Nikol, she is a professional makeup artist and beauty blogger. She created her company Fresh Beauty Studio in 2006 specializing in international bridal beauty. She is obsessed with her job, testing new beauty products, filming videos and creating gorgeous bridal hair and makeup. Also, she created another blog “Not Just A Beauty Blogger" to bring a little bit of herself to IVF through fashion, beauty, anything and everything positive and through videos. The blog is basically to keep her sane and to inspire and encourage other women that are also on their own fertility journey.
Can you tell us a little bit of yourself?
I am a native Floridian, love living by the ocean, taking walks on the beach and soaking up the sun. I started my career in beauty and fashion back in 1992 as FORD model and SAG actress traveling the world, working in print, commercials and TV. I spent 15 years working this hectic modeling schedule. In 2007 I decided to I start my own company called Fresh Beauty Studio. I am the creative director of makeup artistry. I love making women feel more beautiful and confident through makeup. Our niche market is in the wedding industry. We are known for our modern, polished hair and makeup for brides. We travel all over Florida and the Caribbean catering to our bride’s hair and makeup needs.
How long have you been trying to conceive, and what is the problem you facing?
My husband and I have been trying to conceive since 2013, we were diagnosed with “unexplained infertility” which I have recently found out is not a diagnosis but a working diagnosis.
We know you have experience with IVF, can you tell us a bit your experience of IVF? What exactly is it like doing IVF? And what to expect?
I have been through three rounds of IVF. To give you a little background on my IVF journey let’s go back to where I first started. Prior to IVF in April of 2014 I did one IUI cycle with Clomid. I felt very alone going through my first IUI, Why me? Why do I have to do this? It was a very dark time in my life. I took four months off in the summer of 2014 to find another clinic that would be a better fit for me. I started my second IUI in October of 2014 this time with injectable hormones, When I found out this was another failed cycle I knew the next step for us was IVF.
I decided that I had to create a blog called Not Just A Beauty Blogger and YouTube vlog channel so I could process my emotions in writing and document my IVF journey. I wanted to connect with other women that were also dealing with infertility. I had no idea how many women I would meet and develop friendships with that were also going through infertility. I was overwhelmed with the support I received through social media and it is what keeps me going today.
It’s very frustrating to be diagnosed with “Unexplained infertility” you have no real answers. It’s basically a guessing game. On paper we are perfect but for some reason we are not getting pregnant. My first IVF cycle we transferred 2 blastocysts with nothing to freeze. My second IVF cycle the doctor changed my protocol to a long protocol introducing Lupron. We retrieved 8 eggs but were left with nothing to transfer. On our last IVF (IVF #3) cycle this past June we went back to our original protocol that we did for IVF #1 and had the same great response. We retrieved 10 eggs and transferred 3 blastocysts. I have had a total of five failed cycles and a total of 5 transferred embryos.
It’s hard to tell you what it’s like going through IVF because unless you are going through it, it’s very hard for anyone to understand. The IVF experience is different for each person. It’s an extremely emotionally challenging procedure not to mention physically taxing with all the hormone injections.
During TTC, did you use any fertility test to track your cycle? How did it help?
Yes, I used a Clearblue fertility monitor and Clearblue ovulation testing sticks, it helped knowing that I was consistently ovulating each cycle but once I started IVF I didn’t bother testing anymore. I think it’s important to use the monitor or testing strips each month. You want to make sure you are in fact ovulating and that you are consistent every month.
Last, do you want to add something else?
I have learned that you have to take one day at a time when you are going through IVF. Be kind to yourself, love yourself know that GOD has a plan for your life. If you are thinking about starting IVF or any fertility treatments, make sure you get a mammogram. It’s doesn’t matter how old you are. This is something that I wish I did before I started pumping all the hormones into my body. You have to be involved in your treatments. Research, ask questions, then ask more questions. Don’t just sit back and not be a participant. Get in the game, know that IVF is not “Instant baby.”
God’s plan is so much greater than anything we could ever plan for ourselves. Don’t lose hope and NEVER GIVE UP.