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.

Monday, January 7, 2013

Break Dancing Has A Whole New Meaning

You can see the break on the left side of the Xray
I've done it. I have officially missed my first month blogging. I wanted to write, I did. I just didn't. I didn't do much this past month and a half really. Except turn 30 and in the process break my first bone. 

Let me explain. Since I was about 22, I had this crazy idea that when I turned 30 I would throw a outrageous 80s prom. Not a party with an 80s theme, but an actual prom that just so happens to take place in the 1980s. This year was that year, and after nearly a decade of talking and planning, I actually did it. I rented a hall, formed a prom committee to help me plan and decorate, hired a dj and enjoyed a magical night dancing under crepe paper steamers and foil stars. It truly was a fantastic party and everything came together perfectly. The only exception is, it was the one and only night I have ever tried to really dance in heels and now I am paying for it with a broken foot.

I have been completely non-weight bearing and on crutches for 4 weeks now and I have to tell you, it isn't fun. It's so hard not being able to walk down the block or drive myself anywhere or get myself a glass of water. But the truly depressing thing is not being able to take care of my precious Snow Pea. I can't pick her up, or sit on the floor to play with her, or chase her around the house. This is what I do. This is my life. I am a stay at home mom, if I can't care for my daughter what kind of life do I really have? I can't describe how heartbroken I was the first day I was on crutches and Eliana reached out her hand for me to hold as we walked and I had to tell her I couldn't do it. It was one of the most gut-wrenching moments of my life.

I am incredibly lucky to have a husband with a job that he is both good at and trusted to do from home so that he can be here to do all of the heavy lifting while I can't. I am very grateful to him for the insane amount of responsibility he has taken on since I have been forced to spend large parts of my day with my foot elevated. He has worked very hard to keep up with the laundry, the shopping, the cooking, cleaning and taking care of a hyper toddler while still attempting to do his own job and keep a roof over our heads. To say he is doing it all is an understatement. And while I appreciate all of this very much, it is also killing me. Not only does it drive me crazy when he does things in a different way or a different order than I would (and this true of almost everything) but it kills me that he is now the sun and the moon for Eliana, and I am just an orbiting satellite. As the working parent, my husband also gets to more often be the "fun" one, the one that comes home after a day apart and have new energy to play and laugh which leaves me as the at home parent to be the one she runs to most often when she needs something. But now that I can no longer give her the things she is asking for, and I can't play with her in the rough and tumble way a toddler thrives on, I feel more like an accessory than a real parent. 

One thing I have learned in the past 20 months I have been a parent is that time flies and each new stage of her development is only new for a few weeks before the next new stage begins. Being completely unable to stand on my own two feet, I feel like I am missing so much of the fun and joy of this time with her. This is time I will never be able to get back. Once she goes to the next phase, this one will be just a memory and I'm afraid I am only getting to experience it from the fringes. Just this afternoon, it was decided that a trip to the grocery store would be more efficient if I stayed home and kept my foot up so Eliana and Chad are out doing the errands she and I normally do together while I stay here with my laptop. I hate feeling like I am missing out on my daily life but all three of us are learning to cope.

Right before Christmas, we rented a wheelchair so that I could participate in our annual tradition of strolling along  our neighborhood's "Candy Cane Lane" and enjoying the lights. Since I was on wheels, my lap became Eliana's seat and we cuddled together while she pointed out sparkly lights and cutout snowmen. We've also successfully navigated a couple of trips to Disney this way which has been a joy. Eliana and I have even figured out a way to hold hands while I'm on crutches by me extending my index finger for her to grip on to. It's not perfect but it has definitely made me appreciate these little moments. I'm not sure how I feel about my daughter being the only kid her age that knows how to say "crutches" or that anytime she hears someone say "ouch" she responds with "foot! Mommy's foot!" but I do love that she came to me the other day and gently patted my broken foot and gave it an "all better" kiss. I'm so worried about missing time with her and sweet girl that she is, she's just concerned about me feeling all better. 

I think the greatest benefit I've gotten from breaking my foot, is my new found appreciation for having complete mobility. I never realized just how much I took it for granted, how much we all do, until I lost some of it. I am definitely counting myself lucky that my condition is a temporary one. I still have a hard time being forced to take a back seat in my own life. I actually look forward to the day I can carry laundry up and down the stairs or go to the grocery store and buy ingredients for the week's meals. I especially look forward to the day I can run, jump, play and dance with my precious little girl again. Until then, I am doing my best to cherish the quiet moments- cuddling her on my lap as I read a book, having her bring me cup after cup of pretend tea and singing her favorite songs with her as she shows off her dance moves. I just hope she's a little less clumsy than her mother and that her dance moves never have the same results mine did. ;)