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Archive for the ‘Secondary Infertility’ Category

8 Things to #StartAsking and #KEEPAsking after #NIAW

By Tracey Minella

April 30th, 2016 at 4:43 pm

 

image courtesy of Resolve, the National Infertility Association


Honestly, my first reaction to this year’s NAIW #StartAsking theme wasn’t positive. It just didn’t sit right with me for some nagging reason I couldn’t put my finger on. So, it was hard to sit down and write a post using it. It made me have to really think about some serious and difficult things. Stuff I usually keep locked away. Some days, I just don’t have the strength to think too hard.

Start Asking.

Start Asking why? Start asking how? Start asking for something?

Start asking…what, exactly?

Should I start asking Why me? Truth be told, that was the first thing that came to mind. But there is no point in asking that question. So what is worth asking?

Then it dawned on me. We need to start asking for whatever it is we need in order to get through this journey (or to see that those who follow us can get through it). It’s that simple. And that difficult.

That means asking for help, for understanding, for respect, for answers, for kindness, for prayers, for coverage, and for action.

Start asking yourself what you need. And who can fill that need?

  1. Help: It’s hard to ask for financial help but if it’s the only barrier to treatment, you may have to ask. Loans, gifts, online fundraising sites are some ways to finance fertility treatment. Most IVF practices offer grants as well. Ask for help.
  2. Understanding: No one will truly get it unless they’ve battled infertility themselves. But they need to try to understand why it’s too hard for you to handle things like baby showers, egg hunts, and gender reveal parties for a couple’s 5th baby. Tell them you’re happy for them, but it hurts too much to participate right now. Ask them to understand.
  3. Respect: Everyone has advice on how you should be handling your infertility journey. Regardless of their personal (and usually uneducated) opinions, they need to respect the decisions you’re making…whether that involves IUI,  IVF, egg donation, donor sperm, surrogacy, egg freezing, pre-implantation genetic screening, adoption, or choosing to live child-free. Ask them to respect your right to make your own decisions.
  4. Answers: There is no such thing as a stupid question, at least when it comes to infertility treatment. So much is on the line that you owe it to yourself to understand the often complicated and ever-changing world of assisted reproductive technology. Understand what is happening to your body during any given treatment or procedure, including the medications you’re taking, how to take them, and any possible side-effects.  Knowledge is power. Ask questions if you don’t understand something.
  5. Kindness: Similar to respect, you deserve to be treated kindly. People can be mean…on purpose or innocently. “Why can’t you give me grandchildren?” “He just looks at me and I get pregnant”. “You can have one of mine.” “I’ll get her pregnant for you”. “Be thankful you have one.” Protect your heart. Ask people to stop saying hurtful things like that.
  6. Prayers: For the religious, infertility (especially a long journey filled with losses) can sometimes be a test of one’s faith. Don’t feel guilty asking why this is happening to you or questioning why your prayers are not being answered. If your faith is a source of comfort and strength to you and also to those you know, ask for their prayers or good thoughts on your behalf.
  7. Coverage: As you no doubt know, the biggest barrier to infertility treatment is often lack of health insurance coverage. Most policies offer little to no coverage for fertility treatments like IVF. The only hope for change lies in advocating for new legislation mandating better infertility coverage. Ask your elected representatives to create or support legislation mandating IVF coverage.
  8. Action: Start asking is a good start. It’s a catchy theme for NIAW. It’s good to raise awareness. One week per year. But that’s not enough. We need infertility action not just infertility awareness. The week is over. Tomorrow we risk being forgotten until next April (or at least until we resurrect Coming Out Infertile Day in November). And those baby shower invites will still flood the mailbox. Those nagging personal questions will not abate. And those uncovered infertility costs will still prevent many from accessing the treatments they need to become parents. Ask yourself and others to take action for real change.

I guess my issue with the theme this year, or maybe every year, is just a frustration over the slow pace of change. And the poor collective memory of the public. Tomorrow will not only start a new week, but a new month. A new “awareness” cause to push. By Friday, will anyone still be aware of infertility? Will they still be ASKING? We don’t need to just #StartAsking. We need to #KEEPAsking.

Let’s show our appreciation for –and join–all the tireless infertility advocates who support the infertile folks of today through activism, advocacy, blogging, and more. To the extent you can, join the fight. Consider participating in Advocacy Day . Don’t just start asking. Keep asking. Then keep acting until real change happens. Until we have babies for all.

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What did you #StartAsking? What will you #KeepAsking?

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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.

 

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‘Coming Out Infertile” Day

By Tracey Minella

October 23rd, 2015 at 10:40 am

Long Island IVF is proud to sponsor the first annual “Coming Out Infertile” Day on November 11, 2015 and a special workshop for those suffering from infertility.

Infertility is a devastating disease that affects 1 out of every 8 couples. In addition to the pain and fear that comes with this diagnosis, many couples feel the unwarranted stigma of shame and guilt. Consequently, they keep their infertility a secret.

They are often afraid…or don’t know how… to tell their families and friends (or their employers) that they are having trouble getting or staying pregnant and need treatment. So they suffer in silence. Often for many months or years.

Coming Out Infertile Day was conceived to encourage those suffering from infertility to “come out” to their families, friends, and/or employers if they feel ready to do so… and to help them with the tools they need to do so. And most importantly, to come out in a way that feels right for them.

The holiday season, with its focus on children and families, is a particularly hard time for infertile folks who are easy targets for nagging personal questions about baby-making plans.

What we wouldn’t give to have a pregnancy test kit with two lines on it. Which is why we chose 11-11 for this event.

Coming Out Infertile Day…seven months after National Infertility Awareness Week in April and right before the stress of the holidays…is a timely public reminder of the pain of infertility and a chance for those suffering to come out and get support.

Long Island IVF is offering a free Coming-Out Infertile Workshop on November 11, 2015 from 6-8 pm  at its offices at 8 Corporate Center Drive, Melville, New York. Led by our own Mind-Body medicine expert and psychologist, Bina Benisch, MS, RN, who specializes in counseling infertility patients, attendees will be given the support they need to come out infertile in a manner that’s right for them. In addition to this group counseling, attendees will receive sample scripts and template letters to customize to help them. Are you ready to tell just your parents? Or your best friend? The whole family? Need to know how to break it to your boss? We can help.

Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words. So, for those ready to fully and publicly come out, Workshop attendees will be able to be part of Coming Out Infertile Day’s social media campaign where you can easily upload and share your photo with the official #Comingoutinfertile hashtag and graphic on various social media platforms by using the easy and free app, PicStitch (available in ITunes App Store or Google Play). You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to participate. All are welcome and encouraged to be part of this historic global event!

Be with us virtually!! Those unable to attend can access scripts here:

http://www.longislandivf.com/pdf/LIIVF-COI-verbal.pdf

http://www.longislandivf.com/pdf/LIIVF-COI-Written.pdf

 

On November 11th, everyone is encouraged to use the #ComingOutInfertile social media PicStitch app instructions here:

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

To copy the #ComingOutInfertile graphic for PicStitch, just save this image:

 

 

 

 

 

 

Like our Long Island IVF Facebook page and the Coming Out Infertile Day page to stay on top of this movement.

It’s time to end the stigma of infertility. It’s time to unburden yourself from the added weight of this secret and get the support you need. It’s time to #comeoutinfertile. Join us in person or on social media on 11-11. Be part of the movement no matter where you are in your infertility journey.

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What is holding you back from coming out infertile? Are you ready to join the #comingoutinfertile movement?

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Secondary Infertility and “Kindergarten Empty Nest”

By Tracey Minella

September 8th, 2015 at 9:03 am

 

credit: khunaspix/Freedigitalphotos.net


Maybe that first pregnancy came easy. Maybe it didn’t. But, boy did you want that baby.

Your first-born.

She made you a mom. Or a dad. He was the answer to prayers and the realization of dreams that began decades ago. You always expected to become a parent. If you struggled with infertility or losses beforehand, that angel’s birth was the sweet reward for your pain and perseverance.

But you wanted… more. And it hasn’t happened.

For years, you’ve wrestled with the thought of wanting a bigger family. Afraid to speak it aloud. Afraid to be judged ungrateful for the one child you do have. The one child you may’ve bargained with the Universe to have….the one you’d have sold your soul for. The single child that fertile folks and those struggling with infertility believe you should happily settle for.

But why can’t I have another, you often wondered as you savored every single minute of parenthood. Onesies and late-night feedings. First words and steps. Doctor visits. Bedtime stories and snuggles. Happy Mother’s Day and Father’s Day and happy every other holiday. Happy every single ordinary day, as well.

Until last week.

One minute you were at the bus-stop taking Facebook pictures and chatting up the other moms, as your firstborn …sporting a Minions backpack… giggled nervously with the other kids. The next minute a yellow bus whisked your baby away. And ran over your heart in the process.

How did this happen?

You returned to your empty house while the others pushed strollers home… your routine somehow disrupted. For the first time in five years, you may have all the time in the world. And hate it. What will you do to fill the 8 weeks hours until your baby comes home…or the 6 hours for those hovering “helicopter-parents” who covertly followed the bus?  How will you adjust to the new void in your life?

You suddenly realize that you really aren’t so different from the freshman college mom you pitied at Bed Bath & Beyond last month.

You’ve got kindergarten empty nest.

It is the price of secondary infertility. At best, it forces you to face the frustration over the ever-widening age gap between your first and potential second child. At worst, it makes you confront the possibility that what was supposed to be your firstborn may actually be your only child.

Kindergarten can also be tough on “lonely only-s”. Brace yourself for the inevitable plea, prompted by one of those early “All About Me” assignments: “When are you going to give me a little brother or sister?”

Just think…there are only 276 days until summer vacation. Not like anyone’s counting.

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Has anyone experienced Kindergarten Empty Nest? If so, what are your thoughts on coping with the adjustments it brings to you as parents and to your child? How have you handled it? Any tips?

 

 

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The IVF Transfer

By Tracey Minella

February 7th, 2015 at 9:24 am

 

photo credit: marin/freedigital photos.net


In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a long process. The transfer is at the end of the line.

When people do IVF, they endure weeks of daily hormone injections and blood work and ultrasounds designed to make the woman produce more than the one egg she would otherwise likely produce. When the time is right, an injection is given that leads to the final maturation of the eggs and the egg retrieval is scheduled for about 34 hours thereafter, so that the eggs will not be ovulated and the cycle lost.

Once the eggs are retrieved, they are placed in a petri dish with the partner’s sperm, and in some cases, Intra-Cytoplasmic Sperm Injection (ICSI) is performed. With ICSI, a single sperm is isolated and injected into a single egg to increase the odds of fertilization, usually in cases where sperm count or quality is an issue. Then, you wait a day for a fertilization report.

If there is fertilization, the resulting embryos are continually monitored and graded based on how they grow and develop. An agreed upon number of Day 3 embryos (or Day 5 blastocysts) get transferred back to the woman’s uterus via catheter. Each embryo or blastocyst has the potential to develop into a baby, or in rare cases, may even split into twins. Excess embryos are usually cryopreserved (frozen) for future use.

In order to make it to Transfer Day, a couple must survive all the prior phases: cycle suppression, ovarian/follicle stimulation with blood work that corresponds to the number and size of the follicles, a uterine lining that is thick enough for embryo implantation, retrieval of quality eggs, fertilization of eggs, development and growth of quality-grade embryos. Then, the transfer.

Optimists may relax more as each hurdle is cleared. Worry-warts hold their breath ‘til the end. And even then, they beg to lay there for the next two weeks with their hips elevated by pillows or they slam their partners’ driving with every bump on the ride home.

The transfer is a magical moment. It’s not only the end of the treatment cycle, but for many it’s the closest they may ever have been to getting pregnant.

The beauty of IVF comes in the knowledge that you did create embryos…they are real and you can literally see them. If you get pregnant you have breathtakingly beautiful photos of your child from the earliest moments of conception. You know the exact date of conception. You even see the glow of the embryos in the uterus after transfer.

There is nothing quite like the feeling of hope on transfer day. You can bask in the literal moment you may be becoming a mom. Visualize implantation happening. Will it to happen. Allow yourself to believe it because you never know what the effect of positive thinking could be.

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What was your transfer day like? What do you most remember about it?

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Long Island IVF WINS “Best In Vitro Fertility Practice” in Best of Long Island 2015!

By admin

January 20th, 2015 at 2:28 pm

 

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 contest. Unlike prior years, for the 10th anniversary of the BOLI contest, there could only be one winner per category with no runners-up.

We just received word that we won. Thanks to all of you!

The doctors, nurses, embryologists, and the rest of the Long Island IVF staff are so proud of this honor and so thankful to each and every one of you who took the time to cast a vote in our favor. From the moms juggling LIIVF toddlers… 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 get to do every day…build families. And that’s all the thanks we really need. But your endorsement of us to your friends, families, and the public (by voting for us) means so much and will enable us to help even more infertile couples fulfill their dreams of building a family.

As we usher in 2015…our 27th year…we will continue to offer our unique blend of cutting-edge medical technologies and holistic, personal support… wrapped in the comfort of a private, non-hospital setting.

Thanks again. Happy New Year to all.

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Infertile Again on New Year’s Eve

By Tracey A. Minella

December 31st, 2014 at 2:17 pm

 

credit: stuart miles/ freedigitalphotos.net


I know exactly what you want to do with that noise maker.

No one would blame you either.

When you’re battling infertility, the last thing most people want to do is party. Unless you’re determined to forget reality for a few hours, who wants to spend money we don’t have dressing up for some rip-off celebration where you’re crowded into a ballroom full of strangers, with bad food, bargain booze, and loud tacky music while fertile friends complain about what the babysitter is costing them?

Truth is…I never liked New Year’s Eve. I hate high heels…and am not really fond of strangers either. My well-done steak never arrives until the ball is dropping. And the group rendition of Sweet Caroline just doesn’t have the same old lure. You may have your own reasons to hate big New Year’s Eve celebrations. Reasons in addition to the obvious one…

Facing the passing of time, coupled with infertility, is a mood killer.

Here’s the best advice I’ve got: Boycott it! Yes, treat New Year’s Eve like any other night. Be a rebel and go to bed at 10. Or maybe have a romantic dinner before turning in early. Unlike many of the recent holidays, this is one where you can actually avoid family. And you can avoid the holiday itself, too…as long as you turn over the calendar the next morning. This might be best if 2014 was a particularly rough year full of losses.

Want to see people? Keep it small…with only those who truly support you…so you don’t find yourself having to fake a fun time or dodging questions about finally having a baby in 2015. A few close friends, great food and drinks, some funny board games or a good movie. Low-key.

Of course, if you do go out big time and some drunk asks if that’s a noise maker in your pocket or you’re just happy to see them, you know what to do.

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How do you feel about New Year’s Eve? A time to celebrate wildly? A time for quiet, casual fun? A night to hide under the covers?

What do you plan to do?

 

 

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Long Island IVF Family Reunion 2014 Memories

By Tracey Minella

November 11th, 2014 at 4:26 pm


Long Island IVF just celebrated its 26th Annual Family Reunion event. With schools closed and many people off from work, we were blessed with an exceptionally high turn-out of babies and new parents. And we couldn’t have been happier!

The family reunion is the highlight event of our year because it’s when the doctors and staff get to meet the newest crop of little miracles. The last time some of these babies were held, they were only a few cells in size! It’s such an emotional experience for doctors and patients alike. This year, 99 of the newest babies came out. Maybe we’re biased, but they were all gorgeous! And their parents were bursting with smiles and pride…happiness and gratitude replacing the worry and stress of the past. A photographer was capturing the little dickens in a fall-themed pumpkin patch.

It was remarked that if we’d had all of the babies we helped to create for the past 26 years, we’d have filled the Nassau Coliseum!

We were also so lucky to have the event covered by several media outlets, including CBS, Fox, FIOS, and News 12. Not only did that coverage expose our practice’s success to potential patients who may need our family-building services, but it enabled all of our patients, past and present, to share in the reunion experience. You could feel the happiness in the air.

Please check out some of the videos of that news coverage on our Facebook page or at these links and check back often as we will update them as they are available:

http://longisland.news12.com/news/long-island-ivf-celebrates-26-years-of-helping-families-1.9608352

http://newyork.cbslocal.com/video/10839273-proud-parents-reunite-with-doctors-to-celebrate-birth-of-little-miracles/

 

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Have you been to a LIIVF family reunion? If so, what was the best part? If not yet, what part do you imagine would be the most fulfilling?

 

 

 

 

 

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Are Secondary Infertility Patients Like Second Class Citizens?

By David Kreiner MD

November 1st, 2014 at 10:13 am

 

Credit: stock photos/free digitalphotos.net


Sometimes my patients who have difficulty conceiving their second child feel like second class citizens in the infertility world.

Unlike their infertile peers without a child they perceive that friends, family and even their doctor’s offices do not have the same sympathy and concern for them as they observe others without a child receive.

I have had patients express guilt and anger in addition to the routine sadness often associated with the inability to conceive.

Those of you with secondary infertility need to know that you are not alone in feeling this way. My patients all express this alienation which exacerbates the depressing effects of infertility universally experienced among those affected. You have as much a right to fertility care as anyone else as well as the respect and care.

There are some unique characteristics to patients with secondary infertility that are worth discussion. Those of you who have had a caesarian section, ectopic pregnancy or abdominal surgery are more likely to have a tubal factor causing your infertility. Scar tissue can form that can obstruct, or displace a fallopian tube making it more difficult for the tube to pick up an ovulating egg or the fertilized egg to make it to the uterus.

Borderline sperm counts and endometriosis typically make it more difficult to conceive so that it is not unusual that it took longer than expected to conceive the first time and now you are not experiencing any success at all.

We perform a semen analysis and hysterosalpingogram and consider the potential benefit of laparoscopic investigation. Alternatively, if the semen analysis is not too bad and the HSG is normal, patients may benefit from insemination with hormonal stimulation. Otherwise, in vitro fertilization either with minimal or full stimulation will offer significantly superior success rates.

Facing secondary infertility may be as difficult emotionally as infertility for those without prior pregnancies. However, treatment options are available that are highly successful in delivering you the family of your dreams.

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If you’re experiencing secondary infertility, what’s been your experience with the support (or lack thereof) of others and with your own feelings?

Photo credit: stock images/courtesy of free digital photos.net http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Family_g212-Beautiful_Mom_Kissing_Her_Pretty_Daughter_p111862.html

 

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Long Island IVF’s Annual Family Reunion is Coming!

By Tracey Minella

October 17th, 2014 at 7:10 am

 

credit: imagery majestic/ freedigitalphotos.net


With a feeling of thanksgiving in the autumn air, we’re eagerly preparing for LIIVF’s Annual Family Reunion…a celebration of the births of our newest batch of special babies.

I remember waiting a long, long time for my chance to attend this special celebration. I actually aspired to it. It was one of those things on my mental list of perks of getting pregnant. I’d heard talk of it in hushed tones among newly pregnant patients in the waiting room. My turn finally came on the LIIVF 10th Anniversary in 1998.

Back then, it was held outside the Long Island IVF office in Port Jefferson, behind Mather Hospital. And a huge fire truck…the kind with the bucket that soars amazingly high…would arrive to take a group photo of all the parents and their babies. Shortly thereafter, space limitations unfortunately necessitated limiting the attendees to the most recent crop of newborns.

If you haven’t experienced or heard of it, the reunion is a fun-filled, camera-clicking day where proud new parents show off their little miracles and our doctors and staff gets to meet the latest additions to the LIIVF family. (Just ask any “alumni” parents of our older babies if their infants’ reunion party was special.)

We know it may be hard to hear about this event if you’re still on your journey to parenthood. And we’re really sorry for that, and look forward to seeing you at a future reunion. But we want to be sure we haven’t missed any patient who is eligible to attend this year…

So… if your special little bundle was born between January 1, 2013 and today, please email Lindsay Montello at lmontello@liivf.com  so we can put you on the invitation list. (And if your baby’s older and you missed the last reunion…or you just really, really want to come this year, please email Lindsay anyway!)

This year’s event will be held on Tuesday, November 11, 2014 from noon until 2:30 pm, so save the date! More exciting details will come in your invitation.

We’re so looking forward to seeing you again and meeting your new little pumpkins!

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Have you been to a reunion? What’s the best part?

 

LONG ISLAND IVF was nominated BEST IN VITRO FERTILITY PRACTICE in the Long Island Press’s “Best of Long Island 2015″ contest. If you’d like to vote to help us win, you can vote once per day from now through Dec 15 here: http://bestof.longislandpress.com/voting-open/

 

Photo credit: freedigitalphotos.net and imagery majestic http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=100116728

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Long Island IVF-Cade Foundation Dancing Event Wrap Up

By admin

October 1st, 2014 at 9:08 am


It was a blur. Glossy wood floors, brass accents, perfect lighting. Intoxicating music and palpable excitement filled the air.

Stepping off the red carpet and into the breath-taking Dance With Me Studio… onto the very dance floor that Dancing With the Stars® champion dancers have graced… made most attendees feel like celebrities themselves.

Be sure to check out a slideshow of some of the photos on our website and Facebook page and You Tube http://youtu.be/w5_mHGkl4Xk

And, like those champions, many attendees were on that floor with the dream of winning. Not a trophy, but something even better… a chance to build a family. They were there hoping to win the free IVF cycle door prize donated by Long Island IVF for themselves or a loved one.

And while there were understandably some disappointed hearts, every attendee should realize that as a result of their support of this event, the Cade Foundation raised funds that will be used to help infertile couples receive education and financing opportunities for fertility treatment or adoption. In fact, ideas for next year’s big event are already being discussed.

Nothing brings us greater satisfaction than being able to give away such a valuable door prize as an IVF cycle to a couple struggling to conceive and who would not otherwise be able to proceed with their infertility treatment.

This year’s winner donated the IVF cycle to her friend. We wish her, and everyone still on their journey, the best of luck.

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Any suggestions for next year? Should we consider a new venue or dance the night away again? Would you prefer a different time of year? Let us know what you think so we can craft the night of your dreams.

 

 

 

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