It was 2:35pm on Thursday, September 22nd when I boarded an airplane (my first in 10 years) to San Francisco. Myself, along with five other bloggers, were invited by Jake and Deborah from FertilityIQ to attend the first ever Fertility Basecamp. What was our mission? It was to gather information, brainstorm, and figure out how we can support and empower the fertility community better because we know the tips to improve fertility costs are essential! We know that coping with grief, loss, shame, and disappointment are important while on this journey! We know that finding the right doctor to help you achieve your dreams without wasting valuable time and potential heartache is critical. And we know that understanding the steps to finding donor eggs, donor sperm, and the right surrogate is beyond stressful. Because let’s face it, when a doctor mentions the idea of using an “egg donor” or says to you “let’s discuss surrogacy”, your heart stops and your mind goes blank. You don’t know where to start or how to proceed.
And we get it.
This is why for two days we met with several doctors from Stanford Reproductive Health, an amazing financial expert from CCRM, a licensed fertility therapist who also works with RESOLVE, as well as Donor Concierge, a wonderful 3rd Party Reproduction team who specializes in finding the right match for those seeking a 3rd party to help them complete their family. While together, we asked questions and we got answers. And those answers will be coming in the next few weeks as we continue to process every little detail that we have learned. So stay tuned! In the meantime, here is my list of “firsts” from the weekend, along with a few pictures!
My first airplane ride in 10 years (Note to self: EARLY BIRD check-in is a MUST! If not, say hello to the middle seat…and the lady knitting socks who also refuses to open up the window shade so that you can at least see a cloud.)
My first time in California. (And also my first time learning that people do not have air conditioning in their homes in San Francisco. Ummmm…seriously?)
My first Farmers Market experience (The fruit was insanely delicious! But I also didn’t have much to judge it by since I can only purchase my fruit from the local Wal-Mart.)
My first time touring Facebook and Instagram Headquarters. (This place is THE PLACE to work! It’s like Disney World! And because I LOVE food and I love to talk about food, let’s talk about the food! Their break room is ah-may-zing. Every chip you could ever want, every candy bar you could ever crave, and every drink you could ever ask for…ALL.FOR.FREE. And for lunch, there is a HUGE food court with Asian food, Mexican food, Pizza, Cheeseburgers, Smoothies, a Salad Bar that goes a mile long…basically, you name it and they have it! And did I mention this was all FREE as well? Yep! It is! All day, every day! You might be wondering (or not wondering) what I chose to eat…well, I chose to head on over to the area where you can make your own sandwich. If you know me at all this is not a surprise. #smashedmychipsinside #bestsandwichever
My first time seeing an embryologist lab where embryos are created. (It was interesting to peek in and see where little microscopic lives were being created and nurtured. I might have even teared up as I remembered when my little embryos were once in a lab…probably similar to that one…and how they are all now resting in heaven…)
My first time riding in an Uber. (Who even knew this service existed? Doesn’t it seem shady? Unsafe? Stranger danger? Ehhh…I enjoyed it and loved meeting so many different people! Thank you Caroline for giving me my first Uber experience!)
My first time flagging down a Taxi Cab. (By the way: I loved my cab driver! We talked all the way to the airport and l learned so much about the cost of living in San Francisco. He said the average one bedroom apartment is $1900! Say what?! I am from a small rural town of 5,000 people. The average cost of a one bedroom house (not apartment) is $400! Needless to say, I tipped him like crazy and told him that he and his wife could live with me! Shh…don’t tell my husband…)
My first time meeting Caroline who blogs over at In Due Time
My first time meeting Chelsea who blogs over at Trials Bring Joy
My first time meeting with Nikol who blogs over at Not Just a Beauty Blogger
My first time meeting with Lisa who blogs over at Amateur Nester
My first time meeting with Katie who blogs over at Fourtified Fam
My first time meeting with Jake and Deborah, creators of FertilityIQ. (If you have never visited their website, DO IT! Like…NOW! It is a FREE website where you can either leave a review for your fertility specialist or search the thousands of reviews in order to find the doctor who you believe will have the best potential in helping you achieve your dreams. The earlier you find the right doctor based upon information that is not filled with hearsay, half-truths, and marketing spin from clinics, then I believe the more bearable this process can be. So go check it out! And while you are there, don’t forget to leave your own personal review! Your trying to conceive sisters NEED to hear your experience. They WANT to know your honest opinion! And so your review could play an important role in their journey as it could either steer them in the right direction, or save them valuable time and possible heartache! It only takes 10-15 minutes!)
And now for the pictures…
Friends, I didn’t know the first thing about Taxi Cab’s and so Caroline (the city girl) waited over an hour after her flight landed for mine (the country girl) to arrive so that we could ride to the hotel together. How sweet is she? Thanks, girl! Without you I would still be sitting at the airport!
Lisa from Amateur Nester is seriously the sweetest thang! If you haven’t purchased her book, “31 Days of Prayer During Infertility” then can I ask you a question? WHY NOT?! You need to purchase! I promise you won’t regret it!
Funny story about this picture! Me and a couple of the other girls (won’t mention names) thought this was the Golden Gate Bridge. It’s not. And we didn’t find this piece of information out until hours later…after we had already posted on all social media sites that we saw the Golden Gate Bridge. #needtolearnmybridges #theylookthesame
Here we are hanging out at Jake and Deborah’s apartment in order to discuss everything we have learned and how we want to share this valuable information with everyone in the trying to conceive community. You might be wondering who that babe is that Caroline is holding…it is Jake and Deborah’s lil miracle baby!
The best moments of the weekend happened right before this picture was taken! Do you see that gem of a woman in the top right hand corner of the picture? That is Chelsea from Trials Bring Joy and we had the pleasure of not only coming together as infertility sisters, but sisters in Christ in order to lay hands on her and pray for her upcoming embryo transfer that is TODAY. Please keep her in your prayers.
Once you step into the main doors of Facebook Headquarters, sign in and meet the important person you are there to see, you walk down a hallway and through a door to this…this whole other world of streets, shops, and yummy places to eat. There are offices of course and I am sure people work in them, but I bet it would be so hard to get anything done! This has to be the best place on earth to work.
At Stanford Fertility and Reproductive Health this is the Embryologist Lab. The place where the sperm meets the egg and is then nurtured to grow before being placed back into the womb. The womb of the woman with the aching heart and empty arms desperately longing to hear the voice of a tiny human call her mommy.
That’s all for now! Don’t forget to check back in a few weeks for further details on what all we learned.
**UPDATE: Click HERE to read all about what we learned in regards to tips and tricks on saving money during treatments, 3rd party reproduction, building community through social media, leading a support group, learning valuable information from the top doctors at Stanford Reproductive Health, and wise advice from an amazing infertility specialist and RESOLVE support group leader on the ONE thing we all need to let go of during infertility.
It’s a post you WANT and NEED to read! So check it out!
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