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In Sept of 1999, at the age of 29, my husband and I were married. I had met the perfect man, the love of my life, and was excited to start our life together. Like most couples, we contemplated starting a family, but decided to wait a year before trying; and in May of 2001 I learned that I was pregnant. We were excited, nervous and so happy to be expecting our first child. However, about 16 weeks into the pregnancy on 9-11-01, we had an ultrasound that brought us devastating news. For no apparent reason, my amniotic fluid was low and we were told the baby would not make it. When we met with the doctor we were told, “it’s like being struck by lightening”. There was no apparent reason why this had happened especially during a second trimester. Later that morning on our ride home we learned of even more devastating news…the fateful day of 9-11. I quickly came to grips with my own loss and thought we can grieve, move on and try again but there was far more devastation happening in the world at the time. So on went our journey. Six months later, I once again became pregnant, but once again, it ended in a miscarriage at about 9 weeks. Thus in 2003, we started doing some initial medical testing, began using clomid with IUI’s and then injections with IUI’s, but with no success; and after another year we decided to get a second opinion from another fertility clinic which brought us to Boston IVF. At this point we ran the gamut over the next several years. Hysteroscopy, tubogram, genetic testing, IVF’s, PGD testing, acupuncture, Chinese herbs and mind-body programs, you name it, and we did it! Did I mention my diagnosis was “unexplained” infertility/miscarriage. During this time we took a break from treatments and WOW…we got pregnant again on our own! Unfortunately this too resulted in a pregnancy loss at 10 weeks. So back at the treatment we went determined for something to work. More IVF’s both fresh and frozen cycles until we were out of options and insurance coverage as well. In early 2006 we decided to start the adoption process. After much thought and discussion we knew we wanted to be parents and have a child. Adoption was the next road we decided to take to create our family. We felt renewed and excited and remained faithful that this would “eventually” happen. We were finished with the roller coaster ride of fertility treatments. We were pursuing domestic adoption through a private agency. After a few discussions with birth moms, we were finally matched with a wonderful young birth mom in late 2007 and we traveled to meet her and her family. In February of the following year, we got a call that she was in labor and thus we embarked on our 6- hour drive to finally realize our dreams were about to come true! Well, that’s when our dark cloud came over us again. After days of bonding with the baby, we were forced to leave, due to an unforeseen teenage birth father that was blocking the process. It was agonizing and the worst pain of our lives. My husband and I drove home alone. Little did we know then that this was just the beginning of our true journey to parenthood. On our arrival home we were supported by family and friends. That evening, my mother, who was devastated, asked if I would consider a surrogate; but at that moment I was too distraught to think about another avenue. Ironically, my husband’s twin sister Kristine who was also determined to make us parents, offered to be our gestational carrier. After much consideration we decided to accept her offer. However, we soon realized that this was not only an emotional decision, but a financial one, because insurance does not cover “gestational carriers or surrogates”. Since Kristine was family, we weren’t paying her, but we still had to pay for the procedures and all the legal paperwork involved, which was substantial and still not a guarantee. With encouragement and financial help from my mom and looking at all else that had failed, we just had to do this one last thing and Well lo and behold.this was our ticket to parenthood! Kristine, “my angel” was pregnant with our biological twins! On March 6, 2009 after 8 long years of battling fertility and loss we were blessed with a boy and a girl. Our prayers had been answered and I was This journey is what started “Journey to Parenthood”. We went through so much but I could not help but think of all the people out there that could never have done what we did because they do not have the insurance coverage or the financial means. I felt blessed that my procedures and IVF’s were all covered even though they did not work for us. I could not image the financial burden and additional stress we would have been faced with and that so many have to cope with. It broke my heart, made me angry and made me want to do something about it, at least try to make a difference for others. Therefore I know you may be reading this and thinking you could never endure this long road and how does someone get through it? My answer is to keep fighting for that dream of parenthood because it will happen for you someday. My faith, support of family and friends, and connecting with others who were experiencing the same difficulties was what got us through it. Just know there are so many others out there with their own stories, some with longer journeys than others, and all different paths, but it can be extremely helpful when you open up and talk about it, especially with those facing the same struggles. Please visit our page on “social” support groups to find one in your area or become a leader in your community to start one up. For those battling infertility, I hope my story encourages you and inspires you to remain faithful and hopeful that you to Thanks for visiting our page and please consider a donation to help others achieve their

Source: http://journeytoparenthood.org/pdf/Jen_Conley.pdf

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