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
I have walked in your shoes.
Email me. I'm here!


help me up
my friend.

dust me off.

feed me warmth.

you are comfort.

let me lean on you
until I can stand

I will then stand a little

and you will be
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
    "when the time is right"
    "if you just Reeelaaaxxxx"
    "when you stop trying"
    "if you go out and get
    "if you raise your hips
     on pillows after intercourse"
    "if you fill out adoption
    "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

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

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

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

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
Basically it means an
"anembryonic pregnancy."
A pregnancy with no
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"
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

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:
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

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

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
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
physical suffering
and mental torture.
It truly is a man's world -
In an IVF cycle
he endures the
humiliation of an

"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,
Patricia Irwin Johnston, MS
30 Year Infertility and Adoption Educator and Advocate

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

"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,

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
The doctor should have known it.
He should have told me to RUN to
He didn't.

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

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
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