Jen Feliciano and her husband, Anon, had a long and difficult road to parenthood. They began trying in 2006, and finally had their daughter, Hendrix Rae, in 2017 through IVF (in vitro fertilization). Jen is now expecting her second child (also through IVF), a son due this August.
What led you to going down the path of IVF?
“After almost two years of trying, we went to an OB-GYN to discuss why I was not getting pregnant.
We began preliminary testing with a reproductive endocrinologist. We were never provided a detailed explanation; the official words were “unexplained infertility.” He suggested we begin preliminary level fertility treatments like Intra-uterine inseminations (IUI).
Over the next three-four years we tried that with no success. We were extremely stressed –emotionally, physically, spiritually, and mentally. Not to mention frustrated and heartbroken each time it was unsuccessful. We took a year off and then tried the same process again with a new doctor. After a few more unsuccessful rounds, we conceived in 2013 after our 7th IUI. We were elated! And then after only 6 weeks and 2 days of being pregnant, I miscarried. It was a heartbreaking time. The lowest of all lows.
After that, we took another year off. In that time, we found a new OBGYN and he explained that he felt we weren’t going to have success after all these years. He recommended us to a new reproductive endocrinologist, and we began seeing him when we were ready to go straight to IVF. We began our cycle shortly after meeting him, and within 1 cycle we had 1 healthy viable embryo to transfer out of 7! The others were chromosomally abnormal and would have ended in miscarriage. Shortly after the embryo transfer, we were confirmed pregnant on April 14, 2017. We gave birth to our healthy daughter, Hendrix Rae, on 12/18/17 via c-section.
When Hendrix turned two, we went back to the same doctor and repeated the steps again. We successfully created three viable embryos this time and transferred one healthy baby boy embryo and we’re pregnant and due 8/1/20.”
How did you stay positive during your fertility struggles? And, looking back, what advice would you have given yourself?
“It was a very trying experience. If I had known, I would have saved the money and put it toward IVF right off the bat. Luckily my husband and family were very supportive. They were always there for me, asking if I needed anything, and at the same time respected my space if I wanted to be left alone. I leaned on others to ask questions and read a lot of books. I leaned on my faith as well, trusting that everything happens for a reason. It certainly wasn’t easy.”
What (if any) side effects did you experience from IVF?
“During my first round of IVF with Hendrix I had little to no symptoms. Other than the typical bloating of the abdomen when I was taking the stimulation drugs prior to the retrieval. Once I was confirmed pregnant, there are progesterone and estrogen shots I was required to take. Those were very painful shots in my rear that made my muscles extremely sore, but those are typical results. When I did the IVF round for the 2nd baby, I had an allergic reaction to the progesterone I took after I was confirmed pregnant. They tried a new form and I guess I just didn’t respond as well, so they changed it back and I was fine.”
What are common misconceptions about IVF?
“I think the biggest is that it will be covered by insurance. Most is not covered by insurance (if any).”
Describe how you felt when you got pregnant
“When I got pregnant with both kids via IVF I was elated, relieved and somewhat nervous. Having previously lost a baby, once I was past the first trimester, I felt my heart open up and let it in.”
Finish this sentence: “Motherhood is:
“The most beautiful and authentic experience.”
How are you feeling & what are you going through during this pandemic?
“Overall I am feeling fabulous. Both of my pregnancies have been amazing, relaxed, and other than some fatigue and a few headaches in the first trimester, I have experienced very few side effects. Since the Coronavirus pandemic has been developing, I have been slightly more concerned and conscious of how the birthing process might go. Luckily, I have an amazing OBGYN, who is also the Chief of Gynecology & Obstetrics of the hospital I will deliver at. He has assured me that he will take care of me and help deliver this baby as gently as my first pregnancy, and that has helped my mental state so much! I hope the peak of the pandemic has settled down by the time I go to deliver, and we won’t have to worry about altering how anything will be handled.”
Jen was one of the Real Moms in the My Jeaneration Spring 2020 Denim Campaign. She was alongside four other Real Women. Jen was 20 weeks pregnant during the photoshoot. She is honest and real and a joy to work with. Sending Jen and her family our love as she continues her Motherhood journey (making mocktails in Florida @the_floridagirl).
Real Mothers. Real Stories. Real Life.