It Takes A Village


They say it takes a village to raise a child and while that is true, in the realm of infertility it also takes a village to get you that child. Lately, I have been receiving more and more local outreach, which I am so extremely pleased by. Afterall, providing local support was why I created this blog in the first place. So I thought I’d share our “village” with you since word of mouth is the best advertisement.

1.  Women’s Health Associates, LLC New Haven & North Branford, CT 👉🏻 (FYI: website is under construction, but you can at least find their contact information)

In prior posts, I’ve discussed how phenomenal this midwife group is.  They’re just that good that I can’t help but reiterate it time and time again.  My OBGYN group consists of four fabulous midwives, one of whom, Debbie Cibelli, actually delivered me almost 32 years ago!  Given that she basically watched me grow up, she was very familiar with my case history and therefore was proactive in determining the cause of my irregular menstural cycles.  Not only did I appreciate that and all the time saved, but she was also quick to refer us to a fertility specialist.

Some of you may be thinking midwife group~sounds a little earth crunchy and must mean no drugs.  While they do specialize in natural deliveries, I loved their openness to whatever option was most comfortable for each individual patient.  I ended up going completely drug-free but went in with a flexible mindset (AKA whatever I need to get this baby out of me!!!).  They’re ability to naturally make the pain bearable was what helped me through.   They also have great success rates in VBAC’s (Vaginal Birth After Caesarean) if that’s something you’re interested in.

Throughout my trying-to-conceive (TTC) journey, pregnancy, birth, post-partum and everywhere in between, these ladies were amazing; not just the midwives, too.  The administrative assistants and nurses go above and beyond as well.  While TTC and during my pregnancy, I had the pleasure of being seen by all four midwives and have nothing but positive things to say.

Of course, Laura Sundstrum, holds a special place in my heart because she delivered my miracle baby boy.  Please, please, please take the time to read Mikie’s birth story if you haven’t yet. 💞

Just like love stories, every birth story is beautiful, but yours is my favorite, Mikie! Plus, you always hear the horror stories so it’s nice to hear a positive one once in awhile!

If that doesn’t convince you, then this will…Not too long ago I was talking to a labor and delivery nurse from Yale.  I was saying how my husband and I were in awe of the labor/delivery and maternity floor nurses and staff after our experience.  She asked who my OBGYN is and when I said Women’s Health Associates, she immediately said, “When the time comes for me to have a baby, I am definitely going to them.”  If that’s not saying they’re the best at what they do, than I don’t know what is!

2.  Yale Urology Center New Haven, CT 👉🏻

If you take nothing else away from this blog, know that a urologist specializing in male factor infertility IS your Fertility God if the issue is with your husband/boyfriend/fiancé.  Which also leads me to something I’d like to emphasize:  infertility is not always a female “problem”.  In fact, male factor infertility makes up approximately 30% of all infertility cases.

I digress and get back to our Fertility God, Dr. Stanton Honig 👉🏻 Check him out!  Literally his accreditation and accolades are never- ending.  I remember, when we first received our diagnosis from my OBGYN, no matter what I googled along the lines of top doctor for azoospermia in CT, Dr. Honig kept popping up.

What I personally liked best about Dr. Honig was that he was always positive about the outcome, but realistic about how we would get there.  He set out a timeline and stuck to it almost meticulously.  He was direct, but sensitive to the situation, professional, but humorous in a way that made everything seem less awkward.  The moment I realized how vested he is in his profession, was after my husband’s TESE surgery, maybe 5 minutes into the car ride, he called with the unbelievable news that he had found some viable sperm.  You could tell by his tone of voice that he was genuinely ecstatic for us.

If you’re dealing with male factor infertility and are in CT, you MUST heed my advice and schedule an appointment.  Note, he is in high demand and appointments book pretty far out.

3.  New England Fertility Stamford, Danbury, and Hamden, CT 👉🏻👉🏻👉🏻  

My previous post titled Name or Number goes into detail about the professionalism and compassion of Dr. Gad Lavy and his staff.   Aside from being able to build a personal relationship with the nurses, I loved how Dr. Lavy explained our infertility scenario.  He really broke it down, usually with some type of drawing or diagram.  I’m a visual learner so I found that to be uber helpful.

In addition, they offer a patient portal  so that your results are literally at your fingertips day or night.   Even though, Dr. Lavy, nurses Jen and Susan, and the rest of the staff see countless couples struggling with infertility, they were not at all de-sensitized to the situation (which I find can often be the case).  Being able to rely on them really relieved some of the stress.  We would always leave our appointments feeling more upbeat than when we had come in,

If you are concerned that you may have infertility issues, New England Fertility often holds free fertility testing and seminars.  Check them out on Facebook to get more information, if this is something you’re interested in.

I believe, wholeheartedly, that had we chosen another fertility group we may have not gotten the results we did the first time around or at all.  Another pro for all of my Male Infertility Warriors, Dr. Lavy and Dr. Honig are buddies so they make a great team.

4.  Craig Kelly & Jackie Kos of Kos Chiropractic North Branford, CT No website available, but you can like and follow them on Facebook  to get more information 👉🏻

I’m actually embarrassed to say that I never got the chance to go and thank Jackie and Craig for all they did to make my IVF cycle a success…the first time!  So hopefully, at least in part, this can be a way to say thank you!

My work wife at the time, who also happens to be a close friend, was literally my therapist throughout my infertility struggle.  She was always a big fan of acupuncture.  Literally, if you told her you needed to quit eating donuts, she’d say, “Why don’t you try acupuncture?”  So after the millionth time of her saying, “I really think you should try acupuncture…I have a great guy,”  I made an appointment.

Both Craig and Jackie were experienced in infertility treatments.  They were very informed and the practice was welcoming.  The waiting room was always jam packed, too, which is always a good sign.  You can read my post, My IVF Tips  Let’s just say, next time we go for an IVF cycle, I will definitely be there.  In fact, maybe I should start now to have some relaxing me-time,

The next two are recommendations for during pregnancy.  I know you’re not there yet and may very well feel like you’ll never get there.  But you will and when you do, I can’t recommend them enough.  They were part of our “village” in a way, too ,so I couldn’t not include them on the list.

5.  Raven’s Wing Yoga Branford, CT  👉🏻👉🏻👉🏻                                                            

Again, a little on the earth-crunchy side (which of course there is nothing wrong with) but may not appeal to the masses.  Let me tell you though, infertility or not, every pregnant woman should at least give prenatal yoga a shot.

In the beginning, I, like most I’d presume, felt clumsy and foolish trying to hit some of those poses with an ever-growing belly.  However, when it came to strategies for relieving the aches and pains associated with pregnancy, these stretches and techniques were spot-on; more like miracle cures.

I looked forward to my weekly hour of relaxation on Wednesday nights.  After leaving class, I always felt lighter and re-energized.  The real testament to what I learned in prenatal yoga was my natural childbirth.  The knowledgable and experienced instructors taught me how to breathe into the pain and I used these breathing techniques during labor.  They actually worked wonders. Prenatal yoga at Raven’s Wing is a pregnancy must-do as far as I am concerned.

6.  Childbirth and Parenting Education of Greater New Haven 👉🏻 East Haven, CT

Again, this does not only pertain to the couple who has overcome infertility.  This is a call to ALL EXPECTANT COUPLES reading and please share.  Even if you’re not in the New Haven area, you really should look into attending.  Honestly, if you’re literally within a 50 mile radius and you don’t take advantage of this course, it would be your first parenting mistake-I swear!

First off, Louise Ward, RNC, MSN, who is part of the Labor and Birth Team at Yale-New Haven Hospital is as hilarious as she is skilled.  My husband says that if she was his teacher in school, he’d be a molecular engineer; I’ve “diagnosed” him with ADD, so the fact that he was able to sit and attend to the two and a half hour sessions once weekly for five-weeks speaks volumes.  We learned more in this course than I could’ve ever imagined, even if I had read 100 books.  Classes were entertaining, informative, and interactive.

Louise was one of my greatest tools during my actual labor and delivery.  She wasn’t there physically, but literally, I could hear her voice playing over in my head.  She provided me with so much valuable instruction that I knew what to expect as I entered active labor, then transitioned.  Her guidance was also another key factor in my ability to endure childbirth sans medication.

Aside from learning all there is that you need to know about childbirth, we took away a lot of other valuable information about the benefits of baby-wearing, dealing with “baby blues”, and infant care.  We opted for the five-week childbirth classes (which also included a tour at Yale-New Haven Hospital) and the Infant CPR class.  They also offer a variety of other classes, such as breastfeeding  and car seat safety.

If you are in the local CT area and have been following, please share with others, especially on social media.  Also, this is just my “village”.  If you had your own “village” that you’d refer someone to, please comment below~I’d love to hear your recommendations!  Most importantly, please if you or someone you know is struggling with infertility, please contact me so I can become part of your “village” to making a baby.

You can contact me on Facebook & Instagram @OnPrayersandNeedles or via e-mail @

DISCLAIMER:  This is in no way, shape, or form a sponsored post and all opinions are 100% mine!

The Inevitable Question

A big pet peeve of mine is as soon as you hit some major milestone in your life, people are always rushing on to the next. Take getting engaged for example. As soon as he puts a ring on it, you no sooner can buy a bride magazine before someone asks, “Have you set a date?” Then, you get married, and before you’ve even had the chance to change your last name on all of your documents (what a PIA that is), people are already starting in, “Are you trying?…maybe a honeymoon baby?!” Like pump the brakes and let me enjoy being married for a hot minute. One upside of infertility is that after so many years of marriage without a baby, people tend to stop asking. Then, if you’re lucky enough to have a baby, you no sooner get home from the hospital to hear, “When’s the next one coming? Ready for another?” I mean, can my stitches heal before you ask this? I haven’t even been cleared for action down there yet.

While more often than not they’re really well meaning questions, I find them utterly annoying. I think it’s in part what’s wrong with society today. I mean we can’t even celebrate one holiday without the next occasion’s motif lining store aisles. It’s always such a rush to get to the next big thing that sometimes the opportunity to savor and relish in the delight of one momentous occasion can be lost. I love that I had a long engagement to enjoy being engaged and was married for a few years before trying-to-conceive. Of course, six years of marriage before a baby wasn’t ideal, but I know that many first year marriages wouldn’t be able to survive the wrath of infertility. I’ve really been able to enjoy each stage to its fullest and feel like each chapter was complete before the next. I know that’s not in the cards for everyone nor what many people would prefer, but for me I like spacing between these joyous life events.

This holds true for adding to our tribe. There’s nothing more I want to do than to have another child to raise and love with my husband; to give Mikie a sibling so that he could share the same bond we do with our brothers and sisters. But if I could plan 😁🙊 I’d love to have them spaced about three years apart. Truth be told, I want to feel like I’m starting over. I know that sounds crazy to some, and there are definitely pros and cons to having kids back-to-back or years apart. For us, spacing just seems right. Unfortunately given our infertility issues, this means that we’d have to start really getting the ball rolling by the fall if we intend on doing a round of IVF in a year or so. And that effing terrifies me.

It’s not the doctors appointments, insurance dilemmas, and loading my body with hormones that’s scary. It’s the fact that I thought if there was a next time of trying to get pregnant, it’d be different. I always say the pressures off next time around. We already have our baby, which is such an abundant blessing, that regardless of the outcome at least we have him. And it’s not that that isn’t true. It is and I’m incredibly grateful, but I’m not complete. I’ve always read articles from moms that tell you, you just know when you’re done and it’s your last baby. I’m not there yet and if I had to guess, I probably won’t be there even if I am lucky enough to have another (Please don’t tell my husband 🤐, but I think 3 is our magic number). That probably sounds so selfish and ungrateful of me, especially since it’s truly a miracle that we even have one to call our own. But if a fertile couple wanted more kids, we wouldn’t think less of them, right? We might say they’re very blessed already, but that doesn’t mean they don’t deserve more if their hearts so desire.

So this must be what secondary infertility feels like. The great divide between feeling appreciative for the child(s) you do have and yearning to hold another. It’s like a tug of war of the heart. And while it’s easy to say at least, all you want to say is at last.

I have to admit, I never really got it before. I was that infertile girl who thought at least you have one healthy child.  I can’t even have that. And even after getting pregnant and having my son, I still felt that way to some extent. It isn’t until now, when I’m faced with the possibility of not getting pregnant again, that it’s starting to hit me.

I wasn’t intending on writing this post so soon, but lately it seems to keep hitting me.  Since our baby is upwards of a year and a half, I can only anticipate to hear more of the inevitable question-one that I try to consciously avoid asking others, especially those I suspect might be having difficulty trying to conceive.  At this point, I want people to ask.  I really do.  It’s just now I think I’m rewording my response:

“Yes, we’re beyond fortunate to have him, but we’d love to have another if we could.  No, I don’t know it’s going to be any easier and the pressure isn’t off the next time.”

M O R A L of the S T O R Y: infertility never ends.  Not even after you’re lucky enough to overcome it.   When you want a child to rock, nurture, teach, snuggle so badly, the heartache never fades, no matter if it’s your first, second, or third time around.

Faith & Fertility


For a Type-A-ish person like myself, it’s hard to hear “It will happen when it is supposed to happen.” Yet, as a fairly religious person, it’s even harder to hear “It’s all God’s plan.”

Really?! It’s God’s plan for me to be infertile, while millions of teenage girls who can’t take care of themselves are getting knocked up? I mean it’s enough to make my blood boil. And don’t get me wrong, I’ve said it before myself. It is one of those sayings that naturally spew out of your mouth; similar to when someone passes away and well-meaning mourners say, “She’s in a better place,” or “He’s not suffering anymore.” Yes, of course that’s what we hope and try to believe, but it’s just one of those things we say because it actually sucks. It really sucks and we offer these sayings as some sort of solace and hope that it’ll get better. Yet in the moment it’s difficult to envision getting to that place.

Throughout our infertility struggles, I went to church most Sundays and prayed to St. Gerard and St. Anne in between.  It’s not to say my faith wasn’t tested.  There were times I was mad at God.  There were even times when I said at the end of the day having a baby was about science, not God.  When you’re in the moment, it’s only natural to start questioning your religious beliefs.  What’s worse is that the Catholic Church doesn’t believe in extraordinary means for conceiving, such as IVF.  One poignant moment I can recall was my sister-in-law coming home from her pre-Cana with pamphlets on the church’s views on infertility. She sent us a text of her “reading materials” and of course that’s the one I spotted.  I immediately told her to throw it away.  It’s not that I don’t believe what my faith teaches, but at the end of the day, my God wanted me to be a mom, regardless of how I got there. I wholeheartedly believe that, despite what any priest or doctrine states.

Now in hindsight, I can say I also believe, without a doubt that God played a role in blessing us with Mikie.  There was definitely science involved and without that would we have conceived? I highly doubt it, even at my most faithful moment.

I’m still on the fence if that was God’s plan, though.  On one hand, I don’t think it’s God who plans for babies to be sick, people to be ridden with Cancer, and lives to end too short.  I do think, though, that it is God who helps us at our darkest times, who comforts us in our grief, and who lifts us up when these unexpected life circumstances arise.  On the other hand, maybe there is a predestined plan-not to cause undue suffering, but maybe to serve a reminder of a higher power and to teach life lessons.  If I look at infertility as God’s plan for me, I can say it taught me how to let go a little and realize I can’t control my destiny.  It taught me the importance of faith and and reminded me of all I was already blessed with.

At the end of the day, science had given my husband sperm, science had retrieved and fertilized eggs to produce embryos, and science had made it possible to transfer those embies back into my body.  But it was in God’s hands what would happen next.


Mother’s Day: Another Reminder of Your Infertility

imageI am a fan of holidays. While they can be cliche, I like the idea of setting aside a specific day to commemorate someone or something. All of these National Margarita Day and Happy Hangover Day (I swear it exists-look it up) may take it a step too far but nonetheless serve as a reminder to take a step back, acknowledge all of your blessings, and celebrate each day.

With that said, Mother’s Day can be another reminder of what you aren’t and don’t yet have. As if all the aisles of Hallmark cards and “Mom life is the best life”  mugs aren’t enough to handle, there’s this whole day carved out to celebrate mommy-hood. It’s a reminder of your longing to rub a baby bump or rest a newborn on your chest, as you waft in that new baby smell. It’s a reminder of something that comes so easy for many, and taken for granted by some. It’s a reminder of the one thing missing to make your heart whole and a seemingly unattainable dream. It’s a reminder of your struggle, the bruises from PIO (Progesterone In Oil) shots, the countless appointments, the ups and downs, tears and pain that is your present.

But, my dear friend, it’s also a reminder of your future. It’s a reminder that one day you may be rocking your sweet child to sleep.  It’s a reminder to keep your head up and keep at it. It’s a reminder that someday you might become a mom and you will have a special and unique outlook-you will cherish every moment, every milestone, everyday because you know what it took to get there.

And while I like to look through rosey-colored glasses even that might not be a reality for some.  So, this Mother’s Day, and always remember that not everyone is fortunate enough  to ever get the chance to celebrate.  Choose your words wisely.  “Maybe you’ll be a mom next Mother’s Day-are you trying?” And “You don’t know how lucky you are-I can’t even remember the last time I was able to eat my meal at a restaurant” hurt.  Btw, biatch you’re the one who doesn’t know how lucky you are (oops did I say that out loud 🙊).

Like all woman who are fortunate enough to be called momma, tomorrow I will revel in the bliss of sleeping in, savor breakfast in bed, and cherish homemade gifts. I’ll probably post on social media a picture of me and my mini.  However I will never forget that there are many women still on their journey to motherhood whose hearts are aching and whose smiles are hiding months, even years, of pain.


imageI am thrilled to be part of Miss.Conceptioncoach’s Bloggers Unite Conference this year in honor of National Infertility Awareness Week and humbled to have been included with such an esteemed group of women. This year’s theme is #startasking and I cannot think of a better theme for me, personally, since this was basically the springboard for my blog, On Prayers & Needles.

During my journey, I couldn’t help but #startasking how, when 1 in every 8 couples struggles with infertility, are there not more local support groups available? I would go to my OBGYN, our fertility doctor, my husband’s urologist, the chiropractor & acupuncturists’ offices and there would be corkboards overflowing with every type of group you could name. Yet, the only one I needed in that moment wasn’t there.

Instead, I would spend countless hours glued to my cell phone or laptop on BabyCentre, What To Expect Before Your Expecting, etc., etc. group boards waiting for any type of a response to the questions I had. Did anyone have success with Tese for Azoospermia? How many months did you take Clomid before becoming pregnant? Did you take birth control pills as part of your IVF protocol? Are these follicle numbers and measurements decent? I’d wait, to hear from someone I knew only by screen name and not face, someone who lived in another country, to answer. I’d wait there praying that I’d get some glimpse of hope that they had been where I was and everything worked out. And while I appreciated any and all of the support I could get across the Internet and anywhere else, I yearned for a “safe place” ~a place where I could sit with women who were or had been in my shoes and we could discuss all of these things face-to-face over coffee at a local Starbucks. It was then that I promised myself, if I were ever to receive my miracle, I would basically Pay-It-Forward by starting a local support group. That is when this blog was basically conceived (no pun intended).

Fast-forward to just about two-months ago when I finally revved up the courage to launch On Prayers and Needles and share my story…

Slowly, I began to hear the stories of others whom I may or may not have known had difficulty getting pregnant and it felt very liberating for all of us to exchange our experiences. Then I even started to receive intermittent questions from readers asking for more information about meds, doctors, recommendations for a successful IFV cycle. However, none of these women (rightfully so) were interested in participating in a local support group, which led me to #startasking a bigger question: How, when 1 in every 8 couples is infertile, is there still such a stigma and sense of shame in not being able to conceive naturally?

For anyone who has been following (thank you) and those of you just tuning in (thank you, also), I’m sure it is pretty evident that I am an open-book. During our journey there was never a time when I didn’t feel comfortable saying that we were struggling with infertility. You might think that is because it was more of my husband’s “problem”, but I also had my own “issues”. It’s just I came at it from a different perspective, which was basically if it’s broke, fix it. If your hip gives out, you replace it. If you have an infection, you take an antibiotic. If you can’t produce sperm, you find a way to. Clearly, there is no shame in our game and of course, I’m making light of all of these situations. They’re not all that easily resolved. But my mentality was and is, just like anything else in life, if it isn’t working, you fix it (failing marriage, dead-end job). And regardless of what anyone’s picture-perfect life appears to be on Instagram, believe me, there’s something they need or have had to “fix”.

While I completely respect anyone’s choice to keep their infertility private, I also find it important to #startasking why? Are you any less deserving of a baby than someone who could conceive without interventions? In a day in age when science is revolutionary, why wouldn’t you use the advancements provided to start or complete your family? Even when religion is a factor, doesn’t your God want you to be a mom? Don’t you think that someday, if you choose, to explain to your child “how they were made” that they’ll realize how much you loved and wanted him or her even before they were born? If someone in your life was struggling with something, wouldn’t you want them to open up so you could be there for them?

One of the most touching responses I’ve received since initiating the blog, was an e-mail from someone who hadn’t shared her story with anyone outside of her immediate circle. She felt inspired, after reading and relating to mine, to share her own with me. I read it, tears streaming down my face, hoping that she could see the beauty in her story that I did. While that wasn’t the initial intent of the blog, in that moment, I realized that it had served its purpose in a different way.

The more we open up and #startasking ourselves and others these tough questions, the more people will become aware of infertility and all it entails. Once more and more people #startasking, the dialogue can begin so that we (both those who have and have not encountered infertility) can better support one another. I shared my story to get the conversation going, so now I must #startasking, will you?

Make or Break Your Bank & Love Tank


Photo Credit 📷 @

Infertility is both financially and emotionally draining. Even the strongest of relationships are likely to endure a rough patch or two during the struggle to conceive. It can make or break you. As they say, though, if you make it, you’ll come out stronger in the end.

Money is a stressor in any marriage or relationship.  Combine that with endless hours on the phone with the insurance company and countless repetitions of your saga to a representative and you’re bound to be exhausted.  Even with the best coverage, you’ll probably incur some out-of-pocket expense.  Some of the procedures and/or medicines may be denied.  This happened to us in the beginning of our journey.  The insurance company wouldn’t cover my husband’s medications.  Because they were for fertility, we ended up basically paying a second mortgage for quite a few months until we could change policies.  Worse yet, are those couples who don’t have fertility coverage at all or have exceeded their maximum coverage.

It’s imperative to do your research and find out what your fertility coverage is as soon as you’re referred to a fertility specialist.  I’d also recommend going here 👉🏻 to see if and what your state mandates.  Connecticut, for example, has a state mandate that allows lifetime coverage for 4 cycles of ovulation induction, 3 Interuterine Insemination (IUI) procedures, and 2 In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) cycles.  Of course, there are caveats such as age and length of time you’ve been enrolled.  For example, at the time, I carried insurance for my husband and I, which was through the Board of Education.  I assumed this meant that it was publicly funded and therefore followed the state mandate.  However, the city’s insurance was in fact private and only one of the three plans offered included the state mandate for fertility coverage.  Naturally, open enrollment wasn’t for another few months, but I guess as luck would have it, time was on my side.  I was able to change coverage wellllllll before our IVF cycle.  I was concerned that while I still had the same insurance company, since I changed plans in less than a year, the state mandate might be null and void.  The HR representative didn’t know the answer for sure, but said she’d look into it.  She then (sitting at a desk with her children’s annual baseball pictures lined up behind her) tilted her head and said, “But really, in the grand scheme, what’s another year?”  Note to all:  NEVER say what’s another year, another month, another week, another day, another second to a woman yearning to bear a child, especially when you have your own brood to go home to and snuggle.  Shame on her.

I digress, but honestly all of those doctor’s office phone calls, battles with the insurance company, dead-end encounters with HR can wear you down.  It’s like having a part-time job on top of all of your real responsibilities.  As if that’s not enough, the emotional stress sets in.  It’s easy to fall into that rut of sadness and to distance yourself from those closest to you, even your significant other.  The burdens of infertility can put a strain on your love life.  There can be a disconnect caused by the “He doesn’t get it” and lack of drive because “What’s the point?~We’re not getting a baby from it”.

When you get to that point, it’s important to step back and re-evaluate the situation.  Yes, you’re overwhelmed and feel like life is being sucked out of you, but you are also going through this for a reason.  The both of you love each other, so much so, that you want to create something amazingly beautiful together.  You must remember, that while his pain may be different, he is still hurting in his own way.  And it’s like pulling a rubber band-the more you pull away and push him away, the sooner it’s bound to break.  Think back to the way you were before you tried to conceive and make that your final destination.

In the end, only the two of you can understand what’s going on in your lives.  Only the two of you, can support one another’s needs.  Only the two of you can make that most special gift, that is uniquely yours…and in the end, the two of you will be stronger as individuals, but more importantly as a couple.

Name or Number


I’ve touched on it but I don’t think I’ve done due diligence in singing the praises of our fertility group. Despite Connecticut being small in size, there are quite a few options for infertility clinics; New England Fertility just happened to be the perfect fit for us.

Coming to that decision was rather easy. After my OB gave me the initial news of our diagnosis, she offered two options that she’d refer us to. One of which is our local hospital clinic and the other being Dr. Gad Lavy of New England Fertility.

While both were statistically as effective, it came down to whether we wanted to be a name or number. Private practice offers that luxury of a more intimate and personalized experience, much like shopping local~and we all know we are big proponents of shopping small in this house 😜💎. I just know for us, especially given my husband’s anxiety at that point, opting for private was a no-brainer. Then after meeting Dr. Lavy and his staff at our initial consultation it was only further substantiated.

Obviously, I can only speak to our experience for opting to go private and have nothing to compare it to. We never felt like cattle being schlepped along this path, but rather always felt like everyone’s main concern at any given time was Mike and Morgan. Whether it was scheduling our next appointment, getting bloodwork taken, or undergoing a procedure, we were always met with a welcoming smile. Dr. Lavy and the two nurses we worked with primarily, Jen and Susan, were professional, but also down-to-earth. We never felt uneasy about asking questions or for any clarification. Afterall, it felt like we were going in a million different directions, so naturally we’d think of things afterwards. I always felt free to pick up the phone to ask the nurses anything. They seemed vested in their jobs, but they also truly seemed vested in our best interest. Getting us our baby was a united goal.

Specifically, when it came to the whole IVF process, Dr. Lavy and the NEF staff were beyond compare.  I know it’s easy to say in hindsight because our first attempt was successful, but truthfully I was never scared of the process itself because I knew I was in good hands.  The nurses were phenomenal during monitoring appointments to explain the follicles and what they were looking for.  I always felt reassured leaving those appointments and loved their emphasis on “quality over quantity” {especially when you hear of so many cycles being cancelled due to Ovarian Hyperstimulation Syndrome (OHSS)}.  They also offered a patient portal in which the results were inputed promptly.  I found it helpful to have that information right at my fingertips rather than having to log it myself for my own records.

At the point of retrieval and transfer, Dr. Lavy was amazing.  He has a great cool-as-a-cucumber persona that puts you at ease, as a patient, and his bedside manner is top-notch. Therefore when Dr. Lavy recommended a day 3 transfer of three embryos, we barely flinched because we had full faith in his judgement.  The embryo transfer was such a special and intimate moment and I felt like Dr. Lavy recognized and respected that experience.  The environment, the aura, everything about that day just seemed magical to me.

There came a point when we were seeing Dr. Lavy and his staff more frequently than our closest family and friends.  There also came a point when we became more than a name to one another and more like family.  Time goes by so fast and we’re all so caught up in the craziness of our day-to-day lives, but just like with real family, there’s an unspoken bond and gratitude that we have for our fertility family.  To everyone at NEF, we are forever indebted to you all and to anyone in need of a fertility specialist, here is their name & number 😏!

50 Shades of Infertility


Sorry Ladies! There is no Christian Grey in this one. Rather this is about the emotional gamete you run when struggling with infertility.  Actually, I’m pretty sure these are things we feel when battling anything really. Like all grief, there are stages in which one feeling is more prominent than another and then there are those times when you have a myriad of emotions all in one instance. Regardless, it’s important to recognize these emotions and to learn how to cope with them.

I’m new to this whole blogging thing and social media genre, but I’d highly recommend following @missconceptioncoach on Instagram. This is not a plug by any means and I have no affiliation.  I really don’t know much about her, other than what I’ve read on her IG.  She seems to offer some great strategies for enduring infertility and I would’ve loved to have had this resource when I was in the midst of our journey.  You can also probably make some great connections among her following.

With that said, it’s also nice to just read that another person has been where you’ve been in some fashion.  There’s a relief in knowing that you’re not the only one who feels that way.  This is your validation that it’s okay to feel any and all of these feelings.

  1. D E N I A L                                                                                                                       It’s a pretty standard first step in any grieving process.  Denial is a real thing; you just don’t want to believe that it’s real.  You’re in denial that this is happening.  Maybe you should get a second opinion.  You’re in denial that it could be true.  For me, the denial was so real in the beginning that, even knowing there was absolutely no sperm, I still symptom spotted.  I still thought maybe by some divine intervention I could still possibly get pregnant naturally.   Confession: From time to time, even now, I still think this.
  2. A C C E P T A N C E                                                                                           There comes a point that you then accept the circumstances.  The sooner you get to that point, the closer you are to your final destination.  Duly noted: easier said than done.
  3. S A D N E S S
  4. A N G S T
  5. S H O C K
  6. S H A M E                                                                                                                   Even though 1 in every 8 couples is infertile, there is still a stigma. Hence the shame.  You’re ashamed that you’re the 1 in 8.  You’re ashamed that your body is failing you.  You’re ashamed that you’re not “female or male enough” to reproduce naturally.  Once you rid yourself of that shame, there’s a whole new world awaiting you.
  7. H O P E L E S S N E S S
  8. P R E S S U R E
  9. M O U R N I N G                                                                                                 You’re mourning a loss.  Many infertile couples endure literal loss, which is a pain I cannot even imagine.  Yet without miscarriage, there is mourning of a different type.  You’re mourning the loss of conceiving the way you’re “supposed to”.   You’re mourning the loss of something you’ve never even had.  You’re mourning the loss of your plans and dreams of how starting a family would be. You’re mourning a childless life.
  10. D O U B T
  11. H O P E
  12. J E A L O U S Y                                                                                                             You’re jealous that your friend is pregnant and you’re not.  You’re jealous that so-and-so just posted on FB that she’s expecting again and you’ve never even seen a positive pregnancy test yet. In fact, you’re even jealous of strangers.  You’re jealous of the lady in front of you at Starbucks rubbing her cute baby bump. You’re jealous of the girl registering at Babies ‘R Us.                                                                                                                                                                                         This was a hard one for me.  I’m not a naturally jealous person.  To be blatantly honest, there is not much for me to be jealous of because I have such a wonderful life.  I have an amazing husband. At the time, I worked in a rewarding field.  I’m blessed with the best family and friends around.  But there were many times that jealousy got the best of me.  I’d say, “I’m not jealous of her.  I just wish it was me.”  Whatever way you twist it, that’s jealousy.
  13. B I T T E R N E SS
  14. G U I L T [because of 12 & 13]                                                                      Then you have this constant feeling of guilt when you feel jealous and bitter.  You feel guilty because you love your best friend and you want to be happy for her.  You feel guilt for being a bad person and for being so selfish.  You feel guilty that your “expecting and mom friends” go radio silent about baby/kid stuff when you walk in the room.
  15. G U I L T  because of your G U I L T                                                             Then you feel guilty for feeling guilty.  It’s not that you’re not happy for them.  You’re just sad for yourself.  Anyone is your position would feel this way, right? After all, we are only human.
  16. S E L F -P I T Y
  17. D E S P A I R
  18. C A U T I O U S  O P T I M I S M
  19. H O R M O N A L and not just when it’s 💉 time.
  20. S T R E S S                                                                                                               You’re stressed if you’re making the right decision.  You’re stressed if you can manage the injections, doctors appointments, failed attempts.  You’re stressed if you can afford it.  You’re stressed at home.  You’re stressed at work.  You’re stressed all. the. time.
  21. H E A R T B R O K E N
  22. G R A T I T U D E                                                                                                           It could always be worse and I had so much to be grateful for. Even though it felt as though my world was shattering sometimes, I just had to look around me to be reminded of all that I am blessed with: my husband, family, friends, health, happiness. The list goes on, but it’s important to step back sometimes to not dwell on the one thing you don’t have, so you can better appreciate all the good you do have at that moment.
  23. A N X I O U S N E S S
  24. C H R O N I C  W A I T I N G                                                                         You’re in a constant state of waiting. Waiting for your next doctor’s appointment.  Waiting to get your blood work results back.  Waiting for insurance to process your paperwork.  Waiting for your next menstrual cycle.  Waiting to start the meds.   Waiting to trigger.  Waiting for bad news.  Waiting for good news. Just waiting.  And it’d all be fine if you knew for sure that after all the waiting, you’d finally get your sweet baby.
  25. P O S I T I V I T Y
  26. E X H A U S T I O N                                                                                                   All that waiting is exhausting.  You’re not just physically exhausted.  You’re mentally, emotionally, financially exhausted.
  27. L O N E L I N E S S                                                                                                 Even someone, like me, who has the biggest support system known to man can feel lonely.  It’s not that you don’t feel the love and comfort.  You do and for that you are beyond appreciative, but let’s face it-nobody knows exactly what you’re going through~not even your spouse 100%.  And that can be a lonely place.
  28. F R U S T U R A T I O N
  29. E A G E R N E S S
  30. I M P A T I E N C E
  31. A N G E R                                                                                                               You’re angry.  Not always, but sometimes.  You’re angry with yourself.  Angry at your spouse.  Angry at your doctors.  Angry at God.  Angry at the insurance company.  Angry at the complete stranger next to you complaining about being up all night with her teething infant.
  32. P A I N                                                                                                                         Both literally and figuratively.
  33. E X C I T E M E N T                                                                                             You’re excited for the next step.  You’re excited to start a new protocol.  You’re excited to meet a new doctor.  You’re excited that they retrieved some quality eggs.
  34. D I S A P P O I N T M E N T                                                                           You’re disappointed that the results weren’t different and the new medication didn’t work.  You’re disappointed that only half of the eggs were quality enough to fertilize.  You’re disappointed that it’s a day 3 transfer, not day 5 like you thought.  You’re disappointed that it didn’t work this time, but…
  35. H O P E F U L                                                                                                             that you’ll be a mom someday.
  36. D E T E R M I N A T I O N
  37. C O N S U M E D                                                                                                         All day & everyday by #ttc #ivf #baby #babynursery #babynames #pregnancy #fertility #maternitydresses #babyshowerthemes #whythef*#%amidoingthistomyself
  38. O V E R W H E L M E D
  39. D I S G U S T                                                                                                                      I vividly remember being completely and utterly disgusted when a colleague decided to announce to an entire group before a meeting how disappointed and upset she was that she was having a boy instead of a girl.  It literally made me sick to my stomach.
  40. T O L E R A N C E                                                                                                     But I had to remind myself that not everyone sees through my perspective, nor do I see through theirs.  Had pregnancy come easy for me, maybe I would’ve had the same feeling.  Probably not-but we must be tolerant of one another for nobody knows until they’re in your shoes.
  41. S T R E N G T H                                                                                                       They say what doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.  This has made you a stronger person.  Not only do you need to be strong to physically endure this, but you must also have mental strength. You probably don’t even recognize the strength in yourself, but you see it in your significant other and in your relationship.  Your bond is stronger than ever because together you’re unstoppable.
  42. C O M P A S S I O N                                                                                   Everyone has a story.  There are so many couples who have fought a harder and longer fight than we did.  You may not always be able to empathize but you can sympathize.  Through your own struggle, you’ve learned that everyone has a battle they’re fighting (divorce, addiction, Cancer). You’re compassionate enough to realize that today just might be one of their bad days.
  43. P E R S E V E R A N C E
  44. D E P R E S S I O N                                                                                         Looking back I’d have to say that there was an exact time I could pinpoint when I probably could’ve been considered depressed.  It was September.  It had been almost a year since our diagnosis and months of medicine for my husband with no change.  I was up to my knees in insurance appeals and starting another school year. My biggest fear was going back to work and seeing how many coworkers had gotten pregnant over the summer.  I was at my breaking point and I couldn’t control the tears.                                                                                                                                                                              Luckily, my best friend was attuned to me.  I never had to say anything at all.  She just knew.  She knew I needed extra phone calls and extra check-ins.  She knew I needed something outside of infertility to focus on, so we planned a vacay.  It helped get me out of my funk…a little.  Thank you & love you 😘!
  45. S T U C K.                                                                                                                       Up until that point infertility had me pretty stuck.  I didn’t want to book a flight for my friend’s bachelorette because I was going to be pregnant.  I couldn’t plan a weekend getaway because I didn’t know when my next doctor’s appointment would be.  I didn’t know what size bridesmaid dress to order in case I was expecting. I was living life in the what-ifs and it had me stuck for a long time. Funny part is that by the time I said screw it and just booked that vacation I ended up being eight weeks pregnant on the trip and sick as a dog!
  46. I N S A N I T Y
  47. S L E E P L E S S N E S S                                                                                   You’re tossing and turning back and forth unable to fall asleep because of  numbers 2, 8, 10, 16, 24, 33, 41 -hell all of them.  And you’re crying because you don’t know how much longer you can handle this and keep it together.
  48. I N S T A B I L I T Y                                                                                                   You know-the kind when you’re at a wedding on the dance floor belting out “I wish that I had Jessie’s girl” and someone leans in and says “Are you guys trying?” And you lose your sh*t, running to the ladies room while uncontrollably crying?  It’s those kind of high highs and low lows that this roller coaster that is infertility can ensue.
  49. F A K E N E S S                                                                                                                  I don’t mean this in a bad way, but like any difficult situation you have to fake it ’til you make it.  I can’t tell you since launching this how many people have said to me “I had no idea” or “I knew you had trouble, but I didn’t know it was that bad.”  It’s not that I was being secretive, but I didn’t want to be that dark cloud or elephant in the room during happy times.  It wasn’t easy to always put on a smile.  In fact, that was probably one of the hardest parts of it all, but  then I remembered #22.
  50. P R I D E                                                                                                                         You might not be there yet, but you should feel a huge sense of pride.  You should be proud of yourself and your SO.  You should be proud of how you’re juggling all of this and how you’re handling everything thrown at you.  You should feel proud because not everyone can do what you’re doing.  One day, somehow and someway, a little someone is going to be very proud to call you their mommy.

P.S. I’d love to hear your thoughts & any other shades I should add to the list!  Just comment below!

My IVF Tips



Before I even get started here let me give my big, huge DISCLAIMER: I have no medical background in infertility and by no means am I any kind of In Vitro Fertilization (IVF) Guru. I am quite simply a girl who went through IVF, researched a little, and decided to take a few steps, which may or may not have made my first IVF cycle a success! Many of the tips here have no or limited scientific correlation to a pregnancy subsequent to IVF.  My train of thought, though, was if it wasn’t harmful and had led to a pregnancy for some, than why not give it a shot 💉🎯.

  1. No MSG (Monosodium Glutamate) 

The only restriction I was given from my infertility Doctor was to avoid MSG.  I figured that just meant no Chinese food, which was no biggie for me, but for my husband, would be comparable to going to the electric chair.  Seriously, though, MSG is in a lot more than you’d think.  So once I began the meds, I read every label and made every waitress swear on the Bible that there was no MSG in whatever I was consuming.  Literally, I’d look at a Tic-Tac label just to make sure.  MSG wasn’t going to mess with me.

2.  AAA (Abstaining from Aspertame & Alcohol)

Now this was a little trickier for me than the whole MSG thing and was not something I was told to do.  But AAA is my own little acronym for what I decided to do the month of my cycle and obviously the next 9 months plus!

We all know that Aspertame is not healthy for us, but like anything we shouldn’t have its so damn good.  Not having Splenda in my coffee actually made me give up my cup of joe during my cycle, pregnancy, and the majority of my year nursing.  Let’s just say I’m making up for it now.  Basically, I live off coffee and goldfish these days.

And if you think that was hard, imagine the alcohol part.  I’m not a huge drinker per say.  As one of my BFF’s mom once put it, more of a social drinker and “I’m very social!” 😝  To be quite frank, champagne and I became very well acquainted, especially during my infertility struggles.  Another pregnancy announcement…pop a bottle!  Baby shower…drink the champagne punch bowl dry!  My mantra was is kind of like “Save water, drink champagne. ” 🙌🏼🙌🏼🙌🏼  

I just felt like cleaning out my system and not having the alcohol mix with the meds was the best choice for me.  To be honest the alcohol part was easier than the coffee.

3.  Leave the Avocado, Take the Prosecco                                                                            

I decided to do a little research when it came to the point of moving forward with IVF.  Afterall I was about to inject myself with hormones and wanted to know what impact it was going to have on my body.  I must confess, I use the word research in the loosest sense.  By research, I mean mostly googling.  And good ‘ole Pinterest was flooded with this study (Link 👉🏻  That’s all I needed to read to gather my Big Y coins and shell them out on that bag of avocados.  By the way do you like my play on the Godfather’s “Leave the gun, take the cannoli”?! Nothing like a little mafia humor to keep you going.  Speaking of humor…

4.  Laughter Post-Transfer

I also researched a study that indicated that laughing immediately after transfer increased success rates.  The theory as discussed here 👉🏻 is basically that the more relaxed a woman is at the point of transfer, the more likely the embryos will implant.

Maybe the age-old saying, “Laughter is the best medicine” is true afterall.  Regardless, I told my husband to gear up and put together a little comedy skit once our little embies were transferred.  Turns out, joke was on me.  All he had to do was tell the nurse I had him inject me with the progesterone, without changing the needle, and we were all on the floor laughing at her reaction.

5.  Acupuncture

I think acupuncture is one of those things you love or hate.  I, admittedly, was skeptical in the beginning, especially because it wasn’t like I was going to treat an ailment or quit smoking.  What I mean by that was, in the midst, I couldn’t tell if it was working or not.  When people ask me my thoughts on acupuncture, my response is always it may or may not have helped, but at least it was about an hour of relaxation each appointment.  That probably helped in and of itself.

If you’re in my neck of the woods, I’d highly recommend Craig at Kos Chiropractic in North Branford, Connectiut.  The chiropractor, Jackie, was also fabulous and uber intuitive which had me intrigued to say the least.  She’d recommend a certain colored panty to bring out my chakras and was very knowledgable about infertility and the IVF process.  They both seemed experienced and were beyond supportive.  At one point, Jackie told me to remember the number 4.  I nearly almost fell out of the car door when I received our embryology report that said 4 out of the 6 mature eggs fertilized.  How’s that for being on point?

6.  Pineapple Core 

This is a pretty common tip.  Having the core of a pineapple supposedly can enhance implantation because of a particular enzyme found specifically in the core.  For me, we cut the pineapple into fifths horizontally and I ate the pineapple and core starting on the day of transfer and four subsequent days.  I love pineapple (especially with Citron vodka 🙊) so it was fine for me.  A pineapple is a traditional symbol of “welcome” so just think of it as a way to welcome the embryos into your uterus. 🍍

7.  R & R

I’m not one to slow down, but when it came to this, I knew I needed rest and relaxation.  My egg retrieval was on a Thursday, so I decided to take Friday off.  We ended up doing a day 3 transfer on Sunday.  While I intended on taking that Monday and Tuesday off, I felt a cold coming on.  I decided to take an extra day that Wednesday.    I spent most of those days on the couch and took full advantage of being waited on.  Even when I went back to work, I tried to not go a million miles per hour like I usually did.  I worked with kids with special needs, many of whom had behavioral problems.  Therefore I was extra cautious as if I were pregnant.  Well I guess I was PUPO (Pregnant Until Proven Otherwise) and luckily the otherwise never happened and I was just…pregnant!

8.  Stay Positive

I know it’s cliche and easy for someone whom IVF worked for the first time, but there’s a power in positivity.  I stayed positive because it was all I could do.  Eleven eggs were retrieved and of those, six were mature enough to fertilize.  As I mentioned before, four of the six fertilized.  At Day 3, there were still four embryos but only three were quality enough to transfer. We transferred all 3, so literally we were at the end of the road with nothing left to freeze.  At that point it was in God’s hands.

In our case, staying positive meant two things:  no googling and no testing before Beta.  Not being able to google meant less symptom spotting, less negative thoughts.  Avoiding taking a pregnancy test before Beta also was key for us.  I wasn’t testing too early and defeated not seeing the second line.

We remained as we had throughout our whole journey, cautiously optimistic.

9.  Pray

This probably should have gone a little higher on the list, but I’ll admit throughout my journey there were many times I was mad at God.  What did I do to You to deserve this?  In the end,  though, all we have is faith.  As I sat there waiting for my husband while he was in surgery, all I had left to do was pray. After our transfer, all there was left to do was pray and, just like positivity, there’s a power in prayer.

Whatever higher power you believe in will give you strength and help you endure the process.  If you’re ever in doubt that there is a God (or whomever you pray to), you’re faith will certainly be restored when you finally welcome your little bundle.  Because pregnancy and new life are nothing short of miracles from above.

I thank God everyday for our baby and this blessed life.  One day when Mikie asks and I have to explain the “special” way he was born, I will be certain to emphasize that God was key in bringing him to us .  Afterall, Michael is “he who is like the Lord”.

10.  Seek Support

There is nothing more reassuring when going through IVF than having someone who has been there.  Whether it be a friend or complete stranger, find that one person who can share their story and guide you along the way.

If you’re approaching or currently undergoing an IVF cycle and have any questions or concerns, please feel free to reach out.  Even if you just need a positive word, contact me.  I’m available via email at or on Instagram and Facebook you can private messgage me @onprayersandneedles.

Positive Vibes & Baby Dust ✌🏼️👶🏼✨






Support Blog for all things Infertility Related