Archive for August, 2015
By Bina Benisch, MS, RN
August 30th, 2015 at 8:16 am
It seems interminable.
You’ve finally made it through your IVF stimulation. You’ve survived your injections and all those early morning monitoring visits…not to mention being poked and prodded for blood and vaginal ultrasounds. You’ve undergone your retrieval procedure, sweated out the fertilization results, and here it is – the day of your embryo transfer. Or, if you’re doing IUI, you’ve made it through your insemination.
What a relief! You can finally relax…. NOT so fast!
The next 10-14 days can seem like an eternity when you’re waiting for your pregnancy result.
Your emotions may ride that roller coaster … slow ascending hope, with glimmers of joy at the prospect that this time you actually may be pregnant … only to be violently interrupted by thunderous pangs of fear that this may not have worked, and then falling into despair.
How do you regulate your feelings and create a sense of balance so that you’re not held hostage by every emotion and negative thought that grips you? Here is your mission for the next 10-14 days, should you choose to accept it:
- Create a list of leisure activities that you and your partner have always enjoyed doing, and set a plan into action. Yes, there are jobs and responsibilities, but schedule some “special” time together for these activities… whether it’s watching movies together, outdoor activities, date nights, music, or working together on a project that embodies a sense of satisfaction. Not only does this help keep your relationship close – which in itself is emotionally enriching – but it may distract your attention and maintain some perspective on your life so that you are not feverishly focused on your fertility status.
- Talk to your partner about your feelings. There are no pat solutions which will stop your anxiety. However, making room for all feelings – even the darker ones – and knowing you will get through it as you ride this wave, will relieve the stress of suppressing these feelings. This will also keep the lines of communication open between you and your partner.
- Restructure your thoughts! This is not to advise Pollyanna or positive thinking. Let’s face it, the last thing you need is to be told to “be positive” or “relax.” It’s extremely difficult to feel “positive” when you’re struggling with infertility. However, take a moment to look at the thoughts you are telling yourself – the thoughts that are causing your fear and anxiety to escalate: “I know I’m not pregnant.” “It probably didn’t work this time.” “What if it doesn’t work this time?” “What if I never become pregnant?” These thoughts and statements are not etched in truth, and are only fear-based. Better thoughts… which may be equally true, but are not fear based…are: “I could very well be pregnant.” “The possibility that I will become pregnant is just as much a reality.” Don’t fear that allowing yourself to entertain these hopeful thoughts will cause greater disappointment from a negative result. You will be disappointed or devastated either way, whether you’ve been fearful, anxious, and negative, or you’ve had the perspective that you may very well become pregnant. Here is a mental framework that is absolutely realistic, true, and can go a long way to helping you maintain peace of mind: “I am doing everything in my power to become pregnant, and therefore, I can emotionally let go for now, and leave this in the hands of (God, the universe, my doctors).”
- Selectively avoid situations that you know will trigger your fear or anxiety. Learn to say “NO”. People will forgive you for not attending a family function, social event, or any situation where you find pregnant people, or people with babies, or people who will ask you when you are going to have children. YOU come first at this time in your life. YOUR emotional health takes precedence.
- Nurture yourself. Whatever that means for you. Massage, Reiki, reading, movies, shopping, yoga (not hot yoga), — what do you find to be a relaxing, self-nurturing activity?
- Remember proper breathing. Slow, deep breathing will cause a physiological reversal of the body’s stress response. This will reduce anxiety and stress. Learn to practice breath work every day.
In essence, have compassion for yourself. Talk about your feelings with your partner. If you find it difficult to restructure your thoughts, practice the mantra that you have done everything in your power, and now it’s time to let go. This takes practice, but you can do it if you take on this mission for self-balance, peace of mind, and equilibrium.
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What do you do to get through the two-week wait?
By Tracey Minella
August 26th, 2015 at 8:08 am
As the dog days of summer come to an end, what better time to celebrate National Dog Day?
Fertile folks love their canines, no doubt. But no one…and I mean no one…cherishes their pups quite like the infertile do.
Sometimes the only thing keeping us sane on this difficult journey to parenthood is the unconditional love of our pets. Something to hold and snuggle. Something that relies on us to feed them, play with them, and keep them well.
Something that provides us with a small taste of parenthood while we wait for that human family to form.
Dogs are great listeners…especially when that negative pregnancy test comes in. And they know. They sense what you need. And they are there for you… without any questions to answer or explanations to give. You don’t have to fake it with a dog. And when the baby finally does arrive, they’re protective of it like a big brother or sister would be. They’re your baby’s first best friend.
So be sure to do something special for your dog today for all they do for you. And please share a picture of your furbaby on our social media or blog…even if it’s not a dog!
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Do you have a story about how your dog impacted your fertility journey?
By Tracey Minella
August 19th, 2015 at 5:21 pm
Losing a baby. Unspeakable pain.
The world will never be the same after losing a baby or child, born alive or still. Or miscarried. The surviving family…parents, siblings, grandparents, and others…embark on a journey of grief over the innocent life that ended too soon. And while life does…must…somehow go on, it’s never truly the same again.
I miscarried IVF twins just before the end of the first trimester. They’d be 20 this fall. On September 5th. You never stop thinking about what they’d be doing today. Even if you’re lucky enough to have other children. And let’s not forget the very real grief over the very many embryos that never made it, either before or after transfer.
Today is a day of healing. It’s a day of hope. It’s a recognition and celebration of all those lives lost. Of lives that mattered…and still matter. Children whose names people awkwardly no longer mention.
Across the world, on a beach in Australia, a woman named CarlyMarie, mourning the loss of her son Christian who was “born sleeping” started a global movement to celebrate all these lives. It’s called a Day of Hope and Project Heal. And it is today, August 19th. I’ve mentioned this in the past. https://www.facebook.com/events/923511941049863/
Participants who’ve lost children create their own personalized “prayer flags” in honor of the babies’ memories. But despite the name, it is not religious in nature and all are welcome to join in. People create their personal flags out of fabric or paper or whatever materials they want…even a simple drawing is fine if they aren’t crafty. The main thing is to be part of this movement, not to win a prize for art. Then, they hang or display them on this date and share photos of their flags so others who are suffering can feel a collective support. This year, it’s estimated that about 17,000 flags were made in the name of healing.
If you’ve suffered a loss, I strongly recommend you check out CarlyMarie’s site or Facebook page, which is full of support by one who walks in your shoes. Not just today, but each day.
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Do you participate in the Day of Hope? Do you have any tips ways to honor the memory of your child?
By Tracey Minella
August 18th, 2015 at 9:14 am
What better day than National Birth Control Day to look back at the time when we used to use birth control? Can you even remember?
The embarrassment of buying condoms, the gynecologist visits for prescriptions. Oh, what we went through just to be sure we would not get pregnant. Because really, that would be the worst thing that could ever, ever happen.
Maybe you even experienced a time or two of sheer hysterical panic worry over a birth control “lapse”. Isn’t it amazing how totally opposite surviving that “two week wait” is from surviving today’s two week wait?
And the money wasted!!! Why, if we only knew then that we didn’t even need birth control because some sinister infertile force was lurking within, we could have dumped all that money into the future fertility treatment savings account instead. Heck, we could have steamed up all the car windows with reckless abandon.
When I think of the years on birth control, the irony kills me. I imagine the fertility gods laughing at me behind my back. Well, not really, but you know what I mean. I feel a little stupid, like life made a fool of me, and I resent feeling that way. Here I was the responsible one. We used birth control until we were ready to start a family. We had a plan.
Ha! A plan.
If we only knew.
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Do you ever feel resentful about the time and money you spent on birth control?
By David Kreiner MD
August 12th, 2015 at 1:01 pm
On July 31, 2015, we lost a great man who with his wife Dr. Georgeanna was responsible for so much in our field of IVF and infertility. Personally, for those of us who trained with Dr. Howard Jones Jr., our careers and lives were permanently and monumentally enhanced. We are who we are, we do what we do… and the way we do it… in large part because of Dr. Howard.
Dr. Howard was not just America’s IVF pioneer but he performed the first transgender surgeries in the U.S. This was his reasoning. “There was a lot of discussion of the appropriateness of doing it — if it would really solve the problem” of a person’s feeling uncomfortable as a man or woman and wanting to change, he said. But the questions about sex-change surgery were not moral or psychological ones, he said — “not what reaction it would have with the general public but, from a medical point of view, if it would really be helpful.”
In 1978, upon retiring to Norfolk to pursue their love of sailing it was reported that the first IVF baby had been born. The Joneses hadn’t yet finished unpacking when journalists came to their home to interview them about this future Nobel Prize winning event. Almost as an afterthought…Dr. Jones was asked if IVF could be performed in Norfolk. In Dr. Howard’s pinpoint precision fashion and with his classic radio announcer voice, he proclaimed that with sufficient funds they could create a successful IVF program in Norfolk. I have seen a video of this moment and it conjures up images of Babe Ruth promising to hit a home run for that sick boy in the hospital… then pointing to the fence just prior to him knocking one out of the park.
My personal history with Dr. Howard began with when I arrived in Norfolk to start my fellowship the day the Jones Institute moved to their new quarters in the summer of 1985. By then the Institute had established itself through clinical success and teaching as the center of the IVF universe. I was in awe of these giants in Reproductive Medicine who warmly welcomed me into the fold and graciously extended themselves to instruct me in the Jones Reproductive Medicine ways. Dr. Howard was the most amazing role model as he could motivate and direct like a general leading his troops to battle. He liked to say, “A chain is only as strong as its weakest link” and he did what he could to insure the integrity of each of those links. Through his time, efforts and knowledge, Drs. Howard and Georgeanna, Dr. Rosenwaks and others at the Institute trained me and in so doing passed the baton of successful family building to open the first successful IVF program in Long Island.
By Tracey Minella
August 9th, 2015 at 8:53 pm
Tagged with Castle Connelly Top Doctors Infertility, Daniel Kenigsberg, Joseph Peña, MD, Steven Brenner, Top Doctors Infertility, Top Doctors on Long Island, Top Reproductive Endocrinologist Long Island
Long Island IVF is proud to announce that several of its doctors have been included in the Top Doctors on Long Island Guide selected from the 2015 Castle Connolly Guide by Newsday.
Three of its physicians…Daniel Kenigsberg, MD, Steven Brenner, MD, and Joseph Pena, MD… have consistently appeared on the prestigious listing as Reproductive Endocrinologists and were recognized again this year.
All three doctors are consistently humbled by this honor. Doctors do not and cannot pay to appear on this list, but rather are nominated and selected through a peer recognition process, so being named to the Top Docs list is an honor that never gets old for these physicians.
Long Island IVF is proud of all of its physicians, embryologists, nurses and staff for their commitment to its patients and is grateful for the recognition given by Castle Connolly’s Top Doctors Guide honors. But the best reward for a job well done is the satisfaction we get from building families every day and seeing the very real impact our work has on the lives and happiness of our patients.
In an effort to give back to the Long Island community, Long Island IVF sponsors annual infertility fundraisers in which it donates a free IVF cycle as a door prize. Long Island IVF also offers a variety of grants which can provide financial assistance to those seeking infertility treatments, including NYS DOH’s Infertility Demonstration Grant as well as the new Jade Foundation IVF Grant which is exclusively available at Long Island IVF. For more information on grants, patients new to our practice should contact the Long Island New Patient Counselor at (631) 752-0606 and existing patients should speak with their LIIVF Financial Counselor.
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If you could say one thing to your LIIVF doctor OR to someone who was looking for an infertility specialist, what would you say?
By Tracey Minella
August 3rd, 2015 at 6:34 pm
How do you mourn a man you never knew? How do you thank a doctor you’ve never met for making you a mom?
Millions of parents and their miracle children and grandchildren are struggling with those feelings after the death last week of Dr. Howard W. Jones, Jr. the pioneer (along with his late wife Dr. Georgeanna Seegar Jones) of in vitro fertilization (IVF) in America. Today’s IVF patients should be mourning him as well.
Imagine how many of us would be living our lives childless without the hope of ever conceiving or creating a biological child? People who need IVF technology include women with blocked tubes, women with poor quality or no eggs, men with male factor infertility, and some members of the LGBT community.
Maybe I felt closer to him because I’ve been lucky enough to hear Dr. Kreiner over the years tell of his days studying under both of the Dr. Joneses at the Jones Institute in Norfolk, VA. It’s mind-blowing to me to imagine my very own doctor training directly with this legendary pioneer duo and then bringing that knowledge here to Long Island.
Reading up on his life, I came across a few unbelievable tidbits about “Dr. Howard’s” incredible life in this interesting New York Times article*:
- He was delivered by Dr. J. King Seegar, the man who would become his father-in-law nearly 30 years later.
- He started to study genital anomalies in the 1950s and helped found the Johns Hopkins Gender Identity Clinic in 1965, which was the first sex-change clinic in an American hospital. He operated on babies with ambiguous genitalia.
- He was involved in cancer studies while at Johns Hopkins and diagnosed cervical cancer in a black woman named Henrietta Lacks in 1951. Though she died rather quickly from that cancer, biologists continued to use Ms. Lacks’ “immortal” cancer cell line (known as HeLa cells) “which led to breakthroughs in research on the polio vaccine, chemotherapy, cloning, gene mapping and in vitro fertilization.” Some have questioned whether she gave appropriate consent for the use of her cells for research.
- He took up In Vitro Fertilization as a post-retirement career…something he pursued after mandatory retirement from Johns Hopkins at age 65! He was nearly 71 when the first American IVF baby, Elizabeth Carr, was born in 1981.
- He remained active into his 100s, and published a memoir, In Vitro Fertilization Comes to America: Memoir of a Medical Breakthrough, only 10 months ago.
Talk about leaving multiple legacies! But don’t be discouraged. There’s plenty of time for you to mark your own mark on the world. Remember, he didn’t get around to IVF until he retired!
Well, they certainly don’t make men like Dr. Jones anymore. But, thanks to him, Dr. Kreiner and other doctors all over the world continue his legacy and are, in fact, making little men (and little women) every day who could grow up to do great things.
So, on behalf of a grateful nation of your children.. and those who are yet to come… rest easy, Dr. Jones. You’ve certainly earned it.
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If you could tell or ask Dr. Jones one thing, what would it be?