Monday, November 4, 2013

Another One Bites the Dust

Writing and blogging really is such a cathartic way to deal with everything that happens in life, and I don't know why I don't make more time to do it. Mostly, just the regular excuses about being busy and distracted I guess. I mean, yeah I actually am busy and I do get distracted but I should make more quality time for myself. Especially now. 

After September's chemical pregnancy, I realized how very much I want to have another child so Chad and I plunged straight into another cycle. I was already in the habit of nightly injections, so might as well keep them going. And yeah that cycle ended badly, but this next one was sure to work, right? I won't keep you in suspense, the answer is no. Today was beta and my official BFN. 

Not that it was a shock. I poas'd earlier this weekend knowing Chad was leaving town for work today, and neither of us wanted to be apart immediately after getting the results, so we decided it was better to find out sooner rather than later. Both our hopes were much higher than either us had confessed though, so seeing that single, lonely line Saturday afternoon was crushing to say the least. Still, I don't regret it. Testing early didn't change the outcome and it gave us both time together to process. What knowing didn't change is that it still hurt like hell hearing the nurse say the word "negative" on the phone this morning. I knew that's what she would say. I was fully prepared for it. So why did it still sting? Why does infertility continue to find new ways to make me hurt? 

When I became a mom after so much pain and heartbreak, I knew that trying again one day would be hard, but I also knew it would never hurt that same way again. It would never be as raw and intense as the pain of having empty arms. When we finally started our FETs for baby #2, I was confident that I knew what to expect, that I wouldn't be surprised by pain like I had been in the past. But here I am shocked by all of the unexpected ways infertility wracked my emotions yet again. I was still right that it isn't as extreme of a pain as I endured before motherhood, but it is still pain nonetheless, and it still tears at all of my old wounds even as it rips open new ones.

This is my first IVF/FET cycle in which no implantation at all took place. Granted I've only had one child, but I have had 3 "pregnancies". I haven't stared down a straightforward BFN, with no confusing betas or possible positives since my clomid days 4 years ago. And while this complete failure is making me question whether I could have done anything different to get a better outcome, it has also verified a long held suspicion that even though a BFN hurts like hell, it isn't as unbearable as thinking I might actually be getting what I want and having it cruelly ripped away from me. So I guess I have that as a silver lining this cycle? Yeah I am not pregnant, but at least I never was? Honestly, when you are facing this heartbreak, you have to take what you can get when it comes to finding the good in it. And as pessimistic as I sound there is some good. Or at least some hope, anyway. We are very lucky in that we still have frozen embryos left so we can keep trying without having to worry about the time and expense of a fresh IVF cycle. Although, after two failed cycles, we seem to be investing quite a bit of time and money after all.

But back to the hope. As negative and angry as I feel at the moment, I know hope is still there. It isn't over and there is still a good chance that this will work in the end. Although, if I am being honest, I am not really certain of my belief that it will work, and in fact, I am kind of terrified that it won't. I am already crushed that my so many of my family dreams have had to be re-written or let go of altogether, I am just not ready to let go of this one yet. So for now, I am not going to. Thanks to travel and holiday schedules we won't be able to transfer again until next year, which kills me, but hopefully I can use this time off to relax and recharge before subjecting myself to hundreds more needles. I can only hope that the new year brings realized dreams along with it. 

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Hope & Loss

Yesterday was October 15, or as it is known in the infertility and loss communities- Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day. Each year on this day for quite a few years now, I have stopped to honor each of the parents that have faced the heartbreak of saying goodbye too soon. All over the world, fellow miscarriage, ectopic and infant loss sufferers send messages of support, light candles and remember the babies that live on in our hearts, despite us being unable to hold them in our arms. We say their names out loud, we share our stories with others, we mourn the lives we'll never know. It is simultaneously, a difficult and uplifting day. Every year, I am saddened by how many new members have joined the wretched & hellish world of loss but I am also awed and inspired by how many new supporters I discover. Each year there is a little bit less stigma, a tad less awkwardness and lot more love. It is amazing to witness in real time the growth that happens within society as a whole the more we talk about the realities of loss. And the reality is that it can and does happen to anyone. With an estimated 1 in 4 pregnancies ending is miscarriage or other loss, it is crucial that we are able to speak about these losses and the feelings that come with them. 

It has been three years since my first miscarriage when Chad and I said goodbye to the dreams we had for our Sprout. My heart still can't help but wonder sometimes what life would have been like if that pregnancy hadn't ended in heartbreak. And now that my "Big Fat Maybe" is officially a Big Fat Chemical Pregnancy, I am already wondering what could have been if that embryo had continued growing instead of resulting in an early miscarriage. I probably will always wonder a bit about both of those pregnancies, about what could have been and I will always have cracks in my heart as result. 

Those few hours of blissful hope after my positive home pregnancy test last month and then the devastation I felt once I learned the pregnancy wouldn't last, opened my eyes to how deeply I actually do want a second child. I have spent nearly three years shielding my heart and mind from believing it mattered to me as much it actually does. And seeing how much it also matters to Chad and Eliana, I can't help but dive back in, despite my earlier fears that I would need a much longer break before trying again. Granted, the actual transfer is still a little ways away, so there's still time to change my mind (and I have definitely already considered it) but for now I am moving forward to FET #3 with hope that this cycle will result in a much happier outcome.

And although October 15 is just one day and that day has come and gone this year, I will continue to honor the memories of all the little ones gone far too soon. The names of so many precious children are etched in my heart and I will carry them with me always. Ayla, Juliet, Thomas, Bayli, Rudyard, Desmond, Oscar, Audrey, Logan, Brody, Wyatt, Sophia, Caydence, TT and all the others we have lost- you are cherished, remembered and missed.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Big Fat Maybe

Today was the big day: Beta day. Oh how I dread beta day! The agony of waiting for that damn phone to ring after my blood has been drawn is one of the big reasons I kept putting of this FET. The day started out hopeful-ish. I went in for my blood draw early and was assured of a call before lunch. I have always waited for that call with my past cycles. I never poas (pee on a stick). Ever. I used to do pregnancy tests at home all the time back in my temping, charting, clomid days. I would squint and tilt and take photos so I could change the light & tint until I maybe saw a ghost of a second line. In reality, those sticks were always pure, stark white minus that one cruel line. And because it "could still be early", I would never truly lose hope until AF arrived and left me crying on my bathroom floor. It was a hell of a roller coaster and I have been terrified of it ever since I moved on to IVF so I always waited for beta. Until today. 

Chad and I have both been so pessimistic, so afraid to even entertain the idea that this FET might really work that we agreed we wanted to find out together and on our terms. If it was negative, fine, but at least we'd be expecting it when the phone rang. So we left the RE's office & rushed to buy tests. I was too scared to look, so at first I just glanced out of the corner of my eye. One line. There was one line. But it had only been 30 seconds. So we both looked again and slowly a 2nd line was coming into view. It wasn't dark but it was clearly visible. No squinting, tilting or altering required! A second line! It was really happening! We were relieved and ready for the phone to ring. We didn't want to get too ahead of ourselves before we heard the numbers. But the call never came. Lunch came & went and the phone didn't ring. I've learned that clinic staff delays making "bad news" calls. They call their good news patients early. It only took 2 hours from blood draw to phone call when I got pregnant with Eliana. 1st beta- 737. Today, six hours had passed so finally I got sick of waiting and called them. The nurse did not sound cheerful or excited. She started with "congrats" but in a way that sounded like it had a question mark at the end of it. Then she told me my beta was 17. One freaking seven. My hope has plummeted to nearly zero. Either this is a chemical pregnancy/early miscarriage or the hCG booster I did last Monday still hasn't totally left my system. I have another beta on Thursday to see if my beta changes at all and yeah there is that small sliver of a chance that by some miracle it will shoot up but I'm not counting on it. 

Honestly, it sounds awful, but I'm mostly hoping for a big drop. If this FET isn't the one, I just want to know. I don't want to ride the beta roller coaster again. Back in 2010 when I did my fresh IVF, my emotions were yanked in every possible direction with betas that rose but didn't double, then slightly rose again, then tripled. It was hell never knowing if that pregnancy was going to last. When I finally made it to ultrasound and there was no heartbeat, I was devastated and angry. If the cycle was not going to end in a baby, why did I have to endure that torture? A BFN would have hurt but it would have been easier to mourn. No ups and downs, no D&C, no miscarriage. That loss was painful and the merry-go-round that preceded it was hell. I do not want to do that again. I just want to know. Bad news hurts, it's awful, but it is better than maybes and we'll sees. Limbo sucks and I don't want any part of it. 

I am so mad myself for peeing on that dumb stick and letting it get my hopes up! For those few, short hours, despite my attempts not to, I started to get attached. I began imagining whether Eliana would have a baby brother or sister in the spring. I started thinking about how it would feel to have a big round belly. I contemplated the number of weeks I would wait before telling my friends. I wasn't jumping up and down but I was truly hopeful. And I'm pissed at myself for that. I should have known better. It hurts more this way. It feels like someone offered me what I want most in the world and as soon as I reached to pick it up, they snatched it away and shouted, "Nope! Not this time!". The no sucks but not as much as hearing yes first and having it taken away. 

My heart is slowly breaking. Nothing chips away at that crack quite as much as Eliana's sweet face and her requests for a baby brother or sister. Yesterday, totally out of the blue, she asked me if she could please have a baby brother or sister to hold. She wants it so badly. She tells me she will help with the baby and push the stroller. The hope and love in her eyes when she talks about it is indescribable. It kills me that I almost believed I would be able to fulfill that request nine months from now and now I am not sure when it might happen. I don't know for sure how quickly I will be ready to try again. My emotions just can't handle it. But no matter how sad or hurt I am about this cycle, I am nowhere near the point I was before Eliana was here. These are the same hurts, the same wounds, but they have scar tissue now. I will cry but I will have her to make me smile. I want another baby one day, I want her to have the sibling she craves, but she is enough. This is painful, yes, but it is nothing compared to the hurt of not yet being a mother. So, I will push through the next two days and hope that I have real, solid answers by then. I may cry, I may worry or panic, I may get pissed and hate most of the world, but in the end I will be OK. I just hope that end comes sooner rather than later.

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Frozen in Fear

I have started and left unfinished about a dozen different blog posts in the past month. I have simultaneously had so much on mind to work out and been working so hard to not think about what was coming, that I could never find the resolve to finish anything I started. Besides, once I write something down and hit "publish", its out there in the world and that makes it more real and infinitely more scary. 

But now that the deed is officially done, I think it's time to break out of my hidey hole. I am currently, and for the third time in my life, officially PUPO (pregnant until proven otherwise). And I am terrified more than I probably have a right to be. Earlier today, I met with my embryologist and my amazing RE to have one perfect blastocyst thawed and transferred. This being my second ever FET (frozen embryo transfer) I felt simultaneously prepared and uncertain of what to expect. I remember the FET that brought us our precious Snow Pea so well, but that transfer came on the heels of a D&C following the failed pregnancy of my fresh IVF. I saw my RE and nurses constantly for months during that time. My life was consumed by nothing but trying to become a mom. Everything else came second. Everything. 

This time around I could barely get up the guts to actually call my RE for the first consultation. I don't understand why, but I think the fabled "Infertility PTSD" hit me harder than I had realized. I have watched and cheered for so many of my fellow Infertile Parents as they have expanded their families with additional treatments or adoptions in the past two years. I never stop being thrilled for those friends who are fortunate enough to see their dreams come true and it is still thrilling to see it happen the second time. With each pal that embarked on treatment though, I became more nervous, more afraid. Originally, Chad and I had solid plans to start another FET nearly a year ago. But as that date drew near, we found reasons to move it back. Then the new planned time would come closer and we'd push it back again. There were always "reasons"- the sale of Chad's company, travel plans to visit family, wanting to sort out our finances. But the truth is I kept delaying because I was scared, too scared to move forward. Three years ago, we didn't let any of that get in our way. We were bright eyed, hopeful and desperate to be parents. Fear existed but our hope and our need to do everything we could in our quest for parenthood, outweighed any trepidation. We threw ourselves full force into every aspect of making our dream a reality. 

Now that the dream has been realized, I kind of assumed that trying again one day would be a piece of cake. We have frozen embryos so that creates less strain both physically and financially. We knew what to expect and what our odds of success would be. And most important of all, we have the amazing little girl that made our dream of parenthood come true. If a second child isn't in our future, we are still parents. Our family of three is full of joy and happiness and if that is all we ever have, we will have more than enough. So when I realized how truly scared I was to try again, despite all of these things, I was surprised at myself. Every time I watched another friend on Twitter talk about starting treatments for baby #2, I marveled at her bravery and strength. I just didn't have it in me to even consider it yet. Strangely, knowing what to expect made me more nervous instead of less. I resented that I had to go through injections and medications and invasive ultrasounds and bloodwork and horrifically emotional waits all over again, just in the name of trying to have more of something I already feel beyond lucky to have at all. I mean, my dream was parenthood and I have that. Why should I have to go through that emotional hell again?

I have been absurdly low key about so much of this for a multitude of reasons. It feels incredibly selfish to think about baby #2 and to talk about how afraid I am to try again, when so many of those I love dearly are still fighting for baby #1. I know that my friends love and support me, no matter what mine or their circumstances may be, but I know it can still sting to be on that other side. Before my successful pregnancy, I had to avoid reading tweets and blogs from just about anyone that had moved forward to the next steps. I still loved & supported them and felt incredibly happy that their dream came true, but it hurt too much to expose myself directly to it. It may sound silly, but I felt like a jerk even considering making anyone listen to me whine about why I was afraid to do another FET. (you may have caught a vague tweet or two about this). 

My crazy pessimism & fear has also made me very wary of having much conversation about the whole thing with anyone I know "in real life". The thought of giving updates to my friends and family throughout the whole process, answering questions, and putting on a optimistic, hopeful front just seemed so daunting and I wanted to do everything I could to avoid that. With that said, if we know each other in real life, please don't think I didn't want to talk to you personally. I'm just very guarded emotionally right now and it has no reflection on our relationship or how much I love you, because I promise I do. I just needed to protect myself. (also please keep what you are reading here to yourself, as I am still not sharing this widely). 

The scariest thing of all of course, is realizing that in spite of my pessimism and bitterness about this whole process, hope has found it's way in. I can't help but envision our family of three becoming a family of four. I can't not see what an amazing big sister Eliana would be. How much she would love and care for a new baby. It really doesn't help my hopeful/fearful heart that she is now actually old enough to express these desires. "Mommy, may I have a baby brother, please?" is a popular request from her recently. She says it so sweetly, so sincerely, how can I not try to deliver? 

The concept of family is one she is just beginning to learn and she is very excited to announce that Mommy and Daddy and Eliana are a family every chance she gets. I want to let go of the fear and be open to the hope that a new name will be added to her list soon, but if that doesn't happen for us, I know I will still be always happy, grateful and in love with the family I have. And that is stronger than any fear, guilt or stress I could ever face.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Jimmy Fallon's "Coming Out": Celebrations and Concerns

Most anyone that with access to social media the past day or so, has no doubt seen the heartwarming headlines about the birth of comedian Jimmy Fallon's daughter, Winnie, via surrogate. The infertility community in particular, is buzzing with the hashtag #thankyoujimmy and celebrating the celebrity's openness about the struggle with infertility that he and his wife endured for five years before finally welcoming their child. 

With infertility still a taboo and misunderstood condition, and the treatments for it often even more so, it is the rare celebrity that speaks out so candidly about having struggled to become a parent. And anytime an actor, musician or public figure is willing to share this personal part of their lives, I am grateful. Grateful because their voice is frankly more public and therefore louder, than mine. I can blog all day long about how it feels to long for a family that you fear you may never have, how emotional and exhausting the treatments are, about the heartbreak of trying and failing or succeeding only to lose what you worked so hard for- but I will never have the reach of someone like Mr Fallon who has thousands of fans across the globe and a recent Emmy nomination. So when he shared the real, honest and emotional things about his and his wife's struggle it really meant a lot to me and other infertile men and women across the country. 

Every time a celebrity "comes out" about their infertility, the rest of the world gains just a bit more understanding. Ordinary people who may have had no trouble conceiving, are able to see that infertility really can affect anyone. It also opens up conversation and I often have friends and family become curious and ask questions about what infertility really means, how a treatment actually works. Walls come down and silence is broken. Celebrity confessions take the disease itself out of the shadows. They encourage those of us that have been suffering in silence to share our stories with friends and families.There is so much good that comes from speaking out and celebrating all of the ways families are made. For that I am and always will be grateful to Jimmy and have respect for him. 

I do however, have some concerns about his remarks as well. The first and most obvious being the one that comes up in just about every celebrity infertility story- their access and ability to afford treatment. In his interview, Jimmy encouraged anyone struggling to have a child to try every avenue in the quest to become a parent. But as we all know, that just isn't a realistic option for everyone. Infertility treatments are very rarely covered by health insurance and even when they are, often have caps that would prevent many people from ever being able to afford expensive options like surrogacy. I consider myself incredibly fortunate that my husband and I had the resources to assist with our IVF and FET cycles, but for many that option just doesn't exist, let alone more expensive treatments like egg donation or surrogacy. If it were up to me, we would all have the option to "do whatever it takes" as Jimmy encourages, because cost wouldn't be the barrier that it currently is, but we have a long way to go in making that a reality. 

The other concern that struck me immediately, even before the cost barrier, is what his message of hope and never giving up must sound like to the childless community. To those who have already tried everything they are financially and emotionally capable of trying and have decided that a life without children is the best resolution to their infertility, the constant barrage of "always keep trying" becomes a dagger in the heart. It seems as if the rest of the infertile community is accusing them of giving up. It unintentionally alienates and discounts a large part of our community and can be very painful. I understand completely where Jimmy was coming from when he said what he did about not losing hope. As someone who has fallen on and off the hope wagon herself, and finally realized her dream when hope was at an all time low, I know that feeling of relief that "one more try" really did do the trick. It's a message that so many of us desperately need to hear when we are in the trenches. Hope is pretty much the only thing that keeps many of us going some days. And often because our own hope is depleted, it is messages of support and encouragement from others that gets us through. Hearing Jimmy Fallon, or anyone that has been through it, tell you to keep going, keep trying because you will end up with a family and that all the work is worth it, it's the most worth it thing, can be powerful, inspiring and give you hope when all seems lost. But it can also feel like a slap in the face to someone who has already moved forward from treatment and onto adoption or to finding other "worth it" things to make their lives complete. 

Of course, I don't mean to imply that Jimmy Fallon meant any ill-will or has done anything wrong. He doesn't have any sort of obligation to anyone and I appreciate the way he empathized and showed support for fellow members of this community. I applaud him for his heartfelt openness and congratulate him and his wife on becoming parents. But I do wish to see more conversation and understanding about the concerns I mentioned, as well. I hope that the positive reaction he has received in the media and from his fans encourages more discussion, more education and more change with the way infertility is regarded and that one day this illness is no longer something to "come out of the closet" of. Thank you, Jimmy, for sharing your story and for being a voice. And to all of you who aren't necessarily famous comedians or producers, or even suffering from infertility- thank you for speaking out, thank you for taking the time to read and learn more, thank you for being involved, thank you.

Wednesday, August 7, 2013

Wordless Wednesday: Lumpy Boobie Drama

Well, just one word:

P.S. Thank you so much to everyone for the support and well wishes. Love to you all!

Wednesday, July 31, 2013

My Lumpy Boob & Me

Over the past few years most of us have become accustomed to the growing presence of pink ribbons, our doctors' reminders to perform monthly self breast-exams, walks for the cure and the sale of pink-dyed baked good donating pennies of the profits to research. Breast cancer has gone from an under-diagnosed, frequently overlooked, and almost certain death sentence to arguably one of the most visible, talked about and screened for diseases in the country. 

With such high visibility and awareness, I admit I often feel guilty that I don't exactly perform those self-exams monthly, or even bi-monthly. It's more like on a "when I remember and then when I actually get to it" thing. I feel even more guilty that I am so lax considering my family history- my paternal grandmother was diagnosed and had a double mastectomy in her 50s. Worst of all though, is that, I still harbor at least a slight "it won't happen to me" attitude. Which is why I am more anxious about dealing with the pain of having a needle jabbed into my boob tomorrow morning than I am about getting the results back on the sample of the lump my doctor will be removing.

I should back up. A couple of months ago, I actually remembered to do that whole boob self-exam thing and I found a bumpy spot inside my right breast. I poked and pushed until it ached and I could be certain it really did feel different the rest of the area. It definitely did. I can best compare it to a hard, round marble just hanging out in the midst of all the other squishy stuff. This may sound alarming, but I've been through this once before and the marble I found when I was in college was also poked, prodded, biopsied and diagnosed as a completely benign fibroadenoma. It looks scary as hell on ultrasound but it's not cancer and for the most part doesn't increase my risk of developing it. And reassuringly, this lump feels very similar to the one I had when I was 23. 

Last week, I did my due diligence and went in for a mammogram and ultrasound to check out the suspicious spot as well as to do an overall check-up of both breasts. Having my boobs squished and pressed again wasn't exactly comfortable but I've survived worse. (HSG anyone?) The ultrasound was almost relaxing, especially since the jelly was heated instead of freezing cold. After lots of looking, the doctor agreed with my initial suspicions that this was most likely another fibroadenoma. She started talking about whether I wanted to biopsy it now to be safe or if I would rather monitor it for 6 months for changes and determine the necessity then. Until, I mentioned my history with infertility, IVF and FET. That's when the biopsy became my only option. 

As if the hell of infertility and the roller coaster of treatment isn't awful enough on its own, there is this whole non-baby related list of potential health issues that affect us and may continue to do so for the rest of our lives. Not that the doctor was particularly alarmed by my IVF history. She still thinks it's a fibroadenoma and so do I, but the fact remains that the effects of fertility drugs on breast cancer rates have still only been through a handful of studies. And as is usually the case, there is plenty of conflicting information. Some studies say there is no increased risk. Others say that there is, but only for younger women. (I was only 27 for both my IVF and FET cycles.) Add to that to wide diversity of treatment fertility patients receive, and I am not willing to take the summarized version of one breast cancer survey on as proof that the countless vials of estrogen I have injected directly into my backside plays no role in my future health. So I am having the biopsy. 

Tomorrow I will walk into the office in my cute, blue, loose-fitting button up, have a large, hollow needle plunged into my breast and walk out flattened down by bulky "pressure wrap" wrapped around my chest for 48 hours. This coupled with the fact that I can't exercise or shower for those 2 days, nor can I wear deodorant or perfume to my appointment, worries me more than getting back my results next week. Or so I keep telling myself. Because no matter much I hold on to that teenage dream of "it could never happen to me" or how sure I am that this lump is just like the last one, there is always that nagging doubt in the back of mind. That thought the my grandmother wasn't exactly old when she had to have both breasts removed due to cancer. The knowledge that estrogen is the hormone most connected to increased risk and I have artificially increased my levels of it more than once (and might do it again). The images of pink ribbons and awareness posters. These things creep into my mind just when I have convinced myself that there is nothing to worry about. And the truth is, I really do believe there is nothing to worry about. This time. But I can't help but think, given my history, that it is only a matter of time before it's not "nothing". Which is why I will keep doing those occasionally remembered exams, and showing up for mammogram and biopsy appointments well before menopause dictates that I must. And I will be holding my breath just the tiniest bit when my phone rings next week, until I hear the word "benign".

Friday, July 5, 2013

A Message From The Southern California Walk Of Hope Chair

I am proud and honored to serve as the Event Chair for RESOLVE’s inaugural Walk of Hope in Southern California. It is incredible to have this opportunity to raise awareness about the disease of infertility, to support those suffering through it, and to share HOPE with everyone whose life infertility touches. It is my hope that this first annual Walk of Hope will see not only those goals achieved, but will also pave the way for a future in which infertility will no longer be a walk that anyone is forced to face alone.
Six years ago, when my husband and I decided to start a family, we never dreamed of the roller coaster of tests and treatments that awaited us. Not knowing where to turn and being too afraid to reach out for support at first, I began blogging in order to cope with our infertility battle. It was through my blog, “Ready to Be a Mom”, that I found RESOLVE and the wealth of support and resources they provide to all of the 7.3 million Americans suffering from this heartbreaking disease. The more I learned and became involved with RESOLVE, the more I realized just how deeply infertility impacts so many families. Each time I share my story, I learn about an aunt, brother, best friend, son or cousin who is enduring the struggle to become a parent. Even if it is not you that suffers from this disease, with 1 in 8 affected, someone you know probably does.
RESOLVE has helped me to uncover my passion to help all of those faced with infertility and to serve as an advocate for this community. I want to be sure that everyone that participates in the 2013 Walk of Hope feels cared for and supported, no matter where they may be in their infertility journey. I want to reach out and provide support to the newly diagnosed, the patients in treatment, the families pursuing adoption, parents who fought to get there, and individuals who resolve their infertility by living child-free. I want every person that faces infertility to know that they don’t have to face it alone.     

On September 29, I will walk alongside men and women from all over LA, San Diego, Orange County and beyond in the Walk of Hope to honor each one of our unique journeys. I will walk for my daughter, who would not be here without the amazing advances in reproductive technologies. I will walk for those who shared their struggles with me and supported me when I shared mine. I will walk for those still suffering in silence. I will walk to raise awareness that infertility is a disease that affects millions of people from all walks of life. So whether to honor your own struggles or to support a loved one, please join me at beautiful Aldrich Park on the University of California campus in Irvine on September 29, 2013 for a beautiful and symbolic one-mile walk to show support, raise awareness and most importantly, to spread hope.       
To create your team visit, select “Start a Team” and following the directions. Then send an invitation to your family and friends so they can walk with you on your journey.

Wednesday, June 19, 2013

From Passion to Action: Advocacy Day 2013

The California advocates taking on Capitol Hill
The past month has been a non-stop travel fest for me. I drove the California coast, flew from the west coast to the east and back twice, went on a camping adventure and boarded a boat to a nearby island for a day of fun in the sun. Now that I am finally home and catching my breath, I finally digesting the amazing trip that started this crazy month- my trip to Washington DC for RESOLVE's Advocacy Day.

Since I first became aware of RESOLVE, I have heard about what an empowering experience Advocacy Day is and I always knew that one day, I wanted to be a part of it. Talking to the men and women in politics that make things happen, sharing my story, speaking out for the millions of Americans that struggle with infertility, making a difference toward passing legislation that will help so many of those sufferers, how could I not want to be a part of something so meaningful, so cathartic, so powerful? But living on the opposite side of the country, I have also long assumed it would be too overwhelming, time consuming, and expensive to make the trip anytime soon. This past year though, my inner advocate has come out in full force and become a huge part of the outer me. There isn't anyone in my life that doesn't know what an important cause infertility support is to me. I knew that there was no room for excuses or delays. This year was the year. This Advocacy Day was the day. 

And what a day it turned out to be. The rumors were true. Telling my story to the aids and staffers of my Senators and Representatives was cathartic. Walking miles across Capitol Hill to share information about important family building legislation with political offices was invigorating. Connecting with other advocates from across the country and from my own backyard was was inspiring. Everything about my experience was enlightening and empowering. I not only learned a great deal about the political process, I took an active part in it.

Each time I met with a staffer to tell them about The Family Act and The Women Veterans and Other Health Care Improvements Act, I was asked why this was so important to me, why I thought these measures mattered so much, how they would help someone like me, who despite my struggle with infertility has had the good fortune of becoming a parent. After all, an IVF tax credit will come too late to offset the costs of my previous treatments. The truth is, it's not my personal story or struggle that matters, it is giving EVERY aspiring parent the ability to build their family. I am one of the lucky ones. Yes, I spent my daughter's college fund bringing her into the world but I had the option to do that. So many who learn that IVF or adoption are their only family building options, don't have that ability and parenthood shouldn't be a luxury afforded only to those who have the means to finance expensive family building options. 

The struggle with infertility, as many of you know, can be so lonely, so isolating. Finding the community I did online was incredible and such a source of support and comfort for me. But being in a room or crowded DC hallway with hundreds of other women and men who knew what this fight was like, gave me a sense of community deeper than I had ever imagined. After years of chatting with amazing women on Twitter, I was able to give them the real life hugs I had always wished them virtually. I heard, in person, the emotion and rawness of what someone else had gone through to become a parent or how they had come to their decision to live child-free. I could squeeze the hand of those who came to Advocacy Day mid-cycle or in an adoption wait and let them know I was hoping & rooting for them. The power of that in-person contact was unbelievable and amazing and it is something I will always cherish. And there is nothing quite as awesome as enjoying a cocktail and dinner in a private dining room full of a dozen or so women chatting loudly about ovaries, homestudies, and wandy dates without ever having to worry if anyone is confused or uncomfortable- well except maybe the waiter.
But just because you could not be there on Advocacy Day, it doesn't mean that you can't still be a part of this community by being a voice for it. Write to your Congressional Leaders and ask them to support these measure that help those in the infertile community. Speak out. Share your story. Support others doing the same. Every little step makes a difference. Remember what you learned from School House Rock

Just like Bill's friend says, passing any new legislation requires lots and lots of courage and patience, but we have faced infertility! We have found more patience and courage within ourselves than we ever realized any one person was capable of possessing! If any group can show the fortitude and bravery required for this process, it is us! 

Here is the info you need to know about the legislation we were advocating for on Capitol Hill this May:
The Family Act: This bill makes infertility treatments more affordable to middle class families.

The Women Veterans and Other Healthcare Improvement Act: The bill gives access to the needed infertility treatments that wounded veterans need to conceive and start a family.

Take time to learn more about the legislation and then make your voice heard! Thanks to my own struggle to become a parent, issues related to infertility naturally became a passion for me and thanks to amazing events like Advocacy Day, I am excited to be taking action too.

Friday, May 3, 2013

Meet the Advocacy Day 2013 Advocates!

If you are active in the infertility community, or even if you just dipping your toe in the water or reading blogs to learn more and support  a loved one, there is a good chance you have heard about RESOLVE's Advocacy Day taking place next Wednesday, May 8th, in Washington DC. If you haven't, next week members of the IF community will come together in the nation's capital to meet with their senators and representatives to discuss the issues and legislation important to those struggling with the disease of infertility. We will be there to represent the 7.3 million citizens living with infertility and let our elected officials know that our voices and our concerns are important and should be important to them too. 

I am so thrilled to be attending my first ever Advocacy Day this year to support those impacted by infertility. Support has meant absolutely everything to me in my journey to parenthood and I would not be in this position if not for the constant support of so many amazing women that I have met over the years through twitter and my blog. To say that I am excited about standing beside these inspiring ladies next week as we venture to Capitol Hill is an understatement. It is important to know that every successful cause, every movement is the result of ordinary people standing up and making their voices heard. So I am very excited about the blog hop Casey at Chances Our put together in order to get to know some of the advocates attending Advocacy Day. We are real people affected by infertility. Some of us have resolved our infertility, some have not. We are not politicians or lobbyists. We are average Americans from all walks of life and all corners of the country. We even have an incredibly supportive and caring Canadian standing beside us and contributing what I am sure will be fantastic professional photos of this momentous day. (Kelley- you rock!)

So please take a moment to learn more about Advocacy Day by visiting RESOLVE. Read my Q&A to learn more about me and why I am attending. Then stop by the blogs of some of the other amazing women attending to read about their hopes for Advocacy Day. If you can't be there with us, know that you are there in spirit and there are still ways you can show your support! Lend RESOLVE your Facebook or Twitter status on May 8th. Log into Thunderclap and help us reach thousands of people with 1 message about infertility awareness.

1. Where are you in your infertility journey right now? In one sentence!
After 3 years of trying to conceive with infertility, countless timed cycles, 3 rounds of clomid, one IVF, a miscarriage and a FET, I am the incredibly grateful mother of an amazing two-year old girl.

2. What inspired you to go to RESOLVE Advocacy Day 2013?
Since becoming involved with the infertility community, I have grown more and more passionate about advocating for all those facing this terrible struggle and finally decided this was the year I would push through the obstacles and make it a priority to talk to Congress about the issues that mean so much to me. Twitter slumber party 2013 makes it that much sweeter!

3. What do you want Congress to understand about infertility?
I want Congress to know that infertility affects men and women from every corner of this country. It impacts not only the one in eight who suffer directly but it has a ripple effect and touches the lives of millions of Americans, regardless of political party, race, class, or gender. It is a disease worthy of our care and attention. 

4. What are you most looking forward to about Advocacy Day?
I am excited to meet with my Representative, Loretta Sanchez, who co-sponsored the Family Act in 2011 to thank her for her support and ask that she support the bill again. I am also beyond thrilled to spend time with some of the most amazing women and advocates I have ever had to honor to know and finally meet many of them in person for the first time! 

5. What is one thing other advocates will be surprised to learn about you when they meet you?
This is the tough one...Um? I talk A LOT and  can get very passionate when I do. I also have chronic foot in the mouth disorder so I ask your forgiveness in advance if I say something that comes out all wrong or makes zero sense. 

Meet some of the other advocates who are going and show your support!

Fran Meadows

Jen Rutner

Miss Ohkay

Whitney Anderson






Thursday, April 25, 2013

NIAW: Join The Movement

This week, April 21-27 is National Infertility Awareness Week. Since I first began participating in NIAW three years ago, it has become a time of inspiration to me. I never feel as connected to the infertility community as I do during this week of advocacy, education and awareness. Each year that I have participated, has brought the opportunity for new reflection and growth. 

It was during this week in 2010 that I first opened up about my infertility. My husband and I "came out of the closet" so to speak, as one of the 1 in 8 couples in the U.S. experiencing infertility and as one of the 1 in 6 that suffer a pregnancy loss. Taking that plunge was terrifying. I had carried so much guilt and shame about my infertility diagnoses for so long. But once we went public, we were astonished by the love and support we received. What surprised us even more were the friends and family that came forward to let us know that they faced it too and that we were not alone. The more I reached out, the less isolated and ashamed I felt. My first NIAW was a turning point and the first time I felt as if I had taken charge of infertility story instead of letting it control me. I broke the silence and in the process helped others facing similar struggles, engendered compassion in those that didn't, and opened up a whole new world of support and empowerment for myself that would help me through some of my toughest moments. 

This year I have been as enthusiastic about NIAW as ever. Infertility advocacy has been transforming for me from something I didn't know how to approach to a passion that I can't seem to do enough of. I am thrilled to be attending RESOLVE's Advocacy Day next month for the first time. I can't wait to speak to my senators and representatives about how vital The Family Act is to me and the other 7.3 million people facing infertility in the U.S. In an attempt to reach out even more, I have also begun blogging for Fertility Authority and this summer I have plans to begin another exciting position with them as well. And perhaps the scariest, most exciting advocacy experience of all- I have agreed to CHAIR the first ever Walk of Hope in Southern California this fall. (sidenote-if you're in SoCal and want to get involved- please message me!) But as exhilarating as all of this involvement in the movement and the community is, it is still the quietest of exchanges, the simplest acts of providing support to someone that needs it or speaking up for those who are struggling that matter to me most. 

One of the things I cherish most about NIAW is the opportunity to learn more but the movement, the community and myself. This year I have discovered that while NIAW provides hope and support for many, that is not true for all. There are wonderful women and men suffering from infertility that feel pain and loss during NIAW rather than support. Let's face it, the infertility community and our supporters in the fertile world are obsessed with "success stories" and by success we mean people who are infertile, but in some way became parents. We don't know how to celebrate the success of those who resolve their infertility by living a child-free life. I readily admit, that while supporting those in the community that have reached a child-free resolution matters to me very much, I am not always sure of the best way to do it. These stories don't touch my heart any less than the tales of IVF or adoption, but I have heard from so many that without the constant chatter of cycles and homestudies, those in the child-free camp often feel left out of the conversation and even the infertility community as a whole. This breaks my heart because we not only need to support EVERYONE that faces infertility and celebrate every victory, every resolution, we need these stories, these voices to make our community and our movement whole and complete. 

Equally heartbreaking, is that there are those who don't see the value in raising awareness about the issue because, while NIAW and speaking out may provide you with personal comfort and release from shame, it does nothing to actually cure infertility itself or that "forcing" awareness down the throats of those not facing infertility is fruitless and self-indulgent. To that I say, you are missing the point. No, posting a link to a blog post about how to best support friends and family struggling with infertility won't resolve their infertility. Sharing information about deciding to see a specialist and how to find one won't guarantee that treatments will be successful. Educating co-workers that 7.3 million people face infertility won't decrease that number. Awareness on it's own won't make infertility go away but it WILL make a difference. 

One thing everyone struggling with infertility seems to agree on is that it really is a STRUGGLE. Not only because our hearts break month after month, year after year with our inability to become parents, but because the navigating the world of fertility doctors, adoption lawyers, uninformed friends, unaware politicians and unconcerned insurance providers is one of the most challenging things we have ever had to do. Only through awareness can we begin to change all of that. Educating the public about the pervasiveness and realities of infertility will increase understanding of infertility as a disease deserving of compassion. Advocating by writing to your congressional representatives or by attending Advocacy Day will increase political presence and help pass important legislation like The Family Act, which would reduce the financial burden of fertility treatments for millions of Americans. Showing support and compassion for friends and family facing this disease, whether or not you face it yourself, makes a difference in your loved ones lives in ways big and small. Writing, talking and sharing the realities of IVF, domestic and international adoption or living child-free will ensure that every voice, every experience with infertility is represented, heard and supported. Taking the time to truly listen and support everyone devastated by this disease, no matter how much their circumstances and choices may differ from our own, will make this movement even richer and more complete.

With all of the obstacles facing those with infertility, it is easy to forget how far this movement has already come. The women and men of our parent's and grandparent's generation did not have RESOLVE support groups or online communities available for them to seek a compassionate, understanding ear. Adoptions were often done under a shroud of secrecy with little to no support for any involved. Adults without children were feared or ridiculed as "old-maids". Education about what really does and does not work when trying to have a baby was limited to what was passed on between friends and family members, rarely with sufficient access to additional information or medical assistance. Infertility simply wasn't often talked about. It often still isn't. I know it seems so small, so insignificant to just talk about infertility because how can that possibly make a difference? But speaking out is the first step of any movement. No, it is not a cure for infertility but if we keep it up, it WILL cure many of the challenges that currently accompany it. So make your voice heard and support others who are doing the same. This community is powerful and strong, we CAN make a difference.

"Never believe that a few caring people can't change the world. For, indeed, that's all who ever have." ~ Margaret Mead

To learn more about infertility and National Infertility Awareness Week please visit:

Monday, April 15, 2013

Light in the Face of Darkness

Like most people in the US tonight, I am struck with shock and sadness over the events in Boston earlier today. It is horrifying to witness innocent people become victims of senseless violence like that of the bombs that exploded near the finish of the Boston marathon, killing some and severely injuring many more. Throughout the day, I have seen and heard many statements of despair at living in, and trying to bring children into, a world that holds such cruelty. Events like these are the types that often cause people to lose their faith in humanity, but I have seen something else too- displays of hope, caring and compassion. While there are certainly countless reports of tragedy, and I fear there will be more in the days to come, there is also great evidence of kindness and behavior that exemplifies the very best of humanity. 

I am sure many of you have heard the reports of marathon runners, who, upon learning of the blasts, kept right on running until they reached the nearest hospitals to donate blood. Or maybe you have heard about the local Boston residents who opened their hearts and their homes to provide those displaced with a bite to eat and a place to rest. And of course, you know that the very instant the first explosion happened, bystanders, firefighters and police officers nearby rushed to the aid of the injured without a second's hesitation. The most beautiful quote I have seen circulating today is this one from the late Fred Rogers: "When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, ‘Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping.’” Mr. Rogers and his mother were certainly right about the amazing and inspiring side of the helpers in the face of tragedy. As I thought it over tonight, I realized it was not just the tragedy of horrible events such as those in Boston, that these beautiful words apply to. 

While I in no way aim to compare the deplorable and heinous violence committed in Boston, or any other act of terror, I do believe that infertility is undeniably tragic for those who suffer it. And just as brave men and women have showcased the best side of humanity in Boston and across the globe through their eagerness to help, it was my battle with infertility and experience with miscarriage that showed me that most people truly are compassionate and caring at their core. Yes, there will be those that will use this tragic news to further their own selfish agendas or who will carelessly diminish the pain and loss experienced, just as there are those who will insist that infertility sufferers were never meant to have children along with any other number of hurtful, negative things. But there are far more people rushing to donate to the Red Cross, offering a couch to crash on or a shoulder to lean on. Most importantly, there are more "I love you's" being shared than messages of hate. When people are at their lowest, their most vulnerable, the realization of what and who matters becomes undeniable. I know that so many people are holding their loved ones tightly tonight and making sure that they know just how much they are loved.

And that is what I took away from experience with the outside world when I finally shared my struggle with infertility. For every anonymous "you are so selfish for doing IVF", there was an entire supportive chorus of "we are here for you". For every thoughtless question or careless comment there was a twitter pal, or a blog reader virtually squeezing my hand to remind me that I was not alone. For every heartbreak, there was a friend or a family member offering a hug to let me know that no matter how broken I was, I was always loved. In the darkest moments of my life, it was the helpers that showed me the light, and it is the caring people, the helpers, in Boston that remind us all of the light that will continue to thrive in our world no matter what evil may try to extinguish it. That is the world I am so grateful to be raising my daughter to be a part of.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Two Years of Love & Laughter

To my precious Snow Pea on her 2nd Birthday: 

I can't believe that we just celebrated your 2nd birthday. It seems like such a short time ago that you came into my life and made it brighter with your laugh. You have grown so much and developed so many wonderful new abilities in these two years, but it is your ability to laugh easily, effortlessly and with sheer joy that is the most heart-warming, infectious and beautiful. Not a single day has passed this year in which I have not had the honor and privilege of hearing the music of your laughter. Even on those days you behave like a "terrible" toddler- tantruming, whining, pouting or crying uncontrollably for no other reason than you want to cry- you still find reasons to laugh, loudly and with utter abandon. 
In your second year of life you have become less of a baby and more of a child, and what a truly happy and loving child you are. You show concern when anyone around you expresses sadness or pain. You are always quick to ask if I am ok when I cough and to bless me when I sneeze. And once you are sure there is nothing serious to worry about, you are right back to laughing and doing your best to spread that laughter with a silly dance, a tickle fight or just a plain old squeal of delight. You do that squeal a lot actually, it's kind of your trademark, you're very well known for it. You don't even need a big reason- your friend is in the stroller next to yours, you successfully put your plate into the dishwasher, you are in the middle of singing a song you really like, Daddy is lying in the middle of the living room floor- any little happy moment is cause for BIG celebration. 

As you turn two, it is clear that you have many emerging talents and I know you will continue to acquire new skills, interests and abilities as you grow. I will be there to encourage that growth and help you develop your talents but it is your effortless ability to find daily joy, to laugh loudly and often, that I hope with all of my heart never changes as you age. I hope that each day continues to bring you reasons to laugh, to smile and to squeal with delight and if the day does not give them to you, I hope you continue to find them yourself as you do right now. 

There was a time that I feared I may have lost my ability to be joyful the way you are now. I was hurting and broken and I felt that I may have lost a part of me that I might never get back. In many ways, I think I was right. I have lost, I have changed. But thanks to you, your presence in my life, my life as your mommy, I have found parts of me that I thought were gone and even created some new ones too. The very thought of you is enough to bring a smile to my face and your daddy and I have yet to have a night pass after you're asleep when we don't recount the amazing, charming and hilarious things you said and did that day. You are our joy baby girl, just as the entire world is yours. Thank you for two incredible years of loving and laughing. I look forward to countless more giggles, squeals and smiles with you in the years to come. Happy Birthday. 

Love, Mommy

Monday, March 11, 2013

Your Story Matters...And Mine Does Too

Not too long ago I wrote a piece about how infertility and it's methods of treatment are seen by many as a failure. If you can't have children "naturally", you have somehow failed and utilizing IVF or adoption in order to become a parent is implied to be some sort of consolation prize. It's even worse if you decide to resolve your infertility by living life child-free. I have long-believed that this is simply not true and despite how difficult and heartbreaking infertility can be, it doesn't mean that we have failed in any way. In my article and related blog post, I specifically discussed the sentiment that my needing IVF and FET to have a child is some sort of undesirable extreme to be pitied. I just don't feel that way and I wanted to write a piece that expressed how proud I am of what I have experienced. Like all of my writing it was from the heart and based solely on my own experiences. (you can find the post I'm referring to here)

I was proud of that piece and the impact it had on those that chose to share their thoughts with me. It is no secret that my favorite part of blogging my infertility journey has been the experience of being a part of the online infertile community. I have spent years praising the loving, supportive people I have met here and I still have unending gratitude to all of you for keeping me from going off the deep end. The infertility community I found online has been my safe place, the place where I can share my thoughts and feelings on this struggle and be understood and treated with compassion. But now that I am a mom, some of that has started to change. 

The piece I brought up earlier is one of my most emotional and complex. I put myself out there but I felt safe doing it because I trusted that the IF community would respond with love and understanding. Which is why when I witnessed passive aggressive feedback through a third party, implying that my struggle was too easy I was completely floored. It seems that my voice on the issue matters a little bit less to some because IVF worked for me and it doesn't work for everyone or because I was able to find a way to finance my treatment while there are many who are unable to do so. So basically, I am not "infertile enough" now that I am a mother. Last time I checked, infertility wasn't a contest with the biggest winner being the one who has endured the most pain. Since I *only* endured 3 years of heartbreaking infertility, one IVF, one miscarriage, one FET before becoming a mother does that mean my feelings are less significant than someone that has been struggling 10 years or someone that has had several losses? Would my experiences matter more if I had undergone a dozen ART procedures before becoming a parent? Or does being a parent at all, no matter how long and arduous the journey to get here, preclude me from ever again identifying as infertile and having feelings on the matter?

I always try to include many other possible paths through infertility in my writing, but having only experienced my own path and no one else's, I focus on IVF and FET as that is what my story entails. I do my best to be considerate and inclusive toward others' experiences but in the end I can only understand so much of what someone else has been or is currently going through and I have never claimed to know what it's like to live anyone's story but my own. The best I can do is be here for you, to let you know I care and allow you to be heard. When you experience victories, I will cheer with you and when you encounter heartbreak, I will mourn with you. We don't have to have the same experiences, or the same opinions or even the same emotions for me to care about you, to see your journey as worth caring about, your story as worth hearing. Isn't that what this community should always be? We all face enough thoughtlessness in the world without hoisting it on each other. 

I know it's hard sometimes encountering any parent, whether they are infertile or not. People with kids are who we want to be and sometimes seeing them, hearing what they have to say, is a painful reminder that we are not one of them. I know, I felt that way too. So if you need to turn away from my blog, my story, my journey because it hurts a little too much. I understand. I don't blame you for doing what you need to do to protect your heart. But if you do encounter me now and then, please remember to be kind. Just because I have a child, it does not mean my wounds are healed. Even if they were, nether of us benefit from judging the other or minimizing and discounting each other. My story matters and so does yours.

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Speaking Out at Fertility Planit 2013

Excited to watch Mommy live at the Fertility Planit Show
This past weekend, I had the honor and pleasure of moderating a panel for the first ever Fertility Planit show in LA. It was a weekend long event and featured discussions by experts on a variety of topics effecting the infertility community such as building an adoptive family, financial planning for ART/adoption, male infertility, egg freezing and storage and letting go of having genetic offspring. I was thrilled to moderate and lead the session titled "The Beginners Guide to Infertility: What to Do When You Want to Get Pregnant But Can't". 

Our panel featured two leading REs and a natural healer/acupuncturist answering questions about what to expect when seeking tests and treatments for fertility. Many of our audience members had never met with an RE so I was very excited to give them the opportunity to have their questions answered and basic concerns addressed before they ever had to step foot into a doctor's office. I remember very clearly how daunting those first visits to my doctor were, not yet having the confidence or understanding of fertility to be able to best advocate for myself. It felt very rewarding to know I was part of an event that was empowering others to take those first steps toward parenthood armed with information and support. It was also very empowering for me to be able to take my own journey with infertility and apply it to an event like this, asking questions, sharing experiences and connecting with others.

In addition to my own panel, I attended sessions on adoption and learned a lot about the process and realities of private, domestic open adoptions as well as sessions on natural medicine and optimizing fertility. I also spent a great deal of time wandering the exhibit hall and meeting the REs, donor agencies, and support agencies that were on hand to share their information with attendees. I even had the opportunity to give feedback to all of the companies that created and delivered my medications for IVF and FET. It felt really good to tell the producer of my estrogen supplement what my experience was with their drug and request that they begin including certain written information on side effects with their medication. I most enjoyed spending time at the RESOLVE booth though, where I had the opportunity to discuss a lot of exciting events and volunteer opportunities coming up later this year. I also got to see my name and face in print when I picked up a copy of the Winter edition of their newsletter where a piece I wrote is featured. (If you would like information on receiving the Resolve newsletter, please click here).

I am so glad I was a part of this event. It was incredible to be participate in a conference dedicated to all things fertility. Much like the RESOLVE Night of Hope in October, it was refreshing to be surrounded by people that were as passionate about the issues surrounding infertility as I am. I was surprised by the number of people that stopped in the hall to tell me a little about their journey and thanked me for sharing mine. I have been blogging for 3 years now but I am still always amazed by the impact my words can have on others. Speaking to some of them refreshed my energy for blogging and I have a few new topics I will be blogging about in the near future. But even more than the charge I got for blogging, the event gave me an even charge to renew my involvement as an infertility advocate. Speaking onstage about infertility, asking the experts questions and being in the presence of so many other advocates and professionals really confirmed for me how much I love this work and want to continue to get involved.

I have some ideas on things I would like present at next year's show but whether these ideas come to fruition or not, I hope to be involved again in whatever way I can. In the meantime, I will be pursuing any opportunity I get to volunteer, speak out and learn more about infertility so that I can best serve this community.

If you're interested in watching my panel or any of the other sessions that were held this weekend, you can watch the videos by clicking here or by visiting My session can be found here.