The Clinic Director Anna Hosford and Medical Director Dr. Juliet Skinner became like family during the 14 days that we were visiting Barbados. They greeted me with hugs and warmth and the biggest smiles! They made Hubman and I feel so comfortable and were kind, patient, and honest with us both. They took such wonderful care of me throughout our entire process, from the MONTHS before meeting them, to even weeks after our 1st round was complete.
The entire clinic was truly amazing. Not once did we feel like a number, or just a process. We felt respected, honored, heard, and welcomed from the very first encounter we had with our clinic. Each and every person in that building was warm, kind, welcoming, loving, and patient.
Results of our first cycle
Unfortunately, our dream of a “Barbados Baby” didn’t happen this time.
When Anna called me to discuss the result, I swear to you that I could feel her warm hug 2000 miles away. She was so comforting and sensitive and knowing that she truly cares about her patients was the most heartwarming part of this entire journey.
I’m so appreciative that our first experience was with such amazing people, in such an amazing place. ZERO REGRETS.
For now, we’ll snuggle our 2 precious kitties into the holiday season while we mourn, grieve, and make a roadmap for our next steps on this journey.
I hope we are able to return back to the clinic someday, even if it’s just to swing by some breakfast while we are on vacation. I couldn’t recommend Barbados Fertility Centre any more than I already have. Many of you have reached out to me with questions and I’m more than happy to help anyone on this journey that I can.
Infertility is hard. Know that you are not alone. I love you all. Always.
After our transfer, Hubman and I went out to explore the beautiful island of Barbados a bit more before we had to come home. It was the weekend, so with no pressure to be at our computers for a few days, we hopped in the car and took off. (Buckle up! This one is a long one!)
The first place we visited was called Bathsheba Park. We enjoyed the scenery and watched the waves crash for what seemed like hours, though it wasn’t that long at all. It was unreal. Bathsheba is a rugged and scenic beach with beautiful and dramatic rock formations. We loved watching the surfers ride the waves again and again. It was mesmerizing and relaxing, and I swear, I felt so close to God at that moment.
Cherry Tree Hill
Cherry Tree Hill was a beautiful scenic area that we enjoyed exploring for a while. We were approximately 850 feet above sea level in this location. It is believed that the name “Cherry Tree Hill” originated from the large number of cherry trees which once existed at this location. Today the road is lined with mahogany trees, which were introduced into Barbados after the Treaty of Paris in 1763. As you descend the hill the mahogany trees give way to swaying sugar cane.
Cherry Tree Hill is part of the St. Nicholas Abbey plantation. St. Nicholas Abbey Rum is produced at the on-site rum distillery.
Morgan Lewis Windmill
Morgan Lewis Windmill is located in the northern part of the island overlooking the eastern coastline. Morgan Lewis is one of the only two intact and restored sugar mills in the Caribbean.
Another beautiful place we visited was Cove Cave. Otherwise known as “Cove Bay,” it’s one of Barbados’ hidden gems. With a gorgeous view of the Atlantic Ocean, it’s the perfect private little getaway spot for picnics, meditation, or general sightseeing. This part of the island is peaceful and serene. You have the cliff to remind you just how small you are in this universe and constant breeze in your hair, the sound of the waves crashing below you, and horses and cows behind you grazing, it truly is breathtaking!
Animal Flower Cave
Next, we went to Animal Flower Cave. Named for its sea anemones, Animal Flower Cave is the island’s only accessible sea cave. It’s located at the northernmost point of the island. We had the opportunity to swim in the cave’s rock pools, so if you visit this spot, be sure to bring your swimsuit and a towel.
Ask the tour guides to let you touch the sea anemones. It’s SO much fun. (Spoiler alert, there’s a video of what happens when you poke them on my TikTok!)
Hunte’s Garden was definitely a must-see, in my book. “A place of serenity where you can feel peace of mind and the tranquility of your soul whilst being surrounded by nature in some of the wonderous varieties it has to offer. Take a leisurely stroll through the tall palm trees of what once was a regular gully; which has now become a majestic transformation by Anthony Hunte into an ornately designed garden located in Barbados, known by many around the world, simply as: Hunte’s Gardens.”
Hunte’s Gardens is located in the Saint Joseph Parish, along with Bathsheba Park and Beach. Here, you’ll see some of the most magical tropical plants, beautiful wildlife (yes, even wild green monkeys playing in the trees!), and hear the sounds of beautiful classical music playing softly in the back with the birds happily singing along.
The gardens used to be part of the Castle Grant sugar plantation. In 1990, The owner, Anthony bought ten acres of this plantation and transformed the area in and around a collapsed cave into, not only his home but the most beautiful of gardens. The Garden was opened to the public in 2007
Our last few days
We had to work the last half week we were on the island, so unfortunately our true fun time had come to a halt. I forced myself to get up early and get some beach time in before work each day. After work each day we would walk down the boardwalk and have dinner and watch the sunset. We sat on the piers and watched the waves crash and stared at Venus and the moon shining perfectly over the sea. It was bittersweet to know that we’d be leaving soon, but we tried to be in the moment and soak up every magical moment that Barbados could give us. Just being together in such a beautiful place was enough to fill my heart with love and joy. We met some of the most amazing people that I can truly never forget; from the locals of the island, to my EPIC fertility team, to other amazing women that are on their own fertility journey, these humans will forever have a place in my heart. We fell in love with Barbados and knowing we were there to grow our family made it even more special to us. We can say with 100% certainty that we will be back again soon.
When we got back home
After spending the last few days on the island with each other, it was time to return home with our little embryo and finish the wait from there. We flew home on Thanksgiving Day and arrived back at our home around 2am the Friday after. We were glad to come home to our 2 beautiful kitties, but we found it much harder to distract our minds from “little em,” which was the name we lovingly were calling our embaby. I tried to keep busy and enjoyed visiting with many friends and family that came to see us and our new home. I decorated for the holiday, and tried to remind myself as much as I could, that, “Science is awesome! What will be, will be.”
Stay tuned to see the results of our first IVF round. We truly appreciate you following us on our journey. It’s hard, but most things worth something aren’t easy. #MakingBabyKnight
Prior to my egg retrieval, I was on ovarian stimulation injections for 10 days trying to get my ovaries to understand the assignment. Let’s hope those 4 follicles give us 4 good-quality eggs.
I arrived at the clinic a few hours before my retrieval to do my blood draw for my protein-rich plasma treatment. After my blood draw, I hung out on the beach watching lots of crabs and enjoying the serenity and beauty of the nature that surrounded me.
Hubman met me at the clinic with our laundry so we found a local laundry shop and then I hustled back to the clinic as fast as I could to make it in time for my retrieval. I went back to the procedure area and changed clothes, then I went back to the procedure room, got comfortable, got my IV, and they started the egg retrieval. I wasn’t able to fully fall asleep during the retrieval. To say it was uncomfortable was an understatement, but at least it was over quickly.
They found 1 egg in each follicle, so 4 total. They started the fertilization process right away using ICSI.
We hired a taxi driver to pick up our laundry and take us back to the hotel. Once there, I was a little too sore to do anything except lay down, so I rested and stayed on top of my pain medications. I started feeling much better after a nap so Hubman and I walked down the boardwalk and met a few new awesome friends at Chill Bar. We hung out there for a while and grabbed a bite to eat before my pain meds wore off and it was time to head back to the hotel to get some more rest.
We found out this day that of the 4 eggs retrieved, only 3 were mature. Of those 3, 1 didn’t make it past the fertilization stage. The next day we found out 1 other hadn’t made it past day 1, which left us with 1 single embryo that was trying its hardest to develop and grow. This would be the single embryo that we transferred.
The next day I was feeling sore and swollen so I opted to stay inside and rest as much as I could. On the 3rd day, I was still very swollen but I was feeling good enough to head to the beach and meet some new friends from England. I got to see some baby sea turtles hatching from their nest and making their way to the ocean. I cried… a lot. (There’s a video on my tiktok if you want to experience it along with me!) It was the most amazing thing to witness and you guys know I have always had such a huge spot in my heart for sea turtles. After what seemed like an amazing day where everything was going well, I had a bit of a scare.
I’m so used to my body revolting against me that I thought for sure everything we had worked so hard for up to this point had been for nothing. We made plans to go to Oistin’s Fish Fry on Friday night with some new friends that we had just met. I left the beach and ran back up to the room to shower and get ready for dinner so we would be ready to meet our friends back in the lobby by 6:30. I took the fastest shower and when I stepped out to dry off, that’s when the panic set in. The amount of blood on my towel was more than alarming. I thought for sure I had started my period and seeing how our embryo transfer was scheduled for the next morning, you can imagine how upset I was.
I called the emergency line to my clinic and was connected to Dr. Skinner. She asked exactly what was happening and when I explained the situation, she assured me that this was likely a vaginal bleeding wound from the egg retrieval, since I was on blood thinners, rather than uterine bleeding caused by my menstrual cycle. She tried so hard to put my mind at ease, however, that’s much easier said than done. I tried so hard to move past it and enjoy the evening at the fish fry. The food was amazing and the company was awesome. I enjoyed visiting with new friends and experiencing more of Barbados’ traditions.
Sadly, all I could think about was how defeated I felt by my body, how I was just certain that I would show up for my embryo transfer the next morning to be told that it wasn’t going to happen. I was terrified. I didn’t get any sleep Friday night. As soon as Hubman fell asleep, I hid on the balcony and cried because the fear was so real. I finally fell asleep around 3, just to wake at 6 and head to the clinic for our transfer. Stay tuned to find out how our transfer day went.
I truly appreciate all of you guys taking the time to read our story.
Oh hey, pretties! I’m glad to see you came back. I certainly missed your face around here. I suppose you wanna know what’s up since the last time I posted? Well, I’m here to tell you. This is a fun one! (Sorta)
Saturday was the most relaxing day ever. Hubman and I sat on the beach all day and had a relaxing yet, still frustratingly slow dinner at Blakey’s on the boardwalk. We got there and waited until 30 minutes before curfew before requesting that our food, yet again, be boxed in to-go containers so that we could get back to our hotel in time for curfew.
Now for the fun part! Sunday was Hubman’s birthday. We got up early and had breakfast at the hotel, where they gave him a chocolate birthday cake surprise.
Then we hopped on a bus and over to the docks to join in on a catamaran cruise. We went snorkeling and saw loads of gorgeous fish and stingrays. We got to swim with sea turtles and here in Barbados, we are allowed to touch them. Those of you who know me, know I basically was in heaven. They had to call me back to the boat because I didn’t want to leave. It wasn’t my top bucket list of meeting RuPaul, but it was certainly a second to see and touch sea turtles in their natural habitat. Hubman was being handed birthday cocktails and shots every time he turned around. We were served a delicious lunch on the boat right in front of Rihanna’s house.
After the cruise, we came home to get cleaned up for dinner. We walked down the boardwalk again to a lovely place called Tapas. The food was exceptional and the view was stunning. We watched the sunset over the ocean and enjoyed our dinner. They surprised Hubman with some ice cream complete with sparklers. For the first time since we’ve been here, we weren’t rushed back to our room for curfew so we strolled the boardwalk and watched the moon shine over the water while the waves crashed the shore until we finally got back to our room to settle down for the night.
It was a truly wonderful weekend, and more needed than anyone could imagine for so many reasons.
Our 2nd appointment with the clinic was Monday morning. Again, it went as well as to be expected. Still only 4 follicles, but all 4 had grown and were progressing nicely. I was told to trigger at 10 on Monday night and scheduled our egg retrieval for 10 on Wednesday morning. Seeing how I am a low responder to the stim injections due to many factors, my nurse suggested something called a Protein Rich Plasma treatment during my retrieval to help with a second cycle, should this cycle be a complete flop. I’m going to do a post specifically on PRP treatment, so if you’re interested to know what that is, stay tuned!
After our appointment, we went back to ArtSplash. Seriously, their breakfast is simply delicious.
We came back to the hotel and immediately jumped into our regular 9-5’s. We are both still working while we’re here, though we try to use our off time to enjoy the island as much as possible.
After work, we went to dinner and at 10 that night I did my 2 trigger injections. Trigger shots are a high dose of HCG that causes the eggs to mature and release from the ovaries. Within 36 hours of triggering, my body will be ready for my team to collect the eggs that I stimmed for the previous ten days.
Today, November 16th, we spent the day working in the room and then went to dinner. Dinner tonight was at a LOVELY place called Buzo. We met an adorable waiter who I have a feeling will be my new BFF before the end of this trip. The food was phenomenal and the service was even better.
We’re currently watching some Netflix before bed and I’m writing this post to take my mind off of the anxiety I feel for tomorrow’s results.
It’s pretty late and I have my blood draw early in the morning before the procedure. I’m going to try to lay my anxious self down and dream about RuPaul, Michelle Visage, and sea turtles and think happy dragqueen-filled thoughts. I’ll be back tomorrow for an update on how the retrieval went and how I’m feeling.