To my tween daughter: What I’m not giving you is the greatest gift

Dear tween daughter,

I know what you want. It comes in a clean, white box with a silver apple on it. It is a window to the world, access to anything at anytime, a real-time digital autobiography for the world to read. I know that it seems like everyone else has one. I know that the first year of middle school without a smartphone made you feel left out. I know that you think it will connect you. But I want to give you a different perspective. Please hear me out.

Everyday at 3:18 pm I would start to see your middle school peers filing out of the bus and making their way home. Some had their heads down, eyes locked on a screen, fingers swiping and tapping methodically. They would pass our house silently, one by one, not noticing me with the cooing baby or the doodle wagging his tail so hard that he might fall over. Their faces were blank and focused, like a zombie parade. I wondered what kind of circus show would pull their gaze away from whatever was pulling them into their phones.

Then I would hear an eruption of giggles at least four houses down. I could see two girls happily skipping down the walk, their hands making silly gestures and their faces lit up with expressions that no emoji on earth could ever replicate. Their eyes would be locked on each other and they bounced their words back and forth like a ping pong match. My heart smiled first when I saw that it was you and your best friend, and a wave of pride and relief would come over me.

You, my sweet daughter, are a curator of a dying art. The beautiful symphony of voices fluctuating to express feelings; hands enthusiastically conducting an orchestra of emotions; the crescendo of laughter at the end. It’s a slowly dying art but you are keeping it alive and it cannot survive inside a screen.

You don’t know how to take the perfect selfie; or the hashtags that will attract the most likes; or the feeling of scrolling through a social media feed to discover that you were one of the only kids left out. I know you feel like the only one without, but I’m giving you a gift.

You know that Polaroid picture of you and your best friend hanging from your string lights? That’s the only copy that exists in the world. It’s priceless. It’s an original. You and her were in that moment and now that moment is happily displayed where only you and your closest friends can see it. There’s no hashtag, screen capture, digital copy, filter or comments to augment that moment. It belongs to you. Your life and moments should be made for yourself, not for an audience. Your beautiful and brilliant mind cannot make all the right decisions right now because those parts of your brain are not even close to being developed. I cannot expect the science of that to change for you, so I will not burden you with the choice of how much of your life you should share with the world.

Please accept this gift. Keep it in your pocket. It is a treasure but you might not realize its value until you are older. Keep lugging that big Polaroid camera everywhere you go and capturing your moments for that beautiful string light gallery in your room.

There will come a time when you get to open a clean, white box with an apple on it, but for now, the greatest gift I can give to you are these memorable, awkward, explorative years without a smartphone.


Mom of Fame – Expecting through Reciprocal IVF

Ana is a wonderful human being. I (Lisa) was great friends with her in high school and Facebook has kept us connected ever since. I was thrilled when I got to meet her (then) girlfriend when I took their engagement photos. These two bring light and love and we are so excited for them to be bringing a little one into this world.

We reached out to Ana to see if she wanted to tell her story about getting pregnant. It was a bit of a long road for them and their story is worth reading.

Pregnancy happens in various ways and we were excited to learn a little bit more about reciprocal IVF. They both deserve the title of Mom of Fame just for going through what they have so far.

Can’t wait to hear when the little one arrives!

Tell us about your family.

My wife (Kim) and I started dating 9 years ago (Feb 2010) when we met at a bar one night in Kalamazoo where we were both living at the time. I was immediately drawn to her humor and beautiful brain. In June of 2014 we got married in front of Niagara Falls (New York side) because same-sex marriage wasn’t legal in Michigan yet. A year later (June 2015) when it was made legal across the country we were thrilled! Kim is an actuary (mathlete) and I am currently in grad school part time at MSU working on my MSW. We have two little dogs, who are in their retirement and getting crabbier and more toothless by the day, but we love them. We live in my hometown (The Six!) which is crazy to me because I never saw myself moving back here. It has definitely changed for the better I think though. Just wish they would stop paving paradise to put up parking lots. 

Tell us about your journey getting pregnant. 

First I want to acknowledge that I know we are fortunate to have the options and access that we do. I know a lot of people are not able to seek out fertility specialists for many reasons and although it shouldn’t be, it is a privilege and it is one that I don’t take for granted.

Anyway…about 3 years ago we decided that we wanted to start trying to have a baby. Of course, being two women we are missing one essential component (ahem sperm) so we knew we had to find a donor. We chose a sperm bank that two of our friends had used out of Washington state and found an anonymous donor that seemed to match the criteria we were looking for.

I have known since I was a kid that I wanted to be pregnant and have babies someday. My wife knew she wanted kids but never felt like it was natural for her to carry a child. (Side note: I feel like a lot more women probably feel this way but may not talk about it). SO it was an easy decision that I would be the one to carry our children.

Because my cycle had always been regular and I had been tracking for about 4 months, I figured getting pregnant would be no problem. After two failed attempts doing at home insemination though, we decided to see a specialist. (At home insemination is also known as the turkey baster method although you do NOT use a turkey baster).

At this time my insurance did not cover a penny of seeing a fertility specialist but we decided to go anyway. He recommended IUI (Intrauterine Insemination) where they put the sperm directly into the uterus with a plastic catheter thing. We found out after the first few months of no pregnancy that I have an “ovulatory dysfunction” meaning that even though my cycle seems normal I was only ovulating every other month or so. So they put me on a bunch of drugs and monitored the cycle from beginning to end.

The first medicated IUI attempt WORKED!! I took a pregnancy test at home and it was positive. I was so excited! The due date was New Years Day! At the 2 week mark, I went to the doctor to take an official blood test and the BETA came back at only 32. This level is pretty low for day 14 after ovulation and the nurse did not sound hopeful. She said to prepare for the fact that the pregnancy might not be viable and to come back in a few days to see if the levels increased. I took another at home pregnancy test the next day and the line was much fainter than it had been. I started feeling disheartened but still had some hope. I went to the doctor again and the results had decreased to 12. They told me to expect a heavy period in the next week and that they were sorry.

I was devastated.

What’s worse is I felt like I had no right to be sad because it was only a “chemical pregnancy”. When I got my period about a week later it was the worst one I had ever experienced. Every cramp reminded me of the baby that might have been.

The next month I tried another medicated round of IUI. Negative. Then another. Negative. My wife encouraged me to take a break from trying. I was so down and the drugs they had me on were physically draining. All of my money was going toward these treatments. I felt like my body had failed me and I felt guilty for feeling as bad as I did because I knew other women who had gone through much worse.

We decided to take a break and come back to having kids when we were ready. I also realized I was depressed and started seeing a therapist who helped me IMMENSELY. She helped me realize that even though my loss was an early one that it was real to me and that it was ok to grieve and process it.

I still think about that little “poppy seed” on New Year’s but I also realize now that the fact that it didn’t stick was biology doing its job.

Fast forward to late 2016. Kim and I were talking about our friends who were doing reciprocal IVF. In other words, my friend was going to carry her wife’s biological child. We thought this was super cool and I asked my wife if she would want me to do that for her. I remember she looked at me and said “You would do that?” and I remember saying “I would love to do that”.

She had never expressed wanting biological children of her own because she didn’t think it was possible without having to carry and she thought it was a lot to ask of someone. I felt honored to think of the prospect of it though.  Kim is a few years older than I am so we decided that we should get started on this soon. We also discovered that Kim’s insurance covers fertility treatments which is not typical, especially in Michigan. (Side note…even if you have fertility coverage it can still be expensive). 

We started the process. Kim would start the process for egg retrieval and I would make sure my womb was hospitable. While Kim was on her treatments of tons of shots and meds, I had a procedure done where they put a camera into my uterus. It is as comfortable and fun as it sounds. They found a polyp and recommended surgery to have it removed since polyps can sometimes prevent implantation. In the same week, Kim had her egg retrieval and I had my polyp removal. Both were successful!

We had plenty of eggs from Kim and ended up getting quite a few fertilized and frozen successfully. We also had some genetically tested but this gets more complicated so if you are interested in genetic testing just google “PGS embryo testing”. We decided to hold off on doing the transfer (where they put a fertilized embryo in my uterus) until after we got back from our United Kingdom trip. We have heard that kids can put a damper on international travel for a while. When we got back we started the process for the transfer. Lots of checkups and blood draws and the worst part…daily butt shots. I’ll be honest though I eventually got used to the butt shots but it’s literally a pain in the ass.

The time of the first transfer came and two weeks afterward we found out that it didn’t work. Once again I was devastated. I kept thinking  “IVF is “supposed” to work”. Ya know what though? Sometimes it doesn’t! And it sucks!  My wife was bummed but more hopeful.

We decided to try again though right away. I went through another couple procedures and the second transfer WORKED! I had a *feeling* because I was getting a lot of weird pressure behind my belly button which I had never had before. When we found out we cried and were just like “holy sh*t…we’re having a baby”. When the BETA test came back super high from the doctor it started to feel more real too. This was not a chemical pregnancy. It was a “sticky embryo” as they say in the biz. (Fertility biz. Not show biz.)

Seeing the tiny heartbeat at our first ultrasound made it even more real and I fell in love with that little bean-shaped thing in my uterus.

Long story short (hah!)…I’m almost 6 months pregnant now. 🙂  We are waiting to be surprised on if it’s a boy or a girl but we both think it’s a girl. We would like two kids and hope to use my eggs in a couple of years for our second. 

What are you most excited about?

I am just excited to fulfill the “mom” title with my wife. I am so excited to know our kid and teach them everything we know and show them beautiful things, hear good music, eat good food and help them to become a strong, smart and kind person. I’m ready for the challenges and the joys. As ready as I’ll ever be I guess. 

What are you most scared about?

Right now my baby is safe and sound in my womb and it terrifies me that one day they will have to go out into the world and people might be mean to them. It puts me into mama bear mode. I’m also scared about someone giving my kid some deadly and preventable disease before they are old enough to be protected. #Vaccinate 

Does anything about this pregnancy make it unique? 

I’m carrying my wife’s baby. 🙂 I think that’s pretty unique. 

What has been the most overwhelming thing about this pregnancy? 

The amount of stuff you need even if you want to be kind of minimal. Also the amount of contradicting (and often unprovoked) advice you get from people. I will say I do appreciate veteran mothers immensely. Moms are warriors and women are so bad ass…but there is just a lot of info out there and it can get to be too much! Also the number of ways your baby can hurt themselves or suffocate. I was excited for a rock n’ play but noooo….

For anyone going through reciprocal IVF  or IVF in general – any advice?

Everyone’s reason for doing IVF is different but I would say…trust the process. For so long I was on this timeline of when I had to have a kid (influenced by other people I will admit) and timelines rarely work especially when it comes to fertility.

Also, make sure you have an outlet. Whether it’s your spouse/partner or a close friend or infertility group, do not go through the journey alone. Fertility treatments can be financially, physically and emotionally draining and it’s easy to get let it consume you.

Sometimes we feel so rushed and compare ourselves so much to where other people are that we forget that it’s ok to take a step back and reconnect with your spouse/partner and remember why you’re doing what you’re doing. I thought I was going to have two kids by the time I  was 27. I’ll be 34 when I have my first baby and I feel like this is the right time now.

Also, practicing mindfulness and gratitude helps you to remember what you really have control over. Spoiler: It’s not much!  

Birth Stories: Emergency C-Section Vs. Planned C-Section

Written By: Naomi Legault

Jax: 4 years old

When I found out I was going to have my first baby, Jax, I started on a planning frenzy. I had to find out the gender as soon as I could to plan out the nursery, choose my stroller colour, buy clothes and more! For all the research I did, the one plan I didn’t think about as much was the birth plan. I had no idea what to expect, so my plan was to just go to the hospital and have a baby when it was time. I did have a lot of unanswered questions: What does a contraction feel like? Will my water break? Where will I be when it happens?

I’ll never forget being wheeled over to see Jax, my heart was exploding.

I was about 10 days late. It was torture for me because I hate the unknown; obviously problematic when having a baby. Turned out that I had to have a membrane sweep to move things along, a couple of days later I started having contractions. I never knew what they would feel like but once they came, oh boy! It was super early in the morning, I started timing them, showered, and did some minimal make up (in extreme pain). I don’t even know how I did it because when I was trying to get dressed it felt impossible. My mother-in-law was visiting at the time, and said “you need to go NOW”.

When we got to the hospital, I finally had some relief. I can’t say enough good things about the hospital that I was at but I had unfortunate luck with my first nurse. I was in so much pain and she basically told me that I wasn’t going to get any sympathy from her since she had four kids. Luckily I got an epidural and much better nurses. Makes all the difference!

Finally Jax in my arms.

Once the epidural kicked in, I just waited for things to progress. After 8 hours of labour we needed to have an emergency C-section. For starters, dilation wasn’t progressing and then actually began to reverse. I also had a very high maternal fever and the baby had pooped inside. So at this point, the doctor said we need to get this baby out now or it’s dangerous for mom and baby.

It all went so fast and before I knew it Jax was born! It was a bit scary for me because, again, I didn’t know what to expect. He came out looking blue which is apparently very normal but we were a bit worried. They needed to work on him a bit with his breathing and monitored him closely. When I finally got wheeled over in the bed to see him he turned his little head as soon as he heard my voice. My husband and I couldn’t believe it.

And just like that, I was a mom.

Leaving the hospital with Jax.

Hudson: 2 years old

When I found out I was pregnant with Hudson, I immediately knew that I was NOT up for a VBAC (vaginal birth after caesarean). There was no way I was going to spend 8 hours in labour only to find out that I needed another emergency C-section. Having it planned was an odd feeling but I did enjoy knowing when he was coming and likely no surprises. The other great part was… no contractions! How could I turn that down? Other than my miscarriage, I had never experienced such horrific pain!

Welcome to the world, Hudson.

About a week before I was scheduled to deliver, I started having extreme high blood pressure and was in and out of the hospital that whole week on bed rest. I really wished at that point that they had done the C-section early but no such luck. That said, it may have been any doctor on call and I wanted to wait for mine. I felt like I knew what to expect with the second C-section, but it was a little bit longer since it wasn’t a rushed emergency. Certainly not a pleasant experience overall but nor is pushing (I bet).

We women are tough cookies, aren’t we?

Time to go home, Hudson

Recovery wasn’t exactly a walk in the park either, especially the second time around, when I also had a toddler in tow. Luckily both times my husband had two weeks off and I had lots of family to help me.

There you have it, blessed with two beautiful, healthy boys, Jax and Hudson, 4 and 2 years old. I can’t imagine my life without them!

Two best buds settling in at home.

Birth Stories: Baby Minion and a Comedy of Errors

On April 10, 2014, I went to work and then I went to babysit after work. I wasn’t thinking about my baby since I still had 11 days before my due date. I had gone to the doctors a few days before and was only dilated to a 2.

I was with the little girl I was babysitting (taking her to gymnastics class), and that’s when it happened…a flat tire in Novi. I had to call my husband to come from Howell to come and fix it for me. He went home after that and I continued to babysit until 9pm. I got home at 9:45pm and my husband was nesting like crazy. I told him we still had 11 days and why the rush.

I went to bed at 11 pm.

Midnight – contractions started! I started to time them; every 5 minutes lasting for almost a minute long. OK I’m doing something wrong that can’t be right, I’ve read too much to know that labor can’t be “that” easy. I timed for an hour.

1:00 am – I wake up my husband to let him know contractions started. He asked what the doctor said so I told him that they have to be consistent for 2 hours before they want to see me. “Ok, wake me up in an hour.” He said. “Oh, sweetie you already slept the first hour!” So, I start to get up and that’s when I thought I peed myself, or was it my water? I didn’t know so I asked the doctor what to do. She asked me to come in to get checked out.

2:00 am – My husband had to go from our house in Brighton to Howell to get his truck that had ALL the hospital bags, then he came back to Brighton to pick me up to take me to Novi to the hospital.

4:00 am – We FINALLY get to the hospital! I’m still talking and laughing and joking. I have to register in the ER, because they didn’t think I was in labor. I get up to the Labor and Delivery floor, and I’m given a room. They get me all hooked up to the monitors and the resident gets ready to check me.

Dilated to 6! Great!! This resident that checked me was not super friendly (I think I woke her up from a nap) and she said “This will be your only time to get an epidural, so you better get it now.” “No thank you, I’m good this doesn’t hurt at all.” She leaves the room.

5:00 am – Why is my room raining? We have a leak in our room so we have to change rooms. My husband was happy as we now have a corner suite. He then starts to mess with the TV and finds a “Modern Marvels Marathon”.

7:45 am – Things feel different….I asked to be checked again since I felt like I need to push. The doctor comes in and checks me. “You are at a 10, I’m going to get ready, just don’t push until I get back” OH MY I NEED TO PUSH!

As soon as she left the room! She came back with the HOTTEST resident I’ve ever seen. My husband loved that he was tattooed from wrist to wrist and on his chest. Great this is going to be fun!

8:02 am – 5 pushes and we have a baby! It wasn’t until my mom looked at the baby and shouted, “OH MY GOD IT’S A GIRL!” That was the most exciting moment. I have to now name my daughter. After holding her in my arms I knew her name, Adriana Marie, she was 6lbs, 13 oz and 21” long. She was born 10 days early on the hottest day of the year so far that year. Three days later we had that record breaking 92’ of snow fall!

Only in Michigan.

2 fast 2 furious- Baby #2

We knew we were having a boy!

I was so excited to have one of each. His due date was February 12, 2018.

January 30th – The day I told him NOT to come! We already have my Aunt, Niece, and friend’s daughter born on this day.

6:00 am – I feel some pain really low, ok that’s weird but it didn’t feel anything like labor.

8:00 am – Routine doctor’s appointment, everything is good dilated to 2, 70% effaced. Doctor told me to go to work and that I was fine, he was just “getting” into position. She said if I was dilated to a 4, she would have sent me to the hospital. She did tell me that I should NOT wait for consistent contractions, that I was going to go fast based on my first birth.

10:00 am – I go from Novi at the doctor’s office to the West side of Lansing (an hour and half away from each other). My co-worker, a former L&D nurse, looked at me and said, “are you in labor?!” I told her no I am good, it’s just pressure, but the doctor said I was fine.

2:00 pm – I lasted until 2pm before I needed to go home and rest. I promised my coworkers I would call the doctor when I got home since I wasn’t feeling great. My boss was so worried I would go into labor in Fowlerville. I told him if I did, I would keep driving. I called my mom and told her to stay close to her phone. I told my husband I was on my way home and to just be ready.

3:00 pm – I lay on the couch for just a moment before I got ready to call the doctor’s office. All of a sudden I felt a ton of pressure and I felt a big POP, and then water. OMFG my water just broke and that’s when I felt a contraction. I called my husband and told him to get home ASAP and take me to the hospital…this baby is coming!

He had to help me get into the truck, and he said we have to pick up Adriana. I told him we didn’t have time we need to get to the hospital now. I called my dad to have him pick her up. I called the office to have them let the on-call doctor know we were coming. The receptionist said she wanted to see me in the office so they could check to make sure it was in fact my water.

That’s when I had another contraction and I screamed to her the baby is coming and I was going to the hospital and to have them be ready. She said she would let them know. I called my mom and mother in law and told them “Hospital NOW” At this point my husband was driving 110mph on the freeway to get us from Howell to Novi. I told him to not stop at any lights if it was safe unless he wanted this baby born in the truck.

We pull into the ER and my husband gets me a wheelchair. The security guard came out and told us “You can’t park there.” My husband being as calm as he could said we will be right back she is having a baby! I get into the ER and they asked me to register down there. I very nicely said “I was told to go right to L&D, THIS BABY IS COMING” (as I have another contraction and I now feel something).

I get into the elevator with the help of an ER tech. The elevator doors open and 4 nurses see my face and they all yell “Get her to a room now!” I was then asked to take off my pants and get on the table; the hardest thing I could do since I was holding my legs shut!

I get onto the table and pants come off, the resident said “We need to do an ultrasound to make sure baby is head down” My husband without missing a beat said, “I see the head!” The resident then screams for the doctor to come now she’s having a baby. My doctor walks in saying “Yeah right, what’s
going on?’ He takes one look at me and dropped the F bomb and he put his gloves on in record time.

Now my mom has finally arrived in the mix of all this and had to sign my consent forms as we were just a bit busy. The nurses were still trying to get me hooked up to everything and in two pushes he was already on my chest and I could hear one of the nurses say “Oh Hell” and she put down all the straps.

My baby boy was laying on my chest at 3:52pm! He came in 52 minutes!!! Enzo Marcello was 8lbs 1oz and 21’ long; born on the day I told him NOT to come 2 weeks early. So, he now shares a birthday with his Great Aunt, and his cousin. He is one special boy.

The Journey to Motherhood – A Story of IVF

The journey to motherhood comes in all shapes, sizes and stories. We were recently scrolling through Facebook and came upon a very open and honest post from Julie about her struggles getting pregnant and her new journey through IVF.

When asked if she would be willing to share her story with us there really wasn’t any hesitation. She was sharing her story, not for herself, but for people who are going through very similar circumstances.

A lot of times one thinks that the road to motherhood is an easy one, well, it’s not for some. About 10% of women (just in the U.S) have trouble getting pregnant. Thank goodness for modern medicine and the options people have.

Thank you to Julie for sharing her story. If it helps one person it’s worth it.

Tell us a little bit about yourself and what’s been going on.

My name is Julie Ray. My husband and I got married in July 2017 and we currently live in southern Indiana. Leading up to our wedding I had been on birth control for a few reasons. 1- the main one, prevent pregnancies (ha, jokes on me!) and 2- I had really bad cramping with my monthly cycle and the pills took a majority of that away for me. My husband wanted me to come off the pill more than a few months before our wedding just so we could be ready and my body was back to a normal cycle by the time the wedding came along. With that, my fear was I don’t want my period on my wedding day! I ended up stopping the pill the day of our wedding rehearsal just to be sure!

I knew becoming a mom was something I always wanted to do. But in college, I had a scare. For about 2 years, I would get excruciating pain around my right ovary. Eventually it got so bad that my mother had to drive up to college and pick me up to rush me to my doctor back home. They found multiple cysts, some up to 10 mm on or around my ovary. I was scheduled for surgery the next day. After the surgery, I was informed that they were not on my ovary (thank heavens!) but on my Fallopian tube. The damage was so bad from the cysts flipping and turning that they had to remove my tube. My heart sunk into my stomach. “Will I be able to have kids?!” was the first thing I asked. The doctors assured me that I would have no problem since I had the other tube.

6 months after getting married, we started to see a fertility doctor. I knew I was going to have a hard time but I wanted to make sure the other tube was not blocked. After some blood tests, ultrasounds, a painful HSG test, the doctor said we are fully functional, well as most as I can be. But… we are going on 1.5 years of trying, timing, calculating, temping, CM watching, lots of negative pregnancy tests, sad nights, emotional weeks, and disappointing days.

January 9 was the start of our next process. We began our IVF journey. My husband, thankfully, has infertility coverage through his insurance so as soon as I was able to get on his, we started our appointments. I am 10 days into my cycle and a lot of shots, ultrasounds, blood work, later, we are coming close to our retrieval day. After the retrieval we plan on doing the PGS testing where we can see if the embryos are genetically normal. This also increases our chances of the embryo sticking when transferred. Anything that we can do to improve our odds, we are doing! By the end of February, we should know if we are pregnant! Fingers crossed. If not, we have elected to freeze any mature embryos for future FETs.

What has made you the most overwhelmed about getting pregnant?

The emotions that go into it. There would be some pretty sad and exhausting days this last year and a half. Why me? How is it so easy for them? Hearing people say “Just relax, it will happen” ” Just keep trying” “Don’t think about it” “Have some wine” “Are you pregnant yet?!” …. that was by far the worst one. Especially since they did not know what we were struggling with.

You feel like you are not adequate to be a mother, not supposed to be one, if it doesn’t happen naturally. You see people getting married after you, and within 2 months, posting that they were pregnant on social media. People who weren’t even trying, used protection or just “look at their husband/significant other” and boop – I’m Pregnant!

There was a time that I had to take myself off social media because I couldn’t emotionally handle seeing anyone else get what I was craving. There was a jealous and hateful feeling that would come over you when you see that. But then you feel selfish for feeling that way because this is something they clearly wanted as well. It was so hard to get over that.

What advice have you gotten about the process (if any)?

See the comments before that you would receive from people that didn’t know you were struggling with infertility…. but after I started talking about it, joined a IVF support group on Facebook, I found more and more people that were also struggling or had gone through it in the past.

That support system is WAY different that the support system of someone not going through it. There are a lot of things out there about IVF to make it work: acupuncture, pineapples, yoga, naps, icing the shot spot before/after, writing journals. But in the end, you just have to do what you feel is best.

What would you tell someone going through the same thing?

There is a stigma about IVF, which I am happy is going away slowly, that if you are going through it that you have failed. That you have to go to someone for help to get pregnant. But people struggle with infertility for so many reasons: PCOS, husband/wife are in the military and not home to conceive naturally, work different schedules and are not home at the same time, low sperm count, missing parts, and so many more.


I know what I struggled with was I didn’t want to tell anyone because I didn’t want their pitty, or sympathy. But the hard part was, without talking about it, no one knows what you are going through and may say/do things without knowing that it effects you in a negative way. My advice is if you are comfortable with it, talk about it. Share that you are going through this. You are not alone. My hardest thing to overcome when realizing that this is the journey we would have to take to conceive a child, was that I am not the only person that has to go through this.  The biggest thing is to change your mindset. This is an unfortunate thing that you have to go through, and its not an ideal thing, but its here so you have to face it head on. Others get pregnant naturally, this is how you ARE going to get pregnant. And it is okay. It is okay to ask for help, to cry, to share you story with others. 

It’s such an emotional and private thing but if you keep it bottled up, it will be something you find only you and your SO are left to deal with and bear. After opening up about it, I have received so much support and love from others – it was overwhelming. As soon as I hit Post, i felt a weight lifted off my shoulders. It wasn’t a secret I was hiding anymore, I am not the only one who knows about this. Now that is totally something you have to be comfortable with doing but for me personally, it was a game changer. 

How can someone be supportive to a friend/family member going through the same thing?

After sharing my story with a few close friends/family before posting on social media, they were so intrigued. None of them had struggled with it before so they did not know the emotions and process that goes into it. But from the outside in, don’t pry. If the person going through the process is open, they will share what they want. If you are curious about what they are going through, read some articles, do your own research, then ask them questions. The effort you put in to show you are genuinely there to support and take this journey with them will be proven. Don’t feel bad for the person going through this because they didn’t do anything wrong.

There are friends who just put you in their prayers and send love/positive thoughts your way. One of my best friends texts me every night at shot time and just sends words of encouragement. My sister and mother cheer on my follicles to grow every morning after the ultrasound updates. My sister bought me a pineapple necklace for Christmas – and yes i started crying… (symbol for infertility and that you are a strong person on the outside and spikes on your shell to defend off the bad things in life, with a sweet center and crown on your head).

Texting a friend and saying “You got this. This is your month” goes a long way. 

Have any of your relationships with mom friends changed because of this?

My sister had my 4th nephew 5 months after we started trying, and I got a negative pregnancy test the day before. I was struggling wanting to go to the hospital to see him because I was jealous.

My brother actually called me selfish for not wanting to go, but then my parents told him what we were struggling with and he came to me crying to hug me and tell me he didn’t know. But like I mentioned earlier, I had to learn to put my own personal feelings aside and be happy for them.

My friends who were finding out they were pregnant, or having kids, or raising kids, I had to at first, separate myself from them because hearing comments about the kids, positive or negative, made me think “I want that” or “I want your sleepless nights”.

But after some time, my mindset changed. A small amount of jealousy remains but my happiness for them that they do not have to struggle with this beyond trumps it. 

Anything else you would want to add?

You are not flawed.

You are going to be a mother one way or the other. If that is your goal, you will achieve it. Find a group of people that have gone through/going through this and use them as a support system. They TRULY get what you are going through and can lend a helping hand, offer advice from what they did, or vent about the same things together. You are not less of a woman because you are struggling with infertility. You are STRONG because you have been chosen that you can get through this and I know you can handle it so here- try me! Whether I know you or not, if you need someone to talk this through with or just ask some questions, please let me know and I am happy to help! 

The Bonus Baby – A Guest Blog

Guest Post

Once upon a time, my husband and I were going to be empty nesters in our mid 40’s. We started our family in our mid-twenties and our first-born daughter was due on the date of my husband’s grad school graduation. We had our second daughter when I was 27 and hoped for a third two years later, but after two pregnancy losses on the heels of the second trimester, we decided that we couldn’t withstand another heartbreak.

Fast forward to 2018 and we have made the parental turn onto Easy Street; that sweet spot in parenting that occurs between early childhood and teenagerhood. With an eight-year-old and 11-year-old girl, car seats and diapers are ancient artifacts; temper tantrums and sleepless nights seem like lightyears ago; and car rides are enjoyable now because The Wiggles and Wheels on the Bus requests have been replaced by requests for Bonjovi and Weezer. Easy Street is all downhill with beautiful scenery and no bumpy roads. I’m not saying that we didn’t thoroughly enjoy the earlier years of parenting, but those precious years were hard and spent in the trenches, elbows deep in dirty diapers and running ragged with no sleep.

Back in May of this year, we were on cruise control, coasting down easy street and enjoying a family camping trip when I started to feel my health decline. My energy took a sudden downward turn, I started to lose my appetite, and I was overcome with nausea. Fears of serious illness crossed my mind until a couple of weeks later when I realized that my symptoms were synonymous with pregnancy. Once it was confirmed, I was in complete denial. I feared for another loss and thought for sure that I would miscarry any day. I didn’t even allow myself to feel excitement, hope or joy. I kept my pregnancy secret for 16 weeks–I didn’t allow it to be real.

Here I am now though, at 32 weeks pregnant, and this is all very real.

Pregnancy this time around is a whole lot different than it was with my first two. First  of all, this one is considered a geriatric pregnancy because I’m over 35, so apparently my delivery from the stork will come with a free subscription to AARP magazine and hopefully a hefty discount on Depends since I’ve done exactly three Kegels this pregnancy. I also haven’t spent my days reading “What to Expect When You’re Expecting” because I feel like I could write the book. I haven’t read “Baby Wise” or “Happiest Baby on the Block” because I know that I might get a screaming colicky baby or a chill Koala baby, and sometimes the knowledge in a book doesn’t have the power to change that. Plus, I should be reading about the uncharted waters of the teen years.

At my last appointment, my OB/GYN asked  me for my birth plan, and all I could think of were two words: Surprise me. Because honestly, after having a 24 hour labor, last minute epidural and an emergency C-Section with my first, followed by a 27 hour labor, early epidural and VBAC birth with my second, the words “birth plan” project an image of a unicorn in my mind. I will write a birth plan, but I will also have zero expectations for everything to go as planned, because when you’re a geriatric pregnant woman riding into your third birth, you know that you just have to stay on the saddle and hold on tight. Maybe my husband can freeze some Ensure cubes to feed me during labor. I’ll add that to my elderly birth plan.

The clock keeps ticking louder as I approach the big day; the day we step into that DeLorean and turn the dial back to newborn. I find myself thinking about the projected timeline of my life and how it has changed so drastically in the past eight months. I think about how I’ll be driving my oldest to college, my middle child to high school and my youngest to elementary school in the same year. I wonder when I’ll be able to go on my next girls’ trip. I think about how this baby is going to have to go with the busy flow of our family, traveling to her sisters’ sporting events and practices daily, never knowing the luxury of a nap schedule. I wonder if time, experience and age will change my parenting style for this bonus baby.

I think parenting as a whole this time around is going to be so different. With my first two, I was obsessed with constantly stimulating them, reading to them, talking to them, worrying about development, not to mention being terrified by every single illness. I was the mom who would call the on-call pediatrician at 4am when a fever spiked. But now I feel like a seasoned pro; I’ve handled influenza, strep, ear infections, pneumonia, tubes, Lice (the worst), stomach flu, croup, you name it.

I know that it gets easier and I know that I will sleep again. I know that the rewards of parenting far outweigh the pains. I know that the magic of holidays will live a little longer in our home now. I know that my heart grows bigger with every child. Every day, I get to see my two girls grow into healthy, smart, brave and kind young ladies, who bring immense joy to our lives, and I have no fear that our little bonus baby will bring the same joys to our family. Who knows, if all goes well, maybe we will go for bonus baby #2. For now, we are just gearing up to go back in time. Great Scott!