Sunday, November 5, 2017

Exploring Paths of Hope: 33rd Annual Infertility & Adoption Family Building Summit

Exploring Paths of Hope: 33rd Annual Infertility & Adoption Family Building Summit

Saturday, November 18, 2017
7:45AM – 5:15PM
Bloomington, MN
Have you been trying to conceive for more than 6 months? THIS SUMMIT IS FOR YOU!

About this Summit

  • FREE expert advice from Reproductive Endocrinologists, Adoption Agencies, Complementary Therapy Practitioners, Attorneys, Psychologists and other fertility and adoption specialists
  • FREE giveaways
  • Largest Summit of its type in the Midwest
RESOLVE is proud to present its annual Midwest Family Building Summit on Saturday, November 18, 2017. This Summit is designed to address the and emotional issues associated with infertility and adoption. Attendees will learn about new treatments, be able to talk directly to doctors and specialists, explore parenting options and network with others experiencing infertility. Medical experts, attorneys, counseling professionals, adoption agencies and those who have experienced infertility firsthand will provide information regarding all aspects of your family building journey. Infertility and adoption services and merchandise will be given away. Each Main Registrant will automatically be entered. Must be present to win.

Testimonials from Past Summit

  • The Summit helped shine a light for me and gave me hope.
  • Best adoption stories I have probably ever heard. A ‘must’ for people who are considering this.
  • All of the speakers seemed very in-tune with their field and with where we were at. I liked that they had really good rapport w/one another.
  • Wow! I’m amazed at how candid the speakers were! I’m grateful for them sharing their experience.
  • The combination of personal stories and professional information/perspective was very good.
  • I truly believe that I would not have the family I have today had I not attended your Family Building Summit.

Volunteer Information

Whether you have an hour during the day of the Summit or would like to help plan it, we need you! If you are interested in volunteering before or during the Summit, please email or sign up here.
Please be aware that RESOLVE events are open to everyone in all the various stages of their family building journey. We are sensitive to the emotions of all involved and want to inform you that attendees, volunteers, speakers and exhibitors may include those recently diagnosed, in treatment, expecting, and resolved. Please no children, childcare is not available at this event.

Location Information

Normandale Community College
9700 France Ave South
Bloomington, MN 55431
Google Map
Parking is free. Download the parking map

Sunday, October 29, 2017

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month - Oct 29

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Throughout the month I will be sharing stories of those who have loved and lost angel babies.

Below is a link to several beautiful stories.

Sunday, October 22, 2017

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month - Oct 22

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Throughout the month I will be sharing stories of those who have loved and lost angel babies.

Below is a link to several beautiful stories.

Sunday, October 15, 2017

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Day - Oct 15

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Each October I share stories stories of those who have loved and lost angel babies.

October 15th is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Remembrance Day .  Today I share my story.

I was born with a uterine abnormality - a unicornuate uterus.  For some unknown reason, the left side of my uterus never formed, leaving me with a uterus about 1/3 the size of a normal one.

When this was discovered, the doctors thought that I would never be able to have children.  They did not believe that I would be able to get pregnant, let alone carry a baby long enough to survive.  My marriage also did not survive.

The doctors were half right.  Despite only one fallopian tube connecting to my uterus (the left tube is there - there just is no opening to my uterus on that side) I was able to get pregnant - twice.  Neither pregnancy made it past the first trimester.

There are thousands of women who have uterine abnormalities who are able to have children on their own - some are luckier than others - but all of these pregnancies are considered high risk and should be monitored closely.

I found a wonderful Ob/Gyn who specializes in high risk pregnancies.  When I was ready to try again, she was ready to help we with the journey.  But, time passed, and I was not ready to try again.  Suddenly I was 35 - "geriatric" in terms of pregnancy.  My Ob/Gyn and I had a heart-to-heart.  She explained to me that if I really wanted to have my own child, time was beginning to run out.  Due to the lack of time on my side, and my chances of a successful pregnancy due to my uterus, my best chance to have my own child would be to have someone else carry it for me - gestational surrogacy.

My (second) husband and I then boarded the emotional roller coaster that is IVF and gestational surrogacy.

After 3 IVF cycles, two gestational carrier false starts, and a trip to India, we FINALLY had an embryo transfer.  Then WE WERE PREGNANT!!!!  It was for real - we had a positive BETA.

And then we weren't....

The second BETA showed levels dropping instead of rising, and by the third BETA there we no levels at all.  Our GC had an early miscarriage.

In IVF, this is often called a "chemical pregnancy".  Some people dismiss these as "nothing".  They are not nothing.  They are confirmed pregnancies.  If you experience a chemical pregnancy be kind to yourself.  You have the right to grieve.  If you know someone who experiences a chemical pregnancy, be kind to them.  They have just lost a child.  It doesn't matter that it may have only been days - it was still a child.

I was devastated.  How could this happen?  My uterus sucks so we found a good one to use instead.  We gave our little embies a perfect home.  Why didn't this work?  It turns out that in addition to a bum uterus I also have bum eggs.  My previous losses may not have been because of my uterus after all.

Our loss happened right before Halloween.  I was not answering the door handing out candy.  I found it much too painful.  I could not look at children in their cute little Halloween costumes and not feel heartbroken.  I feared that I may never, ever get that chance to take my own child trick-or-treating.

We had a second transfer in December.  Those embryos never took at all.

At this point I did not know what to do.  We had 4 embryos left - frozen from our second IVF cycle.  We could ship them and try yet another transfer.  I was not sure if I even wanted to try again.  I didn't know if I could take another loss.

We were lucky that we found a GC locally and I somehow found the courage to try again.  I knew that this person would be a great carrier - they had two very successful pregnancies with uncomplicated deliveries.  They didn't drink, smoke or even have caffeine.  They are probably the healthiest person that I know.

But, I was still scared.  My eggs were not great and our remaining embryos had not been genetically tested.  We really had no idea if they were healthy or not.

Out of the four, one made it to transfer day.  It was not even a blastocyst - only a morula and a poorly graded one at that.  The doctor did not have high hopes.

Somehow, that little morula stuck and keep sticking.

Instead of being overjoyed, I was terrified.  I was so afraid of losing another child.

Unfortunately, this is not uncommon.  Many women who have experienced pregnancy loss have many difficult emotions in a pregnancy following a loss.  It is OK.  It is normal.  Find support to help you.  For those who know someone who is experiencing a pregnancy after a loss - support them.  Just support them.

Finally, our son was born.  He was beautiful.  And he was healthy.  He was finally real.

I love my son more than anything in the world.  But I am still sad when I think of the children that I have lost.  Every October is difficult, and I cry every year when I write this post.

Having a child does not make up for losing a child.

Don't tell me how I am finally healed, because I am not.

The scars may have faded, but they are still scars.  My losses are part of my experience and are part of who I am today.  I try to draw strength from the children that I have lost to help others who have also experienced loss.

I celebrate the child that I have here on earth, but will always remember those who I have in heaven.

Below is a link to several beautiful stories.

Sunday, October 8, 2017

Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month - Oct 8

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Throughout the month I will be sharing stories of those who have loved and lost angel babies.

Below is a link to several beautiful stories.

Sunday, October 1, 2017

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month - Oct 1

October is Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month.  Throughout the month I will be sharing stories of those who have loved and lost angel babies.

Below is a link to several beautiful stories.

Sunday, September 17, 2017

Less is More

This is my closet.  For those who have seen my closet before it may look a little different.  Maybe a little less full?  A little more coordinated perhaps?

I have decided to embrace the "capsule wardrobe".  The concept has become pretty popular as of late but was actually created in the 1970's.  A capsule wardrobe is defined as a compact wardrobe made up of staple pieces in coordinating colors - usually in the realm of 30 items or fewer, including shoes and sometimes even accessories.  One might update the wardrobe with a couple of trendy or seasonal items for each season, but that was it.  The goal is to have a streamlined wardrobe of high-quality pieces that could be worn often and interchangeably, thereby saving money, closet space and time.

To be fair, this is more than 30 pieces.  I actually have two capsules going - a work one and a casual one - but this is still a huge improvement for me.

I had heard of this concept before but brushed it aside.  At the time I didn't find capsules that fit my style and honestly could not fathom the thought of paring down.

The idea came to me as I was looking for travel wardrobe ideas.  We are going on a 10-day tour of Eastern Europe in a few weeks and are limited to one large suitcase each plus a carry-on bag.  For most people this is one more suitcase than they even need, but not for me.  Oh no. I am a notorious over-packer.  I return home from trips with about of third of my items clean and unworn.  This is not good for several reasons and can even be costly.  We had to pay a HUGE fee coming back from New Zealand a couple of years ago for our overweight bags.  To be fair, we did pick up some souvenirs, but not 10 pounds worth.

My goal was to find some packing ideas so that I had a coordinated wardrobe, with plenty of options, that fit my style and into one suitcase.  Some of the trip packing "capsules" that I found were actually put together by "capsule wardrobe" bloggers.  I was intrigued by this.  I could somehow put a wardrobe together for an entire season that looked great, used items I (for the most part) already owned and saved time and closet space.

I may not have been open to this a few years ago, but I was open now.

After finding your capsule inspiration, the first step is to clean out your closet.  This is not only to make room for your capsule, but also to evaluate your wardrobe in general.  Note that items that are out of season are to be put in storage, but only if they are in good shape, are the right size, and fit within another capsule.  That is a nice way of saying that you probably have some things that need to go.

I admit that I have been in serious need of good closet clean out.  And I do periodically go through my clothes and donate items.  However, I seem to do this fairly often, and despite those clean-outs, the closet keeps getting full.  Hmmmm.

Luckily I found some help.

In this post she asks good questions during the clean-out process:

  • Guilt asked, “Why did you spend so much money on things you don’t wear?”
  • Frustration asked, “Are we going to have to do this again in 6 months?”
  • Fear asked, “If you let go, will you have enough to wear?”
These all resonated with me.  I have spent a ton of money on clothes that I don't wear.  Thankfully not at full retail prices but a ton of money the same.  The closet clean-out is a regular process for me -isn't this supposed to be a big one-time project with some occasional editing?  

Good points, but the one that stuck with me the most was fear.  Ahhhh.  Finally the root cause.  Fear.

We all have things that stand out to others.  One thing for me is my style.  Now I am not saying that I am the coolest kid on the block.  But I do tend to dress well and people comment on it.  It has taken me a while, and there has been plenty of trial and error along the way, but I have found the "classy yet trendy" style that works for me and some other people seem to like it too.

This feels pretty good.  I mean, who doesn't like a compliment.  But the style thing really hits on something deeper.  I can have great style and only have a few great pieces in my closet.  Instead, my closet (and my backup closet) are overflowing.  I can never have ENOUGH style.

I finally know why this is.  (I have been making some great strides in therapy lately).  

I did not have a lot growing up.  In some ways, I did not even have enough.

I love when I share this fact and people who did grow up with enough (and most times really a lot) try to empathize.  "Yeah, we didn't have Nintendo either growing up" In their case, it was because their middle-class parents didn't want them to have one and made up for it with annual vacations and paying for their college (private college even).  Totally the same as being on food stamps and having reduced or free lunches (which were a different color lunch ticket so everyone knew that you were a poor kid by the way).  OK.  Done venting.

Clothes were a symbol of the status that I did not have.  Despite being the oldest child, I still had hand-me-down clothes.  My Mom's co-workers would send her home with clothes for me. Thankfully some of them weren't bad.  But I never, at least that I can remember, in 8 years of Catholic school (which we went to because they offered reduced tuition to the "less fortunate" by the way) had a uniform skirt that actually fit.  They were either way too big, or too small, or too long or too short.  In a way, it was funny (in a sad, sad way).

The minute that I had a job, I spent the money on clothes.  I just started amassing clothes.  I was a huge name brand whore with little to no budget.  So, I bought whatever was on sale.  Half the time it wasn't even that great or really fit well but it did have the right name on it.  That became more expensive as I went back to school and got better-paying jobs and expanded to purses and even vehicles.

As the years went by I did start to realize what I was doing, and why I was doing it and did start to make less and better purchases.  But never completely gave up the bad habit. 

I admit I am still not TOTALLY ready, but I am trying really hard.

I have spent the last few weeks going through the closets.  If an item doesn't fit (keeping a small amount of clothes in a size up because like most women my size does fluctuate and we all (like it or not) need to keep some "fat clothes"), doesn't look good, doesn't match at least two other items in my closet, and has not been worn in at least a year (barring a few special occasion items like cocktail dresses and suits)  (and OK, I gave myself two years - baby steps) it is getting sold, consigned or donated.  Sigh.  There is a LOT of stuff that is not going back in my closet.

I am trying not to think about the wasted money.  At this point there is nothing I can do about that.  I can, however, focus on the positive.  I still have a nice, classy yet trendy wardrobe that is now actually even more coordinated than it has been in the past.  I also take much less time deciding what to wear in the morning.  I will have more free time and more money to put towards other, better efforts.

It is not easy.  Trust me, I am eye-f$cking that new Kate Spade purse of yours (did I mention how much I LOVE Kate Spade purses?  And sunglasses?  And shoes?).  But, I already have the one purse that I need for my capsule.  And it is a cute purse and in good shape.  And really all I need.

And I am working on being happy with what I already have, as I already have all that I need.