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Archive for the ‘Secondary Infertility’ tag

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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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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Infertility and the Only Child Syndrome

By Tracey Minella

February 24th, 2014 at 6:18 pm

 

photo credit: David Castillo Dominici/freedigitalphotos.net


The only thing as annoying as being nagged about when you are going to have a baby is…being nagged about when you are going to have another baby. This is a problem for both fertile and infertile folks.

Believe it or not, people will nag you about having a second child even when they know you had fertility treatments to have the first one. It happened to me. It’s as if having the first one resolved your underlying medically-based infertility issues (not so, in most cases). Or they’re clueless as to how expensive that first baby may have been to achieve. Or…brace yourself…they think only children are unhappy without a sibling.

There are two concepts of happiness to consider. The only child’s and the parents’.

I happen to be an only child and can offer my own experience to consider as merely one only child’s view. I never felt like a “lonely only” growing up, and if I was missing something, I didn’t know it. I had plenty of friends on the block, almost all who fought with their siblings and claimed to envy me having none.

Maybe I just focused on the positives of being the only one. My own room, my parents’ full attention, and at the risk of sounding spoiled, everything pretty much my way. Surely, having only one child eases the financial burden of braces, activities, college tuition, and wedding expenses. That’s a good thing. Of course I know now, from having two IVF children, that there is a special bond between siblings, but I didn’t know that as a kid, so I didn’t miss it. I was truly happy and so were my parents, who always convincingly claimed they only wanted one child.

But for every only child or its parents who are happy as a family of three, there are others who feel incomplete. We’ve all seen little ones begging for a little brother or sister, but it’s hard to tell if they really want one or they see that their friends have one. But when it’s parents who want… but can’t have…another child, it’s particularly heart-breaking. Sometimes the first child came naturally, but secondary infertility is preventing having another one. Other times, the firstborn came from assisted reproductive technologies like IVF or IUI.

Regardless, it is painful. And misunderstood.

Unfortunately, once you have one baby, any sympathy you might get from society in general over the fact that you can’t have another one basically vanishes. Even other infertile women may not support you once you become a mother. You don’t fit in with the IVF patients who are trying for their first baby. A stroller in the IVF clinic waiting room may draw a look by a childless patient that says “You’re not one of us. You have one. You’re so lucky. Be happy. Go away.”

In our hearts we know this reaction is wrong. Women should be able to have as many children as they wish and be encouraged to do so by others. But people…especially hormonal women longing for motherhood…are entitled to their feelings, too. And the IVF waiting room represents one of the few sanctuaries they can feel safe from encountering a newborn or toddler. Confronted by you and your adorable baby, irrational thoughts flood in: If you grab all that good “positive beta” karma, will my pregnancy test be the negative one? Yes, it’s irrational, but it’s very real in that moment.

Can you be happy with one child? That’s about as personal a question as there is.

Many bargain with the universe for just one baby and are truly happy with just one. Others may have one and be ecstatic, yet try for another as a welcome and “bonus” addition. For others, the longing for additional children is as strong as it was when trying for the first. The “right” way is whatever is right for you.

However you feel, it’s nice to know that research indicates that only children are, in fact, happy. Plus, they are becoming more common every day as women are having children later. For interesting stats and details, go to http://huff.to/1k4FmHL.

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Do you feel strongly about how many children it would take to make you happy? Has that number changed as your infertility journey continued?

 

Photo credit: David Castillo Dominici http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10064554

 

 

  

 

 

 

 

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Discrimination in Infertility

By Tracey Minella

August 16th, 2013 at 10:03 pm

 

image courtesy of stock images/free digital photos.net


Everyone understands that it’s “us against them” in the infertile vs. fertile world. Most people don’t even blame us when the ache of our empty arms fuels intense depression and jealously towards the fertile folks and causes many of us to avoid baby showers.

Especially since we’d make better parents. Did I just say that out loud?

I’m only joking, of course. But we infertiles do think that sometimes. When you suffer and win the battle against infertility you are rarely accused of taking parenthood for granted. We see parenthood as the privilege and gift it really is. Every minute of every day. Even as we are yelling, there is an awareness of gratitude for finally having been blessed with a child to reprimand.

But while there is a “sisterhood of the traveling stirrups” that unites infertile women, there is an ugly, divisive secret among the sorority: We’re prone to cliques and passing judgment upon each other.

For example, the IVF “veterans”…those who have been cycling awhile without success… aren’t always welcoming to the “newbies” who haven’t “paid their dues” yet. Older patients may look at younger ones with an envy not far removed from what they direct at fertile folks. And heaven help the secondary infertility patient who brings a baby into the clinic’s waiting room.

In addition to occasional hostility from within our ranks, society often has shameful and misinformed opinions about infertile folks.

People unfairly judge older women who seek fertility treatment, often assuming they waited too long to start trying to conceive while advancing career goals. They feel less sympathy toward same sex couples, wrongly judging their lifestyle. They look at obese women with contempt assuming their weight problem is something within their control. They feel little sympathy toward women suffering from secondary infertility figuring they should just be happy with the child(ren) they already have.

It’s like they feel we got what we deserved.

Do you think society’s general discrimination factors…like age, sexual orientation, and weight… play a role in how sympathetic people are towards infertile women?

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Have YOU seen any examples of this kind of behavior in your own journey…from fertile folks, doctors, or other infertile patients?

 

Photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/agree-terms.php?id=10080761 stock images

 

 

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Infertility Support Through Blogging

By Tracey Minella

January 10th, 2013 at 10:53 pm

credit: adamr/freedigitalphotos.net

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”: http://bit.ly/UP0vcR 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?

 

 

photo credit: http://www.freedigitalphotos.net/images/search.php?search=computer&cat=

 

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A Patient’s Story

By Jessica Upham

October 16th, 2012 at 4:37 pm

credit: victor habbick/freedigital photos.net

For no special reason, it felt like the right time to unearth and again share a beautiful essay received from a patient in 2011, in response to the free micro-IVF contest that year. For those who missed it or want to re-read it, here is Jessica’s essay:

Bobby’d be the Best Big Brother

A few months ago I ran into an old childhood friend while grocery shopping with my little miracle. We reminisced about how much fun we would have playing together with all of our dolls. She mentioned a specific day when she got angry with me for “always wanting to be the mommy”. I could remember that day clearly…she asked “why do YOU always get all the dolls? Why are YOU always the mommy?” My reply was simple, “Well, because I really want to be the mommy & I think I’ll be really good at it”. Boy, some things never change!

Even then I knew I wanted children, although I never knew just how badly I wanted to be a mother until I met my amazing husband. Everything came so naturally with us. In a way, each day was new, yet, at the same time I felt like he had been part of me for my whole life. We had a short courtship…wedding planning was a cinch…the honeymoon was bliss…the first year was a fairy tale. We did everything right…we followed the rules – first comes LOVE (o.k. check), then comes MARRIAGE (o.k. got it)… now where the heck is that baby carriage already?

We made the decision on a plane, returning home from our 1 year anniversary trip (where on the third day we knew that yet another month has passed without the news we were hoping for), to make an appointment with my GYN. After a year of trying the “good old fashioned way” we knew we might need a little help. It was an easy decision to make…but it was a hard decision to accept. Easy because I already knew I would do anything for my children (even if they don’t exist yet). Hard because I had grown accustomed to the “breeziness” of our relationship. How would this affect our love?

It seemed like every other day I was asked, “So when are you gonna have a baby?” For the first year I’d laugh it off and say “Oh trust me, we’re trying – OH BOY are we trying.”, then give a little wink- wink, nudge- nudge…laugh on the outside, cry on the inside (and in the parking lot, and in the car, and in my husband’s arms). It’s a natural question, but for someone who is having trouble trying to conceive, it can be very intrusive. It also gets harder as the months would pass to think of new “clever ways” to change the subject.

After a few procedures (2 HSGs and one laparoscopic surgery) to determine what we were really up against, we picked a specialist that we stayed with for 1 full year. We did quite a number of I.U.I.’s without success. I thought that all the negative pregnancy tests were hard before – but it did not compare to getting the same old results after all of that work and all of those injections. After a year we began to loose hope and decided it was time for a break. But I couldn’t sit still for long.

Armed with my laptop I began to research all of the specialists in our area. Almost instantly I found East Coast Fertility (now merged with Long Island IVF)…and for some reason through all of my searching, I just kept going back to them. Reading more, learning more, gaining more confidence…something told me that THEY would be the ones to help us begin our family. I spoke with my husband and we set up our consultation. It did not take long for us to make our decision. It was time to move on to IVF and we were going forward with East Coast Fertility.

From our initial orientation and all of the wonderful staff, we knew this was where we needed to be…but it still didn’t ease our nerves the day that BIG BOX arrived.

I remember walking slowly to the door and taking a deep breath as I signed the driver’s electronic tablet to accept this “special delivery”. I laid everything out on the kitchen table and had what can only be described as “momentary stress amnesia”. OH MY GOODNESS…how much of this do I inject? OH NO, where are my Menopur Q caps? What needs to be refrigerated? I forgot EVERYTHING! One phone call and I was back on track and ready to go.

On Friday, May 1st 2009, we had our eggs retrieved. I laughed with my husband as he snapped pictures of me in my gown and hat before going in to the operating room (thanks babe!). I love him so much for being so strong… I think sometimes people lose sight of the fact that just because it’s the woman that’s getting the injections, this is just as hard for the amazing men in our lives as well. We got the call the following day that we had 5 fertilized eggs. “Our babies are there waiting for us” I told him.

Monday, May 4th 2009 was our transfer day…this time I wasn’t the only one in a gown and hat…he held my hand so tightly the entire time. I didn’t turn away from his eyes for the whole procedure. We just smiled and kept telling each other how lucky we were and how much we loved each other. They implanted 3 embryos and before we left I got a picture of all three. They also let me go home with our dish…or as I like to call it “his first apartment”. We started a new tradition that day. Every morning before my husband left for work from then until today I get 4 kisses 1 for me and 1 for each embryo. Earlier I mentioned having questioned how IVF would affect our love…well it only makes the strong – STRONGER.

Friday, May 15th 2009 – We tried to start the day as if it were any other day – as if either one of us could forget that later today we’d find out we might be pregnant. I was at work when I got a voicemail from Dr. Pena. I could tell by the tone of his voice that he had the news we were hoping for. Still, when I dialed him back I held my breath for what seemed like forever. Our entire long hard journey flashed before my eyes. When he said I was pregnant, our future immediately wiped away all of the past. Now flashing before my eyes, like a big bright neon light was the word FAMILY…FAMILY…FAMILY! We did it! We are going to be a family! I have my husband’s reaction to the news on video. We watch it every now and then and relive that life changing moment.

Every day since then has been amazing! I LOVED being pregnant! Boy, was I ever proud of that belly of mine! We found out we were having one healthy boy; there was no question that we would carry on the family name.

January 9th 2010 we gave birth to Robert Ellis Upham III (his friends call him Bobby!). At 12:21 AM I first looked into the eyes of my son. I kissed his little “gooey” head and introduced myself – but he already knew me (we go way back). Before they took him from my chest to clean him up I whispered in his ear, “Baby, I am so proud of you. Welcome to the world. We waited so long to meet you. I promise I will love you forever and ever, and I promise I will NEVER skip pages when I read to you”.

He is now almost 16 months old. He has mommy’s eyes and daddy’s chin. He has the most infectious laugh. He loves to dance and he has 11 teeth. I can’t get enough of him. He has a great sense of humor and knows just how to make me smile. I need him just as much as he needs me. I can’t think of what my life would be like without him. I still marvel at just how amazing it is to be his mommy- I still can’t believe he came out of me!

I am so grateful for what I already have. I thank my lucky stars every day! Infertility hurts, be it your 1st attempt or be it secondary infertility – pain is pain, heartbreak is heartbreak. The desire to be a mother doesn’t always end after you’ve had your 1st, often…it becomes stronger.

Winning a free Micro IVF would mean so much to my family. Thinking about the possibility of expanding our love, giving Bobby a sibling, carrying and loving another child who is SO VERY wanted, is overwhelming! As I look into my son’s eyes, tears come to mine….he would be the best big brother any kid could ever ask for!

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Anyone else want to share their story? We’d  love to hear yours.

 

 

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Infertility in Stepfamilies

By Tracey Minella

September 16th, 2012 at 9:38 am

Not all couples struggling with infertility are childless. Sometimes there are children in their lives from a prior marriage or relationship. Maybe they have full custody. Maybe joint.

Today is National Stepfamily Day. Ever since the days of Cinderella, stepmothers have had an image to overcome. They’ve been portrayed as thoroughly wicked, evil, and ugly. However, over the past few decades, divorce has become more common and…like many things do over time… it’s become more accepted by society. Blended families are everywhere.

What better time to ask the question…

How does the existence of stepchildren affect an infertility journey?

Well, to start with the obvious: one partner has experienced parenthood, with its joys and challenges…and the other has not. So they are approaching the infertility challenge from different perspectives. How they navigate this journey together goes beyond their relationship as a couple. It may be influenced by whether their parenting (and step-parenting) experience has been mostly joyful or mostly challenging.

Does the partner who already has children feel the same burning desire for more children that the childless partner feels to have their first child? Do the financial obligations and time commitments regarding existing children affect how supportive the parent with kids will be along this journey? Maybe knowing the joys of parenthood would make one partner more determined than ever to help the other find that joy. Or maybe adding more children is not as high a priority for the one who has them.

And how does the childless parent feel in cases where their partner had previously undergone a vasectomy or tied their tubes? Was that action a “statement” that their partner doesn’t want more children…or merely that he/she didn’t want more children with their prior partner?

There are other factors that affect infertility journeys with stepfamilies beyond the couple itself. There are all the interwoven relationships of stepfamilies beyond the couple itself. The parent’s relationship with his/her kids. The parent’s relationship with the ex. The new partner’s relationship with the stepchildren. When these relationships are healthy and supportive, everyone benefits, but when there are problems, the stress can be unbearable. And added stress is never a good thing, especially to couples trying to conceive.

It’s hard enough to be in a childless relationship when each partner is striving to become a parent for the first time. Even then, some couples struggle with extra guilt if the diagnosis is “their fault”. (They shouldn’t feel that way, but many do.) Now imagine the added frustration some childless parents might feel in not being able to give their partner a child when the prior partner could.

Yet in other cases, the existence of stepchildren may lessen the stress of infertility. As much as the couple wants biological children from their union, they at least have children in their life. They have children to tuck in, PTA meetings to attend, birthday parties to plan, and ballgames or recitals to enjoy. If they are not successful in conceiving, they will not live a child-free life.

There are financial issues, too. Especially in a bad economy. If there are children to support from a prior relationship, that can be a strain on a couple’s ability to finance fertility treatment. And that strain can lead to some resentment. The partner with children may resent having to spend money to have a child…when he didn’t have to pay to get pregnant before. And the childless partner may be bitter that they can’t afford the IVF cycle she needs to get pregnant because her partner is supporting a prior family and there’s just not enough money left over for treatment.

It is important for any couple undergoing infertility treatments to support each other along the journey, and also to seek outside support when needed. Long Island IVF’s Mind-Body specialist and psychologist, Bina Benisch, M.S., R.N., offers group and individual therapy sessions for men and women facing the challenge of infertility.

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Are you struggling with infertility as part of a stepfamily? Do you have any advice for others in your position or just need to vent?

Photo credit (public domain):  http://vintageprintable.com/wordpress/vintage-printable-animal/animal-reptiles-and-related/medieval-mythology-baby-hercules-wrestling-serpents-thrown-in-his-crib-by-his-step-mother/

 

 

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Long Island IVF’s Extreme Family Building Makeover Free Micro-IVF Winner is…

By Tracey Minella

September 4th, 2012 at 7:19 am

I can’t sleep tonight. It’s 1:00 a.m. now and I know that many of the eligible winners are tossing in their sleep, too. 

I am torn between extreme sadness for the wonderful entries that weren’t chosen as the Grand Prize winner this year…and the extreme happiness I feel for the entrant who was chosen as this year’s Grand Prize winner . She will be getting a knock on her front door in about 5 hours. It turns out that this year, the winner is a local woman. In the past, we’ve had local and out-of-state winners. We’ve had winners for videos and winners for essays. This year, we have a secondary infertility winner for the first time. 

I soooo wish I could be there for the moment the prize is awarded, but I can tell you what I expect will happen. I’ll paint you a picture of it. I won’t post this until I know she’s been told though, so it’ll be after8:00I bet. 

Dr. Pena and some of the Long Island IVF staff, and a video crew have synchronized their watches and will sneak up the front lawn of the winner’s home at precisely 7:00 am. They will have balloons and probably a giant “free micro-IVF” certificate (like the fake “checks” lottery winners are presented) in hand. Maybe a local news reporter will even drop by. 

Ding. Dong. Will she be awake? Asleep? Presentable? 

 HOME?! 

Of course, she’ll be home. I hope she is surprised. I hope winning makes it easier for her to drive by the bus stops tomorrow. I hope she smiles for a month. Or two. Or nine. 

Congratulations to Jessica for “We’ll NEVER Stop Hoping”, for winning the Grand Prize free micro-IVF cycle! View…and share… her AMAZING winning video here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2HzTjikZFbY 

Thank you to all who entered the contest this year. We were touched by your infertility stories and grateful that you chose to share them. Please do not give up on your dream. This year’s winner, Jessica, did not win last year’s contest, but she came back and tried again this year. She even entered both an essay and a video! Though you may understandably be disappointed, we hope you join us at Long Island IVF in wishing Jessica and Rob good luck as they embark on the next step in their family-building journey. And we hope that if you haven’t conceived before the next contest, that you will enter again next year. 

Please stay tuned for upcoming contests, raffles and give-aways, plus news on grant programs, studies, and other financially-friendly programs for family-building at Long Island IVF. The best way not to miss them is to bookmark this blog or like us on Facebook. 

Become a regular contributor here and get to know us; let us get to know you and tell us what you need so we can do our best to provide it. One of our Facebook fans made a great suggestion and we’re working on a new contest based on it. So talk to us… and to each other. This is your space.

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If you could pick the next contest, what would it be and what would the prize(s) be?

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Secondary Infertility vs. Primary Infertility Stress

By Tracey Minella

June 11th, 2012 at 11:19 am

Some people can’t conceive or maintain a pregnancy without medical intervention. That’s primary infertility. Some people with primary infertility get help, have a baby, and then can conceive and maintain subsequent pregnancies on their own. Others still need help to have additional children.

Some people conceive their first baby without medical assistance, but then they can’t conceive or maintain a subsequent pregnancy. That’s secondary infertility.

When a woman desperately wants a baby and is facing the real possibility of being denied this basic and fundamental right of womanhood, sympathy abounds in her favor. Everyone she chooses to share this info with understands her need to be a mom and the stress she lives under every waking minute.

But what about once she becomes one?

What if she… *GASP* …dares to want to have another baby? Is she welcomed back into the waiting room… with her stroller in tow?

Is there a prejudice out there in our community against patients who come back for a second (or more) child? What have you witnessed in the waiting rooms?

Should the women still waiting to conceive their first baby be subjected to someone else’s little success bundle every morning? Is that too much to bear? Should the IVF doctor’s waiting room be a “baby-free zone”?

On the flip side, should those patients still waiting to conceive find hope in the fact that others in the room may have had success from the very program they are going through? Should they show some sympathy to these moms whose infertility journeys may have even been longer than theirs…who may not be able to afford or arrange sitting for the baby every morning?

Should the women from both “camps” just support each other and focus on their common ground… frustration over being unable to build whatever size family they envisioned for themselves without medical help…instead of their differences?

Everyone is shaped by their own experience. For some, the infertility journey (especially if long, costly or difficult) brings with it a sense of “If I could only have one baby, I’d be so thankful.  I’d be done. Just one.” But for others, having that one baby may set off feelings of “We have so much more love to give another baby. We want more.”  

And with each milestone that first child passes, and as time adds another year between the first child and the potential sibling, the stress builds. It is not the same stress as the desperation of not knowing if you’ll ever be a mother…but it is a serious level of stress to the woman who feels incomplete. Why should she be made to feel guilty for wanting more than one? Do women who now think they’d be happy with just one baby realize that they may have a change of heart after they have that first baby?

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What do you think? What have you witnessed?

Photo credit: http://www.wpclipart.com/people/children/children_3/kids_out_in_spring.jpg

 

2 comments

Are Secondary Infertility Patients Less Sympathetic?

By Tracey Minella and David Kreiner MD

October 14th, 2011 at 5:51 pm

It’s primary infertile vs. secondary infertile. The primary group has not had a child yet. The secondary group already has given birth but has come back for another.

Is the case of the secondary infertility patient less sympathetic? Do you think there’s a bias…if not in society, then in the IVF office… against them? Are people really thinking that they may be “greedy” to come back for another? If so, isn’t that unfair? Why should someone have to settle for one child simply because they’re infertile and their presence in the waiting room might upset those who are still waiting for one baby?

There’s tension between fertile and infertile, for sure. But what about tension among the ranks of  the infertiles? Dr. Kreiner shares an insightful post on Secondary Infertility:

Secondary Infertility, by Dr. David Kreiner:

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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Do you feel tension in the waiting room if there’s a baby there? Or do you feel hope?

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