September 27th, 2016 at 7:36 am
This beautiful story of light after loss was shared by and printed with the permission of one of our patients, Susan:
“Rainbow Baby is the understanding that the beauty of a rainbow does not negate the ravages of the storm. When a rainbow appears, it does not mean the storm never happened or that the family is still not dealing with its aftermath. What it means is that something beautiful and full of light has appeared in the midst of the darkness and clouds. Storm clouds may still hover but the rainbow provides a counterbalance of color, energy, and hope”. – Anonymous
Our storm began April 23,, 2013, when at 23 weeks pregnant, we lost our beautiful twin boys James and Logan. There was no reason, no cause given, just that we lost them. We never got to hear them cry or breathe or hold living babies in our arms. To save me, the doctors took our babies and my uterus, eliminating my chance of ever carrying another baby. When you lose a baby in utero, you don’t get a birth certificate or even a death certificate – in the eyes of the law they never existed.
Leaving the hospital with only their footprints and memory boxes was the worst possible feeling I could have ever imagined. The days, weeks, and months that followed were dark and stormy. Every day we questioned how we could ever go on. Would we ever feel the love and happiness we experienced the day we learned we were pregnant with James and Logan?
I have to believe that our baby boys led us to our rainbows. As sad and distraught as we were, we felt drawn to find another option to complete our dream of becoming parents, of someday hearing the words “mommy” and “daddy”.
Through our fertility clinic, Long Island IVF, we were sent to an agency where we were matched with a surrogate. Little did we know that she would become our angel on Earth – she would bring our rainbow babies to us. Her due date was April 20th, my birthday and almost three years to the date we lost our baby boys.
On March 28, 2016, Alexa Grace and Ashley Hope– our rainbow babies– entered our world and we felt the love and joy we doubted we would ever know. Losing James and Logan was the worst possible storm we will hopefully ever have to weather, but with them watching over us we became a family. As the quote says, the rainbows don’t take away the storm clouds but these little girls make us cherish what we have here on Earth and what we have in Heaven.
In an effort to help others who may be struggling in a similar way, I wanted to share our story–including a piece about the struggles and decisions we made that only people going through similar situations would understand. Our journey to have Ashley and Alexa was not easy – there were many times we wanted to give up, but we always came back to the belief that we were MEANT to be parents.
Our first attempt with our surrogate resulted in a miscarriage – another devastating loss, but we still had embryos remaining so we had those genetically-tested and we had one, genetically normal, male. We did that transfer in April 2015 and it didn’t take. Mark and I took some time to reflect and think of other options – adoption, donor egg, or live childless.
We met with Vicky Loveland, the nurse in charge of the Donor Egg Program at Long Island IVF, and decided the best choice for us would be donor egg. Vicky and her staff were wonderful, they walked us through each step of the process and made me feel like a “mom”. Don’t get me wrong, I did grieve – the loss of ever carrying a child and the loss of ever having a genetic child of my own, but it always came back to knowing I was meant to be a mom and Mark a dad. With Vicky’s help we quickly found a donor that we felt most matched me and the process began. We ended up with four embryos and decided to put two in for transfer.
The moment we held Alexa and Ashley I sighed and smiled – my babies were here and we were finally a family. We have brought the girls in to the clinic to meet all the amazing people that made our girls possible. Mark and I were blessed to find Long Island IVF and all the caring individuals who gave us hope.
-Susan and Mark
By Tracey Minella
September 20th, 2016 at 10:11 pm
[This post was originally posted in March, 2015. It's being reprinted as a reminder of what we can learn from the health care decisions Angelina Jolie bravely made and shared publicly.]
Actress, director, humanitarian, ambassador, mom of twins, adoptive mom, wife of Brad Pitt. And she’s gorgeous.
What’s not to hate?
Oh, I’m just sort of kidding. No, really. But despite all the good she does, there will always be haters. People who want her money, her talent, her babies, or her man. Jealousy can do that.
I don’t admire many celebrities… and that’s fine, because their only job is to entertain me, not impress me. But I am impressed with Angelina Jolie. She’s charitable with her time and money and seems pretty grounded for a megastar. And she uses her celebrity for good.
It’s been only two years since Jolie made headlines for undergoing a preventative double mastectomy after testing positive for the BRCA gene mutation… a mutation that significantly increases the lifetime risk of getting breast cancer. At that time, she was open about her decision and used her celebrity to increase breast cancer awareness.
This week, Angelina revealed that she took those preventative measures to the next level. This time, she had both of her ovaries and fallopian tubes removed in the hope of avoiding ovarian cancer…another deadly cancer linked to the same gene mutation. Jolie lost her mom to ovarian cancer and said in a recent New York Times Op Ed piece that she doesn’t want her children to experience the same loss. Her openness is raising awareness of ovarian cancer.
But there is another untold story here, too…a fertility awareness story…and it needs to be heard.
Unless you’ve been hiding under a rock, you know Jolie has six children. She adopted three children internationally and gave birth to a singleton and a pair of twins. Practically eliminating her risk of getting ovarian cancer is not the only result of her surgery.
The media is reporting that she can no longer have biological children. And Jolie acknowledged how hard her decision would be for a woman who has not completed her family-building. Perhaps because of the size of her family, this point seemed lost on the general public. But it’s not lost on you, is it? This surgery is a big deal. And before others who may not be done with their family-building journeys emulate Jolie and follow her path, some crucial missing information needs to be shared.
In fact, there are three opportunities here to increase fertility awareness and educate the public about advances in the field of reproductive technologies, namely PGD, Egg donation, and Egg-freezing.
First, there’s pre-implantation genetic diagnosis (“PGD”). PGD enables couples who are concerned about passing a life-threatening genetic disease on to their children to have their embryos pre-screened for gene mutations. This screening can only be done in conjunction with an in-vitro fertilization (IVF) procedure, where eggs are retrieved and fertilized in a lab and the resulting embryos can be tested. Then, only those embryos that did not test positive for the mutated gene would be transferred into the uterus…virtually eliminating the chance of passing on that hereditary disease. BRCA is one of the many genes that can be screened through PGD. Long Island IVF offers PGD.
Second, there’s egg donation. If a woman has her ovaries and tubes removed, she cannot thereafter have a biological child…one created using her own eggs… however she may still experience childbirth. If she still has a healthy uterus, it may be possible for her, through IVF, to use eggs from an egg donor and the sperm of her partner or a donor, and have the resulting embryos transferred into her uterus where a pregnancy can implant and grow to term. Long Island IVF’s Donor Egg Program brought Long Island its First donor egg baby decades ago.
Finally, there’s the latest breakthrough in women’s fertility preservation technology: egg freezing. Egg-freezing offers an exception to the egg donor statement above. If… prior to removing her ovaries… a woman undergoes IVF for the purpose of either freezing her retrieved eggs (or freezing the embryos resulting from the fertilization of her retrieved eggs), then instead of needing donor eggs, she would be able to later have her own frozen eggs or embryos thawed and transferred into her uterus in the hope of becoming pregnant with her biological child. Or if her uterus was unsuitable or absent, she could still have a biological child by having someone else carry a pregnancy for her. (Note: Surrogacy and gestational carrier laws vary from state to state.) Long Island IVF has an Egg Freezing Program.
These three fertility awareness opportunities, when coupled with Jolie’s breast cancer and ovarian cancer awareness, will further empower women everywhere to make better medical choices and take charge of their fertility and general health.
Shame on the haters. It’s wonderful that Jolie is open about her health in a way that raises awareness for others. She is a just a mom. A selfless mom who just wants to be there to see her children and future grandchildren grow up.
Is there something wrong with being proactive after tests show you carry a gene that could one day take your life, like it took your mother’s? Are the haters just jealous of her? Is she a hero?
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What do you think? What would you do?
By Tracey Minella
September 13th, 2016 at 7:54 am
The team at Long Island IVF loves building ties in the community as much as we love building Long Island families. And we’re so excited to be part of the Long Island Diva Run Health & Fitness Boutique this year!
The Diva Run is taking place on Sunday, October 2, 2016 but it’s a WHOLE WEEKEND OF FREE FUN FOR THE PUBLIC starting on Friday afternoon!!! It’s “the most fun and glam women’s half-marathon and 5k series in the nation”.
Non-runners (and runners who are picking up their pre-race packets) can join us for the kick-off of the Health & Fitness Boutique at Mitchel Athletic Complex Butler Building 1 Charles Lindberg Blvd., Uniondale, NY on Friday night, Sept 30 from 4-7 pm. Or spend the whole day Saturday October 1st from 9am-5pm at the Health & Fitness Boutique.
Check out all the great offerings from many local service providers and vendors including the latest women’s trends, designs, and advances in running shoes and apparel. Be sure to stop by the Long Island IVF table to say hello, meet some staff, get some cool free stuff, and check out all of our great events coming up this fall.
Ever consider becoming an egg donor? If you’re a young, healthy woman with a generous heart, you can help another woman fulfill her dream of motherhood while being compensated $8,000 for your time. For details, please stop by our table or call our office at 631-752-0606 to speak with our Donor Egg Program Coordinator, Vicky Loveland, MS, RN.
Interested in the race? Participants in the Diva Run choose either a half-marathon or a 5K challenge. Channel your young girl self by stopping by the boa and tiara stand before the finish line. Let your standard issue pink tutu blow in the wind as you complete the course, where a glass of bubbly awaits. It’s not your grandma’s race.
Whether you shop til you drop– or run til you drop– we hope to see you at the Diva Run weekend!
By Tracey Minella
September 11th, 2016 at 3:19 pm
I don’t think anything is more appropriate on this anniversary than to remember that day, so I’m sharing this classic.
You’ll always remember where you were that fateful day. And so will I.
I was working as a medical assistant for Long Island IVF. I was also a patient of Dr. Kreiner…and about 9 weeks pregnant with my son. Could life be any happier on a blindingly clear, crisp September morning?
It started out as a typical day, with the usual morning rush. Lots of busy women…many trying to get their blood and sono done so they could hurry off to work. A few rushing to catch a train to the city. Men dropping off specimens on their way to the office. Some trying to catch a train to the city.
A train to the city.
By the time news of the second plane crash hit, most of the morning’s patients had already been seen and were gone. Disbelief was quickly followed by panic as we and the rest of the nation scrambled to figure out if our friends and family who worked in NYC were okay. And what about our patients?
Doesn’t “So-and-So” work downtown? Isn’t “Mr. X” a trader on Wall Street? We spent the morning pouring over the employer info in the patients’ charts, making calls on jammed phone lines, and accounting for everyone’s whereabouts. We went through the motions of the day on auto-pilot, glued to a 13” black and white TV in the nurse’s station, watching the horror unfold. What kind of world was I bringing this baby into?
But just as there were stories of heroism, good deeds, and miracles amid the atrocity of the attacks, there was something positive that day in the IVF office.
A patient learned that, despite the chaos unfolding around her, it was indeed going to be her insemination day. When it’s your day, it’s your day. Not even an act of war will intervene. And 9/11 was to be her only day. One insemination. That afternoon. Amid the sadness and silence and sobs of the patient and everyone in the office.
And we came to learn a couple weeks later, that on the day the Twin Towers and the lives of so many innocent people were lost, we had participated in one ironically beautiful beginning. That patient got pregnant and had…twins.
Usually, it’s the patient who is thankful to the doctor and staff. But I will always be grateful to that patient for giving us one little happy something…well, actually two…to remember from that fateful day. And for being a sign to me that the world would go on, that we’d keep making babies, and that maybe it was going to be all right.
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Where were you on 9/11?
photo credit: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:National_Park_Service_9-11_Statue_of_Liberty_and_WTC_fire.jpg
By Tracey Minella
September 8th, 2016 at 11:22 am
Would you be interested in learning about an exclusive, yet very affordable, natural therapy that might help increase your chances of conceiving with IVF –even if you’ve had prior unsuccessful cycles? What if this ancient, complementary therapy could cost less than $200 per IVF cycle?
Long Island IVF… the practice that brought Long Island its first IVF baby, first Donor Egg baby and First baby from a cryopreserved embryo… is pleased to announce another major “first” on Long Island:
We are the first infertility practice with a Reproductive Endocrinologist who is also a Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) practitioner and a NYS certified medical acupuncturist.
Motivated by a desire to find complementary holistic approaches to enhance today’s best Western medical technologies, Long Island IVF co-founder and REI, Dr. David Kreiner, went back to school to study TCM after 30 years of making babies.
Dr. Kreiner is now applying that acupuncture training in the IVF procedure room, both pre- and post-IVF transfer–exclusively to all interested Long Island IVF patients. IVF patients… especially those for whom Western medicine alone has not yet produced a baby…may benefit from adding this ancient therapy.
Long Island IVF’s Acupuncture Program is hosting a free symposium with a panel of some of the region’s experts on fertility acupuncture to discuss topics related to improving IVF success with acupuncture.
Don’t miss this special program on Thursday, September 15, 2016 at 6:30 pm at our Melville office at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. The seminar is free, but seating is limited, so pre-registration is required. Preregister here.
1- Western Medicine Approach to Infertility – Dr. David Kreiner, MD REI and NYS Certified Medical Acupuncturist, Long Island IVF
2- Acupuncture Diagnosis and How Treatment is Individualized – James Shinol, LAc, LMT
3- Fertility Enhancement with Diminished Ovarian Reserve and Preventing Miscarriage – Dr.Yang XinJuan, Ph.D, MD (China)
4- Acupuncture, Herbs, and Moxibustion to Increase IVF Success – Dr. Yali Li, Ph.D., MD (China)
We look forward to seeing you there. Please contact Lindsay Montello, Patient Services, at 631-752-0606 or LMontello@liivf.com with any questions.
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Are you coming to the Acupuncture Symposium?
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Long Island IVF-WINNER: Best in Vitro Fertility Practice 2015 AND 2016
It is with humble yet excited hearts that we announce that Long Island IVF was voted the Best In Vitro Fertility Practice in the Best Of Long Island 2015 and 2016 contest…two years in a row!
The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to every one of you who took the time to vote. From the moms juggling LIIVF babies… to the dads coaching LIIVF teens…to the parents sending LIIVF adults off to college or down the aisles… to the LIIVF patients still on their journeys to parenthood who are confident in the care they’re receiving…we thank you all.
We love what we’ve gotten to do every day more than 28 years…build families. If you are having trouble conceiving, please call us. Many of our nurses and staff were also our patients, so we really do understand what you’re going through. And we’d like to help. 631-752-0606.
By Tracey Minella
September 6th, 2016 at 9:08 am
Infertile folks are warned to stay off social media today. Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram are exploding all day in announcement of the beginning of the school year for the majority of schools on Long Island. This is probably the hardest “non-holiday” day of the year for those struggling with fertility.
If you go out this morning—driving to work or taking a jog—the corners will be dotted with children of all ages. The cute little ones with the adorable matching backpacks and lunch boxes will just tear at your heartstrings. Even the sulking, brooding teens with their faces in their phones are better than…nothing. And that’s why it’s hard to be out today—because it puts your struggle right there in your face.
Yet hiding inside doesn’t work if you go online. The deluge of first-day photos and videos began at 6:00 am and will go on all day as parents will post the after school pics, too. Pics of the first day chocolate chip cookies awaiting the bus home- something you dream of baking one day.
Worse than seeing the wistful moments and posts are the ones by the complainers—who are already out in full force. Complaints about Common Core and the amount of homework. Complaints of how early the kids have to get up in the morning. Complaints about taxiing the kids to all their after school activities. Gripes by women who’ve forgotten or never realized how lucky they are to be moms. And all you can think of is how you can’t wait until it’s your turn to do all these things.
Here are a few things to get through back-to-school:
- Do your best to avoid social media today (and the next few days as other districts open)
- Try altering your commute to avoid certain streets at certain times
- Avoid parents or co-workers who complain about back-to-school
- Turn the pain around and fill a backpack or two with school supplies to donate to a local school or shelter.
And remember that your turn to stalk the school bus as it takes your precious cargo to kindergarten may be coming soon.
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What’s the hardest part of back-to-school for you? Do you have any tips on handling the challenges?
By Tracey Minella
September 4th, 2016 at 12:35 pm
We’re closing the book on another Long Island summer. What does that mean for your family planning?
Is Labor Day like a second New Year’s Day to you? As kids, September was always the start of a new school year on Long Island. To me, it still feels like a time for a fresh start and for making (or recommitting to) resolutions.
For some, the summer is a time to take off from the stress of fertility treatment. A time to reconnect as a couple, to be playful, or to just relax. Though as we all know, “just relaxing” isn’t going to get anyone pregnant. Still, relaxing a bit in the sun never hurt anyone. What better season to just take a break?
Others may have taken advantage of the more casual atmosphere of summer… with its sometimes slower work schedules or more down time at the office… to actually ramp up their fertility treatments. To hopefully get pregnant before business picks up in the fall or, in the case of teachers* and students, before school begins.
If you’re trying to conceive, it’s important to keep setting goals and scheduling breaks as needed, so you move forward at a pace that works for you financially, emotionally, and physically. So if you took a break this summer, be sure to ask yourself if it’s time to return to treatment. The answer may be “Not yet”, but at least ask yourself the question. It’s easy for an intended short break to become a year-long hiatus when you don’t set a goal to return to treatment. That happened to me…and I wanted to kick myself.
It can be hard to get back into the routine of morning monitoring. Fertility treatments are draining in many ways. But you know what they say about getting thrown off the horse, right?
You gotta get back in those stirrups.
*Note: Teachers and government workers may want to check out this post about how choosing a Center of Excellence provider of fertility benefits on the Empire Plan–like Long Island IVF– can result in substantial financial savings. Plus, we’re the only UCOE provider with all of its facilities and laboratories on Long Island. http://bit.ly/2c76yus
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What did you do this summer? Do you have fertility treatment goals or any advice for others trying to set goals?
By Tracey A. Minella
August 28th, 2016 at 7:28 am
And just like that, she was gone.
How is it that the six year infertility journey dragged so slowly and these 18 years flew by so fast?
Infertility never left me completely. It impacted my parenting experience in ways I couldn’t have imagined. In those first few weeks, I never left the couch. I literally held her all day long—asleep or awake—trying to process that she really was here at last.
Yes, I was THAT mom. Totally and unapologetically over-protective. I was the last mom to let her stay all night at a sleepover. The one who grilled the hosts about teenage brothers, the house alarm system, the escape route in case of fire, dog bite history, hunting rifles in the house, well, you get it. I wore the “Seatbelt Nazi” title with pride when reluctantly allowing my precious cargo into the cars of other parents. I promise I wasn’t crazy—just ever mindful of the gift she was and always fearful of losing this dream come true.
Life after infertility isn’t always “happily ever after”-even with a princess in your arms. Like all good fairy tales, there’s also villains and drama, but a mom who slayed the infertility dragon can face anything. There were good times and challenging ones, milestones and accomplishments. We were just a happy, regular family. We hosted endless kid’s gatherings, mother-daughter tea parties, huge Halloween parties, Christmas cookie baking days, and super unique birthday parties. I was the Girl Scout leader, class mom, and all around volunteer. Countless memories were captured on camera in pictures I already look longingly back on just two weeks after she’s gone away.
“Let her fly!”
I hate that expression. Not only because she’s not a bird, but because she’s my girl and she’s 6.5 hours away and I miss her. I’m so happy for her and so proud of her, but her life—as wonderful as it promises to be—is diverging from mine, and it’s hard to let go even if that’s the natural order of things and even though she’s at the perfect school for her and is adjusting well. I recently read a great description somewhere about the feeling of loss after college drop-off…that it’s not a tragedy or a death, but it’s not nothing either.
It’s definitely not nothing.
I’ve noticed parallels between the infertility years and the college send-off experience in the concepts of time, loss, emotions, and hope.
Time drags when you’re trying to conceive and also crawls when you’re staring down a calendar awaiting parents’ weekend at college or trying to fill the hours you spent each day for the last 18 years being needed for food, clothes, hugs, or rides by that now missing child. Still two flips of the calendar to go before I see that sweet face again.
There’s the emptiness that washes over you during each loss or failed attempt to conceive and each fearful thought– that you don’t even want to whisper to the universe– that you’re not sure if you will ever have a baby. And then there’s the emptiness when life takes your child far away, even if it’s on to bigger and better things for them because it changes the role you suffered so long to earn and that you’ve cherished from the moment she took her first breath. Now, there’s a life being made without you in it, with friends you don’t know and experiences you’re not sharing. And it’s all good for her, yet it still hurts as you learn to step back to a daily life without that child, or perhaps any child, in it.
A wave of second-guessing hits a mom facing college drop-off as she uneasily asks herself, “Was I a good enough mom?”, remembering those promises to be “the best mother ever” that she made in those long-ago bargains with God or the universe. She reflects on those times she wasn’t perfect, yearning for a do-over. With misplaced guilt, she hopes her child will forgive any missteps that derailed the plan to deliver a childhood so magical that Disney would have to up its game just to keep up. She hopes her now grown child will reflect on her childhood as being maybe not perfect, but perfect for her.
Today I’ll confess that part of me is jealous of those of you whose miracles haven’t arrived yet because I know the 18 years of pure joy, love, and wonder that is likely on its way to you if you stay the course. And for those making childhood memories now, I have only two words of advice…don’t blink. Those old people I once gave imaginary eye-rolls to were right about the speed of time. I’m so thankful and honored for every minute of this blessing so far.
For every one of you who has sent your miracle off into the world, congratulations on surviving what may have been one of the hardest losses you’ve faced since trying to conceive them. Believe it will get easier, as those who managed this transition before us promise. Trust that they know the depths of your love for them, your pride in them, and your gratitude for being the one chosen to parent them. And as we’ve done since the journey to conceive them began, look forward with hope to the blessings the future will bring.
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By David Kreiner MD
August 18th, 2016 at 9:50 am
I was cooling off in my community pool and a former patient recognized me and proudly showed off her 13 year old daughter…”just Clomid® right?”, I asked, a trite too brash. “Yes, and insemination after a couple of failed attempts,” she replied.
I sometimes assume if a patient doesn’t have to do IVF to conceive that they have not sufficiently suffered the infertility rites of passage. Shame on me…for someone facing the challenge of conceiving, the pain can be most severe and if solved with fertility pills—Clomid®–then it is just as miraculous a cure as the newer technologic marvel of IVF.
I have experienced in my 31 years as a reproductive endocrinologist specializing in fertility several hundred such successes and babies born from this highly successful fertility pill that was developed by a team in the 1950’s led by Frank Palopoli who died last week at the age of 94.
Clomiphene®, the generic form of the estrogen receptor inhibitor that came on the market in 1967, works by blocking the negative feedback of estrogen resulting in an increase of pituitary hormones, FSH and LH which in turn stimulates the ovaries to ovulate.
Clomid® may be used by itself or augmented with injections of LH and/or FSH as well as HCG used as a trigger for ovulation when the ovarian follicles stimulated by Clomid® have reached maturity. The pills are usually taken in the beginning of the cycle for five days and the response carefully monitored with serum estradiol and LH levels as well as follicular ultrasounds.
As tens of millions of babies have been born since Mr. Palopoli developed Clomid® we in the field and those who have reaped the rewards of this medication owe him a tremendous debt of gratitude.
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Did Clomid® play a part in your fertility journey?
By Tracey Minella
August 12th, 2016 at 5:51 pm
These days are pretty emotional around the office as the Long Island IVF babies of a few of the current and former staff are going off to college and military academies!!! Imagine that. We’ve been making IVF babies so long here—since 1988– that a bunch of our babies are flying the coop all at once! It seems we were all just pregnant together, nearly 18 years ago. (Good luck Tori, Eric, and Nicolette!)
Maybe yours are leaving, too?
Or maybe they’re starting kindergarten. Or you just brought them home from the hospital. Or maybe you’re pregnant at last and waiting with baited breath for the big arrival. Or you’re currently in treatment and hopeful during the two week wait.
All those moments seem like just yesterday…*sigh*
Consider sharing your Long Island IVF baby moments! After all, we’re all family.
Please join us as we share these milestones on social media. Whether you’re a Facebook fan, or love to Tweet, or are heavily into Instagram, we’d love it if you’re comfortable sharing your posts and pics on our social media accounts– so just tag us if you’d like to share your pride and joy.
These photos and shared experiences give hope to current and prospective patients that they will have their miracles and their lifetimes of shareable moments, too. Too often, we see the babies shortly after birth and then life gets in the way. We’d love to see our your babies more often, especially when they are celebrating milestones.
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What’s your little miracle up to?