When The Whole World Is Pregnant


When the whole world is pregnant…it can feel overwhelming.


When the whole world is pregnant…mixed emotions ensue.


Happiness is always the first emotion to escape.




Followed by…


I’m so happy for you.


Because you are.  You want your friends to have more and more babies.  You want their dreams to come true.  And you want to be there every step of the way, from pregnancy tests to holding that sweet little baby wrapped just tight enough…


There’s just one tiny little problem…


You want that too.


Boom!  Jealousy hits when the lights go down.  It attacks in an instant.  It manages to break free, even when you’re certain that you have it cornered.


How can they all be on #2?


When will it ever be my turn?


I’m quitting Facebook…and Twitter…and Pinterest…and…


It’s not long before the guilt sets in.


I really am happy for everyone else.


I want them to have happiness too.


I’m not a horrible person.


Followed by anger and self-loathing, of course.


I hate being bitter and jealous.


What is wrong with this godforsaken uterus?


I’ve gained a million lbs.


My face looks like that of a 13 year old.


My clothes will never fit again.


And I still don’t have a baby.


And then the tears finally escape.


It’s hopeless.


I’m helpless.


Nothing is working.


I just want one.  One sweet little baby.


When the whole world is pregnant, emotions run high.  Feelings shift by the minute and threaten to overwhelm your day.


When the whole world is pregnant…you have to take care of you.


Check out.


Watch that episode of Friends for the 37th time in two months.


Eat those dark chocolate M&M’s.


And drink that Cabernet.


When the whole world is pregnant…


You just have to survive.




Share Your Story: PCOS

Please welcome Clare today, who shares a story that began when she was just 15 years old.  You often hear people reference that fact that things like PCOS can go undiagnosed until women attempt to have a baby.  Clare’s PCOS was diagnosed before she started trying, but her story begins when she was a teen and it isn’t over yet.  Please show Clare some support today.


I am now 33 and my story starts at 15, when I’d long started the dreaded monthly cycle. I have always suffered from painful and heavy periods. I thought it was perfectly normal to feel wretched each month and not only at the time of my period but throughout the month.


My mum, bless her just thought I was being an over dramatic teenager and trying to skive off school for a couple of days each month (when the pain and heavy flow meant the last thing I wanted to do was actually leave my bed)! But, pretty much each month I would end up in the sick room at school with a hot water bottle and hot drink, for my mum to come and collect me and take me home.


Over time I learned that the one of the best ways to deal with things, for me, was to just try and put on a brave face and try to carry on as normal, as best I could.


I met my husband when I was 18 and we moved in together within 6 months of meeting. I would describe him as “a quiet type” the total opposite of me.  He doesn’t always say a lot, but he is my soul mate and my rock, and has stood steadfastly by my side through thick and thin and I know I wouldn’t have got through everything we’ve been through, without him.


At this point, the pain had become much, much worse, so off to the doctor I went, and was lucky enough to see a brilliant female doctor. Once I had gone through all my symptoms, it was like the floodgates opened and years of pain flooded out through my tears. She referred me for a scan at the hospital to see what they might find and luckily my appointment came through quickly. This first scan was to be the first of many over the next 15 years and the results were large ovarian cysts, which then led to my first laparoscopy, which resulted in my diagnosis of endometriosis and PCOS.


The cysts were cut out and the surgeon removed as many lesions and adhesions as possible.


My follow up appointment was with a gynecologist, who basically told me that if I wanted a family, then I should start ASAP, as both conditions can cause infertility.


Hubby and I had already discussed starting a family early on so to us, this cemented our decision, and off we went, with me naively assuming that because I was young, pretty healthy, my tubes were clear and they’d had a good clear out, it wouldn’t take too long. How wrong I was!!!!!


Along the way, I suffered with even more pain, fertility drugs, 2 miscarriages, 3 more minor laparoscopy’s and 1 major laparotomy, unrelenting ovarian cysts as well as the emotional roller coaster that you are on, and none of the understanding that many people who haven’t traveled this path need, an understanding I wouldn’t wish on anyone.


The loneliness and desperation you feel as you become more angry that the body you have got to live in, for the rest of your life, constantly let’s you down, and the guilt of knowing that you are unable to give your husband a baby that you both so desperately crave.


I do, finally, have a happy ending! After 7 crazy years and after the emergency laparotomy that we feared would rob me completely of my fertility, turned out to be my savior! Within 6 months of my surgery, which was followed by 6 months of Zoladex, I fell pregnant naturally with twins. I very sadly lost one baby at 8 weeks, but in May 2007, I gave birth to my beautiful healthy boy, Finley, who I have to say, is amazing. He has brought so much joy and unconditional love and he enriches our lives daily, and I can hardly remember life without him.


We are now on the next steps of our journey, as yet again, 2 years of trying have left us at Endo/PCOS-1 baby-0. I had another laparotomy in late 2009, when an already existing heart condition was investigated further due to problems in surgery, and it was decided that this should be repaired first before we continued to try and conceive.


My surgery was in 2010.  During the surgery the heart condition was discovered to be life threatening and had I fallen pregnant again, would probably have killed both of us!


We now have the new obstacle of no ovulation, which I have to say, even for me is a new one. Finley, who is now weeks away from turning 5 is desperate for a brother or sister, as in his own words, “he thinks he’ll be a pretty good big brother”, and those words break my heart. Trying to explain that we would love him to be a big brother, but mummy has a tummy that doesn’t always work properly is heartbreaking for me.


I am also days away from laparotomy # 3 and I am hoping this will result in baby # 2, though it’s very hard not to be too positive or too negative, oh I wish there was a happy medium!


I try to take each day as it comes and see what happens and to try and always see the bright side of life, no matter how damn hard it is!


So many people though are so quick to tell me that, well you are still young and be grateful that you already have a child, some women aren’t as lucky as you, which then sends me into guilt trip mode, and then I feel ungrateful for my beautiful boy, damn, sometimes you just can’t win!!


Thank you, Clare, for sharing your voice in this community.  Sending you lots of pregnant thoughts and hoping that that laparotomy went well…

Amusing Infertility Advice

Now that I’ve made it to the other side, I will talk about my infertility journey with pretty much anyone who wants to listen.  But when I was in it, especially the first time around, I kept pretty quiet.


Part of it had to do with the feelings of shame that I experienced early on.  With each miscarriage, and with each passing month, I felt like a failure.


But there was another reason…


Everyone I told seemed to have the answer.  In hindsight, many of those answers were actually fairly entertaining.  But at the time, I wasn’t so easily entertained.  I might have even been just a tad bitter with a bit of a short fuse.  Maybe.


Now that I can look back at these little tidbits of wisdom from people who never experienced infertility and laugh, I thought I would share them with you.


Because while there isn’t anything funny about infertility, sometimes the infertility advice provided by friends and family is downright funny.


Do it EVERY day:  Um, that’s not happening.  Ever.  Who are these married people who have sex every day?  I am fairly certain that they are just a myth.  I heard this gem a few times over, and it was always said with a huge grin.  Every day?  Really?  Please tell me I’m not alone here…


Headstands:  Yes, we’ve all heard about the legs in the air technique.  And some of us might have even tried that.  A few hundred times.  But one helpful friend told me that the real trick is to practice more yoga so that I would be able to do an actual headstand.  On my hardwood floors?  After sex?  Clothes or no clothes?  This was just too much.  I do love yoga, but under no circumstances can I do a headstand (especially naked and after sex).


Get drunk:  As if I hadn’t already exhausted this strategy…  People love to reference the fact that this is how teens get themselves in trouble.  No such luck for these old eggs…I did keep trying that one though.  What’s the downside, right?


Relax:  My favorite advice ever!  As if us infertiles can just hit a secret relaxation button and poof…the stress is gone.  Not that I didn’t try.  Acupuncture?  Check.  Exercise?  Check.  More water, less wine?  Ok, maybe that’s where I drew the line.  A girl has to have a vice, after all.


Eat fish:  In our (much) younger days, Sean and I were vegetarians (I know, I can’t believe it either).  This, of course, resulted in a lot of feedback about our infertility.  More than one person hinted that Sean needed to eat more fish for the fatty acids…because miscarriage can be caused by sperm lacking in fatty acids?  Not so sure about that one!


Take a vacation:  Here’s the thing about vacations:  They are meant to be relaxing (see above).  Sometimes you can even leave your troubles behind for a few days and just check out.  But when your troubles reside in, say, your uterus?  Or your ovaries?  Or both?  It’s kind of hard to leave them behind.  Besides, the vacation fund went toward infertility medications not covered by insurance.


Stop trying:  I had more than one person tell me that I was trying to hard.  That if I just stopped trying, I would be pregnant immediately and carry that baby to term without a problem.  Solid advice.  With one small exception…I don’t think that trying too hard is ever really to blame.


Track your cycle:  Genius!  Why on earth did I not think of this on my own??!!!  They should invent some sort of test kit to let you know when you’re ovulating…  Oh wait…they already did!


Get new lingerie:  Apparently the real problem was my sleepwear.  Who knew?  I can’t believe I wasted all of that time trying to get pregnant when all I needed was a quick trip to Victoria’s Secret.  Sigh.  There should be a handbook clearly stating these rules of instant pregnancy.


Stop exercising:  While I know that marathon runners and Olympians are at risk of problems with ovulation due to excessive exercise, I don’t think this truly affects the general population.  Not.  An. Olympian.


Did I at least get one laugh out of you today?  Because I always have more…


Now it’s your turn to make me laugh.  What’s the funniest infertility advice you’ve received so far?



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Share Your Story: One LoCo Mommy

This week on Share Your Story, meet Diane.  Known on Twitter as One LoCo Mommy, Diane blogs over at One LoCo Mommy.  There was nothing easy about her journey to parenthood, including a substantial amount of pain.  After months of trying without any luck, Diane finally saw a specialist.  It was then that she learned that she really only had a 1-2% chance of conceiving each month.  And so she started infertility treatments.  Today she shares her story with us.  “It’s So Hard When It Doesn’t Come Easy” originally appeared on The Invisible Disability on April 26, 2012.

It’s So Hard When It Doesn’t Come Easy

Byline:  One LoCo Mommy

This morning, after putting Mayita back down in her crib from yet another waking, I stumbled back to bed. Unfortunately I couldn’t get back to sleep. Thoughts kept rolling through my mind (like, preparing for her birthday party, why is my credit card bill so damn high, etc.) when I suddenly realized that I missed a BIG anniversary.

Five years ago, on April 23rd, 2007, I walked into an nondescript office building. It was a day we were waiting for a long time. It was the day of my Intrauterine Insemination procedure, otherwise known as an IUI.

It was a long, frustrating and painful lead-up to that day. We were trying for a year and a half.  We were doing all the “right” things. I had bought “Taking Charge of Your Fertility”. I measured my basal body temp every single morning and charted. I even had a subscription to an online site that would take my temps and pretty much told me the right time to…well…try.

I exercised, limited my caffeine and alcohol intake, and definitely tried to negotiate with “the big man upstairs”. I bought  books and then more books. I scoured the Internet for resources. I went to online sites and found other women like me trying to learn some magic trick to getting pregnant.

And, every month, like clockwork, there was the disappointment. The crying. And, because I havedysmenorrhea, I was in extreme pain (because the Pill actually helps regulate that). I was not a pleasant person during these times.

Inevitably, we would buck up and look forward to the next month with optimism. That maybe “this” was THE month.

But it was never THE month. And so it went on. We had to dodge questions from family and friends. We always had a smile and joked that our dog was, “our child” but yet it still hurt. When family members and friends announced their upcoming joys we were crushed. We would hold the babies in our arms, devastated that we hadn’t been the “lucky” ones.

I finally saw my OB again, and other tests were run. We discovered what we had suspected all along – that we were dealing with infertility. Most likely, we were looking at IVF for a shot of becoming pregnant. Even now, I remember how far my heart fell when I heard all those words. But yet, it was strangely reassuring because now there was something new to explore. We knew what was going on now.

We got our referral to a Reproductive Endocrinologist (RE). After reviewing our initial results, the doctor explained that we had about…oh…1-2% chance of getting pregnant every month. Well, with those odds, no wonder we were failing miserably. The doctor continued by telling us that maybe an IVF wasn’t the avenue we should pursue. Instead, we should try an IUI, with Clomid and injectibles. As he put it, “create as many targets as possible for the little buggers.”

So we went through more tests and blood work. I had to get an hysterosalpingogram (HSG). And while the majority of women only have slight pain or cramping, I was not one of those. The poor techs were not sure what to do with my sharp breathing and yelps. Happily they were able to report that my reproductive system was clear as a bell.  I’ll take that as a compliment.

We had to go to a class to learn how to use the injectibles. Rather, Husband had to learn and I had to make sure that I wasn’t going to freak out about the thought of Husband giving me shots.

When we finally straightened out the insurance (and let me just say, we were extremely lucky my insurance covered this) we were able to “officially” start Round 1. That meant more blood work, and then I got to experience the transvaginal ultrasound. This is what I commonly joked to as the “dildo cam”. I took the Clomid on cue every day and then, on the designated days, Husband did his duty and poked me with the injectibles. He did very well and I was proud of him.

I had to have another ultrasound to monitor my follicle development and when the time was right, we scheduled the IUI. I had many viable follicles that were ripe for insemination. Woot. The actual procedure itself did not take long at all, was nowhere near as painful as the HSG (thank GOD) and I was able to go right back to work. With a little secret, of course.

And, so we waited anxiously. For two whole weeks. I obeyed my RE doctor and nurse who said not to test early. I didn’t want to have a false negative (or positive). In order to get an accurate result, a Beta Pregnancy Test was best. Which meant more blood work.

I never told y’all that I hate getting my blood drawn, right? I mean I actually will pass out. I was actually advised to not donate blood because I couldn’t last two minutes. But I put on my big girl panties for the chance to become a mom. I had to.

Putting on the big girl panties worked. My Beta levels were high. I was pregnant. Round 2 of the Beta test, then the ultrasound proved it. There was a tiny heartbeat going strong. Mere months later, Mayor Bee entered our lives. And we won the Battle of Infertility.

And for all the frustration, sadness, and worthlessness I felt during that long journey, holding that little precious baby made it all melt away. It was all worth it.

Thank you, Diane, for your words, your strength, and for sharing your happy ending.  A little bit of hope goes a very long way.  Now head on over and pay Diane a visit.
One LoCo Mommy

Ask Dr. Marc: Donor IUI

Dear Dr. Marc,


I am starting my first DUIU next month- eek! I keep hearing “take baby aspirin to thicken lining”, “drink Robitussin to thin cm”, and “eat pineapple to help with implantation”…how on earth do I know what to believe?!




Dear Kristen,


Getting ready for a DIUI (donor intrauterine insemination) is somewhat different than an insemination for unexplained infertility or male factor (the 2 other most common reasons for IUI).  The reason it is different is because there is no technical “infertility” in this situation.


As such, the single most important factor is timing. You should focus your efforts on tracking ovulation and making sure that all the details are in order (sperm is available, your clinic will be open, you will be in town, Etc.).


The other aspects which people with infertility focus on, such as endometrial thickness and cervical mucus consistency, are less significant to you,


Good luck,

Dr. Marc




False Hope

You have to stay positive.  Your time will come.


You can’t give up hope.


Stress exacerbates infertility.  You just have to decrease your stress.


Have faith.  You will be next…I just know it.


The words were always meant to comfort me.  And to some degree, I appreciated that.


But for nearly three years, I never was next.


Next was reserved for others, it seemed.  The ones who could hold on.  The ones who could will it to happen.  The ones who didn’t let the stress get the best of them, I suppose.


I tried to stay positive.  I pictured the outcome, designing the nursery in my mind right down to the very last itsy bitsy sock (pink or blue, no matter).


I imagined my snuggly little baby nuzzled into my chest smelling of new.


I sat in the middle of the room that wasn’t, right where the crib would go, and softly sang sweet lullabies to soothe my aching soul.


Month after month after month after month, I tried to remain positive.  I tried to hold onto hope.  I tried to follow the unwanted advice.


And for a few weeks out of each month, it worked.


Until my hormones started to crash.  Until the PMS reared its ugly head and despair quickly set in.  Until hope ceased to exist.


It always followed the same cycle:  Anger turned sadness turned complete and utter loneliness.  I was powerless to stop it.


I snapped at Sean.  I punched a pillow.  I hid my anger from the world but yelled out loud when I was home alone.  I was sure my neighbors would report me for disturbing the peace.


What peace?  It had been over a year since I had experienced anything even close to peace.


When the anger subsided I was reduced to tears.  Loud, hiccupping, childlike tears.  They came in waves and left me feeling broken and exhausted.


And so I preferred to be alone.


How could I possibly face the world when I couldn’t even face my reflection in the mirror?


Yes, the despair was the hardest part.  It seemed to last forever, even if only amounted to a couple of days.


And then, one morning, the hormones would stabilize and hope would return to my soul…it was time to start anew.  This month would it would happen.  I could feel it in my bones.


And just like that, the cycle would begin again.


It’s difficult to pinpoint the worst part of infertility because, truly, the whole journey is just plain bad.


But the ups and downs were so very difficult to endure.  The constant shifting between hope and despair left me feeling shattered.


A shell of the person I once was.


And yet, I kept on trying.  Because when the end result is far superior to the road it takes to get you there, you just have to…


Keep.  On.  Trying.



Share Your Story: Pregnancy Envy

A couple of weeks ago, Lane shared her infertility story with us.  Today she shares what it feels like to long for number two while surrounded by pregnant moms every which way she turns.  Let’s all show Lane some much needed support today…

Pregnancy Envy

By Lane Gulotta

I had lots of meetings today. Four out of those five meetings were with Moms. Collaborating with Moms is one of my favorite things to do, except when they are pregnant. Meeting with Moms who are pregnant is distracting. I sit and stare at their expanding waistline trying to size it up and wonder if they are in their second or third trimester. I wonder if they are having a boy or girl. Single, twin or high order multiple pregnancy? Does her stomach look like a watermelon or a basketball? Throughout these distractions I smile approvingly and give appropriate congratulations.

After all, I am a Mom.

I am a Mom who has a beautiful and precocious 11 month old son. But, I am a Mom who wants more than that. I desperately want more children and that takes me back to something I never thought I would feel again: pregnancy envy.

It has finally struck again! Now that I know what I am missing, pregnancy envy is twice as strong this time around while we are trying to conceive (TTC for those of you who are new to this whole infertility thing). This envy is consuming me and causing me to lose sight of the fact that I already have a son. I should consider myself lucky, but I don’t. I am greedy and I want more children running around my house. I miss the newborn cry and reminisce for the time when I saw a first smile, heard a belly laugh or saw those adorable dimples.

Pregnancy envy makes me want all of this again. It makes me miss my swollen ankles and not being able to sleep on my stomach. It makes me miss wearing full panel maternity pants. (I finally admitted it! I am still convinced that none of my friends read our blog so this will be a true test of that.) I would give anything to look at the clock at 7:30 pm preparing for “morning sickness” to strike or wake up most of the night because my little one has the hiccups. Pregnancy envy makes me want every single symptom that I loathed while pregnant, even the unspeakable ones!

I am taking this month off of fertility treatments. After a very rough course of side effects and a near mental break down last month, I need a break to regain my composure, gather my emotions and come up with a battle plan.  I need to tuck the crazy lady away and come up with a practical plan to defeat her. Let’s be real; I need a break from Clomid and lots of Cabernet. This is no longer a game. We’ve upped the ante and are going to battle to win.

Come next month I will win. I will not waive a white flag!

Thank you once again, Lane.  You are not alone in this, and sharing your experience will help so many others.  Raising my glass of Cabernet!

Ask Dr. Marc: Detecting Ovulation

Dear Dr. Marc,

Is there any way to tell if you are actually ovulating ? After surgery, my tubes are now clear. I have no history of any other fertility problems ( they were blocked with endometriosis). I’ve done 3 rounds of Clomid and well nothing so far…. I get positive OPK tests every month…




Hi Kim,

People have been trying to pinpoint ovulation for generations.  The information is just as useful for those who are trying to avoid pregnancy, as those who are trying to conceive.  Unfortunately, no one method is perfect for everybody.  Fortunately, there are multiple options and most women can find at least one that works for them.   The following methods are listed in chronological order (earliest to latest in the menstrual cycle):

Ultrasound: Transvaginal ultrasound can detect the dominant follicle 6-8 days before ovulation.  With sequential ultrasounds over multiple days, one can predict ovulation with significant reliability.  Further, once the follicle disappears, you can be confident that ovulation has occurred.  This method requires multiple visits to the doctor and therefore can be quite expensive and time consuming.  Additionally, follicles can occasionally ovulate then fill back up with fluid making them look as if they have not ovulated when they actually have.

Cervical mucus change:  In the 1-3 days preceding ovulation, many women notice a change in the consistency of their cervical mucus.  The mucus becomes thin and stretchy, similar in consistency to raw egg whites.  This method involves checking the mucus on a daily basis with your fingers.  Some women are not comfortable with this method.

Ovulation prediction kits: These kits are designed to detect, in the urine, the surge of lutenizing hormone (LH), which induces ovulation.  LH is released by the brain and ovulation follows 24-48 hours later.  This method is very reliable, but also has some potential problems.  One problem is that LH is always released in small amounts by the brain.  Sometimes this small amount can be mistaken by the test for the “surge” and thus cause a false positive.  Additionally, the water content (diluteness) of urine fluctuates significantly throughout the day.  If the urine is too dilute (too much water) it can result in a false negative result.

Mittelschmerz: Abdominal pain associated with ovulation.  Many women do not feel anything with ovulation, while others recognize a vague pressure sensation in their lower abdomen for a few minutes to hours surrounding ovulation.  Some women however, suffer significant abdominal pain related to ovulation.  Consistent Mittleschmerz pain recorded on a menstrual calendar is a reasonably reliable sign of ovulation.

Progesterone level: Once ovulation occurs, the follicle from which the egg was released begins to produce progesterone.  An elevated level of progesterone is a reliable sign that ovulation has occurred.  Usually it is tested 5-8 days after ovulation to get the peak level.

Menstruation: Menses occur only after a rise then fall of progesterone.  The only thing that can cause progesterone to rise and fall is ovulation.  Therefore, menses is a reliable sign that ovulation has occurred (usually about 14 days prior to the first day of bleeding).  As with all the other methods however, vaginal bleeding does not always indicate prior ovulation.  This is because not all vaginal bleeding is actually menstruation.  If bleeding is due to an endometrial polyp or PCOS for example, it is not true menstruation and therefore does not indicate prior ovulation.  With that being said, regular, predictable periods are almost always a sign of prior ovulation.

Pregnancy: Pregnancy is the only 100% reliable test that ovulation has occurred.

Hopefully that is helpful Kim.  If your OPKs are becoming positive as expected, it is reasonable to believe that you are ovulating.  We know that women with endometriosis tend to have a more difficult time becoming pregnant even if their tubes are open and they are ovulating regularly.  Considering this, I’d recommend that you discuss your situation with your doctor or a fertility specialist.

Best of luck,

Dr. Marc


Ask Dr. Marc: IUI to IVF

This week Dr. Marc answers a Facebook member’s question about when to make the transition from IUI to IVF.  Send your questions through Facebook or email me: katiehurleylcsw(at)gmail(dot)com.

Dear Dr. Marc,

We are preparing for our fourth IUI.  We don’t know how many times we should try this.  We can’t afford IVF and it’s not covered, so we are trying to decide if we should take some time off to save up for IVF or keep trying.  What are the chances that this will work if we just keep trying?  I’ve heard of people doing 10 rounds with no luck.


Hoping for Success


Hi Hoping for Success,

Many patients question when they should move on from IUI to IVF.  The answer to this question depends on a multitude of factors including age, the amount of time trying, the medications taken with the IUIs, sperm quality, how you responded to the medication, emotional state of mind, ovarian reserve and more.  Regardless of these factors however, there are a few facts about IVF that you should keep in mind:

  1. IVF usually represents the best chance of getting pregnant on a per month basis.
  2. The cost of 3-4 IUI cycles with injectable medication is similar to the cost of an IVF cycle
  3. The efficacy of IUI diminishes after 3-5 attempts

With these factors in mind, a reasonable strategy is to forgo more IUIs in an attempt to save-up for IVF.  Now this doesn’t apply to everyone, especially if the IUI cycles were sub-optimal and can be improved.  However, if the IUI cycles went well and there is no good explanation as to why they didn’t work, IVF likely represents your best chance.

One more thing to remember is that while you are waiting to do IVF, you should continue with properly timed intercourse.  The truth is that you will continue to have a chance of natural conception each month, and sometimes when the pressure is off, great things happen!

Good luck,

Dr. Marc