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Archive for the ‘Miscarriage’ tag

Infertility, Mother’s Day, and Something Promising

By Tracey Minella

May 8th, 2016 at 4:59 pm

Hands down, Mother’s Day is the hardest day of the year if you’re an infertile woman. There are just too many ways you are suffering with hearts too heavy for words to soothe.

Most ache from the pain of not having children yet or of having suffered the loss of children through miscarriage, stillbirth, or death. Some suffer from not being able to have additional children and the lack of sympathy toward secondary infertility. Then, there are the painful assumptions of strangers wishing all women a “Happy Mother’s Day” and the agony of spending Mother’s Day in the company of women with young children. Finally, there is the special darkness that infertile women who have lost their mothers feel.

Nothing I say will help your heart feel better…so I will speak to your head instead.

I’ve got something more tangible than just hope that next Mother’s Day will find you pregnant or celebrating. Something promising that may make a big difference in your journey to motherhood.

What if I told you there is a time-tested, holistic treatment that may improve the chance of your IVF cycle succeeding? And what if the cost of that treatment was less than $200? And what if it might even help women who have experienced failed IVF cycles in the past? Would you want to know more?

I’m talking about fertility acupuncture. Long Island IVF’s Dr. David Kreiner is the only reproductive endocrinologist in the region who is also a certified acupuncturist. This treatment…an Eastern medicine therapy to complement Western medicine’s cutting-edge IVF technology…is now available to all IVF patients at Long Island IVF.

Why not promise yourself this Mother’s Day to learn more about whether fertility acupuncture is right for you? You can take back some of the frustrating lack of control over your fertility by learning about all the possible treatments that may optimize your family-building plans. It’s impossible to know for sure, but maybe this is the missing piece. You owe it to yourself to learn more.

Join us on Thursday, May 12, 2016 at our Melville office for an exciting Acupuncture Symposium and listen to Dr. Kreiner and a full panel of 7 other medical experts discuss how IVF success may be improved with acupuncture and holistic therapy. The event is free, but registration is required.

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Will we see you on Thursday night??

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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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6 Potential Causes of Miscarriage and Recurrent Pregnancy Loss (RPL)

By Satu Kuokkanen, MD, PhD

May 2nd, 2016 at 11:31 am

image courtesy of David Castillo Dominici/ freedigitlaphotos.net

Experiencing a pregnancy loss is always devastating for individuals hoping to establish or expand their family. Patients describe a range of grieving emotions related to the loss of a person they never had a chance to meet, love and share the future.  This grieving process may last anywhere from few weeks up to several years.  Not surprisingly, I have heard from many patients that one of the most difficult coping times was around the expected due date of the pregnancy that they miscarried.

 

It may be somewhat comforting for patients to know that they are not alone. In fact, miscarriage is the most common pregnancy complication and it affects 1 in every 6-8 confirmed pregnancies, that’s 12-15%. The risk of miscarriage increases with maternal age. While women younger than 30 years old have a 10-12% risk of pregnancy loss, the risk is four fold higher for women in their 40’s. Identifying a potential cause may help with the emotional impact of the pregnancy loss whether it is isolated or recurrent loss.

 

Recurrent pregnancy loss (RPL) is diagnosed after a woman has had two or more consecutive miscarriages and RPL affects 1 in 20 couples who are attempting to conceive. While isolated miscarriages are commonly due to chromosomal and genetic abnormalities, other factors are responsible for RPL. These factors vary depending on the gestational age of the pregnancy loss. Evaluation of potential RPL causes is important in determining whether therapy is available to the patient.

 

6 Potential causes of RPL:

 

  1. Congenital and acquired structural uterine factors. A uterine septum, a partial or complete division of the uterine cavity, is the most common congenital structural uterine abnormality.  Uterine septum and bicornuate uterus (“heart shaped womb”) have been linked to RPL. Acquired structural uterine pathologies that distort the normal uterine cavity include endometrial polyps that are skin tag-like growths of the uterine lining, fibroids that are affecting the uterine cavity, and intrauterine scarring that can develop after surgical procedures, such as dilatation and curettage (also known as D&C).  Radiology studies of the uterus with saline ultrasound (‘water sonogram”) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) are standard methods to evaluate the womb.

 

  1. Chronic endometritis is inflammation of the uterine lining. This condition is diagnosed by sampling of the uterine lining with an endometrial biopsy or D&C.

 

  1. Structural chromosome abnormalities of the parents is a rare but known cause of RPL. A simple blood test of both parents to assess numeric and structural chromosomal component (karyotype) is done.

 

  1. Abnormalities of blood clotting.  The well-known condition in this category is anti-phospholipid antibody syndrome (APAS) which women can acquire during their reproductive years. Anti-phospholipid antibody levels can be measured in blood for diagnostic purposes.

 

  1. Endocrine-related abnormalities include elevation in alterations in thyroid hormone secretion and diabetes with uncontrolled blood sugar levels.  Also, women with polycystic ovary syndrome (PCOS) appear to have heightened risk of pregnancy losses.

 

  1. Environmental and lifestyle factors have also been linked to an increased risk of miscarriages. Such factors may include maternal obesity, cigarette smoking, and exposure to environmental toxins. How these factors may impact pregnancy or pregnancy loss differs and is still being studied at the current time.

 

It is important to remember that, although painful, an isolated miscarriage may often be followed by a healthy and successful pregnancy. And that, RPL, while devastating, can be caused by a factor that may be treated with proper, specialized medical care. In either case, your dream of parenthood may still be within reach.

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Have you suffered one or miscarriages, been treated for an underlying cause, and gone on to have a successful pregnancy?

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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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National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day

By Tracey Minella

October 15th, 2015 at 7:22 am

 

credit: Carlymarie


Perhaps the only thing harder to imagine living through besides infertility, would be the loss of a child.

Today is National Pregnancy and Infant Loss Day though October is the month dedicated to raising awareness of this inconceivable pain.

Many women undergoing infertility treatment are understandably so focused on just becoming pregnant, that they don’t even contemplate the possibility of a loss in the event they are successful. I think part of that mindset has to do with self-preservation during the infertility process.

Infertility is such a hard journey to endure that it’s only natural to tell yourself that getting pregnant is all you need to do to return to a happy and typical life. It’s only natural to think there could not possibly be anything else awful in the future. It’s only natural to believe this is the only roadblock and once you get pregnant, it’ll be smooth sailing. After all, how much heartache and pain could the universe lay at your feet?  Surely infertility is more than enough grief for one person to bear. Right?

Well, while the majority of infertility patients who do conceive go on to enjoy uneventful and healthy pregnancies with happy outcomes, there are others who do not. They may suffer a miscarriage at any point during their pregnancy…even more than once… or lose a baby during or just after childbirth. They may also lose a child to illness or accident at any time before adulthood. It’s hard to even let your mind go there.

None of us are immune from the possibility of this unthinkable experience. Many of us push the thought away, believing no more misfortune will come our way…that we’ve paid our dues. Others may hover over their miracle babies, half believing their reality is a dream that could be taken away at any moment. I admit to being a tad overprotective of my IVF babies out of fears many of my friends don’t share. Ok, maybe more than a tad.

For those who have suffered such unspeakable losses and live in the Long Island area, Long Island IVF’s counselor/psychologist, Bina Benisch, can help. Please call the office if you’d like to make  a private or group appointment with her. You don’t have to be a patient to do so.

But I’d also recommend a beautiful and supportive online community for all grieving mothers to check out. The young woman who maintains this site, CarlyMarie, lost her son Christian. Her site needs to be experienced to be believed. It is impossible to describe how powerfully healing her site is unless you see it yourself. Her beautiful photography and words and projects designed to help you heal are inspiring. Her website may be found at http://carlymarieprojectheal.com/. The image in this post is credited to her as well. And another helpful resource would be Still Standing OnLine Magazine at http://stillstandingmag.com/2012/09/parenting-on-earth-and-in-the-clouds/.

At 7pm tonight, all over the world, a Wave of Light movement is happening where bereaved parents are lighting candles in remberance of their lost babies and children. More information is available on CarlyMarie’s site.

If you or someone you know is suffering with the loss of a child, please pass this information along.

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If you’ve suffered the loss of a child and want to share your experience, or want to recommend a site or service that is helping you through the grief, please do so.

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A Day of Hope 2015

By Tracey Minella

August 19th, 2015 at 5:21 pm

 

photo credit: carlymarie


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?

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Age and Fertility

By David Kreiner MD

February 2nd, 2015 at 4:23 pm

 

credit: photostock/free digital photos.net


You’ve heard the “Reproductive Bell” toll and may question “Is it real?”…

You see celebrities getting pregnant well into their 40’s and think “Then why can’t I?” So, is your reproductive clock as critical as modern doctors say?

I have come across fertility advice from non-physician practitioners, such as acupuncturists and Chinese herbalists, who encourage their patients to “question the Western dogma” when it comes to age and fertility. They claim the effect of aging and fertility is “exaggerated by the Medical profession and can be overcome with a shift in an individual’s health and lifestyle”.

Unfortunately, this advice comes without any cited research or statistics in support of it.  According to the Society of Assisted Reproductive Technology, as published on SART.org, a review of the 2012 national statistics, those most recently published of IVF cycles started, the age breakdown for IVF live birth rates are the following:

 

Age <35= 40.2%

 

Age 35-37=31.3%

 

Age 38-40=22.2%

 

Age 41-42=11.8%

 

Age >42=3.2%

 

It is true that a woman’s health and physiology gets worse as she gets older.  Some of these non- physician practitioners argue that perhaps if this can be improved then the diminishing fertility commonly seen with aging can be reversed. But though improving a woman’s general health may help it is not sufficient in most cases.  Fertility rates decrease with increasing age in large part because there is an increase in genetic abnormalities found in gametes (eggs and sperm) as patients (women in particular) age.  This is the result of long-term environmental exposure to toxins, in addition to the increased likelihood of genetic damage over time.  Miscarriage rates increase with age for the same reason in large part due to the greater likelihood of embryos having chromosomal abnormalities.

Many women as they age also will experience a significant drop in their ovarian activity, referred to as diminished ovarian reserve.  This activity can be assessed by your physician with a blood level of Anti Mullerian Hormone (AMH) and day 3 FSH and estradiol levels.  Women with lower AMH levels and elevated FSH in the presence of a normal low estradiol have fewer ovarian follicles, and hence eggs, that will respond to ovarian stimulation.  Since the likelihood of these eggs being genetically normal is less, then fertility is reduced and the probability of IVF and other fertility treatments resulting in a live birth becomes significantly lower.

The challenge to any practitioner dealing with an aging patient attempting to conceive is to optimize their patient’s chance to have a healthy baby which optimally would include an integration of multiple modalities.  Therefore, ideally a physician specially trained in the fertility process (a Reproductive Endocrinologist), should implement state-of-the-art Western therapies with a complementary holistic approach that aims to shift their patient’s health and fertility.  These holistic approaches include diet and lifestyle changes as well as fertility-directed acupuncture and herbal therapy treatments.

Lifestyle changes that may improve fertility primarily include those that reduce stress and improve diet and activity.  Stress at work, at home, and with family and friends can create pathology from both Eastern and Western perspectives.  Diets that do not support adequate blood production or create Eastern patterns of cold or heat can affect fertility.  Excesses or deficiencies of particular foods…such as dairy, fat, or grains… can create imbalances or pathology that may affect fertility or result in obesity or malnutrition which also impact reproduction.

Inactivity may impair fertility. Therefore some level of exercise, combined with an improved diet directed at improving fertility, stress reduction techniques, acupuncture, and supplements (which may include Chinese Herbs as well as Western supplements) will optimize your chances of successfully building your family.

The first step is to seek help from a reproductive endocrinologist skilled in state-of-the-art fertility therapies who can coordinate a program which is ideal for you. But if you are hearing the “Reproductive Bell” tolling, it is important to take that first step soon, because, while these many complementary approaches can optimize your fertility, they may not be enough to overcome the reality of the negative effect of advanced age in fertility.

Long Island IVF offers complementary holistic approaches to achieving pregnancy (See our Mind-Body Program http://www.longislandivf.com/mind_body.cfm ) as well as a well-respected Donor Egg Program http://www.longislandivf.com/donor_programs.cfm  with no wait for pre-screened, multi-ethnic donor eggs, or Donor Embryos.

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Has the increased visibility of older celebrity moms getting pregnant made you think you have more time? Have you considered combining Western and Eastern medicine in your family-building treatment?

 

 

http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/Younger_Women_g57-Young_Woman_Holding_Clock_p49428.html

 

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Plastics, Infertility, and Paleo: A Throwback Post

By David Kreiner MD

January 10th, 2015 at 8:45 am

 

 

credit: KeattiKorn/ freedigitalphotos.net


It’s a beautiful day in Boston today.  I am here not because of the Red Sox playoffs or Sunday’s Patriots game but rather to attend our annual ASRM national fertility meeting.

I was delighted upon greeting some former colleagues of mine from my old stomping grounds, the Jones Institute, to hear compliments about how good I looked.  (Well, if you lose 55 lbs. of “baby fat” people tend to notice.)  I explained that my son, Dan, convinced me to try the Paleo Diet, modeled after the diet of Paleolithic man.

I am intrigued that so much is known about how man from the Paleolithic age ate.  I guess he left menus and recipes on the walls of his man caves.  Anyway, the focus… aside from elimination of dairy and gluten from his diet… is avoiding processed foods and chemical additives such as artificial sweeteners.

It was while eating my veggies and bun-less burger that I came upon one of the lead stories at the ASRM in the Wall Street Journal.  The chemical BPA, or Bisphenol A, found in plastic is tied to the risk of miscarriage.  BPAs can leach into the food that is heated on it such as in a microwave or in water stored in plastic and left out in the sun.  Additionally, it was recommended to limit the use of canned foods and avoid handling cash register receipts, which often are coated with resins that contains BPA.

I’m not sure “Paleo” man extended his life, avoided disease or lived any healthier with his “natural only” diet but we have some evidence of some benefits by doing so today.  Oh, and did I mention I can fit into those jeans from my college days?

For more information on the effects of BPAs on fertility as being discussed at the ASRM, see http://bit.ly/19Q28Bt

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Did you know that plastics and other items made from BPAs may be harmful to your fertility or contribute to miscarriage? Do you use these products and if so, will you consider stopping now?

Photo credit: Keattikorn/freedigitalphotos.net

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Negative Pregnancy Test Again! Now What?!

By David Kreiner MD

November 30th, 2014 at 9:51 am

 

credit: davidcastillodominici/ freedigitlaphotos.net


Women confronted with a negative result from a pregnancy test are always disappointed, sometimes devastated. Many admit to becoming depressed and finding it hard to associate with people and go places where there are pregnant women or babies, making social situations extremely uncomfortable. A negative test is a reminder of all those feelings of emptiness, sadness and grief over the void infertility creates.

We don’t have control over these feelings and emotions. They affect our whole being and, unchecked, will continue until they have caused a complete state of depression. This article can arm you with a strategy to fight the potentially damaging effects that infertility threatens to do to you and your life.

First, upon seeing or hearing that gut-wrenching news, breathe.
Meditation — by controlling and focusing on your breathing — can help you gain control of your emotions and calm your body, slow down your heart rate and let you focus rationally on the issues. It’s best to have your partner or a special someone by your side who can help you to calm down and regain control.

Second, put this trauma into perspective.
It doesn’t always help to hear that someone else is suffering worse — whether it’s earthquake or cancer victims — but knowledge that fertile couples only conceive 20% of the time every month means that you are in good company with plenty of future moms and dads.

Third, seek help from a specialist, a reproductive endocrinologist (RE).
An RE has seven years of post-graduate training with much of it spent helping patients with the same problem you have. An RE will seek to establish a diagnosis and offer you an option of treatments. He will work with you to develop a plan to support your therapy based on your diagnosis, age, years of infertility, motivation, as well your financial and emotional means. If you are already under an RE’s care, the third step becomes developing a plan with your RE or evaluating your current plan.

Understand your odds of success per cycle are important for your treatment regimen. You want to establish why a past cycle may not have worked. It is the RE’s job to offer recommendations either for continuing the present course of therapy — explaining the odds of success, cost and risks — or for alternative more aggressive and successful treatments (again offering his opinion regarding the success, costs and risks of the other therapies).

Therapies may be surgical, such as laparoscopy or hysteroscopy to remove endometriosis, scar tissue, repair fallopian tubes or remove fibroids. They may be medical, such as using ovulation inducing agents like clomid or gonadotropin injections. They may include intrauterine insemination (IUI) with or without medications. They also may include minimal stimulation IVF or full-stimulated IVF. Age, duration of infertility, your diagnosis, ovarian condition, and financial and emotional means play a large role in determining this plan that the RE must make with your input.

There may be further diagnostic tests that may prove value in ascertaining your diagnosis and facilitate your treatment. These include a hysteroscopy or hydrosonogram to evaluate the uterine cavity, as well as the HSG (hysterosalpingogram) to evaluate the patency of the fallopian tubes as well as the uterine cavity.

Complementary therapies offer additional success potential by improving the health and wellness of an individual and, therefore, her fertility as well. These therapies — acupuncture, massage, nutrition, psychological mind and body programs, hypnotherapy –
have been associated with improved pregnancy rates seen when used as an adjunct to assisted reproductive technologies.

A negative pregnancy test can throw you off balance, out of your routine and depress you. Use my plan here to take control and not just improve your mood and life but increase the likelihood that your next test will be a positive one.

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What have you done to get through the disappointment?

 

photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/CouplesPartners_g216-Depressed_Young_Couple_p104407.html

 

 

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Infertile Women Never Forget

By Tracey Minella

June 4th, 2014 at 3:55 pm

 

credit: idea go/freedigitalphotos.net


When it comes to remembering, elephants have nothing on infertile women.

Date of last menstrual period? Pshhh! Without even a glance at a calendar or app, we can tell you the date… plus the time it started, where we were, what we were wearing, who we were with, and how many pee sticks we went through thinking we were pregnant in the 5 days before it began.

And that’s just getting warmed up.

We know how many vacation days we’ve used and how many precious few remain because they’ve been mentally earmarked for upcoming cycles. We can recite the months, years, series numbers, and assigned nurses’ names of all our IVF cycles. We know how many embryos we transferred back and what grades they were. And we can tell you the number and grade of any frozen embryos faster than we can give you the current time.

We know the number of follicles we had on each ovary from our last sonogram and the sizes of the dominant ones. We may not know how much gas is in the car, but we know how thick our uterine lining measured. We know our last Day 3 FSH level and how many vials of medication are still in the fridge. And we definitely know what vein still works.

We know the dates of our retrievals, our transfers, and our pregnancy test dates. Some of us carry the painful details of unspeakable losses as well. And we know what we wore to each and what music was playing on the radio. We can detail how we fell apart, how we pulled it back together, and how we recalculated when we’d be trying again…and what the new due date might be. We’re always aware of the date we need to conceive by in order for a baby to be born before the year ends, or before our next birthday.

These incredible memory skills build up gradually along the course of the infertility journey, starting with the innocent basal body temperature charts used for tracking ovulation patterns. As the journey progresses, more tests and procedures follow. Results come in and a treatment plan is made. The brain absorbs all this additional information… because there is simply nothing else on our minds as important as our goal of getting pregnant.

And in the end, all these dates…these often-frustrating dates…become your history. They make up the story of your journey to parenthood. And you will never forget them.

I know this because today I celebrate the 17th anniversary of the day of my first positive pregnancy test from my 6th fresh IVF cycle which resulted in the birth of my first IVF baby. It was also coincidentally the first day I started working at LIIVF as a medical assistant and I was wearing scrubs when Dr. Kreiner called me into his office to tell me the good news at the end of that nerve-wracking first day. After so many result calls that began with “I’m so sorry…” it was a moment that will live forever.

Your moment will, too.

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What has been your most memorable moment of the journey? What details do you remember that others would be impressed or amazed by?

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Mother’s Day: 5 Tips on Surviving The Hardest Day of the Year

By Tracey Minella

May 10th, 2014 at 8:00 pm

 

credit: david castillo/freedigitalphotos.net


Infertile women face plenty of rough days each year… Halloween, New Year’s Day, baby showers, and our birthdays. But, without question Mother’s Day is, well, the mother of them all.

It is the day the whole world dotes on moms…and assumes that any woman of a certain age is one. That assumption, when verbalized, can make you feel like crawling away and crying. And it is even worse for those who have lost babies along the journey. Everyone from store clerks to the whole congregation will unwittingly wish you a Happy Mother’s Day. So, what can you do?

Here are five tips for managing on Mother’s Day:

·         Focus on your own mom. It doesn’t help completely, but it can be a good distraction. You don’t have a child yet, but you do have a mom. If it’s too hard to be with her for a dinner that includes your pregnant siblings and their 37 kids, then make separate plans to see her for brunch instead. If she’s far away, schedule a nice, long call. If your mom is gone, consider visiting the cemetery with a note or flowers, or doing something that reminds you of good times with her. Yes, it may make you cry, but it’s a great place to vent. (Can you tell I’ve done this?) You will cry on this day anyway. Go for happier tears.

 

·         Call your church or temple in advance. If you’re dreading how all the mothers are asked to stand up and be recognized at your place of worship… something that would be particularly hard for those who have suffered miscarriages or lost babies or infants…why not call ahead and ask the priests or rabbis to recognize and include those who’ve lost children in that definition. Or ask when that moment of recognition will happen and plan to arrive before or after that point in the services.

 

 

·         Make yourself a Mother-in-Waiting’s Day Card. You are a mother. A mother-in-waiting. Believe your day will come. But why should your card wait? You should sit down and list all the reasons you are going to be a great mom. Things like, When I’m a mom, I’m going to let my kid have ice cream for dinner sometimes. While you’re at it, buy yourself a gift, too.

 

·         Make a garden. It’s a great way to connect with nature and spend some quiet, reflective time alone or with your partner on Mother’s Day and for many days to come. Plant pretty flowers or maybe some healthy, fertility-enhancing vegetables. Populate it with little gnomes, wind chimes, or cherub statues. It could become your sanctuary.

 

·         Get a dog. Or a cat. If you’ve been seriously thinking about getting a pet, this may be the time to act on it. “Furbabies” love unconditionally and fill a special spot in the infertile heart. Is there room in your life for one?

These are just a few tips to manage the day, not to enjoy it. The fact is that it won’t really be enjoyable until you are a mom. So, do whatever you want or need to do to get through this day. Treat yourself well. Spend time with your partner. Hiberate. And stay far, far away from Chuck E. Cheese.

As a mother-in-waiting, it’s your day, too. Take it one hour at a time.

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What are your Mother’s Day plans? Any tips to help others get through it?

 

 

 

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Long Island IVF’s Complete Mind Body Program

By Bina Benisch, MS, RN

May 2nd, 2014 at 7:29 am

 

credit: david castillo/freedigitalphotos.net

With Mother’s Day around the bend, and Bereaved Mother’s Day coming this Sunday (for those who have suffered baby or child loss), it’s a good time to remind you of Long Island IVF’s many supportive counselors on staff, and to call your attention to the Mind Body Program and its benefits.

Bina Benisch is a Registered Professional Nurse and a psychotherapist with an M.S. in Mental Health Counseling. She did her Mind Body Medicine training at the Benson-Henry Institute for Mind Body Medicine, Harvard Medical School.

Bina is the support group coordinator, patient advocate, and stress management psychotherapist for Long Island IVF, working with both female and male patients. Her groups are wildly popular, and she always has room for more.

Bina explains the Long Island IVF Mind Body Program and its benefits for those couples trying to conceive:

 

Life changes.  You’ve had your intentions, your hopes, and your dreams of where life would take you.  What you may not have envisioned is suddenly being a member of the population that struggles with infertility.  Being diagnosed with infertility – for any reason – “unexplained,” male factor, or female factor, can feel like a lonely, isolating experience for many reasons.  The fact is that most women never expected to be in this position, and this is often one of the most stressful times in a woman’s life.  Feelings of anxiety, depression, isolation, and anger can be overwhelming during infertility.  Often, anger masks the feelings of loss experienced month after month of trying to conceive without success. Infertility impacts on one’s marriage, self-esteem, sexual relationship, family, friends, job, and financial security. 

Our Mind Body Program provides a space where you can relax, a place where you are free to express whatever it is you are feeling … a sacred circle of connection and support.  I have been told by women who have participated in the Mind Body Support Group that they experience a huge relief by connecting with other women who really “get it,” who understand these unique feelings. During the sessions, I take part of the time to teach Mind Body methods to elicit the relaxation response (emotional and physiological relaxation).  In this way, you can learn to practice these methods on your own on a daily basis

 

 

In our Mind Body support group, patients experience the opportunity to share information, feelings, or their own personal stories. You may be surprised to see how your support can help others or you may be relieved to hear others experiencing the same type of thoughts and feelings as you experience. Often, the supportive nature of this group, and the connection that develops between members, fosters a healing process.
Feelings of isolation, anger, and stress are slowly relieved. Our Mind Body program focuses on symptom reduction and developing a sense of control over one’s life by utilizing Mind Body strategies and interventions which elicit the relaxation response. The relaxation response is actually a physical state that counteracts the stress response. You can think of it as the physiological opposite of the body’s stress response. We cannot be stressed and relaxed at the same time.

Therefore when a person elicits the relaxation response, the body’s stress response is halted, stress hormones diminish.  It is important to understand fertility holistically. Your mind and body work together, not separately. Therefore your thoughts have a direct effect on your physiology. When you are experiencing stress, your brain releases stress hormones. These stress hormones function in many ways. One of the stress hormones, cortisol, has been documented to interfere with the release of the reproductive hormones, GnRH (gonadatropin releasing hormone), LH (luteinizing hormone), FSH (follicle stimulating hormone), estrogen, and progesterone. In fact, severe enough stress can completely inhibit the reproductive system. Cortisol levels have also been linked to very early pregnancy loss. For this reason, it has been found extremely helpful when treating infertility, to include mind body strategies which help to alleviate the stress responses which may inhibit fertility.

All mind body methods ultimately cause the breathing to become deeper and slower. This causes stress responses such as heart rate, metabolic rate, and blood pressure to decrease. The way in which you are taught to elicit the relaxation response is through methods such as: breath focus, guided visual imagery, muscle relaxation and learned mindfulness, and meditation. Awareness of the mind body connection allows us to use our minds to make changes in our physiology. This holistic treatment – combining bio-medical science with mind body medicine deals with the treatment of the whole individual rather than looking only at the physical aspect.  The fact is, body and mind work together.

Let’s not forget the men. Men often feel uncertain about the ‘right’ way to support their partners, and don’t realize how they themselves are affected. We now offer our “Just For Guys Group.” In sharing how infertility affects the men, their relationships, and each man’s deepest sense of self, these men gain insight, and experience support during what can be an isolating and difficult time.

We invite and encourage you to take advantage of this unique area of support provided by The Mind Body Program at Long Island IVF. Learn more here: http://bit.ly/1bGAvNb

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If you have ever met Bina or been part of one of her groups and would like to share your experience, please do so.

Photo credit: David Castillo http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php

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