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Infertility Support Through Blogging

By Tracey Minella

January 10th, 2013 at 10:53 pm

credit: adamr/

RESOLVE, the National Infertility Association, is a great source of information and resources for those suffering from infertility. One popular feature it offers is the annual “Bloggers Unite Program”. During National Infertility Awareness Week in April each year, there is a theme for infertility bloggers to blog about. In 2012, the theme was “Don’t Ignore Infertility”.

Infertility blogs are as different as their authors’ individual infertility experiences and personalities. They may be written by newbies or seasoned IVF veterans, by those who had easy success or those who suffered terrible losses. By those who adopted, who had multiples, or who chose to live child-free. By those who are frank, sarcastic, funny, reserved, or serious. In short, there is something for everyone.

These are the blogs featured in RESOLVE’s 2012 “Bloggers Unite Program”: Consider checking some out.

My blog post from April 25, 2012 on Long Island IVF’s blog, The Fertility Daily, is number 35 on page three of the list. Here is that blog, in full, below:

Don’t Ignore Infertility Support Available

There’s something wrong with me. I see infertile people.

As an infertility blogger and an IVF mom, my mission is to support the women still on their fertility journeys. To listen to them and, when the time is right, to share my own stories to give them strength to go on…or to let go.

And to remind them that their infertility journeys will come to an end. Some day. It may be the day a baby is born or adopted, or with an eventual decision to live child-free. But someday, all this stuff…the charting, injections, inseminations, blood work, retrievals, transfers, miscarriages, stillbirths, and two week waits…all the stuff that now makes up every moment of every day… will end. “Really”, I tell them. “Trust me”…

But I lied.

True, the infertility journey will end. But the infertility itself never goes away.

Most people don’t know that.

After six years… three IUIs, six fresh IVFs, a twin loss, OHSS, ovarian torsion, and countless other obstacles to happiness, then a seventh IVF, for two problematic, bed-rest, preterm labor, gestational diabetic pregnancies which each delivered 6 weeks early…I was sure I’d put infertility behind me. Shop’s closed. Time to let that little smokin’ piece of charcoal I call “my remaining ovary” rest in peace.

But infertility remains.

It’s like in those movies where people see dead people. Except I see infertile people.

It’s there in the faces of young married couples who have the careers, the houses, and the “fur babies”, but have no obvious reason not to have had children yet. The woman awkwardly avoids eye contact when someone unknowingly brings up children. Those of us who’ve been there see it. It is blindingly obvious—like infertile radar.

It’s there in our faces, too. It’s in the little nagging worries about whether the countless vials of injectable medications are going to come back to bite you some day, some way. Or in the resentment we feel about having children later…possibly a decade later…than fertile folks did– and the fear of having less energy to parent them the way they deserve, or of living long enough to see them settled.

I’ve seen division in the infertility world. Among the childless, you have the rookies and the veterans defined by the number of failed IVF cycles they’ve endured. Then you have the secondary infertility patients, often claiming to be resented by the childless for being “greedy” enough to come back for another child. Finally, you have the newly pregnant or newborn success stories– the envy of all. Harsh, but often true. The world can be ugly, and the infertile world is no exception.

When a patient passes into the success story group, something wonderful happens to them. But something sad happens, too. They get the boot. Like some kind of graduation rite, the new moms get ejected from the ranks of the infertile. Their infertile former friends think they’re different now. They think they’re just like all the other fertile folks.

You have a baby now. You no longer understand us.

Are you reading this and saying “So what? Bring it on. Just let me get pregnant and kick me out! I can’t wait until infertility is over!”

It’s not so easy to be a woman without a country. You don’t fit in with your old infertile friends who are still trying to conceive, but you also don’t fit in with the fertile people who, by their words and actions, often take the ease with which they conceived for granted.

Enter one of the best kept secrets of the infertility world… the survivor’s guilt.

Infertility will always be part of you. Even as you push your child on a park swing, you’ll be acutely aware of the sad, detached woman on the bench. You’ll always remember the date of your long-awaited positive pregnancy test and will often think of the waiting room and the people still waiting there. You may find you are far too overprotective of the child you worked so hard to have. That infertile radar is always on.  And your heart hurts for those still struggling…even if they’ve forgotten you.

I blog about infertility for the doctors who didn’t give up on me when I wasn’t an easy case, or an easy patient, or truth be told, much help to their success stats. I blog for the doctors who built my family. For today’s patients and the patients yet to come. Some of the drug names have changed, but the stories are all relevant and the support is heartfelt.  It didn’t feel right to just go on with my life after my journey ended.

Sadly, many IF bloggers gravitate only to blogs by women currently on their journeys. Of course, they are wonderful sources of support. But to overlook the value of informative commercial blogs or blogs by those whose journeys have ended is to overlook another source of support.

So, don’t ignore the infertility support that is available from those who’ve walked a mile in your stirrups. Don’t shun us because you think we don’t understand you anymore. Don’t lump us in with the fertile people just because our journey has ended. Take advantage of the fact that we want to focus only on you.

We are here to help and support you. We will never forget. Don’t ignore us.

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Do you read other infertility blogs? If so, which ones?



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Does Having a Baby After a Loss Heal the Pain?

By Tracey Minella

July 19th, 2012 at 5:44 pm

No one should ever have to experience the loss of a child. Ever. It’s quite simply not the natural order of life.

Whether through a miscarriage, still birth, or after birth, the pain is unspeakable, unbearable. And so personal.

When comforting someone who has suffered this loss, please choose your words wisely…if you even use words at all. Sometimes a look, a squeeze of the hand, or a hug is all that’s in order…or welcome.

Sometimes just doing a task that needs doing speaks volumes more than the well-meaning but awkward chatter. Bring a casserole, do an errand. Offer to listen over a cup of coffee. You don’t understand the loss. Even if you suffered a similar loss yourself, everyone’s experience is different.

Which brings me to the question: Does having a baby after losing a baby heal the pain?

Some people hold their grief close and never let go, even after the blessing of another child… for one cannot replace another. Others manage to let go of the loss, almost completely, in their joy over a new beginning, a new life… for what’s the use of looking back.

For me, a twin loss at 9 weeks, on my third IVF attempt, coming two weeks after an emergency surgery, was a tough loss to process. The surgery left me in a state that would further handicap my chances of conceiving again. I was devastated.

But after three more IVFs, I had my little girl. At that moment, all was made right in my world. I was healed. And part of me feels guilty about that.

But I look back now that I do have two children and find comfort in the idea that it is these two children, not the earlier two, that I was supposed to have. Sure, I think about what age those angels would be and what they’d be doing sometimes, but if I’d had them, then I would not have these exact children that I do have now. And that thought is also unbearable.

Without in any way minimizing a loss by early miscarriage, I wonder if grief is generally harder to bear the longer you’ve loved the child, the longer the attachment. Or whether grief subsides faster for those who do experience a subsequent birth than for those whose arms remain empty. Sure, it sounds logical. Except there’s no place for logic here.

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What do you think?

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Happily Ever After…After Infertility

By Tracey Minella

March 14th, 2011 at 1:40 am

Once upon a time, there was a couple who were trying to conceive. They were finished with school, content in their careers, happily married for several years, and settled into their home. The next thing on their check list for a happy life was a baby.

TTC was fun for a couple of months, ‘til the nagging fear crept in. Spontaneous, carefree love-making turned into routinely-scheduled sex dictated by charts and thermometers. “Give it to me!” gave way to “Oh, just get on!” 

Months turned into years. Still no baby. There was sadness in the kingdom. 

Prayers were said. Candles were lit. Folk remedies were tried. Amulets were worn. Psychics were seen. Doctors were consulted. Tests were taken. More doctors were seen. Tests were repeated. Surgeries were performed. Careers were changed. Mortgages were taken. Parents died. An ovary twisted and was removed. Odds were reduced. Twins miscarried. Depression set in.

Pretty bleak picture, right? Well, like every Disney princess, my story got pretty ugly before the happy ending came.

Infertility and assisted reproductive technology was totally fascinating to me. I read all I could and became the best patient I could be. I asked intelligent questions. I went to work with Dr. Kreiner as a medical assistant and got pregnant with my daughter on the 6th IVF cycle. I often told my “war stories” to inspire other patients not to give up. I remember going into my first IVF cycle assuming it’d work. I never dreamed I’d have needed six fresh IVF cycles to first become a mom.

Today, my baby boy turns 9. His birth marked the end of my exceptionally long infertility journey.

Success rates today are astonishingly high in comparison to when I started my journey. And happily, most of you will not need 7 stimulated IVF cycles to complete your families. But we all have our heartache along the way, and when you don’t see the light yet at the end of your tunnel, the road seems never-ending.

I always said I wished I had a crystal ball that would tell me that I’d eventually have a baby. It wouldn’t have mattered if it told me I had to do 10 IVF cycles before I’d get pregnant. I just needed to know that it would work…at some point. It would have made those failed IVFs so much more bearable. It was the not knowing if it’d ever work that drove me crazy.

I want to hold your hand and tell you that you must believe it’s going to happen for you. I know it’s taking longer than you planned. And the setbacks and roadblocks seem insurmountable. But stay on the path, educate yourself and be open to all the options available to you, get yourself as healthy as possible, and believe in your chances as long as you’re realistic. Envision it working. Believe in your happy ending, because this all-consuming, stressful ordeal really will be behind you one day.

And you, too, can live happily ever after.

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