Share Your Story - Meet Misha!

Welcome to the Share Your Story series on InfertileAF, where we feature women and men willing to boldly share their personal insight into their diagnosis or their journey alongside Infertility.


Want to share your story? You can complete your interview HERE!

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Misha Algeo

Instagram Handle:

@msalgeo

Age: 35

Location:

Newport Beach, CA

Give us your quick bio:

I’m 35, have been married for 6 years and started my fertility journey at the age of 30. My husband and I have a beautiful baby girl via a gestational carrier. I wasn’t originally public about my journey. Not out of fear or shame, but I just never thought we would get as far as we did. Now, I wish I had been more open about it as hearing other women's journeys gave me so much hope. So I’m sharing this in an effort to give a little more faith to other women.

What is your personal experience with Infertility?
I’m a very persistent and linear person, and my journey with infertility could be described the same way. I never let myself jump too many steps ahead. I never thought the next treatment wouldn’t work, until it didn’t. I always had the mentality that you could work hard enough or try hard enough and you would eventually succeed. My experience with infertility had flipped that on it’s head.
I started out like many other women – naïve, thinking I would get off birth control, try for a few months and get pregnant. But I didn’t. And after a year, I made an appointment at a fertility clinic and was diagnosed with PCOS. I was put on Letrozole, but after 5 failed rounds, we made the decision to move onto IVF. I had a great retrieval and 8 embryos made it through PGS testing. It was during my first frozen embryo transfer cycle that we realized my uterine lining was extremely thin and I was one of the rare cases that didn’t react to exogenous estrogen. My lining never climbed above 6mm and I had 4 back to back cancelled cycles.
We finally decided to try a transfer with my lining at 6mm and it worked! I was pregnant and we even saw the heartbeat at 6 weeks. But then at 7 weeks, it had weakened substantially and ultimately I miscarried. I was devastated. Over the course of the next 8 months, I continued to push forward. I tried everything to increase my lining - Lovenox injections, another round of stim drugs and IVF, supplements, vitamins, different foods and teas, exercising more, exercising less, taking a leave of absence from work, acupuncture, massage, laying with my legs against the wall, warm socks, castor oil packs, not to mention the two surgical hysteroscopies and even a call with a spiritual healer. In a three-month span, I had a transfer that resulted in a BFN and the second and last transfer that resulted in an ectopic pregnancy. And that was the last straw for me.
I was spent – mentally, physically and most importantly, emotionally. My amazing doctor had reminded me the goal of this was to have a baby, not get pregnant. With that clearly in my mind, we changed course and my husband and I sought out a surrogacy agency to help us find an amazing woman that would carry our baby for us. Our baby girl was born in September 2018.


At your lowest point, how did Infertility impact you?

Looking back at my journey, there were many lows and each one impacted me slightly differently. But my absolute lowest was after my miscarriage and then a subsequent failed transfer. I was devastated. And the stress became so intense that I felt that I had to take something off my plate. So I chose to take a leave of absence from work. My career was very important to me up until this point and this was the first time that let this part of me take a back seat. It was like I was hyper-focused on only one thing for three years of my life and I can honestly say that infertility became all-consuming.
While this journey was full of lows, there were also some incredibly positive things that came out of this. I learned that my husband is truly my rock and we became closer, I found my tribe of friends and family that showed so much support throughout the process and I realized how strong I really was.


What was the turning point in your mindset? What helped you find happiness outside of Infertility?

After my ectopic pregnancy, I realized my body was just done with this journey. I had it through the ringer. And it deserved a break. But I wasn’t mentally or emotionally ready to stop. My doctor had reminded me the end goal was a child, not pregnancy. With that in mind, my husband and I made the decision to find a gestational carrier to help us realize our dream of becoming a family. Once this decision was made, I felt a giant weight lifted off my shoulders.

What actions did you take to help you heal?

Initially, I felt very alone in this journey and that felt very isolating. Once I began talking about this with others, I started to realize many women had or were going through something similar. I actively sought out a infertility support group, but to me that wasn’t as helpful as talking to family and friends or friends of friends who had been through something similar. I ended up building a tribe of friends and family that helped lift me up and supported me through this journey.


What would you tell other people facing an Infertility diagnosis? (in lieu of the phrase "never give up")

1. Find your tribe – don’t go through this journey alone. Whether it’s friends, family, a support group, etc. Find the people who can grieve with you through the lows and help you celebrate the highs.
2. Continue to live life – While this journey feels paralyzing, do what you can to continue living. Take those vacations, go to the weddings, baby showers, reunions, etc. Try to make those moments enjoyable.


How do you views align with the InfertileAF Mission?

My views are totally aligned with the InfertileAF mission and love that they use personal stories to help break down the stigma and help educate others going through their own infertility journey.


~Thank you, Misha, for sharing you amazing words with our audience. 

If you would like to be bold and share your perspective, be sure to submit your story HERE!

PS - Want to take your story a step further? Apply to be a SPEAKER at our 2020 Summit HERE!

Buy Your Discounted 2020 Summit Ticket TODAY!

EARLY BIRD TICKET SALES ARE LIVE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC!

(Skip to the bottom to purchase your tickets ASAP!)

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We are so excited we can’t contain ourselves! Let’s chat through all the goods to come for next year’s summit, shall we?

  1. The date (April 17 - 18, 2020), location (Donald E. Stephens Convention Center) and all other general logistics can be found on THIS PAGE. We are still working with local hotels to secure blocks, and as soon as we have confirmation, you will too!

  2. Want to know the Agenda? Go HERE. As you will notice, there are a bunch of TBA (to be announced) for speaker spots. We are still accepting Speaker Application through the end of this month so be sure to get your APPLICATION IN BY THE END OF SEPTEMBER!

  3. Looking to Volunteer on site? We are looking for Group Leaders to help lead different aspects of the summit. APPLY HERE

  4. Discussion Panels - We plan to have TWO discussion panels during our summit. One for Medical and Professional staff and one for MEN. Education is paramount in our understanding and advocacy for our diagnosis and we all know the men in our community are not highlighted nearly enough. That changes with our summit.

    If you are a doctor, medical professional, or infertility warrior of the MALE persuasion and would like us to consider you for our Q&A Panels, please e-mail us today!

  5. Vendors and Sponsors - Our sponsors are in for a treat this year. We have set aside (30) 10x10 booth spots for vendors that would like to showcase their products, knowledge and information with our community. We will also have options for Sponsored workshops, co-sponsored Breakthrough sessions, media and print opportunities.

    Sponsorship packages and pricing are currently in the works and will be released via email by the end of September. If you are interested in getting on our Sponsors mailing list, e-mail your contact info HERE.

  6. Swag Bags & Giveaways - Each attendee will be given a swag bag filled with goodies and there will be plenty of opportunities for giveaways during the two-day event.

    If you are a business catering to the Infertility Community and would like to consider donating products or services to our event, please e-mail us HERE.

  7. Most summit-related questions can be resolved with our FAQ page.

Most importantly, let’s be real for a hot minute...

It’s hard (and a bit scary!) to buy into something so far out when you don’t have complete information to work with. We know we are asking for a leap of faith when it comes to purchasing early bird tickets ahead of our speaker line-up. We promise you this will not be a Fyre situation :)

We remember the magic of the first summit that we tirelessly worked to create in less than 90 days and we know our work is good. We hope you do, too.

Lindsay and Tia ensure each and every event they host to go above and beyond your expectations. Our calling is to give the Infertility Community an amazing platform for connection and empowerment. Our speakers are guaranteed to be diverse with great stories that you will love and connect with. We dedicate our time to ensure our line-up this year is the cream of the crop, and you have our promise it will be worth EVERY. PENNY. of these discounted seats.

SEE YOU AT THE SUMMIT!

Share Your Story - Meet Isaura!

Welcome to the Share Your Story series on InfertileAF, where we feature women and men willing to boldly share their personal insight into their diagnosis or their journey alongside Infertility.


Want to share your story? You can complete your interview HERE!

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Isaura Aguilera

Instagram Handle:

_Valiente_Guerrera_

Age: 36

Location:

Dumont, NJ

Give us your quick bio:

I was born in the Dominican Republic and raised in New York City. I grew up in a traditional
Dominican household being raised to one day have a husband and children. I met my husband
in my early 20s and we got married nine years later. We have faced challenges in our
relationship, especially because of my depression and anxiety. It has made us stronger and we
will celebrate our 7th wedding anniversary in the summer. We have a fur baby name Tiger who
is our world. I love merengue, Juan Luis Guerra is my favorite and I am a big 90s kids. I love the
90s!

What is your personal experience with Infertility?
When I was in my 20s I was constantly asked, “When are you going to have kids?” Followed by,
“Do not to wait to long!” I was very nervous about being a mother because of my depression. I
felt I would not be a good one because of it and at one point I did not want to have kids. Around
my early 30s I realized I did want to have kids and found it strange I have never been pregnant.
I even got off birth control pills. I went to my doctor and expressed my concerns. She said
getting pregnant is actually not easy and it does take time and a lot of trying. In any case, she
still sent me to have some test done just to make sure. Blood work and sonogram was done
directly through her office, a hysterosalpingogram (HSG) was done directly through my
insurance and in a different state. The sonogram showed I had fibroids and there was one
attached to the outside of my uterus that was very big. I was told to stop trying to get pregnant
and was scheduled for surgery. It was a scary feeling, it would be my first major surgery and I
did not know what to expect. I had an open myomectomy in the fall of 2017 where fibroids and
polyps were removed. We kept trying to conceive after I had clearance from my doctor. I read
blogs, went on Pinterest for tips, changed my eating habits, started taking prenatal vitamins,
bought ovulation kits, nothing worked. On my follow up appointment which was 4 months after I
had clearance to try again, I was able to get a copy of my HSG results to take to my doctor. It
said both my tubes were blocked and I was told the only way to get pregnant was through IVF. I
was devastated. I could not stop crying. It took me several months to make a consultation
appointment with a fertility doctor because I was not sure IVF was right for me. I felt it was
playing God and made me very uncomfortable. After discussing it with my husband we decided
to go to the consultation and see what happens. We saw the fertility doctor in June of 2018 and
started our first IVF treatment that fall. For me it was scary, I do not like needles. It actually took
me about 30 minutes to give myself the first injection. Everyday was a challenge to the point
that my husband would do the evening shots for me. One embryo was transferred on that cycle
but did not result in a pregnancy. I was devastated and became depressed. I took some time off
before starting my second cycle. I had another procedure done, they found polyps again and my
fertility doctor wanted them removed. I did my second cycle of IVF in April of this year. Two
embryos were transferred on Easter. I was very excited and felt a miracle was going to happen.
When I got the call with a negative pregnancy result, I was in disbelief. It took me some time to
get back up. I started my 3rd and possibly my last IVF cycle in July.


At your lowest point, how did Infertility impact you?

I have had so many different emotions. I have felt broken, I kept thinking to myself “I am
supposed to be able to get pregnant that’s part of being a woman.” Perhaps this is a
punishment for not wanting to be a mother and now that I do I may not be able to. I have had
periods where I am constantly crying. Seeing friends and family pregnancy announcements
hurts. Baby clothes in stores, kids pictures. Would I ever be able to experience motherhood?
What about my husband who has always wanted to be a father? My mom who has no
grandkids? I am robbing them of that experience because of my inability to be able to
reproduce. One of my biggest fears of going through IVF was my mental health. I have worked
so hard to work through my depression and now this is thrown at me. What if I fall in such a
deep depression that this time around I won’t be able to come out of it? It has definitely been a
roller coaster of emotions since my diagnosis. I have had several low points but perhaps the
lowest one was my first failed IVF. The day I got the call, “I am sorry the test came back
negative,” I felt like a piece of me died. During my cycle, I had picked out a possible name if it
was a boy. I started cleaning out what would be the baby room and looked at maternity clothes.
I even planned out how I would announce my pregnancy to my family. All of that went into
flames with one call. I was so unstable I felt the ground below me was crumbling. I couldn’t stop
crying. I took a few days off from work to ‘recover’. I was a mess for months. I was crying at
home, on the bus, at work. The pain at time felt unbearable. I was constantly getting chest pain
and headache. I just wanted to crawl in a ball and disappear. There was time that I was angry. I
did everything that was asked of me, followed every instruction. Why did it not work? Why am I
not pregnant?


What was the turning point in your mindset? What helped you find happiness outside of Infertility?

Reading other people’s stories has helped a lot. Also, having an honest conversation with
myself and my husband has definitely made me realize we are more than our infertility, and we
need to continue living our best life. Happiness starts from within. Sounds like a cliché but is
true. When you accept who you are and your situation and start seeing beyond it then you start
appreciating all the good in your life. I feel I am in a different mindset going into my third cycle. I
do not know if it will make a difference but that is okay. I am not stressing the do’s and don’ts of
trying to get pregnant. I want to ‘enjoy’ the process the best I can. Whatever the outcome is I
have accepted that things may not turn out the way I want and that’s okay. I have the love and
support of my family and friends and that alone is priceless.


How have you created a fulfilled and content life with Infertility?

I am just taking it one day at a time, trying to stay in the present moment, enjoying the people around me and trying to always have a smile on my face. Doing my best to see the good and count my blessings.


What actions did you take to help you heal?

I have a therapist for my depression and anxiety. I made sure I was attending my sessions and
being honest about my feelings. I allowed myself to go through the emotions instead of avoiding
them. If I was sad, I cried. If I was angry, I let myself be angry instead of telling myself not to feel
it. I gave myself time to heal and I lean on my loved ones for support.


What would you tell other people facing an Infertility diagnosis? (in lieu of the phrase "never give up")

You are definitely not alone even though it may feel that way. Accept the love and support of
your family and friends. When they ask how they can help and what they can do, let them know.
Tell them if you need an ear to listen, a shoulder to cry, space. Give yourself time to process
everything. Do not be afraid or ashamed, sharing your story can be therapeutic for you and for
others. Make sure to take care of yourself. It is important.


How do you views align with the InfertileAF Mission?

I was afraid to open up about my infertility, I felt like I was the only one going through this until I
realized I was not. It took being diagnosed for me and my family to learn about infertility.
Sharing my story is the perfect way to educate and empower others. For me and others to know
we can live a happy and healthy life beyond our infertility.


How has Infertility shaped your future self?

It has made her stronger because now she knows is okay if things don’t turn out the way she
expected. She may not have everything she wants but she has everything she needs.


What goals do you have for your future?

To be happy and live my life to the fullest whether I become a mother or not. To continue
spreading awareness on infertility and mental health.


~Thank you, Isaura, for sharing you amazing words with our audience. 

If you would like to be bold and share your perspective, be sure to submit your story HERE!

PS - Want to take your story a step further? Apply to be a SPEAKER at our 2020 Summit HERE!

$99 Early Bird Ticket Sales go LIVE TOMORROW! Here's what you need to know

ARE YOU GETTING PUMPED?

WE ARE!

A limited amount of discounted early bird tickets go on sale TOMORROW.

These tickets are $50 LESS than General Admission Tickets (that will go on sale in January) so if you’re looking to save a bit of cash and still attend this amazing summit, now’s your opportunity!

Because, let’s be honest, any infertile has their budget at the forefront of their mind. Treatment is NOT cheap, but having the opportunity to connect with HUNDREDS of like-minded individuals over a two-day summit IN THE UNITED STATES is a big deal y’all, and we are READY FOR IT.

We continue to be humbled by this community and will connect it with a unique speaking summit that includes patient perspectives from all facets, outcomes and people that have ever had the diagnosis of INFERTILITY under their belt.

Included in that community is our support system of education and medical professionals that can help answer questions and provide valuable insight along the way.

To be one of the first in line to access Early Bird ticket sales tomorrow morning, be sure to sign up on our MAILING LIST because those lucky people get FIRST DIBS via email tomorrow.

Want to learn more about the summit? All the wonderful details are being added weekly on the 2020 Summit page HERE (or just click those 3 lines in the upper left hand corner and choose “2020 SUMMIT”)

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SEE YOU THERE, WARRIORS!