That One Time I Was on a Podcast

I mentioned in my last post that I was interviewed for a podcast called “Beat Infertility.” In that post, I shared my thoughts on what it means to “beat” infertility. Well, you can now listen to my episode hereor through whatever podcast listening app you prefer – just search for Beat Infertility; my story is episode 8.

While you’re there, check out the other episodes, too. The personal stories are wonderful – it’s like an infertility blog come to life. You’ll also find bonus episodes on different topics like endometriosis, PCOS, and strengthening your relationships while going through infertility, all packed with great information from experts.

Hope you enjoy!

08: Endometriosis & Ovarian Cysts

Have I “Beat Infertility”?

I suppose it depends on what you mean by “beat.” Some people interpret the phrase as overcoming infertility by finally holding a long-awaited-for baby in one’s arms. For others, it means rising above infertility by not allowing it to consume them.

When I was asked to consider being a guest on a new podcast called “Beat Infertility,” my first instinct was to say “But I haven’t beaten infertility. I may have my daughter, but I’m still very much infertile.” After I visited the Beat Infertility website, I understood that the creator was referring to the second meaning: in her words, “taking back control” over infertility. This is certainly something I’ve been striving to achieve personally through my blog, so I decided to take the leap and contribute my story to the podcast. (As of today, I don’t know when my episode will air, but I will post an update with the information as soon as I know.)

Ever since the interview, I’ve been thinking about the idea of beating or overcoming infertility. Some days, I kick infertility in the balls with my super-charged coping skills. Other days, I’m overcome with jealousy by a pregnancy announcement from a fellow infertile (followed immediately by intense guilt), and I crawl into a hole of self-pity. All that averages out to merely surviving it, I guess.

And there’s nothing wrong with mere survival. It’s a worthy goal, a necessary goal, for many of us. At the end of every interview, the host asks what words of hope we would offer to someone just starting on their infertility journey. I realize hope is a heated topic in the infertility community, and I’ve certainly struggled with the concept myself. I don’t remember my exact words, but the message I wanted to convey was that no matter the outcome, you can survive infertility. It may not feel that way at times, and it may take a lot of work, but I believe that everyone who faces infertility can survive it. Maybe I’m speaking out of turn here, since my journey does include a child of my own, but I believe that even if your journey doesn’t include children, you can be okay – you can still survive, even beat, infertility. (I’m sure some will disagree with me, and I’m fine with that.)

I will always be infertile, but, some day, I hope to be able to say with confidence that I have beaten infertility once and for all – that the evil demon no longer has control over me and my thoughts about my self-worth… that it no longer dictates how I react to a pregnancy announcement or the sight of a pregnant belly. Some day… most likely when I’m finished trying to get pregnant for good. But, for now, I’m still hovering around surviving.

Confessions of a Cry-It-Out Dropout (Or, How I Broke My Baby)

This isn’t one of those you should/shouldn’t let your baby cry it out posts.

This isn’t an advice-seeking post.

This is a post about how making an emotional decision during an emotionally-charged situation is a supremely bad idea.

I’m a terrible mother.

I know I’m not a terrible mother.

But I feel like a terrible mother.

Because I’m pretty sure I broke my baby. Psychologically, anyway. Physically, she’s just fine. (More importantly, just so we’re clear, I have no desire to harm my baby in any way. And I’m not making light of those who feel those urges, either. This is just my perhaps-not-so-clever way of saying I feel responsible for making my baby feel and act a certain way that is contrary to how she was before… in other words, broken.)

C is not a great sleeper. At 9 months, she still wakes up anywhere from 2-6 times each night, unable to get back to sleep on her own. Parental fail #1: I never let her fall asleep on her own. Instead, I’ve always nursed her to sleep. Furthermore, even when I lay her down fully asleep, she often wakes the moment I set her in her crib. Of course she does! I would, too. And she isn’t just awake… She cries, hard, until I pick her up and help her fall asleep again.

At C’s 9 month check up, her doctor asked me if she sleeps through the night. Nope. She frowned at me, as if to say, Tsk tsk! This is no good! Bad mom! Her only advice: “I wonder what would happen if you just let her cry for a while.” I made light of the situation and said I didn’t mind getting up a few times a night. The truth is, I mind it. I mind it a lot.

So, one night early last week, when C just wouldn’t stay asleep, in a sleep-deprived state of physical and emotional exhaustion, and with the doctor’s words in my head, I said “Fuck it! If you don’t want to stay asleep, you can figure this out on your own.” And I left her to cry in her crib.

I decided right then that we would Ferberize the baby. Parental fail #2: decided, not weI didn’t ask my husband for his opinion. I just did it. I decided I would check on her and console her after 5 minutes. Then 10. Then 15. That night, she eventually fell asleep, sitting up, after about 2 hours of total crying. But she slept for 4 hours straight! I let her cry it out in the middle of the night, and after just 20 minutes, she fell asleep on her own.

I didn’t think that was so bad, so I decided to keep going. Night #2, I decided that consoling her wasn’t helping any, as she would just start up crying again as soon as I put her down. So, I just let her cry. Fail #3: I didn’t research cry it out enough to know how to do it properly. After about an hour, she fell asleep, sitting up, this time with her face against the side of the crib. Again, she slept for about 4 hours, at which time I nursed her, and she fell asleep immediately for another 4 hours.

Again, not so bad, right? The part I haven’t told you is that she didn’t just cry… She was hysterical, nearly hyperventilating, standing up in her crib and falling down over and over again.

So why did I keep going? Because I’m a cold, heartless bitch. That’s the only explanation, right? Don’t feel bad. I agree with you.

Actually, I kept going, because everything I read said that I would see improvement soon. I couldn’t give up, because that would be unfair to her. She needs to learn to fall asleep on her own, just as much as I need her to fall asleep on her own.

Night #3…. M has a panic attack, because he can’t stand to hear her crying. I tell him to put on his headphones or leave. Fail #4: Not listening to my husband’s gut. An hour of crying, maybe, before she falls asleep, again – you guessed it – with her face against the side of the crib.

The next day, C clung to me as if her life depended on it. When we went into her room to change her diaper or nurse, she started whimpering. The longer we stayed in her room, the more upset she got. That’s when I realized I had damaged my baby.

She continued to be super clingy all day, and would not nap, except if I held her. But even then, it wasn’t a deep sleep. I decided then that what I had been doing was wrong – not morally wrong, just wrong for her. It wasn’t helping. If anything, it was hurting.

So, I went back to my old ways of nursing and rocking her to sleep. Except now she didn’t trust me. Even when I nursed her to sleep, she would wail the moment she felt my muscles tense up before lowering her into her crib. She continued to be clingy during the day, and nap time was impossible. For two days, I worked hard to regain her trust by rocking her to sleep and consoling her immediately when she began to cry. By the end of day two, we were nowhere near back to normal, but there was some improvement.

I feel just awful for breaking her trust in me. That’s not how it was supposed to go, and it wasn’t my intention. But that’s what happened. And now I have to fix it before we can truly address her sleep issues… this time with a rational, well-thought-out plan. To that end, I’m actually reading Dr. Ferber’s book, Solve Your Child’s Sleep Problems cover to cover before we implement any new sleep plan.

So, whether you decide to let your baby cry it out or not, I don’t care – just be sure it’s right for you and your baby, and don’t do it out of a moment of weakness like I did. I’ll probably feel guilty about this for the rest of my life.

(For the record, I’m not opposed to cry it out techniques for all babies. It works like a charm for many, just not for my baby.)

The Good, The Bad, and The Ugly

I’ve been struggling with what to write about lately. I don’t want to abandon this blog, or go months without posting anything. I know at least some of you wouldn’t mind more updates on C – and believe me, I could write about her ALL day long! – but I know for others it’s triggering. At the same time, I want to be completely honest and open, as I have been through my entire journey – the good, the bad, and the ugly. But I know I’ll feel guilty for writing anything that sounds like a complaint. I know what advice I would give to me, but it’s still hard to talk about parenting after loss and infertility when many of your readers are still deeply in the trenches. That said, it’s important for me to get this out here and now. So, please, if you’re in a bad place, don’t read any further.

The Good

This is nearly everything, I will happily admit. Some highlights:

  • C is 8 months old, and on track in her development, both physical and mental/emotional. I’m amazed every day by how much she learns and remembers.
  • She is starting to look to M for comfort, more and more, even when I’m nearby.
  • She LOVES food, just like her mama!
  • She is the happiest baby you could ever wish for.

The Bad

  • C wakes up a lot at night, so I get very little sleep. We’re working on it, but it’s one of those “two steps forward, one step back” things. Sometimes it’s 2 steps back.
  • She is super clingy with me, as in I can’t even put her down on the bed in front of me while I get dressed without her crying huge tears. It’s incredibly annoying and inconvenient.
  • She’s had RSV once and croup twice in the last 2 months. I get sick every time, too.

The Ugly

  • I fucking hate pumping. HATE. Lately, my output has been seriously lacking. It doesn’t help that I went from 3 to 2 pumps per day, primarily due to my travel schedule. I know some women would kill to get anything at all, but for me, producing less than half of what she eats at daycare each day just isn’t worth it. I struggled, but finally decided to stop pumping at work. I have a good frozen supply, and C is not shy about eating solid foods. We’ll have to supplement with formula for a few months, but I’ve never had a problem with that. I plan to keep nursing her whenever we’re together.
  • I’m not so crazy about breast feeding, either. Again, I feel bad saying this, because I know plenty of women who would kill to be able to breast feed. Sure, I’ve loved – and do still love – things about it, like the bonding and the idea that my body can nourish my baby. However, lately, the negatives seem to outweigh the positives. I just want my body back. It sounds selfish, but I want to be able to eat or drink anything I want, and not worry about what OTC medications are safe for breast feeding. I’m tired of making my breasts available 24/7, planning my wardrobe around nursing, and worrying about leaking when I forget my breast pads.
  • I’m struggling to resume my work travel schedule, which includes evenings away, and the occasional overnight. I hate the idea of C being sad that I’m not there (especially with how clingy she’s been lately), and I worry about M’s anxiety dealing with a inconsolable baby. Plus, I just don’t want to be away from her, especially overnight. So far, it hasn’t been a big problem for me to restrict my travel, but I can’t continue like this for much longer. Eventually, I’ll have to bite the bullet.

So, that’s life right now.

It’s a Major Award!


I was nominated by the beautiful Lauren at On Fecund Thought for this wonderful blogging “award,” which, let’s face it, is really just homework in disguise. I kid, of course! I’m very flattered that you thought of me, Lauren! I like these awards, because they allow us to learn more about each other, beyond our regularly scheduled blog posts.

First, the Rules:

  1. Link to the person who nominated you.
  2. Add the award logo.
  3. Answer the questions your nominator asked.
  4. Nominate 7 other blogs.
  5. Ask your nominees 10 questions.

Here are my answers:

What is something you are really good at?

Hmmm… there are so many to choose from! *winky face* I’m great at organizing, because I love to make lists. Mmmmm….. LISTS!

What do you wish you were better at?

Decorating. I usually end up with an “eclectic” look, but it’s really just because I have no idea what I’m doing, and pick up things I like here and there, without any thought as to how they go together. Right now my house is an empty canvas, but I have no idea where to start.

What has your loss / infertility journey taught you about life?

Almost everyone has had some sort of tragedy in life, whether infant loss, infertility, loss of a parent or sibling or close friend, disease, homelessness, etc. My journey has taught me to be sensitive to these things, and not assume everyone else has led a charmed life, because the truth is, most of us haven’t.

Paper diary or digital calendar?

Digital, all the way!

Where did you meet your other half?

We met online, through personal ads. Funny story: Turns out we had a friend in common, so we probably would have met eventually.

What are you wearing right now?

Right now, I’m wearing my work day basics: black slacks, sleeveless blouse, knit shrug/sweater thing, flat shoes.

When did you discover you could write?

Can I write? I can string words together to form sentences (I’m a grammar whiz), and every so often those words and sentences might join forces to create something interesting or funny, but I’m not sure I can write. In college, I realized that I could write better than most of my peers, at least when it came to research. But, the creative stuff? Essays? Meh. I took creative writing, but my work was embarrassingly cliche.

What is your favourite time of day, and why?

In general, I love mornings! Not so early that it’s pitch dark, but early enough that the world is still relatively quiet and most people aren’t exhausted from the day’s activities yet. People just seem nicer and the world calmer and more full of hope in the morning hours.

Lately, my favorite time of the day is 5:00 pm, when I leave work and pick my daughter up from daycare. Seeing her smiling face light up when I walk in the door is priceless! Our cuddle and nursing time when we get home is something I wouldn’t trade for anything.

What piece of wisdom would you give your ten-year-old self?

Fuck what other people think about you. Embrace your passions, even if others tell you they’re stupid. You are awesome!

What’s the farthest from home you’ve travelled?

It’s a near tie between San Francisco and Washington, D.C., but San Francisco wins by about 30 miles. Washington, D.C., however, was the first time I had been farther than one state away from home. I was in the 8th grade, representing our state at some national history competition. Our topic was the Dead Sea scrolls. San Francisco came much later, in my early 20s. I visited my best friend in Reno, NV, where she was living at the time, and we took a side trip to the coast. I’m almost embarrassed to admit that in between those two trips, I didn’t wander farther than about 500 miles from home. I love the idea of travel, but I’m intimidated by it and I would much rather stay close to home.

Ok, so now I’m supposed to nominate 7 other blogs. Feel free to nominate yourself, too!

My Lady Bits
Not So New To IVF
Pregnancy Pause
Ambivalent Journey
A Neon Princess
Our Last Embryo
You and Me Are Family

The 10 questions you must answer:

What is your favorite book of all time and why?

What is your proudest accomplishment?

What is your favorite memory?

If you could do anything you wanted right now, what would you do?

What did you want to be when you were young?

If you were to create a piece of art, what would the subject be, or what would the medium be? (Or both, if you wish.)

How do you want to be remembered?

What’s your greatest talent?

How do you get to work?

Create your own question! Ask and answer, anything you want.

REBLOG: 21 Quotes to Help You Survive Infertility

I love this blog post by Lisa Newton (Amateur Nester) of quotes from real people who have experienced infertility. Many of them reference religion, which isn’t my cup of tea, but I think – I hope – everyone can find some comfort and inspiration in some of these.

A few of my favorites:

“Allow yourself to grieve slowly and passionately. Don’t let anyone tell you to get over it, to move on, or to forget about it. You will evolve into an entirely new version of yourself. You’ll find beauty in things you once overlooked. Embrace your grief and use it to your advantage.” – Chirleen

“Infertility is a disease; don’t be ashamed of it. You do not need to suffer in silence!” –Jenna

“It’s okay to take time to be sad and grieve whatever it is you need to, and it’s okay to tell people that. The best thing someone said to me was, “Right now we just need to be sad about this and we can talk about the other things later.” She was referring to people telling me, “You know you can always adopt and there are plenty of kids out there looking for homes.” – April

Read the rest here.

My Endometriosis Story


In honor of Endometriosis Awareness Month, I wanted to share my story of how endometriosis has affected my life.

If you are unfamiliar with the disease, you can learn about it here.

I started getting really painful periods in high school, so bad that I would need to stay home for at least one day at the start of my period, clutching a heating pad while curled up in a ball on the couch. Looking back, that was Big Clue #1 that something wasn’t quite right. But, like a lot of women, I thought it was normal, and doctors told me it was normal. It was a right of passage, or something. Pop some Pamprin and suck it up! Other than the pain, my periods were normal. I didn’t track them, but I always knew when to expect good old Aunt Flow and how many days she would stick around.

In college, a doctor recommended the birth control pill to help alleviate my cramps. She explained that the bleeding I would have on the pill wouldn’t be a real period, just withdrawal from the hormone, and so my pain would be much improved, maybe even absent. It worked! I still had some cramping, but nothing like before.

From that point on, I was always on some form of oral birth control. Always. At some point in my college career, I read an article that suggested there was no need to have a “period” while on birth control, that the original inventors actually designed the pill for continuous use. However, when it came to marketing it, not getting a period was apparently too unnatural for a lot of women, and I think the Catholic church was involved somehow (I don’t know, but I’m sure you could Google it to find out), so they added a week of non-hormone sugar pills for every 3 weeks of hormone, to mimic the average 28 day cycle. But, there was no biological reason a woman needed to bleed every 28 days. I took this information to my doctor and said I wanted to take the pill continuously so I wouldn’t get a period.

Over the next 10 years or so, I took the pill continuously, with just a few breaks here and there (mostly to appease skeptical doctors who believed a woman should bleed, at least some of the time). As promised by that first doctor, I rarely ever had cramps that bothered me as much as the ones pre-pill.

Fast-forward to the recent past, when I finally settled down and began attempting to reproduce. The first thing I did when we decided to try to get pregnant was stop taking the pill. It took a few months for my body to get the memo (89 days, to be exact), but I finally got a period. It wasn’t the Mother of All Periods as some might believe… it was just a regular period, with light days and heavy days, and a great deal of knock-me-on-my ass cramping. A few short months after that, we had our first positive pregnancy test. Unfortunately, our joy didn’t last, and I was diagnosed with a missed miscarriage just shy of 12 weeks. (You can go back to the beginning of my blog for more details, if you’re interested.)

Once I recovered from the miscarriage, we tried again, to no avail. Each month, my period was difficult to predict. The only thing I knew to expect was the pain. Once again, just like in high school, I was doubled over in pain for at least one day during my period. But I couldn’t go back on the pill, not if I wanted to get pregnant again. So, I suffered. A year after my miscarriage, I still wasn’t pregnant, so my OB began some testing and put me on Clomid. (Note: In hindsight, that was a terrible idea. Only an RE should be prescribing Clomid. But that’s a topic for another post.) After just two cycles, it was clear Clomid was not right for me. It caused large ovarian cysts, the first of which burst and sent me to the ER. The second, six weeks later, was the impetus for the laparoscopy that lead to my diagnosis. The plan was to drain the cyst, and while in there, take a look around to see if there was any visible reason I wasn’t getting pregnant.

Low and behold, endometriosis! Really, really bad endometriosis. My fallopian tubes were essentially fused to my uterus by endometrial adhesions. The surgeon had to remove adhesions from my bowel, bladder, intestines…. It’s likely the endo was the reason for my painful bowel movements.

Having endometriosis doesn’t necessarily make someone infertile. However, it certainly doesn’t help. First of all, if any eggs were being released, they were probably having a tough time making it to my uterus, due to my fallopian tubes being stuck to the uterus. Not to mention, my eggs were being exposed to the toxic environment created by all that endometrial tissue scattered around my pelvic cavity. Indeed, I also had low AMH (basically low egg reserve), which was also a factor in my infertility. However, it was the ticking time bomb endometriosis that lead us down the path to IVF, because it would bypass all the obstacles posed by damage from the endo.

Our first IVF cycle was a huge success, with 9 eggs retrieved and 9 fertilized. Two embryos were transferred and 3 were frozen for later. One of those transferred became my daughter. When you look at how successful IVF was for us, it’s hard not to believe that the endometriosis was a significant factor in my infertility, for as soon as we took it out of the equation, I was able to achieve and maintain a pregnancy.

What I find fascinating is how the disease seems to affect every person differently. Some women with only moderate endometriosis suffer a great deal of pain, not only once a month during menstruation, but every day. Some with severe endometriosis have very little pain or pain only during a period. For some, endometriosis causes (or plays a significant role in) infertility; for others, it doesn’t affect fertility at all. For me, severe endometriosis caused severe pain just once a month. Compared to some, I got off lucky. I read story after story about how endometriosis has significantly reduced the quality of life for some women, who suffer from pain every day. Every day. And the pain isn’t always localized to the pelvic region. Endo pain can pop up literally anywhere in the body. Many women wouldn’t even make the connection if not for their own diligent research and connecting with others online.

It astonishes me how much we don’t know about endometriosis. It takes forever and a day to get a diagnosis for many women, and the only way to diagnosis it is through laparoscopy. What disturbs me most is that the best “cure” at the moment is hysterectomy. It’s devastating, especially if you desire to have children. Even less is known about endometriosis and infertility. For a disease that affects an estimated 176 million women worldwide, that’s simply not acceptable. I’m not the activist type, so I have no idea what to do about it, except to educate others about it. I’m a big believer in being your own medical advocate, so if you think you may have endometriosis, do not hesitate to see your doctor about it right away and don’t stop pushing for answers until you are satisfied. Educate yourself through websites like Follow blogs by women who suffer with endo. Share your story on your blog, or, if you don’t have a blog, share your story in the comments section.