Even after all these years...........

It has been 14 (!!) years since I did IVF
and 10 years since my hysterectomy.

Quite frequently, even after all this time,
my husband will say, "If we would have
had a child........" and then go on to say
something about how we would have
raised him/her.

It is very annoying to me that I have
to be reminded over and over that we
did not have a child together.  When I
tell him it hurts me when he says that, he
apologizes and says he doesn't mean to
bring it up.

I guess I am just overly sensitive and feel
like I am still being blamed because we
didn't have a child, even after all I (we)
went through to make it happen.

Sometimes I think to myself,
"Doesn't this infertility issue EVER
go away??"

I guess not.

Once infertile, always infertile.
You would think that both he and
I would be over it by now. 

I have no words of wisdom on
how to"forget" the world of
infertility and the pain
and anguish it causes
couples.  Just shove
it down somewhere in your
brain and hope it doesn't
surface too often. 

They say that time lessens
the pain.  I am not so sure
about that. 

Ultrasounds and Sara

Anyone who has ever had
infertility treatments knows
the importance of ultrasounds.

These aren't the "usual"
ultrasounds with the gel and
full bladder.

Oh no...these have to be
just a little more uncomfortable
and embarassing.

These ultrasounds are done
with a vaginal probe.

Now, don't get me wrong.
As an IVF nurse, I know
how important they are.

Ultrasounds show many things:

antral follicle counts - which help to predict ovarian reserve
size of follicles - to determine when to go to retrieval or have an insemination
C-section scarring
empty gestational sac - HATE that ultrasound
ectopic pregnancy - HATE that one too!

And the best one....
growing little embryos :)   LOVE that ultrasound!

Sara is an excellent ultrasound technician.
She is one of the most compassionate people I know.
You will want her there whether it is good or bad because
she will give you the most hope and the most comfort.

Our clinic is great in that it allows the ultrasonographer
the liberty of telling the patient what is going on - good or bad - without
having to wait those few minutes for the physician.

I have seen Sara many times help couples cope through a bad
ultrasound.  She doesn't run out of the room to get the doctor.
She stays, she explains and she sends someone else to get the
doctor!  

Thank you Sara! 



Dr. "D"

Dr. "D" is a kind
and gentle doctor.
In fact, he always
says that "gentle" is his
middle name.
And he is right.

He looks like
Harry Potter, and
he loves to read.


I think that Dr. "D"
has been just about
everywhere and has
done everything!
If you've been
somewhere, he has
been there too or
he has a story about the
place.

He is a walking hormone
encyclopedia. And he
can quote just about every
study that's been published.

He served our country in
Vietnam. A flight surgeon.
I think the memories of that war
have scarred him.  He hates to fly
after all those years in a helicopter
and will drive whenever possible. 

Dr. D is the best when it comes to
IVF.  He is smart and gentle and
kind and if you ever have a chance
for him to be your physician, you will
be a lucky woman.

Before You Were Born Books can now be downloaded

X, Y and Me has run out of the printed copies of several
of the Before You Were Born books.  Due to the
economy, a reprint is not foreseeable in the near future.

In order to provide the versions no longer in print,
the books have been placed on Epub Bud for
download to an iPad, iPod or personal computer.

Follow the above link to download a copy which you
can print out if so desired. http://www.epubbud.com/search.php?q=Janice+Grimes&Search=Search

Mother's Day

One of the hardest days
of the year.

As far as I'm concerned,
it's all the "potential"
mothers who need the applause,
cards, gifts and flowers.

It's the women struggling
with infertility that deserve
a day, a week, a month dedicated
to their struggle.

Unfortunately, it's a topic
no one wants to talk about.

The fertile don't want to
know or hear about the plight
of the infertile.

It's one of the "unfairness
of life" ordeals that no one
can explain or find a reason
or purpose for...most of all the
couples going through it.

So to all those women who are
crying today and avoiding church
and wishing the day would go away..
I've thought about you today and
understand your pain and want you
to know that it's just a 24 hour
deal and tomorrow is another
day.

IVF and Iraq

She came to the clinic
for her first appointment
along with her husband.

She cried and cried.

He was leaving for war
in a week.

He was macho and composed
as all men are when they are
going off to "fight."
OO-Rah

At the end of the appointment
the nurse didn't know what to say.

What can you say to someone
who is essentially a
stranger, but may never
return from war??
Take care? Good luck?
Hope you'll be OK?
See you later??
All she could manage
was "Be safe."

The wife was going to
do IVF without him.
Go through her first
cycle alone.

It's incredible that
she would want to get
pregnant and possibly
be a single parent.

Whenever she came to the clinic
the nurse gave her TLC.
The nurse went up to the procedure
area the morning of her
retrieval, so she would
see a familiar face.

She was tearful.
When she was waking up
she was crying. She
wanted her husband.
The staff wanted him to be
there too.

In spite of all
her effort,
she didn't get pregnant.
She suffered alone,
without him.

While he was fighting
a war, she was fighting
for her fertility.

What a terrible thing
war is.

What a terrible thing
infertility is.

She deserved a medal
for bravery and courage
to endure it.

The ending was happy.
Although the war in Iraq
wasn't over,
her husband came home.
She got pregnant on her
own.

She won her war.

In spite of Iraq and
IVF, she delivered a
healthy baby.

Thank you God.

The new Mothers in my life

I am now concentrating on a
different type of mother...

We bought 3 pregnant cows and
waiting for them to deliver is
driving me crazy!

They are supposed to deliver
in March / April
However, 3 weeks ago we had
a boy!!

Now there are two more to go.
I've been home the past 5
days. I am sitting in the sunroom
studying for my college classes and
looking out the window every 5
minutes.

I'm watching the little one like a
hawk, although so is his mother!
I'm constantly looking at the
other 2 mothers to see if I can
tell if they are going into labor.

I've never owned cows and
wouldn't know how to tell if
they are laboring except
for what I've read on the internet.

It's making me so nervous!

But even the birth of a calf is
such a miracle.

I wonder if cows are ever
infertile????

Behind Closed Doors

I just finished reading the new
book "Behind Closed Doors."
It was published by Mikki
Morrisette in cooperation
with the Donor Sibling Registry.

It is a book that tells the story
of donor conception from the
side of the donor, the donor conceived
child and the parents of those
children.

I read it in one sitting.
It was sad and insightful and
truthful.

Conceiving a child with the
use of donor gametes creates
so many feelings and touches
more than the parent and the
child.

The feelings range from joy,
excitement, fear, guilt, longing,
shame, love, understanding, anger,
jealousy, and acceptance.

If you know anyone that has
used donor gametes or third
party reproduction, this is an
excellent book for them to read.

I think it should also be a mandatory book
for health professionals involved in the
reproductive endocrinology field.

It really opened my eyes to all
the consequences that evolve from
these forms of assisted reproduction.

I appreciate all the people
who put their feelings out there
for the public to view.
Good job everyone!

go away guilt

I'm sick of it.
I'm sick of feeling
guilty for something
that is beyond my control.

Other people lay the
guilt on.
Like my FIL
who makes comments
about us not having
a baby.
He once was in a
baby store while
my MIL was buying
a gift for a friend.
The salesperson asked
if the gift was for their
grandchild.
My FIL said:
"I wish"

Oh the guilt
and the pain.
My DH is an
only child.
No child for him.
No grandchild for
them.

I tried. I suffered
through multiple
IUI's and IVF.
I was poked, prodded
and exposed to all
the mean things that
the GYN Dr. could offer.

And still it didn't happen.

Most of the time
I can blow the guilt away.
But some days, it hangs over
me like a dark cloud.

I want to be defined by
my other achievements,
not by whether I was
fertile.
Doesn't it matter that I
have a college education?
A good job? That I
wrote and published
children's books? That I ran
a 5K? That I serve on the
board of directors for an
infertility support organization?
That I was published in a
Canadian infertility magazine?
That I worked twenty years
in an Emergency Room and
helped save many lives?

How can all those things be
treated as trivial? Why is
"infertile" how I am
defined?

Guilt go away.
I have to study for
my college class, I have
to send out some books
I've sold, I have to go
to work in the IVF Clinic
and try and help someone else
achieve a pregnancy, so
they don't have to feel the
guilt that comes with the
failure to achieve a
pregnancy.
Go away guilt. I'm too busy
moving on with my life.

Two IS A Family

Sometimes, when we
are struggling with infertility
and under a mountain of pain,
it is hard to remember that we
have a partner. Someone we
promised to love, honor and
cherish.
Someone we married to become
a family.

When the holidays roll around,
so much of the world is focused on
toys and Santa and children.
It is then we need to get closer to
our partner and remember why
we fell in love and what the good
parts of our relationship are.

By remembering that "two is a
family" we will be able to cope better and
maybe., just next year, it will
be three.....

What to do if you find yourself infertile

I guess the title is a little
misleading.
This post isn't about medical treatments
or doctors.
It's about still feeling good about
yourself in spite of all the pain.

I decided to take some of my
anger and pain and go back
to school.

I once had a counselor say to me
"Take all this angry energy and go
get your PhD."
(wise woman!)
Well, I'm not getting my PhD, but I am
going back to college.

Believe me, returning to college
after 20 years, takes your mind
TOTALLY off infertility!
In fact, your head is spinning so
fast, you won't even have a
moment to yourself!
You won't have one minute to
obsess, think about your period,
do any medical treatments,
or keep up with your blog
posts!

So, I haven't gone away,
I haven't forgotten
about my blog or any of you.
I'm just taking my angry energy
and going back to college!

I'll still be posting between
class, tests and breaks!

A way to provide comfort

I went to an infertility support meeting.
A new couple was there.
Their pain was palpable.
Us "old" timers told our story
and they briefly told theirs.

The wife cried and expressed
all the feelings we have had:
jealousy over others who can get
pregnant, fear that her husband will
leave her because she may not be able
to give him a child, mad at God,
feeling ashamed that she is so angry,
hating baby showers and Mother's
Day at church.

She wanted us to tell her when it
would be over. She wanted to know
if she remained childless, how long it
would take her to accept it.

We weren't able to answer her question.
We could only assure her it was normal
to feel all the things she was feeling.
It was acceptable to give herself permission
not to attend baby showers. It was OK
to skip church on Mother's Day. She was
not alone.

I don't know if it helped. I hope so.
The struggle with infertility is so
painful and unfair and emotional.
I hope she can find a little peace
as she continues on her journey.

Goodbye Dr. Craig


Dr. Craig is moving on to
bigger and better things.

A new and important
job. We will still see his
smiling face, but he will
no longer be running our
program.

He leaves behind an
ambivalent IVF staff.
We are happy and proud
of him. We wish him all the
best in his new position.
But we mourn the loss of his
friendship, medical expertise,
kindness, immense knowledge
of IVF and his humor.

He leaves behind a population
of happy patients. Patients
who never would have become
parents without him.

He started our IVF program in 1987.
Over the years, through
his leadership, we have grown
and progressed and created many
lives along the way.

He is our "Yoda."
In the Star Wars Universe,
Yoda is the wisest,
most revered
and the most powerful of the
Jedi Masters.
Dr. Craig is our wisest and most
revered master of IVF.

We are sad to see him go
but know he touched not
only the lives of his patients,
but also the staff who worked
with him.

How do you know when you've had enough?

How do you know when you're
through with infertility treatments?

How do you know when to stop?

When I first started on the
journey down infertility road,
I said "I will never do IVF. It's
too invasive."

Never say never!

Eight inseminations later and
at age 41, there I was in the
IVF clinic.

I only had a 10% chance of
conceiving.
10 % !!!

I thought I could beat the odds.
I kept thinking "If Christie Brinkley
can do it, so can I!"
(That's a whole other story now
isn't it?)

Anyway...........
I didn't beat the odds.
We were offered donor eggs.
We flatly refused.
Years later, I doubted whether
we had made the right decision
to stop.

Eventually, I had a hysterectomy,
thanks to the terrible monster
called endometriosis.
Even now, years later,
I still feel grief.
I still feel that yearning for the
little baby girl I just KNEW I
would have.
How do you know when you've
had enough?
I have no idea.
You may never know either.

Writing it all down....

Researchers have shown
that writing down your feelings
can help you move on and lay to
rest the upsets, fears and diappointments
in your life.

Some people write a journal.
Some people write poetry.
Some people blog.

I'm afraid to keep a journal.
It's not something I would
want anyone to read.
I'm not very good at
poetry (although I have never
really tried it.)
So I blog.

I blog to heal from my
own infertility.
I blog in hopes of
helping others.
I blog to put my thoughts
"on paper."

My friend writes poetry
about infertility.
I've read her poems. I feel
her pain and passion and
sense of freedom as she
takes control of her
own life.

Perhaps by writing it down,
we too, can heal, recover,
and regain
the control that infertility
takes from us.

Write On!!

Pets

I have a friend whose
pet lab has lung cancer.
A dog she has had for 15 years.
A dog that gave her comfort, licked her
tears and hovered over her when she
struggled with infertility and
miscarriage.

Somehow, pets know.

I'm so sad for her dog and
for her.
Grief is once again on the
horizen. A grief that she
knows is coming. There
is no hope.

At least with
infertility, there is always a
tiny bit of hope. Even if it
is the size of a grain of sand.

Life is full of sadness.

Tears well as I think of her.

I, too, have dogs that are labs.
Dogs who have licked my tears
and comforted me many times.
I kiss each one and tell them
that I love them.
One of the best things
God made.

After awhile....

After awhile, your quest
for a baby consumes you.
You're searching everywhere
for an answer....for hope....for
a sign that you will get pregnant
someday.

After awhile, you will reach a
point where you will know that
everything happens for a reason and
getting pregnant happens when it is
supposed to.

Try and remember that the sun does
come up every day and that Winter
does turn into Spring.
You can count on that.

Never give up your hope.
Because even though it is cold and
dreary and your period just came.....
Spring is around the corner.

Hold on to the hope that your
period is NOT around the corner
and with Spring
comes new life.

Thank You to Rosie

This blog would not
exist if it hadn't been
for Rosie O'Donnell.
She is the master of all
bloggers and is the person
who inspired me to
write down what I feel,
and to use my past
and present experiences
to try and help all those
wishing for a baby.

I knew nothing about
blogging until I went to
her site one day and there
it was.
I quickly learned
where to sign up and how
to personalize a template.

I have a lot more to learn,
but I wanted everyone to know that
she was my inspiration and mentor.
When she said, "go blog urself!"
I listened!!
Thank you Ro!

It's almost over

Today is Christmas Day.
In a few hours, the holidays
that you may have dreaded
will be over.

New Year's will be here
and with that, comes the promise
of "out with the old, in with the
new."

The year will be gone and
perhaps will take your
infertility with it!

With the New year, comes the
hope of a new baby, and as
long as you have hope, you
can make it through anything.

Happy New Year to everyone
and may the year bring you the
peace and joy you are looking for.

"Oh the weather outside is frightful" (Not really, but the Holidays are)

It's coming.
That dreaded time of year
for people who are stressed
and angry and sad from the toll that
infertility is taking.

What is a person supposed
to do during this time of
great cheer and Santa Claus?
 Get in bed, cover your head
and come out for the adult
holiday called New Year's Eve?

Sounds like a good idea huh?

Here are a few other, more
realistic things you can do.

*Take a break from treatment. A couple
of weeks or even a month free of
doctors, injections, planned intercourse,
pee sticks, temperature taking, marking
off your cycle days on a calendar, yada, yada,
yada, will not compromise your journey towards
pregnancy.
Give yourself permission to ditch all of
it...... just for a little while.

*Go ahead and go to the office
party, because no one will bring
their children to that!

*Skip the family get together and
go on a vacation to a warm sunny place
or a snowy ski lodge. (whichever is the
opposite of the weather you're having!)

*If you absolutely can't skip the family
stuff, be on your guard and have a few
rehearsed answers for the questions
you may be asked. Here is a really good
and simple one: if anyone mentions
anything about children, pregnancy, or
infertility, politely say:
"We aren't talking about that subject this month."
And don't allow them to make you answer their
questions. If they pry, just repeat it again:
"We aren't talking about that subject this
month."

*Try a few little romantic dinners at
restaurants that don't cater to children.
Go to the restaurant that serves French
cuisine and skip "Chucky Cheese."

* Stay out of the mall on weekends.

*Rent some funny movies. You need a
few laughs.

*Get a "his and her" massage.

*Now is a good time to visit your older relatives, such as
grandparents and great aunts and uncles. You can
take them dinner and there's a good possibility
there won't be any children around.

*Do not feel obligated to attend any function, even
on Christmas Day, if it will be too painful for you.
You are an adult, and you need to take care of you.
Tell everyone you don't feel well. (You probably won't
be lying!) Then stay home, wear your pajamas - since
you don't feel well :) Eat some comfort food and read a good
book.

*If you have a cat or dog, they are one of the
nicest things God has made. So love on them
and accept their unconditional love for you.

*Sometimes some of the best ways to help
yourself, is to help others. Go to a shelter and
serve Christmas dinner. Or invite an elderly person
with no family, to your house for Christmas Day.

*Most of all, remember that in the end, Christmas Day
is just another day in the year and you will get
through it and you will survive.

And after the holidays have passed, you can choose
to get back on that roller coaster and perhaps
you will have that little child you're yearning for
by the time next Christmas rolls around.

Empty Stroller Rally

Today is the first day of
National Infertility Awareness Week.
Kind of ironic.
The people that know about this
are already aware of infertility.
The people that never experienced
infertilty, don't know and probably don't
really care about it.
It's not exactly a Hallmark Card
inspired day.
Although it should be.

We all met up at Cathy Boyes'
house for introductions and
instructions.
She had everything ready for
the rally. It was very
successful. She made the
evening news.

People walked past the information
tables and a few stopped. But not many.
There we were, a group of people
in all phases of the journey.
Some starting treatment, some moving
on and some finished.
There was an emotional bond of
pain, grief, and anger.
We were kindred spirits.
All on the same page.
We understood perfectly the
twists and turns in the road.

I don't know why I think that
life is supposed to be fair.
It isn't.
I saw the unfairness of life
throughout my ER career.
And now I see it with infertility.

The couples who endure fertility
treatments
should be rewarded.
If medals were given
for enduring infertility
treatments, we would each
have a purple heart, and a
medal for valor
and one for bravery.

But it's not medals we're looking
for. It's that tiny little
baby to place in a stroller
and push around the mall.
So we can walk past displays
that don't affect us or apply to
our lives...and head straight
for the toy store.


Counseling helps

Infertility can drive you crazy....

Not all at once...but slow... and subtle...
and insidiously.....it sneaks up.

You start off trying to get pregnant
just like everyone else.
And you and your partner are having
fun!
You have a special little smile on
your faces, because you two have a
"secret." And you're just waiting
to be able to burst out in song
to everyone that you're pregnant.

And gosh, a couple of months go by
and your period keeps coming on time.
It starts to get a little annoying.
So you try harder. And you know
exactly when the right moment is.
and sex becomes a "must" and
maybe you just don't feel like having
sex tonight or this minute. But you have
too, because if you don't, then you'll miss
a whole month.

And now, you're getting worried and feeling
a little stressed and sex becomes not so much
fun. And the smile on your face has been
wiped right off.

You're off to the doctor now and being
poked, prodded, questioned,
examined and they're testing your blood
and your private parts, and your cervical
mucus and your husband's sperm...

Congratulations...instead of bursting
out in song, you're bursting into tears.
You have now joined the 6 million other
poor people who have infertility.
Welcome to a club you had no wish
to join.

There is help out there. FIND IT!
Every good clinic should have a
counselor that is specially trained
to help you. If the clinic doesn't have
one, start asking around.

Do Not Be Ashamed.
Counselors are good.

Seeing a counselor doesn't mean you
are crazy (but infertility will make you
feel crazy!)

Counselors are your lifeline. They are
someone who is objective and non-judgmental,
someone you can freely talk to, someone to vent to,
someone who can answer your questions,
someone who can help you keep
your self esteem, when you feel like a
failure.

They will be there to help you when
your journey with infertility ends and you're
finally pregnant and they will also
be there to help you with your grief and loss
if your journey ends without a pregnancy.

Don't go it alone, it's too tough to do.
Visit this blog for information
on how to find a good counselor.
http://drdeborahserani.blogspot.com/

Fears about assisted reproduction

I might pick the wrong doctor.

I may have waited too long.

It is my fault that my husband and
I can't conceive.

It is my husband's fault we can't
have a child.

They won't let me try IVF at all.

I won't be able to stand all the shots
and blood draws.

The retrieval may hurt too much.

I might not have any eggs.
 
My eggs might not fertilize.

They might mix the sperm up.

They might mix the embryos up.

They might give our embryos to
someone else without our permission.

I might have twins, one black and one
white, just like that couple in Europe.

If I use donor sperm, my husband
won't be able to handle it and we
will divorce.

If I use donor eggs, will I feel like a
"real" mother?

I'm afraid if I have too many
embryos, I will not know what to do
with them later.

I don't want to discard or "kill" our
potential child.

I don't want to give them up to
research. What kind of parent does
that make me???

I don't want to donate my embryos
because I am afraid that the recipient
parents won't be good parents.

If I donate them, will those children
look for me later?

Will I look for them later?

Will I be walking down the street and
see "my child."

What do I tell the children that I have?

Do I tell them that they have siblings
somewhere and I don't know where?

When they fall in love and get married,
will I be sure that they aren't marrying their
sibling (however remote that possibility is.)

If my "donated" children look me up
later, how do I explain that I got pregnant and kept
some of my embryos, but not them? 

If I used donor eggs or sperm, will
my family or friends judge me?

Does that mean I'm inferior?

Will my family accept my children?

Will I tell my children they were donor-conceived?

When will I tell them?

How will I tell them?

If I don't tell them, will they
find out anyway?

What happens if they accidentally
find out?

Will they reject my husband or I?

Will they want to look for the donor?

Will they think I was selfish to use
assisted reproduction to conceive them?

Will they feel different?

If I can't carry a child, what happens
if the surrogate doesn't want to give
the baby up?

I'm afraid, afraid, afraid.
I've heard the horror stories.

There is one thing to help me.
Knowledge is power. I will
learn everything there is to learn
and I will make sure that what I
learn is true information. Then I can make
correct decisions and I will be less afraid.
And I am not alone.

Thousands of others have done
this before me. I will learn from
them and lean on them.

Attention: Single Mothers and Dads by Choice

X,Y, and Me proudly
announces that the
single parent versions
of the "Before You Were
Born...Our Wish For A Baby"
will be available soon!
The title will be "Before You
Were Born...A Wish For A
Baby."
We are hoping these new books
will be available by the
end of October.
Keep checking our website
for availability.
www.xyandme.com

Inconceivable

Definitions of the word inconceivable:

impossible to comprehend
cannot grasp fully
improbable
incomprehensible
mind-boggling
unbelievable
no way
no-go
reachy
totally unlikely
unheard of
unimaginable
unlikely
unthinkable
out of the question

yes that pretty well
sums up what it feels
like when you cannot
get pregnant like
everyone else.

Did the stork forget your address??

There is a new book out:
IVF: The Wayward Stork.

It's a book about "what to
expect, who to expect it from
and surviving it all"

The book is written by
Sarah Turci and Lea
McCarthy.

These two women
understand what you
are going through.

They have walked down the
path of infertility and
now have provided you
with a roadmap.
(And unlike men,
women like roadmaps!)

They have a great
website where you
can order the book.
You can also visit their
message boards.

So, if the stork has
forgotten your
home address,
follow the path that
Sarah and Lea have
paved and leave him
a trail of crumbs so he
can find you!

Cindy Margolis: Thank You & Congratulations!

Cindy Margolis

A Superstar that
isn't afraid to admit
her difficulty with
infertility
Isn't ashamed of her
infertility
Isn't afraid to talk about
infertility
Isn't afraid to make the
public aware of
infertility
Isn't afraid to be a
spokeswoman for
infertility

Isn't afraid to announce to
the world, the birth of her
daughters using the help of
a gestational carrier

Bless you Cindy
and thank you for
speaking for all
of us.

Cindy Margolis is the
new spokeswoman for
RESOLVE.
Visit her website:
www.cindymargolis.com
to read her story.

Best Friends

There's nothing better than
having a best friend.

If you are lucky, you will
have a best friend throughout
your entire life.

I have a best friend that I met
when I was 15.

We both worked at a fast food
restaurant.

We've been together
through thick and thin.
Even though we live a thousand
miles apart, we are still close
in our hearts.

My best friend has helped
me stand back up every time
life has kicked me to the floor.

We have marathon phone calls
where we talk for 2 or 3 hours.
I know she's there for me
night or day and I'm there
for her.

If you're ever lucky enough to
have a true best friend,
hang on to her.

A best friend is more valuable and
precious than anything else
in the world.

Thank you dear "Wag" for
always being there in my life.

"Embryos Alive" Gives Hope

Sometimes infertility
can make you feel hopeless.

You practice birth control
for years. Then you finally
decide to have a child.
And you try and you try and
you try.

Eventually, you start to ask questions
of your physician and then the
roller coaster ride begins.

There are so many ways to
conceive a child:
clomid
clomid with inseminations
injectable meds with inseminations
inseminations using donor sperm
traditional IVF
IVF with donor eggs
IVF with donor sperm
Traditional Surrogate
Gestational Carrier using your own gametes
Gestational Carrier using a donor egg & the husband's sperm
and finally Embryo Donation or adoption.

Embryo adoption involves the
thaw and transfer of an embryo
created by another couple and
donated to the intended
parents.

Embryos Alive is an adoption
agency that matches donor embryos
with intended parents.
It was started by Bonnie Bernard.
Bonnie and her husband suffered
through infertility treatments for
five years without success.
They are the proud parents of
an adopted son from Bulgaria.

Bonnie uses her own experience with
adoption to help intended parents
through the process.
Embryos Alive has an extensive web site
which explains how embryo adoption works, provides
information, and answers many questions.

They provide hope during the difficult
journey to parenthood.
Please visit them at www.embryosalive.com

See? You are not suffering alone.

Key facts and figures about fertility.

19 Jun 2005 08:01:49 GMTSource: ReutersCOPENHAGEN, June 19 (Reuters) -

One in six couples worldwide has some type of infertility problem. Leading scientists and fertility doctors are meeting here this week to discuss the latest research and advances in treatment.

Following are key facts and figures about infertility.

- Forty percent of infertility cases are linked to men and an equal share are due to a female problem. In 20 percent of cases there is a joint problem.

- Fertility decreases as a woman ages and approaches the menopause. Women are generally thought to be at their most fertile between 20-25 years old.

- Hormonal disorders, damaged or blocked fallopian tubes and endometriosis, a condition in which tissue that normally lines the uterus is found elsewhere in the body, are common causes of female infertility.

- Low sperm count or poor sperm shape or swimming ability are the major problems in male infertility. A fertile male produces at least 20 million sperm per millilitre of semen. Fewer than that amount is considered infertile.

- Women are born with more than a million eggs that diminish as they age but men produce sperm daily.

- A normal couple in their mid-20s having regular sex have a one in four chance of conceiving each month.

- Infertility is defined as the inability of a couple to conceive after a year of trying.

- Louise Brown, the world's first test tube baby, was born 27 years ago in Britain. Since her birth, nearly 2 million children worldwide have been conceived with the aid of fertility treatments.

- Most fertility treatments take place in women between 30-39 years old.

- Europe leads the world in assisted reproductive technology (ART). In 2001, more than 289,690 ART treatments, resulting in an estimated 55,000 births, were reported in 23 European countries. This compares to 99,989 in the United States in 2000, according to the European Society of Human Reproduction & Embryology (ESHRE).
In Denmark, 3.9 percent of all children are born with the help of fertility techniques, compared to 3.2 percent in Slovenia, 2.8 percent in Iceland and Sweden and 1.3 percent in Britain.

- More than half of all ART treatments in Europe are done in France, Britain and Germany.


Is Anyone Listening?

Infertility can be a lonely
road.

It feels like you are the only
one in the world that can't
get pregnant.

You husband is going
through the same thing,
but men see things differently.

You either talk about it too
much to all your friends,
or you keep it a secret.
Either way, you still feel
alone.

It disrupts your whole life.

Your job and your relationships
revolve around clinic appointments,
injections, hormonal raging,
and bloating!

The process can go on and
on, year after year, cycle after
cycle, until you are absolutely
exhausted.

You wonder: Is anyone
listening?

Does anyone else know how
draining this process is?

Yes, someone is listening.
You are not the only one.

Reach out to others who
understand your pain.

I understand your pain.
You are not alone.

Infertility: shameful?

Why do people who suffer
from infertility feel ashamed?
If you can't conceive without help
or even with help, is that your fault?
Does anyone have control over
their eggs, sperm, periods, ovulation,
or hormones?
NO!!!!!!!!!

If you were a diabetic,
would you keep it a secret
and not get help, because that
somehow means you are less of
a person?

If you have heart disease, high
blood pressure, or cancer,
is that shameful?
Absolutely not.

And so be it with infertility.
You can't control it, it wasn't your fault,
you didn't ask for it, you don't want
to have it.

Infertility does not define who you are.

Although it can wreak havoc on your life,
and cause you much stress and emotional
pain, you are not inferior because of it.
And don't let anyone make you feel that
you are............

AAAAHHHHHH Summer

Although it is not
quite "officially" summer,
You know it really is.
School is out.

It's warmer now.

It stays lighter in
the evening.

Summer is a time
of healing and
resting.

Stand outside and
let the sun
shine on your face.

Listen to the wind
blow.

Watch for the
thunder clouds to
roll in.

Listen to the
bumblebee as it
hovers around the
flowers.

Watch the bunny
rabbits as they move
from place to place.

Sit in a rocking chair
and just rock, don't
think.

Rest from wishing
for a baby.

Rest is good.
Let the summer
be a healing time
for you.

Rest and then
you'll have the strength
to begin your journey
again.......

An IVF cycle is like a "crap shoot"

"It's a crap shoot" is said, usually with a sense of mild scorn
(if it's somebody else) or resignation (if it's yourself)
about the chances of success of a given activity or venture.
It says the end result is out of one's hands, that it's left
up to chance, and that the odds are probably slightly
against you.*

Yes, that says it exactly. The
whole reason a patient needs IVF to
begin with is because the odds of conceiving a
pregnancy are already against you.

And then the torture of a possible cancellation
begins.
   You can be cancelled at any step along the way.
   You can be cancelled before you even begin.
   You can come for your first appointment and
          be told you're not even a candidate for IVF.
   You can be cancelled at your cycle start if
          your body over-rides the medicines.
   You can be cancelled because you don't
         stimulate.
   You can be cancelled because you stimulate
         too well and are at risk for hyperstimulation
         syndrome.
You can be cancelled if they can't find
         any eggs to retrieve.
You can have your transfer cancelled if
        your eggs didn't fertilize.
You can have your transfer cancelled
        if all your embryos need to be frozen
        (because of hyperstimulation
        syndrome.)

You can pass all those hurdles and
still not get pregnant.

Yes, IVF is like a crap shoot.
A game of "chance"
that so many are willing
to play. And perhaps
if you're really lucky,
you'll beat the house,
and walk away with the
big prize.

*(posted by Bob 8/26/03 on The Phrase Finder

How to survive your IVF Cycle - Tips from the "team"

Take one day at a time.

Simplify anything and everything in your life during this time period.

Have a good support system and USE them.

Listen to classical music or any kind of music that you love.

Take a few extra naps.

Watch a funny movie.

Buy yourself a beautiful bouquet of fresh flowers. (and NO baby's breath!)

Have lunch with a friend, even if she doesn't know about your cycle.

Try and stay OFF the internet. You will become obsessed with every
little thing and it will stress you more. Remember, every clinic has their own
protocols, so just because one of your cycle buddies are doing something different,
it doesn't mean that you should be doing the same thing or that your clinic or
your physician doesn't know what they're doing. Tell your cycle buddies you'll
post after retrieval.

Go shopping, but stay out of baby stores! :)

Pamper yourself: get a facial or a massage.

Use your usual coping mechanisms: journaling, calling your best friend, going for a walk,
meditating or praying.

Read a good book that is not about: fertility, infertility, pregnancy, children, or families

Do anything that will distract you from focusing on: the cycle day, the next injection,
when you'll go to retrieval, how you'll decorate the nursery, when your due date is,
whether your ovaries are getting bigger, how big your follicles are, how many follicles
you have, what you will do if you are pregnant, what you will do if you are not
pregnant, blah, blah, blah!!! (You get the picture)

If you have a question, worry, or concern, call the nursing staff at your clinic. That's
what they are there for and should be helping you every step of the way, especially if
you are "stumbling" on the path.

Try and remember that everything right now is totally out of your control. You
cannot control your period, your ovaries, your follicles, your blood test levels, your
retrieval or transfer dates, fertilization of your embryos, implantation and whether or
not your cycle will be successful and you'll become pregnant. Try and let the control
go. Trust your doctor and the team. They are doing everything they can do to
make your cycle successful. They want you to get pregnant too!

Regret Nothing

Regret Nothing
Not even your sins or
failures.
When a man views
earth's wonders from
some mountain height, he
does not spend his
time in dwelling on
the stones and stumbles, the
faints and failures that
marked his upward path.

So with you.....
Breathe in the rich
blessings of each new
day.....

Forget all that lies
behind you.

Man is so made that he
can carry the weight
of 24 hours....no more.

As soon as he weighs
himself down with the
years behind and the
days ahead, his
back breaks.

I have promised to help
you with the burden of
only today. The past
I have taken from you.
And if you, foolish heart,
choose to gather again
that burden and bear it,
then indeed, you mock me
to expect me to share it.

For weal or woe, each day
is ended. What remains
to be lived, the coming
24 hours, you must face
as you awake.
A man on a march carries
only what he needs for
that march. Would you
pity him if you saw him
bearing too the overwhelming
weights of the worn out
shoes and uniforms of past
marches and years?
And yet, in the mental
and spiritual life,
man does these things.
Small wonder my poor
world is heartsick and
weary.
Not So Must You Act....

Do Lucky Charms really work???

I once thought
that Lucky Charms
would help me get pregnant.
(Not the cereal)

My massage therapist
used to dabble in
crystals.
She knew that I was
trying to get pregnant
by IUI.
She had these 2 crystal stones
that were for fertility.

So, when it was time
for my IUI, I wore my
"lucky" Iowa sweatshirt.
(Because I believed that
Iowa was Heaven.)
(And I was right about that!)

Anyway, I wore my Iowa
shirt,
put the 2 crystal stones
in my jeans pocket
and went for my IUI.

As I was getting undressed,
one of the stones fell out
of my pants pocket, onto
the floor and slid under
a chair in the exam room.
When I went to retrieve
it, it had broken in half.
I should have known then
that it was a bad sign.

I picked up the broken halves
and went home and had
to call my massage therapist
and tell her what happened.
She was very kind and said
not to worry.

Later that night, I threw my
jeans down the laundry shoot
and heard this funny noise.
I went down to the basement and
there was the OTHER crystal stone
on the floor. You guessed it:
broken in two pieces. I had
forgotten to take it out of my jeans.

Once again, I had to get on the phone
and tell my massage therapist that
I just broke the second stone.
Again, she was very sweet about
it.

Needless to say, they were not
lucky for me. I didn't get pregnant.

I never took the broken stones
with me again. But I always
wore my lucky Iowa shirt.

Although, my dream of having
a baby girl never came to pass,
my dream of moving to
Iowa did.
My Iowa shirt was lucky after
all.

And the moral of the story is:
you never know where life is
going to lead you and you
never know what is around the
corner, but some force takes
you to the place that you belong.
And here I am.

Who is Dr. Craig?

If you have seen any
of the "Before You Were
Born...Our Wish For A
Baby" books, you will
see a rabbit named Dr. Craig.

Dr. Craig is a "real" physician.
He has a great sense of humor,
a memory like an elephant and most
importantly, the sensitivity to
be a kind and caring doctor.

The patients love Dr. Craig
because he's smart, encouraging
and takes his time with them.

The nurses love Dr. Craig too,
except for when his "I'll be
there in 2 minutes" turns
into 2 hours!

Dr. Craig is the ultrasound "guru."
If you want to know about
your antral follicle counts and ovarian
volume (which help determine how
well you will stimulate), or your uterine
polyps, or c-section scarring,
he's your man.

Dr. "D" refers to him appropriately
as "Yoda."
"Yoda" is a Sanskrit word for "warrior."
In the Star Wars Universe,
Yoda is the wisest, most revered
and the most powerful of the
Jedi Masters.
When young Padawans begin their
Jedi training, they do so
under Yoda's guidance and many
go on to become the
Republic's greatest Jedi.

And so it is with Dr. Craig.
He is a warrior against infertility,
and he is wise and revered by
his peers. Many of the residents
that train with him, go on to
be excellent physicians.

And just as the "dark side"
feared the Jedi, so should
infertility fear Dr. Craig.

Because he is trying his
best to change infertility
into fertility. And he
is doing it with skill,
knowledge and empathy
for the patient.

Bless you Dr. Craig and
may the Force be with you.......

Lean on Your Friends

Don't go through the stress of
infertility alone.

I know that you have a
partner who is suffering with
you. But they don't always
feel it the same as you do.

It is especially difficult for
men to understand. If they
can't fix it, then either
it's not that big of a deal
or they ignore it.

I know that you need
your privacy. Some care
about that more than
others. But there is
always someone you can
turn to, even if it's a stranger.
You are not alone in this
process. There
are many friends to be found,
whether it is your best friend
from childhood, someone you met
in the clinic, a friend who has done
IVF and totally understands your
pain and stress,
even "strangers" on message
boards have good shoulders to
lean on (strangers are just
people you haven't yet met)

I'll be your friend and a
sounding board if you need
it.
I have walked in your shoes.
Email me. I'm here!

Janice

help me up
my friend.

dust me off.

feed me warmth.

you are comfort.

let me lean on you
until I can stand
alone.

I will then stand a little
taller,

and you will be
proud
to have a friend
such as me.

(by Peter McWilliams)

Japanese Proverb

Infertility will make you live the
Japanese proverb that says:

Fall seven times, stand up eight

It brings out the hate

Hate is a pretty strong word.
But infertility is a pretty
grueling "adventure."

During treatments, a
woman can become so
tormented by all the
physical and emotional
things that are
happening, that it can
bring out the hate.

You will hate every
pregnant woman that
you ever see. And if there
are a million people walking in
the mall and only one of the
million is pregnant, she
will walk right in front
of your face.

You will hate it when
people say you will get
pregnant:
    "when the time is right"
    "if you just Reeelaaaxxxx"
    "when you stop trying"
    "if you go out and get
    drunk"
    "if you raise your hips
     on pillows after intercourse"
    "if you fill out adoption
     papers"
    "if you take a vacation"

Yada Yada Yada

You will hate it
when you are invited
to a relative's baby shower
and she is having her
third baby.

You will hate the woman
who even has the
NERVE to say "All my
husband has to do is
look at me and I get
pregnant."

You will hate yourself for
all those years you used
birth control and you
probably didn't even need
it.

You will hate your physician
when he tells you that you
have "advanced maternal age" and
you're only 37.

You will hate your physician
when he cancels your
cycle or tells you your
only hope is donor eggs.

You will hate him if he
can't tell you why you can't get
pregnant.

You will hate your
insurance company.
(No further explanation needed
on that one!)

You will hate your
period, every month.

You will hate the
nurse who does your
pregnancy test and
tells you it is negative.
You will want to RUN out of the
clinic. It will be intolerable
to stay there another minute.

If you do cycle after
cycle, you will gradually
come to hate the clinic
you are going to for treatment.

It may surprise you to
find that you are feeling
that way. You are not alone and
you are not a bad person for
hating. The hating is just
a manifestation of your
frustration. You have
every right to those
feelings.

Nothing lasts forever.
Even your days of infertility
will come to an end. In one
way or another. If you
get pregnant, the hate will
go away quickly.

If you never get pregnant, the
hate will pass, but it may take
some time.

But know that it will leave.
And you will be OK.
I promise!

A Little Bit Pregnant

Is it possible to be a "little bit pregnant?"
Everyone has always said that
there's no such thing.
They are wrong.
Being a "little bit pregnant" can catch
a woman totally off guard.
In the infertility world,
a woman usually knows she's pregnant
2 weeks after conception.
And the date of conception is almost
always known.
Women using assisted reproduction
are taking their pregnancy test before the
average person would even be saying,
"I think my period's late."

The term for being a little bit pregnant
is "blighted ovum" or chemical
pregnancy.
Basically it means an
"anembryonic pregnancy."
A pregnancy with no
embryo.
The body makes a sac inside
the uterus but
the embryo never develops.

It can show one of two ways.

1) The pregnancy test is positive but
the pregnancy hormone level is too
low or doesn't rise appropriately.
The patient and the staff are cautiously
optimistic and have a warning that the
pregnancy may not go on.

2) The second way is harder.
The pregnancy hormone can be
fine, rise appropriately and the
woman feels pregnant. However,
at the first ultrasound, there is an
empty sac. There may not be any
bleeding or symptoms.

Usually a blighted ovum or
chemical pregnancy occurs
from a chromosomal abnormality
or from a poor quality embryo.
It occurs in 50 percent of first
trimester pregnancies.
There is no treatment and
fortunately, it can be just a
one time thing.

It doesn't matter what name
you want to give it. To the woman
experiencing it, she is pregnant
and she is having a miscarriage.
She needs to know that there
is nothing she did to cause it
and there is nothing she can do to
prevent it.

In the end, the medical community
will say that she wasn't "really"
pregnant.
Call it what you want, a "little bit
pregnant," blighted ovum or
chemical pregnancy.
To the woman experiencing it,
she WAS pregnant and is
entitled to the grief that comes
with losing a pregnancy.

Way More Than You Ever Wanted To Know

As you journey down the
path of infertility and the
medical treatments used, you
will find out way more
then you ever wanted to know.

You will become an
expert on:

every period you have: how many
days in between, the type and
amount of flow,
how long it lasted, whether it came
"on time", did you spot before
you started?

what your cervical mucus
looks like, feels like, and why you
care anyway

the exact hour you ovulate,
or did you ovulate at all? Was it on the
correct day? Which side was it on?

You'll know your progesterone level
and whether you always need to take
some

You'll know the size of your ovaries,
how many follicles you have,
whether your "tubes" are open, and
if your lining is "good"

the names, price and the best
LH surge kits

how to take a urine
pregnancy test 500 times
and never be pregnant

you will calculate your due date
every time,
just in case you get pregnant "this cycle"

you will learn what cycle buddies are;
the status of everyone else on "your"
message board, what baby dust is, what a DS,
DD, and DH mean

you'll learn whether your
husband really needs you
when he goes to the lab for a
"sample" or is
he better at it by himself.

you'll learn what a "good"
sperm count is and how
your husband is measuring up

You'll learn what these
acronyms mean:
REI, HSG, BBT, CCCT, HCG, ET,
FSH, HMG, IUI, IVF, ICSI, TESA,
PGD, PROST, GIFT, ZIFT, CD #,
RTL, and PCO

You will learn your body in
great detail and be looking for
every twinge, pain, cramp,
feeling of nausea, sore breasts,
implantation spotting, or feeling
tired.

You'll know exactly when you
last had intercourse and you
will allow the clinic to tell you
when or when not to "do it."

You'll learn how to give
yourself an injection, how to have
your husband or friend give
you an injection, how to mix medications,
what size needle to use, the difference
in syringes, how to change the needle,
how to make sure you aren't injecting
into a blood vessel, and how to make the
injection hurt the least. You'll learn
all these things and you won't even
get a nursing degree out of it.

Yes, infertility will teach you
way more than you ever wanted
to know. It is unfair.
You should be able to have
sex in the back
seat of the car and get pregnant.
Instead, you will become an expert
in the field of infertility.
And even though you won't get
even one college credit for it,
you may walk away with the
baby you've worked so hard to
have.

It's A Man's World

We all know that men
are such babies.
They are such babies that
they could never have babies.
If an HSG was a medical test for
men, the doctors would administer
it with general anesthesia! Well,
not quite. But with some kind
of narcotic sedation!
It's just a "little pinch" and
some cramping, right?
When a woman goes through
infertility treatment, she
endures all kinds of cool things:

injections (a couple per day)
blood drawing
pelvic exams
vaginal ultrasounds
mock transfers
enlarged ovaries
BIG PMS
IV's for retrieval
Bedrest after transfer
2 LONG weeks of
waiting for the
pregnancy test
and knowing that
every little twinge, pain,
cramp, hot flash or sore breasts
means "I'm pregnant!"
I'm so happy!
No, it probably means
"I'm not pregnant."
I'm so depressed.
For a woman, an IVF
cycle takes
endurance
emotion
physical suffering
and mental torture.
It truly is a man's world -
In an IVF cycle
he endures the
humiliation of an
orgasm.......

"Let Me Explain" going out of print

See a letter below explaining that the "only" book about DI is going out of print. That book is geared for 6-10 year olds. There is another book available (in spite of what the letter says.)
Go to www.xyandme.com for other storybooks for children conceived in alternative ways.



Subject: A Story about Donor Insemination

Dear Colleagues:

It is with considerable sadness (and frustration) that I announce that Perspectives Press, Inc.: The Infertility and Adoption Publisher will be allowing Let Me Explain: A Story about Donor Insemination by Jane Schnitter to go permanently out of print when our current inventory is depleted this summer. I have spent considerable time over the last year looking for an economical manufacturing option that would allow this book to be reprinted in conservative quantities as a paperback at a unit cost that would allow it to be properly cover-priced for continued distribution through normal book trade channels (amazon.com, Barnes & Noble, etc.) and have come up empty.

Let Me Explain, published in 1995, was the first--and has been the only--US-published book specifically written for children aged six to ten conceived by donor insemination and being parented by a heterosexual couple. Despite very good reviews (click on Let Me Explain 's web page for links to these) , and despite the fact that statisticians claim that 30,000-50,000 children are conceived by DI each year in North America alone, fewer than one tenth of one percent of these families have purchased LME, with a total sold of just over 3300 copies in ten years, despite the lack of any readily available competition.

As educators, those of us in the field of reproductive medicine claim to have at heart the best interests of the children and families we help to create. For well over a decade mental health professionals have been direct and vocal in their opposition to long-standing advice from physicians for secrecy in DI-conceived families, advocating that parents using collaborative reproductive options need to be prepared to disclose the facts of their alternative conceptions to their children as early as possible. Most medical practitioners and organizations have come around to this belief as well. In Europe, some governments have come to support this view by legislating the availability of information to children conceived with donor gametes. Still, recent research demonstrates that parents seem NOT to be talking to their children about their donor origins (see Human Reproduction Today article), with as many as 90% of Swedish families surveyed not having told their children despite their country's recommendation to do so.

As the professionals in the communities I serve increasingly request that Perspectives Press, Inc. publish books for adults and children in narrower and narrower parts of our niche, it is time for us to recognize an important fact. Many of these families are, at least initially, resistant to our advice about parenting issues. They just want a baby NOW and don't want to think about later!

This reality drives what I suspect will be the future of consumer publishing for narrow markets (especially in children's books), which is that publishers will only be able to afford to publish a narrow market book for a consumer audience when professionals feel strongly enough about the need for it that they are willing to commit to buying it themselves and to distributing it personally to their clients (by sale or by gift.) If professionals truly believed it to be important for families to have the tools necessary for talking to children about their donor insemination origins, for example, they would have been willing to buy (at a significant 40% "bulk" discount on as few as 12 copies) and distribute to each client just such a tool. If North American statistics are true, that would have resulted in annual distribution of 20,000 or more copies of a book like Let Me Explain each year--and guaranteed sales of 20,000 copies per year (or even half that!) would most certainly keep such a book in print at a comfortably conservative cover price.

That did not, however, happen, and the only children's book to cover ONLY donor insemination (rather than introducing an impersonal variety of ARTs to young kids cognitively able to think primarily only about themselves and their own situation) is going out of print. If you wish to have a copy of Let Me Explain: A Story about Donor Insemination in your personal library, you need to act quickly, as quantities are now extremely limited.


Sincerely yours,
Pat
Patricia Irwin Johnston, MS
30 Year Infertility and Adoption Educator and Advocate
Publisher

Storybooks for Children
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Storybooks for Children of assisted reproduction

I couldn't have another child.
I refused donor eggs.
Should I have done that?
Could I have handled that?
Would I have told my child?
How? When?
Is it a child's right to know?
Suppose he/she rejected me?
Suppose my child told others?
Would I have been just as good
of a mother?

I would have told.
No matter how hard.
I couldn't keep a secret like that
for a lifetime.
It wouldn't be right.

Not everyone feels that way.
And that is OK.
Parents need to make that
decision together.
But for the parents who want to
tell, I wrote a book to help
you.

"Before You Were Born...Our Wish For A Baby"

The books are written in age-appropriate,
loving language and tell the story of how
a child came to be.

There are currently 10 versions:
IVF, Frozen Embryo, Egg Domation,
Embryo Donation, Donor Insemination,
IVF using Donor Sperm, Traditional Surrogate,
Gestational Carrier, Female Partners and
Male Partners.

There will be future books to address other
combinations including Single Women,
donor egg / husband's sperm / gestational carrier,
etc.

Visit: www.xyandme.com

Some doctors are so stupid

Some doctors are so stupid.
Want to know why I, as a Registered
Nurse, feel that way?

I was 36, had severe endometriosis and
wanted another child.
My OB-GYN had me do inseminations.
Six of them.
They are less invasive than IVF.

I thought I would never do IVF.
There's that "Never say Never."
If I knew then, what I know now...
I would have gone straight to IVF.
In fact, doctors should never
encourage patients 36 years old
and above to bother with inseminations.

All you do is waste precious time.
A woman's fertility takes a
nosedive after 35 or 36.
I didn't know it then.

My nursing specialty was ER, not
infertility.
The doctor should have known it.
He should have told me to RUN to
IVF.
He didn't.

By the time I started IVF,
I was forty. Meaning "old"
Meaning a less than 10% chance of
conceiving.

I ignored that statistic.
Statistics don't mean anything
if you're on the right side of them.

I just knew that I was going
to get my little baby girl.
I knew her name.
I had dreams about her.
I knew exactly what she looked like.
I knitted her a pink blanket and
I bought her toys.
A baby that never came.

I did IVF.
I went to retrieval.
There were no eggs to retrieve.

I woke up in the Recovery Room
and my first question was
"How many eggs did they get?"
The nurse said, "Let me go
get your husband and he'll
talk to you."
Big Chicken, she was.

I knew it was bad. In spite
of my drugged state, I knew it
was bad.
I cried so much, even though
my husband kept saying it was OK.
How could he say that?
He had no children.
And he wasn't going to get any
from me.

The doctor offered donor eggs.
We said no.
We said "At least we know we did
everything we could."
It didn't help.
I went home and curled
up in a fetal position in bed.
I didn't want to talk to anyone.

Of course EVERYONE knew I was going
to retrieval.
They all wanted to know how it went.
I couldn't speak.
My husband handled all the calls.
Some days, I'm still not over it.
I still grieve.

But that experience helps me to
help others.
I left the Emergency Department.
I now work in an IVF clinic.
I know how it feels to be in
the patient's shoes.
I help them go through their
cycle and conceive.
I also help them when their bodies
fail them too. When they must
live with the knowledge that
their hopes and dreams of having
a baby are gone.

Will their experience, their
failure, help them later in life?
Mine did.
But what a price.

Endometriosis: The monster inside

I was diagnosed at age 18 with Endometriosis.
It was so bad at that time, that the doctors said
that I would have a hysterectomy within 10 years.

In 1977, there weren't many treatments for it, other
than the birth control pill and surgery.
I was schduled for surgery.
I went in for my pre-op appointment.
Somehow I was pregnant!
A miracle baby.

The Endo became silent for several years.
It then returned with a vengeance.
I had surgery.
They said that the best chance I had for a
pregnancy was within the first
6 months after the surgery.
It took 1 1/2 years.
Another miracle baby.

I went on the birth control pill to keep it quiet.
It returned again with a vengeance.
Endometriosis caused me to have a bowel resection.
Then it finally robbed me of my reproductive organs.

The doctors had been wrong.
I pushed the 10 years to 27 years.
Then I had a complete hysterectomy.
It wasn't fair.

It forced me to give up any hope of more children.
I would never have a little baby girl.
I would have named her Ally.

The monster won in the end and
punished me along the way.
It's gone now for good.
But the scars remain as a reminder
of the monster called Endometriosis.

Janice Grimes, RN, BSN
Posted by Hello