Monthly Archives

November 2017

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Choosing Happiness During Infertility

November 30, 2017

Written by Leah Scriver, guest blogger

“So do you have any kids?” That dreaded question that ALWAYS comes up when you meet new people. Do I go ahead and tell them that my husband and I have been trying for the past 9 years but I have PCOS and have done everything under the moon to try and get pregnant with no luck? Or do I just tell them “maybe someday”? I am an open book and tend to wear my emotions on my sleeve, so I usually tell my story.

It may sound like my story is a depressing one and for a long time, it was. However, a huge epiphany changed that.

Growing up, I never saw myself as a mother. I never played with dolls or played the role of “Mommy” when playing House. I always wanted to fall in love, get married, and of course kids will come….right?

In October 2004, I married my first husband. We tried for one year with no medical help at all. When I wasn’t getting pregnant, we decide it was time to see the fertility specialists at Kaiser. First, we tried Clomid and while I was responding well to it, nothing was happening. As we were about to start the class for injections, our marriage took a nose dive, ending in divorce in 2006.

In 2008. I met THE ONE. He was, and still is, the man of my dreams. We met and got married in 3 months. Hey!…when you know, you know! We’ve been married now for 9 years. About a year into our marriage, we started trying to get pregnant. I just knew that God would bless me this time around because I had married the right man… a man who loves me unconditionally, loves God, his family, and life. And after 3 months of trying, I was pregnant! I cannot tell you how crazy excited I was when I saw those two pink lines show up. I really couldn’t believe it. Felt like a dream. Around 7 weeks along, I started spotting and knew it wasn’t good. The bleeding got heavier and cramps began. My husband and I went to the ER and it was there that I lost the baby. We were so incredibly sad.

As soon as my cycles were normal again, we started trying, but a normal cycle was few and far between. My periods were very absent. At the time, my husband was in the Army and received orders to be deployed to Afghanistan for 9 months. He came home safe and sound and we started trying again. But again, my periods were not normal. When the hubs was honorably discharged from the Army, we moved back to our hometown in Roseville, CA and I decided to go through Kaiser’s fertility clinic again. They diagnosed me with PCOS. We tried everything except IVF and nothing had worked. At this point, I was beyond desperate. Not only that, but I also started to feel like I was being punished. I felt like this so much, that I actually called up everyone I have ever wronged and apologized and hoped that they would forgive me. I asked God to forgive me for not seeing myself as a mother in my childhood and young adult years. Sounds so crazy, but that’s where my mind was at that time.

So, after my husband and I realized that our only option would be IVF, we took the plunge. I’m just glad I don’t have a fear of needles at all, because let me tell you, there is SO much needle sticking! So I gave myself all the injections and the day came for my retrieval. They were able to retrieve many healthy eggs which made me super excited and hopeful. After the eggs were fertilized, we only had 4 that were healthy enough to transfer. Trying to pin point the date of the transfer was very stressful for me because I am a photographer and had a wedding to shoot the day they wanted to transfer. There’s no way I could find a photographer to fill in for me, no way at all. Thankfully, we were able to make it work and two days before the wedding, two embryos were transferred. The other two which weren’t as healthy stayed in the cup so they could keep an eye on them.

Now the awful 2 week wait began. I tried so hard not to read into any symptoms I was having but, as we know, that’s nearly impossible. After the 2 week wait, I got the phone call and the embryos didn’t attach and the other two that they were watching died. I was devastated. We had spent SO MUCH MONEY and now we have no baby and no frozen embryos. And forget about the money, what about my sanity? That’s when my bitterness and anger towards God and the world began. I was angry. SO ANGRY. I put on a front like I was fine and I accepted the cards I had been dealt, but under the surface I was hurting. I stopped going to church, didn’t feel the need to pray at all, and was irritated by every little thing that didn’t go my way. For two years, I was in this horrible bitter state. Finally, about 6 months ago I came to a fork in the road. I realized I could either continue down this path where I’m super unhappy or I can go down the other path of choosing to be happy. I chose happiness and it was like a weight was lifted from my shoulders.

So here I am 36 years old, married to the love of my life, no kids, a dog, and as happy as can be. But remember that epiphany I was talking about? Here it is… this realization has COMPLETELY changed my thinking about my struggle with infertility. I was on the phone with a girlfriend who is pregnant with a baby girl. They just found out that her baby has down syndrome. She was very distraught, sad and scared over this news. I told her that it’s probably natural to have those feelings, but she also needs to know that that baby girl is going to be crazy loved. She is going to bring so much joy to their lives and be such a blessing to them. She then proceeded to tell me that she’s grateful for my trial. At first I didn’t understand and was wondering if I should be offended. She said that she thinks of me often when she’s having a meltdown from her 3 other children and that my trial helps her have more gratitude for her little ones. When she told me this it was like a light came on in a dark room and I could see. If my trial of infertility can help and bless others, then I am happy to go through it. I am happy and grateful that my trial can bless others. If this is my mission while I am here on the earth, then I am happy to do it. With this realization, my life has become so much more simple and filled with so much more gratitude. We all have our trials and some are harder than others. But one thing that I think isn’t thought about much at all is how our hardships can bless others.

So I may not ever have children, or maybe we’ll adopt, or maybe we will or won’t do IVF again. The important thing is that I remain happy. Come what may, I choose to be happy and I hope my story touches and help others who are struggling with infertility.

Babe In My Arms, Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs

FertileGirl: Empowering Women Through Conversation and Nutrition

November 28, 2017

What The Fertility had the opportunity to interview Allison Kasirer, founder of FertileGirl, a pre-pregnancy nutrition company. We love the mission she is on to empower women by changing the conversation around fertility and focusing on creating and keeping our bodies healthy. (Psst…be sure to read all the way through to get a coupon code for 15% off the FertileGirl superfood nutrition bars)!

1. Thank you so much for taking time to talk to us about FertileGirl! Let’s start at the very beginning: what inspired you to start FertileGirl?

Allison Kasirer (AK): FertileGirl was truly born out my own personal fertility journey. I did a big lifestyle overhaul when trying to get pregnant—including focusing more on my nutrition. I noticed the conventional packaged food I was eating did not have the ideal pre-pregnancy nutrition that I was looking for. So I started making my own snacks at home and bringing them with me to my doctor appointments. I also noticed that there was no consumer brand out there that spoke to the TTC woman in a way that I needed at the time. After some time, I realized I could merge these two concepts into what would become FertileGirl.

2. Tell us about the FertileGirl Superfood Nutrition Bars. What led you to create these bars? What goodness goes into them?

AK: I found that taking control of my nutrition was extremely empowering when going through something that felt very much out of my control. The bars were my attempt at packing the important pre-pregnancy nutrients into a convenient on-the-go snack. I tried to use clean, simple, and real food ingredients in order to get more plant-based protein, omega 3s, iron, and calcium in my diet. When I realized that I wanted to make these into a real product, I gathered input from our advisory board of doctors and nutritionists, and set out to create a “proof-of-concept.” FertileGirl’s superfood nutrition bars are actually very similar to the ones I made for myself, except the ingredients get ground up more finely by large scale machines.

3. We love how FertileGirl encourages women to talk about the F word: fertility. Why is it so important to make conversations about fertility less taboo?

AK: We feel very passionately about changing the fertility conversation. It’s imperative that we work toward making this topic less isolating, stressful, and confusing and more hopeful, rewarding, and empowering. When I started sharing my story with other women, my whole journey changed. I finally had the support that I needed to get to the other side. It also opened my eyes to how common fertility challenges are! When something is stigmatized, it is that much harder to build community. If we can break the stigma and embrace the F word, we’re much more likely to find and give that support to one another.

4. Since starting FertileGirl, how have you seen the conversation around fertility evolve?

AK: It’s been almost a year since we launched the social platforms for FertileGirl. It seems over the past year, we’ve had more celebrities and influencers talking about their own fertility journeys. Because of their wide reach, those statements have a huge impact on breaking the stigma. I’ve also been surprised by how many women reach out to us with questions around fertility. There doesn’t seem to be a good resource out there with accurate, approachable information. We hope to continue to provide informative content written by experts through our social feeds and blog, “Real Talk.”

5. Not only do you create amazing nutrition bars and provide a place of support for those on their fertility journeys, but you “put your money where your mouth is” by giving back a portion of your proceeds to Baby Quest Foundation. Can you tell us a little bit about this partnership?

AK: I met Pam Hirsch, the founder of Baby Quest Foundation, many months before we even had a product. It was also before I found out I was pregnant with twins. She has created an incredible organization that has helped bring over 50 babies into the world. I’ve personally met with some of the Baby Quest recipients and met some of the Baby Quest babies. We try to be as hands on as possible in addition to supporting them financially.

6. What advice do you have for women who are looking struggling with their fertility? Aside from FertileGirl, what other resources would you recommend?

AK: Mother yourself. I realized on my personal journey that I wouldn’t be able to mother a future child until I mothered myself. Self-care is just as important before and after pregnancy as it is when you’re pregnant and growing another human being. It’s hard to recommend specific resources since each person’s journey is unique. Also, different women have different reactions to those resources. For example, some women love acupuncture and find that it reduces stress during the process. Other women find it stressful! Some women want to change out every beauty product and household product to organic. Other women find that process stressful and unnecessary. We provide a lot of these different resources on our social feeds and blog; however, I think it’s important to do what’s right for you and “mother yourself” in whatever forms that takes.

Want to try the FertileGirl nutrition bars for yourself? Use the code WHATTHEFERTILITY at check out to receive 15% off your order! Head on over to the FertileGirl shop here.
Babe In My Arms, Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs

What The…? Will Work For IVF Coverage

November 26, 2017
The Scoop:

According to a report by FertilityIQ, there has been an increase in companies who are offering infertility treatment coverage to their employees. Among these are companies like Starbucks, Pinterest, Bank of America, and Facebook. How amazing is that?! Just a few years ago, this would have been unheard of. Shout out to the employers who are with the times and get how important this is!

Tell Us:

Do you work for a company that provides infertility treatment coverage? Would you switch jobs just to have your treatments covered? Tell us in the comments below!

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Taking My Fertility Into My Own Hands

November 24, 2017

Written by Brooke Papp, WTF Contributor

I didn’t think I would ever get to this part of my journey because I didn’t think it would take this long – meaning, I didn’t think I would have a ‘journey’. We’re on month 9. So, I’m sad. But I’ve heard this so much lately: people don’t like sad.

I call bullshit.

Miscarriage is sad, guys. And those people who have been through it need friends – it [ the pain ] doesn’t dissipate. Especially when it doesn’t just ‘happen for them’.

People need you when they’re sad. It’s called life. It’s called friends. It’s called support.

Here’s what I’ve done to ‘make myself feel better’. To ‘help my fertility’. To ‘take matters into my own hands’:

  • I’ve given up perfume.
  • I wear makeup to weddings. Only weddings.
  • I’ve switched all my plastic Tupperware to glass. Do you know you shouldn’t cook in non-stick pans?  Now you do…stainless steel only in the Papp household.
  • I (VERY!) rarely drink caffeine throughout the day like I used to.
  • I take 8 supplements a day. EIGHT.
  • We remove our shoes at the door…’cause?  They can be tracking in lead.
  • I don’t use febreeze. My husband has Crohns – think about it.
  • I stopped taking my prescribed anti-depressants because they aren’t helpful for conceiving. Even though by taking them, I have felt more like myself than I have in months.
  • I’ve taken time off drinking. Multiple times. I love wine. Do you know my life? I deserve wine.
  • I walk or workout Even if that means waking up at 4 a.m. I do it. Because I need to.
  • I’ve rubbed oils in every place you can imagine.
  • I don’t eat food out of cans. Or cartons. Or plastic containers. I don’t eat foods that are processed. Or fried. Anything that’s fun – shouldn’t have it. So, lots of broccoli for me.


I have about, oh, 80 ovulation sticks in our cabinet – ready to go!

I don’t use scented lotion. Or body wash. And I don’t paint my nails anymore. Yah, me.

All of the fun of being a girl HAS ESCAPED MY LIFE, OK?? And today? I don’t ovulate. And now? I don’t even get my period. Yah, I know it’s stress. Tell me how to relieve it. ‘Cause it doesn’t work.

Newest task: getting in to see a specialist. Meh. Meh. Meh.

I’ve downloaded the app, deleted the app, downloaded the app.

I’ve heard ‘time is of the essence’ – which is totally a case by case basis. Some people say 35 is where it starts to get concerning while others say fertility issues can start as early as 30. It’s the person.

None of this has been fun or rewarding. I don’t feel empowered by not painting my nails or smelling like the Anthropologie candle aisle. I like that stuff. And you can bet your buns, it will be back in my life the second I birth a babe. My sweet babe that I pray for on the regular.

Oh, how I long for chubby, little baby feet in this pic (along with Helmut, of course).

So…what I’m now sharing is…the process. Let’s see how this goes!

[Oh and if one person says ‘it’s just not your time’, I may use the methods I used from the Miss USA’s self defense class I took a couple weeks back.]

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

Learning To Simply Be

November 21, 2017

Written by Tiffany Johnston, WTF Contributor

At the end of every infertility journey you likely will face one of two outcomes: defeat or pregnancy. While pregnancy is what we all long for and desire, sometimes that outcome is simply not in our cards. Just as each pregnancy is unbelievably different so is every infertility struggle. Some pass quickly, and some drag on for what seems like an eternity. Often during our infertility journey, I found it hard to not think about what an easy pregnancy we would deserve if that if that time ever came. However, both of our miracle pregnancies have left us in the midst of very different struggles.

Ever since we started our second infertility journey I have made it goal to be open and honest about our successes and struggles. And in all honesty, this pregnancy has been utterly exhausting, challenging, and just plain frustrating. With multiple visits to Labor and Delivery that started at 26 weeks, it burdened us early on with a steadily growing mound of medical bills on top of those we were already working to pay off from the infertility treatments. It’s as if we simply can’t win and that around each turn is another struggle. I know that each pregnancy is very different just as every round of infertility treatments can be like night and day.

With our first son, the infertility procedures proved to be almost flawless. Then, during the last three months, I had a lot of rib pain because our miracle babe had decided to be positioned in a permanent back dive pike and use my rib cage as a punching/kicking bag (I am talking full on Mike Tyson). This time we faced spotting, from a less than optimal distance between my placenta and cervix, extremely early contractions that have continually lead me straight into overwhelming nausea, and unparalleled dizziness. Basically I’ve decided that this kiddo has a complete lack of disregard for mama wanting to nest. This pregnancy has been nothing like our first. In fact, I would go as far as to say that it’s been miserable. I am done, finished, and ready for this kiddo to come out, but I digress.

A few weeks ago I had become so miserable physically from placenta and cervix proximity issues that we decided I had no choice but to stop working outside of the home as the stress and commute were increasing my contractions and decreasing my ability to withstand even some of the most basic hardships of the third trimester. It turns out that being on partial bed rest while raising our now three year old and renovating a house is darn near impossible. I mean there is no cap on taking on the world right? We all want to be supermom.

Truthfully, it feels good to have made it this far along. I feel proud that we not only made it successfully through the first two trimesters and somehow I managed to not riddle myself with a ton of anxiety and stress over what could be, but now we have surpassed every doctor’s belief that we could likely deliver 4-10 weeks early. This baby is reminding me that although just over nine months ago I was willingly dissecting my body to become pregnant through chemicals, procedures, holistic remedies, essential oils, diet, acupuncture, chiropractic care, and more. Now I have to step back, listen to our doctors, family and friends, and simply be. Be one with the notion that at 38 weeks I won’t be canning in the kitchen with my mother or painting three rooms in our house like I did with my first son. That in all likelihood the remodeling projects won’t be finished in time, the baby’s room will not be put together, and the bills will still be there. I must constantly remind myself that the moment we got our BFP I was granted the amnesty to rest, breathe, and simply be in the miracle that we are being blessed enough to experience.

While our first infertility miracle reminded us of what could be and the power of change, this baby has given me even more than I could ever imagined. He has reminded me day after day that I simply must slow down, enjoy the cuddles that my growing toddler is still willingly gifting, and be humbled in knowing that while I have temporarily traded in my super mom status (i.e.: being the homemaker, working in an office, running a small business, and blogging), we unequivocally knew what we were signing up for. I mean, this isn’t our first time to the infertility rodeo.

In all reality, with every stage of pregnancy comes a mixed bag of emotions and feelings. I want time to simultaneously hurry up and slow down all at once. Physically, I want to be done I am exhausted and tired of the contractions and hospital visits and pain that makes me dizzier than a tilt-a-whirl. But emotionally, I’m so happy that this baby is staying put, especially when this could quite possibly be the last time we will ever be pregnant and I want to savor every moment of the blessing.

In no way is this path of our journey easier than the last. It is simply similar and different all at once. I do not long for the heartache, exhaustion, and pain of our infertility journey as I longed for another baby. I simply have begun to realize that in each stage of our journey, we are blessed with challenges that will shape and mold us as people, parents, and members of society. So as we slowly approach the arrival of our newest miracle baby I will try to cherish each contraction, dizzy spell, and moment that someone tells me to sit down and rest. For I know now more than ever that sometimes we must just let things be and savor the journey whether difficult or easy.

Babe In My Arms, Babe In My Belly, Babe In My Heart, Blogs

What The…? To Sue Or Not To Sue

November 17, 2017
The Scoop:

A New York fertility clinic is being sued by two couples over donated eggs that resulted in the birth of children with a genetic defect known as Fragile X syndrome. The couples say the clinic should have tested the donors to screen the women for the condition and are suing for the cost of raising a disabled child. The clinic says “Hold on. This happened years ago. Why sue now?”

Tell Us:

Do these couple have a right to sue or is it a risk they took using donated eggs? Tell us your thoughts in the comments!

Babe In My Belly, Blogs

What the Sperm?

November 16, 2017

Written by Aileen Chun, Belly Armor CEO & Co-Founder

Infertility can be a pretty touchy subject. Going from dreams of baby bumps and new family members to the sober realization that the journey to pregnancy will be much more difficult or altogether impossible is a harsh reality that many couples must come to terms with. In addition to dealing with “When’s the baby due?” and “Are you guys even still trying?” -type questions from friends and family, couples experiencing infertility often face the societal stigma that comes from being unable to conceive. Couples may feel isolated or believe their situation is abnormal, but according to the National Survey of Family Growth, 1 in 8 couples have trouble conceiving. Most likely, at least one of your friends or family members has struggled with infertility at some point. For the couples experiencing it, infertility is definitely a problem, but it is by no means an isolated problem or one to be ashamed of.

In the past, when couples realized that they were having trouble conceiving, the responsibility often fell on the woman to solve the problem; What tricks or remedies could she use to boost her fertility? We now know that infertility is just as much a ‘he’ issue as it is a ‘she’ issue, with male infertility accounting for just under half of all fertility issues that couples face. And, judging by findings from The French Institute for Public Health Surveillance that sperm count among men worldwide is down by 30%, fertility issues due to male infertility are only expected to rise in the coming years.

For men who are experiencing or are worried about infertility, there are some areas they can focus on to alleviate the problem or reduce their risk. While this list of possible factors is by no means exhaustive, it can start you down the road to having happy, healthy sperm. (Also, if you are concerned that you are experiencing infertility, it is important to discuss with your doctor.)

  • Age – Experts recommend having children before the age of 40 because……. If you are getting close to 40 or past 40, want children but not quite ready yet, freezing sperm is an option you might want to consider.
  • Get Tested – Ask your doctor to test your sperm. Tests include sperm count, quality of the sperm (viability), and how well the sperm move (motility). This could help you better understand whether sperm health is an issue, and if it is, determine with your doctor how to address it.
  • Lifestyle – To give your sperm the best chance, you should avoid any smoking and excessive drinking. It is also important to get a healthy 8 hours of sleep.
  • Medications – Some medications can lower sperm count, so you should ask your doctor about the impact of medications you are taking if you are trying to get pregnant.
  • Smartphones – Studies such as one done by the Cleveland Clinic have linked cell phone and other wireless device use with up to a 40% decrease in sperm quality. It is a good idea to limit your cell phone use and be mindful of where you carry it on a daily basis. Your pants pockets is not a good place to keep devices because of their proximity to the testes.

If, like most men, you prefer not to carry a man-bag and not putting your cell phone in your pocket isn’t an option, RadiaShield Technologies’s award-winning Anti-Radiation Boxer-Briefs is one solution you could consider.

These boxers have been designed to proactively protect a man’s reproductive organs and shield their sperm from wireless radiation. Made of a Modal/Spandex blend and RadiaShield® Fabric, the boxers are lightweight, breathable, and machine washable. The proprietary RadiaShield® Fabric on the codpiece works by neutralizing (through reflection and absorption) incoming EMF waves from cell phones, laptops, and other devices. When worn regularly, they can be highly effective at reducing a man’s exposure to wireless radiation and protecting his sperm.

When you do conceive, Belly Armor (by RadiaShield Technologies) also makes a stylish line of anti-radiation maternity clothing and blankets to reduce your baby within from exposure to wireless radiation. Check out their full line here.


If you would love to try Belly Armor now is your chance! We have teamed up to do a giveaway of a pair of their boxer briefs and a women’s camisole. To enter the giveaway, head on over to our Instagram page for your chance to win! Good Luck to All!!

About the company: Belly Armor is the definitive resource for families looking to protect themselves against the harmful effects of everyday radiation, providing knowledge about the health risks from wireless technologies and designing products to help reduce exposure.

On a mission to make everyday environments healthier, particularly for children, Belly Armor strives to increase awareness of this emerging health issue in the 30+ countries where they have presence. They work with the scientific and medical community, their advocates and their distributors globally to educate about the state of the science and encourage a more balanced and safer use of technology in our modern-day lives.





Babe In My Heart, Blogs

The Worst and Best Day of My Life

November 14, 2017

Written by Aniesa Fadilla, guest blogger

How can the worst day of my life also be the best day of my life?

We had our daughter for 5 whole months. We loved her more than anything in this world.

When we found out we were pregnant, it was the best day of our lives. I remember my husband asking me to take another test because he couldn’t believe it. So, I took the other test and just like the first, it was positive! We lay in bed that morning laughing and crying tears of joy together! It was amazing. We couldn’t believe that without trying or thinking about it, we conceived a child. We were going to be someone’s parents.

Our pregnancy was pretty uneventful. I was heathy and all of the baby’s check ups were excellent. At the 20 week anatomy scan, we found out we were having a girl! We named her Ava Rae Knapp.

That was a Saturday. By Tuesday, Ava had no heartbeat.

I was confused, numb, and in both emotional and spiritual pain. How could this happen? I remember going into labor and not wanting to push her out. I didn’t want her to leave me. I wanted to keep her inside of me, but being inside of me wasn’t safe. I couldn’t keep her safe anymore. I felt like a failure – my body had failed her and my body failed me.

On November 4th, I delivered Ava at 11:23 pm with her daddy by my side. We held her and cried. And prayed. How can the worst day of my life also be the best day of my life? I held my daughter so tight. Although she was lifeless, she was still my life. Still my daughter.


Three years later, with several failed IUIs, temping, tracking my fertile days, eating organic, taking supplements, and “not thinking about it”, I still haven’t gotten pregnant. Secondary unexplained infertility is what it’s called.
I’m 38 now and motherhood eludes me. Infertile? Never thought I would carry that label. November 4th has come and gone. Another year has passed. Three years since the best and worst day of my life.

Babe In My Arms, Blogs

Waiting on an Angel

November 9, 2017

Written by Lauren Bates, guest blogger

Hi, there! My name is Lauren. My husband, Ryan, and I are attorneys and live in Encinitas, California. After a several year-long journey, we recently adopted a beautiful baby girl and in light of World Adoption Day, I am honored to share our story.

We always wanted a family, so we started trying shortly after we were married in 2013. After trying for a while on our own, we had all of the tests done – and they came back normal. I knew conceptually that it was a good thing that the test results were normal, but I was also disappointed.

How can you fix something if nothing is “wrong”?

We were used to being in control and solving problems for a living, so this was an incredibly difficult concept for us. For the first time in our lives, no amount of hard work, research, studying, or creative thinking could solve this problem and get us the one thing we wanted the most.

We saw a specialist, did two rounds of Clomid, and then one IUI. Unfortunately, I reacted very poorly to the Clomid and the injectable medication used during the IUI. At that point, we made the decision that we would not pursue any further fertility treatments because it was not good for my health.

It was a difficult decision to make, but also a relief in so many ways. We started discussing the possibility of adoption, and both felt strongly that this was the right path forward for us. For years, it had been sad to discuss our unsuccessful efforts at starting a family. But once we began looking into adoption, we had a renewed excitement for what was to come.

We began researching adoption agencies and attended several information sessions. We also spoke with a couple (who were friends of friends) who adopted through a local adoption facilitator in San Diego, and they had a very positive experience. After attending the information session for the facilitator, we knew it was the right fit for us and we began the application process. It took about 6 months from when we attended the information session to when we were officially on the “wait-list.”

Waiting for a match was incredibly difficult. In a way you feel like you’re expecting, but you have no idea when your baby is due. You are told to continue to live your life and it will happen when it is meant to, but that is so much easier said than done! I found it hard to plan anything, because I spent the entire time thinking that it could happen any day now.

All in all, we waited 1 year, 2 weeks, and 6 days.

Finally, on a Tuesday night in September, while we were out to dinner with my parents, who happened to be visiting, we got the call. We had been chosen by a birth mom! Our facilitator told us details about the birth parents and we knew it was the perfect match.

We asked, “When is the baby due?” Our facilitator paused for a long moment and then said, “Well, actually the baby is already here. She was born yesterday and is being discharged tomorrow. Can you come to the hospital tomorrow morning?” We were overcome with a range of emotions, but the most intense was joy and we didn’t hesitate to respond, “Yes, we will be there!”

The rest of the night was a blur as we didn’t sleep a wink. We went to the hospital the next morning and met with the birth mother for a couple of hours. We instantly connected and, for so many reasons, we all felt like this match was meant to be. She confirmed that she wanted to go forward with the adoption and that she wanted us to be the parents. There were many tears!

After several hours at the hospital, we finally got to hold our daughter for the first time, which was the most surreal and amazing moment of our lives. We took her home the same day, about 20 hours after we got the call. She is 8 weeks old now and doing great!

When we were in the thick of the waiting period, it was hard to understand why we had to wait so long and why we were not being chosen. We would tell ourselves that God had a plan and that there was a specific child that was meant to be ours that we were waiting for. I usually believed it, but sometimes it felt like an empty mantra we were just telling ourselves to feel better. Now that she is here, I can honestly say that I know without a doubt that she is the child we were always meant to have. I cannot imagine it happening any other way. We feel so incredibly blessed that she is finally here!

Babe In My Heart, Blogs

Stress Does Impact Your Fertility… But How?

November 7, 2017

Written by Joanne Verkuilen, Founder of Circle+Bloom

Stress is pretty unavoidable these days. There are constant demands on our time and energy — not to mention expectations from family, work, community (and ourselves!). It can feel like a constant juggling act that’s exhausting and overwhelming. No one is immune – everyone feels stress to some degree. The biggest question is how we’re managing it.

How we manage stress is so critically important – especially for couples who are struggling with infertility – because in recent years, scientific studies have shown that sustained high levels of stress can have direct, negative impacts on our physical and mental health.

Everything truly is connected: stress, our emotional and mental state, our physical health, and our fertility.

Add the emotional turmoil of infertility to our constant state of “everyday stress”, and the impact is significant. Women who are experiencing difficulty getting pregnant can experience similar levels of depression and anxiety as those suffering from a life-threatening disease like cancer or heart disease.

Stress negatively impacts fertility. And unfortunately, stress is compounded when we try to conceive month after month, creating a downward spiral that is difficult to break.

How Does Stress Affect Infertility?

Telling a woman who is having difficulty getting pregnant to “just relax” is a painful suggestion. Not only does it imply that her infertility is somehow her fault, but it is also an overly-simplified view of the physical and psychological influences on the human reproductive system.

It is rarely as simple as “just relax”. However, addressing the causes and management of stress can often help improve fertility. This has been supported by several medical studies that found that stress and the hormones that help regulate our body’s response to stress play a significant role in fertility.

Several of these studies talk about:

  • The Stress Hormone Cortisol Affects Ovulation: Emory University’s Dr. Sarah Berga has noted that our brain’s hypothalamus (a walnut-sized area of our forebrain) handles functioning of our reproductive system AND regulates stress by emitting cortisol as needed to keep our bodies in balance. It manages a delicate interplay of hormones. Dr. Berga’s research has found that stress often leads to reduced levels of two hormones needed for ovulation. In a 2006 study, she found that women who did not ovulate had excessive levels of cortisol in their brain fluid. An earlier study also found that the majority of women who underwent cognitive behavioral therapy saw their ovulation restored.
  • The Benefits of Relaxation Training for Pregnancy: A study conducted by Harvard Medical School on 184 women going through relaxation training for infertility: 55% had a viable pregnancy within one year, compared to only 20% of the control group achieving a viable pregnancy.
  • Anxiety Delays Conception: In a study with women undergoing donor sperm insemination, those with higher levels of anxiety prior to undergoing inseminations took significantly longer to conceive.
  • Stress and Depression Significantly Reduce IVF Conception Rate: Women who were not stressed and/or depressed before starting IVF treatment had a conception rate twice as high as women who were stressed and/or depressed before treatment.

While “just relax” is hardly ever the complete answer to solve infertility, addressing both the source of stress and the way stress is handled in the body can help.

One way to help relieve the combined stresses from normal life and the added stress of trying to get pregnant is to use guided visualization and meditation. These methods can help you to take time for yourself everyday to deeply relax and help reset your body’s hormones.

Our friends at Circle + Bloom provide several medically-based visualization exercises specifically created to help with infertility that sync to your monthly reproductive cycle. Find out more about Circle + Bloom’s fertility visualization and meditation programs, and the science behind how they work.

Right now, Circle+Bloom is giving a 20% discount on all of their fertility programs just for readers of What The Fertility! with the code circlebloom20. Click here to learn more.

About Joanne

Circle+Bloom was born out of Joanne’s passion for helping women overcome stress and infertility linked to stress. She was diagnosed with PCOS in her late-teens and was told that having a child would be very difficult for her. She had two very different pregnancy experiences but is now a mother to two happy, beautiful children.

Joanne delivers the guided meditations you’ll find in Circle+Bloom programs, among other things. She seeks to advance mind-body awareness and is a contributor to the fertility community and conversation in the United States of America.


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