Tag Archives: IVF

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.


Lefty or Righty


Pic via seltzergoods.com

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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.

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 ūüĎČūüŹĽ¬†http://www.wha-newhaven.com/home.php¬†(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. ūüíě ¬†http://onprayersandneedles.org/2016/03/the-birth-story-of-miracle-mikie/

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 ūüĎČūüŹĽ¬†http://medicine.yale.edu/urology/

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/fianc√©. ¬†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 ūüĎČūüŹĽ¬† ¬†http://medicine.yale.edu/urology/doctors/stanton_honig.profile¬†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 ūüĎČūüŹĽūüĎČūüŹĽūüĎČūüŹĽ¬†http://www.nefertility.com/¬†¬†

My previous post titled¬†Name or Number¬†http://onprayersandneedles.org/2016/04/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 ūüĎČūüŹĽ¬†https://www.facebook.com/pages/Kos-Chiropractic/183543721708117?fref=ts

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¬†http://onprayersandneedles.org/2016/04/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 ¬†ūüĎČūüŹĽūüĎČūüŹĽūüĎČūüŹĽ ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬† ¬†¬†http://ravenswingyoga.com/¬†

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 ūüĎČūüŹĽ¬†East Haven, CT¬†http://www.childbirtheducationgnh.org/

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 @ onprayersandneedles@gmail.com

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

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.


Make or Break Your Bank & Love Tank


Photo Credit ūüď∑ @http://mmaler.com

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 ūüĎČūüŹĽ¬†http://www.resolve.org/family-building-options/insurance_coverage/state-coverage.html#Connecticut¬†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.