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Infertile Again on New Year’s Eve

By Tracey A. Minella

December 31st, 2014 at 2:17 pm


credit: stuart miles/

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

No one would blame you either.

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

What do you plan to do?



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Thanks, Mariano, for the “Mo”-ments You Gave Us (and the Journey We Shared)

By Tracey Minella

September 30th, 2013 at 6:48 pm


credit: wiki free public domain


You don’t have to be a sports fan to appreciate what’s been going on in major league baseball this week. The regular baseball season just ended amidst a host of emotional moments surrounding the retirement of long-time superstar Yankees relief pitcher, Mariano “Mo” Rivera, who made his major league debut in May, 1995. It’s been a while since I penned a “Just for Guys” post at the end of the month, and this “Mo”-ment demands attention.

Married to a diehard Yankees fan and unable to escape the Mariano frenzy even if I wanted to, I watched in awe as Rivera’s personal life and professional stats were highlighted. An extremely poor boy who first played baseball using a milk carton for a glove, Mariano has quietly invested tons of his own money in a namesake foundation that’s building schools and starting programs designed to improve life back in his native Panama and elsewhere. He is a humble man and still married to his childhood sweetheart. And as the All-Time Saves record holder he is a pitching legend, destined for first ballot induction into the Baseball Hall of Fame.

Of all the stats and milestones that were rattled off, one leaped out at me. Although he didn’t start a major league game until 1995, he signed as a free amateur agent with the Yankees in 1990. That’s when I started trying to conceive. He’s been in baseball all the years I’ve been infertile…and for as long as you’ve been trying to conceive, too. In fact, today’s youngest infertility patients probably can’t remember a time when Mariano wasn’t pitching for the Yankees. So I’m joining in the farewell tributes with this light-hearted comparison of our respective “careers”.

Mariano’s journey with the Yankees, like my infertility journey, officially started years before anyone knew about it. He spent the 5 years after signing in relative obscurity; I spent a few years trying to conceive without medical intervention and unbeknownst to anyone else. His big league career began as a starter. Mine as an IUIer.

He moved on to relief pitching in 1996 and I moved on to IVF in 1993 and over our long careers we both racked up impressive records:

His all-time post-season ERA of 0.70 over a 19 year career is legendary. But my 7 fresh IVFs over 9 years and my all-time ECA (Earned Cryo Average) of 0.028 is nothing to sneeze at. His “most strikeouts by a Yankee reliever in a single season” record of 130 is impressive, but doesn’t hold a candle to the number of my follicles that struck out. He never got to play center field. I never got to have a FET (frozen embryo transfer). He emerged from the bullpen to Metallica’s “Enter the Sandman”. I emerged from my retrievals to Garth Brook’s “Two of a Kind, Workin’ on a Full House”.

He had 18 consecutive seasons with at least one save. I had 7 consecutive cycles with at least one embryo. His pitching talent was a “gift from God”. My third cycle was a G.I.F.T from Dr. Kreiner. He never hit a triple. I had one double that was almost a triple. We were both MVPs …him the “Most Valuable Player” and me the “Most Victorious Patient”. And we were both on the disabled list with a groin strain in 1998 and 2002… though mine was due to childbirth. He was the three time “Delivery Man of the Year”. I was a two time “Delivery Woman of the Year”. We both received rocking chairs at the end of our careers, but his…made from broken bats…was much cooler.

He had longevity and consistency. So did I.

We’ll never see another Mariano, much less one with a two decade career. And fortunately, advances in reproductive technology have made long infertility journeys like mine just as rare. So, Mo and I will quietly take our respective places in the records books and watch as the next generation takes the field. And we will cheer you all on.

May your journey be a quick one. And may you bring home as many championship rings as you’ve been dreaming of.

Congratulations, Mariano on your retirement. Thanks for providing many in the infertility community some much-needed “Mo-ments” of entertainment…and distraction… during some difficult times over the past 19 years.

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How long have you been on your infertility journey? Do sports help distract from or relieve the stress of infertility for you or your partner?


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Photo credit: Public Domain Orig released by BuickCenturyDriver


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Infertility: 4 Tips for Surviving the Back-to-School Blues

By Tracey Minella

September 7th, 2013 at 9:20 pm



image courtesy of anankkml/free digital

When you’re trying to conceive, it seems that everywhere you look, everyone is pregnant. Except you.

This week and next across Long Island, this emotional overload worsens as children return to school. After three months away in summer camps or out of sight in backyard pools, the little monsters come screeching out to the curb in full force.

Millions of them…or so it seems. They’re on every corner. Giggling at the bus-stop with their new outfits and backpacks full of crayons and glue sticks while their moms chat over morning coffee. Yellow buses seem to outnumber regular cars. It’s almost too much to bear.

Here are 4 tips on how to get through this transition:

1. Avoidance. If it’s possible, don’t go out for the half-hour or so that kids are waiting at the bus-stop. Leave a little earlier or later.

2. Treat yourself to something special. Whatever your budget, there is surely something that would brighten your day. Some trinket, manicure, massage, coffee on the beach? Infertility has deprived you. So indulge.

3. Do something to enhance your health or your odds of conceiving. It could be anything from re-committing to that gym membership now that summer’s over, taking yoga or doing something meditative, clearing your mind with a daily walk, sleeping longer, eating better, quitting a bad habit. Check out Long Island IVF’s Mind-Body Program offerings to get support and relieve the stress of infertility

4. Turn a negative into a positive. If you are tired of having to wait for your day to finally buy a child back-to-school clothes and school supplies…don’t. Gather your courage, walk into the nearest Walmart or Target and open your heart to a child that can’t afford such necessities. Your local social services department or school district would gladly accept donations of loaded backpacks, lunch boxes, and new clothes on behalf of needy children. Be an angel. It’ll make you feel better.

With any luck, you’ll be an overprotective parent secretly following your precious cargo’s school bus to school very soon.

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How do you get through the back-to-school blues? Any tips to share?


Photo credit: anankkmi

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The Hole

By Tracey Minella

June 18th, 2012 at 9:23 pm


I’m emotional today. I got to relive my personal IVF experience today during a video shoot for an upcoming LIIVF video. The highs and lows of several years.

Maybe you are emotional, too.

You may be emotional from medications, from opening a baby shower invitation, from an insensitive comment, or from yet another negative pregnancy test. I’ve been there. I spent years there.

I call those years “The Hole”.

I didn’t realize at the time… as I was living the day to day, minute to minute hell of infertility…that it was the hole that it in fact became. I was too busy surviving it all.

It’s a survivor’s thing, I guess. When a major life crisis like cancer or autism or infertility hits, it plucks you out of the regular world and dumps you into another place. A dark and scary place full of uncertainty and fear and broken dreams.

A hole.

I wish I could spare you. I wish I could guarantee that happy ending, that light at the end of the tunnel. But I can only hope that the hole is not too deep. That it doesn’t steal too much of your life, as it did mine. That another hole won’t follow.

Fortunately, we all will see an end to our infertility journeys. Some journeys are long, others short. But they all do end. You won’t be in treatment TTC for 20 years (though it may feel that way). It may end with a baby that’s genetically connected, or not, or, in some cases it may end without a baby. Happily, advances in assisted reproductive technology make the last scenario less likely.

My point is that there are things you are not doing, not enjoying right now because your happiness…or unhappiness…is controlled by your infertility. It’s understandable to tell yourself you’ll do those things soon… right after you get pregnant. And to protect your heart by thinking this will be the month it happens. But when it doesn’t (again), you can lose sight of the time that is actually passing. You’re putting the rest of your life on hold. And life is passing you by like the blur in your peripheral vision.

Reclaim it. It takes effort not to allow infertility to pull you into the hole. Herculean effort, at times. I didn’t have the insight. I didn’t have someone who’d walked in my shoes to tell me about the hole. But I’m telling you, though.

Because whenever… and however… it is that you do eventually get out of the hole, you will look back and wonder where those months or years went. And no matter how happy you are to have that miracle baby, and how worthwhile you feel the whole journey was, you can’t get that time back. Trust me… it’s no fun to admit I can’t remember anything fun between 1992- 1998.

It’s summer and social calendars are active. Please resist the urge to say “no” to all of the social outings and events. Skip those that are too difficult, of course, but don’t deny or isolate yourself so much that you slip away completely. Make memories you can share with your future children.

Defy the hole.

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Has your journey been a hole? When did you realize that?  If you were able to defy the hole, how did you do it?


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