BREAKING NEWS - My Hopeful Journey is now live! Visit us at!!!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

October ICLW Scorecard

I am so glad I participated in my 1st ICLW!   If I had to give myself a grade based on the rules of ICLW, I would say I got an A.  I got behind one day but I did catch up the next day.  I also made up my own rules so I didn't get so overwhelmed with the ICLW commitment.  Based on my rules I would say I got a B. 

My ICLW Rules
  1. Log each blog comment made each day on my spreadsheet*
  2. Visit new blogs each day for the entire week (tracked on spreadsheet)
  3. If I didn't connect immediately to the 1st post I read, I read more posts so I could really try to relate and connect
  4. Reply back to each comment that I get on my blog
  5. Write a new post each day (I didn't quite follow this one which is what made my grade a B instead of an A.... I wrote 5 but that was a record for me)
I really wanted to try to get to know and read as many different blogs as possible for the first go round... hence rule #2.  There are so many great stories out there to follow!  The blogging community is overwhelming and I don't want to bite off more than I can chew with following too many blogs.  I feel like I could get lost for hours upon hours on my computer screen if I don't set limits... How do you manage your blogging time with everything else?  How do you choose which blogs you will follow?  Any ideas?

* I created a spreadsheet from the master list of October participants to keep track each day of the blogs that I read and commented on.  (I will do this each month that I participate and post it right next to the ICLW button just in case you are an anal as I am). 

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

The IF Race - Dear Lucky Ones

First, thank you so much for the comments from my “I'm Sorry” post. I decided to leave it up for an extra day during ICLW so more people would have a chance to view it. I will still be doing 7 posts but in 8 days instead.

I was reflecting on potentially who MY infertility impacted (in the prior post) and it started to move into realizing how I, often times, judged other women that had gotten pregnant very easily or had several children. I decided to break it into 2 posts. Here goes part 2...

Dear "Lucky Ones",

I secretly questioned your parenting and why you were able to be a mother so easily and I had to work so hard. I judged you and your ability as a mother and whether you were deserving. I questioned your relationships with your husbands and families. I questioned how you intended to raise your children and turned my nose up if it didn't meet my HIGH expectations. I know this was wrong of me... it was the way that I chose to cope with my own pain.

I realized that I judged you about your fertility vs. my lack of fertility. It was like a race to me in that I was working so hard to get pregnant and therefore I should win (I am competitive in nature)! I thought that you weren't "allowed" to be pregnant because you didn't work as hard as I did. After all, I was getting 3 shots a day, waking up super early to go to the doctor, canceling my vacation plans, and in general scheduling my entire life around trying to get pregnant. How is that fair?

Well, there is no fair in infertility. It is not a race, that the harder you train, the more likely you are to win or the more deserving you are to have a baby. I can't compare my efforts to my ability to have or not have a child OR somehow think that you don't deserve a child as much as me because I worked harder. There isn't just a 1st, 2nd and 3rd prize here. Having a child does not require a set amount of desire, pain, time or effort. It does not mean the lack of any of these makes you less deserving! We all have the right to be a mother and it sucks that some of us have to go through such extraordinary steps to make it happen, if it ever does happen, that is.

 I know I am not alone as I have read that many women on their journey do exactly what I have done. It is natural and normal (I think). What I have learned from this is awareness and acceptance. I know we are all human, we are not perfect as wives, sisters, daughters, nieces, aunts and even mothers. We do the BEST that we have given what we know at the time. It is the only thing we can do. We are not bad people because this is how we cope.. it is just how we make it through some of the days on our journey.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

I'm Sorry

Dear Fertile Friends and Family,

 I want to say I am sorry!  I am sorry for never seeing how my infertility impacted your lives.  I didn't think about the far reaching impact.  I only thought about how it impacted me and my husband directly. 

 To my parents, I didn't ever consider the fact that you might truly be grieving for a grandchild that you lost and may never have.  I didn't imagine that you might have longed to see your grandchild's first birthday or Christmas.  It didn't even cross my mind that you could be grieving for that in your life! I AM SORRY!

 To my siblings, I also didn't realize that you might really want to have a niece or nephew and how that touched your lives.

 For my friends, I dismissed the fact that my infertility could even impact you at all.  We are friends and that is that.  But that isn't true, I mean we are friends but it can't be taken for granted.  I didn't recognize that we were disconnected in some ways because I was not a mother and you were. I am SORRY!

To my co-workers, (These people mostly fall in the family and friends category because I work with a great group of people... I consider them to be my family and my friends.)  I know my infertility impacted you as well.  I started to change as a person. I retreated and isolated myself from you, at times.  I kept my infertility a secret because I didn't want to be treated different.  If you did know about my infertility and loss, you were scared to tell me about your joys of becoming a grandparent or a mother yourself.  I would never want to take away your happiness on something that is so important to you.  I AM sorry!

To everyone above, I know that infertility has impacted you in so many ways without actually walking through the shoes of IF.  I know that it is tough to see someone that you love and care about be in pain.  I also know that you felt helpless in all of it.  I know there were times that I got frustrated because you just didn't understand.  You didn't understand what I was going through because you never went through it yourself.  I hope this letter doesn't come to late.  There are some relationships that could have been truly devastated by my infertility because of my inability to cope with it.  I think I was able to see what was happening and finally make the changes necessary before it was too late. 

Is there a relationship that has been significantly changed because of your infertility?  Is there something that you can do today to help mend that relationship? Maybe you can pick up the phone, send a text, write a letter, extend the olive branch in some way to start to resolve a relationship that has been impacted.

Friday, October 22, 2010

The Journey of a Thousands Miles Begins with One Step

The journey of a thousand miles begins with one step, by Lao Tzu. This is such a deep and powerful statement. I found a ring that has this quote inscribed on it.  I am wearing it as a reminder of where I have been.. but more importantly where I am going.  I am hoping to use my experiences, both positive and negative, to help other women like me.  I believe that it is both my positive and maybe even more so my tragic experiences that have not only made me a stronger person but also made me appreciate my life that much more.  Sure, I could be bitter and angry... and of course I have experienced those emotions.  I hate it.. it makes me feel terrible.  But I have healed and feel like I have grown to be a better person.

 I realize that I control my perspective and how I react to life.  Sometimes I literally made myself get out of bed and forced myself to face the world.  It was the hardest thing to do... to put one foot in front of the other instead of putting my head under the covers.  It is not easy by any stretch of the imagination.  But it is very important to try as best as you can to have a positive outlook.  It is normal to be devastated if a cycle is canceled or your lab work isn't what you expected it would be or there aren't as many follies as you would like.  Take the time to grieve the way you need to and deal with your emotions.  If you need to lay in bed and sleep all day.. DO IT!  But set limits for yourself and look at the positive in each day that you have.  And when I say look.. I mean it... seek it out, search for it, create it, even if it is something small! 

 So often when one door closes another door (or two) opens.  I know for me I went through 5 doctors and it wasn't until doctor number 4 that I actually found out what was wrong with me... I think that was around the 3 1/2 year mark.  I was devastated when doctor number 4 closed the door because she said they don't do IVF on patients with high FSH.  I was devastated.. the door didn't only close.. it slammed shut!  I guess I was naive but up until this point I didn't know that a doctor could or would turn me away from treatment, after all I have insurance!  I had a whole bunch of emotions that were not so positive.  I realized that I could let that stop me in my tracks... or I could keep going.  Right, I could keep going... well of course I could, there were still 1 or 2 doctors in the area that I hadn't seen yet ;-).  Soooo on the phone I was armed with new information.  Yet another step in my journey....

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Why Blog? My 1st IComLeavWe!

I have been “blogging” for a little more than 2 months. It has been a struggle for me to find the right words to say (and to hit the publish button once I do have the words). I currently have 34 posts started and only 9 finished. I am excited to participate in my 1st IComLeavWe and make myself write and finalize 7 posts in 7 days! My intent is to inspire hope, to help, and to advocate for infertility from an average Jane’s perspective. I hope you can relate to me and I hope to meet and get to know many more of you than I do now.

I originally didn't start a blog so I could actually blog. Um yes that is what I said… let me explain! I have been working on a project on and off for a few years that will help women that have gone through infertility treatments, like I did. The work was mostly “off” until recently but I won’t bore you with the details! So I was looking at reviving my efforts in this and here goes the story…

I was originally searching for ways that I could distribute my Infertility Treatment Tracking Survey so I could get feedback for an infertility web-based application that I am developing. I did what any other person would do and I googled it! I, of course, got about 1,790,000 results in 0.26 seconds.. or so I was told.

I really didn’t know what I was looking for in my google search but I surely didn’t realize that I could set-up a free survey with google docs and then embed it in a blog for free! (No I don't work for google ;-) On the first page of results I found this blog, A Girlfriend’s Guide Through Infertility.   I was only looking to get my survey out in a more efficient, organized and professional manner until I was able to get my website up and running. I didn’t want to send individual emails out to my IF community and then spend time compiling the results based on their email responses back to me… there had to be a better way! I was inspired by the “girlfriends” and so I gave it a whirl.

Soon after I started the blog/survey I read the article called "Breaking the Silence on Infertility" by Jennifer Wolff Perinne and it inspired me to write my first post. I wanted to provide this article to the women that were coming to my blog to complete the survey.  It was at that time that I started to read other infertility blogs and saw all the wonderful things that you all are doing. I really wanted to be a part of this community and I am regretful that I didn’t “join” earlier. After all, I have been part of the IF community for so many years (over 5 years). How had I discounted blogging all together? I don’t think I knew the true community that exists here OR that I had anything to really say that anyone would actually read or care about. I am so happy that I have found that both are true.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

Candle Lighting and Rose Petals

I thought I would share some of the pictures that I took last night.  The rest are on my new flickr page:

Thanks to all that supported October 15th and however you chose to honor the day!

Friday, October 15, 2010

Petals Honoring Infant and Pregnancy Losses Today - October 15

October 15th is National Infant and Pregnancy Loss Awareness Day!  On Tuesday I read the post Reading Aloud on October 15th by afteriris.  She invited people to leave the names of those pregnancies and infants that they have lost so she can read them out loud in remembrance.  I thought this was such a wonderful sentiment to support others that have experienced such a painful loss. 

This post inspired me to do more.  Each day I remember my lost daughter in my own way, privately.  I wanted to do something to honor all the losses experienced by each and every one of you (including those that have never gotten a BFP because you experience loss as well).  Tonight I will be taking white rose petals, in honor of each of you and spreading the petals at my local pond.  I have invited others in my family to join me. 

Will you join me as well?  I bought a single white rose at my local grocery store florist but you can take a flower from your garden... if you don't have a pond close by... take the petals and throw them in the wind. Or do something else that is meaningful to you, light a candle, say a prayer, sing a song in remembrance, write a letter, post a poem or reading in "After Iris Reads Aloud" AND leave a comment here.

At times I think that I have become so strong in handling my losses until I speak (or type) about it.  It is still hard to not let the emotions take over completely!  I realize that I have learned to live with the pain fairly well, but it is always on the surface.  It is a part of me, it is part of what makes me who I am, I hate that I have had these experiences and I hate that so many of you have also.  But it is part of my journey and in the end it is the journey that I live.  I saw a poster this morning entitled “Journey” that said, “It is good to have an end to journey toward; but it is the journey that matters, in the end”, by Ursula K. LeGuin.

Thursday, October 14, 2010

The Blogging Jitters! Anyone else?

Why do I have so many blog posts started and only 8 finished.  I really need to get the hang of this.  I feel like I am totally over thinking everything.. like I am writing something that could be viewed by the whole world... oh never mind - I AM!  Has anyone else experienced this? 

Hitting the publish button makes me a little, actually a lot nervous.  I am THINKING way too much about this.  I guess that is both a blessing and a curse?  And of course, I started this on September 24th.. lets see how long it takes me to hit publish. 

I really want to get up the nerve to do a 30 day blog challenge but I can't even commit to 1 post a week much less a day!  I have signed up for the October IComLeavWe from October 21st - 28th.  This will absolutely force me to post and comment and hopefully get me in a good blogging routine. 

Is it ludicrous for me to have 8 posts (now 9) published and 22 drafts? 

Monday, October 11, 2010

Birthday Wish - Send a Card TODAY to this Sick Boy!

I received this email this morning from a close friend of mine.  It touched my heart and also made me very sad.  I wanted to share this with each of you because I know how supportive this community is.  I can't imagine being blessed with a child and then knowing that they would be taking away too early!  I am going to the bookstore today to send Hunter a card... His birthday is in 2 days. 

If you are like me... I did my shopping over the weekend so I would have a tough time getting to the store today if I didn't have a store that I could walk to from work.  I ask that you send anything... it will only cost you a few minutes and a stamp.  Maybe print a page from an online coloring book, type a Happy Birthday message in Word, send a quick note that just says Happy Birthday Hunter, it doesn't have to be big.. he is just asking for lots of birthday wishes (and prayers)!

Hello All,

I was at a meeting last night at our Women's Church group and one of the women put out a request. The grandnephew of one of our members, Hunter Scott, has been fighting for the last couple of years with brain cancer. He is going to turn 7 years old on October 13th. When he was asked what he wanted for his birthday, he said he wanted to get a lot of birthday cards. We have been asked to reach out to others to see if they will send him a birthday card. We're not asking to send money, only a card. He has been in and out of Childrens' Hospital in Washington , DC , and is a real fighter. Though the doctors have said that this will probably be his last birthday. If you have time and an extra card, can you send one to him? If you are comfortable sending this request to your friends, I know he would love to get cards from all over the country. More than anything though, he and his family could use your prayers.



Send cards to:
Hunter Scott
c/o Jessica Koehn
P.O. Box 278
St. Leonard , MD 20685

Friday, October 8, 2010

Infertility in the Media - October 8, 2010

I am really making an effort to keep my eyes and ears open for infertility in the media.  The BIG news this week is that Robert Edwards won the Nobel medicine prize.  I was so happy to see that sooo many of my facebook friends posted this news!  It is so impressive to me that the IF community is so supportive of one another.

Sunday, October 3rd - One of my mentor's sent me this link about Stanford researchers predict fate of tiny embryos based on observing their growth.  If this is true, could knowing this change the protocol for day 3 IVF transfers?

Monday, October 4th - IVF Pioneer, Robert Edwards, wins Nobel Medicine Prize.  His work has given many women hope and has resulted in approximately 4 million babies.  (A million thank yous from women around the world!)

Wednesday, October 6th - Mark McGrath's Blog: Our Fertility Journey, Part 2 I love that this is from a man's perspective and he's cute!

I promise I am working on posts.. I just have such a hard time finalizing them... feel free to send me advice on how to get better at hitting the "publish post" button.  :-)

Friday, October 1, 2010

Infertility in the Media

I don't know if I am really seeing a change occur in the media in spreading the word on infertility or if I am just looking for it much harder? 

This week in the media:

Monday: "Rules of Engagement" - Audrey, one of the main characters, is infertile and they have explored several topics around infertility including IVF and Surrogacy. 

Wednesday: "The View" shares their award from Resolve's "Night of Hope"

Thursday: Giuliana and Bill Rancic open up about their struggle with infertility and loss.

Friday: Fox Anchor Reveals Infertility Struggle by Jennifer D'Angelo Friedman in Self Magazine

Progress is being made.  We can all help by doing our part in spreading the word and supporting one another.

Please share links and stories in the comments below.