Archive for December, 2016
By Tracey Minella
December 29th, 2016 at 11:38 am
And so we move on toward yet another new year. Another supposed-to-be Happy New Year.
Holidays aren’t happy when you’re trying to conceive. They just aren’t. And sticking the word “happy” on them only adds to the stress. Isn’t it enough to have to face another year without a baby? Now you have to be “happy” too?
The passing of time is unsettling and the countdown to midnight on New Year’s Eve can be panic-inducing in a way that’s hard to describe. It’s like the world sees a regular clock and infertiles see a biological one. Clocks and other reminders of the passage of time are not welcome to many infertiles. How many of us have morphed into hermit couples over time? There is actually a pattern to it.
One year, you’re typical party-goers hoisting champagne at some big, loud gathering and confidently proclaiming to all within earshot “This year is the year we’re having a baby!”
Time passes. It’s New Year’s Eve again. The crowd you’re celebrating with has dwindled to a few close friends or family and the scene is more low-key. You trade in the bubbly for an alcohol-free toast because you’re doing everything you can to make that baby wish come true and maybe, just maybe, you’re even pregnant right now. You no longer say out loud that “This is the year”. You’re still hopeful, but uneasiness dampens your party spirit.
More time passes. It’s just the two of you now. You don’t want to be out with others. Maybe you’ve suffered losses or are frustrated by financial roadblocks to necessary fertility treatment. You’re depressed and are simply too exhausted to pretend you’re happy…especially when surrounded by people who don’t understand your totally understandable depression. You’re tired of saying “This will be the year” only to find another year goes by and you’re making the same wish over and over. Maybe you’re kicking yourself over all the years you did say it out loud or are just consumed with the thought that if you don’t get pregnant by March, you won’t have a baby in 2017 at all. Time is twisting your mind and manipulating each moment. You’re hope is dangerously depleted and you officially loathe New Year’s with all its shallow celebratory nonsense. Prolonged infertility has stolen your happiness.
It’s okay. It really is okay not to be happy on New Year’s. There are plenty of people who are down or are fearful of what lies ahead.
But it is not okay to lose hope. You need to keep hope alive. Nourish whatever bit is left. Breathe life back into it. Even if there is only a glimmer remaining. Find a way. Because your dream needs hope…and more…in order to come true. Depending on your circumstances, it may also need some combination of action, money and/or a miracle to come true.
So, from someone who ushered in about a decade of consecutive frustrating infertile New Year’s here’s some advice on how to make the best of a tough night.
- Don’t think of yourselves as alone. Remind yourself of why you chose and love this person and reconnect. Realize the power couple you are. You’ve been blessed with each other to get through this journey and, hard as it is, it’s making you stronger. When you finally do have a child, you will be ready for anything life throws your way. Take the night to make a written plan for 2017. What is the next step going to be? What do you need to get there? And how will you get it? Real steps. In writing. Make the plan.
- Acknowledge the elephant in the room…the baby that is not here yet. Instead of focusing on what’s missing, why not play a game? Similar to the movie “The Odd Life of Timothy Green”, you and your partner can brainstorm on the character traits you imagine your future baby will have. Boy or girl? Good at soccer or music? Quiet or loud? And so on. Positive visualization can do wonders. If you write it all down, safeguard it to look back on someday.
- Offer to babysit. For those up to it emotionally (and it’s okay not to be), consider offering to babysit for a friend’s baby or children overnight. You get a real taste of parenting and you get to help out a friend who may want to go out. When you have your own baby, maybe they’ll return the favor!
- Have a plan for an outing. If you are venturing out into the fertile, celebratory world you need a plan. If you’re with people who know you are trying, tell them up front that the topic is off limits tonight. If not, try to have a planned response ready for any possible nosy comments so you are not caught off guard. Have a secret “signal” with your partner that means “It’s time to leave…NOW!” Preparation is the best defense.
Wherever you are, kiss at the stroke of midnight. It’s the best way to enter the New Year. And it’s bound to fill your heart with hope.
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What are your plans and tips for New Year’s Eve?
By Tracey Minella
December 24th, 2016 at 9:37 pm
I was never very patient and infertility only made that worse.
At the risk of sounding like a spoiled child, I wanted what I wanted—a baby. And I wanted it, well, now. Actually, more like yesterday.
Why should I have to wait? I already did all those things I planned to do before starting a family. School. Career. Marriage. Wild newlywed life. Travel. House. Got off birth control and onto prenatal vitamins. Ditched the booze, briefs, fast food, hot tubs–basically all the fun stuff.
The pre-parenthood bucket list has been checked off. Hello, Universe? Let’s go already.
The winter holidays always make the impatience worse. Not my year to buy a Baby’s First Christmas ornament. Not my turn to drop a wailing infant into the lap of a creepy mall Santa. Not my moment to see two lines on the stick.
Just not my time. Again.
There’s the two week wait. Waiting on lines in stores. Waiting in the doctor’s office. Waiting for the ball to drop on another New Year’s without the baby. Again.
I’m sorry you have to wait. And I’m sorry your wait is longer than you expected—longer than you ever imagined. I know how hard it is to wait because my own wait took several years.
But I also know how worth the wait it can– and hopefully will–be once it’s finally over.
Wishing you peace and patience during once of the hardest weeks of waiting for your dreams to come true.
By Tracey Minella
December 17th, 2016 at 1:32 pm
Time flies when you’re having fun—or not. Ever notice how fast did your #1 holiday wish list item morphed from a bicycle into an IVF cycle?
With a price tag to challenge most budgets, IVF can be hard on a partner’s wallet. So if no one checked that item off your list this year, maybe thinking outside the box is in order.
1. Fertility Grants and Creative/Discounted IVF Payment Packages.
Long Island IVF offers many different payment options, bundle plans, IVF grants, DOH grants and exclusive Jade Foundation grant programs, and IVF share refund programs to help their patients with the financial end of their fertility journey. Like a guidance counselor helps a student, the staff is trained to guide you through the maze of available options when planning to finance your family-building plan. You may have more options than you realize. Check it out.
2. Free/Discounted IVF Opportunities.
As you may expect, these opportunities are hard to come by, but they are out there. Some contests allow winners to choose their own fertility clinic for treatment. We pass this information along as we find it, so it pays to follow our blog and like us on Facebook.
3. On-line Fertility Treatment Fundraiser.
If you are not keeping your infertility secret, this option is great for those with the right mix of friends and families…or faith in the kindness of strangers. Of course, some people you approach may be uncomfortable with the idea, so prepare yourself for the critics, too. But others are probably so happy to have a chance to help you. GoFundMe* crowd-funding accounts are wildly popular now among those hoping to raise funds for infertility treatment. In fact, some couples request contributions to these fertility treatment accounts in lieu of registering for traditional wedding or shower gifts.
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Have these suggestions been helpful? Do you have any suggestions to add? Have you tried or will you consider any of these tips?
*Disclaimer: Long Island IVF does not endorse this or any other fundraising site, and are providing this link for informational purposes only.
By Tracey Minella
December 5th, 2016 at 9:36 am
There’s a funny Christmas song that parodies “The Twelve Days of Christmas” called “The 12 Pains of Christmas”, by Bob Rivers. It starts out calm and as the verses go on repetitively, the frustration escalates. My favorite parts are the lines about rigging up the lights (“One goes out, they ALL GO OUT!”), facing my in-laws (“She’s a witch, I hate her!”) and sending Christmas cards (“I don’t even KNOW half these people!”).
But when you’re suffering from infertility, the holiday season is particularly hard and just about everything having to do with it is frustrating. It’s hard to be festive at office parties when that water you’re drinking is sure to prompt smirks or comments about the pregnancy your co-workers think you must be hiding. Maybe you don’t feel like decorating a tree or attending a cookie swap. The idea of facing the toy stores for the kids in your life’s wish list is simply daunting.
And don’t get me started on the cards. The photo cards. The perfect little baby photo cards. The deluge of pictures of families that flood the mailbox. Every. Single. Day. It hurts to receive them. And it hurts to have to send your own out without a baby photo on it—again.
And it hurts to feel guilt and sadness over feeling how you’re feeling.
So in a small attempt at levity, I propose the following song—an anthem if you will—“The 12 Pains of Christmas with Infertility”, set to the same tune as The 12 Days of Christmas:
The first pain of Christmas with Infertility is…
1- Hiding Your Infertility;
2- Pregnancy announcements;
3- Nosy in-laws’ questions;
4- Specimen collection;
5- FIVE GRAND IN MEDS!!!
6- Facing Toys R Us®;
7- Booze-free office parties;
8- One line on the pee stick;
9- Photo cards with babies;
10- Daily injections;
11- Hiding blood work bruises;
12- Aunt Flo comes to visit.
I’m offering you hope and humor, strength and peace this holiday season.
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What would you add to the list?