Round & Role Call

Lately, my biggest concern going for #2 and another IVF cycle is the fear of it not working the first time around. I know we really lucked out with our first IVF cycle being a success and that the odds of this happening are not at all in any of our favor.

I know what an IVF cycle entails. I’m a pro at taking shots (of both kind ūüėĚ), have a good sense of what the numbers mean, and have acquired the patience of a saint. However, I don’t know if I’m equipped to deal with a failed cycle. It’s extremely unfortunate that I’ve been surrounded by unsuccessful cycles recently. My hearts go out to you~you know who you are ūüíě.

While I know all the appropriate things to say when someone is encroaching or in the midst of an IVF cycle , I’m clueless when it comes to cycles that end in a BFN. ¬†Sure from my experience, I know better than to say things like “well at least you have some frozen still” or “it’ll be easier next time around”. I’ve become very cogniscent of my words and what they can evoke. I try not to undermine what has really occurred and I encourage these amazingly strong women to take time and grieve the loss. I note that my heart is aching for them and that I’m praying for them, but I don’t discuss the next step until they bring it up to me. I try not to say things like next time will be better because I don’t know that for sure. I certainly don’t try to figure out why it didn’t take this time, because honestly who the hell knows. I don’t know what it’s like to see a BFP, only to get declining Beta numbers or to get a positive beta, but see an empty sac. Therefore I cannot give these ladies the validation of articulating what they’re feeling. That said, I’m inspired by you ladies who have the bravery, courage, and tenacity to pick yourself up for cycle #2, #3, and so on.

What I do believe, though, is that you probably go into each cycle taking on a different role of sorts. In hopes of bringing some humor to infertility, I introduce you to my IVF Characters {{drumroll, please}}


Meet Positive Penny. She’s bubbly and full of spirit. It’s most likely her first cycle. So while she loves to chat about being bloated and show off her bruises as badges of honor (which they are, girl ūüŹÖūüŹÖūüŹÖ) she is uber excited about all these cycle milestones because it’s one step closer to getting her baby. Positive Penny knows this is her time. She looks for affirmations and signs along the way, but mostly just has a gut feeling that this is going to work.


Next, I’d like to introduce, Realistic Rachel. Realistic Rachel is probably a left-brainer, good with numbers and stuff. She’s as excited as she is nervous, but goes into every appointment cautiously optimistic. She never loses sight of her end goal, but realizes that the odds of it working the first time around are much less than 50/50. Realistic Rachel has prepared herself imperviously for either outcome: BFP or BFN.


Have you met my friend, Aloof Alice? ¬†There aren’t many of her kind ’round these parts, but when you come across one it makes you all like ūü§Ē. Aloof Alice, also typically a first time IVFer, sort of knows what’s involved with an IVF cycle. She’s kind of baffled with all the appointments, acronyms, and bloodwork results. She wants a baby just as bad as her other fertility friends, she’d just rather not scour the Internet incessantly for hours on end. Aloof Alice definitely hasn’t researched tirelessly, she kind of just does what she’s told. She has no idea about fertility herb diets, why everyone has pineapples on their IG page ūüćć, and thinks to herself wtf is a #TTCtribe?


This is Scared Sally. ¬†She’s literally scared shitless about everything. ¬†It doesn’t matter if it’s her first or third round of IVF. ¬†Scared Sally is afraid of needles. ¬†She’s too embarrassed to ask questions. ¬†She follows you on social media but only puts generic quotes, enough to make you wonder is she struggling with infertility too? ¬†But Scared Sally is too nervous to tell anyone and is worried they might think less of her. ¬†She’s scared to POAS before beta, but she’s just as sacred not to. ¬†Even when she gets a beta of 816, she’s afraid it’s not high enough. ¬†She worries at each subsequent appointment if there’s still a heartbeat. ¬†She gets through each test, each procedure, each ultrasound beautifully but she’s scared to see how courageous she really is. ¬†Scared Sally, let me be the one to tell you, you’re a heck of a lot braver than most. ¬†You’re an infertility warrior ūüí™ūüŹľ.


Last but certainly not least, is Drained, Damaged,¬†Drained Debbie. Drained sounds nicer, but let’s face it’s she’s a bit of both and rightfully so. Usually Drained Debbie has been through the ringer. She’s suffered failed IUI’s, multiple losses, and, if that’s not enough, has also maxed out her IVF coverage. Drained Debbie questions her doctor if changes aren’t being made next time because let’s face it, she doesn’t know how much more she can take this shit. ¬† She may be rushing into another cycle without recovering from the last, but just like the rest of her friends, no matter how drained she is, she’s still holding onto that glimmer of hope.

I wanted to get you better acquainted with these ladies to see if you could relate. ¬†Let me know if I’ve forgotten anyone. ¬†I’m sure I must have. ¬†Not only is our circle big, but I presume that we change roles with each round. ¬†I, for example, was the ever-so-popular Postive Penny the first time around. ¬†To be honest, I don’t know if it was because I was so shocked to actually get to that point or what. ¬†I didn’t really give the whole IVF failure much thought because I was too consumed with if we were even going to have sperm to work with. ¬†This may, in some odd way, have been a blessing in disguise. ¬†It also may have been the reason I wasn’t a Realistic Rachel or Scared Sally.

Given that I’m on the “other side of infertility”, and an IVF First-Timer Success you’d probably suspect that I’d remain a Positive Penny. ¬†I don’t know, though, because my emotions and feelings are so different now. ¬†We aren’t there just yet, but even thinking about another IVF cycle I feel much more guarded, more of a Realistic Rachel. ¬†I’m doubtful that we could get this lucky twice. ¬†My husband and I are so blessed and in such a happy place, raising and loving on our son, that I’m literally more scared than Sally to go back to that place. ¬†That place can be so alienating, life-sucking, and dark that the distant memories still haunt me from time to time. ¬†I’d prefer this happy place of changing dirty diapers, family date nights, and 2,461,085 toddler timeouts for a little while longer. ¬†Yet, just like you gals, I know all too well how worth it going back there could be.

TWW Survival Guide


I can only speak from my experience and what worked for us during the dreaded two week wait. Regardless of how you tackle it, I’m sure we can all agree, though, that it is an uphill battle. It starts off with the euphoria of knowing your embaby(s) are getting comfy cozy and gradually seems to go slower once you digest your last piece of pineapple core. The first week, thus, is bearable, but the second is intolerable. It’s in the second week that you start to symptom spot, that every ache, thought, motion is either a sign that this is your happy ending or you’re greatest fear: a BFN. The second week goes at a snail’s pace and typically involves an influx of pregnancy announcements and pregnancy test commercials that really test all the hormones raging inside of you.

My recommendation is first and foremost do what works for you and your significant other. Remain in that constant state of infertility: cautiously optimistic. Use these as a guideline, rather than an end all be all, because while I was one of the lucky ones I’m not sure how many TWW’s I would’ve been able to tolerate.


Sounds as impossible as surviving the TWW, I know. However Google is like a woman in the TWW’s crack. It is so addicting and so easy to get caught up doing, but gets you nowhere. If you’ve made it to the TWW, then you’ve done all your research. You know what to anticipate. Searching for “specific symptoms 4dp5dt” will give you no concrete answer. All it will do is make your mind play all sorts of crazy tricks on you.

Go ahead, look up cute maternity dress websites and plan your entire baby shower through Pinterest. But please, my dear friend, do yourself a favor and avoid at all costs using Google to “predict” your outcome.

ūüĒł N O ¬†T E S T I N G before B E T A

Again, a personal choice, but one I strongly recommend. My husband and I made a vow to one another that we would wait until we received our call on Beta Day. It wasn’t easy but I made sure that there weren’t any leftover tests lingering around the house and stuck it out.

From my perspective, testing before Beta can lead to two devastating outcomes. First, with a fresh transfer, your HCG from trigger can still be recognized on a pregnancy test if you test too early. This could give you a false sense of hope that you’re pregnant when it could’ve been the residual hormone in your system.

Second, you could test early and get that BFP that you’ve dreamed of. It could quite possibly be one of the greatest moments of your life all to come crumbling down on Beta day when your number comes back lower than the magic number. In this instance, you typically have to keep going for more bloodwork to see if the number changes. So basically the TWW becomes even longer and more devastating.

In my opinion, testing before Beta is a complete mind fuck. Just like googling, it’s a dominos effect. If you say you’re only going to test at day 8 and then the line is so faint, you’re anxious to test again at day 9, 10 and so on.

ūüĒł F I L L ¬†Y O U R ¬† S O C I A L

You may have to swap the Pinot for Pellegrino, but make plans. Girls night outs, date nights, or even coffee outings to help give your mind a break are all welcome. They’re great for keeping you on track, maintaining your positivity and sustaining your sanity.

It may help to talk about what you’re going through or you may opt, especially when out with your significant other, to forgo discussing your infertility altogether. Either way it’s a time to feel like yourself, which is easy to lose when on this journey.

ūüĒł P U R G E or P R O J E C T

In less than 9 months you could potentially be nesting. Why not get a head start?! It’s true what they say-Clean house, clear mind.

It’s important mentally to rid yourself of some of this excess. ¬†Doing so physically can be helpful too. ¬†Reorganize those cabinets you’ve been meaning to for the last 7 months. ¬†Or maybe you can start and actually complete that DIY project you’ve been meaning to tackle. ¬†Either way, they’re both a wonderful strategy for making the time pass while being productive.

ūüĒł P R A Y

Cliche I know, but I’ve noticed the overwhelming amount of faithful ladies amongst us. ¬†Regardless of how you pray or Who you pray to, prayer or meditation of some sort can be a source ¬†of peace. ¬†If not for yourself, do it for your little embryos that need you in a place of calmness. ¬†It’s also a way to connect with yourself and your embaby(s). ¬†In my experience, the majority of our TTC tribe use prayer as a way to cope with the pain and suffering of infertility.

ūüĒłR E W A R D ¬† Y O U R S E L F

At the point of the TWW, you have done everything possible to make this work. Maybe you’ve done acupuncture, changed your diet, or tried fertility herbs. Maybe you’ve eaten the pineapple core for 5 days or worn socks since transfer day, even if it’s 90 degrees out. Whatever it is you have done, you’ve done it to the best of your ability. Reward yourself for that-a handbag, a daytrip, a good book, a piece of jewelry (obvs my top pic ūüėĚūüíé).

No matter the outcome this time around, remind yourself that you’ve done everything in your power to make this work. ¬†Know this, honor this, applaud this. ¬†You are a warrior and not everyone can say that. ¬†More importantly, not every child can say that about his or her momma-but yours child-to-be can.

HOPE Award Best Blog Nomination


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


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®



Lefty or Righty


Pic via

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.

When 3 Become 1 and 1 Makes 3

Sounds like some mathematics problem, eh? Math is not my thang by any means, but when it came to fertility, probability mattered. By the point of transfer, I think we were both in so much shock that we actually made it that far, that the thought of three embryos didn’t even phase us. To boot, Dr. Lavy and his staff had gotten us that far that we weren’t going to doubt his recommendations then…or ever.

Recently, I have seen a lot of posts regarding transferring one or two embryos and I have received some outreach on the matter as well. The truth is it all comes down to¬†numbers,¬†circumstance,¬†numbers~ well I guess both. ¬†In the end your circumstance relates to your numbers, right? ¬†If you have 11 frosties (frozen embryo babies) ¬†then chances are your doctor is going to suggest transferring one. ¬†If you’re on your third round of IVF, with only a handful of embryos left to spare, they’ll probably recommend using two. ¬†If you’re us, everyone’s so dumbfounded how you even have embryos they say screw it, transfer them all. ¬†Just kidding…sort of. ¬†I mean our circumstances and our numbers were grim. ¬†At the day of transfer we had 3 embryos quality enough to use. ¬†Basically there was nothing left and it was a miracle in and of itself that we had gotten the two handfuls or so of sperm to even attempt IVF with ICSI at all. ¬†Moreso, we were open, maybe even hopeful, to the idea of having twins.

While I had envisioned transferring 2 embryos on a day 5 transfer, that was not the case. ¬†See, I couldn’t help myself. ¬†I was still planning it all out. ¬†Getting the call that we would be doing a day 3 transfer threw me off more than the idea of transferring three embryos. ¬†Strange, right? ¬†But as the doctor sat in front of us, scribbling as he usually did, he flat out said, “You won’t be having triplets.” ¬†He knew our circumstances. ¬†His recommendation was transferring three to get two or even just that “one”-it was the best probability.

That “one”. ¬†If only you could see him morning, noon, and night like I do. ¬†He is something special. ¬†My husband has recently been joking that he thinks the doctor added a little something to the embryo because being this cute and perfect couldn’t possibly be from just us. ¬†He amazes me each day as he combines words and “talks” about things we did the days before. ¬†He’s loving and affectionate, wild and sassy all- in-one. ¬†As his second birthday approaches, he’s a combination of that little infant that relied on me for everything and this autonomy-aspiring, mini spitfire who says “No, mommy” when I try to help him from tipping over the cereal bowl. ¬†He’s our “one” that was chosen just for us to protect, teach, raise, and adore. ¬†He’s the “one” who made us a family.

So as we dabble with the notion of turning 3 into 4, I get a lot of questions about if we try for another, will we have to do IVF again. ¬†Yes, we most certainly will and more likely than not my husband will have to have the TESE surgery again as well. ¬†We are not that infertile couple that had to do IVF the first time and then, as fate should have it, wound up pregnant naturally the second time. ¬†I sometimes envision it, but then am reminded of the circumstance. ¬†What’s the probability of getting this lucky twice?!

The Waiting Place


Last week, I was reading Dr. Seuss’s “Oh The Places You’ll Go” for the umpteenth time when it came to me. As I read the words, “…headed, I fear, towards a most useless place. The Waiting Place…” I couldn’t help but think of all the waiting involved in infertility. For me, the chronic waiting, was one of, if not the hardest part of our battle with infertility.

Waiting for a doctor’s appointment. Waiting for bloodwork results. Waiting for AF to come and waiting for AF to stop coming. Waiting for positive OPK’s and then waiting for Big Fat Positives (BFP’s). Waiting for answers. Waiting for insurance approvals and waiting for meds to arrive. Waiting to start your first injection and waiting for your first monitoring appointment. Waiting for meds to work. Waiting for good news, bad news, any news. Waiting to trigger and waiting for retrieval day. Waiting for an embie update. Waiting for transfer day and implantation. Waiting for Beta Day after the most dreadful wait…dun dun dun…the two week wait (TWW).

It’s hard to do anything or think of anything else when you’re in the waiting place. ¬†It’s like being in limbo, unsure of your fate. ¬†I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again~ if it were guaranteed that after all the waiting, you’d receive your greatest gift, then it wouldn’t be so bad. ¬†However, unfortunately, that’s not how it often works. ¬†Sometimes there’s more waiting.

Waiting for the go-ahead to start another cycle.  Waiting to save more money.  Waiting to hear a heartbeat that may or may not come.  Waiting to make it to the safe zone or waiting to get your rainbow baby.

It can be a most useless place for sure. ¬†I’d be lying if I said that I didn’t get sucked into the uselessness of The Waiting Place. ¬†Unfortunately, when you have nothing left to do but wait, your mind doesn’t stop. ¬†You replay scenario after scenario~the good, the bad, the ugly. ¬†You read, Google, cry, Google and have a hard time thinking of anything else when you’re in The Waiting Place. ¬†All that can wear you down and cause you to fall in a slump…and “un-slumping yourself is not easily done.”

It wasn’t until our TWW when I finally realized that this could be my final Waiting Place and that it didn’t always need to be a useless place. ¬†My husband and I made a pact to avoid googling and not take a single pregnancy test before Beta. ¬†It wasn’t an easy feat by any means, but I’d recommend it to any of you in or approaching your TWW. ¬†It wasn’t until then that I realized the waiting period could actually be used in a productive way too.

Afterall, it is also in the waiting place that you’re getting one step closer. ¬†It’s a time to reflect and a time to breathe again. ¬†It can be a time to try new things and cross some items off your bucket list. ¬†It can be a time to reconnect and refocus on what matters most. It’s a time that will eventually shape you into the parent you’ll become because during that waiting you’ll learn a lot. ¬†You’ll learn about patience and perseverance which will make you a better mother. ¬†You’ll learn about yourself and your partner and most of all, life. ¬†Because life is not always easy and “bang-ups and hang-ups will happen to you.”

So try as much as you can to make The Waiting Place as useful as possible. ¬†When you’re finding that difficult, as you often will, look here for support and always remember:

“Somehow you’ll escape all that waiting and staying, You’ll find the bright places where Boom Bands are playing.”

Once you survive The Waiting Place that is infertility…

“Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

The “I” in Infertility


There’s a very fine line between living with infertility and letting it take over your life. ¬†The quest to have a baby can be consuming. ¬†Compound that with infertility and it’s hard to see life outside of doctor’s appointments, bloodwork, OPK’s, two week waits (TWW) and pregnancy tests. ¬†It can be difficult to not let it overcome you because infertility is a beast. ¬†But I’m here, on the other side, to tell you that it doesn’t need to be your be-all and end-all.

It’s all about finding the balance in life, which can always be extra tricky when you’re dealing with a stressor of some sort. ¬†¬†Sometimes when the topic comes up, you might say “We are trying.” Other days you might feel like giving a 20-minute mini-lesson on your infertility diagnosis. ¬†There are days when it’s just easier to wear a smile and yet other times when you need to let the tears stream down your face to get out a good cry. ¬†Allowing yourself good and bad days helps to keep the balls juggling so to speak. ¬†The moment you go too much one way or too much the other, the balls start to drop.

Much like anything that’s worth fighting for, you will also have to make sacrifices and not just the financial kind. ¬† ¬†Infertility tends to plan some days and months {even years} for you because of the intense scheduling, especially when in the midst of an IVF cycle. ¬†However, don’t let it dictate your life. ¬†Don’t waste away your days waiting for that one moment. Do girls nights and spontaneous romantic weekend getaways. ¬†Take on daring adventures, indulge in retail therapy, and pound back way too many shots. ¬†The infertility doesn’t go away but at least life isn’t slipping by either. ¬†Sure there will be times you have to “sit out” or say “Now isn’t a good time,” ¬†but more often then not, the infertility will still be there and those opportunities won’t. ¬†I found (and still find) myself so many times opting out of a bachelorette or putting off a vacation out of fear that a procedure or doctor’s appointment might come up. ¬†But it’s important to remember, infertility causes you to make enough sacrifices, so do yourself a favor-you deserve it.

That’s not to say it’s easy, nor will there be times that you can’t help but fall victim to letting infertility get the best of you. ¬†At those times, remember:

The “I” in infertility does not stand for identity. Infertility does not define who I am. It does not encompass all of me. Rather, it is just part of my story, as is being a daughter, sister, friend, wife, speech-pathologist, and so fortunately, a mother.

Since initiating this blog, I’ve had so many people, even my own dad, remark that they knew we were having issues but didn’t realize that it was that bad. ¬†That’s because I didn’t want infertility to define me and I still don’t. ¬†Even though I’ve overcome it, infertility is and always will be part of me. ¬†As part of my story, I’m inclined to share it to help others. ¬†So while the “I” in infertility doesn’t stand for my identity, I think I’ll let it stand for impact. ¬†It has made a profound impact on the individual and, more importantly, the ¬†mommy I have become. ¬†I hope that, through this blog and a support group, I can use my infertility journey to make an impact.

The 101 On Ovulating

Lately I’ve been receiving a lot of questions about how to know whether you’re ovulating or not. Obviously I am far from a doctor so I don’t know all of the terminology or courses of treatment; however I can speak to my own personal ovulation issues.

For me, before and after getting off birth control, I had very irregular and erratic cycles. I was that girl who went on birth control to regulate her periods-sort of ūüėĆ. I had been on and off various birth control methods for around 10 years.

We were planning on starting to try-to-conceive (TTC) in spring/summer 2012. I, however, had been off birth control at that point for somewhere around 8-12 months or so (I was having some weird side effect and so we opted for natural family planning-ish). Obviously in hindsight we didn’t need anything at all!

Anyways, my cycle continued to be all over the place, some months 26 days, others 40, and sometimes I wouldn’t get it at all. So at my appointment in January of 2012, my OBGYN had said she suspected that I may not be ovulating every month and that a simple blood test would provide that information. ¬†I believe that protocols may vary, but in my circumstance I began going for blood testing Day 3 (Day 1 is the first day of your menstural cycle, not spotting) and Day 21. ¬†Day 3 testing ¬†measures your levels of estradiol, luteinizing hormone (LH) and follicle stimulating hormone (FSH). ¬†Ironically LH and FSH were the two hormones that my husband also lacked. Day 21 testing confirms whether or not you ovulated. ¬†If your levels are low on Day 21 it suggests that your anovulatory, AKA didn’t produce an egg.

Needless to say, two out of the three months of testing I ovulated on my own and one month of did not ovulate at all. ¬†Now if you are in the depths of TTC you know, despite all of these “surprise” pregnancies, the fertile “window” to get ¬†pregnant within a cycle is very small. ¬†Compound that with not always ovulating and your chances are even slimmer.

The good news: ¬†if not ovulating is your only issue, there’s usually a fairly¬†easy fix. ¬†I was prescribed a relatively low dose (50 mg) ¬†of Clomid from June-September 2012 and all four months I ovulated. ¬†Given that I was still not pregnant, we knew there had to be something more.

If you’re TTC or planning on TTC in the near future and suspect you may not be ovulating, I’d recommend consulting your doctor first. ¬†They can guide you best based on your own individual case.

You could also use ovulation predictor kits (OPK) that can bought over-the-counter. ¬†My favorite are the smiley face ones-I used to get so excited when that ūüôā popped up, you would’ve thought I was getting a BFP (Big Fat Positive). ¬†I will warn you if your cycle is sporatic it can be more difficult to use OPK’s and definitely more costly. ¬†Typically, a woman with an average 28 day cycle would get a positive on an OPK at or around day 14. ¬†When you have irregular cycles you have to test earlier and longer to sometimes get that ūüôā. ¬†However they are highly accurate and effective in achieving a pregnancy if you are ovulating!

If you are concerned about whether or not you’re ovulation, speak with your doctor first. ¬†Then shoot me an email at if you’d like some TTC support, ovulating or not!

Here’s to lots of ūüôā and ūüćĺ cheers to the freakin weekend!

How to Hurt an Infertile Couple in 10 Ways

imageRemember that awesome Kate Hudson chick flick, How to Lose a Guy in Ten Days?! This is your guide to not turning off an infertile couple by avoiding doing/saying at least these ten things. Now most of my readers know me, so as you’re reading this I know what you’re thinking. ¬†Oh My God! Did I say that to her? Is she referring to me? No, no, no. In fact, I’ve probably said or done some of these things on the list myself. It is just that part of discussing infertility is promoting awareness, so people know how to avoid what can be hurtful and what to say to offer support.

1. “Just relax…it’ll happen when you stop trying.”

This may have been the case for 1 in 235,578,428 couples, but for us there’s zero sperm so I can’t relax. If you’re offering, I’ll take the bottle of wine, but you can keep the advice.

Really advice is not something that the infertile couple is looking for unless it’s coming from a doctor or another couple who struggled with infertility. Instead offering support by saying something like “I don’t know much about infertility, but I’m here if you ever want to talk about it” (over wine of course) would be the most comforting.

2. “My husband just looks at me and I get pregnant.”

That’s great for you Mrs. Fertile Myrtle and Mr. Super Sperm, but comments like that make us feel less female and male. It makes us feel inadequate and disappointed in ourselves.

I know it’s life that some things come easier for others, but be sensitive to those who might be having a tougher go at it. Saying something along the lines of “That wasn’t our experience. I can’t imagine how difficult it must be to have to wait to get pregnant when you want it so badly” would be nice to hear.

3. “Have you gone to the doctor?”

Jeez…no, I have a masters and sixth year degree, but I didn’t think of that. Seriously, countless people asked me that and while I’m sure it was just par for the course, there’s a better way. You could gently ask, “Where are you in your infertility journey, if you don’t mind me asking?” Chances are most couples won’t mind and if they’re saying they’re infertile, chances are even greater that they’ve been to the doctor’s.

4. “Why don’t you do that turkey baster thing or Petri dish thing?”

I’m exaggerating now. Most people don’t use those terms, but the truth is most people have a vague sense of what IUI and IVF are. They assume that’s the cure-all. For us, IVF wasn’t even an option for over a year and a half, as is the case for many couples. Even then, IUI and IVF cycles may not work the first time, so the couple may have attempted interventions already without success.

Really the best thing to support an infertile couple would be reading up on IUI and IVF to get a brief sense of what they are. All it takes is a quick Google search. That way when your friend or family member would like to chat about their upcoming cycle you could understand better what they’re going through.

5. ¬†“Why don’t you just adopt?”

Adoption is one of the greatest and most selfless things someone can do for a child. ¬†While it is also an amazing option, especially for an infertile couple, it may not be the avenue they’re pursuing (at least at this point in time).

Adoption also comes with lots of emotional and financial turmoil and is not a simple process. ¬†Just like with IVF, to assume adoption nullifies infertility is ignorant. ¬†People who think this is the “cure” for infertility aren’t acknowledging all the facets.

Its easy to say “Why don’t you…?” when you’re not in that position. ¬†So ask yourself what you would do if you were infertile. ¬†To what end would you go to? ¬†Would you exhaust all options before adopting? ¬†Would you spend your life’s savings on fertility treatments? More likely than not, you’re probably saying I don’t know.

6. ¬†“Who’s problem is it?”

This is a really personal question, but I’m sure if you talk to an infertile couple, they’ve heard it more than once. ¬†Usually people ask because they might have known another woman or man with a similar experience. ¬†However, this is really up to the couple themselves to divulge if they so choose. ¬†Furthermore, whether it is the female or male with the infertility issue, it really doesn’t matter. ¬†In the end, both of them are in pain and struggling.

I remember asking my husband what he wanted our blanket statement to be in the beginning. ¬†As time went on, he became more open about the major issue for us being male factor. ¬†In my opinion, it’d be best to stay clear of any question of this sort. ¬†If the couple feels comfortable enough, they’ll tell you.

7.  Ignoring It

When you’ve been married for a certain amount of time or when you hit a certain age, babies and pregnancy tend to come up in conversations. ¬†When you’re the infertile couple and these topics come up, you feel like crawling in a hole. ¬†Either the conversation comes to an awkward halt when someone realizes you’re at the table or you discreetly dip out to the ladie’s room (or to do a shot of Fireball) as fast as you can say IVF.

Other times, it can feel like there’s an elephant in the room that everyone is avoiding. ¬†Sometimes it may not even be the case, just your own over sensitivity about the situation.

There were many times, when I wished someone would’ve just acknowledged it, rather than avoiding it. ¬†I didn’t want to have a pity party so I wouldn’t be the one to just start the discussion about our struggles. ¬†However, if someone asked, I was full-disclosure and it felt good-really good ¬†actually to get it out there on the table. ¬†It would also open up the opportunity on subsequent occasions for friends and family to ask about our last appointment or what step we were at in our journey.

I’m sure it’s just as uncomfortable for ‘outsiders’ as it is for the infertile couple themselves. ¬†But there’s a delicate way in which a couple’s infertility can be acknowledged, but, yet, not define them. ¬†Sensitive sentiments, such as “I know you had said you started trying in June. ¬†Is everything going okay?” would be a nice way to ease into the dialogue. ¬†If a couple is not ready to disclose any information, you can catch the drift.

Infertility is an invisible hurt.  So when it goes left unsaid, it can sometimes worsen the wound.

8.  Dismissing the Possibility of Prengancy

For me, it got to the point where I felt as if people had even dismissed the notion of me becoming pregnant as a real possibility. ¬† This may or may not have been the case. ¬†Again, it may very well have been my own hypersensitivity. ¬†It usually wasn’t even something someone said. ¬†It was more often an uncensored look, as if I caught them off-guard by saying my name and pregnancy in the same sentence.

These types of instances usually occurred with people who were obviously very familiar with our infertility and therefore in our close circle. ¬†They’d present themselves at times when I would say “Well I might be pregnant then, so…”

It’s hard enough not to give up on yourselves when you’re faced with significant issues trying-to-conceive. ¬†Then to see others uncertain of your destiny can be even more discouraging. ¬†Try to stay positive for the infertile couple. ¬†Even just your sense of hope can be enough to get them in the right mindset.

9.  Complaining About Being Pregnant

I’m sorry, but it can’t be left unsaid. ¬†I know that kankles, back pain and sleepless nights associated with pregnancy aren’t always a joyride. ¬†And of course a right of passage of being pregnant is being able to whine enough that you “earn” yourself a foot rub or carton of Ben & Jerry’s Ice Cream…or both. ¬†But as a woman sitting there yearning for nothing more than to not be able to see her own feet, complaints about the sheer miracle of being able to grow another life are painful. ¬†They’re equivalent to being punched in the stomach…again, and again, and again.

Go on and complain to those who have been there, but be cogniscente of your “audience”. ¬†If there’s a woman struggling to get pregnant, wait until later. ¬†Better yet, let her presence remind you of the blessing it is to be able to conceive and carry a child.

The women who struggle and still complain about pregnancy leave me baffled.

10. ¬†“We had issues with our first-it took us like four months to get pregnant.”

Comparing your typical trying-to-conceive timeline with someone who actually is diagnosed with infertility is inconsiderate.  First, get your facts straight.  Only about 60% of couples TTC actually get pregnant within the first three months.  It takes many six months and after a year it can be defined as infertility.

To be honest, at times I’m hesitant to discuss my struggle when there are so many couples who endure years and years of infertility and don’t even end up with the outcome I’ve been given. ¬†There are so many women who’ve undergone cycles upon cycles, who have seen positive pregnancy tests only to see lost heartbeats.

While people try to show empathy in different ways, saying you know what an infertile couple has gone through when you conceived ¬†within the average time frame can undermine what infertility truly entails. ¬†It can be hurtful and downright engraging. ¬†Every infertility journey is different from diagnosis to treatment to outcome. ¬†Trying to compare struggles is pointless; trying to offer support by saying “I remember how stressful having my first was without any infertility issues. ¬†I cannot fathom what you must be feeling.” would be priceless.


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