Friday, October 21, 2011

If you're new on the scene...

Welcome - to ICLWers and Redbook readers!

I've been trying to come up with a bit of an introduction in case you're new to this blog. It's surprisingly hard to write a summary statement of who we are and why we're here. I guess that's what happens after four and a half years of failed fertility treatments: 7 IVFs, many pregnancies, many miscarriages, no take home baby.

I want to add yet. No take home baby yet.

I'm a psychologist; my husband Will is a physician. We married at age 35 (and started trying even before that, but don't tell our parents). You're welcome to read about all the sad details between then and now if you want, but to cut to the chase, we found ourselves last fall experiencing our sixth consecutive pregnancy loss. After this devastating blow, we spent a looooonnnng time (nearly a year) grieving, attending to our marriage, and trying to decide between using a gestational carrier or giving another IVF cycle a try with donor eggs. We are right now pursuing the latter. Our donor is a spunky and brilliant 23 year old who just like us has never done this before. We chose her after reviewing donors from a number of agencies across the United States, and she's now in the process of passing through the many hurdles of the screening process at our rather stringent clinic.

So far so good, but I have to tell you, it's been pretty nerve-wracking from where we sit. Nerve-wracking and very, very far from the 'if you ever have sex you'll get knocked up' fears instilled by 10 years of Catholic school education. Nevertheless, here we are.

So if you're new here, I want to say welcome. I also want to warn you that if you are new(ish) to the infertility journey, we may resemble your worst nightmare. we apologize for that. Your situation will hopefully turn out to be more easily handled than ours...but then again, we never, ever thought we'd be here either. Things have looked quite promising for us all along. I make tons of eggs - more than many donors - and have even had them chromosomally tested and had several normals. We've had the best medical care in the country, which is arguably among the best in the world. And yet, obviously science has its limits.

It's been a tough pill to swallow. It has been very hard to accept that between the two of us - and a village of medical staff - we couldn't make this work. And we are changed forever by our many losses. Just tonight Will used the word "scarred" to describe us at this stage of the infertility journey, and unfortunately, I don't think that's an exaggeration. We are end-stage infertiles. We used to be lighter. We used to be funny, even. But at the same time, we've learned some things along our journey that we hope will be useful to others.

It's strange, but we never thought this blog would become well-read. Having readers wasn't even the intention when we first conceived of the blog. Originally, we used the space as a frame for thoughts on infertility between Will and me. Will has gradually taken a much quieter, backseat role in the blog and I've taken the lead. And in the meantime, we have been amazed and honored to have developed a readership - especially as I have been a very negligent blogger and commenter in the past several months.

Recently, Redbook Magazine approached us and asked us to make a video about our infertility journey as part of their project, "The Truth About Trying." And they've just listed us as among the "Best Infertility Blogs." Some of you may even be finding your way here via their link. We are humbled by this. We haven't yet decided on whether we will make a video. Will and I both work in academic medicine and have pretty public lives and full research and clinical caseloads. We've always kept this blog anonymous, striving for a mix of deep honesty without (we hope) identifying details. Making a video feels very we haven't yet taken the plunge. We're toying with some different ways to make a video that would feel genuine, preserve our anonymity, and allow us to speak via that medium...if we figure out a good plan, we'll let you know : ). I hate feeling that way, because I don't want infertility to be stigmatized and nonlegitimized (and it is both), but despite the fact that we write this blog, our story is our private story and not necessarily something we want patients and grant sponsors and fellow medical school faculty searching and finding on the Internet. Despite our personal trepidation, however, you should check out the other incredible infertility videos. Many of them are really moving, and all of them are brave.

So here we are. Longtime readers, I can't say enough about how grateful we are that you are still with us. Those newly arrived, thanks for stopping by. We hope you find something of value and that you stay for awhile.

As I mentioned, we're progressing down the donor egg path right now...and with that, here are some posts that are brewing on the horizon:
  • Grief: the gift that keeps on giving
  • What does an IVF clinic do when the egg donor checks out medically but the clinic just doesn't like her? (I was curious, so I asked)
  • Disclosure: what we're thinking of doing with our future child and why
  • Mo's versus Will's take on using an egg donor: I guess you really ARE attracted to your opposite
  • Why we picked our donor - along with how surreal it is to try to choose half of your child's genetics
  • Fear of failing with the donor...and fear of succeeding, too
  • Known vs. semi-known vs. anonymous egg donation - what we've chosen (are trying to choose at least) and how difficult it is to navigate this maze
  • Agency vs. clinic donors: why using an agency was the right choice for us (I think. Check back in 6 months and let's see what I think then!)

And you? How'd you find us? If you're a regular reader, how long have you been with us? Any questions for us? Anything you'd like to see addressed in future blog posts?

Thanks again for reading.

More soon.

Mo (and Will)

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  1. I think that's an enormous compliment but totally understand your reasons if you don't do it.

    Life does carry on after this nightmare is over (as much as you can't imagine it when you're going through it) and you're right about your careers....

    That said, I would love to see pics of you two LOL (but you have my email :) hahahaha

    I can't wait for your follow-up posts and know that I'm always thinking of you.

    I think I've been reading since we were all IVFing back in 2008... and of course I still hope to meet up with you live and in-person one day (hopefully in an exotic location for both of us).

  2. I am a long time reader and feel like I know you both. I check in often and am glad to see that you're back in the swing of things and moving on to the next stage of your journey. I had 3 losses before we had our son. I know how hard miscarriage is...I can't imagine having had any more than I did. I'm glad you took some time away from this space to grieve your losses and concentrate on your marriage. So much can get lost during infertility struggles. I will definitely continue reading as I anxiously await the day that two people like you can finally become parents! Your baby is luckier than s/he knows.

    And congrats on the Redbook acknowledgement - thats terrific!

  3. Very long time reader here. I keep thinking in my head that one of the times I click on your blog that there will be a beautiful baby photo front and center. I refuse to give up that hope for you guys :)

  4. I am looking forward to that list of posts on the horizon...esp your take on choosing your child's genes (which was especially weird for me, using both DE and DS).

    I think I found your blog via Sprogblogger, probably summer 2009 after miscarriage #2. I too never imagined how complicated my path to motherhood would get. But here we are, eh?

    Can't wait to read the next installment.

  5. Hi Mo!

    I think I discovered your blog a while back when someone posted a link asking readers to please support you and will during a loss. I know, shitty way to introduce myself. I connect to you on so many levels. We, too, are the worst case scenario. I feel bad for newbies who discover my blog for this reason! We are seven years in and no take home baby. Embryo adoption (five cycles later and no baby) has been our path of choice.

    Best of luck to you and Will. I believe that good things happen to good people (shitty things happen to, but the good will be REALLY good!)

    Thanks for so honestly sharing your journey.

  6. Long time reader here too - I'm not sure how long exactly - IF can make time flow like molasses sometimes. I totally get the hesitancy with the video, given your profession. I keep on the anonymous side for that same reason. Blank slate and all...

    And I think you've gotten such a strong readership because you are a wonderful writer. And you do still have humor - albeit a tad more cynical now perhaps.

    And Will - I miss Wednesdays with Will. Just sayin'.

  7. :) loooooongtime reader! since inception, i think! fun to be featured, but totally understand your apprehension. i still remember when the weirdo colleague told me that she and one of my students found (and read) my entire blog. i felt extremely violated and realized how i needed to "control" my data and pulled back a bit. it's nice that you have the choice. you can choose how "out" you want to be. for now, just know that we are here supporting you!!

  8. Not a long time reader as I only really discovered blogging 5 or 6 months ago. But once I found your blog I have been a devoted reader ever since! In addition to learning a lot about donor egg decisions, I just want to see you and Will succeed. You've been through so much, and it's time.

    Congrats on the Redbook acknowledgements - well deserved I think, whether or not you choose to participate. And I am looking forward to your upcoming posts - I think the topics are right on!

  9. I like the term "end stage infertiles" because that was us, too, and our journey was shorter than yours. Five fresh cycles of IVF was all we could handle before jumping into the other long journey we ended up taking.

    I have a lot of hope for you still :)

  10. Congrats on the redbook listing! Your blog totally deserves it, you have such an amazing voice.

    I'm so happy you found an egg donor you like so much. You WILL become parents. Even if biology has failed you so horrifically, life has given you the resources to make sure your dream comes true, and I'm so glad for that.

  11. I've been reading for a while (think about a year and half or so) and I do not remember how I found the blog. I am amazed by your story and bravery! My husband is also a Lymphoma Cancer survivor and we too are infertile. We chose adoption vs fertility treatments (its what worked for us). I am praying for you and your family through the entire process and really appreciate your honesty - opens my eyes to the routes we didn't choose. Thank you!

  12. ICLW reader. WOW, what a story you have. I can't wait to follow your journey with your donor exciting, but surreal. I too am suffering with IF and had a miscarriage (my first) in March, which was awful. I love that you said "we used to be funny"...I hope you find that again. I also love the phrase "grief: the gift that keeps on giving" true. Thanks for being so open and honest.

  13. I am an long time reader, too. I am so glad you are back to writing. I check for you everyday!
    I, too, used donor eggs. My almost 3 year old is amazing. He has some traits that are definitely not mine, but surprisingly I do see a bit of me in him. He's all mine though and I wouldn't have chosen to do it any other way.
    Good luck to you two! I'll be following you closely!

  14. WOW! Congrats on the honor from Redbook! I found your blog through the ICLW (my third time participating). I am a mother via egg donation and I love connecting with others who end up going down a similar path. Wishing you the best of luck with your upcoming egg donation cycle and look forward to reading more about it.

    Our successful cycle was over 2 years ago now!!!

    ICLW #21

  15. WOW! Congrats on the honor from Redbook! I found your blog through the ICLW (my third time participating). I am a mother via egg donation and I love connecting with others who end up going down a similar path. Wishing you the best of luck with your upcoming egg donation cycle and look forward to reading more about it.

    Our successful cycle was over 2 years ago now!!!

    ICLW #21

  16. I found you last fall...when we were both pregnant at the same time...and both lost babies at the same time. As horrible as it sounds, I was grateful that I found you...someone who was going through what I was. Someone who felt just as badly as I did.

    I hope things with your donor turn out on the positive side.


  17. I hope things go great with your donor! It sounds like you made sure to pick one that is a great match.
    I understand wanting to keep parts of your life private- I too am not ashamed of my IF journey but rather prefer to keep IRL friends/family out of my most personal thoughts.


  18. I've been reading for just over 2 years now. And have been hoping that your dreams are fulfilled each time I see an update. I've been enduring this journey for 7 years but still haven't really been able to start treatment. I wish you both all the best and congrats on the rebook thing, those vids are awesome. You could make a video about the stigma and privacy issues; use puppets or signs or animation so your identities aren't revealed?

  19. I found your blog last fall and am so sorry for all you have been through. Glad you are blogging (and trying) again. I did all my fertility stuff at CCRM too, so it's cool for me to see your experiences with the clinic.
    Good luck with this upcoming cycle!!

  20. Hi, I am here from ICLW. We also had to use donor eggs and while we used a known donor (my sister) I am still dealing with many of the emotions that go along with using a donor. Wishing you the best of luck on your upcoming cycle!

  21. I have been reading since early 2009, having found you either through cyclesista or Sprogblogger. I love your writing and am rooting for you guys in your upcoming cycle!

  22. I can't remember how long I've been reading....definitely more than one year, but probably not two years. I found your blog from a link on another blog, but I don't remember all the details. I'm rooting for you! Thank you for sharing your journey with us. Heather

  23. Another long time reader and end stage infertile. 4+ years trying, beginning IVF #5 (but finally doing this in the US since we are no longer expats) and more m/c than years trying. Glad to see you updating more again b/c your openness in writing reminds me that I'm not alone in this long ass path of RPL hell. I loved your hallmark rejects and my husband would even snort with appreciation.

  24. Long time reader. In the middle of our first DE cycle, after more than 4 years of TTC, 5 IVFs and 2 miscarriages, so I'm interested to read your upcoming blog posts and see how your DE process(ing) compares to ours.

    Congrats on being listed as one of the Best Infertility Blogs - you're in good company on that list!

  25. Mo...I have been following you for over a year as a fellow CCRMer. I am THRILLED you and Will are taking a walk down the DE road. I hope and pray this is IT for you two. I look forward to the many many blog posts about your DE experiences and I promise to share mine. Take care and congrats on the Redbook Magazine blog mention.

  26. I hope your chosen donor gets cleared soon and you have an uneventful trip to parenthood using DE.

    Honestly, I don't know how I first found you. It might have been through ICLW or it might have been through another blog.

    I have to admit I still get a thrill when I see my blog on someone's blogroll and I was tickled to see it on yours.

    ICLW #17

  27. For the most part, I can't remember how I found people's blogs. I remember reading and enjoying your snarky sense of humor. Then when we first met IRL our sarcastic IVF banter felt so refreshing. We'd just met, but we didn't hold back, regardless of the fact that our quips were probably in poor taste. (Although, we did wonder what anyone who overheard us might think.) Your "funny" will be back. When you finally hear your take home baby's laughter it will soothe your wounds.

    I can't wait to meet your take home baby. You were the first person other than family, doctors, and nurses to hold my daughter. I remember watching you looking at her tiny face and touching her tiny hands, and thinking about the strength it took to come see us in postpartum. You've been through so much more since then. I think you are the strongest woman I know. Your child/children will be so lucky to have you as a mom. It. WILL. Happen.

    Re Redbook, congrats, but I don't blame you for having major reservations about filming a video. Your jobs are a big part of that, but I also think that blogging anonymously makes it easier to discuss painful, controversial, or unpopular issues. Personally, I reserve the right to choose who I discuss some of this with publicly. I also feel protective of Sunshine's privacy. So, it's certainly valid to consider your future children's privacy.

    Can't wait to read the upcoming posts!


  28. Oh, and I'm starting to see some of my traits in my girl. She's a playful tease sometimes. She'll hold something out, then snatch it back with a sly smile or laugh. She totally gets that from me. :-)

  29. I came across your blog 3 years ago through the baby loss and infertility community. Your & Will's strength and perseverance together has been amazing. Your honesty comes through in your blog. Often a blog is one person's perspective, but that is not the case with yours which includes your husband. You guys have faced many extremely difficult challenges and I look forward to the day that you bring your baby(s) home. However you chose to proceed with sharing your story, know that you give others strength and hope. You have a lot of people rooting for you!

  30. Congratulation on your inclusion in the Redbook list! I myself found you through ICLW (I think), several months ago. I'm really enjoying following your journey. Happy ICLW!

  31. Another longtime reader -- I think I found you via Stirrup Queens/LFCA. Congratulations on the Redbook recognition -- it's well deserved. : )

  32. Old timer here, too. I can't remember when I first found your blog, but I do know I've been reading and cheering for you for a long time.

    Congrats on your Redbook nod. I agree that it is well deserved!

    I am so excited for you two as you embark on this new path toward parenthood!

    Stacie (formerly

  33. First time visitor - but I think I'll be back. We had 6 attempts (but not finishes) at IVF and after miscarriages and just been too upset we chose not to do it again - so I'm impressed that you are trying again. And yes - it leaves you changed - and as an adoptive parent I am still changed from the pain, grief and loss of infertility.

    Here from ICLW

  34. I'm a very new reader. Found your blog just by searching for infertility blogs when I was feeling emotionally at my lowest (I made a pact with myself to stay off the internet searching re infertility - but now I'm fully in). I've been TTC for 4 years. Multiple hysteroscopies, IUIs, and 1 cycle of IVF (with 9 excellent day 5 embryos) I''m looking at 1 chemical pregnancy and 0 babies. I thought my emotional bank was spent until I found your blog and realized I'm just a big wimp. Now I'm getting up the courage to move forward and try this again. We're thinking about a GC. But, I'm really interested to hear your experience with DE. Many positive thoughts coming your way!

  35. Jewels, thanks for stopping by. I wish you luck on your next attempt!!



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