Sponsored: Extend Fertility sponsored this post and I received a discount on my Egg Freezing costs in exchange for sharing my story.
I had to think long and hard about sharing this story. Let me start by saying that I am not a medical professional and I am sharing my personal story on this experience with you, because I think all women should learn more about their options around fertility preservation. Please contact Extend Fertility with any medical questions.
Those that know me know that I am a very private person. That may seem ironic given the community I founded that has grown beyond my wildest dreams, I know, I know… But the truth is, I started The Tall Society as a personal blog thinking a few Tall Sisters might find it helpful. Then it exploded! I have embraced the growth of our community with love, but I am still selective in what I choose to share.
When it comes to my personal life, my relationship, my friends and family, those are sacred to me, those are mine, and I choose to keep them private. So when I started exploring egg freezing, I was hesitant to share my story. But I have learned so much about my body and my options in the past few weeks that I could not possibly hold onto that information. I want my Tall Sisters everywhere that might be in a similar position to know their options. So let me start at the beginning…
About a year ago, shortly after my 34th birthday, I started exploring egg freezing by using my good friend Google. There is nothing like a birthday to bubble up certain fears and anxiety. The reality of getting older did a number on me. I was really thinking about the fact that as we women get older, our fertility declines. Here I was, 34 years old, in a loving relationship, however neither of us were ready to start a family.
Don’t you love those gatherings with friends and family where you are constantly quizzed about your reproductive desires?
“You have been together for a few years, Bree, when are you getting married?”
“You’re getting older, Bree, you should think about starting your family soon before it’s too late.”
Kind request: Can you all keep your noses out of my business, please?! If you are reading this right now and you can relate to these exhausting questions, please drop a note in the comments below to let other women know they are not alone!
“Tall Sisters, there is no need to stress out, you have options!”
While poking around online I first came across the Extend Fertility website. I had so many questions! What was the process like? Would I need to have surgery? What did it cost? As a woman of the world, there was so much I did not know or understand about the egg freezing process, so I ended up making an appointment. A few days later I went in for a fertility assessment and a consultation. This whole part was all free, by the way. So if you are curious about the process, I would encourage you to at least go in for an assessment. You have nothing to lose and tons of knowledge to gain! Use the link below.
During the assessment they took my blood to test my hormone levels, they did a transvaginal ultrasound, and I got to see my very own ovaries live on the screen for the very first time in my life. Dr. Klein shared what he was seeing while counting my follicles. Once my blood work came back, I got a call from my fertility advisor who explained that if I wanted to proceed, the next step was to meet with a reproductive endocrinologist for an egg freezing consultation (this visit is also free). Well, I didn’t contact them back at that time. I needed more time to decide if this was really for me. I was a bit freaked out, and I even had the thought that maybe we should just have a kid now? A lot was going through my mind, and I was not yet convinced egg freezing was for me. So I let it go.
Fast-forward a year and change. My 35th birthday comes and goes. I start a new job and we move from New York to Florida. So much in our lives was and still is in flux. Egg freezing came to mind again, but this time I knew I was ready. I was ready to eliminate this lingering anxiety of wondering, “Will I be able to have kids when I am ready to?” I refuse to leave anything to chance, especially something as important as this, when egg freezing is a very real and viable option for me.
I contacted Extend Fertility and went back in for the same fertility assessment and consultation I had previously done in 2017, this time with Dr. Maslow. I was still a good candidate for the process and I pulled the trigger quickly. I committed to the process and said, “Okay, let’s do this!”
There was definitely some planning required for me, because when you start your egg freezing cycle, you’ll be prescribed 8–11 days of hormone injections and your treatment schedule will include 5–7 short doctor visits. This meant I had to be in New York for about 14 days to get this all done. I have a busy schedule and travel extensively for work, so this was easier said than done. I thank God for a boss who was supportive of my efforts. I was also blessed to have a wonderful fertility advisor, Tamar, who had the patience of an angel and worked closely with me to schedule the cycle so that there was little to no impact to my work schedule. A few weeks later I was off to NYC to start my egg freezing cycle.
My beloved Tall Sisters, maybe you are still looking for Mr. or Mrs. Right; maybe you have yet to decide if you want children at all, maybe you know you want kids, but just not right now, not next year and maybe not the year after that either. All of that is okay, yet societal pressures can be difficult for women to navigate sometimes. I am here to let you know that you have options, and egg freezing is a great way to preserve your fertility.
“The genetic material of your eggs begins to degrade around age 30 and then more sharply after 35, making it harder to get pregnant. Freezing your eggs completely stops the clock on their aging process. – Extend Fertility”
Upon arrival to New York, I went in for an appointment to confirm I was ready to start and my medication was delivered. Then I started hormone injections. When freezing your eggs, you obviously want to freeze as many healthy and mature eggs as possible. That is where the hormones come in and give your body the extra nudge it needs.
The first evening of injecting myself was strange, and as someone who hates needles and blood, it was difficult. Luckily you’re provided with these super helpful instruction videos that I watched over and over again. The second evening it was much easier, and by the third evening, I was a pro. Once you’ve started the cycle, you go in for a “monitoring” visit about every other day. They then do a blood test and a transvaginal ultrasound to assess how your body is responding to the medication. This allows your doctor to potentially tweak your medication dose for the most optimal results.
The one thing that I loved seeing at every appointment is how the waiting room at Extend Fertility felt like an United Colors of Benetton ad! The need for fertility preservation is relevant for ALL women. During my appointments I witnessed women in hijab, covered orthodox Jewish women, women I would estimate to be in their 20s, and women in their early 40s. We all sat there with the same wish and desire to preserve our fertility and there was a feeling of kinship and empowerment that was apparent every time I sat in that waiting room, and that felt freaking awesome!
After 8 days of hormones all was looking good to start planning for my egg retrieval. On the 11th day of my cycle I had my egg retrieval, which is a 15-minute surgical procedure to retrieve the eggs from your ovaries. Under twilight anesthesia they were able to retrieve 22 eggs of which 14 were mature and have now been frozen. Yay, ovaries, you did wellJ!
After the procedure I was groggy and experienced abdominal pain. It felt like really bad period pains. So I had to take care of Bree and I opted to take two days off from work to recover. I had lots of ice cream and nursed my pain with Advil and a heating pad. All with a smile on my face, because I did it, I felt elated, empowered and blessed that as women we can take back our power!
I now feel a tremendous amount of relief knowing that my fertility has been preserved. It was hands down one of the best decisions I have ever made for myself. Those eggs on ice will forever be 35 years old and it is such an empowering feeling to know that I have options now! Whatever the future may bring, God willing, I will be able to start a family on my terms and when I am ready—NOT when society dictates I “should” be ready!
Tall Sisters, you do not have to be a Kardashian to freeze your eggs. Extend Fertility has created an environment where egg freezing has been made accessible to the everyday woman. Extend Fertility is the very first service in the U.S. dedicated exclusively to women choosing to proactively freeze their eggs. That is all they do, day in day out. They work hand in hand with you and your schedule, which for me was critical. They were patient with me, since I am known to always have a million questions and then another million follow-up questions:).
Feeling comfortable and trusting the doctors you work with is crucial when opting to go through something as personal as an egg freezing cycle and I am so grateful to everyone at Extend Fertility for making this process so easy.
Tall Sisters, I hope my story will be helpful for some of you out there. Drop a note below in the comments with any questions you might have.
Extend fertility has been kind enough to offer a $250 discount exclusively for The Tall Society community. Click Here to get more information on the egg freezing process and take advantage of the discount.
Sending you all love and light!
Photo Credit: www.aqutphotography.com