Winter Weather, Infertility and Inspiration
It’s time for a winter weather blog. Yes, it is.
I love observing the weather; it’s my way of looking outward to the world and inward to myself and my own life. Infertility made me look more carefully out. And more seriously in.
Early winter is hard for me. I love the cold once I remember that moving around in it is an utter delight. My running partners used to laugh at me when they saw me all bundled up for an early morning, sub 15 degree weather run. No matter how many times it happened exactly as they predicted, I never believed it would.
That moment, about five to ten minutes into the run, where I was stripping everything off. My body all warmed up, no longer needing those extra layers. Still, I wanted the warmth for those first several minutes. It was comforting to go out warm, despite the overheating such a short time later.
Bare trees depressed me then, when I was yearning for my baby. The skeletons made me feel they were no longer alive; imagining them bright and green again pushed my imagination skills past their limits, just as having hope was a distant memory. Fall reminded me of what I didn’t have, with the memory of my pregnancy losses in sharp detail. Those babies that never came to be.
Winter whispered softly what I would never have. So many months, hoping and trying. Disappointment after disappointment. After disappointment after disappointment.
The skeletons of the trees in winter echoed what seemed like barren ground. With little memory of warm growth and with so little hope. The grey of winter sunk me deep down.
I look carefully now as I looked carefully then at the perfect honesty and integrity of the trees without any adornment. Winter reveals the truth of a tree, a forest, a landscape. Winter reveals the truth of me as well. The need for warmth, but not to the degree I think is necessary. The level of my fears about what is not to be, heightened by stripping away everything that often obscures the dreary view.
The trees in all their glory, inspire me, lift my eyes up, and allow me to see the foundation as well as their soaring heights. When the trees are in their most honest state, so can I be.
No umbrella of green to hide the sky, the clouds, the stars.
My hope soars with my eyes.
My babies yet to be. I have hope.
The winter, in its exuberant rest, gave me hope.
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Infertility Springs Into Ladies Night In Support Group
I’m a weather person. I believe we can learn most of our life’s lessons through the weather. One of the things that I constantly and persistently rail against is the idea of ugly or perfect weather. Sort of like the idea of an ugly or perfect life.
It’s not that I think that into every life a little rain should fall. It should and it will. I just don’t love thinking in clichés. And sometimes it’s impossible to enjoy or appreciate that metaphorical rain. Perhaps it’s just easier for me to understand the necessity of rain, wind and even snow than it is to understand a disease like infertility.
Disease. Dis-ease. Maybe it’s written right into the word. We sit in dis-ease with infertility. Discomfort. Like the metaphorical rain that falls into our lives. It is so clear to me to see the relationship between the rain today, which is falling lightly but still persistently and the burst of colorful joy in the natural world around us that is spring revealing itself.
Do I see as clearly the abundance that sitting in a disease offers us? The revealing of our truest character, perhaps? The strength that we never knew that we had? The ability to be kind even when we are in despair? I am far more shortsighted with infertility.
Ladies Night In - Infertility Support Group
Luckily, I have had an ever changing group of women for the last many years to remind me. They have different names and faces and still, they are each their own unique selves. They are the women that Carrie Van Steen and I are so honored to be with in Ladies Night In. They have names and faces and lovely and loving personalities.
Carrie Van Steen and I are often along for the ride in these groups. We meet three times a month; once in Norwalk, once in Danbury and once in Trumbull. Each meeting has its own different flavor and texture. Each group has its own sense of humor.
What each group has in common is friendship. Love. Laughter. Honesty. Integrity.
They support each other through understanding how a fertility cycle works. How a medication is injected. Through the fear of the first injection and the possible side effects. They lend a sympathetic ear when another bombardment of birth announcements has passed someone’s way. They offer suggestions on how to handle yet one more baby shower invitation. They hold each other’s hands through the wait to see how a fertility cycle will turn out and the progression of a precious pregnancy.
The bonds that these very special women have are the result of the metaphorical rain. They raise our spirits, as well as their own. They remind Carrie and me how helpful and inspiring it is to come together and share our experiences.
They are special women indeed.
Thursday night, we meet in Norwalk. An extraordinary occurrence in each and every Ladies Night In group is the ability for the group to expand to include the newcomer who joins us. She’s usually easy to identify. She’s the one sitting quietly, looking like she’d like to disappear in the talkative group of friends.
And that is just when magic occurs. Someone reaches out to her. Asks her name. Welcomes her in. Introduces her around to the other women who are chattering around her. So the group expands their loveliness and liveliness to yet another woman who needs support and friendly companionship.
These days, Carrie and I just trust that it will happen. It will invariably happen as one or the other of us is walking over to bring her into the group. It almost always happens before we reach her. Our Ladies Night In wonderwomen expand to include someone who needs to be there.
For Carrie and I? Ladies Night In is the result of the metaphorical rain. The disease revealing itself in all it’s healthy and brilliant glory.
We all invite you to come join us. It’s a special place, just for you. Come find some comfort. A laugh. A place where you will find empathy but not pity.
Come join us and find a friend.
April 17, Thursday, Norwalk at 20 Glover Avenue, after Fertile Yoga, from 6:45-8:00. April 23, Wednesday, Trumbull at 115 Technology Drive, after Fertile Yoga, from 6:45-8:00.
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RMACT Offices for Today, Feb. 13, 2014
The Norwalk and Danbury offices will be open at 7 a.m. and will close at noon.
The Trumbull office will close at 10 a.m.
Stamford will remain closed all day.
In the event of an emergency you may call our Norwalk office at 203-750-7400 and you will be connected to our emergency line.
There is no Ladies Night In or Fertile Yoga tonight in Norwalk. There is also no Fertile Yoga tomorrow night, Friday, Feb 14, 2014 in Brookfield.
If you are able to stay where you are, please do so. If you must travel, we hope that you use the utmost caution and you arrive home safely.
Infertility Support -- Humor, Gratitude and More
If you are snowed in and are looking for a little something extra to read or just need a little extra support, here are a few ideas for you.
From the PathtoFertility blog, a few blogs to make you smile, consider, feel grateful and more.
What does a clown have to do with infertility or fertility treatment? Read on: http://fertility-news.rmact.com/Path-To-Fertility-Blog/?Tag=Clowns
The incident that made me a strong contender as the world’s most angry infertility patient. I know the word angry is in the title, still you might smile just a little bit as well. It might be a slightly mean smile, nonetheless a smile! Click here: http://fertility-news.rmact.com/Path-To-Fertility-Blog/?Tag=Bathrooms
Would infertility be your choice? What if you had a choice, would this be your challenge, your battle? Here are a few of my thoughts about it: http://fertility-news.rmact.com/Path-To-Fertility-Blog/bid/27945/If-Infertility-Were-a-Choice-Would-it-Be-Yours
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Fertile Yoga and Prenatal Yoga Update
Due to road conditions, both Fertile Yoga and Prenatal Yoga are cancelled for this evening, February 6, 2014, in Norwalk, CT.
Tomorrow, February 7, 2014, Fertile Yoga in Brookfield, CT will take place as scheduled from 6:00 p.m. to 7:15 p.m. at YogaSpace.
About CT Fertile Yoga
Fertile Yoga is free. Come alone or bring your spouse, partner, friend or family member.
Yoga, meditation and deep relaxation can help men and women experiencing the challenges of infertility. Fertile Yoga helps couples relax and relaxation can help one make more satisfying decisions, communicate more clearly with their doctor, and sustain treatment with a more positive perspective.
What you need:
*comfortable, loose fitting clothing
*a yoga mat
*bottle of water
*two pillows (optional)
Please avoid eating one hour before class.
Fertile Yoga was created and is taught by Lisa Rosenthal RYT -200 (Registered Yoga Teacher). Lisa is a former fertility patient, who has been working for over 20 years as a national patient advocate for couples going through infertility. Lisa is uniquely qualified to understand the specific stresses and challenges that couples trying to conceive encounter. Fertile Yoga is designed with different diagnoses and treatment plans in mind. It is a gentle, restorative class that includes meditation.
Hope to see you tomorrow!
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Snow Day Updates - February 5, 2014
All RMACT offices (Reproductive Medicine Associates of CT) are currently open.
Please call our offices before you go in for any appointments today.
Fertile Yoga Schedule
NO FERTILE YOGA TONIGHT IN TRUMBULL.
Check our events calendar for Fertile Yoga classes this week in Norwalk and Brookfield/Danbury and for regularly scheduled classes in Trumbull.
Here are a few pictures for today:
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Weathering Winter Storms
Okay, I’m obsessed with the weather. Not only obsessed with the weather itself but also obsessed with making analogies between weather and life. I love storms!
And then I usually do make the connections with understanding infertility. Infertility, weather and life. How much free will, how much a force of nature. How much are we just on for the ride? I have noticed more than occasionally that the more that I want something, or rather, the more that I try to force something, the more challenging it becomes.
I love the weather because it reminds me that my life would not be perfect if I were more organized. My life would be more orderly if I were more organized, but it would not be perfect. Regardless of how carefully I had set up my day, all my plans were blown away by the snow storm we are experiencing. It is a snowstorm that makes us believe the meteorologists, even when they are so often wrong. They may be right about this one.
The Infertility Reminder
And yes, it reminds me of infertility. Carefully, well organized plans. The first plan, for most of us, is to have a partner that we love that we want to have a child with. Any of you out there remember how challenging that can be? If not, speak to one of your single friends, they will be able to remind you.
We women need to find that partner earlier rather than later to avoid certain fertility problems. Our wisdom allows us to make better choices as we get older, in terms of partners, but getting older does not make it easier to have babies. That feels like a heart wrenching choice and some of us choose to become single parents, rather than wait for the partner who we would like to parent with.
Going on with our well laid plans. How many of us thought we’d be seeing a medical team to become pregnant? Some of us did absolutely everything we could, for years, to avoid becoming pregnant! Who expected that when we wanted to, it would be so difficult? Whether because we waited until we found a partner, waited until we were more financially secure or didn’t wait at all, it’s a shock to find out that medical help is the way our babies will be created. Not in a loving, intimate setting, but in a doctor's office. And yes, how lucky did I feel that there were doctors out there that could help, even if it wasn’t in my original plan.
I can still remember listening to one of my friends talk about planning her children by what astrological sign she wanted them to be. Yes, really. Talk about family planning. The most odious thing was that it worked for her. She has an Aquarius, Taurus and a Libra. Of course, over and over again, life has interrupted her carefully laid plans, in the way that life does.
And if life hasn’t done it, we always have the weather.
Best wishes for the storm . . .
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I love writing about weather. If you look at my PathtoFertility posts over the last three and a half years, you will see that this is true.
Weather and infertility go hand in hand. Especially in the last several years with the dramatic and damaging storms that we’ve been experiencing.
I’m down at the Jersey Shore and I’ve spent several days watching the weather roll across the sky and the ocean. It’s magnificent. The storm clouds gather themselves together, building in color and size and strength and they are full of movement and change.
And the changes are felt in many ways. The temperature. The humidity. The color of the atmosphere. The lighting and thunder. The barometric pressure.
The storms roll in and out.
It occurred to me last night watching the sky light up in the distance, knowing it was headed in our direction, that it was impossible to control.
Well, I know that. Of course we can’t control the weather. We can’t even always predict the weather very accurately but obviously we can’t control the weather. Obviously.
And we can’t control infertility either.
And that is not my point.
Infertility Control: Weather as Metaphor and Reminder
My point is that just as the storms rage in and out, they have their energy that needs to be spent and when they are done, they are done. And the sky lightens, brightens, and often, very often, in a very short time there is no sign that there ever was a storm.
It occurred to me that we spend so much time and energy fighting the way we feel in the midst of fertility treatment that we may actually prolong our own misery. Yes, I said it. Misery. We rationalize it. “It’s not really THAT bad.” We explain it away, “It’s the hormones”. We promise we’ll feel better, “After this ultrasound, I’ll know everything’s ok and will relax”.
We don’t allow ourselves just to feel how we feel. There was probably a better way to write that, less trite. Still, how often do we notice how we feel and accept it until it disappears?
Visualize this. We have a feeling. We notice it. We name it. We accept that we’re feeling it. We go about our business of living our lives. We notice that the feeling is gone.
Like having a storm roll in, do its thing and move out to sea.
I’m going to try it today. Feel it, notice it, not be held hostage by it or change it and then notice when it’s gone.
Lisa Rosenthal's Google+
Looking Through Spring Colored Glasses
Spring colored glasses.
I've decided to put them on today.
I'm going to share some pictures that I've taken in the last two days and let them take the place of a thousand words.
Spring Flowers in the Fertile World
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Reproductive Endocrinologists and Meteorologists Are More Similar Than You Think
Storm Nemo came and came and came and just when we thought it was over, it came some more. You may have been one of those folks who got less than predicted by meteorologists. I was not. We got it full blast. It's gorgeous. The forces of nature hit full on, here in Brookfield CT. I love the snow. And I did not lose power, phone or heat. We had plenty offood and were warm and cozy as the storm raged around us.
The weather forecasters have been so right on target for the last several years. Have you noticed that? I did, with storm Nemo. The snow so high that opening the door was a struggle. And that shoveling out was necessary for the dog to be able to wade through to the yard.
The meteorologists have been right when they predict snowstorms, hurricanes, tornadoes, tropical storms and they are right when they predict the sun shining through the clouds. They have been right a lot. Not every single time, not the exact amount of a snowfall or when it will land. Or exactly when it will start or stop. But right so much of the time that very rarely do I make fun of the school closings before a single snowflake falls anymore.
They are right when they predict challenging weather conditions and they have been right about predicting stay outside all day conditions. They were right last summer when I was trying to decide which day to join friends to go swimming. The sun was out and beautiful all day, long into the evening. They were right in the fall when it was time to go and pick out a pumpkin or to go raspberry picking. Yes, in the last several years, I've had renewed respect for our sometimes maligned weather forecasters and meteorologists.
Why Are Reproductive Endocrinologists Like Meteorologists?
Infertility and fertility treatment. What on earth does the weather have to do with fertility treatment? Board certified reproductive endocrinologists remind me of meteorologists. Stay with me here for a moment. I promise, I'm connecting the dots. They predict, based on all different criteria, what your chances of becoming pregnant will be. They will go much further than that.Your fertility specialist will take all of your individual, personal, medical and physiolgical information and formulate the best plan possible on helping you become pregnant.
And here's a point to consider.We hear the bad news. We hear it really loud. We hear even iffy news, as bad news, really loud. Can we hear the good news? Think of it as the fabulous weather forecast. As the bright, shiny, warm days. None of us like to hear that our FSH is too high or our AMH is too low. None of us want to hear that our progesterone levels are up and down. That our periods and therefore our ovulation is irregular. Those are the predictions of clouds and rain and wind.
Those are the things that we don't want to hear, don't want to know, don't want to be true. Like well trained, well supported, well educated meteorologists, board certified reproductive endocrinologists have tools at their disposal. And those tools do measure those things that aren't going well. Those tools also measure those things that are going well. We hear the bad news.
I suggest that we also hear the good news. That our endometrial lining is the right thickness. That our estrogen levels are where they should be. That our follicles are growing, responding to the medications that we are taking. That our insurance has covered medications and treatment. That the Connecticut state mandate means that you can afford to do one more IUI. That our partners/spouses are finally on board to move on to IVF. That the IVF retrieval went well. These are just a few examples of good news. We believe the bad news when we hear it. Let's take time out to believe the good news when we hear it too.
In one moment, everything can change.
Where I live, the landscape is now permanently altered.
I’m referring to the storm that hit so violently yesterday.
Trees broke in half and fell or leaned.
Wires were down.
Expected routes home were impossible to use.
Finding my way home last night was like traveling on an obstacle course.
Roads were closed; trees were down every other block, lightening was coursing through the sky.
Hail was so large that it sounded like someone was throwing rocks onto the top of the car.
I had to park two blocks away from my home because there were trees, an electrical transformer box, and wires all hanging into my driveway.
What did it remind me of?
It reminded me of you. The paths that feel and are so convoluted. Expecting one thing and finding out that it’s going to go a whole other way.
It reminded me of me. Trying to stay calm while feeling under siege. While unable to get home. Of being on unexpected, less welcome routes home.
Of not being able to get home.
Traveling last night felt like infertility in the most concrete way I’ve ever experienced.
Infertility is often described as a roller coaster.
It can also feel like a destructive storm.
Last night’s storm, though, held hope and light.
Neighbors were out, seeing if anyone needed help.
Emergency services were working immediately, assessing and clearing.
Within a short amount of time, some trees were cleared by anyone with a chain saw.
As far as I know, no one died. From what I saw, trees fell mainly on land, not houses, not cars, not people.
Yes, last night reminded me very much of my path to fertility.
And today, I am home safely.