It Takes a Village: A Gratitude Post

When you think about making a baby, there’s usually a romantic night between two people who love each other. Obviously, that’s not always (or even often) how it works, but it’s certainly what is normalized in our country.

I deeply believe that’s where the shame of infertility comes from. Miseducation.

I’m all about the science – sperm and eggs. Embryos, blastocysts, and morulae (oh my). But what I’m not all about is the underlying commentary that “mommy and daddy fell in love and made you”.

News flash, kiddos, that’s just not always how it works. And here you have men and women who have grown up thinking “this is what my body is MADE to do”, who then feel broken when theirs doesn’t. And what happens to all the kids who weren’t made from a night of unbridled passion? Are they freaks? The ones whose parent(s) were infertile. Or who chose to become a parent without a spouse. Or those who have parents whose biology doesn’t allow sex to equal baby? Or those who have birth parents that couldn’t parent for whatever reason. What are we saying to them? How are we shaping their opinion of themselves with unnecessary commentary on their very conception as a human?

Education of making a baby does NOT require our commentary on how they became a family. (More on this in another post. I’m pretty fired up about it.)

It’s no secret that it takes a village to raise a child. Sometimes, it takes a village to make one, too.

If you’re anything like me, you realize that not only will it take a whole lot of work on the part of you and your partner, but it’ll also take a whole lot of work from a whole lot of people. And let me tell you, THAT, my friends, is romantic.

I’ve spent the last week away from home in Rochester, NY while preparing for my third egg retrieval, and first with CNY Fertility. I know, I know – I swore I’d never do this again. But here I am, and so glad I am. Making a really long story short, I decided that doing what we’ve always done will get us what we’ve always gotten (aka nothing). It was time to explore new doctors and clinics and methods.

Part of what drew me to CNY Fertility was their approach that tied Eastern and Western medicine. Many of you know that I’m a big believer in a healthy combination of both schools of thought. On top of providing top medical care and the willingness to constantly evolve in their approach, they adamantly incorporate acupuncture, yoga, massage, etc. I had finally found a clinic whose beliefs fell in line with mine.

They offer a weekly Fertility Yoga class, taught by the AMAZING Erin McCullough of Fertile Hope Yoga. It was a three hour evening of love for self and others, connection with other women in the same boat, and some restorative yoga to help tie heart, mind, and body during a process that so often doesn’t allow the connection. In a deeply heart opening pose, Erin talked about gratitude. For your own body, your willingness to persevere in all this. And I laid there, just feeling really, really grateful. How is it possible that my village has come together so willingly to help me on this journey? I often stop to look at how many people just give a shit, and I’m completely blown away. I’m so much more grateful than you know.

This post is dedicated to you.

Dr. Kiltz and CNY Fertility
What do I even say about Dr. Kiltz? I literally haven’t even met the man in person, but he’s already so much more accessible and deeply ready to help. That might sound silly – I mean, he is a doctor. But it’s just not always like that with fertility. Man, I don’t even know where to start here. After doing two retrievals and three transfers at a different clinic, I was pretty tapped out. No one knew what was going wrong. I felt sick, and broken, and had completely run out of confidence that my body could ever do this. Fast forward a year+ later, and I’m at a clinic that doesn’t require you to fit into a certain mold. Instead of “this isn’t working for you”, it’s “this hasn’t worked for you, so let’s try something else”. We’re trying things that my former clinic wouldn’t even discuss. Instead of caring about the number of my weight, they care about the quality of my body. What a gift to have found him, whether we’re successful or not. With Dr. Kiltz, I finally feel like this body is worth taking a chance on. Like, it actually might surprise me and pull this whole thing off. It’s a feeling I haven’t felt in a long time, and for that, I am grateful.

Mike, aka literally the best husband that has ever existed
Words can’t actually explain how grateful I am for this man. He’s takes all the ups and downs in such stride. Whether I’m on crazy hormones or not, the last six years of this infertility BS has been a roller coaster of tears, doubt, fear, and so much more. He has never, ever blamed this on me, even though my body is the reason we don’t have kids yet. And no matter how discouraged I get, he is always (sometimes annoyingly but remarkably genuinely) optimistic. He works so hard so that I can focus on IVF, which has basically become a full time job these days. I’d say I could never repay him, but he wouldn’t ask anyway. I love you more than anything.

Fertility Nurses
These ladies are the real MVPs of the fertility game. They’re your day to day ride or dies. The Bonnie to your Clyde. The peanut butter to your (sugar free) jelly. Without them, you’re lost. This goes for both the wonderful CNY nurses, and the most amazing nurse at my former clinic, who I will absolutely bring our future child to meet just because she played such a role in all this for us. There is literally no way I could thank these phenomenal women more.

My family
From parents who check in ALL the time, to family who I know are thinking of us somewhere, we know we are loved and supported. It’s hard when you don’t live near any of your family. We’re all busy, but we all care, and that’s a lot more than many people have. But for those parents (and sister!) of ours, they really do everything they can to show us we’re not alone. It’s hard watching loved ones struggle, and I know they work hard to help us keep it together. To them, I’m grateful.

Not only have I been able to craft a career and work schedule that I really love, but I’ve managed to get in with the very best people, too. I’ve been totally blown away at the support from bosses and coworkers who’ve been hearing “I have no idea what’s happening but it’s happening soon” for two months. For coworkers who are willing to maybe cover depending on whatever the fuck my body decides to do that day. For badass bossladies who know how deeply I appreciate them on a daily basis, and are willing to roll with me on this, knowing how important it is to me. For letting me meltdown every once in a while without holding it against me. And to my parents and littles that light up my days, you are my heart. Thank you.

My poor, poor friends. Honestly, sometimes I’m shocked I even still have friends. Anyone who goes through infertility knows how all-consuming it really is. I’m sorry that I’ve talked about nothing other than ovaries and periods and babies and being sad for six years. Thank you for being patient with me when you know how much I want to come snuggle your new babies, but understand when I keep an arms distance because you know that sometimes, it just hurts that much. And even though I don’t want that to stand in the way, it just does on occasion. Thank you for not holding it against me when that four year old birthday party is just too much. Thank you for checking in, sending flowers, running to work in the middle of the night to get supplies we didn’t realize we needed, or just being willing to take me however I come that day. Thank you for not judging me in how much this clouds my life, and continuing to see the other parts of me, even when I don’t.

I often joke that I’m learning alongside my toddlers in class, when it comes to self love and anxiety control, but the truth is, I really am. If we’re being honest, I’m kind of forcing myself to appreciate small, individual things about my body and self in a bit of a fake it till you make it operation. So today, I’m grateful that my body has decided to work with us this round. That things are seemingly looking the best they’ve ever been. Albeit, it could all change, but for today, I am grateful (and grateful doesn’t mean you can’t be realistic).

I’ve been trying to think of a majestic and intelligent way to end this post, but the truth is that I’ll probably be crying over kitten videos momentarily, and it’s taking all my energy and then some just to keep it together. Thanks for understanding.

And thank you for laughing with me. Love you all.