Monday, November 24, 2014

Seeing Yourself Beyond Titles

Recently, I've been included in some groups and at events with what I call the "Moms club." It's groups of women who seemingly all had children except for me. While I greatly appreciate all of the women and the groups and events, I can't help but feel out of place for missing the mom title.

Yet, if we think about it what does a mom really mean? To me, a mom is a caring and kind nurturer, taking care of someone who needs her. Having kids is just a perk to it. I think that many of us in the infertility community who strive for that title need to look closely at our own definition to a mom.

If yours is similar to mine, then chances are you act like a "mom" to some one or something. I know I'm a proud puppy mom and some days it feels like I'm the mom to my husband.

It's how we see ourselves that matter most. I got so caught up in the title that I forgot the "mom" qualities that I proudly carry. Don't let a title define you--be bold enough to see yourself as you really are and beyond the title.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Fertility Testing: Three Things They Don't Tell You

When you struggle to conceive, it can be a scary and frustrating experience. Fertility testing is a tough choice to make in itself: by going forward with testing, you're recognizing there's a problem.

While many, including myself, move forward in order to find answers here are 3 things they won't tell you.

1. Results not guaranteed
Infertility is a diagnosis when a couple has been unsuccessful at achieving pregnancy after one year. Doctors recommend testing at that point. Tests for female infertility and a semen analysis should start immediately, but infertility is a relatively new field when it comes to finding causes. Test after test may come back normal and the only diagnosis might be unexplained infertility. (Kind of a joke, I know.)

2. Not all tests are created equal
I wish we had known where to start and more about each tests. We started by going to my local OBGYN to get us started. Tests for this can be intimidating because you want to trust your doctor 100% and often times don't know where to start or where to go.
A standard fertility evaluation includes physical exams and medical and sexual histories of both partners. Men undergo a semen analysis that evaluates sperm count and sperm movement. While this is a great place to start, this type of testing neglects to look at sperm morphology, the shape and appearance. Sperm can have abnormal heads, tails, or IGC's (immature germ cells). This type of testing is more expensive and often done once you're referred to a reproductive endocrinologist. 

This is just ONE example of how not all tests are created equally for all couples. Before we did all of the tests our reproductive endocrinologist recommended (vaginal & cervical viral and bacterial cultures, semen analysis and semen cultures, sperm penetration and functions, female gonadotropin and hormone studies, hysterosalpinogram, LH midcycle surge, midcycle estradoil and ultrasounds, luteal phase progesterone level, endrometrial biopsy, sonohysterogram--WOW, that's a lot when you type it), we had ALL normal levels. It takes a lot, and a variety of tests.

3. The guilt & blame
This is something I didn't fully anticipate: the guilt and the blame. I went into testing prepared for everything to be on me. I could handle it being on me, but I couldn't handle not knowing. When the results come back, the person or persons who has the fertility issue feel blame. Even when nothing is said, you put blame on yourself. You feel guilt for everything--for drinking in your early 20's for having those 5 cigarettes on your 18th birthday, for everything you've ever done. No matter how supportive (and I'm lucky my hubs is SO supportive) your significant other is, you still feel it. I feel it with every belly bump I see. Trying to get beyond this point it a tough one that takes time. Would I go back and not do the testing? I don't know. I don't know if the frustration would be better or worse than the guilt and blame.

These are my experiences and every couple experiencing infertility (1 in 6) have such unique situations and circumstances that we all have our own unique experiences.

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Put on lipgloss and pretend you're psyched

No matter where you are in your journey of life, fertile or infertile, sometimes you have to put on lipgloss and pretend to be psyched. We all have those moments or events that trigger us. The moments that would normally trigger an eye roll need to be replaced with lipgloss and a sense of being psyched.

The days when my facebook feed is overrun with pregnancy announcements and people having their 6th kid trigger me. Unsolicited pregnancy advice is on that same chart too. Instead of going home and throwing myself a Ben and Jerry's pitty party, I'm going to take the lipgloss approach like Mindy Kaling. My lipgloss is going to be extra poppin' and I'm going to forget my own battle and focus on their happiness and excitement.

No matter how the words feel or how much of a fraud I feel like, I'm going to simply thank people for advice and congratulate them on kid number 12 with every word rolling off my sweet shimmery lipgloss.

Life is short. Apply lipgloss and glitter accordingly.

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance day + Infertility

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance day was yesterday. 
Photo from
I had an ectopic pregnancy, yet I don't morn the loss. Ectopic pregnancies are a complication when embryos implants
outside the uterus. They are dangerous for the mother, since internal haemorrhage is a life-threatening complication.

I remember the day. My niece was born that very day. I didn't know/think I was pregnant. I thought with all of the pain and blood that I had bad kidney stones. Nope. Not the case. The case was very different and the path back to normalcy included no family support and acting like everything was normal. Mourning wasn't an option.

As we mark upon 3.5 years of infertility, on that day I continually look for what could have been. While watching the craziness of my niece, I wonder what would have been. Her birthday is a yearly reminder of that ever-so lonely day.

If that pregnancy was normal, my life would be very different in ways that I can't even imagine. On that day, I would have never imagined that infertility would become my disease.

Pregnancy loss as well as infertility remain dark items behind closed doors. The topic is sensitive by nature, yet so is life itself. Sometimes there are no words, no mourning, no feelings. Sometimes a look says it all.

Today, a day after pregnancy and infant loss remembrance day, I remember the dream of a child and of what could be. Today, a day late, I still remember and think of all of us in the same boat.

Somethings in life you never forget. For those of you who've had this loss, I will forever keep you in my heart reminding me that I'm not alone.

Friday, October 3, 2014

Thankful for the struggle

Some days are harder than others to get by.
Some days I completely block and forget about my infertility.
Some days it hits me like a brick wall.
Some days it sits there lingering in the shadows.

I dreamed of having an amazing, highly regarded career that I loved. Being a fabulous editor of a fabulous magazine or writing fun taglines for commercials and products.

As I great older, my dream job changed. I wanted to be a mom.
I wanted to have someone who loved me unconditionally, aside from my husband and dog.
I wanted to be able to mold and shape someone into a good person. I wanted to be at soccer games and be the fun mom with the treats.

I find myself in a crisis. The two dreams of careers are not within reach; there is not light at the end of the tunnel. The tunnel feels long, dark, cold, and lonely. People react to you with well meaning and intended advice that feel like jabs in disguise. Some just aren't there all together.

You find out who's really there for you.
The people who will cry watching What to Expect When your Expecting with you.
The ones who treat you like you're normal and will love you no matter what you decide.
It's finding yourself that's the hardest part of infertility.
The old, carefree version of myself was lost in tears and heartache for years.
The tears and heartache were public to few, but very evident to Ben & Jerry who spent countless nights consoling me with their various flavors of pints.
I became someone my husband didn't know. 
I was never a sad soul, yet I let this ONE thing turn me that wa.

I've come to terms with my infertility.
I'm starting to find me again. 
The me who is free spirited.
The me who is perfectly content just being a wife, a puppy mom, and an aunt.

While the search for the two dream careers may have faded a bit, rediscovering myself has made all the difference.

Without the struggle, I wouldn't have found my strength.