Just in time for Valentine’s Day, I will enjoy speaking tonight with the St. Paul Mothers of Multiples Club on reconnecting with your spouse. I look forward to frank and funny discussion on heating up loving relationships after the birth of multiples. Thanks for the invite, Good Women All!
I just had to share this fabulous article, 20 Things I Couldn’t Say to My Fertility Doctor When I Was Her Patient by Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg (Huffington Post, February 3, 2014). Kathryn writes for the Huffington Post and the New York Times. I’ve already thanked Kathryn on Twitter and told her that her article has complete awesomeness! This article will be helpful to any of you are going through inseminations, IVF, donor eggs, donor sperm, or surrogacy, and to anyone who has done so in the past. Please share this around! It will help so many people Thanks!
20 Things I Couldn’t Say to My Fertility Doctor When I Was Her Patient
by Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg (Huffington Post, February 3, 2014)
Dear Fertility Doctor,
Here are some things I wish you knew, that I couldn’t say when we met three years ago:
1. I do not actually want to be here, which is weird, because I just put $15,000 on my credit card to do so.
2. Any calm and charm I exude is a façade. My super-crazy side is reserved for my husband and anonymous infertility friends online. Anything casual you say about my chances of conception will be parsed for hours and days.
3. I respect you, but I also see an acupuncturist, a hypnotist and a psychic.
4. Though my FSH levels are “data” to you, that high number feels to me like it’s a low SAT score, like I’m branded and doomed. No matter how much you explain it, I don’t understand why you can’t be happy if it goes down.
5. I look at the Internet. A LOT.
6. Infertility hurts so far beyond the baby. It’s about my marriage, my friendships and my ability to picture a future. It’s about my body, and whether everything I’ve been told about personal power is true.
7. My period feels like a miscarriage every month.
8. I want to feel important to you, even as I know you are successful no matter what happens in my case.
9. It’s really weird that we have to do a rectal exam ten minutes after meeting, though I understand the social contract demands we both act cool about it. I never thought that district of my anatomy would be part of getting pregnant.
10. Part of me thinks I can solve this with wheatgrass.
11. I know you want me to grasp statistical reality, but I wouldn’t be here if I didn’t think I could beat the odds.
12. Probably you were that straight-A pre-med student while I leisurely pursued my English major. I’m intimidated by you, even though I used to pity you for having to toil in organic chemistry when literature seemed much more relevant.
13. I try to act cool about the ultrasound wand, but I’m pretty sure I have PTSD.
14. I don’t understand why I have to wait for you without my underwear. I feel everything is skewed that I have to be half-naked while you get a crisp lab coat. OK, I understand, but I hate it.
15. The waiting room is a quiet, tense, darty-eyed purgatory where every minute feels like an hour.
16. It’s not the shots that are hard. I would inject myself in the eyeball to get news two weeks earlier.
17. I appreciate when you quote that study saying infertility is as stressful as cancer. I’ve never had cancer, but I do sometimes feel like I’m dying.
18. Bless you for not telling me to “relax.”
19. Despite all these things I just said, I entrust you with my hopes, dreams, ovaries, husband’s sperm and maybe even our embryos. Please don’t mess with any of these things.
20. Thank you, forever, for helping us along, and finally off, this dark, rocky path.
Follow Kathryn Kefauver Goldberg on Twitter: www.twitter.com/kathrynkefauver
(I’d love to have you follow me on Twitter @DebSimmonsPhD)
Are you struggling with infertility? Please call me at 763-546-5797, x. 105. I can help!
I hope that 2014 will be a year of growth and change for you. Toward that toward goal, I offer you a loving challenge:
If this was going to be the last year of your life, what would you do differently?
Growth and change can be a challenge for many. Many of you may fear change, all the while wishing desperately that something (or someone) would change. Here’s a secret:
You are the most powerful agent of change in your life. Stop waiting for the other person to change.
Change is happening all the time in your mind and body. With every inhale and every exhale, you experience change, whether you are aware of it or not. The different thoughts that float through your mind are a constant demonstration of change as well.
So how do we challenge ourselves to change? Through action, that’s how. We witnessed a terrific example in 2013. Through his actions, Pope Francis reawakened the possibility that people can be kind and helpful to one another, rather than shaming and judging others. Big “Like”, Il Papa, from Catholics and non-Catholics alike.
By settling or holding back and not exploring every possibility in your life, you incur an opportunity cost. An opportunity cost is what you give up when you decide not to take an action that might bring you to a desired outcome. An opportunity cost is expressed in relative price, that is, the price of one choice relative to the price of another.
Here is an example. If you are near or older than 40 and you have been receiving fertility treatment at your OB/GYN office—because it’s cheaper, because it’s covered by insurance, because you’re not quite ready to move to IVF or donor eggs, or because you are in denial about the ticking time bomb that is your biological clock—what are your opportunity costs? You are losing time and possibly your chance to have a genetic or biological child. Explore every opportunity and run to a fertility clinic, even if it costs you money. So many people in my office have cried tears of resentment and sorrow because they have waited too long to maximize their opportunity to conceive.
Here is another example. Let’s say that your relationship is fair to middling. It’s not great but it’s not awful. Just there. Perhaps you are too afraid to even think about what change might look like. By complaining but not doing anything about it, what is your opportunity cost? By refusing couples therapy to improve your relationship or discernment counseling to end it in a way that is not destructive to either party. Dreaming big dreams about change is great. Action is what gets you there.
And here’s another example. One party is desperate to raise a child and is ready to attempt pregnancy naturally or to go to a fertility clinic. The other is ambivalent and just puts off discussion. The opportunity cost to the party who is waiting (and waiting and waiting) for discussion is time and helplessness. Again, the biological clock really does have a shelf life. The ambivalent party, by not willing to engage in discussion, has made a decision for both of them. The opportunity is to engage me or another good therapist and quickly. The one who is willing to go to the therapist is the one who is willing to grow.
Okay, hang in there with me for one more example. How willing are you to change your thoughts and habits about food? Let me say that I am not a believer in diets. We are talking about your life over the long term. If you are considering bariatric (i.e., weight loss) surgery, how are you willing to change how you eat NOW? If you are not willing to change your thinking and habits NOW, the bariatric surgery will be a waste of time. I have written previously about eating for fertility. How you eat–and I mean this for women and men–can make a big difference in your ability to conceive and stay pregnant. Take a look at Celiac Disease, Gluten Sensitivity, and Your Fertility and I Can’t Get Pregnant! for more information on how to enhance your fertility and stay pregnant.
So consider the following questions in the weeks ahead and share them with others:
• How will you grow in 2014?
• How can you make your life different and better?
• What changes need to be made?
• How will you address your fears?
• What are you settling for?
• What are you waiting for?
• How can you make your relationship more of a treasure?
• When will you go to the adoption seminar?
• When will you make an appointment at the fertility clinic?
• How will you change the way you eat?
• How will you find different or better work?
For some of you, the message might be a “Do Something New”. For others of you, the message might be “Slow Down and Move with Intention.” (You can read my earlier blog post, Moving With Intention, here.) Either way, I challenge you, lovingly, to grow and change.
Take the bull by the horns. If you’re nervous about getting too close to the bull, examine your internal bull**** instead. You know what I’m talking about, friends. It is the stories you tell yourself that keep you stuck. Edit or write new stories. Move it and move on!
Be curious. We learn best when we are curious about something or when a situation is new.
Lose your fear of social media. You can go where no man has gone boldly before. Also go where people are already. Connect and reconnect more with others in the year ahead.
In 2014, I send my every good wish for those of you who are building your family through fertility treatment, adoption, or the old-fashioned way.
I wish you a better relationship, with yourself and others.
Treasure your relationships. You and your loved ones matter.
And most of all, I wish you courage, happiness, good health, and prosperity in 2014. Happy New Year!
I am seeing more and more Intended Parents who are using frozen donor eggs. I’ll be writing a blog post soon about the pros and cons of using frozen donor eggs.
In the meantime, here’s a good story about successes with frozen donor eggs through Boston IVF and Donor Egg Bank USA. It’s called A Family for the Holidays: Woman Becomes Mother Through Frozen Donor Egg.
A Family for the Holidays: Woman Becomes Mother Through Frozen Donor Egg
Holly Dickey Enjoys First Holiday Season With Her Daughter After a Long Journey Through Infertility and Successful Pregnancy With Donor Egg Bank USA and Boston IVF
BOSTON, Dec. 23, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — Holly Dickey knew she wanted to be a mother at age 26. At age 40 she decided to become a single mother, but no fertility treatments resulted in pregnancy. After meeting the love of her life, they decided to build a family together. Holly experienced four pregnancies, three times by in vitro fertilization and once naturally, but all ended in miscarriage.
After learning about frozen donor egg, Holly gave fertility treatment one last try. Working with Dr. Brian Berger at Boston IVF, Holly combined frozen donor eggs from Donor Egg Bank USA with her partner’s sperm, and transferred two embryos to her uterus. Nine months later she had the baby of her dreams at age 47. Ashley, now seven months old, brings Holly joy each and every day.
“Everything about her is so wonderful,” explains Holly. “She is the light of my life. She makes every minute worth living.”
Heidi Hayes, CEO of Donor Egg Bank USA, had a similar journey to motherhood. Over the course of four years, she completed a combination of nine IVF and frozen embryo transfer (FET) cycles. After Heidi and her husband tried donor egg, she became pregnant on the first try with twins.
Donor Egg Bank USA is a national frozen donor egg bank who has partnered with Boston IVF. Donor Egg Bank USA is currently partnered with more than 150 of the leading fertility specialists in the country.
“I was confident that Holly would achieve her dream of parenthood using frozen donor eggs,” explains reproductive endocrinologist Dr. Brian Berger with Boston IVF. “By using frozen donor eggs, Holly was able to pursue treatment at a lower cost and start her treatment cycle more quickly.”
While a traditional (fresh) donor egg IVF cycle can cost $25,000-$45,000, a frozen donor egg IVF Single Cycle is half the cost.
Patients can obtain frozen donor eggs and complete an IVF cycle in as little as one to three months from the time the egg donor is selected. The traditional fresh donation process can take three to six months. In the past, working with a (fresh) egg donor was the only option for patients unable to produce their own viable eggs.
Patients have access to a national donor database of young women with a range of characteristics such as physical traits, ethnicity, education level and more.
Patients using frozen eggs from Donor Egg Bank USA are offered two options, a Single Cycle and a refund guarantee through the 100% Assured Refund Plan if the delivery of a baby is not achieved.
Boston IVF is a leading center for cutting-edge reproductive technologies and exceptional patient care. With more than 30,000 babies born since 1986 and 12 locations throughout New England, Boston IVF is considered one of America’s most experienced fertility centers. Boston IVF is committed to caring for each patient as an individual, offering the highest quality of personalized care. Boston IVF is a national leader in research. All Boston IVF physicians are on staff at Harvard Medical School. For more information, see www.BostonIVF.com or call 888-300-2483.
Donor Egg Bank USA is a frozen donor egg program developed through the collaboration of more than 150 of the country’s top reproductive specialists and available at more than 60 locations throughout the United States and Canada. Donor Egg Bank USA offers immediate access to a broad donor egg pool and uses advanced freezing technology to produce success rates similar to traditional (fresh) donor egg programs. Using frozen eggs from Donor Egg Bank USA requires less time than a fresh donor egg cycle (1-3 months versus 3-6 months in a traditional cycle), and is more affordable. Donor Egg Bank USA offers the financial security of a 100% Assured Refund Plan™ if a couple does not deliver a baby. Donor Egg Bank USA offers frozen egg fertility options to couples nationally and across the globe. For more information: www.donoreggbankusa.com, 855-344-2265.
I found a great article by Julie Ryan Evans on a site called The Stir. It’s called 8 Things Not to Say to a Woman Who Has Suffered a Miscarriage. This is a powerful reminder all year but particularly at Christmas time. Women AND men suffer at holiday time when they are struggling with miscarriage, infertility, or pregnancy loss. Here’s a reminder: 1) You don’t have to fix it; and 2) Empathy and kindness go a long way.
8 Things Not to Say to a Woman Who Has Suffered a Miscarriage
by Julie Ryan Evans (August 22, 2013)
It’s been more than 12 years since I had my first miscarriage. There was another one after that. I’ll never forget going into the doctor’s office with all the hope and excitement in the world, only to have the doctor’s wand circle my stomach looking for a heartbeat and finding none.
It’s still something that makes me ache sometimes. I think of the life that began growing inside my body that never made it into my arms. The pain has dulled over the years as I’ve had two healthy children since, but it has hit me hard at various times since they happened, especially when people say the wrong things. Most people mean well, but sometimes their words sting. Here are eight things no one should say to a woman who has had a miscarriage.
1. “It wasn’t meant to be.”
Then why did I get pregnant in the first place? Why was it meant to be that I endure this pain?
2. “At least it happened really early.”
I don’t care how far along you are in a pregnancy; once you get the positive test result, you start planning, dreaming, and loving that little being growing inside you.
3. “Did you eat lunch meat/smoke/drink/go horseback riding/exercise too much?”
Please. My doctor and I will try and figure out what happened, but in most cases, nothing a woman did causes a miscarriage.
4. “Once you get pregnant again, you’ll feel better.”
Maybe, but it doesn’t mean the loss of this pregnancy won’t be something I mourn.
5. “Next time you should try …”
Anything that implies there was something I could have done or not done to make this happen just induces feelings of guilt.
6. “It was probably for the best.”
Yes, some miscarriages are due to chromosomal abnormalities, but pointing that out isn’t helpful. There’s no “best” in this situation.
7. “At least you know you can get pregnant.”
Yes, but I also know that my body can lose a pregnancy. It’s not that easy to just move onto the next one.
Avoiding the subject or not acknowledging that a miscarriage happened can be as painful as hurtful words. A simple, “I’m sorry, let me know if you would like to talk” goes a long way.
Have you had a miscarriage? If so, what hurtful things have people said to you?