Saturday, April 12, 2014

Famous People Struggle, Too

Last July Jimmy Fallon and his wife welcomed their first daughter, Winnie! He also revealed that he and his wife struggled for 5 years to conceive. Here is his an article I borrowed from

It’s hard to imagine comedian Jimmy Fallon feeling somber, but the late night host and new dad to baby girl Winnie Rose has admitted that he and his wife’s long struggle with fertility left him feeling dejected.
“We’ve tried a bunch of things,” Fallon told Savannah Guthrie in a Todayshow interview that aired Tuesday morning. “Anyone who’s tried will know, it’s just awful.”

Last week, in a preview of the same 
Today show interview, the Emmy-nominated host, 38,revealed that he and Juvonen, 46, had used a surrogate.Fallon revealed that he and his wife, film producer Nancy Juvonen, spent five years trying to have a baby before welcoming daughter Winnie Rose on July 23. “We tried before, we’ve told people, and then it didn’t happen, and it’s just really depressing. It’s just really hard,” he said.
The couple decided to keep the surrogacy process under wraps, Fallon told Guthrie. “This time, we said, ‘We’re not going to tell anybody,’” he said. “It’d be just more fun if it was just private between me and my wife. And then we get to introduce her to everybody.”
When announcement finally came, it was “so emotional,” Fallon said. “You call everybody, tell them in happened, and it comes out of no where. They’re like, ‘What?’ And then everybody starts crying, and it’s just really happy because we tried for a long time.”

During the interview, Fallon turned to face the camera and offered advice and encouragement to other couples struggling with infertility. “I know people have tried much longer, but if there’s anybody out there that’s trying and losing hope, just hang in there,” Fallon said. “Try every avenue. Try anything you can do, because you’ll get there. You’ll end up with a family, and it’s so worth it. It’s the most worth it thing. I’m just so happy right now, I’m freaking out.”
Fallon also revealed the origin of his newborn daughter’s name—and it wasn’t inspired by the character Winnie Cooper from the 90s TV show The Wonder Years or the famous cartoon bear, as many had suspected. “It’s not Winnie the Pooh at all, even though I love Winnie the pooh,” Fallon explained.
Instead, the couple drew inspiration from Juvonen’s family lake house on Lake Winnipesaukee in New Hampshire. “We went there every summer as we were dating, and we got engaged on the dock of Lake Winnipesaukee,” Fallon said. “You don’t want a name that’s been done, and you don’t want a name that’s so weird people are like, ‘What?’ And ‘Winnipesaukee’ is a little long. So we went with Winnie.”
Plus, there’s a special hidden meaning in the name, Fallon added: “She’s a win for us.”
The beaming new dad also told Guthrie that his baby daughter “turns me into mush. She’s a little angel. She’s so cute and she’s so fun … little girls, especially, unlock something in a dad’s heart.” 

Anyone who's gone through infertility would never wish it on anyone else, but it sure is encouraging to hear about other people who know what you're going through.

Why Miscarriage Matters When You're Pro-Life

A friend of mine posted the link to a blog, The Lewis Note, and this article that she wrote about  miscarriage and those who are pro-life. This article is everything I feel put into words. I'm going to share her words, and add the link to her blog below:

What Not To Say To Someone With Infertility

"You can always do IVF!"

Firstly, IVF is very expensive and isn't usually covered by insurance, much like adoption. We have even discussed, if it came to IVF, would we spend the money on adoption, instead? One cycle of treatment can cost anywhere between $12,000 and $25,000, and one cycle is rarely enough. Most couple need multiple cycles, if it ever works at all. One study found that the average cost of successful IVF is $61,377 ($72,642 when using donor eggs). The total cost including the multiple cycles needed for success.

    Secondly, IVF isn't a cure all. Even if a couple can afford it, it may never be successful. Women under 35 only have a 39.6% success rate per cycle, which varies depending on the cause of their infertility. Success rates for women 42 - 43 is only 11.5% per cycle. Some couples infertility diagnosis includes poor egg or sperm quality, which makes the price of IVF go up even more. Donor eggs, sperm, embryos, and surrogates are substantially more expensive, raising the cost even more.

    Thirdly, not everyone wants to go through IVF. It's emotionally draining, physically invasive, and not without risks. IVF is not for everyone.

"Just adopt!" 

    Adoption is a beautiful, important, wonderful thing, but it's not a decision that should be made lightly. Suggesting adoption as a cure all for infertility is ignorant and insensitive. It's just as emotionally and financially draining as invitro-fertilization (IVF). On top of that, adoption is not always possible. Couples have to apply and be approved, and just like there's no guarantee that IVF will be successful, there's no guarantee that everyone who wants to adopt will pass the screening process (not passing the screening process doesn't mean that someone can't or isn't a great parent, it's far more complicated than that.)
    Adoption also doesn't cure or take away the pain of being unable to conceive and give birth to a biological child. It doesn't replace the children an infertile couple has lost or been unable to have, but is instead another way to build a family.

"Be glad you don't have kids!"

    We're not clueless. We've been seated at the restaurant next to the loud messy family with the screaming disobedient children. We've sat on plane rides with the toddler that constantly kicks our seat, seen the mom who hasn't had more than 3 hours of sleep for the past 5 months. We know they're messy and loud, that they cry and puke, that our lives will change drastically when (if) we have kids. Please don't downplay our loss by making your blessing sound more like a curse.
    Also, don't make this comment in front of your children. I know someone who constantly tells me as she gathers up her kids for dinner or the drive home "You're so lucky you don't have kids." If I had ever heard my mother tell someone over and over "You're so lucky you don't have kids." I would have been hurt beyond words.

"Be glad you get to sleep in!" or "Enjoy the time you have to travel, go to dinner, etc"

    This is like telling someone whose father just died that they're lucky because they no longer have to buy father's day cards.

"Just relax."

    My' favorite'. One of the the cruelest, most ignorant comments a person can make (honesty here people, there's not enough of it. Sorry I refuse to just 'get over it' and say, "Well they mean well." BS!).
    Stress does not cause infertility. One study looked at 3,000 women from 10 different countries and found that high levels of emotional distress before a medicated/treatment cycle did not negatively affect the outcome. Let me repeat that:  high levels of emotional distress before a medicated/treatment cycle did not negatively affect the outcome. 
    To put it bluntly: stress didn't cause my miscarriages and stress isn't keeping me from getting pregnant.
    You should also consider what came first; the stress or the infertility. I wasn't stressed about getting pregnant until I saw that it wasn't happening.

"Maybe you're not meant to be parents" or "God doesn't want you to have kids [yet]."

    This one really hurts. Common sense should tell you that this doesn't make sense. If it's true, how can you explain why truly evil and abusive parents manage to have children? Sadly, being qualified for the job is not required.
    Please don't play God by telling us why we haven't conceived.

"As a parent, I think that....."

    These few words are so hurtful. They are said out of ignorance more so than malice, but I wish you knew how painful they are. Not only are they a reminder that we don't, or can't, have children, but it's a not-so-subtle way of saying that I'm ignorant and not qualified to join in your conversation or disagree with you simply because I haven't had the experience of giving birth. If someone is struggling with infertility, that means they've been trying for more than a year. During those many months we've researched pregnancy, motherhood, symptoms, labor, and hospital vs home births. We have a secret wish list on Target with the stroller and crib we want. Our nursery is ready to go on our private Pinterest board and Etsy list. I know what "crowning" means and I understand the controversy behind public breastfeeding and society's obsession with celebrity's postpartum baby bodies. I want to chat with you, to be involved in the conversation. To preface your comments towards me with, "As a parent..." you are telling me that my opinion is void and meaningless because I'm not physically capable of becoming a parent.

Don't complain about your pregnancy.

    I, and many others, would give almost anything to be pregnant. I think about being a mom every single day and mourn the children I cannot have. We also understand that not all pregnancies were planned, and not everyone squealed with joy when they saw that second line, or are excited about the huge life change that will be taking place in just a few short months.
    That being said, please don't complain about your pregnancy to someone when you know that they're having trouble getting pregnant. Don't sit across from us at the table and go on and on about how you're "trying so hard to actually be excited about this pregnancy", or "I cried when I found out I was pregnant, I really didn't want to have another baby", or "I'm so mad that it's a boy when I wanted a girl [and vice versa]", or "I don't know how we managed to get pregnant! We were using protection and everything, God must really want us to have a baby!" (This one really hurts because you're telling me that being infertile means God really doesn't want me to have a baby.)
    I understand that you may say these things to people that you don't realize are having trouble, and unfortunately that happens. But when you know the pain that someone is going through and you chose to sit there and talk about the curse of your fertility anyway, that's really hurtful. It's also ok to feel that way, but again, have compassion when speaking to someone who wants so badly to be a mother or father.

When someone says something about struggling with infertility, don't complain about being fertile.

    I recently put an article on Facebook called "It's None of Your Business How Many Kids I Have". The result was mothers with 4 + children talking about how much they hate people asking them why they have so many kids, if they're going to have more, etc. Yes, that is frustrating. But do you realize you just hijacked a post by someone who CAN'T have children? Who posted that article in hopes to stop the painful questions? Again, it's not that you aren't allowed to feel that way, but think about who you are speaking to before you say it. I don't complain about marriage being hard to a friend who wants desperately to be married, and you shouldn't complain about your kids to someone with infertility. I could go on and on, but instead I'll just leave you with a comment written by a dear friend of mine: 

"There is a HUGE difference in how the question is received by women who currently have children and by those who have experienced a loss or have not been able to conceive. Yes, as one who is already a mother, the question comes across as judging or quietly condemning. 
But as a woman who is trying to conceive, who is struggling every day, who may have had failed IVFs or miscarriages, that question isn't just invasive, it's PAINFUL AS HELL. It rips the bandage off the wound and exposes it. And how do you answer that question when you've had losses? How could you possibly answer that question in a way that won't create uncomfortable conversations or pitying looks? There isn't a way to respond that doesn't hurt, that doesn't ache. 
We need to never ask these questions. We need to be mindful that infertility is COMMON. And isolating. And sad. And it's none of anyone's goddamn business unless we want it to be (and quite frankly, we often choose to not share because people say the wrong things)."

"But you're so young!  You have time!"

    Actually we have a medical diagnosis of infertility. Meaning; no amount of time will give us a baby. Stop saying this. It's not encouraging and it hurts. It also comes across as negating the time that has already passed. 3 1/2 years is 3 1/2 years regardless of whether you are 23 or 43.

"At least you already have a child!" or "Be thankful for the one you have!"

    Secondary infertility. Infertility that comes after you've already had a child is a big deal to the women who face it. I don't personally suffer from this (now, though I may in the future), but I know that having a child or children wouldn't take away the pain of being unable to have more. And before you tell them to "be grateful" for the children they have, don't assume they don't. Couples who suffer from secondary infertility truly know what a blessing it is to have had a child. Believe it or not, but it is possible to be grateful for what you have and mourn what you don't at the same time.

"It could be worse. You could have cancer or something."

    This is about as comforting as telling someone who's mother just died that, "It could be worse. Both your parents could have died."
Interestingly enough, research has found that the emotional distress that women with infertility experience is not dissimilar to the distress experienced by those with cancer, HIV, and chronic pain.

"Don't give up! It will happen!"

    This seems like a reassuring thing to say, but it isn't. The problem with this is that it makes it sound inevitable that everything will work out in the end, but the truth is, it may not. "Don't worry, it'll happen," tends to be translated to "Stop complaining, it's not a big deal anyway."

    And finally, when someone's had a miscarriage:

"At least you know you can get pregnant!"

    It's sad that I even have to address this one. Do people not realize that it doesn't matter if you can get pregnant if you can't carry the baby to term? My own doctor said that to me after my miscarriage last July. It didn't make me feel better, in fact it broke my heart. Even if I can get pregnant again, I lost a child. I will never get that baby back. And I will carry that child with the fear that it could happen again. A woman at church told me that it was in fact good I had a miscarriage because the left over hormones will be good for the baby when I get pregnant right away, again because that's what happened to her. I haven't been able to speak to her since.
    There's not much more I'm going to say on that comment, because I shouldn't have to. Please use common sense.


    So what should you do if you have a friend that is going through infertility?

Use Google.
    Do some research about what they're going through; medications, IUI, IVF, sperm morphology and motility, miscarriage, ectopic pregnancies, or even just the basics of reproduction. It's sad how many people truly have no idea about how their body works.

Act Interested.
    Some women don't want to talk about infertility, but some of us do. We're going through hell, and we want you to be genuinely interested in our ovaries, how it feels to give ourselves daily injections, what the fertility drugs are doing to us, our emotions when we see another pregnancy announcement on facebook, and how we deal on a day to day basis.
    You might have no idea what progesterone is, what an HSG is, what IUI stands for or entails, how medications work, or how to track your ovulation and luteal phase, but we're happy to explain it to you. Others wanting to know helps us feel normal and less alone.
    Ask me how I'm doing, and mean it.

Don't offer advice unless I ask.
    This one's important. Just read the above list and you'll know why.

Let me know that you care; listen, and let me cry.
    I cried in the middle of church yesterday while I was holding a friend's baby. My husband and my pastor stood with me and just let me cry. They didn't rebuke me or tell me to get over it. I was embarrassed, but I needed it, and I'm so thankful that I have people in my life who will let me cry without making me feel like a lesser person.

Light a candle, say a prayer.
    National Infertility Awareness Week is April 20-26. Light a candle for your friends, and keep praying for us. We need it.

    It really all comes down to common sense and courtesy. Think before you speak. You might just be saving someone you care about a lot of pan.

"A friend is always loyal, and a brother is born to help in a time of need."
Proverbs 17:17

Friday, April 11, 2014


Music speaks to me in a way that nothing else can. I love that God gave that to me.
 I feel closer to Him in song that I do at any other time.
I want to share the songs that give me hope, the songs that represent so well the way I'm feeling right now.


Oceans by Hillsong United

You call me out upon the waters
The great unknown where feet may fail
And there I find You in the mystery
In oceans deep
My faith will stand

And I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Your grace abounds in deepest waters
Your sovereign hand
Will be my guide
Where feet may fail and fear surrounds me
You've never failed and You won't start now

So I will call upon Your name
And keep my eyes above the waves
When oceans rise
My soul will rest in Your embrace
For I am Yours and You are mine

Spirit lead me where my trust is without borders
Let me walk upon the waters
Wherever You would call me
Take me deeper than my feet could ever wander
And my faith will be made stronger
In the presence of my Savior

I will call upon Your Name
Keep my eyes above the waves
My soul will rest in Your embrace
I am Yours and You are mine

Monday, April 7, 2014


     It's the number of months I've been trying to have a baby. I hate the number 20, and next month I'll hate the number 21. It's the number of months I've felt alone. The number of months I've endured the question that anyone struggling with infertility dreads; 

"When are you guys going to have kids?"

    It's the number of months that I've thought of lies and witty retorts designed to discourage that question. 

"I don't know, how's your sex life?"
"We don't want children."
"I have a dog, that's all I need."
"I don't want anything I can't lock in a dog crate."
"9 months after I get pregnant."
"Kids are gross."

And the answer I contemplate using:

"I don't know if I can even have children."

    But I know that if I tell the truth, I'll be met with awkwardness, silence, pity, and the stories about your mothers, sister's, nieces, cousin's former roommate who tried for 6 years and finally got pregnant because she 'just relaxed and rolled in the wet spot' (no, I'm not being dramatic. This has been said).

Just relax.

    Oh how I hate those two words. I don't know that there are two more hurtful words than those. No, that's not true, there are. But not many make me as angry. I've never before felt the level of anger as I did when a woman with 6 [unplanned] children in 8 years told me that I needed to relax.

"Just relax. You're too stressed out, that's why you can't get pregnant."

    Well guess what? I did relax. For the first year I was relaxed, having fun, and enjoying the thought of starting a family within the next few months. I told myself that it's ok, it can take up to a year. This is normal. Well we aren't normal. 

     And it's not our fault. We're not infertile because we're tense. We're not infertile because we drank a soda yesterday. We're not infertile because our chicken isn't free range and our veggies aren't organic. We're infertile because we have a disease. A disease that can't be cured by a spa day and massage. 

    Maybe we'll conceive naturally with enough time. I hope so. The thought of more medicine, invasive procedures, shots, and expensive doctors visits sound like more than I can handle right now. Last night I felt ok. Peaceful. Today I've lost hope. It's a lonely journey, but I know that God grieves with me. He didn't kill my baby and he doesn't keep my children from me. It's the product of an imperfect, fallen world and He grieves right along with me, just like He will rejoice when I finally hold my baby in my arms.

The Pain

The pain of seeing another ultrasound, gender reveal, and newly decorated nursery.
Another pregnancy announcement, another baby shower, another reminder.
A reminder that I should have a baby in my arms, but I don't.
I'm not even pregnant.
Sometimes I think it's unbearable. 
Trusting God is hard, and a lot of times I don't. The times I do are the best. I feel such peace, love, trust. 
I'm ok. 
Until I'm not. 
Like today.
Today I'm not ok.
I really shouldn't stalk people I used to know on facebook. Let's face it, this is the time in life when everyone is starting their families, and I'm bound to see ultrasounds everywhere I go. I want to know, but I don't.
It hurts.
It physically hurts.
Sometimes I think I can feel my heart actually breaking.
There are days when the tears don't stop, and days where I think I'm ok.

It's not the kind of sadness where you cry all the time, more like the sadness that overwhelms your entire body, leaving your heart aching and your stomach empty.
 Making you feel weak and tired.
 Yet you can't even sleep because the sadness is in your dreams, too.
It's a sadness that you can't escape.

It's harder when people don't understand. When they blame you, without realizing it. When they try to relate to it and all you can do is think, "Really? You think that's what this is like because you're past you're due date and you just want that baby out of you?"
You have no idea.
I remember when we were at about 8 months of trying. I thought it was so hard. Ha! 
That was months and months ago.
 I had no idea.

There are so many people who have cried more, tried longer, and hoped harder. Sometimes I feel guilty for being so sad, but the thing is, it's sad no matter what. The pain is always there when you know it won't happen easily, if at all.

I want to trust God. It's easier when I do. 
But today I'm losing hope.
Tomorrow will be better.


This is the last cycle before our 2014 baby slips away. Sure, we could get pregnant, God can do all things, but we probably won't. It's hard, knowing we won't have a baby this year. 
But the months pass, and now our hope turns towards yet another year.
It goes on and on.
The hope hurts, and you start to wonder if it's worth it.
Feeling broken.
Always broken.

"You can only come to the morning through the shadows." 
J.R.R. Tolkien

The Story of Me

   My husband and I were married in 2011, and ditched the birth control in August of 2012. We were so excited, and a little scared. After all, we were going to get pregnant right away! Yeah right. Life has a funny way of turning on you.
    As the months began to pass us by I started to worry. "It can take a healthy couple up to a year. Right? Yeah, that's what all the articles say. There's nothing to worry about!" That thought didn't always end the pain of another failed month, but it did keep me from running off to the doctor seeking premature treatment (which I'm still glad I didn't do, regardless of where I'm at today). Month 11 finally rolled around and I was so discouraged. I began researching local Reproductive Endocrinologists and fertility clinics, dreading the appointments to come. We decided to visit home that weekend and my sister in law, knowing that we were trying, gave me a test and told me to take it because she didn't need it. If you're trying to get pregnant, a good rule is to never turn down a free test. The next morning I decided to use it. "My period is due today anyway and it's not like I'm pregnant. I hate having tests lying around, mocking me. I'm just going to use it and get it out of my sight."
    Well what do you know? It was positive! Faint, but obvious. I was in shock, thinking that surely this couldn't be real. All the sadness of the past year was worth it, I was going to be a mom. No, I was a mom. Anyone who's been pregnant can tell you, that once you see that test, whether it results in a baby or not, something in you changes forever, and you will always be a mom.
    Tyler was away and wasn't going to be home until the next day, and I wasn't about to break this news over the phone or a text. I rushed to Target (because, duh, Target) and picked out a little onesie, a card, and another test to confirm. I had been cramping a little bit that afternoon, but lots of people cramp when they're pregnant, it was nothing to worry about. I had already called my best friend because I just had to tell somebody. We gushed and squealed and did happy dances.
    As I drove to my grandparent's house to eat dinner and then go to a movie with my dad, the cramping got worse. Not 30 minutes later I began to bleed. I called my midwife, who reassured me that many women spot during pregnancy, it was probably fine, and to keep her posted. The pain continued to increase until it had me doubled over in my grandparent's bathroom, struggling to compose myself. I knew it was over. I texted Tyler and my best friend, letting them know what had happened and asking for prayers.
    After I had cleaned myself up, I put on a brave face, got in the car, and went to the movie with my dad. It was so hard, but none of it had really set in yet. I guess that was kind of a blessing.
    Tyler got home the next day and carried on as if nothing had happened. I was so hurt and confused. He didn't understand the term 'chemical pregnancy' (which I now think is so stupid. It's a miscarriage. I was pregnant, my baby died, it doesn't matter how early it was.) and thought that it meant the test was faulty and I was never pregnant. I didn't understand why he wasn't upset, why he didn't seem to care. I came to him in tears and asked why he couldn't care less that I lost our baby. He finally understood and held me all night long, letting me cry until I didn't think I had any tears left, and then cry some more.
    The next morning I got a call from another one of my close friends. She had some really exciting news for us! She was pregnant, and her due date was the exact same day that mine would have been. I realized that weekend what a good actor I was. I guess I really missed my calling in life. As she gushed about their news, I rejoiced with her, asking how she was feeling, what their plans were, how her husband was feeling about the whole thing (it was unplanned, more salt in my wound). I didn't mention the fact that I was currently losing my baby because I didn't want to darken her day, and she was so excited. I didn't blame her, I would have been, I had been, too.
    I won't pretend like the pain went away, but it has gotten easier to deal with over time.
    Fast forward to December 2013. I didn't make an appointment with the RE (Reproductive Endocrinologist) after my miscarriage because we got pregnant once, surely we could get pregnant again. After all, everyone was telling me how much more fertile you are after a miscarriage (let me just say that this is a really stupid thing to say to anyone, let alone someone who just had a miscarriage. I did tell you I was going to be real with you, didn't I?) Well, it's not true, and we didn't get pregnant again. As eager as I was to be a mom, I was just as scared to make the call. When I finally did, I was astonished at how fast they got me in. I was beginning to get really excited! At my appointment I talked with the PA and she scheduled some blood work. I was so happy! We were finally getting the ball rolling and going to find out what was wrong! After I got my blood drawn and the results came back normal, a nurse called me and said that there was nothing more they could do for me. "What? I'm not ignorant, I know that there are many more tests that need run. How can this be it?"   
     Well, it turns out that you have to wait at least a year after your last pregnancy, regardless of whether you carried the baby to term or not, to seek help from a doctor. I was stunned. I couldn't even speak, so I just hung up the phone and cried. The next day I called back and asked if there was something we could do, something we could work out. After all, 17 months with one miscarriage isn't normal, no matter what insurance wants to say to get out of paying. You know what that nurse said to me? "Sorry, you're out of luck."
    Out of luck.
    I didn't even care that I was still on the phone, I cried like I had never cried before. That morning two friends had told me that they were pregnant, and now I was being told that we had to wait until our 2 year mark to even seek testing.
     For the next 4 or 5 weeks I was in a major funk. I didn't leave the house, didn't speak to my friends, and didn't go to my Wednesday bible study that I looked forward to every week. Eventually I got out of it, I've learned to accept the fact that I'm 'out of luck' until August and some days even find the positives in having to wait, but deep down I know that I would give up everything I have to distract me this summer in order to have my baby.

    My due date was March 29, 2014.

But if not, He is still good.