10 October 2012

Our Infertility Date Night

Today Danny and I met up with our infertility doctor.

He specializes in working with couples who have been told they have "unexplained infertility" or miscarriages.

This man does not believe in unexplained infertility and sure enough, after some very extensive testing that most doctors never do - he says he knows why I have not been getting pregnant.  I have a very clear indicator showing a severely overactive immune system and he knows exactly what to do for it.  Amazing.  I feel like I'm in very good hands.  I'm so glad we did not go forward with IVF before doing this additional testing.

SO - things are moving along!  :)

But, what I really want to share with you is that our infertility appointments actually feel like date nights.  haha :)

Want to hear how on earth that could be the case?  

-Danny thanks me for joining him.  And I thank him. 

-Danny actually wants to have a baby with me.  This part still delights me to no end.  I do not take this for granted.

-We are both at peace no matter what happens.  We know it won't be the end of the world if things don't turn out perfectly.  We've been to the "end of the world" and it actually isn't as scary as we thought.

-We join each other for a little dinner after our appointment.

Sheesh, I know many of you might think we're a bit nuts.  But I think sometimes people just culturally & socially think that the normal behavior is to react to infertility with pain, tears, depression, agony, etc.  And, no one would dare suggest that you aren't justified in feeling that way.  So, if I may - with all the tenderness and compassion in the world - suggest that feeling the intense pain of infertility is actually optional (Update: some readers commented below on a very reasonable objection to this statement - please see the comment section and our response to avoid misunderstanding such a sensitive subject) .  It is a choice.  And I know firsthand that there is a better way.  I only, only put this out there because it's not a chosen path that you hear about often.  And yet it's a path that improves and strengthens marriages.  It changes men and women for the better BEFORE they have children.  It helps men and women to be better parents - and to one day be able to teach their own children how to face their own trials.  I can't help but encourage each of you to see infertility as an opportunity to live in a higher way.  It's one of the best opportunities I know of.  And because of that, I can say that it has been one of the greatest blessings of my entire life.

I've written about this much more in these posts - and shared some more insights about how I've arrived at this place of peace:

To Birth a Soul
I'm Working on a PhD
Mother's Day for an Infertile Woman
Romance and Clomid
Babies & Families & Mothers/Fathers Make Me Happy
Baby Making Adventures

Sending you lots of love & hope,


P.S.  We are speaking in Washington D.C. soon at a singles event and a few asked if they could attend.  We found out that this event won't be open to the public due to space constraints.  But, my goodness, thank you so much for showing interest in attending.  You've made us think some more about hosting some get togethers.  We'll try to pull that off and we'll keep you posted! 

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  1. Good luck, I really hope it works out for the two of you - sounds like your'e in very good hands with that doctor :)

  2. I am so excited that you found a good doctor that is willing to go the extra step/s!! Praying that the process is a smooth one.

    I am so happy that you stand strong to the fact that our attitude is a choice! I read a book by Joyce Meyer a couple of years ago that taught about my attitude belonging to me. I might not be in control of circumstances in life, but I am in control of how I will react to them. I can say that I am at peace in life now. Choosing to have a good attitude about certain situations that arise is not my first thought/reaction, but then I take a deep breath, pray, adjust my mind and go at it positively.

    I love reading your posts!! I is great encouragement to stick to living life with a good attitude!

  3. Good luck, this sounds so exciting!! If anything, I have a pretty good secret Mexican voodoo recipe that has helped a lot of my family members get pregnant and stay pregnant. It sounds sketchy... But I come from a line of medicine women who have been carrying family traditions since before we can remember! I'd be happy to pass the message along. Much love to you!!

    1. That sounds intriguing. Will you share with anyone? (I'm just curious about things like that. I did struggle with infertility in the past, but not anymore)

  4. Mara, Thank you for having the strength and courage to talk about such a sensitive and private topic. Your new doctor sounds amazing. Please know I am sending positive thoughts and prayers your way that this works for you.

    My husband and I have also been struggling with fertility issues over the past year and a half and I must say that over this time I have evolved into a new person, or rather, I have taken on a new attitude and outlook on my situation; in no small part due to your inspiring blog which I discovered four months ago. Your post on choosing to be happy was especially empowering and I often remind myself of this when dealing with a situation that is not ideal or beyond my control. It really helps me to take my focus off of the negative and instead focus on all the positive things in my life.

    As a fairly new patient going through fertility treatment (had my first IUI this month), I am scared that if this does not work after 2-3 cycles that my RE is going to move forward in suggesting IVF. While I am not opposed to IVF, based on all the tests we have undergone in the early stages of fertility treatment (HSG, blood, semen analysis, insulin test, hysteroscopy, etc), none have shown any red flags but on the flip side, this does not explain why we have not had any luck conceiving. Therefore, for all we know we are healthy and thus, it seems a bit rushed to jump to IVF if there might be other tests out there that could help us discover other potential problems or imbalances.

    Seeing as you have been on both sides of the fence - dealing with two RE's one pushing you to do IVF and the other interested in explaining your so-called 'unexplained infertility', in retrospect, are there certain questions that you suggest fertility patients ask before jumping to IVF? I realize that everyone's situation is different, but I think your wealth of knowledge and experience in dealing with infertility over the years could really empower new patients, like myself, to take control of their own health rather than be pushed through the system.

    Good luck as you embark upon this exciting new journey with your new RE!

  5. I don't ever comment, but I do read your blog quite regularly. I appreciate the messages that you convey on here and I'm happy you have found so much peace in your life. I believe there is definitely a choice to make when facing trials - letting them overtake your life or being grateful for what you already have and letting go of the pain. I struggled with infertility for years and went through three miscarriages before we had our beautiful daughter. During those times there were many tears shed and moments of feeling forsaken, but I learned to not let it define me and found other sources of joy in my life. That said, your post today somewhat hit me pretty hard when I read feeling the intense pain is optional. I understand your overall meaning in this post, but just wanted to note for me, there was no option on feeling the pain. I still have moments where I am sad and mourn over those children that turned out not to be. I wonder what they would have been like, how old they would be now and it brings tears to my eyes. In my opinion, the choice comes when I ask myself, "Do I want to sit and cry today or do I want to look at my beautiful daughter and the wonderful things I have been given here and now." I think it is ok to have those moments to grieve and then go about my day. To me, those brief moments of pain somehow validate that they were here for a short time. It makes me think that those children were and are real, I will get to see them one day and how happy that reunion will be.

    1. Anon - Thank you for sharing your insights. You and others below have highlighted a way to understand this post that was not originally intended.

      Mara and I completely agree with you that there is a portion of pain that is unavoidable, and its existence is certainly not a sign of some underlying weakness of the person feeling/experiencing it.

      When a loss is suffered, that loss creates grief and pain and it is certainly good and healthy to mourn. There is a second kind of pain that may or may not come as a result of the grief, and that is perhaps where the choice comes in. If in our grief we choose anger, my experience is that additional pain and suffering will come to me that is above and beyond the loss that I am experiencing. If in our grief we manage to hang on to gratitude, love, hope...my experience is that we open ourselves to a peace and comfort that is born of that gratitude, love, and hope.

      Again, thank you to you and others that posted below for highlighting that distinction that we didn't fully elaborate on in the post. I will try to amend and update the post to make it more clear.


    2. Anon - I've added a little update to the post to direct readers to the comment section so that other readers can see what you wrote and my response.

      Thanks again for sharing something so sensitive to help others who might be wondering the same thing.

  6. Love this! There is always a happier way to perceive things than the status quo of how were told we're "supposed" to react to life's unique paths:).

  7. Agree with Anon #2. I have experienced infertility for over six years, with three failed IVFs, more failed IUIs, a painful surgery, and other uncomfortable drug regimens. Notwithstanding all of that, I have been spared from much of the pain that typically accompanies infertility - I suppose it's a gift I've been blessed with. But my frequent interactions with the infertility community and my own experiences tell me that whatever level of pain we feel is not optional. Just like the pain accompanying the loss of a loved one is not optional. How we respond to the pain is where our choices come into play, and I applaud you, Danny and Mara, for the way you have responded. And I'm so glad to hear you are getting the medical treatment you need and deserve!

  8. Wow! That sounds like a major breakthrough stated very casually. Congratulations! I hope the best for you.

  9. Just started reading your blog and I just think this is such an inspirational story of strength. Thank you so much for sharing it!! : ) Best of luck and blessings to you both.

  10. Totally agree. My husband and I couldn't/can't have a baby either (and we wanted one) but that didn't mean we were unhappy. We still loved each other and loved our life. We focused on what we had - not what we didn't have. We recently were just blessed with a little baby girl through adoption and it's great. But I'll always look back on our "infertile" time, when it was just the two of us with nostalgia and affection. Happiness is a choice, no matter your circumstance. Touche Mara!

  11. My husband and I went thru multiple unsuccessful treatments (3 IUI & 2 IVF). We had our ups and downs. At times, I wondered if there really will be light at the end of the tunnel. However, we're grateful for our experience. We great closer to each other, and closer to God as a couple (and as individuals). We grew in compassion, persistence, strength. We became more grateful for our blessings, and we know that we will now be better parents because of what we experienced. Everything happened the way it should, to bring us to where we are today. We feel incredibly blessed! I agree with the ladies above -- we cannot help but feel pain and negativity at times. We shouldn't feel bad it either. Embrace them! Then, make the choice to move forward and be positive.

  12. Thank you for this timely post! Yesterday I found out our 3rd IUI was unsuccessful (which wasn't really that big of a surprise). I was really, really, really frustrated/mad/sad, etc. I cried a lot. And then my sweet husband asked to give me a blessing, and it was perfect. I woke up this morning feeling so much more calm. We had our consultation with the doctor to start the IVF process this morning as well (we can be IVF friends!). I walked out feeling great. Yes, it's a ll overwhelming. But I feel so blessed to have my sweet husband as my constant supportive companion through all of this. I too love when we get to go to these appointments together! Anyway, thanks for always bringing a happy side to things. It's usually exactly what I need to hear!

  13. Just stumbled upon your blog! I am in love!

  14. I have to say I completely agreed with the part where you believe infertility can make men and women to be better parents! I know it will sound horrific to some, but my husband and I weren't given the challenge of infertility because Heavenly Father knew I wouldn't try and find a way to have children if that was my trial. And boy howdy did I have some lessons I needed to learn in our whirlwind parenting experience! But I have other challenges wicked PPD and other fun things :) I've often wished I could have had infertility issues to help me prepare and yearn for motherhood instead of it smashing me in the face - but that's my own issue :) Some of the most wonderful parents I know are the ones who had to want and work for it. Good luck!

  15. Hi! My friend referred me to your blog because we are going through the same things! You did a great job of explaining how I am feeling as well. You should check out my post about about infertility...you might agree with a lot of the things I say!

    Good luck with everything..

  16. Beautiful post, Mara - and that is an awesome Date Night you have there, I like it!

    Whatever happens, know that you are already taking the role of parent and friend to so many of your readers and others in your life... you are already a mother. :-)

  17. I CANNOT agree with ANON #2 enough. I didn't have much pain with our infertility, but I DID have much pain with 2 of the 4 miscarriages I experienced. I believe it is healthy to grieve those babes and then pick ourselves up and CHOOSE as to how we react to the sadness. I chose to be happy, and chose to relish in the fact that I had a little boy to adore. This post did rub me a bit the wrong way even though I totally understand and mostly agree with the message. Mara, you have had so much life experience which makes this blog powerful. But I'm not sure you could sell this message of not being sad to a dear friend of mine who lost her 20 month old in his sleep. In that situation grief WILL happen and NEEDS to happen. Where the choice comes in is how we react to loss. However, it is a process. I am actually grateful for the grief and sadness I felt with my losses. I still chose to be happy, but there were some not so happy days...and that is OK! I am grateful for the emotions I felt because holding my baby girl on my chest for the first time was pure magic. I hope I don't sound like a Debbie Downer, but I guess I'm feeling a bit defensive for the mourning mothers out there.

    1. Thanks for clarifying Bri. And thank you for defending the mourning mothers out there, as you most certainly should.

      I posted a response to ANON #2 above that hopefully explains in greater detail how I feel, and how I agree with you and completely understand your reaction to the post.

      I wish we got the wording right ever time the first time...occassionally we miss it a little, and we're grateful that there are readers like you with the sensitivity to highlight your differences and share your experiences in an uplifting way.

      Thank you!

  18. There's this guy I really want to stay out of the friend zone with. Help!!!!

  19. Danny, thank you for your reply. I know it was not your intention to come off the way it could be interpreted. One of the reasons you two will have such incredible successes in your life is because of your teach-ability. Of course you wont get the wording right every time, and that's OK! When passionate about such a subject, it's easy to get tunnel vision at times and not see some other ways of looking at it (I do it ALL THE TIME). That is why I think blogs are so amazing. It opens our eyes to so many different perspectives and life experiences and teaches us in ways that can change our own realities. I have gained so much more tolerance/compassion through others experiences. Thank you for sharing your blog, and for being so open to others experiences! Hugs!

  20. Thank you for your visit at our retreat (Oct 12-13). Loved it! You'r experiences changed my life and others'. also, I love this quote by YOU: "We've both been to the 'end of the world' and it's not as scary as we thought." So true! We can endure a lot more than we think. Also, those really bad trials show us that it doesn't kill us and we can survive.

  21. I'm glad to hear that you are feeling so strong your story is truely inspiration al! I think you wouold enjoy MArisa Peer's book fertility, she talks of a positive attitude and mind set that can make all the difference with trying to get pregnant - and btw your doctor sounds amazing!!

  22. I stumbled across your blog through Emily Henderson's recent post. Wow, what great timing :) I never comment on blogs, but your words really resonate with me... My husband and I have been trying for a little over two years now. We have an unexplained infertility diagnosis and have tried IUI twice. I went through a period of time last year that I cried nearly every day. I really let this whole experience consume my life and turn me into someone that I don't even recognize. I never imagined that I, that we, would be in this position and it is, at times, hard to reconcile the fact that we may never have children. I've had moments of clarity when I say to myself, "Self, you're ALIVE! What do you have to be so sad about?" I try to tell myself to live in the moment and have a positive attitude. I realize that it is a choice, but sometimes I feel like I just have to grieve. Sometimes, in the middle of trying to be positive, the grief will just hit me like a ton of bricks! Staying positive and changing my outlook is a work in progress. I know I have a choice with regard to letting this experience consume me. So - thank you for sharing your story, your strength and your positivity.

    1. Thanks Sara,

      An important distinction to make that I think sometimes get's lost is that it is more than okay to grieve, to feel sorrow, and to experience pain (I believe Mara stated that above as well).

      The key is to not let that sorrow and pain lead you to anger, bitterness, jealousy, etc. You don't necessarily have to choose not to have sorrow...that's just not realistic sometimes depending on where we are in the process of healing. The part you can choose is to allow your sorrow and grief to lead you to gratitude, patience, love, hope, tenderness, etc. You can feel sorrow and gratitude at the same time...just as you can also feel sorrow and bitterness at the same time. What seems to be true for me is that I don't feel gratitude and bitterness at the same time, or fear and hope, or anger and love.

      You're not choosing between sorrow and positivity...you're choosing between bitterness/anger/anxiety and gratitude/love/peace.

      Of course our hearts reach out to you and what you are going through. Know that there is so much joy to be found not only in spite of trials like these, but because of them. Because in learning how to respond to these moments in life, we discover the keys to real happiness and a more meaningful love and compassion. Good luck on that journey!


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