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Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes – How do you measure your life in infertility treatment?

March 26, 2015 | By: | Filed under: Deadly Silence, Egg Donation, Faith and Infertility, Infertility Awareness, infertility in the media, IVF, Miscarriage, National Infertility Awareness, Peace to Parenthood, Personal Musings, Recurrent Pregnancy Loss, The Journey to Parenthood, Thinking Out Loud, Third-Party Assisted Reproduction, Treatment, Uncategorized, visualization

 

Five Hundred Twenty Five Thousand Six Hundred Minutes

How do you measure your life in infertility treatment?

How do you measure a day, or a year?

 

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred tests
Five hundred twenty five thousand moments, oh dear
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred dollars
How do you measure, measure an IVF year?

In daylights, in sunsets
In phone calls, in cups of coffee
In inches, in pounds, in needles, in surgery
In five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred minutes
How do you measure, a year of infertility?

How about love for the baby you’re creating?
How about love for the people helping you conceive?
How about love for your partner or a friend?
Measure in love

Cycles of love
Cycles of love

Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred blood draws
Five hundred twenty five thousand follicles to count
Five hundred twenty five thousand six hundred heartbeats
How do you measure the life of an infertile woman or a man?

In diagnoses that she learned
Or in times that he cried
In money they lost or the day the baby died?

It’s time now, to sing out
Though the story never ends
Let’s celebrate
Remember a year in the life of our infertile friends

Remember to love
Oh, you got to, you got to remember to love
Remember to love
You know that love is a gift from up above
Remember to love
Share love, give love, spread love
Measure in love
Measure, measure your infertility in love

Cycles of love
Cycles of love
Measure your infertility, measure your life in love

Inspired By Rent — Seasons Of Love, Lyrics

 

 

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Why does Jennifer Aniston’s quest to be a mother inspire me so?

August 19, 2010 | By: | Filed under: Current Affairs, Egg Donation, Faith and Infertility, In the News, Infertility In The Movies etc., Peace to Parenthood, Personal Musings, The Journey to Parenthood, Thinking Out Loud, Uncategorized, visualization

Everyone knows that I am fan of Jennifer’s.  I actually probably wouldn’t be married to my DH if it wasn’t for some advice her mom gave me a long time ago.  But seriously, Jennifer is an extraordinary woman in all respects, and from my perspective even more so for the way she is approaching her quest to be a mom.

At 41, most of know that Jennifer is likely to be facing some fertility issues (although with her health conscious lifestyle and yoga-bod maybe she’s found the way to turn back time, she sure looks it anyway!).  While most of us would be doing a little freak-out dance now, and panicking about the ticking time bomb that are our ovaries, Ms. Aniston seems anything but panicked.  In fact, she seems rather Zen about it all.  And that is exactly my point and what inspires me.

First, the woman KNOWS she is going to be a mom.  One way or another the woman has total and complete faith that she will become a mom.  Rather than spiraling into depression (as I did and many of us do), Jennifer has seemed to have found a way to let go and TRUST.  This is, I think, the gateway to success.

I really truly believe that it is when you completely accept and embrace the concept that you will be a mother, no matter what and no matter how (IUI, IVF, IVF donor egg, gestational surrogacy, adoption, whatever is your path), that fertility treatments have the highest success rates.  Study after study shows that the mind-body connection cannot and should not be ignored.  Women who are able to be in the place that Jennifer Aniston seems to be in, are the women who are more likely to succeed with fertility treatments.  It’s fact not fiction.  I know — as does JA — that she’s got an edge on success that I wish more of my friends and clients had: The inner-knowingness of the inevitability of their impending state of motherhood.

Another thing that I think sets her apart from many of us (and I include myself in this group when I was in the first 4 or 5 years of treatment), is that by all media accounts, she seems fairly open to many different paths to parenthood.  I am not privy to her conversations with her BFF’s but I am guessing that there isn’t much she isn’t considering about how she’s going to become a mom.  That too puts her on the fast track to “mommydom”.  Not all of us can be as enlightened and confident as she is, and I am not saying that she doesn’t have her moments of . . . doubt  . . . but I really think that the confidence and openness that Jennifer Aniston is talking about whenever she is interviewed about becoming a mom is something that tells me it ain’t gonna be long before she’s announcing the arrival or the impending arrival of a little baby Aniston.

And for what its worth, I think she’s a fantastic role model for every woman, single or married, over the age of 35 who’s trying to become a mom.

ASSUME IT IS GOING TO HAPPEN, AND IT WILL.

p.s. and when you can’t totally assume it will happen, fake it, fake it until you make-it  . . . because that’s another sure fire way to get your mommy-Zen fire burning.

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What do you want Mother’s Day to be like when you are a mom?

May 7, 2010 | By: | Filed under: Peace to Parenthood, visualization

You are probably being inundated with blog posts right now, and articles about how to cope with Mother’s Day while you’re waiting to become a mother.  The last Mother’s Day I spent before I became a mother, I spent it at the Ritz Carlton Hotel in Puerto Rico where Charlie took me for the weekend right before our next IVF cycle started.  I spent the weekend doing my Lupron injections and drinking Pina Coladas and beer by the pool (sorry Dr. Chung, I know you said no alcohol!! oops).  Charlie went hiking.  Neither of us was in much mood to deal with the holiday so we escaped.  I got pregnant with twins that IVF cycle and shortly after miscarrying the pregnancy decided to adopt.  What I didn’t know then that I know now is that there is a far more productive means of escaping.  Instead of drowning your sorrows or hiding, visualize how you want Mother’s Day to be when you are a mom.

Charlie keeps asking me what I want to do this Mother’s Day.  I don’t know.  Breakfast in bed brought on a tray by my little boy sounds too cliche.  And the kitchen will just be a disaster that I get to clean up.  Instead, I have been visualizing future mother’s days and trying to create a rich memory for this year.  I am trying to create the perfect Mother’s Day in my head.

I asked for a trip to the gardening store and extra hands in our garden so that I can plant things that grow.  I want to celebrate this year’s Mother’s Day by making the earth rich and fertile and creating life that I can look at outside the kitchen window when I am doing dishes later this summer and be reminded of Mother’s Day.  I am trying to decide what flowers and plants I want to put in.

Mother’s Day has different meanings to all of us.  It is an especially painful holiday when your womb and arms are empty, when your power to reproduce or be a mother is in someone else’s hands.  But you do have power to visualize what it will be like when you are a mother and in so doing, by creating every detail down to the smells and textures, to the exhaustion you will feel at the thought of cleaning up the mother’s day mess in the kitchen, you help speed your way to its manifestation.  Create your future mother’s day and write it down.  Live it in your head.  Don’t for a second doubt it will be real.  The flowers this year are only a start for me.  I need to visualize more Mother’s days, with more babies.  Where will I be then, what flowers will I be planting?

And you know what, as I am writing this, I remember that my first Mother’s Day as a mother, I planted a rose bush in the garden of the house we were renting.  I had made a promise to myself before my very first IVF cycle that I would thank the earth and plant something to remember that time in my life.  I totally forgot about that.  WOW.   Maybe this is my way of celebrating.  But clearly, that promise has been realized.  Yours will be too.  And mine will be again.

So, what does your perfect Mother’s day look like?

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Taking Baby steps toward baby steps

May 4, 2010 | By: | Filed under: Faith and Infertility, Peace to Parenthood, Personal Musings, The Journey to Parenthood, Thinking Out Loud

Today I saw a pregnant woman on my way home from dropping off my son at school.  I had been in this really amazing place of feeling overwhelmed with gratitude for my life and my children.  I was literally weeping at this vision of a train of school buses leaving his elementary school.  I had him in the back seat.  This was my dream for years and now I am among those whom I envied.  I am a MOM.  It was the most beautiful moment and I stopped myself to “appreciate” the appreciation in my heart.  I stopped myself to thank the Universe.  I looked in the rear view mirror and told my son I loved him.  Life was full, rich and I was blessed.

I dropped him off and debated which way to drive home.  I opted for the way I came so I might catch a glimpse of those school buses again.  I could have chosen a faster route home, and a stop at Starbucks, but I wanted to see those buses and feel that wonderful sense of perfection and rightness again.  I wanted to hold onto it for as long as I could.  Soon, I knew, the day would interrupt and I would be struggling to find that sense of peace and joy.  Maybe I should have taken a right instead of the left and gone to Starbucks.  My day sure as hell would have been easier.

Because whammo there she was.  She was hugely pregnant.  She was wearing a white shirt that barely stretched across her belly.  She was big and beautiful and I could see her belly button sticking out from a 1/4 of a mile away.  With a sudden intake of breath I went crashing from an emotional space of rightness and calm, free falling my way to the depths of despair.  Choose the profane word you like most and insert it here.  Mine begins with an “F”.

WHY????  Why does this continue to bug me.  Why cannot I get past my need to be pregnant.  My life is full and rich, and challenging and amazing and hard and beautiful . . . just as it is intended to be.  And yet one siting of a woman filled with the life that I have yet to bear and I turned into a weeping mass of depression.    I pulled the car over to watch her for a few moments, turned on the Dixie Chics’ song about infertility, and had a good cry.

I imagine my heartbreak this morning was more real because I recently lost an unexpected pregnancy.  I spent a little over a week of my life living in wonder at the miracle of nature and my body that I could conceive at 43 without Lovenox and without donor sperm.  According to the ultrasound, I was 5w4d when I found out I was pregnant.  I didn’t keep the ultrasound because I didn’t want another reminder.  I knew the pregnancy wouldn’t stick.  That was too much to ask for.  But I did live with this beautiful secret for much longer than I expected to until the inevitable . . . .

Now I am struggling to make sense of this accident.  My body is still recovering, and I am sure I am 100% normal in my response to that which I long to have, and see all around me, and all too often.  It is Spring and I have always noticed that I see more pregnant women in the Spring.  It sucks that so far this experience has been denied to me.  I sat in the car praying that one day that the Universe will let me carry a child to term.  I also accepted the fact that there is a lot of work and change that I realize I must do if I want to realize my dream (another subject in and of itself).

But what shocks me is that I/we can go from such unbelievable peace, contentment and gratitude to the depths of despair so quickly.  This is what infertility brings us.  I have been thinking alot about this infertility rollercoaster thing we’re on.  I don’t think it’s a roller coaster anymore.  I think it’s more like bungy jumping.  Every attempt we make at conception or adoption is like diving off a bridge with a seemingly thin rope tethered to your ankle.  Will the rope be strong enough to pull us up before we hit the ground?  Is it short enough to prevent us from smashing into the ground or will we crash and burn?  There is so much faith that goes into that bungy jump, so much strength and bravery that we need in order to let go and try and feel the sensation of falling safely.  Or to try and feel the the glory of the wind rushing past our face and facing the risks and fears that the “velcro” won’t stick.  My velcro didn’t stick this time and boy did I crash and burn.

But I learned something too.  I learned that I don’t want to give up my dream of carrying a child.  I’m willing to do the work and face the risks inherent in striving for this as my reality.  I learned that I am willing to dive off of the bridge again.  In fact, I am craving and longing for that opportunity.  I am officially no longer risk adverse and have put nothing but my happiness and the desire to fill each and every one of my dreams — not just being pregnant, but all of what I need and want as a person but have been too afraid to ask for because of what it might mean to the rest of my life, or how it might impact the rest of my life.  I decided that my children deserve a happy mother, not just a good mother but one who is happy and fulfilled by all aspects of her life and her being-ness.  Indeed, I think now that if I hadn’t had the miscarriage I might have failed to teach my children a valuable lesson: to believe in yourself and your dreams.  I discovered I am brave and strong.

I know now with a certainty that words cannot convey that my children came to me out of my faith that I would be a mother; that the events and circumstances in my life have all had meaning both in the way they came to be and because of the time at which they were realized.  The Universe plays a roll in everything that happens, there is no coincidence to anything that has happened to me.  All of it was part of my own divine inspiration.  And with that divine inspiration I will get to a place where I am standing on top of the bridge again waiting to feel the rush of wind, the freedom in the free fall and the unknown, and the joy and terror of staring my demons in the face and waiting to feel the cord tied around my leg catch me as the velcro finally sticks.  There is more to my journey through infertility.  Of that I am certain.  Of the outcome, I am certain in that too.

I have spoken with three clients today.  All of whom feel as I do.  That the journey seems too hard but that there must be purpose to it.  One client left me the most beautiful voice mail last week, thanking me for being a part of her family’s journey and telling me not to give up on my own (she didn’t know about the miscarriage but she must have sensed that I have been depressed and struggling with many different issues in my life and my family).  She also said that she knew one thing with certainty, that their journey was enriched by knowing me.  I was moved to tears.  My experience as a woman, as a lawyer, as an infertility patient are enriched by each of my clients.  As I help them with their contracts, with their search for a birth parent, with the daily ups and downs that come on this path, I learn new ways of expressing hope, of finding peace in each moment, of being grateful for what I do have and in renewing my faith in what is possible.  I am as grateful for each of my clients as I hope one day they will be (or are) for the work that I do for them.  But no one has ever expressed their appreciation or gratitude as she did.  I know I am doing exactly what I was intended to do and I would not be doing this work had I not endured 4 IUI’s, 7 attempted (six completed) IVF Cycles, 3 adoptions, and now ten miscarriages.  It all had purpose.

This morning as I sat in my car having my cry I wondered why it is so hard (as the Dixie Chics sang so eloquently). Is there is a reason it is so hard?  And I realized that there is a reason.  It is because it’s part of learning that the process doesn’t have to be hard.  I can instead choose to believe in the outcome I want.  What is hard is the fact that we don’t allow ourselves to believe in what is possible.  And in not believing in what is possible, we prevent it from taking place.

It is not easy to go from the pain and grief I felt this morning to having total and complete faith that my dream will one day be a reality.  But if I don’t hold steadfast to that dream and believe in believing, the velcro will never have a chance to stick.  These last few months I have discovered a place inside me that is strong and fearless.  I know without a doubt that I have the power to create my dreams.  I am glad I saw that pregnant woman this morning, and I am glad that I spent time weeping for the child I just lost.  But that child is a reminder that my body works, that my dream is alive, and that I am moving closer to it.  We are all moving closer to it, as long as we create the vision and believe it will happen, we are moving toward its’ creation.  In this case, it’s the creation of our child and/or our family.

It’s okay to have hard days.  The hard days make us understand how worthwhile the journey is and make us appreciate the easy days more.  Today, I am taking baby steps toward my next baby’s steps.  I don’t know when, but I do know it will BE.  What I can’t do is allow the hardness of the process overtake the belief in its outcome.

If you too are having a hard day, remember that you’re not alone.  And remind yourself to hold onto your dream and to make it more and more vivid every day.  Your baby, and mine, are coming.  In their own time and their own way.  As it is meant to be.  I wouldn’t have met all these wonderful men and women if it wasn’t for the way it had to be.  I wouldn’t change a thing.  Not even the baby that I just lost.  S/he taught me an incredible lesson.  To have faith in myself.

It may sometimes take baby steps to get through the day, or the week or the month.  But each little baby step is one GIANT step closer to the reality you envision.  Believe yourself.  Believe your dream.  Don’t give up.

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Feeling Overwhelmed and the Wonder of Autumn

November 6, 2009 | By: | Filed under: Peace to Parenthood

I’ve had a lot going on recently — between travelling for work, representing clients, and getting ready to launch an egg donation agency my plate is pretty full — on top of which I have family issues and a back that doesn’t really want to let me stand up straight (a metaphor for my life if ever there was one).  I was talking to my coach about how overwhelmed I feel and how does a business owner, lawyer, any professional person in general deal with that.  I also feel that a recent visit to Dr. Chung to address my own reproductive issues brought up a lot of memories and feelings which just added to feeling like I couldn’t manage my own life.  I know we all get there sometimes.  The days you don’t want to get out of bed, the days you want to take a mental health day from work, the days nothing goes right and you find yourself digging through your pocket book for chocolate or xanax or both!  LOL!

My coach gave me a lot to think about and work on and I must say that we worked through many of my personal issues surrounding feeling overwhelmed and now I am feeling much more empowered, but the bottom line I think was that I was (1) avoiding facing the issues and work that were bugging me ; (2) I wasn’t taking time for myself (hello Martyr Liz); and (3) I wasn’t taking time to look around me and feel grateful for things.

So this morning, as I do almost every morning, I sat down for my meditation time (which I will admit I haven’t had in over a month because of the demands of work) and I looked out the window of my sun porch and NOTICED the beautiful yellow and orange trees outside my windows.  Literally overnight they had gone from green to the amazing mix of colors, they are blazing with light and color and reminding me of the limitless capacity we all have for change.  Feeling overwhelmed is only a feeling.  Feelings are not facts, and they do not usually accurately represent where we are in our leaves.  If the trees in my backyard can go from spring green to autumn blazing bold orange and gold overnight, than so can we.  We can go from feeling overwhelmed, stuck, frustrated, anxious, or even despair at the stress in our lives presented by childlessness, infertility, infertility treatment, worries about follicle counts and E2 levels, birth mothers not returning our calls, our adoption cell phones not ringing, our agency calling to tell us our referral has been delayed (again) . . . whatever it is . . . to recognizing that we really are all okay, everything is perfect in our lives right now and that we are safe and not alone.  It doesn’t take much.  For me all it took was taking a break and looking and really seeing outside the window of my world.  That tree changed overnight.  Nothing is permanent or forever.  Those leaves will be gone in a few days leaving me with new views to ponder.  Tomorrow your E2 level will be different, you might get  a call that a spot opened up on a dr’s wait list, or your referral might come in from your agency.

Take a moment and look at something outside of your normal consciousness.  Something you take for granted, something you ignore.  Notice how beautiful and miraculous it is.  The write down what you noticed about it, and then write down everything that is making you feel overwhelmed or stuck.

Next, write down the opposite of everything that is making you feel overwhelmed or stuck.  Write down the way you want it to be.  That tree in my yard changed overnight.  In a few days it will change again.  It reminded me that our lives our fluid and constantly moving.  Our feelings are just feelings.  Write them down, then write down what you want the reality to be.  I bet you anything that just like the blazing fire of autumnal glory outside my window that is transfixing me and inspiring me, the thing you look at will change your perspective as well and you will see or remember that the list of what you want is moving closer to you every second.

And if that didn’t work . . . just remember this adage someone once told me.  Imagine you are swimming in the ocean toward the shore.  But the current is so strong that as you swim you get no closer to land.  However, every stroke of your arms and kick of your legs fighting that current is making your legs and arms stronger.  When that current releases you, you will literally fly through the water toward the land at a speed you cannot comprehend right now.  Every stroke is building muscle.  Every breathe is keeping you strong.  Because nothing is permanent and that current will disappear and you will be swimming faster toward your dreams and goals than you can even begin to comprehend now as you fight with that current.  Surrender to the current.

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