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Episode 18

23 Jan

This week on Bitter Infertiles, we’re tackling a topic that will hit close to home for many of you: Infertility and Divorce. It’s a nasty but sadly true fact that infertility does a number on your marriage. Between the stress, the disappointment and all the artificial hormones, we’ve seen too many times how fights lead to not communicating lead to “how did we get here?” and “where do we go from here?”

We were fortunate to have on this week someone who has walked that road, someone who had the answers to those questions (definitely “forward,” and with any luck, “upward”). CDG was gracious enough to open up about her own experiences, and to give us insight into key warning signs, points of contention and solutions for moving forward, whether that’s with your partner or without.

I’d like to thank CDG for her participation this week, and I sincerely hope that this episode offers hope – if not help – to many of our listeners.

Listen now


Two bits

9 Jan

Two bits of information for you today:

1) The latest episode of Bitter Infertiles is now live. We’re up to a whopping episode 17 – insane! On this ep we go through host updates (there’s a bit of exciting news in this section, btw), talk about the unfortunate Russian adoption ban, and then unleash a wave of bitterness over the new occupant in Kim K’s ute. A little something for everyone, this episode!

2) We had our fetal survey ultrasound yesterday, a bit early at 17w3d. It went well. Everything is measuring right on track. Turtle’s heart is beating at a healthy 148 bpm and he currently weighs 7 oz.  It’s funny how used to seeing the intestines floating around we’ve become. It’s no longer scary or sad to see them, more just a matter of fact. And we love every bit of him already, inside and out. I’ve finally got around to filling out my “Turtle” page here, so if you’re into things like bump pics and ultrasound photos, head on over.

Episode 15

18 Dec

Just a quick update to let you know that the latest episode of Bitter Infertiles is now live. This is a great episode wherein we speak with Cristy’s amazing infertility therapist, Denise Sterchi (aka Dee, if you follow Cristy’s blog), about some of the emotional challenges we face through infertility. Of course we’re only able to touch upon the tippy tip of that iceberg, but what we do talk about it quite powerful. If you’ve fallen behind on your Bitter Infertiles listening, I strongly encourage you to jump on this one. We’re proud of it. It’s great.

In the beginning of the episode though, we do talk about the tragedy at Newtown. This is something that has deeply affected every parent out there, and even though many of us in this community can’t yet call ourselves parents, in the way we work so hard to achieve our children – we are honorary parents. And you don’t have to be a parent to be stricken and sickened by this terrible tragedy.

In this section, we talk a lot about mental health, which I agree is incredibly – incredibly – important, but it’s also possible to get the impression that we think stricter gun legislation won’t help or doesn’t matter. I can’t speak for my fellow Bitter Infertiles hosts, but I want to just make it clear here that I am not in agreement with that. I know it’s taboo but I’m going to get a little political here: I do think we need to regulate this industry in a stricter way and I do think it could have made a difference in the case of Newtown. Here is a great piece on two key ideas almost everyone can agree with: mental health screenings before gun purchases and more accountable gun distribution and retailing. Personally, I’d love to see more sweeping changes, like what they did in Australia following the 1996 massacre. There hasn’t been a single mass shooting since.

I’m not sure I can agree with the statement that mental health is the “root cause” of this tragedy, because in my opinion (just mine!), it wouldn’t have mattered how sick the shooter was if he couldn’t get his hands on those guns.  Yes, he could have found other ways to injure but few things cause as much harm as semi-automatic weapons. Do you know what those are? Those are guns that automatically reload the bullet for you, making it easy to pump out multiple bullets in quick succession. Which sadly, is just what he did into those tiny bodies. I can’t understand why these killing machines are accessible to the public (we can have those, and not marijuana?), but they are. The mass stabbing at a school in China on the same day? Perfect example. A sick person in need of help, wanting to do harm, with access only to a lesser weapon. Yes, he did get his hands on a weapon but the only thing that matters to me is that none, not one, of those 23 children died.

I don’t want to be divisive here, that is the least of my intentions. Because I know that if any single change is to come from Newtown (and I sure hope it’s more than one), we have to work together. We have to be a community, just as Cristy said, and look out for one another. I just feel strongly that these two issues are inextricably linked where it comes to mass shootings. And as I commented on Cristy’s latest blog post, I get uncomfortable when I see anyone beating the drum for any one issue over another (especially as I’ve seen gun advocates using mental health as an excuse to skip right over the issue of gun control).

Both of these factors (plus those which are unknown) are so important and deserve equal time under the light of scrutiny. I’d like to see is someone leading the charge on looking at the epidemic of mass shootings in this country from a holistic point of view and then tying that to action. Otherwise, I seriously fear nothing will ever change. If the loss of those 20 precious lives in Newtown doesn’t start to incite some change, I can’t think what will. That’s what terrifies me most.

One step at a time

5 Dec

Sorry for the delayed update on our ultrasound a couple days ago! The good news is that it put our minds and hearts at ease in many ways, which also made me not feel the immediate and urgent need to blog.

Here’s the bottom line:

1. At this point, it looks like we’re definitely dealing with gastroschisis – but only gastroschisis. This is great news. Gastroschisis is not associated with any other issues or genetic problems and is relatively easy to fix with no major lasting problems. So that was a big relief! They also checked for Down’s syndrome with the nuchal translucency measurement, which they said was within normal range. They did order some genetic bloodwork to test for a few things, just in case, but we’re looking good at this point on that front.

2. We started assembling our team of doctors and understanding better how everything will work once the baby is born, which was again, a huge relief. The OB we saw was the head of this maternal fetal medicine (aka high risk pregnancy) practice and we loved him. He just had a very genuine, easy, relaxed way about him that put us at ease. So he will be our high risk OB, in charge of all the monitoring throughout the pregnancy and making decisions regarding the gastroschisis. He doesn’t deliver, however, so we needed to get another OB for that. He recommended someone in his same building and even called her for us. Then she came down to his office to meet us! She was very nice and he said she’s very sought after. She will deliver our baby and will handle all the regular obstetric stuff throughout our pregnancy. So now instead of one midwife, I have two OBs! I feel fortunate to have such a qualified team; they both teach at Harvard Medical School and are highly esteemed in their fields.

3. He also started the process of reaching out to the fetal care center at Children’s Hospital that will handle the surgery for us after Turtle is born. At some point (hopefully soon), we will go meet with the team of doctors and surgeons who will be handling this and will get even more questions answered. So I will deliver at one hospital (Beth Israel), then the baby will be transferred to Children’s (across the street) for the surgery. This is another relief that we’ll be going through Children’s in Boston, the top pediatric hospital in the U.S. We feel so lucky to live so close to it!

So that’s the long and short of it. We still have a lot of hurdles ahead. Our high-risk OB (I shall call him Dr. Kind) said it’s likely Turtle’s stomach opening is on the larger side. This isn’t great from a cosmetic point of view but can mean that the organs will be healthier as a smaller opening can sometimes choke off the intestine. I’m guessing though that this means it’s also possible that more organs can fall out, which we don’t want because that will mean we’ll have to have a C-section. We just have to watch carefully. It is possible to go to term and have a vaginal delivery, really just depends on the health and growth of the baby and the extent of the gastroschisis. But this was another encouraging thing to hear.

My next appointment is in two weeks with both Dr. Kind and the delivery OB (she has yet to be named). Thanks as always for all the love and support this week! I so needed it.

In other news, episode 13 is now live!

A few things…

20 Nov

A few things…

Episode 11 of Bitter Infertiles is now live – yipee! Go and listen, then go send Cristy some love! She has a lot riding on this current FET cycle and is, understandably, very jittery about it. I dare any of you to think of a time when Cristy hasn’t been there for you. Time to pay it back. Also, big thanks to Jenny of Stupid Stork for joining us!

-Update on me: I guess everything is going along okay? I haven’t had an ultrasound in weeks so I’m always wondering, is my baby still alive in there? I find it hard to believe I could really be 10 weeks 3 days. So I take it with a giant grain of salt. I’m 10 weeks 3 days but let’s wait until the next ultrasound to know for sure.

-My symptoms persist. All day nausea is still there. It’s such a pain, though I try to take comfort in it as my only sign that this pregnancy is continuing to grow. I’ve also started having occasional round ligament pain and, when I’ve been sitting at my desk for a few hours, lower back aches. The spotting has lessened but is always hovering. Lately it’s been mostly in the form of light brown stained CM.

-I have decided to stop feeling bad about complaining about the nausea. I’m an infertile, not a masochist. Just because I worked a little harder than others to get here doesn’t mean I have to enjoy feeling like shit all day.

-We’ve started telling a few friends, which freaks me out. And I’m super freaked out for Thursday (Thanksgiving) when we plan to tell a whole heap of family members in person. I had hoped to find the heartbeat on the doppler before we did this but… no dice. If anyone out there is thinking of buying one, spring for one of the nicer ones! We went cheap and now we regret it.

-I am overwhelmed by how much I have to be thankful for this year. My amazing husband who has become the sole caretaker for me, our dog, our cat, and the whole household (including cooking and cleaning), my supportive parents who reach out to see how I am every day, my work that has been so understanding, but most of all this little one inside me that has remained strong despite being thrown quite a few curveballs early on.

-Wishing you all a very happy Thanksgiving.

Episode 9

31 Oct

Episode 9 (9 -wow!) of Bitter Infertiles is now livety-live-live. This one is another heavy episode, wherein we focus on baby loss. We are joined in this special episode by the wonderful Alissa of MissConception, who has set a beautiful example of how to honor and remember rainbow babies in her ongoing tributes to her lost twins, Michael and Alena. I admire her immensely and was so glad to have her on.

I’m a little quieter than usual in this episode, mainly because I didn’t feel equipped to counsel on this topic. In my mind, early miscarriage and baby loss are two VASTLY different things. Not everyone feels this way though. The mom of the family I used to nanny for had experienced two early losses. When an older woman she worked with found out about them, she said, oh I’m so sorry, I’ve been there. But she had never had any miscarriages or even experienced baby loss. She was referring to the loss of her 18 year old son. In her mind, they were one in the same. Loss of a child.

Anyways, I tried to express this in the episode but I’m not sure how eloquently I did so.

In other news, happy Halloween! I plan to spend it curled up in a ball on my couch, trying to forget the agony of today. It was my first day working back in the office (instead of from home), in almost two whole weeks and it’s been all I can do to stop myself from vomiting all over my desk.

Episode 7!

10 Oct

Friends, the latest episode of Bitter Infertiles is now live! We had to go it alone without our Mo this week (she’s off playing in Disneyland!) but we held down the fort with special guest Rebecca, aka Her Royal Fabulousness from Waiting for Little Feet!

In this episode you’ll hear me talking about my positive pregnancy test, a discussion of consulting “Dr. Google,” pregnancy after infertility, dealing with other people’s pregnancies as an infertile, and more. It’s kind of the “pregnancy episode” and it was so much fun to record!

Listen now here or subscribe here.