Category Archives: Infertility

Infertility – Our Struggle Part VII: HSG & Semen Analysis

QUINOA

First things first, let’s chat about the semen analysis. Basically, there are two options with this one. One can release the swimmers in a cup at home and hold it under their armpit for the duration of the drive to the184 facility (only if you live within 30 minutes). Or, you can get intimate in the bathroom at the office, and, like a runner handing off a baton, pass it, hand-over-fist, through a secret window for analysis. Easy peasy, though probably a little embarrassing to give an orgasm to a random stranger. I won’t go into detail about which method the hubby went for, but he got the job done, and that’s all that matters.

As for the HSG, or hysterosalpingogram,  I was prepared for the worst. I swear, every woman I spoke with who went through the procedure had a story worse than the last. I had it in my head that it was going to be incredibly painful, and I was going to be strung up in bed for two days or so afterwards. To my pleasant surprise, this wasn’t the case for me. It was certainly uncomfortable, but not painful like I was expecting it to be. The procedure was also a lot quicker than I expected. I spent more time filling out paperwork and waiting than anything else. The procedure consists of shooting radiographic contrast, or dye, through the vagina, cervix, and (if they are not blocked) fallopian tubes. X-ray pictures are taken as the dye is slowly inserted to check for blockages, polyps, tumors, scar tissue, etc. In the radiology room with me was my doctor, an x-ray tech, and an x-ray tech student. I am all for having students in the room during these types of procedures (how else are they going to learn?), but I am extremely grateful my doctor was there to calm me down from all the questions she was asking. For example:

Student: “Is it ok that she’s still shedding a little?” 

Tech (to me): “Do you still have your period?”

Me: “I thought it stopped yesterday. Is that ok? Is that bad? Should I reschedule?”

Doctor: “It’s totally fine, you can relax.”

Student: “Is this normal?” (I can’t see what she is pointing at on the screen.)

Me: “Is what normal? Is everything ok?”

Doctor: (Pointedly to the student and tech) “Everything is fine, we will be done in the next two minutes.”

Student: Whispering questions somewhat loudly to the tech, as I clench up.

Doctor: (Puts her hand on my knee) “Please. Try to relax – almost done.”

And then, it was done. Everyone exited the room and I headed to clean myself up. I took my time in the bathroom, as I assumed I would leak for a while. I strapped on a pad, just in case, and off I went. Until…I was stopped dead in my tracks. As I was walking down the hallway, the liquid started pouring out again. You know when there’s something embarrassing going on in your body, and if you just acted normal about it no one else would know? Well…I wasn’t so tactful to remember that. Instead, my instincts told me to frantically grab my crotch, flail my other arm at the wall, and start desperately searching around for a bathroom. Finally I found one, and gained my wits back. What goes up, must come down, right? I made it to the car, spread out some just-in-case napkins over the seat, and drove home with a smile on my face – not just at the memory of the scene I must have caused in the crowded hospital, but because we were finally about to get some answers. Which leads me to the next chapter in our series: Infertility – Our Struggle Part VIII: Our Diagnosis.

Where the Heck I’ve Been Lately…

First of all, I just want to say thank you. I am blown away by the amount of people who still check my website and blog daily, even though it has been so long in between posts. Thank you! I just wanted to write a brief entry to let my readers know that I have not fallen off the face of the Earth. Quite the contrary, actually. I’m more grounded, alive, and focused than ever…

It is no secret that my husband and I want to start a family. This feat, however, has not been easy for us. February marks the fourth year we will be dealing with infertility, so a few months ago I made a choice. I chose to make any and every sacrifice to take the steps to start our family. I made the choice to give up some “me” time to focus on how to make our dreams a reality. The hardest choice, though, was to put some aspects of my business on the back burner. Like keeping up this blog, for instance. Is that exactly fair to the community who has been so supportive of me? Not at all. But it is a (slightly selfish) decision I made to help get us on the right track.

So what has been taking up most of my time? Work. Four jobs, to be precise. I usually work at least two jobs per day, and have zero days off (except this week for Thanksgiving, which was LOVELY!). I work anywhere from 70-90 hours a week, and am slowly trying to help build our IVF bankroll.

Don’t feel sorry for me, though, because I certainly don’t. It’s amazing how focused you can stay when you have a goal set, and an end in sight. And, another great thing…with the way my schedule works, I am still able to take my doula and lactation counseling clients – so, while you may not see me posting regularly, rest assured my clients are still well taken care of. And, at one of my jobs, I get to help families become properly protected with a product I truly believe in, which has been so rewarding. And, at another job I get to work with some of my best friends. And, I still have time for an occasional romantic date night. And, I still have time to enjoy a home cooked meal with my family. And, I still have time for a weekend brunch or wine tasting with my girlfriends. It’s really amazing how much time you actually have in a day. One thing I’ve always done for myself that I haven’t been able to do much of lately, though, is go to the gym. But, hey, I will figure out a way to work it in there at some point. Until then, I will just be a little rounder :)

So thank you for staying tuned in. I am in the process of figuring out ways to keep this blog alive despite being so busy. Any suggestions are greatly appreciated :)

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Above is some evidence that despite my hectic schedule I still have time to do most of the things I love <3

 

 

Infertility – Our Struggle Part VI: Day 3 Testing

Our StruggleAs mentioned in Our Struggle Part V, I assume there are not too many guys who will want to read this one. I have no way to describe it without being explicit, and it will certainly make some people uncomfortable. This is also a short entry because although it sounds like a lot goes on, it is really a short appointment. So, woohoo, here goes:

Day 3 refers to day 3 of your menstrual cycle. As soon as your flow begins, you call to schedule your appointment. So, on day 3, I loaded into the car, cramps and all, and headed down to the RSC New England. I wasn’t really nervous, more excited to finally be getting a diagnosis, really figure out what was going on. And, ultrasounds aren’t that scary, right?

I sat in the waiting room and downed some water. I failed to mention that at the previous appointment when I had blood drawn I passed out. It was a very brief episode, and I think it had a lot to do with nerves, not eating, and not drinking. So today I had some breakfast, and was drinking water by the bottle full. Today blood work was to test for pregnancy (I wish), FSH, estradiol, thyroid, and prolactin levels. After the blood work I was sent to have my ultrasound. And this is where the shock was factored in…

I was given a johnny which seemed a little strange to me. Why would I need to be naked for an ultrasound? The nice, sweet, caring, pleasant U/S tech, who also happened to be training someone that day, asked me to go behind the curtain and change into the johnny. I complied, and came back out:

“Honey, do you have a tampon in?”

RED cheeks. I’m talking RED. “Erm, yes.” I replied timidly.

“Oh, ok, no problem, there’s a wastebasket behind that curtain.”

At this point, my confusion level was at an all time high. “It must block something they are trying to see. Just get on with it, Mary” I thought to myself. Yank, out goes the almost dry tampon. (Wondering how many ladies just cringed at the thought.) My eyes darted around the small space, looking for a tissue or something to wrap it in.

“Everything ok?” The tech asked politely.

“Oh, ya, just…looking for a tissue or something.”

“Oh, don’t worry about it, honey. We will take care of it.”

Gross. “Erm, ok” I chucked it and wobbled out.

“Ready?” She was smiling and holding what looked to be a large, misshapen dildo. The woman she was training was asking her questions, and my mind was starting to race. “Lie back and try to relax” she said, still smiling.

“I’m sorry, I think there’s some confusion. I’m here for an ultrasound.” (As usual when I am really nervous, that whole statement came out as one, rushed word.) Where was the jelly they lather on your belly? Where was the flat-headed ultrasound wand?

“Yup, Mary Choquette, here for your day three ultrasound to get a follicle count and check out your uterine cavity. We are ready!”

Day 3

In it went. Certainly not the most comfortable thing in the world, but I wouldn’t call it painful. I would compare it to a pelvic exam. Wiped a quick tear of embarrassment/shame/why me? away, and I was on my way to wait for the next part of my testing. Which brings us to the next chapter: Infertility – Our Struggle part VII: HSG and Semen Analysis.

Birth Without Fear Boston Meet-Up Recap

Last Saturday I attended the Birth Without Fear Boston Meet-up, featuring January Harshe. I wanted to attend the conference to gain insight as to how to be a better support to laboring women. What I got out of the conference was so much more…

The conference began with January giving a detailed account of each of her five births. Each birth story was very different from the last, and only one of her births was as close to a perfectly executed birth plan as she could get. She had me engaged in her every word; I found myself laughing one second, and had tears streaming down my face the next. She really has a way of captivating her audience – even over the gentle yells, cries, and laughter of a room full of happy babies. At one particularly poignant part of her story, I gazed around the room. I was curious to see if other people were as affected by her story as I was. I saw women rubbing their round, pregnant bellies, enthralled; I saw women burying their face in their hands and wiping away tears; I saw women nervously clutching their babies, holding them so close; I saw women who had been through similar struggles, nodding their heads very enthusiastically with a look of pained sympathy as if to say “yup, I remember how terrible that was”. It was quite touching, and a nice vacation from the “mom-bashing” I have seen so much of recently on social media.

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After January shared her birth stories, she opened the floor to a Q+A session. After a slow start, moms started opening up about their own experiences, and asking for guidance. As most of the women were local, there were a lot of “I need to get your information at the break” and “we have a support group for that” and “talk to Dr. XYZ about that” and “you have to join the Facebook group ABC” etc. That is another reason why I think this conference was ingenious – because almost everyone was local, we were able to network and find solutions together for specific issues. Well done, January, well done.

After the Q&A we broke for lunch – at which time I introduced myself to Heather from Cookies for Breakfast. I spotted her right away in the morning, but didn’t know how she felt about being approached by her followers. Turns out, she loves it, so feel free to introduce yourself if you see her :) After I ate I checked out the vendors, grabbed my tea (after ingesting so much red raspberry leaf tea I don’t think it will even be enjoyable again, haha), and started to silently panic about the afternoon session. Why? Because we were about to participate in the Earth Mama Angel Baby Harmony Circle – which is designed for people to be able to share their birth stories in small groups, share why they were at the conference, and squash their fears together in a small, supportive group. So, why the panic? I didn’t have a birth story to share. I couldn’t introduce myself as “Mary, mother of…” and was overwhelmed with pity for myself. I tried to remind myself of why I was there: to gain insight to better support the families I work with. I wondered if that would be enough to get me through the circle; I wondered if I could skip my turn and just be able to focus on everyone else; I wondered if people would think it was weird for me to be there without having any children of my own; I wondered how I was going to get through it. I took a gulp of my tea, which went down like a golf ball, took a deep breath, and headed over to Table 1.

Hearing my table mates’ stories was incredible. While certain people could say “me too” to certain parts of other people’s stories, it was amazing to me how different each experience was.  From traumatic miscarriages, to the perfect homebirth, to VBAC accomplishments, to lacking confidence, to feeling alone, to mistreatment in childbirth, to postpartum depression, to trusting instincts, each woman shared her story, and hopefully felt supported by the community. The woman who spoke before me certainly deserved a hug during her story, but I was so paralyzed by my own fear that I just couldn’t make my arms work. It is really my only regret of the day; that my moment of selfishness may have caused a woman to feel less supported than she deserved. So, I decided I was going to skip my turn, that today wasn’t about me, and we were here to support birthing decisions. But then the sandbox was handed to me…

Everything I was going to say suddenly sounded silly in my head. Other women in my circle had already opened up so much, sharing intimate, extremely personal aspects of their life. So, I leapt into my introduction: “Hi, I’m Mary and I am a childless mother”. The simultaneous “awwwww” ran me over like a bull and I fell apart. But, the caring women I was surrounded by instantly picked me back up. On either side of me I had women hugging me; from across the table an encouraging nod to proceed with my story. I was safe here; I had the support of women who had gone through their own struggles. So, I fumbled through a severely condensed version or my story and why I was there, and was very happy to get back into the role of supporting rather than being supported.

When the conference was over my doula friend Jen of The Supported Birth, her daughter, and I waited patiently for our turn to meet Mrs. BWF herself, January. We were of the last three to meet her, and it was so worth the wait. At one point earlier in the day January warned that anyone who stood near her would get pregnant…so naturally I stuck my uterus out as far as it could extend in hopes that I would catch some magical baby dust by standing so close. It was certainly refreshing to speak with someone else so passionate about changing birth for the better, and empowering women during such a joyous yet confusing time.

BWF3

After the conference, I was able to enjoy some time with my friend, and soak up some sweet, growing, happy baby time. It was a nice decompression after a very emotionally strung day. Jen was able to snap some candid pictures of our time that I will certainly treasure <3

Do you have a birth story to share? Do you want to be supported by local women who have gone through a similar experience? Look for a Birth Without Fear Meet-Up in your area.

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Infertility – Our Struggle Part V: The Initial Infertility Consultation

Part V

After receiving the information from my mama about the resources available, we decided to go through The Reproductive Science Center of New England. From this post forward, please note that this is OUR story. Your experience could be completely different: I am just going to go through our personal situation…

Before you can even set up an appointment, you have to complete a very extensive family history, conception history, and personal history. Jimmy and I faxed (I know, seems archaic now) our copy over, and got ready for the big day. I had all my charts ready, including temperature, ovulation predictor kit (OPK) outcomes, sexy time, period start and end dates, etc. The night before our consultation I was so nervous I could barely sleep…

We sat in the waiting room together: anxious, apprehensive, scared, and both secretly annoyed we had to take the time out of our busy schedules to be there.

“Why can’t we be like everyone else? You have sex, get pregnant, and deliver a baby. Why is this so hard? What is WRONG with US????”

We both sat with our thoughts in silence. A couple walked out from their appointment. They were much older than us, and looked almost startled to see us there. In my own mind, I figured they were probably wondering what the hell a twenty-four-year-old kid was doing in an infertility office. She spoke with the receptionist about configuring her treatment schedule around her work and travel schedule. As bad as this may sound, also racing through my head was the thought that this woman was the typical face of infertility. I came to the conclusion that she chose to make a great career, and now in her early 40’s she was realizing that something was missing. So why, at 20 years her junior, was I going through the same situation? Rather than seeing her as my infertility sister, as a woman sharing this dark journey and going through a struggle so hard, I saw her as a threat. I figured that she, just like everyone else, would get pregnant before me. And, since she had made this wonderful career for herself, she would be able to pay for anything she needed. Before I even had a diagnosis, I was wallowing in the potential reality that getting pregnant may never happen for us. (Do you see how crazy infertility can make you? Re-reading that now, it seems even more irrational. I was still in the “can’t-be-happy-for-anyone-else” “just-feel-sorry-for-myself” DARK phase. Again, thank GOD that stage passed!!)

“Mary Choquette?”

Hearing my name snapped me back to reality, and the nervous sweat began. “Look at that,” I thought, “I’m already to blame for this mess. Why not call Jimmy’s name?” the irrational thoughts continued. We were brought back to the doctor’s office. She was a lovely, bright, young  Reproductive Endocrinologist doctor with a warm, friendly smile. And, after the introductions:

“What brings you in today?”

Still defensive and angry, this question annoyed me to my core. Why the F**K did she think we were here? New shoes? A pedicure? I struggled to find an adequate response. I explained that we had been trying to get pregnant for almost two years. Jimmy interjected that I was exaggerating. (Jimmy was in a “denial” phase during my “angry, why me” phase. So guess what? I was angry with him, too.) The daggers I shot with my eyes pierced through him. “I apologize. We have been trying to get pregnant for 1 year and 10 months,” I laced the sarcasm so Jimmy would understand my frustration. He rolled his eyes. The doctor broke up what was about to be a public marital dispute by apologizing to us for our struggle:

“Wow, that must be really hard for both of you. I am so sorry to hear that.”

Her apology stopped me in my tracks. “Thank you! It has been really hard!” My eyes welled up with tears. Sometimes, you just have to hear that your situation sucks.

The doctor then started taking us through the different treatment options, and a “normal” calendar of events. In their office, the first step is for both partners to be tested for infectious disease: routine blood work that we could take care of that day. Perfect. Next is day three testing for the women. This is where I stopped her: “We were hoping to take care of the semen analysis first. The day three testing sounds more expensive and extensive, so we would prefer to take care of the easier test first.” She smiled politely. Looking back the smile reads: if you are worried about the cost of this test, you really have no idea what you are getting yourself into. She went on to explain why they test the women first, and that this was their office policy. This was the first of many times that I felt I was a part of a business model, rather than a patient. But, if I wanted to continue with treatment, I had to follow the rules. And, before I could move on to day three testing, I would have to have a pap from my OBGYN and a physical by my PCP. Once they received that information from each doctor, I could schedule my next appointment. (For me, this meant I had to actually find a PCP; I hadn’t had a physical since freshman year of college, from my pediatrician.) This really pissed me off because I was expecting my period and knew I wouldn’t be able to make the appointments and get the results in this cycle. Great, more waiting around…

We finished up with the doctor, and were taken to meet “our” nurse. We filled out more paperwork to have blood drawn. At this time, I had steam coming out of my ears. Jimmy didn’t bring his wallet, so he didn’t have his ID or health insurance information, so they wouldn’t allow him to have his blood drawn. To me, this was a slap in the face. Because during this time I took everything personally, this meant that he didn’t care enough about our treatment to even bring his wallet. It meant that he didn’t understand what I was going through, or how important it was to me. It meant that he didn’t want this as bad as I did, and essentially I was wasting my time because he wasn’t ready. I was so hurt! I angrily had my blood drawn, and insisted on a silent ride back to work. Ya know, just to make sure he knew how upset I was. Yes, over the wallet thing.

Seriously, infertility makes you CRAZY. Like, insane. It is every thought. It breaks down an otherwise healthy marriage. It changes you as a person, and transforms you into someone you don’t want to be. It is isolating, confusing, and really just fucking sucks. If you let it. And, I totally let it. If you’re going through it, try to find healthy outlets. Try to learn from my mistakes, and find other things that make you happy. It REALLY isn’t worth it to be that miserable, and certainly doesn’t help your chances for conception.

Up next: Infertility – Our Struggle Part VI: Day 3 Testing. My guess is that guys are not going to want to read this one, unless you want to know what your partner is going to have to go through. To say the least, I was a bit surprised!

How was your initial infertility consultation? Please leave a comment below to share your experience!

 

 

A Story of Friendship, Loss, and a Sweet One Year Old Baby Boy

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While I met Lauren about six or seven years ago through our, then fiancés (now hubbys), it was really a tragedy that brought us so close together. I reached out to Lauren after reading a Facebook post requesting prayers to get her through a really tough time. Lauren and her husband Pat suffered a devastating miscarriage (you can read about it through Lauren’s eyes here). After all of the struggles Jimmy and I had getting pregnant, I couldn’t image seeing that + and then having it taken away so prematurely. I checked on Lauren frequently to see how she was doing, and tried my best to let her know I was here for whatever she needed.

From that point on, we have talked almost daily. We can be unabashedly ourselves without fear of judgment or ridicule. We offer each other advice, support, and gentle slaps upside the head when the other is being a little crazy. This also means that we tell each other WAYYY TOOOO MUCHHH. So, when Lauren had exciting news to share with me, she was a little nervous because it was during my “I can’t be happy for anyone getting pregnant/poor me/why not me/my life is just so horrible” phase. To her surprise, when she told me, I cried happy tears. I was so ecstatic that my friend who had suffered so much, was now getting the blessing she and her husband deserved. She helped me get out of a time so dark and lonely, and for that I will be forever grateful.

It was also during this time that began my Baby Planning/Maternity Consulting education. I was learning a lot, and sharing anything I thought may be helpful with Lauren. Then, one day, she called and told me that her friend who she had wanted to be her doula was also pregnant, and she would probably not be able to attend her birth…

“I’ll do it!!!!” I blurted excitedly.

And, from there, the planning began. I hopped onto DONA later that day, and made the arrangements to attend my training before her birth. We set up appointments, I helped her through bed rest, and did my best to really understand her birth wishes. And then, on June 6, 2013, Lauren and I learned first-hand that you can come up with an iron-clad birth plan, but sometimes outside factors can change everything. For example:

  1. Sometimes, even on your first baby, labor can be so quick!
  2. You can be unsure if your water has broken.
  3. Sometimes even the “Spray Tan” or “Leather Pants” episodes of Friends isn’t enough to get you through a mean f*@#ing contraction.
  4. Sometimes epidurals don’t work in time.
  5. When your epidural doesn’t work, you STILL have the strength, stamina, and perseverance to push your baby out. And it’s amazing. Women are freaking amazing.

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    Photo credit, Tiffany Farley

  6. Sometimes, in spite of staying at the head level, dad’s see things they were not expecting.
  7. Sometimes scary things happen during delivery, and mom and baby are separated.
  8. When mom and baby are reunited, God, it is just. So. Good.
  9. Sometimes, nine months after a baby is born, you can be sitting in your Lactation Counselor training course, wishing you knew then what you know now.
  10. You can be sitting writing a blog post a year after a sweet baby boy is born, crying at the memory, feeling so blessed to have been a part of his birth story.

While I am sad that I won’t be able to attend this little man’s first birthday party (as I await another birth), I hope Lauren and Pat know that I celebrate the life of this sweet, curious, entertaining, happy, smiling, bright little boy every single day. <3

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HAPPY FIRST BIRTHDAY LANDON!!!

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Posted with permission. Any of the lovely, professional images were taken by Tiffany Farley. To see more of her images, please visit her website.

A Year in Review

Today is my first MCMaternity baby’s first birthday. Where the HECK has the time gone?! I can’t believe I am lucky enough to have been doing what I love for a year. And, I can’t thank the families who put their trust in me to be a part of their birth stories enough. Without people believing in what I do, there would be no MCMaternity. So again, thank you, thank you, thank you!

What has this year looked like? Below is a little summary of highlights:

  • Completed my DONA International Doula training workshop in Albany, NY
  • 7 vaginal deliveries
  • 1 Caesarean section delivery
  • Helped an additional 5 families prepare for birth (education, birth plan design)
  • Became a Certified Lactation Counselor
  • Took classes in childbirth education, reflexology, and breastfeeding
  • Had my services auctioned at the AGC Scholarship Foundation Gala for Hope

What do I have planned so far for this year?

  • Twins! Multiple sets of them :) :)
  • Experience with same-sex couples
  • Infant CPR certification
  • Learning more tips for the blog, first-hand, by babysitting my favorite 4 month old baby girl

What are my goals for this year?

  • Help a lot of people
  • To finish all certifications I have started
  • Figure out better ways to market myself
  • Write more blog entries
  • GET PREGNANT. For crying out loud.
  • At least 12 deliveries. At LEAST.
  • Complete the “Packages” section of my website
  • Learn more about the business side of business
  • Find a good, reliable back-up doula (anyone interested??)

Long-shot Goals (if I make enough revenue to support):

  • Start the process of becoming a certified Childbirth Educator
  • Become a certified Placenta Encapsulation Specialist (that’s right, folks! It’s time other people hop on board the placenta-loving train!)

I am very excited about this coming year. Now that I have some great education and first-hand birth experience under my belt, I certainly need to learn more about the business side of this business. Have suggestions? Don’t be shy! I thrive off of constructive criticism, and I created this website for you. Let’s make this business work, together :)

Interested in joining my team? Contact me. Know of anyone who could benefit from my services? Please, let me know. Want to give my services as a baby shower gift? I have the certificate ready :)

And, if you see this handsome, happy little one-year old (who absolutely ADORES his older sister), wish him a Happy Birthday!

Posted with permission

Posted with permission

 

National Infertility Awareness Week 2014

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Live link! :)

Today ends National Infertility Awareness Week for 2014. The theme this year was “Resolve to Know More”. One thing I know for sure is that infertility can happen to ANYONE. There is no one “type”. About 1 in 8 couples struggle with infertility. 7.3 million people. So, do yourself a favor and resolve to know more about your own reproductive health.

Want to know something about my own infertility? It actually makes me EXTREMELY uncomfortable to write about it, talk about it, and share the story. But, life wasn’t made for comfort zones. So, as soon as I receive my medical records*, there will be more on that story.

And, please, resolve to know more about how to speak to loved ones struggling with infertility. You really can’t understand the everyday hurt and pain unless you are living it, but you can be more sensitive to those struggling. And remember that statistic above? Chances are you know some of those 7.3 million people, and it just may be a part of their life they don’t want to share… 25 Things to Say (and Not to Say) to Someone Living with Infertility

Want to resolve to DO more? You can start by writing a simple letter. Below is an excerpt from the AGC Scholarship Foundation, and instructions on what to write:

On May 7, I will be on Capitol Hill with RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association educating members of Congress on issues and legislation important to all of us in the IF community. As part of #NIAW, I ask for your support by writing letters to your local representatives that I can take with me. You can find a template here: http://goo.gl/RjxdNO You can also link to the house of representatives directory through that page. Please send your letters to me at: info@agcscholarships.org THANK YOU!
*In the next entries I will be sharing the procedures, cost out-of-pocket and “with insurance”, and hopefully I will be able to sneak some humor and light in there somewhere <3

I also thought this article was accurate and extremely well-written.

Infertility – Our Struggle Part IV: The Day I Told My Mama

Mama

Anyone who knows me knows what an amazing relationship I had with my mother. To say that we were best friends would be putting it very, very lightly. We really understood each other, and we really took care of each other. The hurt in my heart writing this entry is so profound. The way I miss her is all-encompassing. But again, this is a huge part of our story, and really the turning point of us deciding to get professional help.

We met at Jimmy’s Pub, a local hot spot, and one of my mom’s favorite restaurants. Up until this point, our infertility struggle was just between Jimmy and I, but I had already decided that tonight would be the night I let my mom in. It was so unusual to keep something from her, as we both shared WAY too much information about everything else, but this was different. I had always pictured the way I would tell her I was pregnant. They way I would tell her “you’re going to be a grammy!” It was something she always wanted, and always talked about. When I got engaged at 21, she said “you’re too young to get married, is it about having babies? Just have the babies, I don’t care if you’re married!” (To qualify her feelings: she loved Jimmy, she was just going through a horrible divorce.) And, in my perfect mental picture of sharing the news with my mom, believe me, the conversation did not start with tears and talk of infertility. Not for me. Not for the girl who always dreamed of being a mommy. Not for the teenage girl whose mom told her to be careful “although [she] would just love some grandbabies!”. Not for the girl who listened to her mom, and saw the light in her eyes, when she talked about how she couldn’t wait to teach her grandbabies how to bake her famous chocolate chip cookies, and they could make as much of a mess as they wanted, and it would just be their time to enjoy each other. Nope, not for me. I had wanted it to be such a happy surprise, a moment that neither of us would ever forget, a moment so full of love and excitement, a perfect moment of time that I had waited so long for…but instead, there was this:

Mom: “Honey, what’s wrong? I’m worried about you, you haven’t been yourself lately.”

Me: Big gulp of my Angry Orchard as I fight, hard, to hold back tears. Already angry at myself for not being able to hold it together. Another gulp: “Mom, I need to tell you something. Jimmy and I are having a really hard time getting pregnant.”

Mom: Shocked look on her face, eyes searching for the right words, all nervous habits that I know of beginning to surface, including my least favorite, inappropriate laughter: “What do you mean, dear? I didn’t even know you were trying to get pregnant.” She tried, but she couldn’t hide the hurt from her voice. I tell her everything, why not this big news?

Me: Tears. “I know, Mom, I wanted it to be a really happy surprise, but I can’t hold it in anymore. I need you.” More tears, and an uncomfortable waitress interaction. I should have thought about that before choosing this as the setting.

Mom: “Honey, you’re going to be fine. You’re young, healthy, and have a history of women who get pregnant just by standing within five feet of a penis. It’s going to be FINE.” She seemed less nervous, and really believed what she was telling me.

Me: “Mom, there is also a history of women in our family struggling tremendously to get pregnant, and not being able to carry to term. Even you had a miscarriage.” Had she forgotten? Not thought of it? Thinks it couldn’t happen to me?

Mom: almost defensive “Like who? After my miscarriage I had three beautiful babies!”

Me: blank stare. “Mom, you kidding? Think about it.” It came out all as one word, and my shocked raised eyebrows snapped her back into reality. Sisters, aunts, cousins, friends, I could almost see them in her eyes. It finally clicked, and she really began thinking. Then she went into straight mom-mode.

Mom: “Ok, how long have you been trying? When did you come off the pill? Have you seen a doctor yet? I just saw an ad for an infertility screening, I will get you the information when I get home…”

The myriad of questions continued, most of the time not even waiting for me to answer. It was as though she needed to talk it through out loud, so she could figure out how best to help me. As I write this now, I chuckle at the memory of how quickly she switched gears from “you’re young and you’ll be fine” to “my baby needs me and I am going to do everything I can to help her”. We sat there for hours talking, and for the first time in a long time, I breathed. I knew my mom was going to figure out a way to help me get through this, and I knew I had her support to start looking into our options. And, just the fact that she knew about what was going on just made me feel so much better.

And, as we were leaving:

Mom: “Ok, so I am going to research the different infertility offices in the area, don’t argue with me you don’t have time to weigh the options, and get back to you about that screening. You need to call your OBGYN and get in there for an appointment, maybe they can give you a referral? It’s going to be ok, honey, you’re going to be a mom.”

And that’s what I needed. I needed to hear from my mom that it was going to be ok, that everything was going to work out. Even if both of us and Jimmy had no idea what we were doing, no idea where to start, and no idea where the journey would lead, at least I knew we had her support, and she told us it was all going to be ok.

She held true to her word, and texted me all day at work the next day with her findings. By the end of the week, I had an appointment, which brings us to the next chapter: The Initial Infertility Consultations.

In Loving Memory

In Loving Memory, Marianne Mason 6/20/57 – 12/31/12

The Celebration of Hope 2014

Just to get this statement out-of-the-way: the weather sucked, which was a HUGE bummer. But, so many people still came out to support the cause, and over $18,000 was raised! :)

There were so many inspirational stories that were shared throughout the evening, so many brave people. I met couples in various stages of treatment, diagnosis, success, and heartache. I absorbed their stories with a heavy heart, just wanting to find a way to help. Something I really enjoyed was that it was such a safe place to share your story, and have the person listening really understand what you are talking about. My favorite part of the evening was meeting a couple who was featured via a video submission earlier in the night about their struggle with adoption. We chatted for a while about their struggle, and how it impacts every aspect of your life. I thanked them for their submission and felt like I really knew them.

Below are a few pictures from the night (I wish I had actually brought my camera, rather than just my phone, and I wish I took a picture of the AWESOME silent auction table, but such is life.)

Gala1

  1. “He who plants a tree plants a hope”-Lucy Larcom: the generous favor given by the AGC.
  2. Roses given to the AGC President Aprill Lane. Each flower represents a family who has been helped by the AGC to fulfill their dream of becoming parents.
  3. The hope tree. This one made me cry. Each branch held a picture of a success story, and how the baby was conceived (IVF, IUI, adoption, gestational surrogate, etc.)

Gala2iPhone camera’s version of Aprill Lane and me. She is such an amazing woman, and her foundation and book have helped SO many families. She rocks. Buy her book.

And last but not least, MCMaternity’s representation at the event. It was certainly a proud moment for me, and I am SOOO HOPING that this gift will bring some funds to the organization. And, it means I will get to help another family welcome their baby into the world! How awesome :)

MCMaternityGalaBecause the turnout was not what it could have been, several auction items were moved to online auction so that those who couldn’t be at the Gala could still participate. My services are featured on the online auction, here. The bidding is already at $175, so act fast! :)

Overall, despite the weather, the evening was a great success. The ladies of the AGC are a flawless representation of the amazing things that can happen when women support each other. They create life, and do so with grace and dignity <3