have all the hope in the world that one day you, too, can be grateful for your pain.  I do not think it's a bad thing to have pain because it can be the birth place of the greatest transformation of your life.  I know that it was for me and I know that it has been for countless others.  Sometimes the timing for a transformation has to be right.  Or perhaps we have to just be open to the idea of change and desire it enough.  Or perhaps we just need to be aware that a transformation is available to us, if we want it.  But once we're aware and we desire it enough, the miracles can begin.  In the meantime, have patience and hope.  Out of all the people whom I write for, it is you that makes me want to write the most.  

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53 comments:

  1. Glad to hear everything went as well as it could. On another note, I have to say Danny's Zucchini Ribbon Pasta is one of my favorites now two and I dont even know you guys!!!

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    1. This made him so happy. haha. thank you!

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  2. Mara, I am so happy to hear that things seem like they are going positively!! What a blessing to have such a wonderfully loving companion through all of this :) You're in my prayers and my heart xx

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  3. I'm so happy things are looking good and I hope they continue to progress well! I just have to tell you again how much the things I've read on your blog over the last few months are really changing my life. I'm in the midst of the hardest months I've ever experienced and even though I haven't gotten very good at the things you talk about yet, I would be in a much worse place without the things you've shared. So thank you. :)

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    1. wow. I'm so thankful to hear this. And - little by little I know things can continue to improve on your end - even if your circumstances will not change. I am rooting for you!! love, mara

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  4. What exciting news! You have such an amazing attitude. Best of luck to you both!!

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  5. Hello Mara,

    I typically don't post comments but thought I would. I have been struggling with endometriosis since I was 17 years old and now I am 28 years old. I have not done anything with it because it wasn't a concern for me. But now that I am married we are going to look into what needs to be taken care of. So please write about anything you learn along the way. I never thought there was anything I could really do except for acknowledge that I have pain and people will think I am a hypochondriac.

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    1. Check out my blog. Www.whatshaunaknows.com and also feel free to email me. I would love to help and share what I know and my experiences.

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    2. Shauna - thanks for this resource!

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  6. Oh Mara, that is wonderful, exciting news! Very happy for you guys and will continue with positive happy thoughts/prayers your way.

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  7. Mara, I have always wanted to comment and/or write you an e-mail but I never have. I have an unfinished e-mail sitting in the draft folder of my e-mail that is addressed to you and is very long but I've never sent it. Someday :) I never feel like I can quite convey all that I want to say. Anyway, thank you for your blog. I feel like your blog posts over the past few days have been so timely and so needed for me. I have been on a three-year journey learning about myself and the Lord through infertility. I've learned so much through all of it and I really feel like your blog and pointed me in the right direction. You've shown me that I have something to learn from this whole thing instead of just waiting for it to pass. I have always admired people who handle pain and disappointment well. I hope someday that I can honestly look back and say that I learned to choose happiness, to be more than my unchanging circumstances. I read your post, "Enjoy the Process" a few days ago on the day I found out that our IUI had been unsuccessful. I felt like you had written it for me ;) You have really helped me to understand that there is a purpose to the pain and joy to be found in the journey or the process. I know that I am becoming who I need to be as a mother. Thank you so much for sharing your experiences, they mean so much to me.

    Heather

    P.S.-I showed your blog to my sister awhile ago and she did write you an e-mail. We lived in Danny's parents' ward for a while and I remember hearing his homecoming talk. Anyway, small world :)

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    1. Heather - I am truly amazed at this note. These are the notes that make me shake my head and just thank God for the ability for us to be connected in some way. I'm glad the blog has helped. And I wish you all the best as you work to surrender to this experience. Much love, Mara

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  8. it's so nice to hear a positive story about egg retrieval, because you're right! they're hard to come by! i have health issues that have most likely caused me to be infertile as well, but i won't know for sure until i start trying in a few years. still, it's something that's on my mind and something that i've read a lot about! so i feel really lucky to have stumbled onto your blog on a day where this was your most recent post. :) best of luck to you and your sweet husband - you make a beautiful couple.

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  9. Oh my goodness. I have had endometriosis since I was 15. Am 29 now. It's been a long road. I would love to share my experience with you. I actually have a blog with some posts on the subject and so much more info in my head. Way to much to write here. Head on over to my blog and if you want email me. I would love to help and share. Www.whatshaunaknows.com

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  10. My mother suffered from Endometriosis for a lengthy period of time, she had the surgery when she and my father were married. They were told they would maybe be able to have one child if they were lucky, and if the surgery were a success. They were able to have SIX of us haha, so technically we were all 'surprises'. Lots of prayer, and lots of love your way.

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  11. Hi, I've only recently discovered your amazing blog and I am extremely happy for you two and wish you the best of luck!

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  12. Ooh! So happy for you guys and excited! All the best! :)

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  13. I have endo too! I was supposed to have the surgery this past december, but someone made a mistake with the paperwork and it disappeared into thin air somehow. The doctor had to redo everything and now we're slated for NEXT December. A year feels like a very long time...
    But--I don't know if you find this too--having a date to look ahead to is definitely comforting. To know that if nothing happens this year for us, there's still a chance next year after the endometriosis is taken care of!
    {Clearly, I wasn't feeling this optimistic about the whole thing the day we found out about our missing paperwork...}

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  14. Thank you for being so honest and joy-filled about moments like this. You guys are truly an inspiration and I am thankful to know you both through the blog world.

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  15. Oh, PS: this is my wee secret blog about my pov on this subject. I'm not trying to be advertise-y, I just really like the community of blogging and "meeting" other women who know what this feels like, since I don't know any in real life... :)
    http://theartofbuildingspaceships.blogspot.ca/

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    1. I loved your post - thanks for sharing.

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  16. go mara+danny embryos! go, go! what a great post, holding back tears of joy for you guys and your journey. love it. sending so much positive energy to 23rd street :)

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  17. "Mara + Danny embryos on 23rd street." That made me so, so happy. We're rooting for you and thinking about you 24/7. Thank you for sharing your personal experiences and being such an inspiration at all times. You are such a blessing in everyone's life that knows you. xo

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  18. So glad that everything went well! Honestly, when you didn't post for a few days I was worried that something may have gone wrong. So paranoid sometimes!

    I also have endometriosis and had laproscopic surgery. I spoke with about three doctors beforehand and they recommended it because I had a farily large (4 cm) cycst on my ovary. Warning: the recovery was very difficult for me - much more so than I would have expected. I understand that surgery for endometriosis is very controversial - glad that you have a good doctor and are in good hands. I also did the lupron regimen before one of my ivf treatments, and I do not recommend it!! I now try to manage my condition through my diet - no sugar, dairy, wheat, etc. etc.

    I wish you success, and thanks for sharing!

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    1. thanks for writing in. I, too, have heard the recovery is difficult. ohhh...deep breath. I'll be thinking of all the women that have gone before me.

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  19. Crossing my fingers for you guys! A girl I know has endometriosis (i think) and she has gone through IVF. I will forward her your blog and she if she has any advice for you.

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  20. Good news, Mara! Will be thinking of you and your little embryos on 23rd Street!

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  21. Oh Mara, I'm so glad your experience has been so positive thus far. I have to admit, reading this post made me very emotional. We just did our first IVF and found out on Christmas day that it did not work. :( Not surprisingly, I was really, really sad. I'm feeling better as we are working towards our next step of a frozen egg transfer (you know how it is... action is the best medicine). It's all so ironic because I felt just like you -- calm and excited. Leading up to IVF was an amazing experience. I now feel frustrated and confused, not to mention sad. Even typing this is bringing up some of those emotions that I have tried to get over. I'm praying my heart out this next transfer goes well.

    Also, reading about your doctor got me thinking about switching mine. But since I live in Utah having a fertility doctor in NY probably isn't very practical :) I truly love her as my doctor, but I'm still in the "unexplained category" and that gets really frustrating.

    I will keep you in my thoughts as you guys gear up for the transfer and wait!

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    1. Camille - so sorry to hear about the ivf. It is so sad when these things don't work. Sending you good wishes as you mourn this loss and try to find the strength to try again.

      FYI, my doctor does do consultations by phone to get patients the correct blood work they need for these unexplained categories or recurrent miscarriage, failed IVFs, etc. There is specific blood work he orders that most doctors are not experienced with. It might be worth checking this out before your next transfer. Also, check out his website. There is TONS of helpful info on there. The videos are helpful, too. xo, M

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  22. Thank you, thank you, thank you Mara! I had commented on an earlier post wondering more about your fertility treatment regarding the overactive immune system issues(something I have with Hashimotos and Celiacs). I'll have more to talk to my doctor about now and will try out the things you have recommended. ((That coconut oil recommendation is working wonders for my skin so I'm eager to enjoy the benefits of more Mara recommendations!:) )
    Blessings to you and those lovely embryos!!
    xoxo

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    1. My treatment is going to be IVIG infusions before implantation (&likely during the pregnancy) and a few other things to make the environment favorable for implantation and pregnancy. Without this, I would be at high risk for miscarriage, stillborn, and autism in the child. My doctor (& a few others in the country) believe that if you have a current autoimmune disease and you are having trouble getting pregnant, that there are probably other high levels of autoimmune markers that are holding up the pregnancy. These autoimmune issues can also be passed onto the child through the placenta (if not treated) and often times autism is the result. Also, unless they specialize in Reproductive Immunology, they probably will not be doing the correct tests. It's a very, very specific niche. I would recommend doing a consult by phone with one of these doctors. (Also check the Alan Beer Center in CA or the SIRM centers in Vegas and elsewhere.)

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  23. I am so glad everything went well,and I really hope and pray that your dreams of being a mom will come true someday soon.

    Thanks a lot for your blog, it has helped me a lot: I suffered infertily too, and my ex husband left me 4 years ago after almost 4 years of marriage, because he said I couldnt give him the children he wanted (some months after he left me, I discovered he was seeing another woman,they have been together since our second year of marriage,and she is her wife now, and the mother of his son).

    It was a nightmare for me,and I thought I would never be the same again,but, after a lot of crying, praying,very bad days and a difficult battle against myself to learn what kind of woman I wanted to be, I decided that I had the right to be happy, to start again and to fullfill my dreams. Sometimes its not easy,and reading your blog really helps a lot: THANK YOU.

    I do really believe that we, as women, have a huge power to make this world a better place,in many different ways, we all have a talent that will make others happy.You have a lot oftalents, and you make many peolple so happy, so I am sure you will be happytoo ,with a kidin your arms someday, you really deserve it!!. Thanks again, for everything.

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    1. GOOD FOR YOU for working to change your life. That is AMAZING - perhaps the most amazing journey anyone could go on. And thank you, thank you for this note. It's just amazing to me to read stuff like this. I knew these lessons were powerful...and I just can't believe that somehow I've been able to communicate it all out for other people to read. ALL THE BEST TO YOU in your journey. Good things ahead, I promise. love, M

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  24. I have endo as well, gluten/dairy intolerance, and thyroid issues apparently they are some how all interconnected I had the lap surgery done, and was not impressed with it as they said it would cut down on my monthly cycle pain 60%, I think it maybe helped 10% needless to say I was glad to find out why I had been living in pain since I was 16. Keep your head up and don't let anyone tell you that because of endo you wont have a baby, I am six months pregnant with all sorts of issues and I have always believed it was possible no matter what anyone said or comments they would make I knew I'd get my babies and you will too!! Keep up the positivity you will get your baby in the perfect time for your family!!

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    1. So interesting to hear about the surgery. It seems it isn't that helpful in a lot of cases, which is a shame. It's such a mysterious disease. Anyway, thanks for the wonderful note. And CONGRATS on your pregnancy!!! That's awesome!!! -M

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  25. Why is it that the best treatment for endometriosis is to have a baby but usually that is one of the obstacles to even conceive in the first place?? Oh well it all works out..always does. I had a really great experience with IVF. Now the laparoscopy on the other hand not so much. I felt like the best way to suppress the endo was consistent exercise...didn't care for lupron at all. Are they telling you to have a lap before they transfer the frozen embryos? Anyway I AM SO excited for you. This whole process is a miracle. Hopefully they show you the image of the divided embryos before they transfer. With my girls we joke around that we could already see dimples under the microscope before they put them into the cushiest part of my baby oven. Wish I could see you at ALT this year. Although I am assuming there will not be many super late into the morning chats with Danny at your side;) Loves.

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    1. HI!! My dear friend. I miss you. I can't believe you have endo. I didn't realize. I've heard the surgery is just awful. Good to hear about the exercise. Time to amp that up. Luckily I don't have any symptoms whatsoever from the endo. And yes, they are wanting to do the lap before the transfer. Is that what they did for you? And - fun idea to see the photo before the transfer. :) love ya and miss you.

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  26. Good luck! Hope all those little embryos grow. I start shots for my 4th IVF on Friday. I actually spoke with Dr. Braverman in October, was so surprised he called me himself! Unfortunately, my insurance didn't cover him as I live in nj, so I didn't end up seeing him. He does seem amazing though. I was wondering, did he test you for BPA? It's been said to cause infertility but my doctor knee nothing about it when I asked him! Just wondering if Dr. Braverman is in the know. :)

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  27. Not sure about the BPA. It doesn't sound familiar, but I'll check. Thank you !

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  28. Just wanted to wish you the best of luck! You have such a wonderful outlook - thank you for sharing it with us!

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  29. Hi Mara,
    I was sent your blog by a close friend who knows I'm starting IVF treatments soon for the first time. I am not going for infertility issues (as far as I know) but because I am a carrier of a fatal genetic disease. Your post Enjoy the Process touched me in such an amazing way. I have been anxious and excited and looking to the future through the whole process, which I know is natural. But I have forgotten how much love there is between my husband and me throughout this process. I want to thank you for being so positive and for helping me stay positive as well. I'm going to start the stimulation shots in a few weeks and I'm going to try to remember your advice.
    Also, I just started acupuncture at the Yinova Center in Manhattan. It's on East 11th Street. I absolutely love it there and would definitely recommend it! You should check it out.

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  30. I have endometriosis and get painful ovarian cysts and have thyroid problems and have been able to give birth to five children. Let's say hurrah for miracles! I have also adopted and that is a beautiful, sacred experience as well. I will be praying for angels to watch over your little embryos.
    I have also heard that vitamin E helps with infertility and foot zoning would help with both endometriosis and embryo transfer. It increases fertility for up to 72 hours. It may be difficult to find a zoner in your area (we are concentrated in the west)but worth a shot. Found one at the academyoffootzonetherapy.com site in Amsterdam, New york. You can find some additional info. on zoning at wedofeet.net
    May God bless you in all your experiences that they will all "be for your good".

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  31. Hi Mara,

    After 2 frustrating years of trying to get pregnant, I had two laps last year: the first one in March confirmed that I had stage 4 endometriosis. I was completely shocked, as I'd had painful periods, but just thought that was part of my cycle and was "normal" for me. The recovery really wasn't that awful. It was majorly uncomfortable and inconvenient, yes, but I didn't have that much pain as long as I was careful and really slow in my movements. I also saved up a ton of Downton Abbey episodes to watch, which really helped. :) The worst part (TMI warning) was the gas left from when they inflate the abdomen for the procedure. Anyway, I wrote about it a little here: http://thefledglingmatriarch.blogspot.com/2012_03_01_archive.html

    I had my second lap in September to get scar tissue cleaned up and check out an ovary that looked pretty bad the first go round (luckily, it healed well, and I got to keep it). Recovery from that one took half the time (about 4 days compared to more like a week, though I only took 3-4 days of work each time). Anyway, all that to say that yes, it's surgery, and yes, it sucks, but in the grand scheme of things, it's not terrible, you'll do fine, and above all, it's worth it to have answers and get rid of any endo you have. Plus, I had some really good, quiet, restful downtime in each of my recoveries. Since then, we've been trying to conceive with the help of some low clomid doses and one IUI that didn't work around Thanksgiving.

    Best of the best of luck to you as you move forward in this process!

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  32. Thank you for posting about your experience with IVF. My husband and I just found out we will need to go in for IVF to have children (ICSI IVF) and so I've been getting our IVF schedule all worked out with our Dr. here in Boston. Not being a fan of shots, I openly admit the prospect of having to do those has scared me a bit. But I'm so glad to hear they were painless for you - hopefully it will be the same experience for me! You've given me hope! :) Such excellent news about the fertilization!!! Congrats!!! I don't know you at all but love your blog and am so excited for you!

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  33. Hi Mara, I was diagnosed with stage 4 endo in my early 20's and had 2 laparoscopies in the couple of years following that diagnosis. My endo was severe enough that it put me down in bed every month for a few days with extreme cramping and bleeding. The laps eased some of those symptoms for a short time at least (about 6 months) and I don't remember the recovery being horrible. Took a few days to get up and moving around normally again but I expected that from what I was told beforehand. I would say it's a good idea to have it done before doing an embryo transfer because things will be nice and cleaned out for a better chance at success. We did our first round of IVF after my 2nd lap and got three babies out of it. The doctor told me after I was pregnant that he was shocked that I was pregnant at all, let alone with three, because my issues were that severe. Those 3 miracle babies just turned 8 and they even have a miracle little baby brother who just turned one. While I've reached the end of my infertility journey, I don't think I will ever forget what I went through during that journey and how hard it was and how I had to let go and realize that it wasn't in my hands. That was the first experience of my life where I learned to trust in my Heavenly Father and His will for my life. And I wouldn't trade that lesson or experience for anything. My prayers are with you and all those who are struggling on the infertility path.

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  34. OMG those are your babies! I am crying!!

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  35. I am rooting for everything to go perfectly for you. good luck!

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  36. I am new to your blog - and I keep swearing to myself that I will TURN OFF THE COMPUTER and quit wasting time! :> - but this post moved me so that I have to at least send my love across the miles. My dear, I have been there & done that, and while I have no idea how your story will end - I do want you to know that there are happy endings for everyone who chooses them. At 30 I had seen so many doctors and had so many procedures that I quit keeping track (shocking for anal me). At 40 I was living in an entirely different universe, and that tiny solar system of "infertility" seemed light-years away. Prayers and peace to you, from one who has most definitely been there!

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  37. A little late on commenting....But I saw this and HAD to comment. You have such a beautiful outlook on this topic. I just went through my first IVF cycle and its not an easy deal. But its funny how it brings you together. Its a kind of closeness that you only get when you go through something difficult. I will always cherish those insanely intimate moments with my husband. I hope it works out for you guys. Good luck! xoxo

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  38. Hi Mara,

    Your blog was recommended by another blogger battling infertility. I'm in the midst of it right now too, although we're still trying to decide about IVF. Thanks for opening up, sharing your story, and even better: sharing your courage!

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  39. Hi Mara,

    I want to say thank you so much for your post. We had egg retrieval this morning. It didn't go as smoothly as yours seemed to, and I'm a little sore, but after reading your post last night, I felt so much better, and it gave me a lot of strength. In the days leading up to, partly because I was alone away from home, (we live in the country and Anthony wasn't granted leave from work to be with me the whole time), I'd felt really anxious and worried. (I've often reacted badly to anesthesia, and I'm also still grieving after losing my beloved mum last year). But, your kind and loving words were the perfect medicine, and helped me to reframe this time in a much more positive way...I wish you all light, and the very best in all things, Vana xx

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  40. Hi Mara,

    I am so thankful to you for this post. I have my retrieval soon and this post has given me so much hope and positive vibes. God bless

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