HOPE Award Best Blog Nomination


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I had intended on publishing another post this week, but that’ll have to wait (It’s about the TWW so it only feels appropriate to be prolonged ūüėĚ) because On Prayers and Needles has been nominated by RESOLVE as Blog of the Year! Pinch me ūü¶Ä! I cannot even begin to believe that I am one of five blogs chosen out of 200 submissions. ¬†What I am even more humbled by is the outpouring of support, shares, and votes to help support my cause. While I’m trying to thank and extend my appreciation to everyone, I know that’s nearly impossible so instead I decided I’d write a post to express my insurmountable gratitude.

Less than a year ago, I set out to launch a blog in hopes that in the near future I’d be able to form a local support group for women in CT struggling with infertility (which is in the works ūüôĆūüŹľūüôŹūüŹľ). There were numerous drafts and a myriad of reasons I came up with as to why it wasn’t the right time. Would anyone read it? How do you even start a blog? // Thanks Google ‚ėļÔłŹ // How would I be able to keep up with it while balancing the other facets of my life, especially my little wild one? Why hadn’t someone else done this? Would people pity me? Was sharing our story worth the embarrassment my husband might feel? If I were too raw, would I offend someone I know and love? Would the good outweigh the bad?

Doesn’t it always?! Infertility for sure is proof of that for us. Aside from the encouragement of my husband, there was “that one” glaring, blue-eyed reason why I couldn’t not get our story out there. Afterall, I promised myself, my husband, God, and my not-yet-conceived child that if all this worked, I would Pay-It-Forward as best I could.

To this day, I think there are thank you’s left unsaid and words left unspoken. This blog is my attempt to encapsulate all the gratefulness in my heart for those that were a part of our journey or are now a part of our journey on the other side of infertility. So this is my way of thanking every single doctor, nurse, receptionist, acupuncturist, patient and competent insurance company representative who brought us to where we are today, as a family of three. And beyond to thank my committed family, my circles of friends, those who know us personally and those who don’t, my IG fertility community, and everyone who takes time out of their busy lives to read, even if it’s just a skim or intermittent check-in. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.

It was the resounding voice in my head saying “Even if you help just one person it will be worthwhile,” that finally convinced me to hit “Publish” for the first time. That was my goal, to at least be the support for one single individual who was where I had been. This nomination is affirmation that I met my goal and that feels so so good.

This nomination means that not only have I helped one person, but maybe even a handful. It’s proof that just sharing your story can be enough for someone who needs it in that moment. I’ve offered support to people I’ve known personally and others I’ve never met. Unintentionally, I have found that opening up about our struggles has provided me the opportunity to hear about other people’s journeys; sometimes it has allowed these men and women to see the beauty in their own battle that they were too ashamed to acknowldege.

More widespread, I hope that it means that the dialogue is happening, albeit mostly within this small circle of our social media following in the little state of CT. Yet, maybe just maybe, this blog , I hope, has inspired someone to open up about being infertile or given someone the courage to pursue IVF. ¬†Maybe it has given a fertile person a little knowledge about assisted reproduction. ¬†I hope that it’s a reminder that miracles do happen and just because a couple doesn’t have a child, it doesn’t mean they don’t long for one. ¬†I hope it’s that little birdie in your ear, that refrains you from saying “Just relax” to a couple TTC and “Do you want more?” ¬†to that mom fumbling to find ‘nacks at the bottom of her purse. ¬†Moreover, I hope that it’s proof that if you want to change the life of just one person, it can be so much more.

All of the above would not be possible without each and every one of you. ¬†From the bottom of my heart, thank you for voting, liking, and sharing. ¬†Thank you for reading and reassuring me that some of what I’m saying makes sense. ¬†Thank you for taking the time to share and spread my mission.

Helping one person might not change the world, but it could change the world for one person.                               -Anonymous

Infertility and this nomination have changed the world for me ūüĆć.


 

The Test of Infertility: My Message for You, Future Mommy



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Infertility tests you greatly. It tests your patience, your determination, your perseverance. It tests your will, your marriage, and your faith. It tests friendships and even your job. I can, without a doubt, say that I’ve never been tested so deeply, as I have been by infertility. But, what I’ve learned since “passing the test” (so to speak) is that the test of infertility helps guide you into the journey of motherhood.

As a type-A-ish personality, I like to succeed and I give 110% to anything that I commit to, whether it be relationships, jobs, or projects. I’d like to think that I’ve managed to do that, for the most part, over my thirty-two years. I also think, amongst other important reasons, why I’ve opted to be a stay-at-home mom is because I don’t know if I’d be able to do both 110%. Side note: kudos to y’all that do. Being a mommy, though, is by far, my greatest accomplishment and what I’m most proud of. While I’m one of those girls who has always known I was born to be a mom, I can honestly say that infertility has taught me so much. It has served a greater purpose of guiding me from infertility to pregnancy and then to mommyhood.

My message to you, future mommy, is that somehow, someway, someday you will have “passed the test” yourself, whether it be through natural conception, IVF, adoption, surrogacy, etc.. The mommy that you will become is a culmination of all that you endured to get there. That is because, it is your struggle that will have taught you these things that will shape you into the mommy you’re destined to be…

  1. P A T I E N C E ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† In a world hell-bent on instant gratification, infertility teaches you patience. ¬†So much of the pain is in the waiting, but I’ve learned that patience is a virtue. ¬†I’ve learned how to wait for appointments and results; how medications take time to be effective. ¬†I’ve found that you must be patient with your significant other, ¬†with yourself, and with insensitive people. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† My¬†journey, and the 9+ months of pregnancy, helped me to acquire the infinite patience that you need to have for midnight wakings, breastfeeding dilemmas, and toddler tantrums. ¬†Just this morning, my grandmother commented that I have the patience of an Saint as I calmly convinced my leg flailing, almost two-year old to sit in the high chair for 10 more minutes as he screamed “all-done” at the top of his lungs (and a restaurant full of bystanders watched intently). ¬†I didn’t flinch. ¬†My patience wasn’t tested. ¬†Infertility taught me to breath and move onwards. ¬†Wine helps too. ¬†But in all seriousness, this¬†too shall pass. ¬†When it does, given your gracious patience, it will be so worth the wait.
  2. F A I T H ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Having been raised Catholic and having attended Catholic school most my life, I had a strong religious foundation that has carried me through most of life’s ups and downs. ¬† ¬†Yet, just as infertility tested me, so too did God. ¬†I encountered bouts of wavering faith, but time and time again when it was the hardest points of our struggle, it was my faith that I turned to. ¬†When we received our diagnosis, I sat sobbing in a barren church. ¬†During my husband’s TESE surgery I fell to my knees reciting the rosary. ¬†Again, during our TWW, ¬†it was my faith that got me through because at that point it was in God’s hands. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†Faith was also my calming source throughout pregnancy. ¬†While thanking God for being able to carry this gift, I also asked for His protection. ¬†I prayed for postive first trimester and anatomy scans, an unremarkable echocardiogram, and a healthy baby. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†It’s my faith, that helps me sustain my patience and acknowledge my abundant blessings as a mother. ¬†I trust in my faith that I’m doing the best I can for my son, even if that means he’s eating non-organic hot dogs four times ¬†week and may spend a good portion of his day in timeout. ¬†In all seriousness though it’s in times of¬†doubt that my faith reminds me that as long as my child is cared for and loved I’m doing it all right. ¬†Full of faith is how I want to raise my son, so that he has a moral compass and is kind and good. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† If your faith has evaded you, rest assured, once you’re a mommy it will be restored. ¬†At that very first moment that you hold your sweet baby, you will know for sure that it’s the doing of some higher power, Whomever you believe in.
  3. S A C R I F¬†I C E ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† During your infertility journey, you’ll have to make sacrifices. ¬†You might sacrifice making an expensive purchase because you’re saving for an IVF cycle. ¬†Or you might sacrifice experiences, meaning having to miss out on a vacation. ¬†Whatever sacrifices we made¬†be them, financial, experiential, emotional, they were so worth it, especially once we heard “You’re pregnant!”. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† During pregnancy, you’ll make other minor types of sacrifices like sushi and champagne. ¬†I might have had to sit some things out, but again it was so worth it when we heard “Here’s your beautiful baby boy.” ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Likewise, as a mom you’ll continue to make sacrifices, mostly sleep related ūüėĀ. ¬†There might be professional sacrifices and of course the expected financial sacrifices. ¬†I’ve come to¬†realize that I won’t even flinch spending $50 on a pair of shoes to get my kid walking (that he’ll of course outgrow in a millisecond), but second guess buying myself another black dress for $14.99 at T.J. Maxx. ¬†Then of course there are those date night sacrifices. ¬†At this point though, you won’t even see them as sacrifices because there is nothing you wouldn’t do for that child you yearned for, particularly after hearing “I yove mommy” for the first time (insert all the ūüėćūüėćūüėćūüėćūüėć).
  4. A P P R E C I A T I O N of the L I T T L E ¬† T H I N G S ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† I found that throughout my journey it was the little triumphs that helped me get through the biggest trials. ¬†I came to appreciate the little things, like growing follicles and minute rises in estrogen. ¬†Really though, infertility reminded me of the little things in life that are so special, like days spent with my family and a special gesture, like a note, from my husband. ¬†When I was feeling overcome with the sadness of what I was missing, I was able to look around and relish in all the greatness around me. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† That didn’t mean that it made it any easier. ¬†Like they say it’s the littlest things that take up the most room in our hearts. ¬†But infertility taught me to not take that for granted. ¬†Throughout my pregnancy, it reminded me that minor aches and pains were nothing in comparison to the gift I’d been given. ¬†It’s also taught me as a parent, to revel in the most unglamorous moments. ¬†Just now, I’m laying rocking my son to sleep because he was having a hard time going down on his own. ¬†The laundry that needs to be put in the dryer and the dirty dishes overflowing in the sink, upon my other to-do’s, could’ve made me miss this opportunity. ¬†Even the quotes from sleep trainers echo in my head right now. ¬†But then I think to myself, my heart ached for moments like this. ¬†So I’m laying here with him on my chest, maybe going against the books. ¬†But infertility taught me to appreciate the little things. ¬†So, I’m appreciating getting to snuggle my baby, his heart beating on mine because there was a day when I never knew if I’d be able to do this and days when I don’t know if I’ll ever get the chance again.
  5. U N C O N D I T I O N A L ¬† L O V E ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†I loved my son before I even knew he was a possibility. ¬†Part of my heart was missing and I cried for him more nights than not. ¬†There was nothing I wouldn’t do for him before he was even conceived. ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† Infertility makes your love for your future baby so deep. ¬†You prod and inject yourself, deplete your savings all for someone you’ve never even met-someone you’re not guaranteed to ever meet. ¬†You adore multiplying cells and refer to them as your embabies. ¬†There is nothing you wouldn’t do. ¬†It’s completely unconditional and a love like no other.

That, my dear friends, is what great mommies are made of. ¬†As I like I remind the women I’m¬†supporting,¬†all of this testing (literal and figurative)¬†will someday make you the extraordinary mommy that you were meant to be.

You’re destined for greatness future mommy!

XO & Baby Dust ‚ú®

Morgan

 

Lefty or Righty

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Pic via seltzergoods.com

With infertility sometimes you don’t know what direction you’re going in and/or you’re being pulled in a million different directions. You don’t know which way to turn, left or right.

Lately, I’ve been connecting with so many women on social media who are courageous enough to share their infertility. Sometimes reading these makes me feel guilty because so many journeys are longer and harder than ours. That’s when I had an “aha” moment about our particular story and began to look at it through a different lense.

Now stick with me, but I’m visualizing a successful pregnancy/IVF/IUI as the middle ground. To the left is the journey to get there and to the right is the point past the initial positive test result or completion of IVF or IUI.

For all of us, the IUI or IVF is relatively the same-a conglomerate of injections, bloodwork, procedures, monitoring, doctors appointments, and waiting. Some might get more side effects. Some might suffer from Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHHS). Your trigger shot or protocol may differ.  Yet, they all remotely resemble one another.

Our struggles, however, tend to vary greatly. Even if two women are suffering from Polycystic Ovarian Syndrome (PCOS) their journeys could look drastically different. Many of us infertility warriors struggle with infertility to the “left” or before we get to the point of IUI/IVF/conceiving some way; while others find their difficulty after, either with failed cycles, chemical pregnancies, miscarriages, etc.

In our case, obviously, the bulk of our infertility fight took place to the left. ¬†Us “lefties” might have to endure months, even years, of struggle to get to the point where IUI and IVF are even a possibility. ¬†For example, my husband needed to remain on medication for almost two years before IVF was in the cards and, even then [right up to his TESE procedure and my egg retrieval] we didn’t know if we’d make it to the point of having viable sperm for fertilization. ¬†Our extreme highs and extreme lows came before the initial BFP. ¬†The waiting and longing, tears and angst occurred prior to our IVF cycle. ¬† However the culmination of our struggle was the point in which our little Mikie “stuck” and , thanks be to God, stayed. ¬†The IVF and entire pregnancy were smooth sailing for us and as some might say, we were finally on the other side of infertility.

“Righties” have a different experience. ¬†They might get diagnosed with infertility and move forward with an IUI or IVF cycle within a couple of months. ¬†It all might seem like a blink of the eye, and before they know it they are Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise [PUPO]. ¬†That is, until the otherwise comes. ¬†Maybe the cycle failed. ¬†Maybe their beta confirms a positive pregnancy, but there’s no heartbeat at the 6 or 8-week ultrasound. ¬†Maybe this keeps happening time after time after time. ¬†Just like “lefties”, it’s not the injections and procedures that are the most painful for “righties”. It’s the roller coaster of emotions that’s associated with the ecstasy of hearing “You’re pregnant,” only to hear “I’m sorry for your loss.”

As a “lefty”, I cannot fathom the heartache that failed cycles and miscarriages must incur. ¬†It makes me feel so fortunate, and almost embarrassed in some respect, to ‘wallow’ in my struggle.

What I’m trying to get to is the realization that infertility is not a battle. ¬†Whatever your story is, first time success or multiple failed attempts, months or years, “lefty” or “righty” is really irregardless. ¬†Infertility is a struggle and the struggle is real.

While all of our circumstances and experiences differ, “lefties” and “righties” are still one in the same. ¬†We all cringe at the thought of hearing another pregnancy announcement. ¬†We all “trick” ourselves into believing we’re pregnant, even when it’s nearly impossible. ¬†We all yearn to rest a newborn on our chest and hear a little voice coo “Mama” for the first time. ¬†We all could write a book on trying to conceive and could pass a phlebotomist test with flying colors. ¬†We all cry and we all pick ourselves back up, with a little help along the way. ¬†We all have the same common goal: to carry, love, and raise a child of our own.