A Note From Happy Stork Co-Owner Katie

Hello, 

I wanted to share with you a personal story about why I decided to co-create Happy Stork with Ashley (she’ll be sharing her own story in a future email). Ultimately, I want to support women in achieving their goals, and arm women with what they need to take ownership of their bodies and health. Because female-specific health concerns are routinely dismissed by medical professionals (even by female doctors) and women are frequently not listened to when they bring up their personal health concerns in the exam room, we’ve made developing and providing free educational information to women a core part of what we do at Happy Stork. 

This lack of support from the medical community can make pinpointing fertility issues much more difficult than it should be. This lack of support, coupled with a lack of education on our own bodies, can make being our own health advocates supremely difficult. 

We’re taught “how not to get pregnant” through birth control methods or abstinence, but we’re not taught how to maximize our chances of conceiving or to even fully understand the process of our body’s monthly cycle of fertility. It never occurred to me that I might have trouble getting pregnant. I just assumed that if I ever chose to stop birth control, getting pregnant would happen quickly. That turned out not to be my reality. 

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My entire life I’ve had heavy, painful periods but I didn’t ever think, “oh this isn’t normal” because the pain never stopped me from living my life. We always hear about how cramps, PMS, bloating, etc. are all normal parts of having a period. I was never once asked by any doctor since I started menstruating about the details of my period. In my mid-thirties, I had several (what I thought were unrelated) symptoms start to intensify and I saw multiple doctors looking for help. I talked to my gynecologist about ever increasing bowel pressure and pain during my period. She dismissed me by saying “I was paying too close attention to my body.” I left this appointment in tears. I saw an endocrinologist because my constant fatigue was getting so bad that I would come home from work and not be able to do anything else. She wanted to switch my thyroid medication to a synthetic medication (Synthroid) that I had already tried and knew didn’t work for me. I started crying in the exam room because the doctor just wouldn’t listen to me about my experience. After doing a ton of research on hypothyroidism, I tried seeing a functional medical doctor and hoped they would be more open to listening to me. He tried to sell me an expensive nutrition package which seemed predatory and wasn’t what I was there to get help for. I left that appointment angry. 

Then I found true, real help. It was pure serendipity and a dogged determination to find a doctor to help me that I ended up in the office of a reproductive endocrinologist who just so happened to be an expert in endometriosis. This was the first doctor in my entire life that spent any time taking a detailed history from me. After following months of tests with this doctor (many that I paid for out of pocket), I was diagnosed with low-estrogen and early menopause symptoms caused by damage to my ovaries from endometriosis. The low-estrogen and early menopause symptoms were the reason I was so tired, and the endometriosis was the cause of all my over the top period symptoms and bowel pressure. I had laparoscopic surgery with this doctor who excised the diseased tissue, including a lesion on my bowel. (Endometriosis can only be successfully treated with expert excision surgery, and typically does not show up on any imaging or pre-surgery tests.) From start to finish the process with this doctor took five months from the first appointment to my surgery. 

My first period after my surgery was like night and day. All of the bowel pressure, cramps and bloating completely disappeared. It was a miracle. The estrogen supplement I had been started on made me feel like myself again. My energy came back. 

At my follow-up appointment, the doctor shared some devastating news. Due to the damage the years of untreated endometriosis caused to my ovaries, my low AMH and my high FSH, getting pregnant was not likely to happen without intervention. With this news ringing in my ears, my husband and I decided to start IVF immediately. 

I knew from a prior conversation with the doctor that needing IVF was a possibility, so months ahead of my surgery, I had already started doing anything and everything I could do to improve my overall health including taking fertility supplements. I took CoQ10 and Vitamin D as they’re supposed to help with egg quality. I also started taking CBD daily to help with egg quality, stress management, minimizing overall bodily inflammation and general health and well-being. 

IVF was insanely expensive and not covered by insurance, we took a medical loan out to be able to pay for it. I wanted to do absolutely everything I could to maximize our chance for success, including taking the daily CBD supplement. We were given a 40% chance of success with IVF, and due to my low AMH, the doctor recommended a mini-IVF protocol which recruits fewer eggs in the hopes of those eggs being a higher quality. There was a real concern my eggs would be very damaged. 

After a month of injections and medications and multiple ultrasounds, I went into egg retrieval with 12-14 follicles. After I woke up I was informed they had retrieved four good-looking eggs. I was inconsolable; I had expected more eggs than that. I also knew from my intense research the statistics: only a portion of eggs would fertilize, and only a portion of those embryos might make it to day-five, and only a portion of those might be considered genetically normal and viable for transfer. I was terrified we’d end up with no embryos viable for transfer. My husband and I could only wait to hear from the embryologist over the next five days. We got the news the following day that incredibly all four eggs had successfully fertilized. On day five we showed up for transfer and learned all four embryos had made it to day five. I couldn’t believe it. This flew in the face of all the statistics. We had decided to transfer the best embryo without genetic testing and test and freeze the remaining three. Two weeks later I got the lab tests that those three embryos came back genetically normal. I had also found out by then that I was pregnant, our IVF had been successful! Because of my age at the time of IVF (35) we also did a genetic screening blood test for possible fetal chromosomal abnormalities at Week 10. This test thankfully also came back genetically normal! 

Going through this process, I amassed a wealth of knowledge that I was desperate to share with other women. I also felt so let down by the medical community but also so thankful I had found the doctor who finally helped me. In hindsight I was also so relieved that I stubbornly refused to let one, two, three, four bad doctors keep me from pursuing answers. 

Going into the process of trying to get pregnant I wanted to do everything I could to set myself up for success and this included taking a daily CBD supplement. I truly believe CBD helped me keep my stress low, improve my follicle count, keep inflammation down (which is so important for implantation) and improve my egg quality. I didn’t take the CBD alone, I also took CoQ10 and Vitamin D and ate a very low-carb diet during this process. I believe this all worked together to help me have a better chance at success. To be clear, I do not believe CBD is a magic wand that made my IVF successful. I do believe it’s one more thing that stacked the deck in my favor. 

Because there are a lot of questionable CBD products on the market and because there are a lot of people who go into selling CBD products strictly looking to make money, I wanted to offer a high-quality CBD product to help women that are interested in trying it and seeing how it might help them in their fertility journey. But even if CBD isn’t for every woman trying to get pregnant, I wanted to provide educational materials that would help them in their journey regardless of their status as a Happy Stork customer. This is the reason why I co-created Happy Stork with Ashley. 

I hope you’ll feel comfortable trusting us as your CBD company if you’re considering adding CBD to your conception plans. But if you’re not, I hope you’ll still be a part of our community on our website and social channels and know we are here to support you as you navigate the very emotional experience of fertility challenges. 

With love,
Katie 





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