Beauty Blooming: IVF, Money and lipstick

CLICK HERE to start something new and try something new:
Www.yourbeautyblooming.com

When your diving deep into infertility you can forget how to play.  In 2016-2017 was the height of fertility treatments and I fell apart. My psychologist said to us, just stop doing this yourselves. Go and do things that bring you joy. I honestly can’t believe I’m saying this but I had forgotten how to play. I though I knew but it was so surface. I had a food blog at some point and let that go and I also liked playing with skincare and makeup. I let that all go too.

Senegence fell into my lap and I dove pretty deep as an escape into a makeup and cosmetic company. At first it was my answer on how to start and pay for my IVF treatments and potential adoption, but I have a hard time getting over the idea that I’m paying for a family. That sounds pretty awful, paying for a family, but it you get down to it, without money there are no options to try everything that science (or alternative science) says to try. Even when changing diets, doing acupuncture or doing Functional Medicine takes money.

Senegence has been a lifeline for me and has Bloomed my Beauty from the inside and the outside which is why I named my Business “Your Beauty Blooming”.

Originally I was writing here to change women’s and men’s lives and let them know they are not alone with infertility, now I’m out to make an impact on as many women as possible so they can feel their way out of the world  of infertility and feel joy again. To learn to play and use makeup as their markers and crayons. To take care of their skin and feel this self-care. To feel the community of women that is empowering and that you don’t need to be in this world that is sometimes so sad and broken.

Some people decided to do what I do because they wanted to find a new community of friends. Some women decided to do what I do because they want more money and what they discover instead is themselves. We do what we do because there is a WHY behind it, a force driving us forward.

For now with the spinal surgery I’ve walked away from the fertility world at least till Dec. of 2018. What I will be doing is following a more strict diet but I’m also wanting to enjoy food. Enjoy cooking.

Instead.

I now play with lipsticks, shadows, blush and facial scrubs instead of needles, waiting rooms and cycle monitoring. I was told to stop stressing about this whole fertility thing and go and play. Thats exactly what I did, I went and played. I’m still doing it. So now I’m play with Long Lasting smudge proof Lipstick (Lipsense) that has me twisted in knots and excited.

You can join my Facebook group and learn some simple makeup techniques. I’m changing the name of the group to reflect where we are all at.
YourBeautyBlooming: https://www.facebook.com/groups/glamlipsquadVIP/

You can also follow me on Instagram. 
https://www.instagram.com/yourbeautyblooming/

Have an amazing day!

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The Infertility Hope Story that actually was hopeful.

The hope story otherwise known as: (take a breath for this run on sentence) “I’ll tell you a story, so you can feel better by your infertile soul and body….so then you can feel hope about the future….where you too will no longer be classified as ‘infertile'”.

This hope hope story is going to entail some crazy story about a couple who over 6 years couldn’t get pregnant and then magically something happened and they did Better yet, they adopted and then the couple got pregnant. The hope story often told by people who have never gone to a fertility clinic and had camera shoved up their vagina for months at a time. Remember! We shouldn’t loose site of that hope.

CRINGE. 

I can’t. I just can’t go back there.

I’m living life now and any hope story just sucks me back into lack of hope.

Then there is the person whose solution is to ‘just adopt’. God Bless the poor man who thought this was a good idea to talk to me about this. Please stop before I hurt you. At least now I don’t drop and spiral into a black hole for a few days when these conversations come up. Do you think adoption is just an easy decision like buying milk? Essentially adoption (how I view it at the moment) in the crudest forms is buying a child. I just can’t get over this money piece. The cost anywhere from (Private adoption) $30,000 – $60,000. International adoption is guaranteed, so at the end of the process where you and your partner have spent over $60,000 you will receive a child. It takes two years or longer. Get ready to be sucked into immigration crazy and to hand over your savings.

I don’t really have hope. The only hope I have is that it will happen on its own for free just like the rest of the world. I hope that my body didn’t let me have my own mix of my own genetics because it felt my spine wasn’t capable of holding a pregnancy.

My version of a real hope story. 

I was scrolling mindlessly on Facebook when this post showed up in my feed with these words and pictures. It was from a woman who had been through IVF and infertility. Somehow the power of her images and her text struck a note.

In August of 2016 I started my IVF ICSI journey. I became pregnant on out first transfer in January 2017 and deliver a healthy baby boy 10/2/17. I kept every pill bottle, medicine vile and needle tucked in a box up in the closet till I could bring myself to toss it. I thought tonight was the night I could open it and throw it away. I was wrong, as I was opening the box counting it all 167 needles, 3 boxes of patches and 10 pill bottles I cried and tucked them back in the box. April of 2017 was my last shot. 15 months later and I can’t bring myself to get rid of it. Tonight I will tuck it back up in the closet and let it collect dust. One day my son will snoop around for Christmas or birthday gifts and find it and that day I’ll open it up and cry my eyes out explain to him what that box is and why it means so much to me. Maybe at that time I’ll be able to throw it away. But tonight I’m not. Please dont loose hope ladies.

Now this is the kind of HOPE STORY that is helpful to me. 

The missing link. Spinal Surgery, spondylolisthesis, pregnancy and Infertility

Our bodies are smart.

For the last 10 years I’ve had what I would chock up to be back problems. It started in 2008 when from what seemed like one day to another I started to get a pain in my ass. I remember it exactly as I stayed over at my in-laws and it was Easter. Not that my in-laws were the pain in the ass, lol, I just felt my hip bone and that it was quite painful to sit on. That Easter start my first journey into “back pain”. I now am being sent to spinal surgery to fuse one part of my spine and we are all starting to think that my body was smarter than we gave it credit for. What if this whole infertility thing is because of my back and my body knowing I couldn’t maintain a pregnancy due to the stress on my spine?

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Sciatica

I was told that I have sciatica, a very common ailment for people who tend to sit too much and it seems that when you talk to people about it everyone has had it or heard someone have this. When I was diagnosed with this 10 years ago, I took this as the final diagnosis and didn’t think much of it. For two whole months after the diagnosis I did nothing much else but get driven to physio or to Stephanie. 

If you want to imagine the pain, I describe it like this. If you put your hand over fire and there is a point where your brain says take your hand off because you feel its burning, except you can’t take your hand off and you continue to burn your hand.

At first I couldn’t even walk up the stairs to the washroom so I went to the basement and walked up on all fours. I ended up having to sleep in the living room, I don’t remember why but thats what happened. Overall the situation wasn’t pretty but with intense treatment and lots of time I got out of it.

In the meantime I did get a referral to a Orthopaedic surgeon as the nerves on my right thigh and foot had died. Till this day I still can’t feel anything on the back of my theigh. The surgeon chalked it up to the fact that some people get their nerves back and some don’t. He said, come back if you need to but didn’t encourage me to follow up with him as I was 75% recovered. We went to Orlando and Disney land after the summer and I didn’t go on any of the rides because there was still a fear of getting hurt.

Over the last 10 years…..

I have been managing this back issue by running to acupuncture as soon as I felt any kind of pain. We always thought it was just sciatica coming back again. When it did, Hubby would say to me when I was in pain that I wasn’t doing my rehab exercises. The pain would come back during stressful situations and also randomly. Whenever we did canoeing we were always vigilant about the back stuff.

The part that is shitty is that when you say your back hurts, everybody else says their back hurts too. Nobody really recognized that it could be more.

spondylolisthesis-symptoms-causes
Spondylesthesis – with the spine shifted forward with a disc. I don’t have a disc.

Spondylolisthesis

How we think it all started.

Watching all the videos about this issue has really brought me back to the time when I fell and I fractured my tailbone, I think I was about 10. I sat down on my bum from a standing position with my hands out in front of me. I remember trying to walk up to my grandparent’s apartment and needing to do it on all fours. I was in such pain. They ended up taking me to the emergency in Poland and saw that there was a fracture. According to all the videos I’ve seen this was enough to create a breakage in one of my discs.

What is it?

Spondylolisthesis is a condition in which a defect in a part of the spine causes vertebra to slip to one side of the body. Typical symptoms of spondylolisthesis include back pain and/or leg pain. This video explains the common symptoms and causes for patients with both degenerative spondylolisthesis and isthmic spondylolisthesis.

https://www.spine-health.com/video/spondylolisthesis-overview-video

Sponylo-Grades01
I have somewhere between a grade 2 and 3.

Symptoms

  1. persistent lower back pain.
  2. stiffness in your back and legs.
  3. lower back tenderness.
  4. thigh pain.
  5. tight hamstring and buttock muscles.

I have all of this plus the fact that I can’t walk that far or stand. If I think I’m feeling better I remember shortly after that I can’t. I tried going to Costco and walking around, forget it. I was done after a few metres. Right now it is having an affect on my life.

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The next step.

After 8 months of pain in the last year I was finally sent to emergency and then to a neurosurgeon. When the surgeon saw my MRI from 10 years ago and the new one from this year, without question he said, spinal fusion surgery. Needless to say we were pretty shocked as nobody had predicted that this was heading in this direction.

I have no disc in one spot and my spine has moved forward in the exact spot where there is the most amount of postural change during pregnancy.

I am now actually grateful that I have never been pregnant because pregnancy would have put me over the top. I wouldn’t have been able to carry and if I did I would have been in a lot of pain.

images
This is how my disc looks like

What to learn from this?

Perhaps this is the missing link in the fertility journey. Maybe my body knew in the time that we were doing IVF that this was not a good idea. Who knows, right?

The surgery is pretty intense as the recovery period is about two months. Lets see where this will take us.

Maybe this is our answer?


Spondylolisthesis and Pregnancy

Exercise Before Helps Prevent Pain During Pregnancy

Question: I have grade II spondylolisthesis, but I’m not experiencing any symptoms. What would happen if I became pregnant? Would the weight and pressure of the baby worsen my condition?
—Kingston, RIWoman in silhouette thinking about having a baby, baby silhouette in cloud overheadAnswer: It’s great that you’re asking these questions now because it’s important to deal with these concerns before becoming pregnant. And fortunately, although you cannot reduce spondylolisthesis, nor prevent possible worsening, there are ways to prevent symptom progression, especially during pregnancy.

But here’s the unavoidable truth—pregnancy is hard on your back. In fact, approximately 80% of women report having back pain while pregnant, and many of those women don’t have a pre-existing spinal disorder! Posture changes, weight gain, and loss of abdominal strength all directly affect the health of your back. You can learn more in our article about back care and pregnancy. So even though your spondylolisthesis hasn’t produced any symptoms, becoming pregnant may exacerbate your condition.

So what can you do? Focus on your health before getting pregnant. Since you have mild grade II spondylolisthesis (you can learn more about the grades of spondylolisthesis here), exercise is a great place to start.

Focus on exercises that engage your core muscles. Pelvic tilts are great for working your abdominals. Swimming and water aerobics are also effective, low-impact activities that increase muscle mass. Enroll in a Pilates class at your local gym. If you need a place to start, read our article about back pain exercises and stretches.

Focusing on your abdominal strength before getting pregnant is important, but it may seem like a waste of time because pregnancy causes your abdominal muscles naturally relax and lose tone. This allows your womb to expand as your baby grows.

Abdominal strength is connected to spine strength because your abdominals support your back muscles. If you have a weak midsection, your back muscles will have to work harder to compensate.

Building a strong core before you get pregnant will stave off the muscle relaxation process. As a result, you’ll experience less pain throughout your pregnancy and your body will recover faster after you give birth.

Also, strong muscles will help prevent weight gain. Weight gain puts more pressure on the back and will likely worsen your spondylolisthesis.

Having spondylolisthesis doesn’t mean that exercise is off limits. Be proactive about your health, especially if a baby is in your future. Of course, each case of spondylolisthesis is different. Talk to your doctor about your hopes of getting pregnant. He or she will recommend the next steps for you to take to give you the most successful pregnancy possible.

https://www.spineuniverse.com/blogs/hawkinson/spondylolisthesis-pregnancy

 

Fertility Anonymity: Why I use an anonymous name for twitter and blog.

A funny thing happens when you write so publicly about infertility, from the beginning you have to decide whether you are going to be fully out there with your name attached to all your social media, or if you are going to create a separate profile. I knew I didn’t want people to be able to easily search my real name on google and have it as a first hit on a search. If you do some digging, you’ll be able to find out who I really am.

I know I didn’t want people, especially employers to figure out to quickly through a search my real name as I knew this blog would be going out into the world. Being semi-anonymous also gives me moments when I don’t need to share with everyone all the time what is happening between my legs at all times. Being out there so much doesn’t mean I necessarily get comfort, it means I’m constantly educating.

Here are the top three reasons why I’m (semi) anonymous and call myself Eva Braveheart.

  1. EMPLOYERS. I am starting to look for work in the city I live in. Currently, my work is 1.5 hrs away and it’s actually hurting my health. When I was speaking with one employer I heard them saying exasperatedly that they need to cover a mat leave. They sounded really annoyed by this fact.

If this employer googled me and found my real name next to fertility treatments, it felt like I would have been then less likely to get a job. What employer wants to cover a mat leave? In Canada I can now take Mat leave for 1.5 years, of which one year is paid, the last 6 months are not paid. Mat leaves are expensive for employers as they need to keep your job for you. In Canada, the employer is obligated to keep the job for you guaranteed for the duration of the legal mat leave time, 1.5years.

Mat leaves are expensive and annoying to employers. They are inconvenient, especially to the smaller organization.

What does this say about how much employers actually support mothers with children?

I remember being in a job interview and stating I don’t have kids so I’m very flexible. All the folks in the room nodded in what seemed to be in approval. You could see bubbles above thier heads that said, “good she can stay at work longer, no PA days, no sick kid days”. Definitely not having children in the working world is an advantage. That says to me, having children is a liability to an employer and that we have not yet worked through family friendly environments in society.

Have you been fortunate enough to find an employer that was supportive? 

Can you imagine an employer saying, of course, I’ll hire you, of course, you can have as much time as you need off for all your appointments at the fertility clinic, and why of course I’ll hire you and then look forward to not having you work for another year because you’ll be on mat leave.

2. SENEGENCE Cosmetic Business.
Have you heard of Lipsense?

I fell into this business and it was actually the best thing that happened to me. I got a different focus and had the opportunity to play. Direct sales aren’t about selling, it is about self-development. I’ve been working on me for a while through various things such as Landmark, Conscious loving, life coach and so on. It’s been great to have this other baby to develop. I’ve now coached and mentored 12 lovely ladies who are really blooming.

I decided to do this direct sales business not just because I love the cosmetics but I also saw it as a way to create another stream of income. My goal is to generate enough on going income from commissions to use the savings towards fertility treatments or adoption.

If you would like to support me come and check out the amazing cosmetics. Now I would like it here, but there would just delete the anonymous part, right?!

By choosing to semi-anonymous also allows me to control my message and why my customers see.

3. The world.

In the age where anyone can find who I am by just googling me, I honestly don’t want spam phone calls or email about what we are going through. In an era where all our information is sold, this is something I don’t want to be sold.

Lastly, there is some comfort in knowing that you who are reading this are getting to know parts of me but at the same time there is some space between us. Sometimes we just need to hide about this issue and not talk to anyone about it even thought I have invited you in.

I do encourage you to share your story, its not told enough.

xoxo

Soul and Infertility

 

Recognizing Trauma within infertility

Its not just the treatments that cause trauma there are many more aspects with infertility that are trauma based and in this post we explore them.

My last post was almost 6 months ago. I was pretty good on writing and being on top of it, but after the last IVF transfer didn’t work I got pretty shook up and angry. All the meditations and Vypassana Silent retreats didn’t help me. We do need to recognize the fact that there is trauma with infertility – the in ability to be fertile on our own.

1. RE-TRAUMA. There is a double edge sword of telling the world your story. 

When you are open to the world about your story you keep retelling it and re-traumitizing yourself. Do you recognize that this is the case? Every time you tell your story, your emotions, feelings and memories that are stored in your body come up and you feel like you are in the moment. Its like victims of abuse who need to retell their story over an over and over again. Whenever I had to retell my story of all the things I’ve done toeither a friend or a professional, I could feel my brain and my body sinking into that trauma part of my brain. I felt like I was reliving parts of everything. When I’m not talking about it, I’m fine, as soon as I need to launch into the story of “what is going on” then its like my brain retreats back to those centres. I know it affects me, re-telling my story over and over again, as the effects afterwards cause me to feel angry and completely triggered by the situation. This is one traumatizing aspect of infertility.

2. MONEY – Lets face it, money in itself is traumatizing, how do we get more money, how do we pay the bills on a every day basis, now add how you are going go pay for a baby. 

Its such a traumatic thing, you think you are paying into something ($25,000 Canadian) and are expecting a return, but there maybe no return on your investment. This shakes me every time I think about it. I have better chances at a Casino. This is a big traumatizing aspect of infertility. THIS has the ability to split couples.

3. THE STORIES OF HOPE 

These I hate the most.

Somehow I get on the topic of fertility with a person and they lay their hand on me very sincerely, look me in the eye with what *they* think is empathy and the usual story tells of some tragic fertility version and then a miracle happens. It usually sound like this, “I know my neighbour who tried for 6 years. She  plus she had endometriosis and cancer as a child and they told her she was infertile and she got pregnant. If she did it then you can too”. The flash with of anger when I hear these types of stories as I find them LACKING EMPATHY. Its like being hit open handed in the face. Its not hope. Its a bunch of bullshit where the message behind the “hopeful bullshit story” is that I shouldn’t worry, my problems are not that bad and a miracle will happen. This is honestly traumatizing because the question that comes to mind is, what did THEY DO that I’m not doing?

Even if that person had fertility issues is telling me the story, I don’t care, your story of hope isn’t my story so telling me your story of “HOPE” thinking you are helping me, please stop, its not. Period. Even my Social Worker who runs a fertility support group had fertility issues tell me her story doesn’t give me any hope. These stories don’t give me hope because they are not me and my reality. It doesn’t tell me what I could do better.

I’m happy to swap stories and strategies you’ve used, what doctor you saw and what helped you, but don’t tell me, “Don’t worry you’ll get there” just because you’ve crossed to the other side.

Infertility is traumatic. In addition to depression symptoms, it is quite common that couples experiencing infertility will experience anxiety in response to certain situations or triggers (such as seeing pregnant women, pregnancy tests, babies on TV or in person, etc.). They may experience intense emotion around certain times of the month, particularly the times near ovulation and when a period is due.

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4. Random Trauma: A wedding was my trauma trigger

Apart from the usual triggers listed above, the trauma of infertility can come from places we never expected. We were so excited to go to a friend’s wedding, as it was long and anticipated. We had received the invitation in August of 2017 and the wedding was October 2017. I bought a very beautiful dress, planned the outfit and off we drove to another city for 4 hours to attend this wedding.

Of course the wedding was perfect. It was small, quaint and very family oriented. The parents of the bride were there and I was looking forward to dancing the night way in my comfy shoes, that is, until…..

THE MOMENT.

We were sitting at the back of the small reception room at a round table all facing the front listening to the speeches. The first set of parents went up and spoke and then the second parents went up and said beautiful things about their child and showed a video of childhood photos. It was so moving and sweet. I felt my brain shift and crack. I tried shaking it off by going to the washroom but it was too late.

Till this day I can feel this black veil that came out of nowhere and knocked me off my feet. The thought lit up in my mind like a shinny ad on New York’s Times Square with the letters spelling: You may never experience this. This this day so many months later those 4 words sting. And I was done. Cold Play’s lyrics from the song “Fix You” became my mind’s background music and the tears just came streaming down my face…..Its like loosing something you cannot replace. I could even hear the voice of the main singer Chris Martin whining those words into my ears. My energy just became off and all I wanted to do was crawl underneath that round table with the white table cloth and hide. I smiled so politely at my friend the bride and lied straight to her face when she came up to me later asking if I’m Ok. Holding my tears I lied through my teeth and said, “I was incredibly moved by the speeches”. Lie. Lie. Lie. The rest of the night I pretended to dance and forcibly remove that veil off of me, but it didn’t happen. As I retell this story, I’m right there. The trauma of the moment is right there with me.

Triggers can seem unrelated or random but still have a profound effect on the emotional reaction of the people going through this difficult situation. For many, infertility feels like riding an emotional roller coaster of anticipation, worry, sadness, grief, and anger.

When someone is experiencing infertility, negative beliefs about one’s inadequacyor defectiveness may come up.

5. The trauma of “it is free for everyone else, so why not me?”. 

Its in those moments that you least expect that bring up the trauma of not just about your body, but about everything around it. Not accepting your diagnosis, not being able to bring yourself to go to another acupuncture treatment. The unwillingness to change your diet or do anything else that would require you to change your lifestyle. This brings so much resentment towards the whole thing. Its supposed to be free so why am I forced to pay for it. Why should I stop eating sugar? Why I need to change everything when “crack babies” are still being born.

Denying that there is anything wrong. Just stuffing it down deeper. I have a hard time accepting that there is something wrong with me just because my diagnosis says so. I don’t believe there is anything wrong with me thats why I want this to be free and on my own terms. This lack of being able to use my body and have it function the way its supposed to filters through on other parts. The inadequacy. The feeling of failure. The feeling of being stuck. Its everything my life. I feel stuck in a job I can’t quit till I find something else but I can’t find a job because I don’t feel adequate so I look for a low paying customer service job. I don’t believe I will achieve financial success beyond my small little goal, because why, I don’t deserve it. It just filters through. Denying grief.

6. The Trauma of the advice: Change your mindset

The worst advice I have ever received was believe it and it will happen. Well I don’t believe that I can’ actually get pregnant and the story of “Hope” (see above) isn’t helping. Then I think, maybe I don’t want any this family and baby business, but immediately my

ivfjoke

body signals to me that is a lie. A way of self preservation of the fact that nothing has happened. A way for me to preserve some mental sanity. If my mindset was to be on point then it would have happened last year between May and August. My belief was strong. How many times have a I heard just stop thinking about it. I have stopped thinking about it and it still hasn’t happened.

It is hard to believe that my body is actually able to have a pregnancy when in the last 5 years it never once did. Read that again. NEVER EVER EVER. 

7. The Trauma of a “Past life”. 

This one gets me going because it doesn’t actually solve anything. A spiritual guru comes to you and says they know the problem and it comes from a past life. I believe in reincarnation but saying that I had a problem in the past life and now I have to fix the past life in order to create life is complete bullshit. There is nothing that I can do in present current life to go back and  talk to ‘said past life’ and tell it to move on and get going. It putting blame on things so beyond reach and human possibility. I just have no words for this type of thing.

8. Your partner’s trauma

Your partner has trauma except he may not express it. I have tried to get hubby to express it but its so deeply repressed that it a cork I’m having a hard time uncorking. It affect him. Its like us walking through the Green Living Show and him stopping and looking at baby clothes. Its not that we both get up and think about it all the time, but this thing, shows up in different ways. Pregnant women, strollers, Toys R Us, children or  other objects don’t seem to move us, but a simple piece of clothing does. It moves him.

Final thoughts.

I may just add to the list about but my point is that that I have recognized that the trauma of infertility stops at the fertility clinic. Even when you stop going or someone says to you ‘take a break’ (I’ve been on a break for the last 6 months) it doesn’t go away. Its a train.

Once you get on the fertility train, destination, “Baby/Family”, its very difficulty to get off it before you make it to the destination.  Eva Braveheart.


When you try your best but you don’t succeed
When you get what you want but not what you need
When you feel so tired but you can’t sleep
Stuck in reverse
When the tears come streaming down your face
‘Cause you lose something you can’t replace
When you love someone but it goes to waste
What could it be worse?
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
But high up above or down below
When you are too in love to let it show
Oh but if you never try you’ll never know
Just what you’re worth
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you
Tears come streaming down your face
When you lose something you cannot replace
oh and tears come streaming down your face
And I
Tears streaming down your face
I promise you I will learn from all my mistakes
oh and the tears streaming down your face
And I
Lights will guide you home
And ignite your bones
And I will try to fix you

How to make a difference in a life

The original is written by “Loren Eiseley” in 1969  – “The Star Thrower” is a part of a 16-page essay of the same name by.
“While walking along a beach, an elderly gentleman saw someone in the distance leaning down, picking something up and throwing it into the ocean.

As he got closer, he noticed that the figure was that of a young man, picking up starfish one by one and tossing each one gently back into the water.

He came closer still and called out, “Good morning! May I ask what it is that you are doing?”

The young man paused, looked up, and replied “Throwing starfish into the ocean.”

The old man smiled, and said, “I must ask, then, why are you throwing starfish into the ocean?”

To this, the young man replied, “The sun is up and the tide is going out. If I don’t throw them in, they’ll die.”

Upon hearing this, the elderly observer commented, “But, young man, do you not realize that there are miles and miles of beach and there are starfish all along every mile? You can’t possibly make a difference!”

The young man listened politely. Then he bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it into the back into the ocean past the breaking waves and said, “It made a difference for that one.”
“Chi Mai” by Ennio Morricone – is one of the most beautiful modern piece of music I know. Written in 1971 … and it was used in the film “Maddalena” the same year. Famous it became through being used in “The Professional” (1981 film). Chi Mai is Italian and means whoever.

Just like this story … whoever that wants to can make a difference.

 

How I became grateful for my infertility

Note: This post has been in draft for four months because it was hard to let it go.

Gratitude and infertility are not words that are used together in the same sentence.

Infertility is more often described as:

“A struggle”
“a flight”,
“overcoming”,
“obsession”,
“a battle”,
“over exposing”,
“stressing”,
“despair”
“loss”

Not exactly positive words that can get a women & couple to an empowered mindset

These are words that couples use to describe infertility. These words are more often used together in various combinations in a sentence but gratitude and infertility….nope, not so much. It has taken me some time to get here, to this space of gratitude. It’s a humbling place to be. The hardest part of infertility is letting go of expectations. There is only one outcome: the one thing is certain, the uncertainty. I am grateful for this dance with infertility, it has made me be introspective and re-caliber my life perspective. It has and will make me a better parent and person. Another experience on my life path.

 Home, "a deep sense of peace". 

It’s Tuesday, my current favourite day of the week, it’s the 6 week support group time with Amira Posner and I’m late. I email Amira and let her know that I’m running late, but for whatever reason, a sense of peace washes over me as soon as I click, “send”.  A brilliant yellow light washes over me. It feels like I am my soul and my soul feels my skin from the inside. I don’t think I’ve ever been so peaceful through this whole thing process as I am now. I hear the clock ticking, my mind yelling at me to get up and go already, “Oh, shut up in there monkey brain, my soul and I are having a moment of deep Universal connection”.

When I’m quiet enough and I let my mind settle, I hear the whispers of my soul. I know the Universe has my back and will still have my back when I’m in the depths of diapers or taking the different route, being a couple with no kids. At the beginning of this year, it was different, as I crashed and burned through a mental health crisis  due to not being to take the emotional ride the fertility world. I’m here now, on the other side. I don’t feel the need to rush towards anything, I don’t feel I need to fulfill anyone’s expectations.

I hear a voice saying, you are going to be OK, you are enough, your Spirit baby is with you, just believe this and know that your body can conceive a healthy baby. I hold on that knowing whatever the outcome, I’m still safe and I’m still going to be me.

Thank you. I am grateful.

The support group, “We’ve got this”. 

Since I’m late, I decide to take my car and drive through the streets of Toronto. I don’t know what has happened to me but the colours in the city so much brighter than they did.  I notice the little things on my drive I didn’t notice before. Was this cafe here on this corner last week? The city is awakening into a new season and I am awakening with it. I can sense the new beginnings, this week has been a good week. The last two before this I was a mess trying to find my sense of purpose in life questioning every single part of my life, asking “WHY” and “WHAT“. As I pass by the Second Cup coffee in the lobby on my way to the group, I round the corner to the elevator, I hear another whisper, “let go, ‘we’ve got this”, except there is no one there next to me whispering this to me. I feel a deep sense of peace just wash over me.

I AM THAT that I AM.

I grateful for my infertility as it has allowed me to go even deeper and become more connected. I am reminded again, that 50% of what I do is my mindset and the other 50% is up to something greater than science.

I am grateful for this experience of infertility as it has taught me compassion towards myself and other women. I see women with children in a different light. I look at their child and smile – I wonder, what has she been through to hold that child in her arms? Instead of judging her and the choice of having a child like I used to in my twenties and early thirties, I am grateful for this new perspective. I have softened. My values have changed. I used to feel sorry for women who had children and couldn’t comprehend why they would ‘that’ to themselves, now, I see that one in six couples had to really commit fully to make the choice to introduce a new life into the world.

Life. We have one in a 15 million chance to make it. For those two cells to connect, yet, somehow they don’t always do.
The universe has your back

 

The Clinic

I am grateful to the Clinic and all the staff. When I hit rock bottom, I stopped all fertility treatment for two months and I took the time to heal and love myself. I can’t stress enough how much I needed to find myself during those two months and regain my balance.  I finally put fertility as one of the many slots of just everyday life. It’s so important to do that because fertility treatments become your life.

I am not my diagnosis and I am not a uterus to be treated.

I am whole and complete.

I am grateful to find people who take the time to help you take another step forward
After the two month hiatus, I was able to walk into the clinic without having a panic attack. The first time after a long time, when the ladies who took my blood didn’t struggle to find the vein. I had tried to switch clinics and found out a ton of information about the Ontario funded IVF. In the very end, the person who I communicated with who was helping me transfer clinics said something that made a big difference for me., “you are in good hands, they really do care there at your clinic. Go do your embryo transfer, and if doesn’t work out after two times, call me then, but I don’t think you’ll be calling me”.

This is how I ended up staying with my clinic. I do finally feel safe here at this clinic. I feel like a human and more than just a treatment. Its so key to trust the people who are helping you create life.

My mindset is different.

balance 2

My two months clinic free, mental health declutter

During my two months ‘off’, I had to face the state of affairs of my relationship, my career, and everything in between. I was faced with the question, “what do I want from life” and “what is my purpose”. I even faced the question of do I actually want a family and what do I value more. How far am I willing to with fertility treatments before I say stop. Am I actually really willing to adopt and why? Am I willing to share this journey with a surrogate? I stepped back and forth between deciding if “mother” is a role I want to take on, or is it that I’m following someone else’s dreams and expectations.

 

Quiet mind

What Infertility has taught me

I see my infertility as a time and space where I am able to explore myself and who I am.

The fundamental question of, “what is my purpose”, “what is my calling”, “who am I” is something that I have been working through while regaining my sense of balance in the four quadrants (health, wealth, spirituality, and relationship). My world was rocked off balance as soon as I entered my job and from the moment I left of my leave, it’s been work to get myself back to who I am. I had to hit the darkest place of depression, anxiety, and panic attacks because of infertility to regain my voice and be strong enough to walk away. The whole month of April was a loss in the sense of confusion and thrashing. I kept asking myself the question, “what do I want?”. I had to face myself and see that one of the reasons of ‘desperation’ was that I wanted to leave where I worked so desperately I was willing to change my life and use a child as a legit excuse. That was one of the stories running in my head. That is not a space to bring a child into, my Spirit baby wants to be wanted and to be loved. That is why when I chose to continue being off work and being unpaid. I had chosen me and my family over an organization. This post has been in draft for four months.

I can’t tell you how raw this is writing this, and I hope that this blog is not found by my organization, but it circles back to, what choices do we make in life to get away from something we don’t want? What if I chose what I do want and be willing to cut cords from anything and everyone who is trying to take my energy away. Actively choosing to live and choosing change.

When I let go of the idea of the next big job and just really focused on why I would want to get up in the morning, I realized that all of these side businesses are meaningless and not useful. I actually love working with people and students who have a disability. I want to get them to work.

Infertily has taught me how to be a parent because from what I know, it’s not a walk in the park. But because I’ve had to reassess who I am, and what I want, as well as what is important to me, I know that while I may be knocked off my feet, I will have something to land on.

I know I would like to do some more personal development, which is why I will be working with a transition coach, Jessie Herald.


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https://www.popsugar.com/moms/What-Moms-Want-After-Infertility-43555695?utm_campaign=desktop_share&utm_medium=twitter&utm_source=moms

 

Adoption vs infertility 

I’ve put a big toe into exploring adoption, specifically, foster to adopt. I’ve talked to one person in great depths about it and what stood out is you can stop the adoption process at any time. I joke, that once you are prego, there really is not going back, while in adoption there is.

I pushed adoption aside completely when I committed myself totally towards fertility and the clinic. Since I’m in a pause moment till the next appointment at the end of September with no frosties left, I allowed myself to peek in and see, ask questions. I mean, if I can go through IVF and a mental breakdown then adoption should be a walk in the park. Lol 😂.

To be truthful I’ve always thought about adoption, but I thought about doing it after having my own first. Working in mostly the educational and social services sector, I’ve seen a lot and learned a lot about kids and met kids going through real shit situations.
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I’ve pictured adoption of an older child, because first they hardly ever get a chance (to be adopted) past baby stage and second I just really love 6 year olds. I’ve always seen myself with an older child.

Given some inspiration by my sister in law who has both adopted and foster to adopted, I have some guidance in this area, but she is in Europe. Things are a little different there.
Nearing four years on this fertility journey, with this year being the most intense, I’m looking to explore and ask questions about adoption.

Before we do more hormones, before I do more IVF, before all that, I want to explore. Perhaps the sequence of events can be different?

I never wanted adoption to be something that I did because everything else didn’t work out, I think adoption should come from a space of love, instead of lack of options.
Still though, with all the info at my finger tips and people I can ask, there is fear about adoption.  What about?

  • fear about the trauma a child may have and can we handle it
  • fear of rejection from the child
  • what if they have a disability that I don’t know how to handle
  • can we do this financially
  • plus so many more biases that I know I have that I would be willing to work through..

These are all the questions people DON’T ask when they just get pregnant and start their family.

Info about adoption in Ontario:

1. Foster to adopt. 

These are kids that landed in the system; for the sake of simplicity we can call them Children’s Aid’s kiddos (there are many agencies). I have worked with parents when kids were already placed. I have also worked intensively with one foster mom who had adopted. I helped with transitioning the kids into the foster home. I also gave parents developmental tips on what to expect with the child.

With this process, it’s a public adoption, therefore technically “free”. There can be “baggage” that comes with this type of adoption. It really depends on the situation the child is coming from. For example, a child can be put in the system because their parents died in a car accident and there is no other family in Ontario.

This type of foster to adopt model is done by Ontario because they wanted to ensure that when the kids are placed, they actually had a family and were not being moved around. From what I understand there are temporary foster homes but most of them have been converted to foster to adopt. This is great for the kids, as it gives them more stability.

In this process at all times in the drivers seat. At any point in time you say you can back out and say, “no thank you, I don’t want to be a foster to adopt parent”. The key to this is taking the PRIDE training. In that training your values believes and everything are questioned and everything is taken into account. The agency wants to make sure that that child a place with you actually fits with you.

P.R.I.D.E stands for Parent Resources for Information, Development and Education. The P.R.I.D.E Foster/Adopt Pre-Service Training Program is a training program for prospective foster and adoptive parents and is a model for the development and support of resource families.

We are exploring taking the PRIDE training because it’s valid for three years. After the training you can say to the agency I want to pause and go back to fertility treatments OR conclude that this type of adoption isn’t for you. The key with any adoption process is to start sooner than later because everything takes a really long time similar to fertility treatment.

In the public system you are basically guaranteed a child and you know you are making a difference in a child’s world. Isn’t that what parenting is all about?

Again, if we were to actually fully commit to this process, I would be looking at taking a child from 5 to 10 years old. I’m actually much more comfortable with that age group then babies or toddlers even though I worked in ECE.

2. Private adoption Ontario

Here you have two options, local and international. These are also done through an agency and cost anywhere from $20,000 -$40,000. Sounds like two rounds of IVF with a better guarantee of a child then IVF. From I understand, you need to make a profile which sits on a database. In private local, a birth mom chooses you. I’m not sure, but from what I’ve been explained, this process is a lot more passive. You don’t really have an influence as to when an adoption will come through. Please tell me if I’m wrong, again I have not talked to any agency about private adoption, this is what I’ve heard from my two hour conversation with the foster to adopt Mom.

The thing is with any adoption that they don’t want you to be doing any fertility treatments while you’re going through the process. You need to commit to that training at the time and not simultaneously be doing fertility treatments. Make sense.

Lasting impressions from the conversation with Foster to Adopt mom

Before becoming to a foster to adopt parent they were trying to get pregnant for 8 years. She said she always imagined decorating a room and having time (even for the foster kids) to give them a Pinterest room. Raise your hand if you think of a Pinterest when you think of a baby your child’s room ✋.

I think the most humbling part of the conversation was when the foster to adopt mom spoke how she had 72 hours to get her space ready for two twins and a 12-year-old. Going from zero kids to three. She (and her husband) didn’t have much for the kids when they arrived but was pumped and emotionally ready.

When the kids came, the 12-year-old slept on a mattress on the floor and the two twins had to cribs given to them by an agency. And that’s it. Someone gave them clothing for the kids. All that the children really needed and wanted was to know that they were safe.

It was such a humbling statement, that I really can’t get it out of my head. How much stuff we buy for children for that Pinterest room!

Whats next?

I think what I’ll do next is contact a private and public agency and see. The next PRIDE training is in October and costs $1300.

Believe it or not husband is very excited at the prospect of being a foster to adopt dad.
If I’m very truthful, I think I’ve always imagined myself with older children versus little ones. Maybe that is why people walking around babies or being pregnant in front of me doesn’t really affect me. I adore being around 4 year-olds and five-year-olds……..while the Littles just drive me nuts.

I’ll enter this lair of exploration and adventure and keep you updated. I still would love to do another round of IVF but I don’t know if I can stomach it. With the last transfer I had itchiness so bad that I basically wanted to scratch my crotch off and that’s an understatement. This was the effect of the hormones I had. The IVF retrieval threw me off my feet, as I had a bad reaction. Being on hormones for months definitely did a number on my body.

Fertility treatments, it’s like going to casino, inserting $20,000 and hoping to get something in return. At least in the adoption process, I know I can be making a difference in a child’s life.

I am in the process of exploring and being in the state of curiosity about adoption.

The dirty secret of infertility.

The dirty secret of infertility is the massive effect it has on our whole well-being and the shame. If there’s one thing I know for sure is that being diagnosed with and struggling with infertility can bring up a whole slew of unwanted negative emotions. One of the toughest to deal with is SHAME. When we try to conceive, and bear our own biological children and have difficulty, we may start to think thoughts such as “I’m no good. My body is busted or what will my parents and friends think if I get IVF? What if I’m barren?” It can be debilitating or freeing, depending on your perspective.

Debilitating because we can sink deep into the hole of despair that there is something wrong.

Freeing, because we can see it as an opportunity and be grateful we have the medicine to do IVF and fertility treatments. This science is about 30 years old, which is younger than me. The first ever IVF was doing in the late 70’s, Isn’t it amazing how far we have come that we can actually safely freeze embryos?!

We need to get on camera and TV and talk not about just egg quality, we need to talk about shame, mental health, depression, anxiety and all of these things that are and can be true with infertility. I don’t understand why this not happening. I hear the main doctor of Anova speaking on the breakfast program what we need to do to increase our chances of getting pregnant, and love for her speak about the impact fertility has on mental health and see fertility treatments as a gift!

I am not ashamed of not being able to conceive on my own. For whatever reason, there is a block and I’m working on myself through personal development, grounding myself, reminding myself who I am to be able to bring forth a life that will be completely reliant on me.

To have a positive conception, we need to actually be able to receive. I don’t know what the magical formula is but by dismissing mental health with fertility treatments is dismissing the rest of the person. I imagine a chicken walking around without a head.

From my support group, I know from the stories of 11 other women that none of the clinics that they attend check-in with the women and ask them to participate in any mind-body or counseling. This, in my opinion, is so key would alleviate so much pain from the process. I also know that it takes time to warm up to a donor egg, donor sperm, and surrogacy. It took me two years to warm up to IVF and there is not shame in that. Everything in its due process.

We need the tools that no one has taught us to cope with constant grieving and uncertainty. We need to learn how to re-balance and put fertility into one box of our life and not make it our entire life. I understand how it can get to be a runaway train but we are the conductors of the train and can choose our speed or even choose to stop. Look at the roses and flowers growing by the side of the tracks, aren’t they just beautiful?

Stop being ashamed of your “lacking” and see it as an opportunity to learn about you. See it as an opportunity to grow. Look at it from a point of view of empowering and just how much more you will love that baby or your life without the baby because you took that time to step into a big challenge, a challenge you didn’t ask for but now it’s here. Either way it’s courageous.

You will know, that whatever you are faced with in life can be no greater than this, the act of creating life. What matters is how we choose to look and think about this journey.

Harry Potter metaphor: Sirius Black tells Harry

“You’re not a bad person. You’re a very good person who bad things have happened to. We’ve all got both good light and dark inside us. What matters is the part we choose to act on. That’s who we really are.” We ALL experience shame in our lives, thus it behooves all of us to learn to manage it well. Instead of thinking of ourselves as bad or defective people, think of yourself as a hero of your own life, on your own hero’s journey, remembering that vulnerability and love are the truest marks of courage.

“Shame is a social concept – it happens between people – it also heals best between people. A social wound needs a social balm, and empathy is that balm. Self-compassion is key because when we’re able to be gentle with ourselves in the midst of shame, we’re more likely to reach out, connect and experience empathy.”
Brene Brown Daring Greatly.

I will continue to advocate for patients and be the fertility doula. I will continue to be vulnerable and face everything full on – for all those who are not ready to come out of the closet.

The only thing that is certain is uncertainty with infertility.

Embrace what is certain, you are a beautiful person with the tremendous capacity to love. Take a moment and love yourself.

Step into the process and be fully part of it. Talk about it. Tell everyone. You’ll be so surprised that every 6th person you talk to will have the same story as you. Not only are you healing yourself but the person who you are speaking to.

I want people to know that there is NO shame is seeking mental health support. It has saved me. There is no shame in having fertility challenges.

If I had not spoken out and used my voice then I would have not been able to make a change for other patients.

I’m grateful for the pain because we need the darkness to get to the light. But we also need the tool to know how to get past the darkness & any shame.

I am your fertility doula. I will speak for you till you are ready.

You are loved.

 

 

Diagnosis infertility. Job description, advocate.

I made a difference at my fertility clinic. 

At the beginning of March, I met with the Patient experience officer and Dr. B after the failure of a fertility cycle. It was a two-hour emergency meeting. It happened because I was falling apart. We met because I felt like a number. I felt I wasn’t listened to and no one was hearing my concerns. I didn’t know who to turn to because if I asked the nurse the nurse couldn’t make any decisions and there were too many people involved in my care. I wanted one or two dedicated nurses who knew everything on file. I needed to tell them their support group sucked. The waiting room was one anxious space and nothing goes well at the clinic if you are not following one of the prescribed fertility boxes of procedures.

I needed to find MY voice in this entire runaway train and I needed to be heard.

I had no idea that my verbal dump changed many things at the clinic. Two months after this meeting and after my two-month break from not being at the clinic, I’ve become aware of results of this meeting.


Early morning, I’m sitting in the waiting room of the clinic. The chairs are plastic and white the walls are Tiffany blue. The door next to the reception desk opens and closes every few minutes with a sight bang. I wait my turn to see the doc. to figure out what drugs I need for the embryo transfer. I see Vee, The patient experience, walking into the waiting room and out. She waves and smiles as she sees me and stops, saying, “I really want to talk to you!”. I say, “we can talk now, I’m just waiting for one instruction but it’s not urgent”. She motions me in, we open the door, I hear the slight bang as it closes and I followed her down the hall into the boardroom of Anova. Cool, the board room. I’ve never been here, just the dark ultrasound rooms and the doc’s room. Vee seems so excited to talk to me. I wonder why…..

We sit down across from each other and talk about how I’m doing after the two-month break and the fact that I seem to be glowing. I am relaxed. I feel more chilled and definitely more grounded. I’ve put fertility into a box. Just one of the boxes that are me and it no longer rules my world. When I reflect and think about myself and who I was January until May, I don’t recognize myself. I’m so glad I took a break.

At one point, Vee stops and looks me in the eye and says, thank you. I’m confused what for…..? She looks me right in the eye, puts her hands together and says, “Thank you for speaking up, very few actually do. We don’t know how we can be better if someone doesn’t tell us, we can just think what we can do but are not on the other side. We have taken all your comments, complaints and observations and have changed our entire counseling department. We are still not perfect but want to let you know you have made an impact on for other patients”. 

Needless to say, I’m shocked because I think back how much I was hurting during that time and how long the 2.5 hr meeting was with Dr. B and the Vee. I remember I wanted to write about it but was so drained from the conversation I couldn’t bring myself to blog about it.

I tell Vee that I’m so glad this is going on and I hope that I can continue to be a voice for many patients.

What I want the clinic to recognize is that part of functional care and holistic care is to incorporate; counseling, mindfulness, hypnosis and other modalities so we can support the whole person not just the uterus, the egg or sperm.

Find your voice. We want to hear you.

You are not your diagnosis.

Don’t be afraid to let the clinic know what is not working for your treatment, you just never know, you may the catalyst for massive change.

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