"If it can happen for me, it can happen for you too."

SUCCESS STORIES
MEET COURTNEY
TELL US YOUR STORY:
OR WRITE TO US:

istillwanttobeamom@gmail.com

“I always wanted to be a mother. Growing up, there was no indication that there would be any problem conceiving. My mom got pregnant after only three months of trying at the age of 35. Other women in my family also conceived easily--and sometimes accidentally. I didn't know a single person who struggled.


My plan was to get pregnant at 28, have three kids, and be done by the time I was 35. It seemed perfectly reasonable at the time, but it didn't happen that way.
I came off birth control at 28, and it took several months before my period was regular again. At this point, we just weren't preventing pregnancy. That first year passed quickly without any success. Then, I became serious about it. I started tracking my cycles using my BBT and cervical mucus. We did bloodwork, semen analysis, and an HSG test. Everything came back normal. There was no reason we weren't getting pregnant. My OB/GYN advised to just keep trying.


So, we did. Another year went by. Feeling like I was doing everything right and without any direction from my doctor, I decided to seek out help. I started going to a fertility acupuncturist twice a week, taking herbs, and adjusting my diet a bit. Within the first month, I had a positive pregnancy test.


At 8 weeks, we went in for the first ultrasound. No heartbeat. My hormone levels weren't where they should be. The doctor then told me I was wrong. I must have my dates wrong about my last period. Come back in two weeks. And if I start bleeding, I should give them a call.


The next two weeks were torturous. I wasn't sure what was going on with my body, and I felt unheard and unsupported by my doctor. Finally, on Sunday night, the night before my appointment, I started bleeding. Over the course of the next week, I miscarried.


It was at this point that I decided that I would stand up for myself and do what was best for me. It took several months for my body to get back to normal. At this point, I finally knew I could conceive, I just had to sustain it.


I was careful with my diet, I continued with acupuncture, and I fully trusted that I would get pregnant again and have a child. Eleven months after that first positive pregnancy test, I had another one. I immediately requested a prescription for progesterone from my doctor. At that 8-week ultrasound, there was a heartbeat.
I gave birth to my son, Lincoln, on my due date, August 13, 2014. It was three days after my 32nd birthday. It was a four-year journey, and it was worth it to have our son.


It was that experience of feeling alone, unheard, and unsupported that led me to becoming a fertility coach. I now get to be support for someone else both with the health and mindset sides of a fertility journey.”


If you want to learn more about Courtney’s journey or get more information about fertility coaching, visit her website or social media:

Website: www.cgtcoaching.com 

Facebook: www.facebook.com/cgtcoaching/

Instagram: www.instagram.com/courtneyguerintully

YouTube: Fertility Journey Stories

https://www.youtube.com/channel/UC19uqd9rzuHB9nwiqr2m7sQ/

MEET MICHELLE

“My husband and I waited until our wedding day for our first kiss and all intimacy. We thought honoring God with our purity would bless our marriage and everything we desired from it. Getting married in our mid-thirties, we both never wanted to wait any longer to begin trying for kids. Little did we know that after 6 months of trying, and spending thousands of dollars of testing, we would not conceive, and the specialist doctor would have absolutely no answers.

I was ready to sign up for IUI the day our testing came back inconclusive. I was tired of crying every month my period came on or being embarrassed when someone asked me why I wasn’t pregnant yet. My husband had faith and said, “I don’t think that IUI/IVF is going to be a part of our story.”

In June 2018 (After 12 months of trying) Our church held a 9 day fast for every couple trying to conceive (9 days for every month of our future pregnancy). Our pastor told us specifically he believed God was telling him that we would get pregnant naturally.

21 months after starting our journey, modifying our diet to keto, exercising consistently, and praying more fervently, without any medical intervention, we conceived naturally! My regular doctor who initially referred us out to a fertility clinic asked me how we got pregnant. You can call it what you want, but we call it a God-given miracle. I believe this became my story because God knew I wouldn’t be ashamed to tell what we’ve been through! I know there are so many more couples who have been waiting much longer than us, but please believe God can do anything!”

For more information about Michelle Tillman’s journey, please visit her YouTube Channel or her Podcast.


Youtube:
https://m.youtube.com/c/MichelleTillman

Podcast:
https://anchor.fm/michelle-tillman/episodes/Episode-1-Michelle-Tillman-Introduction-e3s1qh

MEET HEATHER

“Our dearest Kennedy, your legacy lives on...

On August 17, 2009 Kennedy Milan Wilson was born silently into this world. After 25 hours of labor our beautiful, perfect, 5-pound baby girl was born. I was 35 weeks pregnant when I delivered her. I can vividly recall the events leading up to that day. I can remember not feeling movement in my belly and calling my husband who was working an overnight shift at the fire-station. He reassured me that everything was fine and that he was on his way home to get his baby-girl to kick for her daddy.

 

Demitri always had a way with Kennedy; he was always able to get her to move by talking to my belly. She loved the sound of her daddy's voice.  As soon as he came home he started talking to my belly with such hope in his voice. When she didn't move he went to the kitchen and grabbed the ol' safety orange juice... still no movement! So we called our doctor who instructed us to head straight to the hospital as a precautionary measure. I prayed so hard in the shower as I prepared to go to the hospital. With tears in my eyes I asked God to protect my babygirl, to make sure she was okay. I wanted to believe that she was just sleeping and our trip to the hospital just be a quick hook up to the heart monitor to tell us she was doing great and ready for her delivery the next week. We drove to the hospital to face the unknown. My youngest sister, Tiffany was with us, she and Demitri were so positive, they were certain that she was just fine. In my mind as I prepared to head to the hospital, I was not totally convinced that everything was okay, I guess it was my mommy instinct. I’d have to admit my pregnancy wasn’t the easiest pregnancy I had morning, afternoon, and night sickness and discovered that I also had preeclampsia, so I was being monitored very closely. In fact, I was having non-stress test performed every other day and had my last one less than 48 hours before. The test results showed that she was doing great and there were no concerns. Although I was on bed rest for the most part I was doing well and enjoying my pregnancy. Kennedy was very blessed and loved, she still is; she is so loved that she had three baby showers, one in Rhode Island, and two here in Virginia. With all the love, support, and gifts we were able to set up Kennedy’s nursery. All of her clothes were washed in Dreft and put in her white wardrobe. The theme of the nursery was set up so eloquent; the theme was butterflies and the colors were pink, white, and beige. Everything was perfect, all of the hopes and dreams we had to watch this little girl grow up in this room kept our hearts full of wonder. Her brother, Little Demitri had been an only child for 13 years so you can imagine the excitement he was feeling to finally have a sibling. Although I did not give birth to him, he is my son (we don’t use the term “step child” in our house) and I love him like my own. Our family was about to grow, and we could not be more happy and full of anticipation.

Fast forward to the short 15-minute drive to the hospital that seemed like an eternity. As we arrived we went directly to the maternity floor and were immediately hooked up to the Fetal Doppler heart monitor machine. One by one nurses walked in and out of our room; at times changing the machine to make sure it was working properly. My sister and husband still remained optimistic and hopeful, and me I was still silently praying and somewhat numb to everything that was happening around me. After about an hour of them trying to find her heart beat, they sent in a doctor. It was the on-call doctor, I had never met her before but she was about to deliver the worst news any parent could bear to hear. She was a total stranger to us and in a calm voice she looked at us and uttered the words, “I’m sorry to be the one to tell you that unfortunately there is no heartbeat, your daughter has passed away” She then said, “I will give you two a moment to digest this information and will be here to talk to you when you are ready.” She left quietly, I sobbed uncontrollably, and my husband lost it. He threw his cell phone across the room, tossed the chairs, and broke down crying like I have never witnessed him cry before. He went through every emotion possible and it was awful to watch. It was so unbearable to watch him grieve for his baby girl. I could do nothing but cry, I sat there in disbelief. I couldn’t talk, I couldn’t move, all I could do was cry. The silence and pain was truly unbearable. The doctors came in soon after and then informed me that not only had my baby died but I had to deliver her. Kennedy was my first child, so I had no clue what to expect in regards delivery, let alone the delivery of a deceased baby. What would she look like? What happens next? How will I go on without her? These were just a few thoughts that ran through my head. The doctors prepped me and I went into active labor. The first person I called was my mother, she knew what happened as my sister had already briefed her. When she handed me the phone I had no words and she had very few herself. I remember her encouraging me to stay calm and that she was on her way. And by on her way she meant she was leaving from Rhode Island and would be there in 10 hours. I thought I would deliver her before my parents arrived, but I didn’t. My parents were able to be there for the birth of their granddaughter. After 25 hours of brutal labor (in which my blood pressure skyrocketed so high that the doctors were concerned that I might have a stroke), I delivered my daughter. Kennedy came out in just two pushes, she was perfect, she was mine, and I loved her so much. She was everything I prayed for. My doctor placed her in my arms and I held her and cried so hard that it hurt. It was hard to breath I was overcome by her beauty and overcome with emotion at the same time. I gazed into her beautiful brown eyes and kissed her. I wanted this to all be a bad dream; this was not how our story was supposed to end. Instead of planning her future we had to plan her funeral. We were told that Kennedy died from Placenta Abruption, but that diagnosis didn't make it hurt any less, the pain was still there, and a part of me had died with my baby.

Unfortunately, I was too sick to help with the funeral planning so instead my mother and my husband made all the final arrangements. One thing that stuck out to me was when my mother was trying to find the perfect dress to put her granddaughter to rest in, it was merely impossible. My mother could not find a gown that fit my angel. She searched high and low and even tried doll clothing which was also too big for her. My mom did the best she could to honor her granddaughter and found a dress that was big on her but the smallest and most appropriate white dress and bonnet she could find.

Since this tragedy my husband and I have always wanted to honor Kennedy but never knew how we would honor her. It wasn’t until 2016 that the idea of making angel gowns and helping grieving families that knew our pain became the vision and focus of honoring Kennedy. This vision has now come to be a reality and we are now making angel gowns and other garments for angel babies and helping families who have suffered the loss of a child, before, during, or shortly after birth. These beautiful gowns are made from donated wedding gowns. In addition, Kennedy’s Angel Gowns helps families find resources and works to bring awareness to infertility, miscarriage, stillbirth, and infant loss. We also donate Cuddle Cots and Caring Cradles to local hospitals. To date we have donated 5 Cuddle Cots and 2 Caring Cradles. More recently, we embarked on a new journey to provide our local hospital in Norfolk, Virginia with a Bereavement Suite.  The Bereavement suite which we named "The Butterfly Suite" is a private bereavement space for grieving patients and their visitors. This room designated specifically for a patient and her family/visitors who have experienced a Perinatal Loss in Labor and Delivery. This room is located in a private wing, among staff offices and doctor sleep rooms, so that the patient and her family will not hear the sound of babies crying or celebrating families. Patients cared for in the past, have expressed that seeing a baby or hearing a baby cry adds additional pain and suffering to their grief. We are beyond proud of this room and are thankful that families enduring this pain have a private place to grieve and begin their healing process.

 

 

I didn't think I'd ever survive this tragedy and feeling of emptiness, but through Kennedy’s Angel Gowns I've discovered life again and it has truly helped my healing process. Each gown is sewn with love and I pray over each gown and for the bereaved families as well. By dedicating myself to sewing these angel gowns and helping others in their time of grief I'm keeping Kennedy's memory alive. Kennedy never breathed a breath of air outside of my womb and yet she continues to make an impact on this world and her legacy lives on!

We now have a rainbow baby, Ryleigh Milan Wilson who was born on 12/18/10, her middle name was passed down by her older sister who continues to watch over her and our family daily. A "Rainbow Baby" is a baby that is born following a miscarriage, stillborn, neonatal death or infant loss. A beautiful and bright rainbow follows a storm and gives hope of things getting better.

When we see a butterfly, we know that Kennedy is near, and it comforts us. These butterflies tend to appear when we need her most or when we are reaching milestones and for that I am truly thankful. Kennedy Milan Wilson, we will never forget you and will continue to honor and cherish your memory forever!”

 

If you would like to learn more about Kennedy’s Angel Gowns, Heather’s story, or find out how you can support her organization, please visit her website.

Website: https://www.kennedysangelgowns.org/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/kennedysangelgowns/

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/kennedysangelgowns

MEET MONICA

“Monica Bivas was born in Colombia South America. She married the love of her life and since he already had a daughter, she was blessed with a wonderful stepdaughter. Although they had a little girl, they decided to grow their family. When Monica was 32 years old, she and her husband were informed that she had severe endometriosis that caused double blockage of her fallopian tubes, so her only option to become a mom was Invitro Fertilization (IVF). Even after doing a laparoscopy to try to unblock them, it didn’t work so IVF was now the real only option. Her husband Moshe Bivas was supporting all the way; however, the emotional stress was very heavy on them both.  Her first cycle was successful, they retrieved 34 eggs and 14 fertilized, 4 were transferred and she was a mom of a girl. She thought it was so easy that next cycle would be the same, but it was not….

In 2009, Monica and Moshe decided to have a second baby.  Due to a mistake made by the clinic in the dosage of medicine, Monica got OHSS and her cycle had to be cancelled. The RE offered them another cycle at no cost, assuming their responsibility in this mistake.

This time Monica and Moshe decided to do chromosomal testing because they wanted a baby boy.  They had 4 embryos, 3 were male. The single female embryo was the less developed. They decided to transfer all 4.  Oddly enough, they got pregnant with that baby girl. 

Monica’s pregnancy was good all the way, including the amniocentesis, which confirmed she was expecting a girl.  Everything was normal. But no one knew that Monica was developing a blood issue.  At 39 weeks, 3 days before the delivery due date, their baby girl, Isabelle, passed away in her womb due to a blood clot in the umbilical cord.

Monica had to deliver her anyway. Devastated and lost, she felt guilty for what happened. It was very painful and empty…so empty that Monica and Moshe pursued a 4th round of IVF less than 2 months later.  Monica did get a positive pregnancy test, but she miscarried at 7 weeks.

In 2011, Monica and Moshe got to the point of being completely lost, with no sign of how to find their way again. Driven by fear and ego, their relationship with each other turned into a disaster and they almost got divorced. They chose to make some changes. They chose love.

In 2012, Monica and Moshe decided to go for another round of IVF, the 5th and final. This cycle was an amazing experience; full of love, healthy dialogue and peace which was a direct result of working together as a team. This last round of IVF resulted in a baby girl. Their family was now complete.

After this experience, Monica decided she wanted to help encourage other woman struggling with infertility and loss. Today she is an IVF, Fertility, and life coach. She is also the author of the book The IVF Planner: A Personal Journal to Organize your Journey Through In vitro Fertilization (IVF) with Love & Positivity.”

If you would like more information about her book, coaching services, or products please see the information below:

Website: www.monicabivas.com   

Book: www.theivfplanner.com

Facebook page: https://www.facebook.com/monicabivasIVFcoach/

Facebook Group: https://www.facebook.com/groups/theivfjourney/

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/monicabivas/

Fertility Jewerly and Products: https://monicabivas.com/en/products/

MEET KEISHA

"I never thought I would be one of the women that would have to deal with infertility. I had no trouble at all conceiving my first 2 children in high school without even trying, as a matter of fact, I was even on birth control when I got pregnant with the both of them!!! At age 21 I found myself pregnant again. I was so excited with the possibility of having a daughter! I went in for my anatomy scan at 18w5d and I could barely contain my excitement - it was all I had to look forward to after finally being able to end my abusive relationship. I will never forget the day - I laid on the table as the sonographer placed the warm gel on my belly. As soon as I saw the screen I knew something was wrong... "It's a girl she said... but I
can't find a heartbeat".

1 year later, at age 22 I was pregnant again. I went in for my first ultrasound and found out that I was carrying TWINS!!! At 9 weeks I started having some bleeding and went for another scan to find out that I had lost 1 of the babies. At 12 weeks I started bleeding again - I lost the other baby. I decided that more children just weren't in the cards for me. I met my now husband in 2013. He didn't have any biological children and I realized that I really did want another child. We basically began trying to have a baby together right after we met. We were both ok with the possibility of a relationship not working out and were confident we would be able to co-parent at the very least. After trying to get pregnant for 4.5 years with no luck, talking to 2 different primary care doctors who were unwilling to help, and countless ovulation predictor kits we finally found a doctor who would listen to us.

We started with a semen analysis while we waited for our referral to a reproductive endocrinologist to be approved. It came back that my husband had a very low sperm count and the majority of his sperm were of low motility. Still hopeful,  finally got an appointment with the RE and went in for our consultation. The RE did a bunch of testing on the both of us. We found that our problem conceiving was with my husband. With his semen they gave us a <5% chance of conceiving naturally and IUI was not an option; our only choice was IVF. We took several months thinking about what to do next. IVF was too expensive and we weren't sure if we were willing to spend so much money on something that was likely to only be 65% effective. after 8 months we finally decided to go for it. I was hopeful that I could get pregnant but unsure if I would be able to carry the baby to term.

 

Fast forward 2 months to January 2018 - after countless medications, injections, blood work, ultrasounds, an egg retrieval and MANY missed days of work it was FINALLY implantation day! I remember being so stressed and nervous about the procedure (more so than the egg retrieval) that I didn't sleep the night before and I puked my brains out the whole way to the doctor's office. We transferred 1 out of our 5 embryos and there was nothing to do but wait - oh - and NOT TEST
(doctor's orders). I was told to wait 9 days and then come back for blood work. Like many other women in my position I couldn't wait. I tested the day before my beta and in less than 30 seconds I got the strongest positive I had ever seen in my life!!! I was cautiously optimistic because I knew that it could've been a false positive due to all of my medications. Sure enough, my beta came in and confirmed my pregnancy! It was a rough pregnancy filled with complications, high risk appointments, and lots of ultrasounds but I finally made it to week 37 and gave birth that same day. After a brutal 7 hours and a threatened C-section I gave birth to my perfect 6lb daughter on September 20, 2018! There was nothing left but to enjoy her! She has been the best addition to my family and one of the greatest joys of my life! I never thought I would be a girl mom but I love it!! My daughter actually inspired me to open a business! We have a headband store and hopefully
will expand to products for the whole family soon!"

If you would like to visit Keisha's online store, please click this link:

 

Website: www.shopkskorner.com 

MEET TESS

"I never thought becoming a mama would be hard. 

 

My parent’s were able to have my sister and I.  My husband, Daniel, have parents that went through infertility, and with the help of medication, able to conceive him and his sister.  And sure, you learn things in sex ed class, but no one teaches you just what real life can bring when you find out you cannot have a baby on your own.

 

Dan and I had gone back and forth for many years about wanting children and how many.  We both came from families in which there are two children, and although that seemed like the obvious choice, something was not settling right with me.  For example, we have one dog, Mr. Big, and we love him to pieces.  For nine years, he was our fur-baby, and I didn’t want another dog.  And although animals and humans are not the same, my heart was in the same place…if I could have a baby, I wanted to have one.  One in which I could set all my heart and efforts on.

 

After over a year of trying to conceive, Dan and I were referred to a specialist to look into our fertility struggles.  After a surgery to clear a blocked tube, finding out about a cyst I had, and enduring many, many blood tests, it turned out that there were problems on both sides, and the odds of conceiving without medical assistance were less than 1%.  IVF would give us a chance of up to 75% success in conceiving, and not knowing what I would be in for, we decided privately that IVF would be our shot (no pun intended) to have a baby. 

 

And so we informed our extended families of infertility and the journey of IVF we would be headed upon.  Our fertility doctor is one of the best in the Chicagoland area, and we felt as positive as we possibly could in a situation of the unknown.  I had seven eggs retrieved, and all seven were successfully fertilized.  In the process of IVF, we ended up losing some of the embryos and were down to three to be sent for genetic testing.  One did not make it, and one came back positive for transfer.  There was one embryo that did not come back with a result, and I remember the doctor’s office asking me if I wanted to have the embryo retested.  Dan and I decided that we did, and while that embryo was sent out, I could have the embryo that came back positive transferred. 

 

And so we did.

 

A few days after a successful transfer, we were cautious and careful in everything I did.  I took off work the day I went for the blood test to find out whether or not I was pregnant.  I wanted to be alone. 

 

And then I got the call…the transfer worked, and we were pregnant.

 

I decided not to tell Dan until he got home, as I wanted the chance to surprise him like other women got to do when they took a successful at-home pregnancy test.  Except my way was through several blood tests at the doctor’s office.  I had baby Air Jordan’s and flameless candles set up in what would be the future nursery.  When Dan came in, he went upstairs and was surprised with the good news.  He was so happy, and I was feeling things I couldn’t believe…I was finally pregnant.

Right before the transfer it is important to note that we received information that the embryo that needed to be retested came back positive.  Stunned at this news, we decided to keep that embryo frozen and would think about the possibilities later. 

 

It was time for some additional blood tests to see how the transfer was doing and the pregnancy progressing.  I remember getting the call telling me that the HCG numbers should have doubled but mine did not.  They would need me to come in again for another test.  Worried about what could happen, I did all I could to shield Dan for the heartache and pain of bad news.  The numbers were not rising, and I had a miscarriage. 

 

We were devastated. 

 

Making those calls to the family members was only part of the pain.  Knowing how excited Dan was about me being pregnant, and then telling him we had lost our baby, well, some moments truly make you stronger in life.  That pain is something I will never forget.

 

Still…we still had one embryo left that could be transferred.  Soon my body healed and with continuous shots and medication, I was ready for the transfer of the final embryo we had; the “surprise” embryo that was retested and came back positive.  I remember that whole week acting completely different than I did with the first transfer.  I was doubtful and felt like I needed to prepare myself for disappointment again.  It would help me when something bad happens this time around if I already expected it.  But, Dan reminded me to stay focused on this fighter embryo.  

 

And so I tried with all I had in me.

 

We had the transfer, and I remember our nurse specifically telling us to do everything opposite we did with the first transfer.  “You’re not superstitious are you?,” she asked.  Being that I am not, we tried to be as normal as possible and not live in fear of the tiny embryo that was fighting to stick inside of me and become a positive pregnancy.  And even though my body was reacting completely different with this transfer than from the first one, I did all I could to remain calm.  Daniel was my greatest supporter and without him, I don’t know if I could have stayed true to my word on believing this time would be different.

 

Then the day came for the blood test to determine if I was pregnant. This time, I went to work and tried not to think about what the result would be.  When I got the phone call that afternoon, the nurse was happy and told me the transfer was successful, and we were pregnant.  Still, knowing that things could take a turn for the worse (the HCG number was still lower now than with the first transfer), I played my emotions cautiously.  A few days later, I took another blood test, and the HCG number grew more than expected.  I remember getting the call and this time things were dramatically different.  The pregnancy was healthy and successful and although anything can happen, we were further along than before!  I called Dan with the news, and I will never forget the tone in his voice or how he responded that day.  It was an amazing moment of complete joy. 

 

Speed up nine unforgettable months, and on April 19, 2018, my water broke.  On April 20, 2018, after four hours of pushing, I gave birth to the most beautiful, healthy blessing in a baby boy.  His name is Ferris Jobs, and Dan and I love him so much our hearts hurt.  We chose not to find out the gender or tell anyone our name choice.  When the nurse handed him to me and said I had a son, Daniel and I looked at each other and cried.  It was the happiest moment of our lives. 

 

In the story of Ferris, I wouldn’t change a thing. 

 

He will grow up knowing that he was born to do great things, that he was wanted and loved by his parents more than anything in this universe, and that there is a guardian angel always looking out for him. 

 

He is our rainbow baby, and the greatest love of my life."

Tess Kossow is an author of a children's book series written  to help explain In Vitro Fertilization to them. Please visit  the links below to connect with Tess or get more information about her book series:

Blog - https://tesskossow.com/blog/

 

Website: https://tesskossow.com/

 

Book: https://tesskossow.com/book/im-very-ferris/

 

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/imveryferris/?modal=admin_todo_tour

 

Instagram: https://www.instagram.com/tesskossow/

 

Linkedin: https://www.linkedin.com/in/tess-kossow-100657178

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