For some couples, Mother's Day is a time of sadness and stress. This is especially true for couples who are struggling with infertility. If your wife is dealing with infertility, here are a few ways that you can help her feel special on Mother's Day.
First, try to be understanding and sensitive to her feelings. Make space for the two of you to have some uninterrupted conversation time. Don't make assumptions about how she's feeling about the day. Listen and be willing to share how you feel too.
Second, giver her space if she needs it. Don't obligate her to attend a Mother’s Day brunch or any other activities if she's not feeling up to it. If you need to, choose to celebrate with your own mother on another day or from afar. Which leads me too number three…
Third, take care of any tasks or errands or housework that she may need help with. This should include any meals or childcare (if you are experiencing secondary infertility) that she would normally be involved in. Make sure that you are taking care of her too (meals, water etc. if she is having a hard time coping)
If your able and she's up to it, plan a special day for the two of you to experience something new that’s on your bucket list or take that day trip you've been talking about.
If you’ve experienced a miscarriage, together consider gifting her a piece of birthstone jewelry or other keepsake as a remembrance of the child you lost. You can also check out my infertility gift guide HERE.
Finally, express your love and support for her in whatever way you feel comfortable doing. By being supportive and understanding, you can help make Mother's Day a little bit easier for your wife and help her through this challenging time.
I hope that at least one of these tips resonates with you and that you’ll be able to use it in your own life. If not, please share in the comments what has worked for you when trying to support your wife through infertility.
Thank you for being there for her—she will appreciate it more than you know.
When is it time to get a second or third opinion or move on from the doctor that you are working with? I get this question A LOT! People are really hesitant to get a second opinion or third opinion or transfer doctors if they're not getting the care that they need and they almost feel like they're going to hurt the doctors feelings. Let's be real here. Not only are you NOT going to hurt the Dr's feelings (they probably won't even know you left the practice.)
1) They are not collaborative with you. Meaning they're not willing to have a dialogue with you. If you have a doctor that's not willing to explain a process to you or answer questions so that you understand, that's where I would suggest to you that you need to have a better relationship with your doctor. I know a lot of times people see the white coat and the white coat is the end-all-be-all authority on a subject but honestly you live in your body and that makes YOU the authority on your body.
2) You have a doctor that only suggests additional testing or extended testing after a failed IUI/IVF procedure. I hear this all the time and it makes me really angry! Women have a first round and the doctor says something like "okay well the IUI or IVF didn't work so let's do XYZ testing now". Why wouldn't they do that testing up front? They're not going to give you a refund on that first round. Yes, the testing might be expensive but we shouldn't be waiting for failure or miscarriage to do testing that could have been done up front and prevented both of those things.
3) After the first failed IUI or IVF the doctor doesn't change the protocol and wants to do the exact same protocol, again I would tell you very strongly to find another practitioner and get a second opinion. You want to make sure that you're maximizing every cycle and who wants to endure the heartache, cost or possibility of a failed cycle unnecessarily.
4) If you're going to your doctor based solely on location- meaning they're the only fertility doc in town, or you're going to the reproductive endocrinologist because you have a referral from a friend and you didn't really do any research but your friend used them with great results, and they just love that person, I would suggest that you probably need to do some investigating on that doctor yourself. Vette the doctor yourself and form your own opinion based on what you know about your medical needs. This is not something that you want to take solely on a friend's recommendation.
I have worked with a lot of women, and most of us that have had infertility success, in hindsight would agree that we would have liked our journey to be shorter. One of the ways to shorten your journey is to keep pushing for the care that YOU need. Most of us spend far too much time with an OBGYN that is uninformed or misinformed. An OBGYN who's not trained and reproductive endocrinology may delaying the timeline for you to be able to get proper treatment.
if you would like the insight 20 women gained by getting a second opinion and ultimately Infertility Success check out
Don't ASSUME these tests are done/ going to be done before your treatment. In SO many cases these tests are only done AFTER a failed procedure...which means heartbreak, time and money for you.
Speak up for yourself and get the BEST care you deserve.
(trigger warning loss)
Imagine having painful UTI symptoms for 2 years. Aside from the discomfort you have been bounced around from specialist to specialist only to be told in the end your pain is in your head…Until finally, finally! Someone listens to you. Not only does your new REI listen to you they validate that a test should have been done before you had 9 failed medicated cycles, 5 failed IUI’s and 3 miscarriages, all that potentially could have been prevented. You and your husband are each given a $10 antibiotic and the next cycle you’re pregnant with your second child. Fourteen months after that, with no medical intervention you’re pregnant with your third child. This test is urea plasma which sometimes the only symptom is infertility.
Imagine today is the day! Your embryos have been frozen and you are expecting a call from the clinic with the results. Except they never call you …and when you call they let you know both of your last two eggs have perished. You’re devastated and angry. Then the anger deepens when they then suggest a simple blood test. Six IUI’s and two IVF procedures and NOW they’re recommending a simple blood test that you assumed was done with the initial labs. Your husbands results are abnormal. Some, if not ALL of this could have been prevented. With on genetic test for balance translocation.
You are pregnant with twins! You're shocked, but so excited and happy! One morning at 13 weeks you wake up and feel off. You go to the bathroom and realize you’re bleeding. You’re miscarrying your twins. It happens, they say. Time passes and eventually the pain eases. You and your husband decide to try again. One day you get the positive test you’ve been hoping for. At your first appointment they let you know your hCG levels are high. High enough to be twins …again. You're terrified, excited and worried. Twins again, what are the odds? You pass the 13 week mark and then the 18 week mark you begin to relax. At 23 weeks you start bleeding again. You are admitted to the hospital to stop the bleeding and contractions but they can’t. You lose both babies at 23 weeks. While you're still in the hospital the doctors run some genetic screening tests and discover you have factor 5 leiden. A common blood clotting disorder. The babies could have been saved if you were on blood thinners, they say. Next time we’ll put you on blood thinners at the start of the pregnancy. But you are broken, and know there won’t be a next time.
Aside from balanced translocation disorder the other four tests are considered somewhat controversial which means that you as the paying patient may have to advocate for yourself to get the tests ordered. There is no clear answer as to why every REI doesn’t test for them. Each set their own protocol and some will tell you it’s unnecessary and sometimes invasive to perform these additional tests.
The fourth test I recommend having done prior to your first IVF is an extended thyroid panel (even if you're in the “normal” range) which includes not only TSH, TPO antibodies, Thyroglobulin antibodies, free t4, free t3, and ferritin. This will give you a better picture of your overall thyroid health. I also recommend to all my clients to find a previous thyroid level test to compare what their “normal” is to where they currently are. Ferritin stores are very important to pregnancy and are not part of routine testing.
The final test to protect your IVF investment is a blood test for natural killer cells. If the blood test comes back positive your doctor may perform a uterine biopsy.
These real life stories (some taken from Infertility Success, Stories of Help and Hope) might have turned out differently with testing for these conditions at the beginning of the infertility journey or after miscarriage loss. So many women assume (just like these women did) that their doctor/REI will test them for absolutely everything. However, as you can see from these stories, it’s simply NOT the case. Remember, just because a doctor tells you that they can’t help you doesn’t mean you can’t get pregnant
Imagine that you're 18 years old and 100lbs and your belly is so bloated people ask you if you're pregnant on a regular basis.
Imagine every month bracing for pain that is so intense that it causes you to vomit or leaves you bed ridden.
Women often describe endometriosis as feeling like barbed wire is being wrapped around their reproductive parts and pulled tight. Yes. It’s THAT painful. That was me for 15 years. Except I couldn’t and didn’t stay home. I TOOK a ton of NSAIDS and Tylenol by the handful to cope.
I just didn’t know what else to do, AND I thought it was “normal” to have period pain. It took me -15 years to understand what I was dealing with and get diagnosed. By then it was stage 4 endometriosis. This is what I wish I knew...
1) Stop covering up symptoms with over the counter medicine. Pain relievers and NSAIDs affects your liver and kidney function which affects your hormones
2) Don’t wait for your doctor to diagnose you. Ask your doctor for the new blood test (not always accurate but indicative). Doctors are Literally NOT allowed to diagnose without surgery. This tripped me up for years because I didn’t want to further hurt my fertility chances with scar tissue when “I wasn’t sure” I had endometriosis.
3) Schedule your surgery. Don’t wait to get a laparoscopy to diagnose endometriosis. If you are having period pain so intense that it's keeping you from performing daily functions it’s likely endometriosis or uterine fibroids.
4) Be real with yourself about how your diet is contributing to your potential endo. Endometriosis IS affected by what you eat. Focus on reducing your exposure to proteins that contain hormones (go organic if possible) and eat a diet low in inflammatory foods. Limit the amount of unprocessed foods you eat. There are tons of great resources for endo diets. Find one and try it. Today.
5) In addition to changes to your diet add anti-inflammatory supplements to your routine. Turmeric, dark fruit juices such as tart cherry, pomegranate or wolfberry/goji berry juices help with inflammation as do bio-flavonoids from citrus fruits.
I learned about this whole process is no one knows your body better than you do and the infertility journey is full of what if’s and risks. Overall health is the goal and pregnancy is the outcome. If you are determined to get to the bottom of your infertility diagnosis here's another checklist that I put together to help you on your path of infertility.
We all know that the average age of a first time mom is increasing but what if that’s you? What can you do to prepare your body for pregnancy if your TTC after 35? Despite what friends and even your doctor may tell you, don't take a wait and see approach to your fertility after 35. While it’s true that more women than ever are getting pregnant after 35, it’s also true that more women (and men) than ever are experiencing infertility. While you don’t have to rush to see a fertility doctor you should start to actively establish what your fertility health is NOW and work on things in your control to improve it.
Establish if you’re reproductive system is healthy by getting basic physical and blood panel done, a hormone panel and an extended thyroid panel which includes