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Archive for the ‘coping with infertility’ tag

Infertile on Valentine’s Day

By Tracey Minella

February 14th, 2017 at 12:13 pm

 

image credit: OZphotography/ freedigitalphotos.net


Most holidays are hard on those struggling with infertility, but Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to be one of them. It’s one of the few holidays that are focused on couples, not children. You’re expected to be alone as a couple…no family gatherings to endure.

While a fancy dinner, candy, roses, or even diamonds can’t substitute for the gift you really want to give or receive from your partner today, try not to focus on the baby quest for just this one day…or at least for a good part of it…and instead focus on your partner.

Battling infertility can make you lose sight of pretty much everything else. It can make you understandably cranky and depressed. And it can make you take your loved ones…especially your partner…for granted.

If you’ve fallen into that rut, today is the perfect day to change things. Start by stealing a moment and clearing your mind of everything else. Then, make a list of five things you love about your partner. If you need help getting started, think about how he/she is right beside you in this battle. What have you weathered together already? Remember how much he/she can make you laugh or the special inside jokes only you two share?(Consider telling your partner you’re doing this and ask them to do the same so you can exchange lists over dinner tonight or wait until you’re together tonight and make the lists together.)

Valentine’s Day doesn’t have to cost a lot, especially when financing infertility treatments. If you do want to go out, kick back and enjoy yourself knowing that most places will be child-free tonight.

Of course, a great Valentine’s Day doesn’t need to cost anything at all. A quiet and simple dinner at home may be all you need to spiritually reconnect. Candles and the right companion can make even mac and cheese incredibly romantic. And those lists of what you love about each other will be treasured keepsakes to look back on later. Trust me.

And having walked many miles in your shoes let me tell you a little secret…

Infertility can be a gift. A twisted kind of gift on nobody’s wish list, of course. But it’s a gift that is often not realized until after the battle is won. If it doesn’t break your marriage, infertility can make your love stronger than you ever imagined it could be. Every tear and painful loss or setback can be cement for your union. Many infertile couples look back and feel that if they got through infertility together, they can handle anything else the future may throw at them. What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger, as they say.

So this is a night to give thanks for…and celebrate… your soul mate and your union. Focus on that. Reconnect. It will strengthen you for when you resume the battle again tomorrow.

Now, pencils ready…

 

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How do you celebrate your love when battling infertility?

 

 

photo credit: OZphotography/freedigitalphotos.net

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Long Island IVF Workshop: Keep the Passion in Lovemaking during Infertility

By Tracey Minella

January 18th, 2017 at 11:35 am


What if the idea of “doin’ it” just ain’t doin’ it for you?

Like a winter storm, battling infertility can beat a couple down over time. Hot on the heels of navigating the winter holidays without children and facing another New Year’s without the baby, is the coming pressure of Valentine’s Day and all its sexy hype.

Who needs a night of chocolates, flowers, satin sheets, and lacy lingerie when all you really want is a night of Dominoes® home delivery, spit-up soaked sweats, and colicky midnight feedings?

So how do you keep the passion in lovemaking even when baby-making is challenging?

Long Island IVF’s own psychologist and infertility specialist Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N. is hosting a workshop specifically designed to help infertile couples navigate the challenges of feeling sexual and loving and keeping their passion alive while battling infertility.

The free workshop will be held on Thursday night, January 26, 2017 at 6:30 pm at the Long Island IVF office at 8 Corporate Center Dr., Melville, New York.

All are welcome to attend—no need to be a patient of our practice. Can’t get your partner to come with you? Bring a friend or come alone. Pre-registration is required so secure your spot and sign up here now.

Let us help you dig out of the depression of scheduled sex, negativity, self-criticism, and fear and rekindle the romance and spontaneity that’s buried under that pile of negative pee sticks.

You love your partner and you are in this together. Let us help you reconnect…because reducing stress and rekindling romance can only help in the end.

Is that Dominoes® at the door?

We hope to see you there! Register today.

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Are you coming to the workshop? Do you have any specific questions or topics you’d like addressed at the workshop?

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Infertile People Have a Dream

By Tracey Minella

January 16th, 2017 at 6:01 pm

image credit: David Castillo Dominici/ freedigitalphotos.net

 

As Americans celebrate the late, great Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., we usually remember his most famous quotation from his 1963 speech for racial equality.

 

“I Have a Dream…”

 

Those trying to conceive a baby live by these same words. They are the mantra of the suffering, infertile woman.

 

To be clear, infertility is not on the same “life-and-death” level as the civil rights movement.  Yet there is no mistaking the parallels that do exist between the passion MLK Jr. felt for his cause and the passion infertile women feel for their quest for motherhood.

 

When you are infertile, you are ever-aware of a different unfairness and inequality in the world. How fertile couples take their fertility for granted. How others have what you’ve been denied. You suffer unimaginable pain and despair at what is effectively a denial of your right to the pursuit of happiness. And you passionately dream your dream…of a day when you will hold a baby in your arms.

 

MLK Jr.’s peaceful protesting of the injustices of segregation and racial inequality ultimately changed a nation. But for the infertile woman, there is no protest that can make that dream of motherhood come true. Sure, we can and must demand the government do more to help infertile women… such continually advocating for legislation mandating more comprehensive medical insurance for infertility treatment. But ultimately, your plight is based on individual circumstance, not oppression by others. New legislation may help financially, but it alone won’t guarantee you get pregnant. So how do you deal with the frustration over the situation? How do you keep your dream alive?

 

Dr. King…a spiritual man and motivational speaker…gave us more than that one famous quote.  Here’s another one, which speaks to the heart of the infertile woman:

 

“Faith is taking the first step, even when you don’t see the whole staircase.”

 

So when you remember the courage of this great man, think about becoming an advocate for political change that will advance the cause for infertile women. Keep the faith.

 

And never give up on your dream.

 

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How do you keep your dream alive? What’s the biggest obstacle?

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Tips to Surviving Another Infertile New Year’s Eve

By Tracey Minella

December 29th, 2016 at 11:38 am

 

photo credit: Ambro/freedigitalphotos.net


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?

 

 

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Hating the Waiting of Infertility

By Tracey Minella

December 24th, 2016 at 9:37 pm

 

 

photo credit: Ambro/freedigitalphotos.net


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.

 

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The 12 Pains of Christmas and Infertility

By Tracey Minella

December 5th, 2016 at 9:36 am

 

image credit: james barker/free digital photos.net

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:

Here goes:

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?

 

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The Reveal: A “Coming Out Infertile” Day Workshop Event

By Tracey Minella

November 4th, 2016 at 1:30 pm


Long Island IVF is proud to sponsor the second annual “Coming Out Infertile” Day on November 17, 2016 and The Reveal: a special pre-holiday season workshop for those suffering in silence 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—even from their family and closest friends.

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 (andThe Reveal workshop) 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.  

Coming Out Infertile Day…seven months after National Infertility Awareness Week in April and right before the stress of the winter 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 The Reveal—a free Coming-Out Infertile Workshop on November 17, 2016 from 6:30-8 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 free 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. All are welcome. The workshop is free but pre-registration is required,  so register here:  http://bit.ly/therevealCOI2016.

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. You do not have to be a Long Island IVF patient to participate. All are welcome and encouraged to be part of this empowering event!

Or be with us virtually!! Those unable to attend can use the #ComingOutInfertile social media PicStich app instructions coming soon. So, like our Long Island IVF Facebook page and/or 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 11-17. 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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Back to School Infertility Blues

By Tracey Minella

September 6th, 2016 at 9:08 am

 

Image credit: Gualberto107/freedigitalphotos.net


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?

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Setting New Family-Planning Goals at Summer’s Close

By Tracey Minella

September 4th, 2016 at 12:35 pm

image credit: Yongkeit/freedigitalphotos.net


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?

 

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Cupping for Competition—and Conception

By David Kreiner MD

August 11th, 2016 at 1:41 am

 

image credit: GraphicsMouse/freedigital photos.net


What treatment might Olympic athletes and fertility-challenged women have in common?

Evidence of Cupping on many competing in the Olympics, especially the swimmers, has made quite a splash…but what is cupping and why the purplish circular marks on the skin?


Cupping is a form of traditional medicine found in many cultures throughout the world. This treatment involves placing cups containing a negative pressure which exerts suction onto the skin that if left on long enough breaks small blood vessels or capillaries resulting in a bruise in the affected area. This sounds painful, but it isn’t.

Cupping is a popular form of Traditional Chinese Medicine (TCM) that works to unblock “Qi”, a form of life energy. Once unblocked, the energy can flow smoothly throughout the meridians or pathways in the body.

With cupping, TCM practitioners, commonly called acupuncturists, help to remove congestion and stagnation (stagnant blood and lymph) from the body and to improve the flow of “Qi” throughout the body.  It also will increase the blood flow to the area upon which the cup is applied.

Musculoskeletal disorders are aided by increasing the flow of blood and “Qi” to the muscles underlying the applied cups.  Hence, Michael Phelps and other Olympians have been going for cupping treatment to alleviate their sore muscles.  Some TCM practitioners will also use cupping to treat breathing problems or respiratory conditions such as a cold, bronchitis or pneumonia.

Cupping may also be utilized to improve fertility in conjunction with acupuncture, moxibustion (heat applied to acupuncture point through burning herbs) and/or herbal therapy.  From a TCM perspective, improving the flow of “Qi” at specific points or meridians may correct an imbalance that is preventing conception.  From a Western scientific view, cupping and acupuncture cause the body to release endorphins.  The endorphin system consists of chemicals that regulate the activity of a group of nerve cells in the brain that relax muscles, dull pain, and reduce panic and anxiety.

It is believed that these therapies may also trigger the release of more hormones, including serotoninSerotonin is a brain chemical that has a calming effect resulting in a serenity that aids the fertility process.  Cupping, like acupuncture, reduces inflammation which could also benefit fertility.  Whether it be the challenge of an Olympic trial or a battle against infertility cupping may be a valuable addition to one’s program.

 

 

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