What to Say to Someone with Infertility

I promise, this is the last post on infertility for awhile. But there have been friends that have reached out asking how to support me.

The easiest and shortest is a version of “I love you.”

The theory is to validate my feelings. Much like what I talked about in my empathy post.

What NOT to say

There isn’t a way to fix it. I understand you want to help but offering advice usually doesn’t help. I have a Reproductive Endocrinologist for that.

What really hasn’t been helpful is anything that relates to “it’s part of God’s plan.” I’ve read stories from plenty of other women who have been on this journey a lot longer than I and it doesn’t seem like a very good plan. Women, couples, who desperately want to be parents and would be darn good ones; don’t get that opportunity. But the teenager experimenting, the druggie, the women who really doesn’t want kids and emotionally neglects them – they can have a child; how is that part of any good plan? (Rhetorical.) Maybe I’m lacking faith but that’s where I am (and a lot of other women). It really isn’t fair. It really doesn’t make any sense.

I’m not brave enough to put my words into a video but this sweet women did. I share this video with her permission. You can find the rest of her videos here or  follow her on Instagram @carissabarzee.


Updated: March 3, 2017
Google says:

the ability to understand and share the feelings of another.

It might be believed that a person is born with the ability to have empathy. I believe it can be learned. It might take extra time or effort, however.

To me, the definition of empathy is to take the time to pretend you are in the other person’s situation and validate their experience.

It doesn’t mean I have to agree or share their perspective but I try to put aside my own bias and try to see it their way.

I’ve used the following questions to help me achieve that perspective:

  • How would I feel it that happened to me?
  • What do I think I would do in that situation?
  • What situation have I experienced that is close? How did it make me feel?
  • Why do I agree/disagree with how they are reacting/their opinion?

I’ve observed that I most often react to a trigger; a trigger to something painful in my past, and experience a range of emotions. I then think everyone should view the situation as I do. I mean, my solution is just common sense!! But. I’ve observed that each person will see situations differently depending on their own hurts. Take for example, witnesses of an accident, each person had a different view of what happened. No one story is wrong; it’s just not complete. Or the story of a group of blind men touching a different part of an elephant and only that part of the elephant. They come together to try to decide what it was but they all disagree.

I might never see the whole elephant or be convinced it’s an elephant. I realize I can’t completely understand another’s view/situation/opinion but I can allow space for them to think/feel/decide that way.

Update: A friend shared this video with me after I posted my thoughts. I wanted to add it because it’s a great representation of what I am trying to say.



Taking a break 

Update: March 10, 2017

Because my husband loves me.wp-image-1838235318jpg.jpg

Because I needed cheering up.

Because we are taking a (forced) break from fertility treatments. My functional cyst is creating dysfunction. It doesn’t look like IUI is going to work for us. We get to decide whether we go the IVF route or adoption. It’s not an easy decision. There was no pre-determined plan. There isn’t a guide book for this scenario. There are pros and cons for both. We don’t know how to make this decision; a very expensive decision without any guarantees. Update: I am scared of IVF – not completely sure why. I’m not sure I can do it. It’s a lot more invasive. It’s just – a lot more. We always planned on adopting; we thought it was going to be AFTER having biolog
ical children. Adoption will happen; it’s a matter of when.

I was really hoping my birthday present was a positive pregnancy test. I wish I could learn to not set myself up for disappointment.


More on the fertility journey

January was different. Finally! My doctor decided to monitor what was going on with extra blood work, I bought a lot of ovulation test strips, and we had a a follow-up appointment with our doctor to find out what’s been going on.

I ovulate too early, it’s possible my uterus isn’t ready for a fertilized egg. We left the appointment wondering how anyone ever gets pregnant. Seriously! So, so many things have to line up. We did finally get a chance to do the insemination this month. I was shocked, surprised and didn’t really get around to excited but did feel the disappointment. The two week wait is long. Luckily, we had a vacation to keep us distracted. The day I took the pregnancy test was the morning of my red eye flight home. I took the test in the airport. Probably not the best. Jared picked me up and all I could say was “nope.”

February went as planned. But everything was done earlier. Clomid, blood work, Ovidrel shot (that I did myself – thank you very much!), and wait two weeks. Except that I got the flu. I haven’t had the flu in a very long time. I spent a week in bed with only saline rinses, Tylenol, and Vick’s because I had to treat myself like I was pregnant.

Both months ended with the same result. (I’m usually NOT a fan of the pregnancy test picture but… “never say never.”)


The insemination is a very – scientific – process to baby making. The sperm is “washed” and the “good” ones are filtered out and put in a stabilizing solution, in a test tube. We arrive back at the clinic a few hours later. The sperm is pulled into the syringe and then inserted through the cervix into the uterus. I wait for 10 minutes, and then go back to normal life. Luckily, for me, it didn’t hurt much, just some minor cramping for a day.

The plan. To try IUI one more time. Our doctor strongly suggested IVF (she “can fix anyone with IVF”) but we still aren’t sure about that. Well, I’m not. It’s a lot more invasive and I just don’t know if I can do it. However, adoption isn’t any more exciting or guaranteed. We’ve never been opposed to adoption, we just thought we would do it AFTER biological children. We sometimes get tired of being adults and having to make these really hard, really expensive adult decisions.

Furbabies, Jack Edition 

Least you think my world is consumed by infertility, I have furbabies to keep me busy and entertained.

Especially the youngest cat, Jack. When he wants attention (or food) he becomes the worst trouble maker. He also gets super playful.

When he’s ‘starving’  he starts knocking things down like pens or my water cup, batting ornaments on the tree, or sitting on the counter watching me cook.

He’s great at cleaning up the table after we eat, or stealing food off my plate and growling as he runs away.


Life isn’t all bad.

Isn’t It Ironic 

So, this happened today. Birth control to get me pregnant, eventually.


Birth control pills

I. Can’t. Even. There was some ugly crying/sobbing. There was some choking up when sharing the news with the husband. He loving came home early from work to give me a hug. And took me to Chick-fil-A.

This was supposed to be “easy.”  I was fine in the preliminary tests. We thought the swimmers needed… a short cut. Enter the curve ball – Clomid – and how it made my ovaries crazy (the doctor hasn’t said as much but I have a feeling it is)! Birth control makes me crazy but it’s supposed to suppress the estrogen that is a result of the cysts or visa versa. I haven’t wanted to take the time to study the biology/chemistry. I have already apologized to the husband for any hormonal rage that might occur during the next 28 days of waiting. Assuming I get over the extreme disappointment. Good-bye what was Round 4.

I have been pushed to the edge of my patience. I’m barely hanging on. Hence the humor because I’m trying.

Bump in the road

Yes, I skipped a post in this journey of #projectBaby which should have been Round 3. I guess it’s time to catch up.

The short story: last month, my period came early. While on vacation. I barely made it back in time for the first ultrasound on Day 5. Only to be told we had to take a month off because I had cysts on both ovaries. A month off? We’ve barely done anything!! Stupid clomid.

The detailed story: The husband and I went on a week-long-very-much-needed vacation. Just the two of us. No work. No family. No responsibility. My period was due at the end of the week, so it wasn’t going to ruin the vacation too much nor was it going to cause  timing issues.

In true bad-luck-fashion, my period came 3 DAYS EARLY!! WTH?! Why was it such a problem because I am blessed with 24 hours of cramps on top of the fatigue and murder scene happening down there and not sure if I could still get in for the first u/s. (I say blessed because I know some women have it way worse.) I called REACH in a small panic hoping that we wouldn’t have to miss a month (ha!) and was informed that if I could be to the office by 10am Saturday, they would be able to see me. Our flight was set to arrive at 9am that very morning. I had a friend offer to pick me up at the airport (with her child that hates being in the car, we’re talking screaming) to get me to the clinic. The husband would wait to get our luggage, pay for parking, and then meet me there. With a plan set, I survived the 24 hours to enjoy the rest of the vacation.

Turns out, I could have spared my friend the journey, and myself the stress of hoping our flight would be on time, etc.

Numb is how I’ve felt most of the month. Of course we still “tried on our own” but after 3+ years that just seems ridiculous. Some will get the miraculous clomid baby but I’m not holding my breath.

Pain is something else I felt all month. Cysts hurt. Every time I took a step, or coughed, or moved, I had pain. Some have felt ovulation pain, some haven’t, but I had it all month. Cysts are supposed to clear up on their own. There is nothing more to do than wait.

Today is Day 1 of what should be Round 4. I’m between feeling numb and hopeless.

At the very least, I set up my Christmas tree and the cats haven’t destroyed it. I have had a lot of love from friends and family and bloggers. Thank you.


Bad News

Spoiler alert: It’s bad news.

You know it’s bad news when your doctor calls, not the nurse.

Just to give some background on the process of IUI. I call the office on Day 1 of my period to schedule my appointment for an ultrasound and blood-work (checking hormone levels), usually on Day 3. On Day 3, I arrive between 7-9am. I have never liked getting blood drawn but I’m getting better at it. Maybe one day I’ll watch. Instead, I stare at the sperm/egg holiday decorations. The ultrasound happens next. It’s a vaginal ultrasound to view the ovaries and count how many follicles (where the egg pops out) are ready. It’s kind of cool to see. And then I wait for the nurse to call with instructions.

If all is well, depending on the protocol, I start clomid and take it for 5 days. My basic understanding is that it’s to encourage more follicles to develop so that instead of releasing only one egg, a few more are released. It does increase the risk of multiples.

The next appointment is Day 12, at least it was last month, and that’s when my blood-work showed that I already ovulated, like really already ovulated. This month I went in earlier, on Day 9, to try to catch the opportunity to complete the whole IUI round.

So I dragged myself out of bed at 7am this morning (a Saturday) and drove the 30 minutes, watching the sunrise over the Queen City. Blood-work. Ultrasound with my actual Reproductive Endocrinologist instead of another doctor. Each ovary seems to have a cyst this time. Looks like there are a few follicles growing but nothing can be determined until the blood-work. And I wait. I was trying to be hopeful. See?


It’s when I’m standing in line to vote, that my cell phone starts to buzz. No one likes to play phone tag with the doctor’s office, so I left my husband to hold our place (and to get some privacy) to answer the call. My heart dropped when instead of the nurse, I hear my doctor’s voice. Not that I don’t like her, however, it’s a Saturday, and she’s making the call. “It’s highly unusual, but you have already ovulated, again.” What?!?! Not sure if I have always had a wacky hormone cycle or if the clomid made my hormones wacky. “If you haven’t already had intercourse, I would suggest you do.” Thank you for that – when intercourse becomes a protocol step.

More waiting. I get to wait for another period. I don’t really have high hopes for a natural pregnancy at this point but the husband does. There are two options from here: a different medication similar to clomid or the more expensive injection medications (basically IVF without the IVF). I am not sure I have the mental and emotional strength for another “maybe this will work” medication but it’s the natural next step. So we start with the least expensive option.

There’s a reason I don’t want to do IVF – all the hormone injections. It’s one thing to have someone draw my blood, it’s a completely different thing to give myself multiple shots. There is one injection I have to give myself with IUI, it’s supposed to trigger ovulation when multiple follicles are ready. I *think* I could handle one injection. If not, I have a few nurse friends I could call.

To cope with the news, we went to lunch and a movie. I came home and worked, the husband cleaned his car. As I sit here and type, football games play in the background. Because what else is there to do? Life as usual. Keep busy while we wait. And wait. And wait. Probably do some reading online to see if anyone else has experienced early ovulation.

We have a week long vacation in a few weeks. I have something to look forward to. We just have to be careful to avoid the Zika-prone areas of Florida. Because it’s not a crappy enough situation already.

Cruisin’ for a Bruisin’

I found these at the Goodwill today and suddenly I had the whole nursery planned. I’m not pregnant. Not sure it will/can happen. But how perfect would this be?! 

Grayish walls with an accent wall painted a soft yellow. On the yellow wall these signs, big stars painted in matching colors and those star-wall-lamps from IKEA, all collaged above the crib,  or changing table/dresser duo. Probably the dresser. 

And then I had to shake my head. Tell myself to wait. Those pictures will hide behind the closed door of the empty room until there is a positive pregnancy test. 

Even then I know nothing is guaranteed until the second trimester, well, really birth. 

It got real, real fast.  Doesn’t help I struggle with depression. The spiral down happens in an instant. As if infertility isn’t hard enough! This journey is full of unknowns and difficulties. I hope I’m strong enough and that my meds hold me together and don’t harm a future baby. 

Fingers crossed and accepting baby dust. 

Discover Challenge: Animal


Jack Sparrow





Furbabies. Each with an unique personality.

Jack Sparrow is the youngest and my favorite. He was rescued from a busy highway at 4 weeks old (for the full story click here). He’s my favorite because he’s my baby, my angel, my fighter. He’s a daredevil and a troublemaker by day (he even “talks back” when you say “No, sir” to jumping on the counter). He’s a lover and a snuggler by night. I get many kisses from him. He only purrs when snuggling in bed, and drools as he purrs. His tail flips when you say his name or “I love you.”

Peppermint is the “Princess” and middle “child.” She’s dainty and sweet. She purrs as soon as you pet her. She only snuggles during the cold season and is stubborn if you try to move her, going completely limp. She has a sassy side and can give you the “I-don’t-think-so” look. Unfortunately, she has learned many of Jack’s undesirable traits, like being on the counter. When she wants to be fed, she’ll either run across you in the morning or stare you down until you stand up and move toward the cabinet with the food. She’s pretty and knows it.

Oreo is the oldest. She’s been our baby for 9 years. We still call her “Puppy” or sometimes “Baby Girl.” We’ve done a lot to keep her healthy and comfortable. Being a purebred cocker spaniel has it’s challenges. Ear and skin problems being #1 and #2. She had ear surgery to remove polyps and ear rinses every week since. She also gets a homemade diet of turkey, apples/celery/carrots/peas, oatmeal supplemented with Missing Link formula for canines. No more ear problems!! Skin is another story and one that doesn’t have a treatment, yet. She’s showing her age around her face with lots of gray hair. She can’t stand to be alone and cries when we leave. She is my shadow and has to be in the same room when I’m home. She’s horrible at fetch because she won’t bring the ball back. She’s not interested in toys but loves sleeping in her crate.

via Discover Challenge: Animal