Reproductive Endocrinologist or Fertility Specialist?
Medical Monday and we're back to language.
Language is important. It’s how we communicate with one another. How we convey information and also how we impart tone and sensibility.
Language is not just semantics or being picky.
Read below for what a board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE) is; what they do, what they’ve had to do to call themselves an RE.
And, simply put, a fertility specialist/infertility specialist/fertility doctor/infertility doctor/doctor who specializes in fertility/infertility and so on, has to pass no tests and has no special training to call themselves any of those things. Those titles are essentially meaningless. There is no medical or governmental overseeing of any of those titles.
A board certified Reproductive Endocrinologist, on the other hand has to be accepted into very selective programs, go through three years of extra training and has to study for and pass rigorous testing.
Which would you rather have overseeing your fertility treatment? ~Lisa Rosenthal
Straight from RMACT's website:
What is a Reproductive Endocrinologist?
A Reproductive Endocrinologist specializes in the following fields of study:
Collectively, this field is called Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. Most of the patients seen by Reproductive Endocrinologists are experiencing fertility related problems.
What is Reproductive Endocrinology?
Reproductive Endocrinology is a sub-specialty of Obstetrics and Gynecology. This requires 4 years of medical school followed by completion of a 4 year residency in Obstetrics and Gynecology. Training includes:
- Medical and surgical treatment of disorders of the female reproductive tract
- Care of pregnant women
- Delivering babies
After completing a residency program, a physician would apply through a highly competitive system to receive additional training in Reproductive Endocrinology. This is referred to as a fellowship and includes a 3 year intensive training program, which focuses on understanding the complexities of the human female reproductive system.
Reproductive Endocrinologists receive board certification by the American Board of Obstetrics and Gynecology in both Obstetrics and Gynecology and Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility. These require both written and oral examinations.
If having a baby has turned into a battle, my suggestion is to have the right warriors on your side.
In the war on infertility, the right warriors are board certified Reproductive Endocrinologists.
Hands down. ~LR
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Integrated Wellness Fertility Program
RMACT. We are doing it. We are having our first event as an Integrated and Fertility Wellness Program (IFW). This event is open to the public and is limited to 8-10 people. Please register early as we expect that this event will be well attended. We are so excited, we hope you come join us and treat yourself to a gift for the new year.
Look for blogs to come describing more fully the programs being offered.
Mind-Body Workshop in CT
RMA of CT would like to invite you to a special one day offering of our Mind/Body Program. Our Integrated Fertility and Wellness (IFW) team is presenting this workshop to provide you with valuable tools to assist in reducing stress and increasing fertility.
This workshop includes presentations by:
• Our Licensed Clinical Social Worker, Melissa Kelleher, will discuss the link between stress and fertility. She has trained with world renowned psychologist, Ali Domar, on the Mind/Body program. She will present proven techniques to help reduce stress in your daily life.
• Our Licensed Acupuncturist, Amy Matton, will provide an overview and demonstrate the benefits of acupuncture
• Our Certified Yoga Instructor, Lisa Rosenthal, will lead you through Fertile Yoga and Guided Meditation
• Our Peer Counselor, Carrie Van Steen, will lead a “Mini” session of Ladies Night In
For further information and to enroll in this exciting workshop please contact
Carrie Van Steen at firstname.lastname@example.org
When: Sunday, January 12, 2013 from 12:00pm - 5:00pm
Where: 20 Glover Ave, Norwalk, CT
This group is limited to 12 participants.
Lunch will be served and materials will be distributed.
RSVP: please call 203-731-2520 ext. 289 or e-mail: email@example.com
Fertility Prayers at Ladies Night In
We drew pictures in Ladies Night In at our Danbury meeting on Tuesday night.
It wasn’t my idea, although if you knew me well, you could have been right that it was my idea. It just wasn’t this time.
It was Carrie Van Steen’s idea. Give credit where credit is due.
Carrie was inspired by one of our brave ladies who suggested praying to the “Ovary God”.
In twenty-five years working in the field of infertility and fertility treatment, I never heard of or thought of an Ovary God. Or Goddess.
I kind of love the idea of one.
After all, why not?
Kokopelli, Fertility Deity
Kokopelli is a fertility deity most commonly associated with the Hopi tribe from the southwest. He was also a mischief maker. I never liked him. I never wanted to put my fate in his hands. He was too impulsive and too nonsensical.
I think I like the idea of a female God/Goddess directly related to the ovaries more then Kokopelli.
A generous, sweet, compassionate and funny Goddess.
All that and more.
If I get to design my own Ovary Goddess, then I make her purple.
And very, very lush.
If I were going to paint my Ovary Goddess, then I would use squishy, mushy, pliable oil paints with lots of medium. Lots and lots of layers of paint. I’d make her complicated and very simple and basic at the same time.
A Fertility Goddess for One Thing
A Fertility Goddess designed for exactly one thing. Creating an opportunity of new life. A possibility. Not a certainty.
Just a hope.
A hope with a lot of power behind it.
Not a gratuitous hope; a hope with depth and strength and resilience.
A hope with a physical form; one that occupies a space and place, with a specific shape.
Maybe your Goddess wouldn’t look like a physical ovary. Maybe your Goddess would take on some more spiritual or esoteric form.
I know one thing for sure.
An Ovary God or Goddess would not be punishing. No matter what you may think or be afraid that you deserve, no Ovary God or Goddess would do anything but their best.
We each get to create what we believe in; what we put our faith and hope in.
I chose to put my faith in a God and Goddess that support and love me.
What about you?
What does your Ovary God or Fertility Goddess look like? What do they act like?
Can you believe that creating something to believe in will support your fertility efforts?
If nothing else, believe in yourself.
I know I do.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Holiday Support Through the Season
This is a very personal blog, based on what is helpful to me, the places I go when I feel stress or anxiety. They are probably not identical to how you cope or where you find holiday support through the season, and yet some may seem very familiar.
Getting clear with what I am doing as opposed to what I could be doing is a way for me to see through the murkiness. I have choices, it's reassuring to remember that.
I don't know if this will be helpful to you or not. Maybe you need to make your own lists, see where the things are that trigger you and how to release in a healthy (or not so healthy way).
Coping with Holiday Stress
The holiday season is in full swing. Some of what goes on is so loving and fun and full of joy. And some of it is just plain hard, holiday stress. Especially if you are dealing with not being pregnant. Again. Or fertility treatment cycle failed. Again.
Maybe not every coping method has to be healthy. At least not every day, occasion or minute.
Ten ways that I punish myself during the holiday season:
- I eat too much of too many wrong foods - including drinking alcohol and caffeine
- I stay longer than I am comfortable at social events
- I don’t exercise
- I make too many plans and don’t plan enough down time
- I don’t attend yoga classes
- I stay up too late and get up too early
- I don’t read
- I don’t pray and meditate regularly
- I don’t pay attention to how I am feeling and therefore can’t respect my feelings
- I endure rather than enjoy the holiday season
Ten ways that I support myself during the holiday season:
- I appreciate my loved ones
- I make phone calls to people I don’t normally speak with
- I put on my pajamas and stay in them for hours past what is normally socially acceptable
- I cook and clean in spurts
- I look at the physical beauty of the world
- I watch good movies
- I listen to those around me and let them in
- I hear my heart beating and my breath coming in and out
- I actively work towards finding light in my life
- I get up. I move a muscle, change a thought
Ten things I COULD do to support myself during the holiday season:
- Take a walk every morning
- Go to yoga class twice a week
- Pray and meditate
- Paint, draw, weave, knit
- Go to sleep by 11 pm every night
- Embrace the loving relationships in my life
- Spend time with my beloveds
- Make social contact regularly with supportive and loving people
- Have fun. Plan fun. Laugh more often.
Stress Reduction - Remember Choices
It's easy to get caught up in the season, for good and for bad. It's equally as easy to forget that we can make choices.
I'm going out for a walk. That's my choice.
As is my writing to you.
Maybe your choices would be helpful to someone else.
Could you share them with us?
If you do write to me, it does not post automatically. I can post your choices and stress reduction ideas anonymously.
Make a choice to share, I'd love to hear from you.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Ladies Night In - Join Us
At RMACT's Ladies Night In, come and meet a terrific group of women that gather monthly to share their stories, feelings, questions and laughs.
Experience the relief of talking with other women who understand what you are going through.
Build friendships with women who will be by your side throughout your family-building journey.
Peer Support in CT with Lisa & Carrie
Peer Support in CT - Group Details:
Where: Danbury, CT - 67 Sand Pit Rd
When: Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 6:00-7:30 p.m.
Where: Norwalk, CT - 20 Glover Ave
When: Thursday, December 12, 2013 - 7:00-8:30 p.m.
This group is free of charge and a light dinner is provided. If you have any questions, contact your patient coordinator. Or email Carrie at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Preparing for A Healthy Pregnancy
It seems like the Monday after Thanksgiving might be a good time for a reminder about what to think about BEFORE you try to become pregnant. It's never too late to start new habits for a healthy pregnancy and make more conscious decisions about your lifestyle.
CT fertility specialist Dr. Mark Leondires, Medical Director of Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT), talks about the choices that we can make when we are considering having a baby. As he advises below in the blog that he wrote for the Norwalk Patch, 90 Days Preconception: Habits for Optimal Fertility and a Healthy Pregnancy, better to think ahead. Of course you want to make healthy choices when you are trying to conceive; even better though if you know ahead of time. Ninety days ahead of time, according to Dr. Leondires, can make a real difference.
~ Lisa Rosenthal
CT Fertility Specialist Dr. Mark Leondires On Optimizing Fertility
However, instead of jumping immediately into a treatment plan, I believe in treating the whole patient. My partners and I find that patients are most likely to successfully get pregnant when their physical and mental health is at its best.
Patients should consider their health and lifestyle habits 90 days before conception. This is about more than fertility health. This includes nutrition, mental health, stress management, physical activity… all of it affects a person’s fertility and, upon conception, it affects the health of mother and baby.
Some of our patients are able to get pregnant simply by changing their lifestyle habits – without assisted reproductive technology. As little as a 5 percent reduction in weight can lead to more regular ovulatory cycles, improved insulin sensitivity and an improved chance of pregnancy. Sometimes patients are too lean and their hormonal balance can be restored with weight gain.
Preconception Health Tips - A Checklist
Here are examples of how to improve lifestyle habits (and therefore improve fertility while decreasing the risk of birth defects) from the preconception health checklist that we use with our patients at Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMA of CT).
- Eat a balanced diet that exemplifies the USDA’s balanced plate full of vegetables, fruit, whole grains, lean protein, heart healthy fats
- Test for risk factors: hemoglobin A1c, vitamin D, blood pressure, cholesterol – these are simple tests that can be performed by your family doctor
- Start to take prenatal vitamins (800 mcg of folic acid)
- Drink water (not soda and minimize caffeine).
- Boost important vitamins and minerals: calcium (dairy, leafy greens), folic acid (citric fruit, fortified breads, lentils), iron (spinach, beans), omega-3 (low-mercury fish such as salmon)
- Limit alcohol
- Quit smoking
- Avoid exposure to environmental risk factors (e.g., gardening chemicals, cleaning products)
- Lower caffeine intake to less than 150 mg per day, which is equivalent to two 8 oz cups of coffee
- Try to get to a healthy weight and body mass index (BMI)
- Be physically active with low impact activities such as swimming, walking and restorative yoga
Mental Health & Partner Relationship
- Identify stress management method (e.g., yoga, meditation)
- Communicate with your partner about your dreams of a family
- Identify your network of friends and family – and consider talking to them when you are stressed
- Talk to a professional when going through extreme challenges or making life-changing decisions
- Consider support groups with other fertility patients. RMACT has monthly free support groups for fertility patients
- Check your health insurance. Is family planning covered? Are there restrictions (e.g., age)?
- Schedule a preconception visit with your OB/GYN and be up to date on PAP smear and mammogram
- For women: FSH and/or AMH, which are simple blood tests that help guage ovarian reserve; hysterosalpingogram (HSG), which is a non-invasive test to check the fallopian tubes and uterus
- For men: schedule a semen analysis, limit alcohol, quit smoking, work towards a healthy weight
Simple lifestyle changes have the power to improve fertility and the health of the baby. Sometimes assisted reproductive technologies are still needed for a couple to get pregnant. But improving a couples’ health (yes, the woman and the man) doesn’t have a downside. Best of all, many of my patients like being proactive – this is something within their control.
Infertility and the Day After Thanksgiving
Whether you are choosing to indulge in shopping or relaxing into peaceful serenity or some combination of the two, the day after Thanksgiving is just that: the day after. It may have been a lovely day or a rough day or some variation. Fertility announcements abound at this time of the year and putting on a happy face when you are feeling sad for yourself is not always easy. Nor is it gentle on our own hearts.
Overindulging can take on a lot of forms. Eating is only one. Whether we eat because it’s delicious or because we’re sad or happy or any other feeling, we do sometimes overdo it.
Wearing a mask for too long is burdensome and emotionally exhausting. We wear a mask when we feel one way and say and act another way. That can be over indulging too; not honoring yourself and your feelings as valid and important.
We tend to overindulge on holidays, in so many ways. We create an idea, based on the past about how the holiday “should” be. Or we decide how we want it to be. Rarely are we available to experience the moments as they are. That’s over indulging too, one of my favorite kinds, where our fantasies become more tangible than our realities.
An Invitation to Yoga Nidra and Finding Your Center
The Friday after Thanksgiving, I teach a way to achieve Yoga Nidra instead of any of my regular classes. It’s become a tradition up at PhysEd in New Milford, CT, for my students who are used to a vigorous class to come, practice lightly and then repose into Savasana for almost an hour.
That’s almost 60 minutes of lying down, having arranged the physical body as comfortably as possible, and sinking into yoga sleep. My favorite definition of Yoga Nidra from Swami Jnaneshvara Bharati is below:
Yoga Nidra means Yogic Sleep. It is a state of conscious Deep Sleep. In Meditation, you remain in the Waking state of consciousness, and gently focus the mind, while allowing thought patterns, emotions, sensations, and images to arise and go on. However, in Yoga Nidra, you leave the Waking state, go past the Dreaming state, and go to Deep Sleep, yet remain awake. While Yoga Nidra is a state that is very relaxing, it is also used by Yogis to purify the Samskaras, the deep impressions that are the driving force behind Karma.
According to the definition of Yoga Nidra and what it is and what it is not, I do not teach or facilitate Yoga Nidra. I create pathways of getting there by using guided meditation to achieve this. I am excited to be teaching Yoga Nidra in a more traditional way this Friday. I hope to have you join me.
On Friday night, Fertile Yoga will meet twice, once from 6-7:15 and then from 7:30-8:30. You are welcome to one or the other or both.
It will be my first foray into a more traditional Yoga Nidra. I would love to have your company.
Whether you have indulged too vigorously in food, or drink, or happiness or sadness, Yoga Nidra will be a way to recenter yourself. To find your way back home.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Gratitude from the RMA CT Fertility Team
It's been four years since the PathtoFertility blog started. From the very first year, on special occasions, we collected the thoughts and sentiments of the Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT fertility team members to share with you.
This Thanksgiving, we celebrate the fourth anniversary of PathtoFertility and we continue the tradition of sharing what each one of us is grateful for.
For me, that one is easy. I'm grateful for you, my readers, sharers and inspirers.
Read on to hear from the other members of the RMACT team.
And Happy Thanksgiving ~Lisa Rosenthal
Thanksgiving Thoughts and Love
I am thankful for my Mother and her unconditional love. No matter how difficult her day was she saw beauty in her life. She taught me the importance of listening and learning and I am thankful for all that I do learn from my patients and co-workers every day.
I’m grateful for my family, friends, and the men and women who serve our country!
I am thankful for my girls. Their infectious laughter makes me smile. They are the best of friends and that relationship with each other is what I am most thankful for.
I am thankful for my family including my furry boy, Jake, and his unconditional love. I am thankful for my friends and all the wonderful times we share. I am thankful for all the great people that I work with and their help throughout the year. I am especially thankful to the RMA patients that I have had the good fortune to meet-please know that you are truly an inspiration to me. Happy Thanksgiving Everyone!
I am thankful for my wonderful family and friends. I have truly been given a blessed life and hope that I can give back some of the joy I have received. Thanksgiving should be every day!
Today and every day I am thankful for my family, health and everything I have been blessed with….
I am thankful to work with great people that touch many lives and bring happiness to many families…
I am thankful for being able to say I love my job!
I am thankful for life, family, friends and my many blessings! I am also grateful for laughter because it fills me with joy and love it makes me feel what is means to truly be alive!
I am thankful for each beautiful new day when I awake and that I am healthy to enjoy each day. I’m thankful for the love and support of my family and that they too are healthy. I’m thankful for having a wonderful medical office to work for and with.
I’m grateful for my DVR which allows me to record my TV shows to watch without commercials. I’m grateful for the Empire Szechuan restaurant which delivers and gets the food to you within 20 min. I’m grateful for my home which greets me with warmth every time I walk in. And I’m grateful for my family who loves me, supports me, protects me and encourages me.
2013 has been a challenging year – so I am most thankful for getting through it stronger and more patient than before and grateful for what I have learned along the way. I am hoping for all of us to have a more peaceful and joyous year ahead.
I am also grateful for the more lighthearted and enjoyable moments and whimsical discoveries I made this year – the eggplant frites at The Little Pub, dancing in the kitchen with my son to 80’s dance music, swimming with dolphins, renewed love of all things Andy Cohen, tank tops from Yummie Tummie, Dark Chocolate almond milk, and my Laura Mercier Caviar eye liner sticks.
i am grateful for my family, good health, great friends, and for a job I love that feels meaningful.
Shaun Williams, MD
I am grateful for the opportunity and trust given to me to help provide care for the individuals I see, and I am grateful for everyone at RMA who helps make that care as successful as possible.
Also for many other things: those that teach us and our families, the wonderful new office we have in Trumbull, and the recognition that just being in the here and now is an amazing thing—just to name a few.
I’m thankful for everyday things in life that bring delight, relaxation, and peace to the day.
I am most thankful for the team who gave me my beautiful twin daughters through RMA and for the support I received. I am also thankful for being able to “pay it forward: for others who are going through treatment and I am able to share my experience to help make their journey less stressful. Also thankful for my family who is extremely supportive who taught me to never give up amongst other life lessons. Last but not least, I am thankful for a wonderful husband that stands by my side through the toughest times.
Mark Leondires, MD
I am grateful and honored for the opportunity to work in such a wonderful field, with such wonderful colleagues, and with patients on their fertility journeys. While not everything works out in life how we want, working through the peaks and valleys is what living is truly about. I am thankful that I am always able to keep hope on the horizon as my guide.
I am thankful for life… Waking up every day and having the energy to work, so I would be able to provide for all my kids as a single parent… I am thankful for working for a great place and helping others create a family…
I am reminded every day to be grateful for what I have (even through the struggles) I am able to go home to those smiling faces who depend on me to lead them in the right direction in life… I am thankful for my kids who made me who I am today…
I am thankful for my children, my family, and my dog who takes Prozac (literally).
On the shallow side, I am thankful for my fireplace, The Grinch, and my Vitamix blender.
I am also thankful that the people I work with make me laugh all the time.
I am thankful for my husband, children and my grandchildren, who are all a joy.
I am greatful for my position with RMA!
I am blessed to have my daughter who just made High Honors with her (7) A’s and (2) B’s
I am thankful that I found a doctor and my daughter’s physical pain is easing up
I am grateful for my health..the ability to get up and get out into the world every day is heaven. I recently had a scare with corneal abrasions which made so thankful for the ability to see and to function.
I am thankful for my beautiful children who wouldn’t be here if not for what we do every day. I am thankful for what I had to endure in order to get them in my arms as that gave me the courage I never knew I had and that it ultimately put me on the path I travel today with RMA. (I didn’t mean for that to rhyme, lol)
I am grateful for my husband and family. Through all the struggles I have had, their constant support helps me to be a stronger person.
Spencer Richlin, MD
I am thankful for working with such a talented reproductive staff. Their talent and expertise helps our patients become pregnant and makes my job easy and successful
I am thankful for my amazing husband and wonderful family. Without them, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. They give me so much strength, happiness, love and support. I just feel so blessed to have them in my life. They are what truly matters to me.
I am thankful first and foremost for my health, and the health of my family. I am grateful for all the blessings in my life; a loving husband, the family I always dreamed of, a warm roof over my head, friends that care for me, the opportunity to work in a field where I am a small part of a team making a difference in people’s lives. I am also thankful that although things haven’t always been the way I have planned in life I have the support network and capacity to hope for a better tomorrow.
This Thanksgiving I am thankful for my loving family. We are all very busy between work, school, and sports and it’s very easy to get lost in our crazy lives. Taking the time to think of my family truly makes me feel loved
I am grateful that I have options; that I am free to make choices.
Being a woman.
Conversations that make me think and the people I have them with
My wrinkles because they are evidence of my laughter and wisdom throughout the years
Love, and that I am loved
The taste and smell of coffee. Also, my new favorite smell…Expresso candles
A great pedicure
The kindness of strangers
Surviving storms of 2013
The hard times: Because they've made me stronger and wiser, and the good times even better.
Friends I've yet to make: I look forward to meeting them! Hmm, I wonder who they'll be.
I’m grateful for all of the disappointments, failures and tragedies that I’ve survived in my lifetime. They are proof that there is no obstacle I can’t overcome and that as long as my feet are pointed in the right direction, all I need to do is keep walking.
Joshua Hurwitz, MD
Reproductive Medicine shows us the best and worst of times for our patients. I am always thankful that the worst times are followed by the best, and that our patients trust our team enough to help them through their medical and personal journeys to help build their families.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
A Thanksgiving Offering to Fertility Patients
PathtoFertility is a team effort. A Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut team effort. Here's a blog by one of our most beloved team members, Nurse Practioner, Monica Moore. One of the most read blogs in the last four years was a blog that she wrote about how it felt to be "on the other end of the negative pregnancy test phone call". Today's blog is about gratitude. Me, I'm grateful for Monica for putting together her thoughts in such an eloquent and poignant way to share with us all. ~Lisa Rosenthal
It’s Thanksgiving week, and I was speaking to one of my sweet and beautiful patients who had just been told that she had no normal embryos to transfer post Comprehensive Chromosome Screening (CCS) cycle.
Of course, we were both upset at the results, but, true to her character, she accepted the results graciously, even taking the time during this difficult and emotionally charged conversation to thank me and Dr. Hurwitz for our role in her care. Unbelievable that she would think of us when our role lately seems to be only that of harbinger of bad news.
First, a little background. (She was asked and gave permission for me to share her story anonymously.) She married late in life, not finding her true partner until she was 39.They quickly realized that they would need help creating their family, so she came in for her initial consult at age 40. Luckily, she was able to achieve a pregnancy as a result of an IVF cycle, and her little boy is now almost 2 and the center of their busy lives.
Knowing that she wanted more children, she returned to see us at age 42, and was told that she “had the ovaries of a younger woman,” that is, she had many follicles and blood markers that indicate good ovarian function. She completed her first IVF cycle with CCS and it was found that she had no normal embryos. She wanted to do another cycle right away, but it was financially a challenge as her insurance was not covering any of these cycles due to her age. She was able to ask for a loan from a family member, and completed another cycle, where the embryos made never made it to the blastocyst stage and were unable to be biopsied. The most recent cycle was only able to occur as a result of her taking out a loan against her 401k in order to finance it and, as stated above, no normal embryos.
Apparently her “younger” ovaries were deceiving us. They looked younger by clinical markers but were not making good quality, chromosomally normal embryos.
What next? This is a smart lady in the medical field, able to easily understand the language of fertility treatment. Dr Hurwitz has reviewed all of the stats and the numbers with her, she knows the chance of achieving a healthy pregnancy with her own eggs is low and, at this point, she and her husband do not want to utilize donor eggs.
Problem is that she is a person, not a compilation of numbers and statistics. An amazing, giving person with feelings and desires who is also a great mom. She deserves to have another baby. We discussed her options and she realizes that if she went to a bank to ask for money for an investment, that her “rate of return” would be low in this case. But what is the risk of not trying? How do you quantify that? Would she always wonder “what if?” It’s just money, right? What about the fact that she is using money that she would be using for her existing family (college funds, home repairs) to finance the potential for another child. How does she reconcile that in her decision-making process?
At the end of our conversation she asked me the question, “What would you do if you were me? If I was your sister or your friend”? I actually consider her a friend, we have known each other a few years, shared feelings and thoughts and my suggestions are important to her decision-making. I can hear her pain and understand that she doesn’t feel that her family is complete, but I also know the financial and emotional investment that she has made for the past 2 years and see the toll this is taking on her.
I told her that I honestly didn’t know (not helpful, I realize). I can’t possibly know what it feels like to have to make this kind of decision, but what I do know is how it feels to be inadequate. All my years of experience and degrees from school haven’t prepared me to make her dream come true. What I can do, though, and what I plan to do, is to help her through this process, regardless of outcome.
It takes courage to open up and share feelings and experiences.
I will admit that even if we are not experiencing your exact experience, we share your sense of helplessness.
So this message is a tribute to her and others like her who let us into their lives and invite us to be part of their very personal journeys.
We are grateful.
~Monica Moore MSN, RNC
Struggling to See Fall Beauty During Fertility Treatment
It’s sometimes difficult to see the beauty in the month of November in New England. The flaming trees of fall have released their leaves, the white covering of snow has yet to arrive and the green of the summer has faded into memory.
November is stark, stripped down and bare. Even desolate.
The skeletons of the trees are apparent in their nakedness. Without the adornment of their leaves, they seem more vulnerable and yet sturdier.
In the last year of my struggles with fertility treatment, had I drawn a self portrait, I would have drawn a maple tree in November. No leaves, trunk and branches transparent and obvious to all. It was a year that balance felt most accessible. My roots went deep into the earth; my relationships were steady, reliable and loving.
And without apology or excess explanation, I lived within my own life, even as I expanded. I neither shouted from the rooftops about my fertility treatment nor did I spend many moments finding ways to hide it, apologize for it or explain it.
Infertility: Part of My Life But Not All Of It
Infertility became part of my life and ceased to become my entire life. I went to concerts. I played racquetball. I ran 5K’s. I made plans and visited friends and family across the country. I addressed my food challenges and made changes that benefitted me. I laughed more and cried less.
Sometimes it’s harder to look outside in November and see the beauty of the day. It’s more subtle than other times of year. Looking closely though, you will be rewarded with the tiny bits of intense blues, reds, oranges and yellows. Of berries. Of grasses. Or trunk and branch colors. Nothing hides at this time of year.
You see the curvature of the earth, with the different angles and slopes, the rocks jutting out, the dips down to ponds and other bodies of water.
Everything down to its bare bones.
Living with Infertilty and Recognizing Choices
What I learned in my sixth year of living with infertility was that I had a life. It was my choice how fully I lived into it. It was my choice to take breaks or not. It was my choice to go on or stop.
Down to basics.
When to stop treatment.
I didn’t always like my choices. Sometimes it was one detestable choice or another. Still I had a choice. I always have a choice. My choices lie in how I see things.
I chose to look outside and glory in the starkness of November. I choose to see the beauty in everything stripped down to its basics; its skeleton.
It’s my choice in seeing beauty. Or not.
I choose to see the beauty.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+