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+
Lessons in a Fertility Garden
The word fertility has such a sweet sound to it. When I think about the word, it conjures up growth; soil freshly tilled, turned, weeded, ready to be seeded and planted.
A few summers ago, I worked with a group of my friends on a piece of land lent to us by an elderly farmer, instead of joining a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture), which is a way of getting fresh produce each week from a farm.
Photo: Flickr Creative Commons (Southern Foodways Alliance)
You make a commitment in the beginning of the season, pay a certain fee up front and then get a weekly amount of veggies/fruit/herbs; whatever is ripe that week. That summer I got the privilege of working on the farm itself.
This was not a twenty foot square garden. I am talking about a 5 acre farm (tiny for a farm, but rather large for a garden). To give you an idea of mass, a twenty foot garden is 400 square feet. Put into perspective, one acre is 43,560 square feet; our "garden" was five times that size.
The idea behind the work was to grow enough vegetables for the families that were involved and for the different churches, homeless shelters, temples, etc. that help people in need. This part of the project particularly touched my heart as I heard about more and more people struggling in our economy.
So I spent 6 hours a week rolling around in the dirt and mud. We did everything by hand and used no pesticides. Weeded and mulched; back breaking work. Lots of fun too. An excuse to get down and dirty, easier to get dirty and get the work done. By down and dirty, I do mean, down. On my knees, because it saved the back, crawling around in the rich, deep, fertile soil.
What a miracle the planting was. These tiny little seeds that you could barely see in your hands. I admit, that for me, seeing is believing. Believing those tiny little seeds would grow, not only into a plant, but into food, was a true leap of faith for me. I know that this is how things grow; I have a garden at home and grow plants and flowers. It is still always a miracle that something that looks like a poppy seed grows into food and nourishment.
A Leap of Faith to Create A Baby
This is just what you are doing in trying to create a baby. Preparing your body, heart and mind to be as receptive as you can possibly be. That's also what you do when you take that leap of faith. Faith in yourself, faith in your partner, faith in your doctor and practice.
I know that you are doing everything you can to create a healthy, happy, calm place for a seed to grow. While you're at it, let hope grow along with that seed. Let the hope grow just as straight and true and strong.
And please do let us know how to help. It's what we're here for.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Trying to Conceive: Answering the Infertility Questions
If you're trying to conceive and it doesn't happen easily or quickly, you will have questions. We hear questions over and over again. Often they are the same questions, so the board certified reproductive endocrinologists and the clinical medical team at RMACT have taken some of those questions and answered them so that you can find reliable answers when you most need them.
Very often it does take up to a year to become pregnant. If you are under 35, with no known medical reason for not becoming pregnant, then that's a reasonable amount of time to try. If you are over 35, then six months is what is recommended before seeking help from a fertility specialist.
Meanwhile, here are a few typical questions if you are hoping and trying to become pregnant. We hope that your path to fertility is short and uncomplicated. LR
At what time of the month is a woman fertile?
The most fertile time of a woman’s cycle is just before or the of day ovulation. Ovulation usually occurs two weeks before a period starts, so it is necessary to count backwards from the anticipated start of the next period in order to find the most fertile time.
Take the number of days in the usual cycle (from the beginning of one period to the beginning of the next) and subtract 14. For example, a woman with a 32-day period would likely ovulate around day 18 (32-14=18), while a woman with a 28-day cycle would ovulate around day 14 (28-14=14).
We recommend every other day intercourse around the day of ovulation. That would mean days 12, 14 and 16 for women with 28 days cycles. It is best to have intercourse before ovulation rather than afterwards, so a woman who ovulates on day 14 would have a good chance of conceiving if she has intercourse on either day 13 or 14. For women with irregular cycles you can extend the period of every other day sexual relations.
Alternatively, women with irregular cycles may want to use an ovulation predictor kit, which can be purchased over the counter at most local pharmacies. This involves testing your urine around the time of ovulation using a detector stick, which gives you a visual reading.
Additionally, there are electronic monitors which detect ovulation by tracking two hormones (estrogen and luteinizing hormone) starting with urine testing on day one of your menstrual cycle. The methods that utilize urine predictor sticks or urine ovulation detector machines are usually highly sensitive, accurate, and reliable.
How can a woman tell if she ovulates?
The simple, inexpensive way of finding out the approximate time of your ovulation is to take your basal temperature (that is, your body temperature at rest) every morning and record it on a chart. You can buy a Basal Body Thermometer at your local drug store. Save all your charts so you can review them with your doctor. Three or four months of charting should be adequate. If your temperature goes up after the middle of your menstrual month you likely do ovulate. In general you ovulate about two days prior to the temperature rise.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
In Many Different Opportunities Will You Find Fertility
Sometimes a picture is worth a thousand words.
Grow something. Nurture it. Find what is needed to nourish and sustain it.
Find your own fertility. Beyond becoming pregnant.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
RMACT Offers Patients a Free Fertility Seminar for Couples
Reproductive Medicine Associates of Connecticut (RMACT) has created something very special for their patients. An evening for couples to understand and explore their own individual processes about infertility and fertility treatment.
A Fertility Seminar for Couples
The journey to pregnancy proves to be less stressful, and more successful, when the medical care is a comprehensive and coordinated approach that involves both partners as a couple.
Join us for a FREE seminar on: Thursday April 11, 2013 5:45 PM – 8:00 PM
10 Glover Avenue, Norwalk, CT 06850
Concurrent Sessions: 5:45-7:00PM
For our Male Patients: For our Female Patients:
Optimizing Male Fertility Fertile Yoga - Come experience guided meditation meditation and deep relaxation. Consider this a mini vacation, clearing your mind and body.
Questions to Consider About Your Lifestyle and Fertility
Have you ever wondered…
• If there is a relationship between diet, exercise, alcohol, stress, tobacco, or other lifestyle behaviors that may affect our chances of conception?
• How does my body weight, high cholesterol, diabetes, or medications affect my fertility?
• Are vitamins, supplements and protein powders helpful or harmful to my fertility?
If so, join Dr. Mark Leondires, RMACT’s Medical Director, and Carolyn Gundell, RMACT’s Nutritionist for an educational seminar addressing these and many more issues.
For Everyone: 7:00 – 8:00 PM Support and Encouragement for You and Your Partner
Lisa Tuttle, Ph.D., Clinical Psychologist, will lead a discussion that is geared toward helping partners support each other through the fertility journey.
Topics to be discussed include: understanding the typical male and female reactions to infertility and how different they are, what to say and what not to say and coping with the stress of infertility and managing that stress in your relationship.
A light dinner will be served
Free Admission for RMACT Patients, but please RSVP to Jenn at 203-750-7484 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Fertile Love - A Family of Two
We open our hearts to our beloveds and we create family. We are family, whether we are born to the same mother and father or whether we were born continents apart. We are family when our hearts connect. That bond does not disintegrate. Not with time or space or loss of communication or even death. We are family.
We are family when we are partners who have committed our lives and our hearts together. Our families are not created by enlarging to include a child. Our families are started through our love and committment. With or without a child.
Celebrate your family. In this moment. Your partner, spouse, beloved. Your sisters of blood and of spirit. Your brothers who hold you up and reflect your loving heart back to you. Your parents, the ones that brought you up and the ones that have helped you on different segments of your journey.
Fertility and Family
Our children do not make us a family. We are family when we love. Our fertility shines through our love, our ability to grow and explore new ways to be family.
We are family when we love. We are fertile when we watch our hearts expand to find the light. Our fertility is ours for the taking when we love. We are family, we love, we expand, we offer our hearts. To you.
In Honor of National Nutrition Month, My Fertility Hero is...
Every once in a while, when I am so inspired, I write to you about a fertility hero. There are people that just do that. Inspire. It could be Lindsay Nohr Beck, cancer surviver and founder of Fertile Hope, an organization devoted to fertility preservation. It could be a man or woman who goes above and beyond in their quest to create their family and keeps their sense of humor. And cheers up other people. And spends time with their nieces and nephews. It could be my fearless partner in leading Ladies Night In, Carrie Van Steen, who gives her whole heart to her patients.
Lately, I've had one on my mind. And, as it happens, it is March 1, the first day of National Nutrition month. The timing seems fortutitous. Meet Carolyn Gundell, RMACT nutritionist. Where do I start? From the beginning.
Carolyn Gundell and Nutrition
She has helped patients make substantial changes in their lives since she has joined the practice
Her nutrition expertise when it comes to weight loss, food plans and understanding the challenging endocrine disorders of insulin resistance, pre-diabetes and PCOS is unsurpassed
Carolyn has five board certified reproductive endocrinologists that she consults closely with to create plans for patients trying to conceive
Her passion has led her to create seminars, such as pre-conception health and how to be healthy once you become pregnant
She has led the charge to educate and support young women, NOT trying to become pregnant, who have PCOS and want to live their lives in as healthy a way as possible
Carolyn has established on-going PCOS seminars and support groups to support and educate women trying to manage PCOS and trying to conceive
- She is an integral part of our new program for teenagers struggling with the effects of PCOS
Those are the formal things to know about Carolyn. I'm lucky enough to have an insider view. Here are some less formal things that inspire me about Carolyn.
Those beautiful boards that tell you about pre-natal vitamins, PCOS and food? She makes them herself
When she broke her foot, she continued to see patients, lug around empty boxes to review ingredients with patients and never lost a step (pardon the pun)
She always has time to stop in at Ladies Night In, to chat or educate - at 8 pm, after a full day
She will often walk someone over personally, for Fertile Yoga
Carolyn will speak with any RMACT team member about food, diet, exercise. She gives of her time very freely
When there is no appointment and a patient needs one, she will always find time
She has more ideas on how to improve patient experiences at RMACT in 10 minutes than most of the rest of us do in weeks
Here a few comments from some of her RMACT colleagues:
Carolyn has inspired me very much.
I am trying to use some of her suggestions in my own life.
I am actually feeling the best that I have in some years with a better diet, vits and excercise. Thanks Carolyn! ~ Spencer Richlin, MD - Surgical Director of RMACT
Working with Carolyn Gundell as a part of the PCOS team has been truly inspiring. Her dedication, caring and willingness to spend time with each patient she cares for is remarkable. She will go the extra mile for anyone in order to help make their lives better. In addition, on a personal note, Carolyn is always there to help me in my own struggle with my weight and nutrition. ~ Diana D'Amelio - RMACT Physicians Assistant - PCOS and Third Party team member
Adjectives that I would use to describe Carolyn would include: passionate, dedicated, intelligent, resourceful, kind, and pretty darn amazing. Carolyn has changed the practice's thoughts and behaviors about eating and at this point hundreds of patients in the practice. Recently there's been a patient in our practice that I believe never would've gotten pregnant if she not met with Carolyn. Additionally she works hard and persistently for patients that are at risk from diabetes and significant obesity. She picks up things that the doctors don't pick up secondary to her inquisitive nature and unique relationship she has with patients.
She frequently teaches me things. She's always pleasant and positive and I feel thankful that I get an opportunity to work with her. ~ Mark Leondires, MD - Medical Director of RMACT
Carolyn shares a wealth of knowledge with a passion and energy that is inspiring. She works tirelessly to ensure the well being of her patients. Working with Carolyn is an enriching experience- I am always learning something new! ~ Eloise Downs - Registered Nurse on RMACT's PCOS Team
A final note about Carolyn. Lately, it's occurred to me that Carolyn is remarkable, in a way that I'm a little uncomfortable talking about. That's a word that's used a lot for her. Remarkable. Passionate is another word. Educated is a third. Those three words are probably the reason that she is able to connect so effectively with patients. When I look at Carolyn, I realize the point of looking past the physical being. Carolyn is a beautiful woman. She is also thin and svelte. I admire our patients and Carolyn's looking past one another's looks to see the person within.
When I first met Carolyn, I really wondered how men and women who were obese, overweight or even had just a few pounds to lose would take to working with someone who is a size 2. Her size intimidated me. Credit goes to her ability to make a connection despite the difference in outward appearances, for her to relate so passionately to patients who could be dismissive of her, but who are not. She finds the way, seamlessly into our patients hearts, to help and support them on their journey for their families.
I have a lot to learn from Carolyn too. I find I am in a large pool of RMACT team members and patients that are grateful we are lucky enough to have this fertility hero. Thanks Carolyn, for contributing your considerable self, size 2 or not, to the RMACT team and family.
Top 10 Fertility Health Do's and Don'ts
Too much information.
In the guise of giving as much fertility health information as possible, to be as thorough and comprehensive as I can be, evidently for some of you, I may be confusing. PathtoFertility, the blog you are currently reading has recently celebrated it's third birthday. Five blogs a week, fifty two weeks a year, times three; there's a lot of information here.
For those of you out there who would like to know the basic things to do and not do, it can be overwhelming. So, pared down, if you are not in fertility treatment or seeing a board certified reproductive endocrinologist and simply want the benefit of being as fertility healthy as possible, then here are the basics. If you become interested in any of the items listed, there are blogs on this site that will go in the why's, why not's, and other details.
Sleep a minimum of seven hours a night
Take a good prenatal vitamin with folic acid
Excercise mindfully. Walk, don't run. Yoga, yes, not hot yoga
Eat a healthy diet, with plenty of colorful vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, fruit, good oils
Drink plenty of healthy, non-caffeinated, non soda fluids
These are your bare minimums. Think of it as your foundation. There are many other ways to enhance your health and improve how you are feeling. Without these foundational elements, nothing else that you will do will have a lot of efficacy.
These Are Only Suggestions to Help You Get Pregnant
Having a cup of coffee or a glass of wine will not mean that you will never become pregnant. Or even that you will not become pregnant during the cycle in which you have those things. Nor will having a cookie or a bowl of ice cream. These things, after all, are not birth control. They will not create a miscarriage or an unhealthy embryo or fetus.
These are suggestions for you to be able to use as ways to create that stable foundation for a healthy pregnancy and baby. These are suggestions for you to become a healthier person, which is the foundation for a healthy pregnancy and baby.
We are all human beings. We all do the best that we can. Even with these foundation items, there will be times when you indulge. Forgive yourself and move on. In other words, do the best that you can. Be mindful.
A Chance to Speak Out About Infertility
It's time. Back in the dark ages, no one talked about infertility and fertility treatment. Well, almost no one. Here and now, guess what? Many of us still don't talk about infertility and fertility treatment. Two major side effects of infertility; isolation and shame.
There are many reasons not to talk about infertility. If you're reading this, you may recognize your reason on this list; shame, privacy, insurance coverage, fear of pity, avoiding unhelpful help, easier, sparing the other person(s) pain, thinking that you will be pregnant soon enough so it's not necessary, jealousy and envy, not wanting to be the topic of conversation. And more. It's a partial list, your reasons may not appear there.
Celebrities Talk Too, Including Mrs. New York
I had all those reasons. But I had something else too. A big mouth. Which, it turned out, was a good thing. It got me out of myself and into volunteering. These days infertility is all over the news. Even the celebrities talk about it, embarassing as it could be for them, even damaging to their public personas. Still, they talk about it. Check out Mrs. New York in our photo.
I started talking a long time ago. I started volunteering. I started writing. I did interviews. I did television shows. This was over twenty years ago. I haven't stopped since. My biggest reward is to see infertility conversation out of the closet. To see it discussed on all major media and social media platforms. It just isn't enough though. It's time. We need you. I need you.
Please Join the Conversation at Fertile Yoga on March 11, 2013
I was asked to be interviewed by a very sympathetic television reporter. She would like to video a Fertile Yoga class, on March 11, at 11:30 am. Most likely the class will be taught at Blackbird Yoga, in Georgetown CT, about 20 minutes north of Norwalk and 20 minutes south of Danbury.
I need you. I need you to come and take class that day. If you can find a way to be comfortable, we would arrange for you to be interviewed as well. This is an opportunity to come out of the closet. To be with a group of people, acknowledging this very prevalent (one out of six people will face the challenge of infertility) health problem.
Come be part of the solution. Bring infertility just a little bit more out of the closet. Find your own voice and let it be heard. My email address, if you are interested, is email@example.com. Please put in the subject line ~ Fertile Yoga - It's time. For those of you who participate, there will be a little concrete sign of our gratitude.
RMACT shares their Fertile New Year's Wishes and Hopes:
Wishing you a happy prosperous 2012. I am hoping that this year will be a year to always remember. As long as there is hope, there is faith. Good luck!!~ Natesha L.
Hope that your wishes and hopes are fulfilled~ Linda C.
To all of our RMACT patients,
I know it is so hard to see beyond the scope of your Fertility journey. The days, months, years, the ups and downs and the arduous task of always trying to be positive can definitely get in the way of life’s other offerings. My wish for all of you is that you are able to reach out and grab hold of all the joys that family, friends, good health, and any and all personal accomplishments can bring you.
Best wishes for all things wonderful in the new Year!
Third party Coordinator
May your deepest wishes be fulfilled with the coming new year!~ Mary H.
Wishing our patients a year filled with hope, love and much happiness! ~Justine S.
Wishing all the patients at RMA peace and joy this holiday season, and dreams fulfilled in the year ahead!!~ Amy M.
Here is what I know:
I will be spending New Years Eve with dear friends, who have become family to us.
That I greatly value the people I work with. I adore them personally and respect them professionally.
That those of us at RMACT will continue to work our hardest to help you fulfill your family-building dreams.
And I know that fertility treatment works. I thank Dr. Leondires and Monica when I look at my Lego-loving, sweet, funny 6 year old son and wonder where I would be without their help and support.
Lastly, I know I have a fantastic husband, a true partner and best friend to celebrate all of life's victories, no matter how small.
I hope 2012 brings you everything you wish for, and that you find the time to celebrate even your smallest victories.
May you find Peace and Love this Holiday Season! ~Alicia M.
May you have a very Happy Holiday and safe New Year!~ Andrew F.
"The beauty of the holiday season can remind us of all the beauty in life that we take for granted. Our family, our friends, and our faith." ~ Diana D.
I wish you all the peace and wisdom to make 2012 a year full of personal growth and success. Whatever else happens is just a bonus! I find you, our patients, a constant source of strength, motivation and inspiration and am honored to participate in your care, as well as accompany you on your fertility journey~ Mark Leondires, MD- Medical Director of RMACT
I wish for our patients to have a meaningful 2012 that is filled with fulfillment~ Joshua Hurwitz, MD- RMACT
2012, a new beginning. An ending. A new beginning.
The RMACT Team offers you wishes for a Fertile New Year.