Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Baby Blankenship: Trying to keep a positive outlook

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- I must admit the energy in the room during our second embryo transfer attempt wasn't the same as the first.  While we still were excited it felt different.  I think Jim and I were both a little down, a little worried that it might not work again.

Once again we went in and Dr. Young tells us they thawed 2 of our 6 embryos.  The 2 they thawed were considered 2+ grade.  Meaning they were very good quality.  We sit up by my sisters head and I held her hand while he awkwardly inserted a catheter in order to place the 2 little embryos into her uterus.

The two emrbyos

 I wouldn't say the procedure is overly painful, not that I have had to go through it... but it is uncomfortable, I find tears spring to my eyes watching my sister writhe in pain and trying to breathe through it.  It reminded me of when I was about 7 years old and she was 5.  It had been raining outside and we had matching rain slickers and rain boots.  My mom and dad had taken us to the mall and we were running through the store when she slipped and hit her forehead against the ground.

When she popped up she had this massive goose egg on her forehead.  I immediately started crying, she was calm as can be whimpering a little bit but not full on freaking out.  Not like me, I bawled my eyes out the entire way to the hospital.   They did some x rays on her and she was perfectly fine and she came out grinning telling me that her x ray made it look like she had a mustache like daddy.

It felt like that again I get a panicky feeling when I am scared she is hurting I don't know why it makes me freak out so bad but it does, and like before she is fine.  We left the Dr.'s office and had breakfast at IHOP and talked about everything except the transfer we just did. 

At the Fertility Center right before the transfer

Monday Dani had her blood drawn to test for a pregnancy and sadly it was negative.  I didn't necessarily feel shocked like I did the first time but I felt a sadness wash over me.  I get panicky inside that what if it never works, what if we run out of embryos, what will we do? 

Just like when we were young though, as I panicked and cried my sister calmly sent me a text that said, just remember sometimes this can take a few tries, it doesn't mean anything that it didn't work again it just means we need to try again and we'll keep trying until it works.

I started to feel a little better.  We have 4 embryos left to work with that's at least 2 more attempts at in vitro.  This can still work, this WILL still work.

Thursday, July 16, 2015

What's going on with Baby Blankenship?

ROCKFORD, Mich.-- It's been a while since I posted an update, mainly because not a lot has happened since we found out our first round of in vitro didn't implant.

If you are just tuning in to this story here is the gist; I was born with a fairly rare disorder, CAIS, I have no ovaries or uterus so not only can I not have children of my own, but I cant carry one either.  My sister came to me and offered to be my gestational carrier.  Which basically means we get an egg donor, and use my husbands sperm and she carries the baby.

If you don't struggle with infertility it's hard to understand the stress of it all.  It can feel unfair, women have babies, it's what we do.  Not being able to do that can make me sad and denying that would just be lying.  A common thing I hear my friends say is; "I mean, I don't even know if I can get pregnant..."

I understand the thought process but more often than not you CAN even if it's with a little help from a specialist.  The thing for me is, I CANT there is no help that can get me pregnant.  I have to rely on a whole slew of people, my sister the carrier, my donor for her eggs, my husband for the sperm, and the doctors who implant it.

Anyway my feelings and emo-ness aside here is where we are at.  After the first embryo transfer 10 days went by and we discover it did not implant which means the embryo did not attach itself to the uterine lining.  There can be a number of reasons this happens, it could be as simple as my sister having a "light" month, so her uterine lining was thinner than normal, who really knows.

So after that she goes back to normal life until she has her cycle, by the time she had it, it was almost the middle of June.  Once she had it she started her hormone medication again.  It starts with a pill she takes every day and as we approach round 2 of in vitro she starts taking the heavy duty shots.  She is in that process now.

As for us, we unfortunately only received 2 embryos out of our 7 eggs our donor provided us.  You pay for your eggs and they are frozen, well when they thawed out only 2 made it through the thaw.  Each round of in vitro you transfer 2 embryos, so we were out of eggs and I had to get more.

I think God is watching out for me because out of pure luck our donor was going back in to donate another batch of eggs the same month.  I got 7 more eggs and prayed that this time we would get all 7 to work with.

One of the eggs did not make it but the other 6 successfully turned into embryos with a grade of 2+ to 1.  (the scale is 1 to 4, 1 being the best quality, 4 being the worst.)  They then freeze those 6 embryos and unthaw 2 at a time to do the in vitro process that hopefully we only need to do one more time.

Knowing we have 3 rounds worth of embryos makes me feel much better about the entire situation.  I don't need to worry about paying for more eggs or having to find a new donor at least not for a while.

We currently do not know when the next transfer will be but I pray that the next round works and little baby Blankenship will be on his/her way.  On another note here is a cute picture of my niece Sylvia, my husband Jimmy and myself:


And here is ANOTHER cute niece photo of us I call this one "An afternoon jog," Olives, Sylvia and me.




Wednesday, July 1, 2015

Emma Frost Cosplay with Mel Boonstra

GRAND RAPIDS, Mich.-- I haven't shot a cosplay in nearly a year!  I was itching to get behind the camera and be creative.

I teamed up with Mel Boonstra who was the official photographer for Mrs Michigan America, I did my own makeup and and popped in a white contact lense for effect.  I'll tell you what those things are not that comfortable! 

I helped design Emma Frost with Viva Wonder Woman a pro cosplay we out of Vegas.  I told her my thoughts and also explained that I probably wouldn't be sporting this look in Miss Frosts usual attire of white undies... We came up with a pleather legging instead! 

The shoot was fun and Mel did a great job incorporating some cool photoshop effects!