All posts filed under: Infertility

Dancing Into The New Year

I couldn’t let 2018 get away without writing one final blog post. This past year has been, without a doubt, one of the most transformational years for me. Since our infertility journey began nine years ago, it’s impacted every area of my life. Involuntary childlessness affects relationships with friends, family, and most of all, your emotional and physical well-being. 2018 was the year I got curious about my emotions and stepped into a new chapter. It was time for me to face my grief and do the difficult work. I wrestled, I rumbled, I cried, but I kept going. I wrote and wrote and wrote some more. I poured out my heart— all the million broken pieces, and surrendered to the process. The process hurt. Just like it did when I heard the words, “I’m sorry, there’s no heartbeat.” But I had to go there. I had to revisit the pain in order to heal. It sucked, but I did it again and again and again. All the tools I needed came to me at …

Will You Accept My Invite?

In the United States, over 15% of women will not give birth by the end of their childbearing years. Many of these women are involuntarily childless. There are many reasons for involuntary childlessness. Some are due to infertility or other health reasons but the majority are childless by circumstance. Some of these reasons may include not having a partner during childbearing years, divorce or other unforeseen circumstances. Today kicks off World Childless Week. World Childless Week is about raising awareness of childlessness across the world. It is also about recognizing the millions of men and women who often feel alone, isolated and even invisible in a society where the family unit traditionally includes children. Some of the pain and grief that accompanies childlessness may be visible, but many hide their grief in order to “fit in” or for fear of judgment. As humans, we are wired for human connection, love and belonging. The most primal yearning and instinct is to love and be loved. In many cultures the sole purpose of marriage is to have …

What You Don’t Know About My Miscarriage

Even after three years I can still feel the deafening silence in the room after those awful words were spoken into the universe. It was almost as if I was present but detached from my body. The doctor was speaking, I nodded, but I couldn’t understand. What you don’t know is after hearing those tragic words, we were led out of the back door. As if we were being forced to make the “walk of shame.” God forbid any of the glowing, naïve patients, holding their beautiful swollen bellies see my husband’s blood shot eyes and my smeared mascara. What doesn’t show is that sometimes it feels like just yesterday. What you don’t know is I’ve played that scene out in my head a thousand times. What doesn’t show is that I still want to talk about it. I want you to ask me about my pain, my loss, my grief. I put on a mask, but who is it for? Is it to protect me or you? Are you uncomfortable with my grief? What …

When IVF Doesn’t Work

40 years ago today, Louise Brown, made medical history as the world’s first “test tube baby.” Since then, over 7 million people conceived via IVF have been born. While I am truly grateful for reproductive technology (and went to great lengths to have the IVF procedure), often forgotten among the “miracle baby” stories are the millions more failed cycles. Today, as we celebrate the birth of Louise Brown, I also want to shine a light on the reality that despite the greatest emotional, physical and financial investments, IVF doesn’t always work. Some statistics show that up to 75% of all IVF cycles are unsuccessful. What’s missing from the glossy marketing brochures in clinic waiting rooms around the world, are the stories and faces of couples who have endured the heartbreak of multiple failed transfers and miscarriages. When the societal narrative is filled with “never give up” platitudes, many couples are left feeling shame and grieving in isolation. The majority of media coverage for IVF leads people to believe that if you just keep trying, it …

Choosing Courage Over Comfort

Sometimes I wonder if this wholehearted living thing is really making a difference in the world. It’s not easy and some days it’s really hard. Then, when I least expect it, something happens to remind me that yes, yes it does make a difference! I recently attended a workshop on leadership through resilience at work. After seven months of studying shame resilience and practicing wholehearted living, (thanks to Brené Brown’s research), I was really excited about the class. Early in the meeting, the facilitator presented a colorful collage of photos on the screen and asked everyone to choose an image that represents change. It could be something personal or work related. As the images appeared, my eyes were immediately drawn to an image of a sweet smiling baby, followed by the usual pin prick to the heart. Next, the facilitator said, “At the back of the room is a table with all the photos. Grab your chosen photo and return to your tables.” As soon as she finished her sentence, I could feel my heart start …

Let’s Talk About Grief

I remember the day I heard about the sudden death of Robin Williams, one of the best actors and comedians of our time. Even more shocking was learning that he had apparently taken his own life. Since then, several beloved musicians and celebrities including Chris Cornell, Chester Bennington, Avicii, Kate Spade and Anthony Bourdain have also chosen to take their own lives. For each of these untimely deaths, we often find ourselves asking the same question. Why? What would drive a successful person who seemingly had it all to end their own life?   People like to say suicide is selfish, others point to mental illness or depression. While all may be true, it is evident grief, anxiety and depression do not discriminate. It doesn’t matter how much money or fame you have, we are all human and we all struggle. As a result of years of infertility and my miscarriage three years ago, I know what it’s like to struggle with grief. The last six months have been an incredibly healing time for me …

The Next Chapter

First of all, thank you so much for being here! If you’re new to the site, you may have wondered what “The Gut Link” has to do with an infertility blog. Well, I suppose I should start at the beginning. In 2015, I began writing a blog to share my infertility journey. As we were pursuing IVF, I consulted with a functional medicine doctor who educated me on the importance of gut health and pregnancy. I read and researched all I could find on the subject and immediately made several lifestyle changes, primarily with my diet. I wholeheartedly embraced the gut link as the catalyst to optimizing my chances of conceiving. Hence the name of the blog, “The Gut Link.” As I have shared here before, I was able to conceive but experienced a devastating miscarriage at 10 weeks. Everything I learned about inflammation, gut health and nutrition have made a lifelong impact for which I am very grateful.  Following the loss, I began to struggle with what to share on the blog, as we …

Life After Infertility

Yesterday was the three-year anniversary of our first IVF transfer. At the time, we had no idea this would also be the beginning of a new chapter in our infertility journey — one of loss and grieving. Grief can be a lonely journey. Even the best of friends and family are often at a loss for what to do or say to help their loved one’s cope. During my infertility treatments, I sought support through many wonderful online TTC communities. I received fuzzy socks, baby dust and lots of virtual hugs and prayers from “cycle buddies” all over the world. One of my closest friends as well as a co-worker were going through the procedure around the same time and it was great to have someone to talk to and share all the exciting as well as the not so fun details like getting poked with needles every day! Over the past couple of years, I found myself no longer relating to many of the TTC groups I was once actively a part of. As …

Poetry Therapy?

I’ve never really been able to get into journaling. I read over and over about how great it is to put your thoughts on paper, especially at the end of the day. With a busy home and work schedule, the thought of writing every day is stressful to me. So, I write when I feel the desire and the rest of the time I just write in my head…a lot. A few months ago I decided to write down some thoughts I was having on a particularly difficult day. I had written various versions in my head, what seemed like a dozen times. I figured it might eventually turn into a blog post topic, so I saved the draft and forgot about it. Recently, I opened up that draft and realized there was in fact a story to share…in the form of a poem. I googled “poetry” and found the following definition, “literary work in which special intensity is given to the expression of feelings and ideas by the use of distinctive style and rhythm; poems …

A Brave New Ending

I am honored my story was chosen to be published by RESOLVE for their upcoming National Infertility Awareness Week.  This year’s theme is #FlipTheScript and resonates very personally during our season of healing after infertility and miscarriage. You can read our story and the stories of others here. This was the first time I’ve written a personal story in third person and it was interesting to think about these thoughts and feelings from an outside perspective. The work that Resolve does for the infertility community is invaluable and I can’t thank them enough for the influence they have had on me during this journey. ___________________________________________________________________________________________ For Viann and her husband Oscar, their long and bumpy road of infertility began 9 years ago. After numerous tests and failed treatments, IVF was their only hope of conceiving. In 2015, the procedure was successful. Early in the twin pregnancy, one of the embryos stopped developing, however subsequent ultrasounds revealed a strong heartbeat with the second.  Their prayers had finally been answered and their dream of having a child was becoming …