Firebirds Woodfired Grill bread: Semolina bread Yassy’s version

As you already know, I like re-creating meals from restaurants or eatery places that I have visited and loved. It is fun to brain storming what is in the dishes I like.

One of the restaurants I like to go to is Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

When it comes to steak battle, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill wins over Bonefish Grill hands down, and for seafood/fish dishes and sauce creativity, Bonefish Grill is better.However, both great restaurants to check out if you have never visited them.

Anyway, almost all restaurant except Asian restaurants, serve the bread to start with. For example, Bonefish Grill serves crusty artisan bread with basil pest dipping sauce, Outback steakhouse serves the bread with whipped butter, Olive Garden serve the garlic bread, Firebirds woodfired grill serves semolina bread with whipped butter.

Me and my husband loves Firebirds’ bread.Therefore, I thought I would make one for us too,to try. Maybe their bread is a touch softer inside,which makes me wonder if they use milk instead of water or combine all purpose flour or bread flour and semolina flour, but mine was tasty enough.

I would like to share the recipe with you.

pane di semola semolina bread blog

Semolina bread..

I do love bread baking.

For me, bread baking is like comforting in many ways from kneading the dough, aroma while bread is being proofed or being baked,sound of crust when you slice into the bread.. There is something about bread baking that makes the whole experience special.

When I started baking bread,I got myself a book for bread baking,and I tried one type of recipe for French bread (Baguette) over and over until I get satisfied result from making one. I made so many French bread to learn the basic technique,and get to know more about bread baking in general.

I find that making artisan bread has depth in learning and more technique,and I have got a lot more to learn about it.

Ingredients for semolina bread:

1.5 tsp dry yeast
5/6C water
2 tsp sugar
2C Semolina flour
2 tsp active dry yeast
1 tbs Extra virgin olive oil
1 tsp salt

0. Preheat the oven at 200F and when it reached to 200F,turn the oven off

1. In the small bowl, add 5/6C lukewarm water (temperature should be around 110F-115F), and add 1.5 tsp dry yeast and 2 tsp sugar and mix well and let it stand for about 10 minutes until it gets fluffy on top

2. In big bowl, add 2C semolina flour,1 tsp salt and mix well

3. Pour yeast-water-sugar mixture into the flour mixture,along with 1 tbs extra virgin olive oil and mix well

** If you use jar of dry yeast, make sure the yeast is at room temperature. Cold yeast would not make your dough rise properly.

** water temperature to rise the dough (proof the dough) should be at 110F-115F. Lower temperature water  would not proof the dough properly, and higher temperature water would kill the yeast and would not proof the dough properly.

4. When dough came together,sprinkle some flour on the counter and transfer the dough to the counter to begin kneading the dough until the dough is smooth,elastic dough about 6-8 minutes

** Using silpat mat is easy to work with

5.You can test your dough to see if you knead it more. Do the Windowpane test.

What is windowpane test??

Windowpane test is the test the gluten development in the dough.

What you do is to cut off small piece of dough,and gently stretch out/pulling to see if it will hold a paper-thin membrane.If it tore apart,you would knead a bit more and do the test again.

6. When dough becomes supple,smooth,elastic dough, drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil (not the amount in the recipe above,this is extra) onto empty bowl and smear it around side and inside bottom to make easy for you to take the dough out later

7. Place the dough into the bowl,drizzle Extra Virgin Olive Oil (not the amount in the recipe above,this is extra) over the dough and smear the olive oil all around the dough

8. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and place the dough in the oven,set the timer for 90 minutes

9. 90 minutes later, dough will be larger size in volume

10. Once the dough gets nearly double in volume, punch the dough,and ,take the dough out from the bowl onto the silpat mat/slightly floured surface

11. Divide the dough into 2, and form the dough into disc/round shape.Then, sprinkle cornmeal on the nonstick foil lined baking sheet,and place the dough on them

12. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap loosely over the dough,and put it back into oven for another 30-45 minutes until dough gets nearly double in volume

13. Before baking, gently press the center of the bread with rolling pin, or slice the top a bit about 1/2″ or so with knife and spray (mist) the bread dough with water using spritz bottle, and sprinkle dash of corn meal on top

14. Preheat the oven at 450F

15. Bake them for about 8 minutes,and rotate the sheet pan to continue baking for another 9 minutes.Then,continue baking until bread sounds hollow when tapped.

** Bread temperature should be at 205F in the center

(Put the meat thermometer on back of the bread and read the temperature)

** This recipe can yield about 2 semolina bread

** You can also shape the dough into other shape too




Mar 03, 2015 | 0 | Restaurant Challenge

Save 5% on All Natural Dog Treats and Chews and more

Yassy’s Gourmet Dog Kitchen carry all natural dog treats from wide variety of protein source; kangaroo,buffalo, beef, lamb, goat, salmon, duck, chicken etc, along with long lasting chew “Antlers”.

From February 27th through March 5th, you can save 5% on everything sitewide.

Enter 5% coupon code; SAVE5

** The coupon code box will appear on the payment page after typing in the shipping information.

** You cannot combine the codes.

** This special will end at 11:59pm Est March 5th.

** If you are a Facerbook page fan, you will get another deal during the week of February 27th-March 5th.Please check our page for more detail


th Wild West Cowboy Jerky

Order over $50* (merchandise subtotal after all the discount must be over $50) on Saturdays,and you will receive: one count of free  1 oz Wild West Cowboy Jerky


Palette with Ostrich LIver Italian biscuits 1

Our k9 executive chef “Palette” enjoy Ostrich Liver Italian biscuits..

Please enter coupon code SAVE5when you checkout to get 5% off on your entire order.

** The coupon code box to type in the code will appear on the payment page after typing in the shipping information.

*** Bulk treats of the Month ~ February 27th-March 5th ~

** Grass-fed Moo!Odor Free Twisted Bully’s Jr 5″-6″ (3-pack) 10 packages $43.65


*** Palette’s K9 Foodie Mystery bag ~ February 27th through March 5th~ ***

Palette’s K9 Foodie Mystery Bag Beef Deluxe is the mystery bag that consists of all natural dog treats and toy.

Each bag contains 6-9 products per bag and, shipping and handling is already included in the price.The shipping method will be determined by us.

** Palette’s k9 Foodie Mystery Bag Grain Free Beef Deluxe $39.26

** Palette’s K9 Foodie Mystery variety Gift bag $35.67

Palette’s K9 Foodie Mystery variety bag is the mystery bag that consists of mystery items from sitewide;can be mixture of all natural dog treats,toy,grooming supplies,gifts for dog lovers,training tool,collars,travel accessories etc…

Contents can be the same or different from one bag to the other.Number of products in the bag also can be different from one bag to the other while the value of the bag remain the same.

This offer is valid while supply lasts. These menu can be found under “Bulk treats of the month&Palette’s K9 Foodie Mystery bag” category.

Please enjoy treat hunt for your furry friends!!

** Selected Dog toys on sale.Please click here to visit Dog toys page.

** You can get Free shipping with order over $100 (No coupon code required)

** We ship the order on every Monday,Tuesday, every other Wednesday.

** You can get FREE one count of Buffalo trachea strip (Buffalo version of Moo-tubes sliced into strip) with every order!

** Watch how much Palette enjoy her Buffalo Trachea strip below.

Palette and Buffalo Trachea strip

** We accept only US order,no international order please.

**If you become a fan of our Facebook page,you can get “Fan only” offer,and discounts. Please find “Yassy’s Gourmet Dog Kitchen” on Facebook.

To visit our store,please click here or paste and copy the link below into your browser.


Feb 27, 2015 | 0 | Yassy's Gourmet Dog Kitchen

Yassy’s note:Pregnancy week 13 week – 16 week

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Pregnancy week 1 week – 12 week“,I wrote about how my pregnancy went from week 1 through 12th week,and shared some of the sonogram picture of Liam with you.

Here, I would like to share my pregnancy and Liam’s growth from week 13 through 16th.

February 2014 was the month of pregnancy week 13 through 16. It was the month of worry for me because that months had spotting from red color to brown color most of the weeks in the month, and on and off, I saw the bright red in the toilet water,which made me worry about the miscarriage.

I had no spotting days, too but it was not many days.

I was already had the worry of miscarriage along with early delivery from the start because of the heart shaped uterus, which is called Bicornate uterus. The shape of the uterus could make Liam not being able to grow as he could have been in the normal pear shaped uterus due to the space issue.

Since my IVF doctor has told me before that trying to stay in the bed,not moving around too much would help the spotting issue as well as drinking water, I followed that suggestion and I did not move around much and spent as many hours as possible laying down on the bed or couch.

I was feeling pretty tired here and there, and it was not a problem for me.

It was also the months of lots of screening tests.

When I got pregnant, I was in mood of eating lots of fruits and had various types of fruits topped with plain yogurt every day. I particularly liked strawberries. Strawberry anything really got my attention throughout my pregnancy.

Strawberries are high in folic acid (a.k.a Vitamin B9),which pregnant ladies would want a lot of, so, I felt good eating them a lot knowing the good health benefit.

Besides strawberries, I liked eating spicy food as well,which I learned later that craving for spicy food can mean you would have a baby boy according to the old wives tale. I do not know if those are accurate ones, but in my case, it was right.I liked spicy food and I gave birth to a son:-)

Since I loved strawberries so much during the pregnancy, my husband got me gourmet chocolate dipped strawberries for Valentine’s day! I thought it was nice of him.It was so good,needless to say..

Folid Acid in diet while you are a pregnant..

According to babycenter website, Folic Acid is good for the pregnant ladies because it prevents NTD (Neural Tube Defect),which is birth defect of spinal cord such as spina bifida, and brain birth defect such as anencephaly.

It also says that some researchers found that taking enough amount of folic acid in the diet would lower the risk of other birth defect such as cleft lip, cleft palate, and certain types of heart defects.

Not only that, taking enough Folic Acid is needed for you and your baby also, since it will make normal red blood cells and prevent a type of anemia for you,and it will also help rapid cell growth of the placenta and your developing baby.

You can read the full article on why you would need to take enough Folic acid during pregnancy at babycenter website here.

In the end of January 2014, we did first trimester screening test and sonogram test to check the NTD (Neural Tube Defect).

The test was done at my high risk OBGYN.There, I did blood test for down syndrome,which needle was poked into 4th finger and mark the red on designated section on the test paper,and we did abdominal sonogram to check the fluid flow on back of Liam’s neck and nasal bone.

The test result came back first week in February 2014.It was negative.

You can read more on the pregnancy first trimester screening test detail at hopkins website in PDF file style here.

AFP Blood screening test..

At 15th week and 3 days, we visited regular OBGYN and, they draw blood from me for AFP test (alpha-fetoprotein (AFP) blood test) to check the level of AFP in pregnant ladies blood. According to the webmed website, AFP is a substance made in the liver of an unborn baby (fetus). The amount of AFP in the blood of a pregnant woman can help see whether the baby may have such problems spina bifida,anencephaly etc..

The test can be used to detect other chromosome abnormality such as down syndrome as well.

It was basically the same screening blood test,checking the same/similar stuff from different angle; AFP level in the blood.

You can read more on AFP test at webmed website here.

Besides the blood screening test, we did not get to see Liam via sonogram but did hear the heartbeat,which was 153 bpm. At 12th week, Liam’s heart beat was 163bpm so, it was down a bit.Therefore, I asked about the change in the heartbeat and the nurse assured me that it was normal to have slower rate as the pregnancy progress.

At that appointment, I was told that in a few weeks, I will be feeling baby’s movements which is kind of like a bubbles in the tummy. For me, it was my very first pregnancy and I did not know what to look for but when it happened later, I knew it was Liam’s movement and I enjoyed talking to the belly/Liam everyday. I remember I let my husband place his hand over my belly when I felt the movement and we smiled each other.

He talked to Liam too.

I miss that movement in the belly very much!

After the AFP test is done, in the same week, I had to do the glucose tolerance test. Normally, the test is done in later in the pregnancy but because of the family history, my doctor wanted me to do the test twice.

I had hard time drinking very sweet juice in certain set time for the test but I did. The test came back normal and I was glad.

Glucose tolerance test..

According to the babycenter website, glucose tolerance test is the blood test to check how your body regulate the sugar level.

In my case, I went to Quest and got a cold sugary drink and I was told to finish drinking it within 15 minutes.Then, waited 60 minutes to get my blood drawn. For me, how sweet the juice was was the only problem in the test.I do not like sticky sweet anything…

You can read the detail on the test at babycenter website here.

That February,2014, we also visited high risk OBGYN.

This time, we could see the bone structure like baby’s spines, and it was amazing to look at.

The sonographer tried to look at the sex of the baby, but our little was squirming a lot (moving/dancing too much) , and she could not get a good look at it. Liam really moves a lot even today and I have to watch out for flying arms and legs:-)

Therefore, we still was not sure if we were going to have a baby boy or baby girl.For us, whichever sex was good enough for us because we love him/her no matter what.

This is Liam at 15 weeks 6 days in my belly.

Liam 15 weeks 6 days Feb 21 2014 blog

Liam at 15 weeks 6 days..

The sonographer lady took a picture of our little baby’s foot print as well.I thought it was cute:)

Liam 15 weeks 6 days February 21 2014 foot prints blog

Liam at 15 weeks 6 days..foot prints..

According to pregnancy corner website, at 15 week, baby  will be weighing 1.75 ounces and reaching four inches in length. A fine hair called lanugo covers the skin, keeping the baby at a constant body temperature.The lanugo does this until the baby is born, and it disappears just before birth.

During the fifteenth week, the bones in the ear are hardening, and your baby is now able to hear sounds, including Mom’s heartbeat, speaking, and breathing.

It also says that the baby is making faces, squinting and frowning, and sucking on their thumb. Since last week the arms and legs have grown longer than the head. Taste buds are forming, and the fingernails and toenails are growing longer by the day.

You can read more on what is happening at 15th week of pregnancy at pregnancy corner website here.

In the month of February 2014,my parents in Japan shipped me a box that got amulet for safe birth/pregnancy without complication plus other stuff unique to Japanese custom to wear in coming 5th month.

Usually, the box from them arrives in 10 days or so, but this time, it did not arrive for more than 2 weeks and it got me worried but after all, it arrived ok. If it did not arrive, I would be very upset for missing amulet for my pregnancy.

At this point, I did not get AFP test result yet and, I was not so concerned about it.

Until we see Liam’s face/hear Liam’s voice, though we were still nervous about whole thing during the pregnancy. The first time for everything is very nerve wracking.

Right after we received my parents’ box that contained safe pregnancy amulet,I kept it inside my purse every time we visit OBGYN.I just felt like having amulet with me calmed me down.

In fact, when I went in labor, I was holding the same amulet in one of my hands until Liam is born,holding my husband’s hand in the same hand.The amulet got curled up from me squeezing it hard,but it comfort me as much as my husband’s presence did:-)


Feb 24, 2015 | 0 | Pregnancy

Palette’s note: Ostrich liver Italian Bicuits

When you pick up treats for your dogs, what would you look at? Ingredients? Fancy looking pictures? Description of the products?

Have you ever wondered if you could actually see how other dogs are enjoying them? Not pictures,but in video so that you can actually HEAR and feel the treats’ textures?

Some of you may have already recognized I have been putting up treats’ video on youtube so that people can hear the sound,see Palette in action and get more detail on products.

With “Palette’s Note” series,I like to put taste test videos. This time, Ostrich Liver Italian Biscuits

Ostrich Liver Italian Biscuit is Ostrich liver biscuits made with Semolina flour. It was inspired by Palette’s love of uncooked pasta. Palette looves uncooked pasta,and she always come check on me when she knows I will be cooking up the pasta for the family meal. She comes to the kitchen to claim her share of nibble;uncooked pasta.

I realized that she likes crunchy,chewy thing and,she really liked my homemade pasta too (This one was shared after it is being cooked). This repetitive scenes inspired me to come up with our first uncooked pasta like biscuits recipe.

th Ostrich liver Italian biscuits

Ostrich liver Italian biscuits ..

This Ostrich liver Italian biscuits is unique. Unlike other biscuits,it is puffed up a bit,light and crunchy biscuits with real Ostrich liver bits.

For us, ingredients is most important aspects,and we use only real thing,not fillers and we make the biscuits with simple ingredients.

The Ostrich meat is red meat and high in protein andiron,  low in fat (lower than chicken or Turkey) with similar to beef texture and flavor. So, we decided to use its liver to make unique liver biscuits with unique flour; Semolina flour for furriends.This is our liver biscuits with a little exotic twist using Ostrich liver.

Biscuits will be made to order,freshly baked and within 24 hours,it will be shipped.All will be vacuum-packed to seal-in the freshness.

Please store this biscuits in freezer for longer shelf life in your air-tight zip bag after receiving your order.Biscuits are about 1.5″ cute heart shape.

Our biscuits have no salt,sugar, preservatives,artificial colors etc. We offer biscuits freshly made with simple, high quality ingredients with no fillers.

Our biscuits are lab tested,and registered with department of agriculture.

Ingredients:Semolina flour,water, ostrich liver,baking powder,Extra virgin olive oil for browning.

Let’s watch Palette in action with Ostrich liver Italian biscuits taste test.

If you are a blog subscriber,please click here to watch the video.

Palette and Ostrich liver Italian biscuits

Can you see how excited she becomes? Can you hear how crunchy they are? You would also see the drool bubble on side of the muzzle while chewing on it?

Our Ostrich liver Italian biscuits is not dense biscuits,not crumbly biscuits.It is puffed,light crunchy biscuits.

Palette with Ostrich LIver Italian biscuits 1

Palette taste testing Ostrich liver Italian biscuits..

 Palette taste test every batch we bake (she is a quality control officer,aka k9 executive chef),and she gets always one more extra to have fun with.

How she gets fun with biscuits? Here is how.

When biscuits come out from the oven, she is usually right behind me for taste test. After biscuits got cool down a little,and taste test finished,I pick one biscuits,and grab one empty cereal box and put biscuits in.

Then,close it up,and let Palette play with it.

Some of you may be familiar with Buster cube food dispensing toy that spits out kibble from hole as dogs roll with nose.

I was inspired by that toy and,I made inexpensive homemade buster cube for Palette to play with. It can be inexpensive interactive toy too.

In case you are wondering about the fate of the box that had biscuits, it was torn up and she played with it .

One small empty box can provide Palette so much fun.

To visit our store,please click here or paste and copy the link below into your browser.

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Feb 16, 2015 | 0 | Yassy's Gourmet Dog Kitchen

Bonefish Grill Menu: Herbed Couscous Yassy’s Version

As you already know, I like re-creating meals from restaurants or eatery places that I have visited and loved. It is fun to brain storming what is in the dishes I like.

One of the restaurants I like to go to is Bonefish Grill.

This restaurant would have been one of the first restaurants I was taken to when I came to the states.

If you ask me what they do best, I think they probably do great on sauce that goes with dish they serve, along with seafood dishes.

If you like to taste best salmon dish from restaurant, I think Bonefish Grill comes top on the list and, 2nd would be Firebirds Wood Fired Grill.

When it comes to steak battle, Firebirds Wood Fired Grill wins over Bonefish Grill hands down, but both great restaurants to check out if you have never visited them.

 Anyway, the Bonefish Grill has interesting side dish on the menu called “Herbed Couscous”. The couscous they use in the dish is pearl Couscous or also known as Israeli couscous. I have eaten regular itty bitty couscous that can cook up in a couple of minutes but I prefer the texture of the Pearl Couscous better.

 The dish got Pearl Couscous,lemon, olive oil,basil etc.. and, when my husband ordered it, I got to taste test some of their couscous dish and I thought it was tasty.

 Then,recently, I have tried recreating the Herb couscous that I tasted at the restaurant. In fact, since I liked it a lot, I have made it more than twice already:-) The dish is so simple but full of flavor. My version of the dish has toasted pine nuts while Bonefish one doesn’t,and the restaurant’s dish has more basil flavor but mine taste more lemon with hint of basil.

 I like the texture the toasted pine nuts can give to the dish and I Prefer the dish with more citrus flavor,rather than strong basil taste as if basil pesto is mixed in the couscous.

It came out great and my husband ate it all.Nothing left on his plate:-) He loved it.

Therefore,I thought I would share the recipe with you.

Herbed couscous with pine nuts

Herbed couscous “Yassy’s version”;Herbed couscous with toasted pine nuts..

Ingredients for Herbed Couscous Yassy’s version:

1 clove garlic chopped
1 shallots chopped
1C Pearl Couscous
2 tbs pine nuts
1 1/4C Chicken Broth
2 tbs chopped fresh basil leaves
1 tbs fresh lemon juice
1/4tsp kosher salt
Extra virgin olive oil

<Herbed Couscous Yassy’s version>

1. Drizzle Extra virgin olive oil in the sauce pan,and add chopped 1 clove of garlic,chopped 1 shallots and stir

2. Add 1 C Pearl couscous,2 tbs pine nuts and stir to toast a bit

3. Add 1 1/4C chicken broth and bring it to boil,and stir and put the lid on. Then, lower the heat to medium low and cook for 10 minutes.

4. Add 2 tbs chopped fresh basil leaves, 3 tsp fresh lemon juice and stir

5. Add 1/4tsp Kosher salt, and stir

6. Taste and adjust the seasoning

Makes; 2-3 servings



Feb 08, 2015 | 0 | Restaurant Challenge

Yassy’s note; Pregnancy week 1week -12 weeks

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s note: Natural IVF cycle and finally…“,I wrote that since we did not give up on building a family of our own, we tried two more round of IVF cycle;Natural IVF cycle with frozen embryo.

Once with 2 embryo in September,2013,which ended up not getting a good news, and the other time with one last standing embryo (Liam) in November 2013,which turned out to be our little Liam to be.

I wrote about this before, but I do not know what to say about the last IVF cycle with Liam to be. The last remaining embryo ,which is “Liam” to be, beat the odd!  Our doctor was amazed for the result knowing it was the last embryo, and that it would have been our last try with IVF. Liam could be called as “miracle baby” for that.

My husband sometimes say that he still cannot believe that we got our own son who gives us smiles everyday.

This strong baby “Liam” is now 6 months old. Time passes by so fast!

Liam was such a great Christmas gift for both of us.

How to count your pregnancy week..

One thing that I found interesting for the pregnancy weeks is how to count your pregnancy week.

With naturally conceived pregnancy, the day one in the pregnancy is the first day of the last period is the pregnancy day 1.

According to parenting website, to calculate the due date manually for the naturally conceived babies, you can add seven days to the first day of your last period, then subtracting three months, then adding a year. wil give you the due date for the baby.

With IVF conceived pregnancy, especially if you were to use the frozen embryos, then, using the embryo transfer day to calculate the due date will give you the most accurate due date for the baby.

When I was a pregnant, I used the IVF due date calculator at the IVF connection website here. The IVF connection website got not only having the calculator but also plenty of information regarding IVF  and IVF conceived pregnancy etc..

Medication after positive pregnancy result and beyond..

With IVF conceived pregnancy, fertility doctor has told me to keep taking the prenatal vitamins,baby aspirin, progesterone and estradiol until 12th week of pregnancy. Those medications were to support/maintain the pregnancy.

With over the counter medications,  we got the list of medication pregnant ladies can take. You should talk to your doctor/OBGYN first but here is the list that I got. If you do plan to breastfeeding the baby, keeping the list of drugs you can take during the pregnancy time is great because medicine you could take during the breastfeeding would probably the same or similar.

I do breastfeed Liam and, when I got cold, I made a call to our OBGYN and made sure the”Tylenol cold” listed under the safe to take drug during the pregnancy time is still good one to take.

Once before I thought of asking about the medicine what to take when cold, I was not thinking clearly and took “Day Quil”. It is fine to take during the breastfeeding time, but it did reduce the milk supply as I read on it somewhere on the internet later on. Therefore, I do not take Day Quil anymore and stick with Tylenol products.

** For aches; discomfort,headache,fever; Tylenol (regular/extra strength),Tylenol sinus, Tylenol PM

** For cold; sudafed, Tylenol Flu, Tylenol Cold, Claritin-D

** For cough; Robitussin, Dimetapp, Halls/Sucrets Cough Drops,Mucinex

** For Heartburn; Indigestion; Tums, Maalox,Mylanta,Rolaids,Zantac, Pepcid, Gaviscon, Tagarnet, Prilosec OTC

** For Sinus congestion; Saline Nasal Spray, Sudafed, Tylenol Sinus, Claritin D

** For Allergy; Tylenol Allergy, Benadryl, Benadryl Allergy, Claritin

** For Difficulty sleeping; Benadryl, Tylenol PM

** For Constipation; Colace, Milk of Magnesia (tablets/liquid), Beneful, Metamucil, Fibercon, Cirucel, Konsyl, Senokat

** For Diarrhea; Immodium

** For Hemorrhoids; Preparation H, Anusol (Ointment/ suppositories), Nupercaine,Tucks Pads

** For nausea; Emetrol

Nutrition after positive pregnancy result and beyond..

On the very last day we visited our fertility doctor, he set us off with a small information packet regarding the pregnancy along with information sheet on Liam (vital record of embryo).

According to the paper that I got, it says that main goal for maintaining the healthy pregnancy is to not to loose the weight. Also, it encouraged patients to eat additional 300kcal per day over the normal consumption.

What encouraged not to eat was deli meat and hotdogs that are not heated well to avoid listeriosis.It was also advised patients not to eat undercooked meat,fish,poultry.

I was told that it will be ok to eat medium rare steak or sushi or drink coffee as long as I am not eating a lot of by OBGYN, but I stopped eating steak and stopped drinking coffee, and I made sure that all the meat that I ate was well cooked one.

I love cheese. I was told to make sure that any dairy I will consume is pasteurized one, and avoid soft cheese such as brie,feta etc..

Eating variety of healthy fresh food, and try to eat balanced meal each day are also the goal throughout the pregnancy weeks.

I remember I ate lots of yogurt,lots of fresh fruits, lots of liquid (to keep me hydrated), some good omega 3 fatty acids rich fish like salmon along with variety of vegetables.The fertility clinic advise patients that it is ok for them to eat about 6-12 oz of small fish like salmon in a week.

Fertility clinic also got a information sheet that advised patients who have tough nausea time to…

** eat small frequent meal

** avoid hot/spicy food

** Well hydrated by consuming 6-8 cups of water each day

** Try to avoid strong odors

** Try going for walk and getting some fresh air 

Some people goes through tough nausea experience ,but mine was rather mild. I did get nausea and sometime,I did not feel like eating (although I made myself to eat for Liam), but I did not skip the meal.

What helped me for the nausea was to drink something or eating fresh fruits or ice cream or yogurt.

Although the fertility clinic encourage patients to avoid spicy food for nausea, spicy food was something that I craved a lot of. I did not care for the smell of dish washer soap and,I avoided that.

As for walking, I wanted to keep doing small exercise each day like walking but for me, moving around seemed to trigger the bleeding/spotting so, I remember I was on the bed lots of time, try not to walk around much especially when I was under 12 weeks.

The food that I craved a lot of was strawberry,black olive, plain yogurt with fresh and spicy food. I still like to eat black olive that I did not care for before. Yogurt also became one of those things that ” have to have one in a day”.

I now share the yogurt with our dog “Palette”. When the yogurt container gets emptied out, Palette makes sure to get it super clean. She dives her head into the yogurt cup and when she lifts her head up from the yogurt container, she sometimes got yogurt eyelashes,yogurt head etc.. It is so funny but she really really like yogurt!

Palette and yogurt cup 1


Palette and yogurt cup mine

This is mine….

 What is happening with you and your baby..

 One thing that I had as weekly routine stuff to do during my pregnancy weeks was to read up two websites on what will be happening with me that week and what will be going on with Liam in the belly.

Reading up about how I am changing day to day and getting information about what to do, what not to sort of things as tips and how Liam would be growing in my belly that week gave me plenty of information and I enjoyed reading the article week by week.

One website that I visited often is called “Pregnancy corner “, and the other website is called ” The Bump“. Both very informative and very good ones to read up.

One other thing that I did to following up with my changes and Liam’s changes is to watch the youtube video produced by pregnancy chat. You can find their youtube video channel here. I watched their channel until I give birth to Liam. I found the video was very easy to understand and helpful.

How to read the ultrasound pictures..

According to the eimedical website, various body tissues absorb sound waves while others reflect them. The density of the tissue dictates the speed at which the echoes return.

It says that that FLUID like amniotic fluid is always BLACK and TISSUE is GRAY. The denser the tissue is, the brighter white it will appear in ultrasound.Then, the brightest white being bone.

 In the ultrasound picture, you will always find the date,and time on top.

 In the picture,especially when sonographer was measuring anatomy of the baby,you will see the x mark on it.

You will also see pregnancy week; It usually noted after “GA”; OwOd. W means weeks. D means days.

Sometimes, you will be abbreviation on the picture when sonographer has measured something of your babies.

 For example, width of the baby’s head being BPD; biparietal diameter, FL means length of the long bones;femur length, TTD is the width of the abdomen; transverse trunk diameter. GS means “gestational sac“; the sack where the baby is in. CRL means “Crwn-rump length”; the length of the baby’s head to his/her butt.

 Sometimes, different sonographer measure the baby and baby’s posture/angle they can see is different and measurement can be slightly different each time.

Watching over Liam’s growth through the ultrasound..

 The very first regular OBGYN as a pregnant woman was in December 2014. It was close to the Christmas week.

 Very first regular OBGYN appointment was rather wasting time though. Because we told them we are through the fertility clinic and we will be coming to them but, when  we got there, we had to wait for 2-3 hours in the waiting room and when my name was finally called, I was asked to pee in the cup for the pregnancy test.

 Since we told them we were through the fertility clinic and we will be coming with the ultrasound image of our little Liam (6 weeks and 5 days) , it was not something we were thinking of happening at the OBGYN.It is simply because we have the ultrasound image of our son and why need pee in the cup to check the pregnancy positive/negative test for our visit….?

  Anyway, when we told about it with the little Liam ultrasound image on our hand, the nurse said that by the time our name was called, the sonographer time was up and she went to home, and we got nothing to do there…and have to come back in January 2014 for the actual visit as a pregnant woman.

Here is Liam at 6 weeks 4 days old. This is the ultrasound image picture we brought to our local OBGYN.

According to the pregnancy corner website, at this time of 6 weeks of pregnant,Liam would have been forming eyes and nostrils and it would appear as black dots.Then arms and legs will be like stubs.Also, lungs,pancreas, intestine, and liver are also forming at this stage and size of the baby will be about lentil ; 1/4″.

Technically, in the ultrasound image, he was past 6 weeks, so he must have been growing into the blueberry size;7th week development.

7th week development include mouth,eyes and tongue forming,developing his own blood type. Then,intestine,appendix are fully formed. You may see toes and fingers in the ultrasound picture. The pregnancy corner website says that teeth and tongues are forming inside the mouth as well in the week of 7th weeks too although you cannot see them.

Liam 6 week 4 days old Dec 16

Liam 6 weeks 4 days old..

 It was cold,rainy day and by the next appointment time in January, we would not be seeing Liam in my belly for 2-3 weeks and since we were getting used to see how things were going in my belly weekly basis, it was tough/anxiety time especially when I was spotting here and there and sometimes, I saw red blood in the toilet and it really got us worried if Liam was doing ok.

 Come January 2014, we got to see arms and legs in the ultrasound image and it made us smile. Knowing he was doing all right since the last image scan at the fertility clinic was such a relief.

 This is Liam with arm and leg first appeared in the ultrasound image.The sonographer said that this little one is really wiggly and moving a lot:-)

With 8th week development for the baby from the pregnancy corner, Liam would have been forming gonads. Also, the hardening of the bones begins to occur, and the elbows, wrists, and other bones and joints are taking shape along with facial features such as nose, ears,jawline and mouth and teeth. The website also said that if you look closer, you can almost count all twenty fingers and toes!

Liam 8 weeks 6 day Jan 3 2014 blog

Liam 8 weeks 6 days…

 When I visited regular OBGYN, our doctor has suggested us to go see high risk OBGYN one floor down just because I have got bicornate uterus (heart shaped uterus).

 Therefore, after the visit, we started seeing both high risk OBGYN and regular OBGYN. I was busy with OBGYN visit throughout the pregnancy time.I visited weekly basis for some time and as I get close to birth, 2 times a week for high risk OBGYN,1 time a week for regular OBGYN. We were monitored very closely.

 Next Liam’s image that I got to take home was end of January.I had more visit with regular OBGYN but when we go there, we were simply did testing and hearing the heartbeat and not ultrasound. We were wondering if they decided not to do the ultrasound because they know that we will be going to the high risk OBGYN who would closely monitor both of us.

Just around 11th week, we went to regular OBGYN for the first trimester screening test (blood test,pup smear,breast exam etc etc..) and we did not get to see the little Liam with sonogram and we were a little disappointed.

But I remember the nurse put a device on my tummy so we got to hear the heartbeat.Bom,bom,bom…

They said heartbeat was 162 per minutes and it is good.The doc said then, in about 3 weeks, I would start feeling the little one’s movement.

 The doctor was really nice one and, I could ask question comfortably and when we did screening test, I asked her about allergy.Because I was curious if what I eat will raise the probability of food allergy of little one; for example, if I eat egg a lot, if kid will have egg allergy and should avoid common allergen food to eat during pregnancy?

It may sound silly question but I was curious.

Her answer was no. She said, the way we manufacture food is making more kids allergic to variety of food,but what mother eat would not make kids more prone to be allergic to certain stuff.

After the visit, we visited high risk OBGYN.There, I did blood test for down syndrome,which needle was poked into 4th finger and mark the red on designated section on the test paper,and we did abdominal sonogram.

Everything was good with little Liam and sonographer made the image into 3D! It was cool to see that.

That day, looking at the picture, my husband was wonders if it was a boy (He thought he was seeing something).

With them, it seems like we need to do a lot of testing.First one ordered to do was glucose test,which I was told I will be served sweet drink and after 1 hour later,check the sugar level. Normally, glucose test will be done much later in the pregnancy week but because of family history of diabetes, they wanted me to check twice.

Next time we went there,I was told I would do the anatomy test,which they would check every detail of the babies including gender.

This is the picture the sonographer took regular ultrasound image plus 3D image one. Liam looked cute in the 3D image:-)

According to the pregnancy corner website, in the week of 12th week, Liam would have been forming the vocal cords and nails, and developing eyebrows and lips.

Liam 12 weeks 5 days blog

Liam 12 weeks 5 days..

Liam 12 weeks 5 days 3D Jan 30th blog

Liam in 3D;12 weeks 5 days..

Overall, because of how my uterus is shaped (heart), they said I would have possibility of premature birth and possibility to have kidney problems (which they want to check later).

I understand their position is to go with extra caution with close monitor with me and Liam but, listening what will be ahead of us made me a little nervous than I was before.

IVF was stressful stuff to go through but all of these during the pregnancy weeks was also stressful,full of worries… Stress is not a good one for the healthy pregnancy so I tried to focus on positive stuff but every time we went to high risk OBGYN, I felt like I was given more stuff to worry… even though I understand their position in the situation.


Jan 28, 2015 | 0 | Pregnancy

Jamaican cooking: Jamaican bean and rice (Jamaica coat of arms)

When you start making weekly menu plan with something you already have in your pantry, you will see the dramatic decrease in your grocery bill.

I like to cook,and I like to cook variety of cuisine using wide variety of fresh produce,herb, and cheese etc.. and I used to plan weekly menu based on what I like to cook as opposed to what I can cook with what I already have in our pantry.

Now, my way of planning method has changed, we will see about 34% less grocery bill every week in average. It is a lot of savings that we can spend more on quality meat for special day such as wedding anniversary or birthdays.

Even though I plan the menu with something we already have, I still try planning meal with variety of protein source and, I do not plan chicken dish all the way in a week, for example.

With that in mind, I thought, in this entry, I would share the quick and easy recipe with something your pantry would most likely have most of the ingredients.

One night in a week,I have planned to make black bean and rice. Then, I was talking about the dish on Facebook;I have asked people on there for the authentic black bean and rice and variety of bean and rice dish you could make.

Interesting stuff that I noticed is that, there are so many variation of bean and rice recipes in the world;for example, in Japan, you will use glutinous rice (mo-chi-go-me) that is used to make mochi (rice cake with) is used,and cooked with sweet azuki beans.It is then served on the days to cerebrate something special;such as wedding.Japanese bean and rice;o-ko-wa is very simple and it got no meat in it. If you make Chinese o-ko-wa dish,then you would often find chicken and other vegetables in them.

Anyway, during the bean and rice dish conversation, Renee from Missouri has mentioned about Jamaican bean and rice recipe (technically, it is rice and peas dish called ” Jamaica coat of arms”) and it looked interesting so, I used her recipe as core and arranged some so we can have it one dish as entree as opposed to side rice dish. I just simply call it “Jamaican bean and rice”.

When I made it and tasted it,it came out great. Therefore, I thought I would share the recipe with you here.

I think many of you probably have most of the ingredients needed for this dish in your pantry. This is my version of Jamaican bean and rice recipe.Renee’s original recipe can be found below my recipe so you can try her version as well.

Jamaican bean and rice
Jamaican bean and rice..

Ingredients for Jamaican bean and rice;

Extra virgin olive oil
2 cloves garlic chopped
1/16 sweet onion chopped
1/8 red pepper chopped
1/8 green pepper
1/2 can of 15.5 oz red kidney beans
1C Jasmine rice*
(recommends Dynasty brand Jasmine rice. You can find it at International aisle)

1 2/3C unsweetened coconut milk (1 can 13.66 fl oz)
pinch of dried thyme leaves
dash of red cayenne pepper
pinch of kosher salt
2 stalks green onion
3 bacon strips cut to bits and pieces

  <Jamaican bean and rice>

1. In the sauce pan, drizzle Extra virgin olive oil and add 2 cloves of garlic chopped, and stir

2. When it got fragrant, add 1/16 sweet onion chopped,1/8 red pepper chopped, 1/8 green pepper chopped and stir

3. Add 1 Can Unsweetened Coconut milk,  1/2 can of 14 oz can red kidney beans, 1C uncooked Jasmine rice and stir

4.  Add pinch of dried thyme leaves, dash of red cayenne pepper,pinch of kosher salt and stir

5. Bring it to boil and once boiled,stir and cover with lid on, and lower the heat to medium low. Cook it for 10 minutes

6. After 10 minutes of cooking, lower the heat to simmer,and cook for 10 more minutes

7. Once rice is done, fluff the rice with wooden spoon and taste the rice and adjust the seasoning if necessary

8. Chop 2 stalk of green onion and mix it in

9. When serve the meal, cook the bacon to crisp, and let it rest on the paper oil to drain off the excess oil from bacon.Then, cut the bacon into small bits to garnish the dish

10. Enjoy!

Makes; 3 servings

<Renee’s Rice and peas;Jamaica coat of arms>

3 cups rice
1 cup red kidney beans
a few springs thyme
1 medium size coconut
salt per taste
1 clove garlic
2 stalks scallion or leeks
1/4tsp black pepper
1 quart hot water

1. Grate coconut. using the quart of hot water, express the milk by adding two cups of water at a time and squeezing the milk through a sieve after each addition, until the water is finished.

2. Place red kidney beans in a saucepan with the coconut milk and add the clove of garlic, slightly bruised. Cook until peas [beans] are tender, but not overcooked.

3. Add scallions or leeks, thyme, salt, black pepper and rice, adding more water if necessary in order to boil rice properly.

4. Cook over medium heat, covered, stirring once or twice until rice is well cooked.

Note from Renee: A very small bit of salt pork is sometimes added after the peas [beans] have been boiled. Do NOT add salt to beans before they are cooked. ~~~ I served rice and peas with grilled kebabs of shrimp and beef.


Jan 17, 2015 | Comments are off | Miscellaneous (Cooking)

Yassy’s note;Natural IVF cycle and finally…

In 2012, we were still thinking about trying for another round of IVF using the frozen embryos, but we did not opt in for doing the another round of IVF right away. We did not give up on our chance, but we needed time to try for another round.

Us (me and my husband) and rest of my side of my family take turn to visit each other’s home;Japan vs USA. For the year of 2012, it was our turn but we were not sure what would be the best way to go schedule wise.

 IF we tried another round of IVF before the trip back to Japan and possibly got the good news, then, we would not be able to go see my side of family because of frequent monitoring at the clinic plus OBGYN checkups and all other necessary visits.

  If we go see them first and then try another round of IVF in the year of 2012, it is better but if we do so, possible months looked like around hot months (strong air conditioned in the building) , or colder months (chilly,windy,snowy weather).

 I did not like the idea to do the transfer during the cold month or hot months because the colder it is, the more it makes me want to go quicker for the bathroom trip and if outside is hot,many hospitals use strong air condition in the building and too cold for me to even visiting on days that I do not have to do embryo transfer.

 I was not confident that I could do the transfer without fail;coming with full bladder,holding for 15 minutes extras on the bed after the procedure under the such environment.

Therefore, we decided to take a break in 2012 for the IVF and instead, we decided to visit our family in Japan. Then, we decided to go visit hattasan soneiji temple in Japan.

Hattasan soneiji temple is located in the city called “Fukuroi city“,which is in south western part of Shizuoka prefecture.

 Part of the reasons that we decided to go there beside wishing for the good luck,getting rid of bad luck for the next round of IVF,was because I had not had a chance to dine my favorite broiled eel dish,and Shizuoka prefecture is famous for the eel. Plus, for my husband, visiting historical place was interesting to him.

Also, the temple has long stair step that is called “Shi-n-zo-u Ya-bu-ri no ka-i-dan”; “shi-n-zo-u” means “heart”,”yaburi” means “challenge” , “ka-i-dan” means “stair steps” in Japanese.

 The long stone steps are known to make visitors out of breath by the time you reach to the top.

 Once you see ahead of you and think “OK, a little bit more steps and should be on the top”, you are wrong.Still more to go..

It is very spacious temple with such unique stair steps and I thought it would also be a good exercise for us too, and the scenery was great. That was added bonus visiting the temple.

Also, the temple had the one special spot; small building across the stone bridge,which my father told us that this is the place you would wish only one thing and it is believed that “the only one wish” shall comes true.

Therefore, we have visited the special spot, and I wished for the success of IVF.

 Then, in 2013, when it was my family’s turn to visit us, my father got us amulet and other charms from the temple for the good luck for the success of IVF.

 He  came to visit us before we start another round of IVF. I have kept those charms/amulet all the time with me. Whenever we visit the clinics,I kept the the little daruma doll that is believe to bring in the good luck plus all other charms my father brought to us in my purse.

Another round of IVF; Before starting with Natural cycle with frozen embryos..

As you can guess, as you age, the lower the success rate will be for the IVF. I was approaching to big 40 in a few years,and we wanted to do the another round of IVF as quick as possible.

 Again, before we try the another round of IVF with natural cycle, we had to read,sign,and notarized the consent forms. Then, we visited the billing department to ask for the cost of natural cycle using the frozen embryos.

This time, since we had 3 frozen embryos left, we did not need to repeat the fertility drug part to stimulate the ovary to retrieve the eggs produced. Therefore, the cost of the cycle was lower but it was still the expensive price to pay for.

The natural cycle with frozen embryo IVF cycle was estimated as $4,980 and mock egg transfer procedure ($400),  pre-screening testing,medications, pregnancy testing, storage of embryos, follow-up visits with doctor was excluded.

What included were ovarian monitoring with sonograms,blood test for estradiol/progesterone, laboratory preparation of embryos for transfer, assisted hatching, ultrasound guided embryo transfer.

We also learned that if we got blessed with little one;become a pregnant, then, the clinic would want the separate cost for the pregnancy package deal,which was $550 that included a couple of times of clinic visits for monitoring the little one in the belly up until 6th week via ultrasound and blood test to keep monitoring the hormone level.

After that, checking with insurance companies for the coverage, I had to do the mock embryo transfer (had to be full bladder) along with cervical check and other blood tests including HIV/Hep B Surface Ag/Hep C ab when next cycle came because we did not do the another round of IVF within 6 months. The blood tests needed to be updated every 6 months.

Natural IVF cycle..

With the natural cycle, steps you would take is very similar to the stimulated IVF cycle but slightly different.

When your cycle started, you would call the clinic on day 1. Then, they will have you come on day 2 or day 3 for the baseline blood test along with sonogram. From there on, your ovaries will be monitored.

Since you are not giving yourself fertility drug shots, the clinic visits are much less frequent.

Next time you visit the clinic will be cycle day 7 through day 11. During the time, you will get your blood drawn to be checked for estradiol and progesterone (hormone level check) as well as sonograms to monitor your ovaries.

  Somewhere around day 10, if you did not have frozen embryos, since you would want to get the egg retrieved,and then to get it fertilized, you will get HCG shot 2 days before the egg retrieval day.

  When the eggs were fertilized, you would wait 5 days to see if the embryo could survive the 5 long day in the dish. If they did, you have the embryo to be transferred into your uterus.

When you have frozen embryos to be transferred, you would still get the HCG shots 2 days prior to the could have been the egg retrieval day without actually getting the egg retrieved.You would skip that part.

After that, you would wait 5 days, and then finally,the embryo transfer day.

 Before the transfer, the laboratory staff would pick the best embryos in the bunch and thaw them to be transferred.

Natural IVF cycle with frozen embryos..

 Just like before, we were asked how many embryos we wish to be transferred. We decided to try 2 embryos again. Our 2nd round of embryo transfer was September,2013.

embryos transferred in September 2013

2 embryos transferred in September,2013..

On the day the 2 embryos were transferred, I tried to stay laying down as much as possible with legs a little up.

 Another long 2 weeks wait til the pregnancy blood test had started.

 With our little son “Liam”, I feel one day passes by so fast now, but that 2 weeks wait was longest wait ever. The 2 long weeks wait had the anxious/nervous/exciting feeling all mixed together.

Unfortunately, those 2 embryos did not implant as we hoped they would. Another sad moment for both of us.

 By now, we have experienced embryos not making it to the 5th day, when they did, embryo did not get implanted two times… We still got one embryo left but, we were very disappointed for the result.

 After the sad news telling us that I was not a pregnant, once again, we were very sad but knowing we still got one last chance to try (We wanted to keep trying until we get blessed but financially, it is hard on us and, we were aging each year..), we decided to try to be positive and stay strong. Stress is not a good friend for this.

Natural IVF cycle; One embryo,one last chance.. and finally….

We then decided to try another round of Natural Cycle with frozen embryo. We were not sure if we could afford to try more even if we wanted to.This round was possibly the one last time. It was November,2013.

This time, after the embryo transfer procedure, even though we were told ok to resume to the ordinal routine from the next day, but since I have read that the first 5 days after the embryo transfer is the most crucial date for them to implant in other news article, I have decided to stay much more cautious this time and,I made myself laying on the bed with legs a little up as much as possible for more than a day and made myself not to move around much. Plus refrained from strenuous physical activities.

Embryos transferred in November 2013

Liam as embryo… November 2013..

As you can guess, that one last standing embryo eventually became our little son “Liam”. We have received the great news that telling me that I was a pregnant finally.It was December 2013. Great Christmas gift for both of us.

 I still remember how we spent the day we received the great news.

After visiting the clinic for the pregnancy blood test, we dropped by the nearby Asian store to get Palette’s meal to stock up her freezer. Then, we decided to dine in at PF Chang’s because we do not have much chance to dine in in our area.

It was cold day and I remember it was raining. My husband then took me to the nearby store to show me things that he thought would be interesting to try.

 After coming back to the house,I was cutting down beef heart for Palette so I can portion out her meal to freeze them. It was that time the phone rang and, at first,I did not know who my husband was talking to downstairs,but he came up and told me the great,great news.

As soon as I hear the great news,my tears started coming out because I was very very happy and we both knew that the road that come to the positive result was such a long one.Not only that, we had so many emotional/physical stress and all the emotions came out.

 In the kitchen,we hugged and cried for a while.. It was that much of news that meant so much to both of us. While we were doing the natural cycle IVF for the last embryo (Liam), I found a few 4 leaves clovers in our yard. It might had nothing to do with this,but I kept the clovers in between the book I was reading. I still have one. It brings good luck,and we wanted one:-)

 One embryo, one last chance, and we got blessed with him:-)

 I do not know what to say about this. Embryo ,which is “Liam” to be, beat the odd!  Our doctor was amazed for the result knowing it was the last embryo, and it would have been our last try with IVF.

Pregnancy test and beyond..

Now we knew that I was a pregnant, next chapter of pregnancy journey has begun. In my case, I had to visit the clinic about a couple of times for the blood test and ultrasound for the doctor to monitor/assess the embryo (Liam).

I still remember the doctor showed us the image of the embryo (Liam);white dot in the sac my uterus, and said “Can you hear the baby’s heartbeat?”. He did find him/her right away and amazed how strongly growing this little one was. It was still weaker sound just enough to be able to hear if the room was complete silence but we did hear the heartbeat for the first time:) It was mid December,2013.

Liam Dec 12,2013 heard first heartbeat

When we heard his very first heartbeat…

There was no arms and legs yet, but we saw the white spot in the sac that turns on and off as we hear the sound of the heart.

Hearing that heartbeat, I felt more real, and we both were feeling grateful.

That little heartbeat sound was such a strong beat to my heart and it made the big impression on me.

Meanwhile,we had to find the OBGYN we wanted to go to for the rest of the pregnancy weeks after the IVF doctor release us to the regular OBGYN.

Then, one incident that got me worried if I were still fine for the pregnancy-wise; I took Palette out for the potty and the ground was slippery from the rainy weather previously and when she suddenly pulled hard, I fell on my butt.

Then, I had heavy bleeding after that. Therefore, when we went to go see the doctor, I told him about the incident and it made his face white,which made me nervous.

However, everything was good, and he saw Liam was growing at the rate he should. He reassured us for that.

After the positive pregnancy blood test,doctors are to determine if the pregnancy is in the uterus,and embryo is at the appropriate size (growing as it should), the doctor will refer you to the OBGYN in your area.

With us, on the second visit, the doctor said to us that today’s visit will be the last visit for both of us and now we will be seeing OBGYN in our local area next.

All in all, after the positive result from pregnancy test,I got to see him only twice.Then, rest of the pregnancy weeks were monitored by high risk OBGYN and regular OBGYN in our local area.

I was blessed with Liam at the end but, even if I got pregnant, at that time, I was still nervous/worried/scared of miscarriage and all other possible difficulties we may face against. Never ending worries to come…

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Jan 08, 2015 | 0 | IVF

Yassy’s note: Stimulated IVF cycle journey

In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s Note:Impossible dream made possible“,I wrote that 12 years ago, I came to the states via marriage and,after spending about 2 years ourselves alone, we started thinking about starting a family. However, doctor has found the toxic fluid for babies in one of the tubes and the other tube was closed , plus I had the wall in heart shaped uterus (bicornate uterus). Therefore, both tubes had to be removed.

 Since my uterus had so little space for the babies to grow, our first doctor told us that our option for our dream of life will be achieved via surrogate program,which runs up 60,000 dollars.

 However, when we went to the fertility clinic to talk about option in detail, we were told that the another doctor could perform the surgery to remove the wall in my uterus so the babies can grow, and that I could carry my own baby via IVF as option.
 In the another previous entry titled “Yassy’s Note: One step closer to our IVF journey“,  I wrote what kinds of evaluation tests we went through and how they are performed.

 In the another previous entry titled “Yassy’s note; first step into IVF journey“,  I wrote about how our very first IVF journey has begun.

 In this entry, I would like to write about how our very first stimulated IVF journey went.

Fertility drugs, injection teaching, ovarian monitoring days..

 About 2 weeks prior to the very first stimulated IVF cycle treatment, we have scheduled the injection teaching class so we get to learn how and where and when I would or my husband would give the series of fertility shots to me. This was the day when I thought we would finally start stepping forward to our long waited dream; starting family of our own.

IVF medication picture blog

At the end, I have got this much of fertility drug shots…

These are from 2 round of stimulated IVF cycle,and 2 round of Natural IVF cycle.

The injection teaching, in our case, was done at the clinic and, we learned what medications we will be getting from the fertility drug pharmacy, and how much of each drugs I would be getting as well as the time of the day I give myself a shot each day.

 The clinic has told us to give myself a series of shots of ..

  • Lupron ; one dose each night. It is to be given in either thigh or abdomen. However, the injection site got swollen up in my case.Therefore, I had to take different medication (Synarel) in place of lupron shots.

 The Nurse will tell you when to start the medication, and then, when your cycle has started,you are to call the clinic on day 1 so you can go to clinic on day 2 to get your blood drawn for the cycle day 3 hormone baseline test.

The clinic we went to have patients come early in the morning between 7am-9am for the blood work of all kind as well as all the monitoring work such as sonogram.

  •  Follistim pen; one dose each night unless otherwise noted by physician. It is to be given in either thigh or abdomen.
  • Menopur; One dose each night. It is to be given in either thigh or abdomen
  • HCG; This is the drug you would get shot with 2 days before the egg retrieval day at the specific time.The nurse will schedule the egg retrieval day first and then give you the instruction as to what time exactly you should get HCG shot. This injection will be given in buttocks.
  • Progesterone in sesame oil; This is the shot you will get shot with on the day of egg retrieval. This shot will be given in buttocks.

As you can see,some of the shots are given in the buttocks where you cannot give yourself the shots with, so it was my husband’s duty to do so for me. He was a little nervous about the shots but he did great job.It was not painful at all.

After the injection teaching, we have received the fertility drugs and we have called them up to tell them my cycle has begun. On the cycle day 19, which was August 2010, I have started getting lupron/Synarel along with baby aspirin for 10 days in my case until next cycle begins, each day.

  Then, when the new cycle started, on day 1, you will call your clinic to let them know that your cycle has begun. Usually, they will have you come for the baseline blood test on cycle day 3, and they will instruct you to start getting the series of the fertility drugs you have received.

 On your cycle day 3,4,6,8,10, and 11, you would visit the clinic to get your hormone level monitored via blood test and also you will be checked how your ovaries are responding to the fertility drugs via sonogram.

 Soon, giving myself the series of shot became one of my routine stuff to do each day. It was September ,2010.

 The medication dosage for the each drug would start with the same for everyone at first, but depending on the individual person, the dosage can go higher or lower based upon the blood test you do every so often at the office during the stimulated IVF cycle.

 Since there are variety of shots you would need to give yourself a shot with, the clinic has provided a chart so we can simply fill out the date and dosage to keep track with.I thought it was a good idea.

As you can see, we had to visit the clinic every so often to get my ovaries monitored closely. It was such a tiring days on the conic visit because we had to wake up really early in the morning and drive up to the clinic;90 minutes trip each way.

 By the time we back home, we were zombie and needed a short nap to function. However, every time we go see them and hear that the physician says that there are xx number of follicles are being produced on my ovaries, we got so happy knowing that my ovaries are responding to the drug well and producing the eggs that could make our dream come true.

 Egg retrieval day..

Between the cycle 11-14 days, based on the images that the physician would see, your egg retrieval day will be scheduled.

In our case, the procedure was done via IV sedation at the clinic with recovery time for 1 hour. One hour before the procedure, I was asked to take Valium (diazepam). That medicine made me feel so heavy in body and,I think it worked too good for me. The next cycle we did, I had to take only half dose I got for the first try.

It was the exciting day for both of us. I felt like it was the real start for us,one step forward toward the dream of our own.

On the day of egg retrieval, your husband will provide a sperm sample to fertilize the eggs retrieved.

The doctor has retrieved 11 eggs from me on that day, and 7 eggs out of 11 eggs were fertilized.

Now the real question/challenge for them was whether they could survive the period of 5 days growing in the dish. If the fertilized eggs did not survive the 5 days in the dish, we had no embryos to be transferred into my uterus.

Those 5 days wait was our very first anxious period of time,waiting for the good or bad news to come and see if we can move forward to the next step;embryo transfer. It is especially because you will be getting series of fertility drug shots including the new regime to get your body prepared for the embryo transfer day if things went good while waiting for the news and,that made us both more anxious.

Unfortunately, the fertilized 7 eggs did not make it to the 5th day enough for the doctor to consider it as good quality embryos. Therefore, our very first IVF cycle was stopped right there.

If the fertilized eggs made it to the 5th day, the lab technicians would have selected best looking embryos from the bunch and I would have been moving on to the embryo transfer.

 In the best scenario, if I could move on to the ultrasound guided embryo transfer,then I would have done embryo cryopreservation for some and transfer 1-2 embryos into my uterus hoping for the implantation. Then I would have wait 14 days to get tested for the hormone level via blood test to check if I were a pregnant or not.

As you can see, there are so many waiting time for specific steps/procedures, and you can imagine how disappointed we were when we heard the bad news;the embryos did not make it to the 5th day..

Both of us had strong wish to start our own family so, we have waited a bit to try again but we knew we would try again hoping for the better next time.

2nd stimulated IVF cycle..

Since me and my husband,both had strong wish to try the IVF again hoping to have our own family,we decided that we would keep trying as much possible as we could. It sure was hard financially, but our dream had more strong impression on us and we made our dream as priority.

The spring came, we have decided that we would try another round of stimulated IVF cycle. There is no guarantee that we would be able to have our dream come true with the second try,but we had to try to seek the chance.

Just like our first try with stimulated IVF cycle, we repeated the steps we have done with the first IVF cycle; series of fertility drugs,frequent clinic visits to get my blood drawn for the hormone level,plus sonogram to get my ovaries monitored closely between 7am-9am each time. Since our house was 90 minutes drive away from the clinic and traffic was horrible, every visit made us very tired. Whole IVF cycle had emotional,physical stress altogether.

Now the egg retrieval day came in April 2011. This time, doctor has retrieved 28 eggs. I do not remember how many eggs were fertilized, but at the end, we had only 5 embryos that survived 5th day in the dish.

At this point, we were not sure yet if any of the 5 embryos would come meet us, but “survived the 5th day in the dish” was good enough news for us then since previous fertilized eggs did not make it to the 5th day.

  On the embryo transfer day in the late April 2011,I was nervous and at the same time,I was excited with the hope this might work. I was nervous because I knew that I had to drink lots of water (clinic told us to start drinking  64 oz of water about 2 hours prior to the procedure. ) and had to come to the clinic with full bladder.

  We have decided to transfer 2 embryos that day. It was the fresh embryos. Here is the picture of them.

Transfered Embryo pic Apr 2011 for blog

Our very first embryos to be transferred into my uterus..

  I was worried if I would not burst in the clinic during the procedure. After all, the procedure went ok although my ovaries were responding to the medicine too well and it was swollen a bit and the procedure itself was a little painful.

After the embryo was transferred, I had to rest in the room for about 15 minutes and went home. I was told bed rest for a day,and still keep taking the fertility drugs. Now the long 14 days wait begun till the pregnancy test via blood test.

During the long 14 days wait period, we had to come to the clinic on 4th and 8th day after the egg transfer to get the blood hormone checked. Based on this result,sometimes, doctor would order the adjustment for the drug dosage.

Come May 2011, I went to the clinic for the blood pregnancy test. I was nervous again, but excited to hear the news whether I was a pregnant or not.

I remember that I have received a call from the doctor telling me that my result was not good. I was not a pregnant. You can imagine how sad I was. I remember I kept question myself whether I can really become a pregnant someday, and start the family..

I was really sad to hear the news but on the flip side, we still had 3 embryos left to try. Therefore, we have decided to try again when we can afford to do so. Meanwhile, we have asked the clinic to cryopreserve our embryos for later use.

The next step we could try was via Natural cycle (no fertility drugs) with frozen embryo transfer. This is going to be a little different in the steps to follow.  I am going to explain in the next entry.


Dec 30, 2014 | 0 | IVF

Yassy’s note: First step into IVF journey


In the previous entry titled “Yassy’s Note:Impossible dream made possible“,I wrote that 12 years ago, I came to the states via marriage and,after spending about 2 years ourselves alone, we started thinking about starting a family. However, doctor has found the toxic fluid for babies in one of the tubes and the other tube was closed , plus I had the wall in heart shaped uterus (bicornate uterus). Therefore, both tubes had to be removed.

 Since my uterus had so little space for the babies to grow, our first doctor told us that our option for our dream of life will be achieved via surrogate program,which runs up 60,000 dollars.

 However, when we went to the fertility clinic to talk about option in detail, we were told that the another doctor could perform the surgery to remove the wall in my uterus so the babies can grow, and that I could carry my own baby via IVF as option.
 In the another previous entry titled “Yassy’s Note: One step closer to our IVF journey“,  I wrote that the infertility evaluation process is recommended first before the treatment such as IVF if the couple has attempted to conceive more than a year without success. Then, I have explained what kinds of evaluation tests we went through and how they are performed.

 In this entry, I would like to write about how our very first IVF journey has begun.

Mock Egg transfer/Hsteroscopy..

 After all the evaluation is done, fertility clinic scheduled me for the mock Egg transfer/Hysteroscopy,by which physicians would be able to see the uterine anatomy (condition of the uterine cavity,and where the fallopian tubes enter the uterus.It also tells the physician if there were any adhesion,growth of tissue, fibroid in the uterus), and he/she could plan what technique/tool/method to use as well as the planned location of the embryos; exactly where they would like to place the embryos when the real egg transfer date, to help increase the odds of implantation.The physician would also check your cervix

 It was April 2010. This procedure is often done between day 6-11 of your cycle and,you would feel like pap smear.It is not a painful procedure although since you come with full bladder, it is a little uncomfortable during the procedure.

 The procedure itself is done as following steps.

Often times, the clinic will ask you to call when your cycle has begun;day 1. Then, schedule your mock egg transfer/Hysteroscopy.

 The clinic would ask you to take the antibiotic on the day of mock egg transfer/Hsteroscopy day. At the clinic we went to, they also asked us to take the painkiller such as ibprofen to decrease the cramping one hour before the procedure.

 The procedure itself is done by inserting a speculum into your vagina,and then local anesthetic is injected to numb the cervix. The physician would then gently insert the hysteroscope to look inside the uterus.
 After the procedure is done, you will be asked to rest for 15 minutes in the room.

 The clinic we went to did mock egg transfer when they scheduled me for the hysteroscopy at the same time.

  The mock egg transfer will be done under abdominal ultrasound, and they will check the cervix. This procedure is to simulate the conditions of the embryo transfer.

 The clinic we went to asked me to start drinking water 2 hours prior to the appointment and drink at least 8 cups of water. However, I had long drive to the clinic and it would have been so uncomfortable if I drank that much. Therefore, I simply drank the water just enough to have my bladder full without feeling too full.

  This mock egg transfer/Hysteroscopy procedure were not included in the IVF program,and we had to pay roughly $500 through our insurance company for them.

  When you think about trying IVF program, ask the financial staff as to what are included in the program,what are not included in the program and at the same time, ask your insurance company whether what are not included in the IVF program at your chosen clinic would be covered or not beforehand.

 When everything in the uterus looked ok, they gave us long pages of Treatment agreement sheet,which we had to read it,sign it, date it and one of them had to be notarized and submitted to the office. It was May 2010.

What the treatment agreement basically said was risk and benefit of the treatment such as the fact that the treatment is not something they can guarantee that the treatment will be effective to maintain the pregnancy or the pregnancy will result in the delivery of the healthy,living child.

 Also, it is to allow them to test us, and to remind us that the IVF treatment could result in multiple pregnancy,consequences of multiple pregnancy, Ectopic pregnancy, and could have risk of fertility drugs along with the information what would happen if the doctor thinks pregnancy should be terminated because of the medical reasons.

Another one we received was the statistic information sheet,which we had to read and sign it. Below is the copy of the success rate chart we have received. You can click the image to view the enlarged image.

IVF Success rate chart

In VA, law requires all the physicians who are performing IVF to submit the statistics to patients.Therefore, we had the chart given to us prior to the treatment and know that the chance of the success with IVF that are related to the age,and the cause of infertility.

Interesting thing it said was that, you can call American society for reproductive medicine  to find out the statistics of particular clinic in the states if you wish to find out about it by yourself.

If you would like to know the statistic of your particular fertility clinic’s success rate of IVF treatment, you can call at 205-933-8494 also.

The IVF clinic also submit the statistic data to CDC and  SART (Society for Assisted Reproductive Technologies). These tables are then published and available online to the public. You can click the link here, at the SART website,then, click your state to find out about the success rates at your preferred IVF clinic. Their data format is very easy to read.

How to read the IVF success rate chart..

Donor OVA; Donor egg
ICSI; (ICSI;Intracytoplasmic sperm injection ) is the method where each egg is individually injected with a single sperm using a tiny needle under microscopic guidance in hope of fertilization.
Stimulation; Stimulated IVF program patient number
Retrievals; attempted number of patients who did egg retrieval procedure
Transfer; number of patients whose embryos were transferred
pregnancies; number of pregnancies
Pregnant/stimulation; % of patients who got pregnant after stimulated IVF program

Pregnant/Retrieval; % of patients whose eggs were retrieved and got pregnant

 Pregnant/transfer; % of patients who undergo the embryo transfer and got pregnant

The national infertility association suggests that we should focus on the % of the embryo transfers that resulted in the pregnancy/live birth. The association says that this statistic tells you how many babies were born for each IVF cycle, as opposed to the numbers of babies conceived.

The clinic we went to gave us the data sheet prior to the treatment but the data we got was not that clear if you try to look for the implantation rate that resulted in the live birth but SART got that information and you can find it out very easily. 

For example, looking at the 2012 data submitted to SART via the clinic we went to, 35 years old and younger had 71 embryo transfer,then the percentage of transfer resulted in the live birth was 35.2% (using thawed own eggs). With the fresh egg from their own, 35 years old and younger had 36.4%  of success rate that resulted in live birth.

 Another sheet we got was voice mail consent form, and informed consent for assisted reproduction.
The informed consent for assisted reproduction basically tells you what procedure and steps are involved,what types of medicines are involved for what reasons,as well as other information such as risks to offsprings, risk of multiple pregnancies,Ovarian Hyperstimulation syndrome (OHS),birth defect,legal matters and more. You are to read it and sign it,date it and submit to the clinic.

IVF types and procedure..

At the clinic we went to, they offer two types of treatment when you use your own egg and your husband’s own sperm.

 One is stimulated IVF,which basically use the drug to grew multiple eggs and hoping to have more chance to succeed. The other one was natural cycle,which no drugs are involved to grew multiple eggs and treatment will be done based upon your cycle,using your naturally produced single egg.

 This method would be more natural to the body,I think but downside of it is that you have only one chance and it is only if your egg were present in the ovary and and be ready to be fertilized.

 Both treatment has pro and cons.

 The difference between the natural cycle vs stimulated IVF program is not just about number of eggs and usage of the fertility drugs. The frequency of office visit to be monitored, frequency of blood tests and sonogram will be different as well. Also, the cost for the natural cycle is different from the stimulated IVF program and the clinic we went offered $4,400 for one natural cycle treatment (exclude assisted hatching,blastocyst culture).

 Depending on the treatment you choose, the step is slightly different as well as medications that are given, but generally, IVF treatment with stimulated cycle would go as followings. Since we have tried stimulated IVF program as the first try, I will explain about the stimulated IVF program first in detail.

** You will be given the medication to grew multiple eggs
** Retrieval of the eggs from ovaries
** insemination of eggs with sperm
** culture of any fertilized eggs (embryos)
** transfer of the embryos into the uterus
** medication (hormone) to support the lining of the uterus,to permit the pregnancy and to maintain the pregnancy
** If you used the stimulated IVF, and if you had more embryos that survived 5 days fertilization outside your uterus than you would hope to be transferred to you, you can ask to freeze them for a fee

IVF Medications..

 If you choose the stimulated IVF treatment, you will receive more fertility drugs than you would with natural cycle treatment. Below is the list of typical medication given to you for the IVF treatment.
  • Gonadotropins, or injectable fertility drugs; Follistim, Gonal-F, Bravelle, Menopur

These hormone drugs are to stimulate the ovary in hopes of  encouraging the growth of several eggs over the span of 8 or more days

All injectable fertility drugs have FSH ( follicle stimulating hormone) that will stimulate the growth of the ovarian follicles which contains the eggs, and some of them have LH (Luteinizing hormone) ; that will work with FSH to increase the production of estrogen and growth of the follicles.

The dosage of the drugs,timing of the drugs, timing of the egg retrieval date are unique to the individuals,and it will be determined by your physician in response to the frequent blood tests to check the hormone level as well as the images of the ovaries via ultrasound.

  • Lupron; injectable medication that will prevent a premature LH surge,which could result in the release of the eggs before they are ready to be retrieved. This drugs also be used to start the growth of the follicles or initiate the final stage of egg maturation.
  • HCG (Human chorionic gonadotropin) ;Profast, Novarel, Pregnyl,ovidrel

HCG is a hormone used in IVF to induce the egg to become mature and fertilizable. Physician will tell you the exact timing to receive this medication right before the egg retrieval day.

  • Progesterone, estradiol; hormones normally produced by the ovary after ovulation. After the egg retrieval, since ovaries in some women will not produce the enough level of the hormones for long enough to fully support the pregnancy, physicians would prescribe these hormone.

            Also, supplemental progesterone, and some cases esradiol are given to ensure the enough hormone support of the uterine lining. Progesterone medication is often continued for some weeks after pregnancy has being confirmed.

  • Oral  contraceptive pills; Birth control pills are to be taken for 2-4 weeks before gonadotropin injections are started to suppress the hormone production or to schedule a cycle (when you take birth control pills, it will regulate the cycle and it is much easier for them to give you the best timing possible for the treatment medications)
  • Oral antibiotics; antibiotics are to be taken for a short time during the treatment cycle to reduce the risk of infections associated with egg retrievals, and egg transfer.
  • Baby aspirin; to help keep open the blood vessels in the placenta, to  improve blood flow to the ovary, and prevent the blood clots.It would lead to better stimulation and implantation;giving us healthier eggs and embryos.

With us, our insurance company could cover the stimulated IVF program for up to maximum $10,000 in life time. Therefore, we have chosen the stimulated IVF cycle for the first try.

After all the evaluation, and physician’s consultation on our case, I was asked to start taking the prenatal vitamins besides fertility drugs they would ask me to take.

 The fertility drugs were covered by our insurance company but it was still expensive; $350. Without the insurance, it would have been much more  expensive drugs. If you were thinking of trying IVF, I would recommend to check what are covered,what are not covered by your insurance company beforehand.

And it is good to check to see if your insurance company would cover the certain amount of IVF cost. It was such a big help for us,regardless of the result at the end.

Egg Retrievals..

  After ovaries were stimulated, and produced multiple follicles, next step you would take is egg retrieval.

  Egg retrieval from the ovary is done by ultrasound probe to see the ovaries and the egg containing follicles within the ovaries.

  A long needle would be guided into each follicles and the content will be aspirated. This procedure will be done under the anesthesia. Then, aspirated eggs will be transferred into the lab where they are kept in condition that support their need and growth. Then, eggs and sperms will be placed together in specialized condition, in hopes of fertilization.

 In some case, individual sperm are injected into each egg in a technique called ICSI; Intracytoplasmic sperm injection.

Prior to this egg retrieval procedure,you will be asked to take the antibiotics to reduce the risk of infections. Also,physician may prescribe you to take diazepam to make you relax.

After the egg retrievals..

  The fertilized eggs;embryos are placed in small dishes/tube containing culture medium,which is the special fluid developed to support development of the embryos made to resemble that found in fallopian tubes or uterus. 

 Then, the dishes containing the embryo will be placed into incubators,which control the temperature and atmospheric gasses the embryos experience.

  Then, lab technicians would watch over the embryo’s growth every day. 2 days after the insemination, normal embryos would have 4 cells . Three days after, normally developed embryos would have 8 cells. 5 days after, normally developed embryos would develop into the blastocyst stage here embryos would have more than 8- cells.

 When you get eggs taken for fertilization, not all eggs would fertilized, and not all embryos would develop the same rate or develop normally. At the same time, even if the embryo could develop at the normal rate,it does not mean that the embryos are genetically normal. 

 Embryo transfer..

 After the embryos are kept in the lab being checked for the growth for a certain days (the days kept at the la can vary depending on the clinic you go to), lab technician will select the best embryo from the bunch for the transfer into your uterus.

With the clinic we went to, they kept the fertilized eggs for 5 days to grow, and selected the best one of the bunch and then transferred into my uterus. You will be asked how many embryos you would like to be transferred prior to the procedure. To help curtail the problems of multiple pregnancy, national guideline limits the number of the embryos to be transferred into your uterus depending on your age.

For example, for the 5-6 days old embryos to be transferred, women up to age 35, they recommend to 1 embryo to be transferred, and for the women between 35 to 37,they would recommend 2 embryos to be transferred.

On the day of embryo transfer, the embryo will be placed in placed in the uterus with the thin tube. The physician would use the ultrasound to guide the catheter and select the best spot for the implantation.

You will be asked to arrive with full bladder for this procedure so the uterus will be straighten up and easier for the physician to look the image and guide the catheter into the uterus for the best chance of pregnancy..

In some cases, if you had good fertilized remaining eggs that survived 5 days in the dishes/tube than you would transfer into your uterus, you can freeze the embryos for the later use. The freezing cost was $1,500 per cycle,and annual storage fee per year was $500 at the clinic we went.

Freezing can save your cost,and another fertility drugs to take to stimulate your ovaries again to retrieve the eggs in the future.

That being said, I was informed that the success rate of pregnancy using the frozen embryo is lower at the national level than with fresh embryos.

 After the embryo transfer..

After the embryo transfer, in hopes of successful implantation of the embryo to the lining of the uterus, you would be asked to take hormone medications such as estradiol, and progesterone.

Both hormone medication is given to keep the lining of the uterus thick and gooey so the embryo has more chance to implant.

With naturally conceived situation, ovaries would make adequate level of the hormone, but with IVF treatment, the level of those hormones are not at the favorable level. Therefore, often times progesterone, estradiol will be given to take for 2 to 10 weeks.

Then, you will have 2 weeks to wait till the pregnancy test (blood test), and finally, you will know if you are pregnant or not pregnant then. If you were a pregnant, your physicians will ask you to keep taking the baby aspirin,prenatal supplement and other hormone medication;progesterone and estradiol to maintain the pregnancy.

 The cost for one stimulated IVF program..

 The cost of the treatment is different depending on the clinic you will go to, and the area you are located at. Also,the costs for fertility treatments will vary widely among programs as well. 

 In average, the cost for one IVF cycle with no insurance coverage is approximately $10,000 plus the cost of medications in the Washington, D.C. area.

The clinic we went to included ovarian monitoring with sonograms, blood estrogen and progesterone measurement, egg collection,culture of eggs and embryos, ultrasound guided embryo transfer, anesthesia, supplies, cycle review,facility fees in the single stimulated IVF cycle without insurance coverage.

Medications, prescreening, cryopreservation,ICSI, assisted hatching, culture of eggs, gender selection, storage fees, complication of therapy,pregnancy testing and monitoring were not included in the program above.

What is ICSI..

(ICSI;Intracytoplasmic sperm injection ) is the method where each egg is individually injected with a single sperm using a tiny needle under microscopic guidance in hope of fertilization. The resulting embryo is then cultured similarly to an embryo produced in a non-ICSI IVF treatment.

What is assisted hatching…

 The human embryo hatches out of the eggshell (zona pellucida) at the blastocyst stage of development. Assisted hatching involves making a small hole in the shell that is surrounding the embryo prior to the embryo transfer and help the embryo emerge following its transfer into the uterus after IVF. It is believed that it increases implantation and pregnancy rates.

Just like our insurance company, some insurance companies do cover IVF program. The clinic we went to needed pre-authorization (written form) from the insurance company before starting the program.

What would happen if the IVF cycle has failed?

 The clinic we went to refunded us the fee we did not complete; fee for service. Then, if you wish to continue to try another IVF, you would schedule the appointment for the cycle review.

What would happen if you get pregnant?

 The clinic we went to did not include the office visits,sonogram,monitoring etc after the pregnancy confirmation in the IVF program package deal. The wanted the separate fee of $500.It included all the office visits,blood test,sonogram monitoring etc.. I was being monitored until I was at 6 week pregnant.

 This is how stimulated IVF program is done.

 After we have signed the all necessary paperwork,we were scheduled to visit the office to learn about how to give ourselves shots for fertility drugs, and also we were asked to go to lab to draw blood for the hormone/HIV Hep B Surface AG/Hep C ab test for me. My husband had to get his blood drawn to be tested for HIV,Hep B Surface AG/Hep C ab. These blood test will be required to do every 6 months.

 Now, We were ready to plunge into our first IVF cycle.

 It is best to schedule injection teaching, cycle review about 2 weeks before the estimated cycle day 1 because insurance company’s authorization for the fertility drugs could/would take 2 weeks.

 Unfortunately, our first try did not result in positive result, and it  took us long,long time to finally meet our little son “Liam”, but it was worth waiting for him to arrive in our arms.

 I love him.I love spending a day with our little star “Liam” and enjoy his smile each and every single day.


Dec 16, 2014 | 0 | IVF