Wednesday, May 28, 2014

A Must Read

I'm not one to tell people what to do (wink wink), but I implore all of you to read Dr. Jessica Zucker's newest essay on her unique experience with pregnancy loss. I have been so impressed by Dr. Zucker's honesty and her writing is smart and poignant. I hope all of you find her work to be as inspiring as I do.
Happy reading!

- Jennifer

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Let the Good Times Roll

In preparation for the onslaught of injectable medications, early morning monitoring hours, sober life and just general anxiety that is the IVF process,  I have been living the past few weeks as if I am about to go to the electric chair. Bottomless glasses of wine, all the shellfish I can eat, iced coffee bonanzas, unpasteurized cheese out the wazoo, late nights, gin and tonics. The only thing I have not taken part in is aggressive exercise. Because let's be honest, that just isn't fun. In fact, the only thing I love about being a "high risk" pregnancy person is the fact that I CAN'T exercise.  It's like, totally against doctor's orders. Although I have been lamenting the caffeine free days ahead, it occurred to me that maybe I need to alter my outlook on all of this. Instead of focusing on all the "dont's" that are about to inundate my life (let's hope), perhaps it would behoove me to put energy towards the positives. Like, all this "stuff", medications and otherwise, might actually work (again, let's hope). When you are about to jump on the IVF train or just going the old- fashioned route and "trying" again after multiple pregnancy losses, it's hard not to feel as though you are in the penalty box or the fetal police is on your tail. You see your other pregnant friends, those who aren't "high risk" who can adopt a much more laissez-faire attitude about the whole in utero thing, that they can actually have a glass of wine without anxiety. Bonkers! What is that like?
Well, I guess I will never know. Just like I won't know how this will turn out. The one thing I do know with full certainty is that should all of this result in a healthy full- term pregnancy and healthy baby, then it is all worth it.
Now pass the rosé!

- Jennifer

PS- Some of you have inquired about Kira's whereabouts. Well, the lucky and lovely Kira is abroad visiting family but will be back very soon. In the meantime, I hate to say it but you're stuck with me.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

I Choose My Choice!

Sorry for the Sex and the City reference, I couldn't help myself. But let's be honest, don't all roads lead back to Sex and the City?
One of the things Kira and I hope we convey through this blog is not only "finding the gold", unearthing a silver lining in an otherwise bleak situation, but also show examples of two women who have experienced similar situations, who then took different paths. My husband and I are still in the process of trying to find a way to make this all work, while Kira and her husband bravely decided that in the end what mattered most was they had one another, and went on to build a beautiful and fulfilling life together. There is no one way to live a life, but if you are willing to be authentic to yourself, then you have the opportunity to live your best one. The volatile ride of baby making can be utterly exhausting. It is depleting emotionally, physically as well as financially. Choosing your choice, your truest one imaginable (whatever that may be), is always the bravest and most rewarding action you can ever take.
I recently had this epiphany after speaking with a woman I was serendipitously introduced to. She and her husband experienced tremendous fertility issues years ago, before the majority of medical advances we are so fortunate to take part in today were widely available. She and her husband decided they could live a rich life without children and went on to do just that. Each has experienced incredible success in their respective careers and they fill their life with adventure and deep personal connections. She went on to say, even though they don’t have their own children and she is not a "mother" in the traditional sense; she has cultivated relationships with people of all ages that find her in a maternal role. This has been incredibly satisfying; despite the fact this kind of mother is not necessarily recognized in our society. I asked if there was ever a moment of regret, she went on to say there were times early on when she felt "less than" by certain people, but realized that perhaps those weren't the relationships she needed in her life. Once she and her husband created the supportive "family" they now have they never looked back. It was an inspiring conversation, one I continue to think of to this day. I realized that regardless of the individual choices we make concerning motherhood and our own fertility struggles, and whether or not we choose to have children, adopt or take advantage of science to help us conceive, supporting one another is what it's all about.  There is plenty of room for all of us at the table. What a beautiful thing!

- Jennifer

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Clomid: Breakfast of Champions?

Over the weekend I had a conversation with both my husband and a dear friend regarding Indianapolis Colts hulking linebacker Robert Mathis who recently failed a drug test resulting in a four-game suspension. At this point you are probably wondering why I am discussing the NFL on this blog. Good question. The reason is, Mathis revealed to the NFL the culprit behind his failed drug test, Clomid. Yes you read that correctly. The fertility medication that millions of women have been prescribed for decades to induce ovulation is apparently now being used, but not approved by the FDA, for male fertility. Mathis stated he and his wife experienced difficulty conceiving, which prompted his doctor to prescribe Clomid. Now, as an NFL player you should be pretty aware that anything you take (vitamins, supplements, etc...) need to be approved. Mathis did not seek that clearance, hence the punishment.
There is so much going on in this story I don't even know where to begin. Male fertility drugs can enhance an athlete's performance due to the boost in testosterone. But if Mathis is telling the truth then shouldn't the NFL reverse their decision? Furthermore, shouldn't we applaud him for his honesty?  I can't imagine that it's easy for an NFL linebacker, or really any man, to admit their fertility issues to the world (even if he is 6'2" and 245 lbs). Perhaps his honesty helped other men breath a little sigh of a relief in knowing they aren't alone. If Mathis is lying, well shame on him for using infertility as a scapegoat. Unfortunately the cynic in me believes the latter. Which is too bad, as it undercuts a conversation that could desperately use a healthy shot (sorry for the pun) of media attention.

- Jennifer

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Baby Shower Anxiety

Over the last week or so we have received a few emails from fellow readers all on the same topic: baby showers. Some have expressed anxiety over shopping for a baby gift after their own miscarriage, and some have found it difficult to imagine sitting next to a heavily pregnant friend "oohing" and "ahhing" over burp cloths and breast pumps. I feel your pain. Since my first miscarriage four years ago I have been invited to my fair share of baby showers, baptisms and "meet the baby" parties. Before I met Kira I went to all of them (even if the end result was me hysterically crying in the back of a cab, shoving pacifier shaped cookies in my mouth). I remember the dread I felt after receiving numerous baby shower invitations, which somehow always arrived after my own pregnancy loss. One day I mentioned to Kira I had a friend's shower to attend, and I was feeling particularly anxious about it. I remember exactly what happened next.  She looked me in the eye and confidently said, "Don't go! Give yourself permission to not go!" I looked at her as if she was some sort of heretic. Of course I had to go! It was so-and-so's shower; I couldn't NOT go. So I kept RSVP'ing "Yes", put on a happy face and showed up. But after I experienced an 18 week miscarriage everything changed. I couldn't keep up the facade any longer and let's face it; it would have been a thinly veiled attempt that everyone would have seen right through.  I realized Kira was on to something, I didn't have to go. More than that my true friends would not only understand, but wouldn't want me to experience any more emotional discomfort or sadness than I already experienced. So I started to RSVP "No" with a kind note and then I would send a baby blanket. FYI: I have found these gifts to be pretty benign in the emotional heart strings department. Baby blankets aren't adorable little booties. They aren't sweet little outfits from Crewcuts. Catch my drift? Baby blankets- that's where it's at. Better yet, have a friend send it for you.
I'm sure some people rolled their eyes and found my absence to be "melodramatic". But for the first time in my life I didn't care.  I started making decisions based on what felt best for me, not on what I "should" do and what was "expected".
The takeaway here? Listen to yourself. If the idea of playing "celebrity baby name" games and passing around baby food processors make you want to put a hot poker in your eye, stay home. But if you do choose to go, at least snag a few cookies on your way out the door. Those might come in handy.

- Jennifer

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

An Inspiring Read

The black hole that is Twitter can be mind-numbing. It is also frightening in the sense that I can spend a full hour sorting through my Twitter feed only to walk away feeling unsatisfied. Where did the last hour of my life go? Why can't I get enough of this Jay-Z craziness? I digress. What I am trying to say is, even though Twitter can win the gold medal in time-suckage, it can also be a truly amazing place where inspiration really is just around the corner. Such was the case this past weekend when I happened to stumble across a remarkably thoughtful piece by Doctor Jessica Zucker on Dr. Zucker I learned, is an LA based Psychologist who specializes in women's reproductive and maternal mental health, and she wrote a beautiful essay titled "5 Ways to Revolutionize Pregnancy Loss". The minute I opened the link I felt a thrill. It was incredibly exciting to see a medical professional validate the complicated "post-pregnancy loss" healing process and how imperative it is after such a traumatic experience. As someone who always felt there was a lack of quality literature (and heart) regarding miscarriage I am overjoyed by Dr. Zucker's essay.  In my experience, pregnancy loss has been a taboo subject for far too long, and those of us suffering (and healing) from this felt alone and ashamed. We’ve come a long way baby, now let’s keep up the good work!

- Jennifer

Sunday, May 11, 2014

Mother's Day

Ah, that time of year again. I actually used to leave the country and head to Italy, an attempt to escape the constant barrage of Mother's Day advertisements; a double whammy for me as my own mother died 40 years ago. But then Italy began celebrating its own version of  "La Giorno Della Donna" and it was, as Sartre would say, huis clos, "no exit". That was the turning point for me. Instead of being trapped in the abyss of accumulated loss, I challenged myself to transform the energy of the day. I have turned this holiday into a self-mothering day and ultimately I made it work me. Transformation is not only powerful, but empowering! I wish the same for all of you on this day...

- Kira

Thursday, May 8, 2014

It's the Most Wonderful Time of the Year!

Ughhhhh. Mother's Day. I hate Mother's Day. Love my mother, love my mothers-in-law, just loathe Mother's Day. Every year it seems this holiday gets bigger and bigger, and every year I feel like I am on the outside looking in; as if I have a permanent seat at the kid's table.  Is it just me, or is this holiday on steroids this year? Every channel on TV, every radio program, every commercial, every store front- even Duane Reade is ALL about Mother's Day. I can't even shop online. Oh the horror! But seriously, it isn't even the commercialized sentiment that annoys me, it's the fact that I am totally left out of this thing! I love holidays, I love getting gifts, why can't I get in on this? My husband tells me I have a tendency to "mother" everyone. Well if that's the case then I DEFINITELY think I should get some flowers as well as a nice piece of jewelry. Why do people with kids get to have all the fun?  I may just send myself a nice bouquet of flowers as a pat on the back for all the mothering I do. Because in the end, I think this day should be more about thanking the women in your life who take such good care of you (and vice versa) than whether or not you gave birth.
So on that note, happy Mother's Day to you all!

- Jennifer

Monday, May 5, 2014

On Healing

One of the main reasons Kira and I started this blog was to connect with other women who are in the midst of healing from pregnancy loss. Through sharing our experiences and humorous musings our goal is for you to read a blog post and say to yourself, "That happened to me too!"  We think there is nothing quite like commiserating with others. However, there is another goal for us, we want to show you how important it is to truly heal after loss. The emotional toll a miscarriage takes on one's psyche and body can have long lasting effects if not treated with respect.  This is a lesson I learned from Kira and it has had a profound effect on my own healing. One of the methods that she has taught me is meditation. I admit I am still not great at it, but I have noticed after each pregnancy loss how comforting it is. And after such a physical and emotional trauma, comfort is the name of the game.  I am pleased to say that Kira was more than thrilled to share with you a little meditation she has used with me and others. We hope you will take this with you and hold it in your heart whenever you need a little love. So, without further ado...

- Jennifer

A Healing Meditation- By Kira

Meditation is a powerful tool for transformation. It can change brain chemistry and redirect negative thoughts. For me, transformation was always the goal rather than remaining stuck in a sorrowful and bitter place. It is widely known that meditation can relax the body and mind as well as lower anxiety, but meditation can also lower blood pressure, respiratory rates as well as blood cortisol levels.

The meditation below can be "active", meaning it can be said while walking, or in the more traditional pose of sitting or lying down. Follow what your own energy level is. Placing your hands on your stomach while doing the meditation can be helpful as well since it pulls good energy to your center, an area that experiences an energy shift after loss. Which is why meditation is so wonderful, it is all about redirecting energy.

"With immense sorrow I send back this soul to the universe. With joy I ask that the right one for us be sent soon. I pray that the hole in my center be filled with life and pray we enjoy our life together through that time."

This meditation centers around bringing hope back to the life you share with your partner. Feel free to add other words or imagery that you connect with.

I hope this meditation brings you healing and peace.

- Kira