My Contribution to a Article on IVF and Self Care – The 411

Please share your thoughts !!



Ten Companies Which Cover IVF – the 411

1. Bank of America

Bank of America

Coverage: Unlimited

Bank of America is a winner when it comes to fertility benefits, providing unlimited services and no dollar limit on employees seeking fertility treatments. In all, around 2,500 employees, spouses or partners received coverage under the plan in 2016 alone. They were also one of the first to do so — all limits were removed from plans in 2011.

2. KKR


Coverage: Unlimited

Global investment firm KKR provides employees with unlimited benefits for fertility treatments. One note: In order to be eligible for the benefit, employees must have a consultation with an infertility support provider first.

3. Starbucks


Coverage: $20,000

Employees are limited to $15,000 medical, and $5,000 for fertility drugs. The neat thing about Starbucks is not necessarily how large the benefit is, but how widespread it’s distributed. In fact, all employees, including those who work part-time (at least 20 hours per week) are covered under the plan. According to company spokesmen Reggie Borges, Starbucks takes a lot of pride in providing its employees with fertility benefits.

4. Spotify


Coverage: Unlimited

The Swedish music streaming service is known for its great benefits and its fertility coverage is no exception. The company offers unlimited coverage of IVF, as long as patients can prove medical need.

5. Bain & Company

Bain & Company

Coverage: Unlimited

Bain & Company was called one of the best places to work by Glassdoor, and this may be why. The global management consulting firm provides unlimited IVF for females with male partners with medical necessity, reciprocal IVF for women without a male partner (When one woman undergoes treatment to create the embryos, while the other receives the embryo transfer) and donor sperm for women without a male partner, as well as coverage for egg freezing.

6. Facebook


Coverage: 4 cycles of IVF

The social media giant provides coverage for four cycles of IVF which covers both fresh or frozen cycles. They also cover pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (PGS testing) to genetically test embryos prior to implantation with IVF. The benefit is open to all employees (no pre-authorization required).

7. The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation  

The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation


Coverage: 4 cycles of IVF

In January 2017, the foundation began offering employees infertility treatment coverage. The company covers four cycles, and by the end of the third quarter more than three dozen employees had already taken advantage of the benefits at an average cost of $55,600.

8. Pinterest


Coverage: 4 rounds of IVF

Starting this year, Pinterest will offer its employees four rounds of IVF with no cap on amount, meaning each cycle is covered regardless of cost. The company will also cover the cost of egg freezing, and provide $5,000 for coverage of adoption and $20,000 in net benefits for surrogacy coverage.

9. Salesforce


Coverage: 3 cycles of IVF

Cloud computing company Salesforce provides three cycles of IVF to their employees with no maximum cost limit. They also provide coverage for PGS testing. Salesforce waives pre-authorizations and makes IVF benefits available to any employee, meaning it doesn’t have to be medically necessary for employees to be eligible.

10. Chanel


Coverage: Unlimited

Fashion mega-company Chanel provides its employees with unlimited access to IVF if employees demonstrate a medical need. Fertility IQ also ranks Chanel as the best within its industry in terms of fertility coverage because while a number of tech companies offer unlimited coverage of IVF, Chanel is one of the only companies in the fashion industry to do so.

Nine Months Old -The 411

My sweet girl is now thirty nine weeks old and officially nine months old !

Where does the time go?

She has gone from this 4 lb 10 oz little being that I was afraid to even change her diaper and dress her in fear of breaking those tiny arms and legs to this fluffy little baby girl who is as strong willed and indepedent as she was when I first brought her home.

It has been an amazing journey watching her grown and develop and watching her personality emerge.

She went from crawling to immediately pulling up and cruising.  I am waiting for her to build up the courage to take steps.  No rush !  She is already into everything she can reach.

This journey has been difficult due to my mother’s illness and recovery.  Of course this illness could not have come at a worse time.  It has robbed me of time I can not get back and at the same time, it has given my siblings, nieces and nephews and her uncles a chance to bond with the baby.

My daughter is talking more and more.  She startes with a simple HI.  Now she says Bye Bye, Bar Bar (my mom’s name is Barbara) and she calls me Val !  Yesterday she said Da da. She understands quite a bit as well.  She lifts her arms and reaches for us when we say Come… she will crawl behind me as well of I tell her to come.  She knows what NO, STOP, BOTTLE and EAT means.

She is very strong willed and has a mind of her own.  In typical kid fashion, she prefers to play with my real keys and remote instead of the toy ones which make noises and are bright and colorful.

She is now in a size 12 and 18 month and a size 3 shoe ! She is 20 lbs and her hair is finally starting to grow. She still has no teeth but is still teething. 

She loves being read to and loves to explore.  We are starting Mommy and Me swim classes.  I am petrified of dry drowning so I will be watching her like a hawk ! 

I am starting to put things together for her Safari themed 1st birthday bash in Orlando. We are going to Disney’s Animal Kingdom.  

Well, I will update more later.  We are currently in Charlotte NC for my nephew’s graduation and we are about to head home. I dread the 6hr drive with this girl because she hates her carseat and cries bloody murder. Benedryl is our friend lol.

Fifteen Weeks Post Partum- The 411

Today, my little angel is now 15 weeks old ! 
She is growing , learning, and expressing herself.  She is responsive when she is talked too.She flashes a big toothless grin and she cooes, often emulating the sounds we make  make.   

She is now trying to stand up when on my lap.  She is quite independent too. The baby no longer likes lying down, she prefers to be sitting upright where she can survey her surroundings. A few weeks ago, I noticed that she tantrums and stretches out when she wants something and you are not moving fast enough and her little temper is becoming more apparent !  Yep, my child is definitely MY child ! Spoiled already ! She now has a preference and makes it known that she wants me and not whoever is holding her when she gets tired.  She will stop whatever she is doing when she hears my voice.  She also now prefers breastmilk over formula and will sometimes refuse the formula.

The baby and I spent the past few days baking Christmas cookies.  My sisters and their families arrived this evening for the holiday.  The baby chilled in her bouncer while I rolled out cookies and started the next batch. 

We baked Rice Krispie Cheese Wafers ,  Sausage Balls, Snowflake Imprinted Shortbread Cookies , Chocolate Chip English Toffee Cookies ,  Jack Daniel’s Holiday Fudge and my mom’s recipe Holiday Fudge . I ordered a large box of Snowballs from my friend’s bakery in LA. 

My family arrived last night so the annual pjs and dessert party on Christmas Eve will take place !

Since my brother in law has to fly back to CA on Sunday morning, we are having Christmas dinner tomorrow instead of Sunday.

I am livid that two gifts I ordered for my mom and my Godmother are not here ! One order is personalized, wooden tea storage boxes and they should have been here by Christmas and the other order was a new 12 inch IPad Pro for my mom.  I am hoping the IPad gets delivered today, but it’s not likely.  I don’t think Fedex nor UPS are delivering on Christmas Eve. I now have to go out to the mall to get a gift to put under the tree for  my mom.

I am super excited to be spending my first Christmas as a Mommy! Putting up two trees, baking cookies with the baby, and putting on her Christmas outfits have been a blast. My mom ordered her monogrammed pjs for Christmas Eve !  

Three Weeks Post Partum – The 411

Yesterday marked 21 days since I gave birth to my little angel.  It is so surreal and I still can not believe God entrusted this gorgeous, spirited little girl to me !

The past two weeks have been challenging with my mom being in the hospital and adjusting to waking up every 3 hours or so.  

I am struggling to wake up to pump.  My baby sleeps for longer spells at night. She wakes up around 11-12 and stays awake just looking around for a while.  Most nites she will go to sleep around 2 am and not awake again until 6 am.   I take advantage of her nap and I sleep.   I really should pump at midnight and then pump again at 5:30 am before she wakes up, but I am exhausted most nights or just plain lazy.  I prefer to stare at my baby’s beautiful face and sing to her or talk to her rather than pump.  

I have to pump exclusively since the baby can not incite let down.  She doesn’t suck long enough,  as she is used to the immediate response of the bottle.  

Hopefully in a few weeks, she will not tucker out so soon and will be able to nurse from the breast.

Last night, I went to sleep around midnight and didn’t wake up until 6 am.  I also didn’t pump since around 7pm, which only yielded 1 oz total.  

I woke up this morning and my boobs had hard lumps in them and were sore. I got up, hooked up the pump and relieved my breasts.

Six ounces ! Not bad !

I am amazed at the amount of weight I have shed! The day of delivery, because of the edema, I had blossomed 10 whole pounds in a week’s time.   After delivery, I retained a ton of fluid from the IV, but it collected in my hips, thighs and feet to the point that it was excruciating and still is although it’s going down.   I got on the scale yesterday and I am down … drumroll….  48 pounds !!!

  • I am smaller now than I was before I started stimming.  The only caveat, I have lost my bum bum ! Squats will be my friend 🙂

I still need to order a belly binder. The one the hospital gave me, I gave to my mom when hers was dirty.  I want a post partum binder with the Silicon cut out for cesarean.

Next week, the baby and I have appointments with my OB and her Pediatrician.  Due to my mom’s hospitalization,  we missed our two week appointment last week.

My mom got released from the hospital on Wednesday and is trying to get some rest.

She’s Here !!!!

I had to deliver her today due to a subchorianic hemotoma near the placenta, IGUR, and placenta abruption. I had to also have an emergency hysterectomy because of placenta increata.  The placenta had fused itself to the uterus, grown up into it and into the muscle.  It had developed it’s own highways of arterial vessels.

How the day started: I went to NYC for my MFM and OB appointments; the 36 week check up.  The MFM doc says she was very concerned about the Sch beside the placenta and the rate of growth over the past few weeks of the baby and asked how I felt about delivering this weekend.   I told her I would prefer to wait until Dr. Karamitsos returned from vacation on Sunday so he could do the procedure and she said she would confer with my OB’s office and call me on my cell if she feels I need to deliver.

I went to the OB appointment next and saw Dr.P, whom I had never met and he explained that Dr. Minor had called and he agrees with her that the baby needs to be delivered to reduce risk to my life and baby’s.  He felt the placenta was no longer functioning as it should and if I had another bleed like I had the week before that landed me in Labor and Delivery for two days, the abruption could be so bad that they could potentially lose me and the baby.  By delivering today, the baby would be fine and could grow properly outside the womb.

Luckily I didn’t eat anything so I was in the OR within three hours.

I called my mom and sisters and let them know what was going on and my mom freaked out.  She was ready to walk to NYC if she had to lol.  She was a week out from major surgery. I assured my mom that I was fine and that I was not afraid at all.  My pastor called me before I went into surgery at 4 pm and I felt this calm.  I am surprised that I was not freaking out, going through a birth, and a surgery at that with no family or anyone by my side…. so NOT the way I envisioned this day, but this is what it is.

I walked down the hall to the OR with my two nurses ,Dr. P, her attending, and the Anesthesiologist.  When we got to the OR, there were two Perionatologist, two Urologist, and two NICU nurses.  I thought, quite a few people for a simple procedure!

The Anesthesiologist got me to sit on the cold metal table and told me to arch my back like a cat. He took two tries but got the spinal in and my legs got heavy quickly.  They had me lie on the table that they undressed me, positioned me, and washed me down.  The curtain went up and then they explained things to me as we went along.We went in at 4 pm and at 4:18 pm., my daughter was out and screeching with powerful lungs !   They wiped her down and then brought her to me to see and I looked at this tiny 4 lb 10 oz being and said ” Hi Momma !” With that, the baby opened her eyes !  She looked at me as if she recognized my voice.  They let me kiss her and then they whisked her off to the NICU to get her in the warmer.

I started getting cold and feeling queasy so they gave me something for the shaking and nausea and placed an alcohol soaked pad under my nose to help ward off nausea and it worked.  They had some contraption with sleeves on me that they turned on and it was a heater !  That thing felt sooo good !

Next, I felt like I was on a boat rocking back and forth.  Dr. P tells me that my placenta is not budging !  She said she was going to try one more time.  In the mean time, the other doc ordered three units of blood and they put another IV in my other arm.  The blood arrived and they quickly gave me two bags and then started the third on a slower drip.  Dr. P then comes to my head to tell me the placenta has grown up into the uterus and has fused itself into the uterine muscle and she has to remove the uterus to save my life.  She said I had lost blood.  I told her to do what she has to do !  I have four babies on ice, two sisters and female friends AND a healthy baby, so I was not worried about not having a uterus.

Some time later, they were all done and I was being wheeled to recovery.  When I go to recovery, the nurse, Lisa, who served as my photographer since my film crew could not be there on such short notice, handed me my phone and my friend Crystal, another SMBC, was there waiting for me and congratulating me !  My pastor called shortly thereafter to see how things went and to call my baby’s name aloud.  Only two people, my mom and sister friend in Canada, knew my baby’s name and I would not say her name nor tell anyone until she was here and Pastor Hicks said her name aloud into the Universe.

I named my daughter Chandler (which means she who brings light) Grier (watchful and alert).  It is so crazy to me that my baby came out the spitting image of the most important person in my life; My Mother !   She is the spitting image of my mom’s baby pictures and she has my grandfather’s gray/blue eyes for now anyway.

Crystal sat with me for a while and then left to let me get some rest and then my best friend, Janus and my godson Shai came and stayed with me until I was sent to the ICU.  Once in the ICU, they gave me more morphine in my drip and I remember sleeping for quite a while.  Later that night, I kept asking for my catheter to be taken out so that I could get up and walk.  They told me they would take it out later that morning.  I did not get the catheter out until the afternoon and then I got up and walked up the hall and back.  It was not bad !  I slept a lot in the ICU. Later that afternoon I walked down the hall to the NICU to see my baby.  I had never been so glad to see a little person before in my life !  I knew exactly which baby was mine as soon as I saw her. I was able to feed her a bottle of donated breast milk.

(My OB, Dr. P)

My baby girl only spent one and half days in the NICU before being transferred to the regular nursery.  I was sent to the maternity floor two days after my cesarean.  Medication management is a lot better in the ICU because it is all IV meds.  On the floor, they try to make you pop pills.  I refused and demanded that they dope me up.  I was sore and was not having it !  They gave me IV pain meds for a while and then we switched to Percocet every four hours and Motrin every six hours.

I spoke with my family and my sister informed me that our mom was still a bit weak and sleeping a lot.  I told her to make our mom stay put until I found out when I could go home. I spoke with my docs and they planned to release me on Tuesday afternoon, which was the normal four night stay, but since I had to come back to get staples out and the fact that I had an emergency hysterectomy, they were not rushing me out the door.  I asked to stay once more night so that I would not have to come back to the office for staple removal the next day and to give my mom and sister time to get to NY with my car seat and baby / mommy hospital bags.

Wednesday morning, after my shower, the doctor came in to remove the staples and it did not hurt. My sister called to say that our mom was feeling tired and a bit weak so I told her to leave her at the hotel and my driver would be there to get her and bring her to the hospital.  My sister and driver, who is a good friend of mine, came about 10 am and I was really glad that the hospital had done the car seat test on the baby the night before since it took a whole hour.  Because my baby was under five pounds, they had to place her in a car seat for an hour and then check her vitals and breathing.  My sweet little baby had been blowing the tops out of all her tests thus far.  She scored 9.9 on the APGAR and passed all the tests with flying colors.  She did well on her car seat test too.

I got my release papers and had to go down to the financial office to settle up and get a receipt and then bring it back to the nurses station for release.  I had to wait a while for the nurse to come to release the baby.  She FINALLY came and we got released and we went straight to Walmart to fill my scripts and grab a few things I needed and then to the hotel.  My mom was sitting up in the bed waiting in tiptoe anticipation for our arrival and she took the baby and I became persona non grata instantly !  lol

My sister said that Dr. P called her after my procedure and told her what went on but she was short and to the point. My sister did not tell my mom much for fear of upsetting her and then not being able to talk her into staying in VA until I was released.

The day after we got released, the baby had a Pediatrician appointment.  I noticed when I got to the car that my pants felt damp across the front and it was blood !  My incision has opened a little. Thank goodness my OB’s office is down the hall from the Peds office.  I checked the baby in and left her with my sister and then walked down to see the OB on call and they looked at the incision and determined that indeed it did open and that it was not infected and is only the outer layer that opened.  They put gauze over it and ordered Visiting Nurses to come out to redress it.

Later that night, I had counted a total of FIVE soaked thru maxi pads that I taped to my incision area and I called Labor and Delivery and asked for the OB on call from my practice and they had me come in.  Dr. Moisa was the same OB I saw earlier.  She said it was just draining built up fluid and would continue to drain for a few weeks and will close back up on its own.

Saturday morning, my sister and I took our mom back to Northern VA to be near her doc and surgeon and we called the surgeon and left her a message informing her how weak our mom was and that some coffee colored substance was leaking out of her side.  She called us back and gave us her cell number and said to bring my mom into the hospital.  She said my mom was severely anemic and that she has seen the drainage in other patients and that is was not alarming. During one of our stops, the left side of my incision opened and was bleeding like it had done about 2am before we left. Long story short, my sister ended up taking both my mom and I to the ER.   I was given wound care and told to redress the wound daily. It was not infected and was already healing from the inside out.

My mother was given a blood transfusion after the CBC showed a low blood count.   Infectious Disease was called in to consult regarding the fluid draining  from mom’s drain port.

Fast forward a few days and I have been to the ER every other day to have my incision looked at and treated.  I was placed on antibiotics four times a day as a precaution and on 9/21, I was given Lasix to help bring down the horrible edema in my legs.  

The lab results came in for my mom and she has a localized staff infection.  Mom has to stay in the hospital for several more days.