Being a doula, I am often asked at interviews with potential clients, "Do you have any children?" This is a totally normal question and I understand why it is asked so frequently.  I am supporting women through the birth of their own children, they want to know if I have "been there, done that."  Maybe I will be supporting them breastfeeding or healing from birth and they may want someone who has had that experience.  For a long time my reply was, "No, I do not have any children, yet..."  I will admit that I have seen some faces of possible disappointment from the expecting mothers and I have felt (possibly of course over thinking) that perhaps I was not hired on an occasion or two because I had not "been there" before.  For years I have worked as a nanny or babysitter, I have a degree in Child Development, I worked in baby retail, planned to be a teacher and spent time as a teachers assistant at a Montessori preschool etc... never did the thought of not being able to have my own children cross my mind. It was just something you do if you want to and when you want to. The reality and miracle of it was completely not thought about. Why isn't fertility talked about more? Why is this so taboo for so many?
     Until this year, I had not opened up about why not.  As this year came around and even towards the end of last year, as questions started to be answered, my response to an inquiry that once caused me some anguish shifted.  I told myself that as the opportunity arose I was going to be open about what was occurring, I love supporting others and I was open to also begin accepting support from those I meet in my life.  As the question began to keep coming in time after time, my heart would open and the words would come out, " No, I do not have any children yet.  My husband and I are actually having some fertility challenges."  And with that, lots of warm wishes and sincere apologies came in.  Stories of successful conception and babies being welcomed overflowed.  New friendships, relationships and clients came into my life, and they had "been there, done that."  They have helped in building me back up and reminding my husband and I that we too may be able to successfully conceive.  The overwhelming feeling I had been holding onto, that I am broken, started to ease.
Picture
Photo by Beth Moser Photography - http://bethmoserphotography.com
     This is my husband, Kripa', and I.  We met online 4 years ago, he has aspirations of being an animator and I had no idea today I would be a doula, which has been the best "job" ever.  From the very beginning we shared our dreams of settling down and starting a family.  We have been inseperable since the beginning.  Two days after we met I was going camping in a place hard to reach, but I found a way to reach him.  Shortly after the camping trip, I took off to Botswana to volunteer in a village for a month, we found a way to text and occasionally talk on the phone. Kripa' joined my mom to collect me the day I flew back home, we have been together ever since.  
     Soon after our relationship began, Kripa' became a Manny to two boys and I started supporting families as they welcomed their babies into the world as a volunteer, Community Based Doula.  I knew I found a winner, when on our first date he sat next to me on the floor at a book store and listened as I read him and cried to "Love You Forever," but it sealed the deal when I witnessed the care and compassion he gave to those boys.  I couldn't wait to someday make him a father... I still can't.  
     Last year, June of 2012, we got married.  We had known for a few months that there were some challenges we were facing in our hopes of making babies.  At that point I was more of a mystery to the clinics and the hospital.  On the day we exchanged our vows we included our future dreams of a family as well as incorporated a couple of children's books into our promises.  We had an outpour of incredible love and support during our wedding plans and honeymoon, more than ever imaginable.  Both were beyond anything we could ever hope for.  Kripa' had never traveled, and getting to start sharing the world with him will continue to be a fond memory for both of us. If we had known then what we know now, we may not have gone on that epic journey, no matter how amazing it was, because soon after the news of our infertility and financial struggles would set in.  
     Upon our return from our European dream, I started more testing.  At the beginning of this year, a Conference was held locally, "Fertility Planit," all about the journey, challenges and work that is done for families facing "infertility."  Knowing we were having troubles, but not knowing exactly what, we decided to attend and begin educating ourselves the best we could. We learned that we were not alone, we were surrounded by couples facing similar situations and many more.  We brushed up on nutrition, learned more about yoga, were blown away by the work being done with genetics, found out the different ways families work towards conception and came to the realization that adoption is far out of our reach but if we can not conceive then we may someday become foster parents.  
     Fast forward to now, a couple of months ago we got results from those tests last year... in order to conceive, our only option to TRY is IVF (In-Vitro Fertilization).  Both of my fallopian tubes are blocked, from possible endometriosis scar tissue.  The endometriosis has not been confirmed, but they do not have plans to go in surgically and find out unless I am having unbearable pains.  What was confirmed is that the tubes are so blocked, that more than one Medical Professional has said that the likelihood of successfully unblocking them to create a path for my eggs is close to 0%.  IVF will mean that I will undergo a little more testing, be put on rounds of hormones, be put to sleep and have a needle retrieve eggs from my ovaries, mix my eggs with sperm in a petri dish, freeze the embryos and a few days later have our "baby" placed in my womb.  
     Today was the first big step in working towards our baby goals.  We had the official consultation with a Dr. we had met at the conference.  When we had expressed our concerns about being a low income couple hoping to create a family, she was the one that approached us to give us hope.  She listens, she explains, she is kind and gentle and she has been generous.  When we found out that our IVF will cost slightly less than our total combined annual income, anxiety grew.  It is so amazing that today this modern medicine makes it possible for couples like us to start a family, but it is also so heartbreaking that the costs can make it so far out of reach and unattainable. I have always practiced the art of giving to others, it has been a growing experience to learn to accept offers from others.  Today Dr. D made us feel like our family can be within reach as opposed to the Fertility Dr. that the hospital referred me to, that requires full payment in 45 days.  IVF is not something that is covered by health insurance, which in my case does not matter anyhow, because I do not have any.  So far all procedures have been done through the County Hospital and have been paid out of pocket. It is such a pain to go to County but I am so glad it was an option during the testing process.  
     We are feeling hopeful about this process and are so very thankful for our family, friends, new friends and Medical Professionals that have supported us emotionally and shared their knowledge.  Despite the concerns, financial worries and uncomfortable tests and hard news along the way, we are hopeful that at the end it will all be worth it.  We will be continuing to share our journey and remaining open to support, love and well wishes as we go forth in creating our family, hopefully holding a baby of our own before too long.

Thank you from the bottom of our hearts,
Erin and Kripa'

"We love you forever,
We like you for always,
As long as we're living,
In our hearts you will be."
(paraphrased from Love You Forever by Robert Munsch)

We have been encouraged by those in our life to try to do a fundraiser.  It is a strange feeling to accept a fundraiser to make a baby, but we know beyond our best efforts, this may not be able to happen on our own.  The following link is to our online fundraiser where monetary donations can be sent. We get the whole donation minus 3% which is pay pals processing fee.

http://www.youcaring.com/medical-fundraiser/making-baby-pizzorno-our-fertility-fundraiser/57269

You can also "like" our Facebook page, Making Baby Pizzorno

Thank you!!! In addition we will be having an auction soon of donated goods and services. We will post when we are ready.


Picture
Photo by Beth Moser Photography - http://bethmoserphotography.com
 


Comments

05/02/2013 10:36pm

You are so brave to share your story. You are not alone in this journey. I don't know you well but I know you are a beautiful person inside and out and you WILL be a Mama and a really good one! <3

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05/12/2013 9:55pm

Thank you Melissa! <3 I hope I can live up to the expectations. haha. I will need party and baking help xo

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05/02/2013 10:39pm

Such a beautiful story and a stunning couple I can not wait to meet baby Pizzorno!!! Thank you for sharing <3

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05/12/2013 9:56pm

Thank you Desiree! Happy to have you as a doula sister and all your support in helping us get an auction going. <3

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Cindy and Geno
05/02/2013 11:04pm

Your amazing journey has begun. We pray that IVF is successful and you too, will be holding your own baby very soon. Know that we love and support you all the way. Keep us posted and let us know what we can do. xxooxx

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05/12/2013 9:57pm

Thank you CIndy and Geno! We love you guys and am so thankful for your always continued love and support on my amazing journeys. <3

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Sarah H.
05/02/2013 11:09pm

within or without... You will be amazing parents and time will bless you with just the right kids.

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05/12/2013 9:58pm

Thank you Sarah. At some point a child will be ours... whether they like it or not! haha. jk. <3 We cant wait to share our home with a little one.

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05/02/2013 11:32pm

Erin, my aunt (mom's younger sister) had endometriosis and wanted to have another child (she'd had 2 kids when she figured out why they cldn't conceive). Anyway, she was able to have another son in 1997. She has since having her last child has had to have a Hysterectomy, but is doing well and fine and her son is and was born healthy and happy! Her name on my facebook is Kathy Joyce Babcock, if you wld like to ask her how they went about conceiing having endometriosis, just send her a msg on fb and let her know that you're a good friend of mine and I'm sure she wld answer all/any questions you may have, k? <3 you girl!

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05/12/2013 10:01pm

Thanks Jess, Ya were her tubes blocked also? Im glad she was able to conceive! They have not even confirmed endo because that can only be done surgically but they have confirmed the blocked tubes. Silly tubes. Reminds me of those reusable straws I have on my reusable cups, I have to clean the straws with the Dr. Browns baby bottles accessory brush... the size of a pipe cleaner. Makes me always think of how my tubes need a pipe cleaner. HAHA

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Jeimy Moon
05/03/2013 2:00am

No, you don't have any children yet... But with faith and perseverance you will be a mommy some day in the near future !!! I feel your story very close to my heart. My husband and I had been married for 6 years when we finally had our little girl ( she is now two). We went through IVF as well ... We resource to go out of the country ( my birth country Colombia) due to affordability. And after all the pain and anxiety of the procedure our baby took after they first try.

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05/12/2013 10:03pm

Jeimy, Congratulations! That is so wonderful to hear that you had a successful IVF and have your daughter now. So thankful it went well. It is so incredibly expensive here to go through this unknown journey of what if. I have heard others talk about going out of the country. How was your experience?

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Kathy Meredith
05/03/2013 8:14am

You two are amazing! I look forward to the day I hear you have a little one on the way!

Love you both!

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05/12/2013 10:03pm

Thank you Aunt Kathy! <3 <3

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05/04/2013 8:12am

Dearest Erin and Kripa, thank you for sharing your story so openly. Sending you much love and big hugs in your journey towards parenthood. Ana Paula

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05/12/2013 10:09pm

Thank you Ana Paula! I must say just as we feel in childbirth about "informing families" it is feeling the same with this journey. I am so thankful for the private messages I have been receiving from mamas feeling encouraged and empowered. Giving them hope. So glad for everyone that shares our blog and helps it reach more families and gives more hope to the masses. It is so right up the doula alley. :)

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Shawna Probasco
05/04/2013 11:35am

Beautiful story, and well told. You are such a selfless person, I hope that you will be carrying then caring for your own little sprout of you and Kripas' love! Your amazing in all the things you do! Best wishes! Love to you both! And May God be with you on your journey for a family! <3

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05/12/2013 10:11pm

Thank you Shawna and thank you for sharing our journey with others. <3

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Claudia
05/05/2013 7:32am

Dear Kripa' and Erin,
I am a the FB friend of Michelle's who wrote a little about our experience with IVF...and how to do it more affordably. I really have SO much to say...some advice, and some just personal opinion. I think I even still have an excel spreadsheet of our IVF budget if you would be interested in it. I know that it was hard to get any "real" information from people because everyone just throws out "a number" (when we did it that number was $25k). We did one retrieval and one fresh cycle and then one frozen cycle. Both were successful but I miscarried the first time at 12 weeks. We now have a wonderful 8 year old boy. If you would like to hear my experience I would rather e-mail it to you...or friend me on FB and I'll send you a private message. ;) It's a journey...but you can do it!! One of my biggest pieces of advice...which may seem opposite of many other people...is to NOT get involved with IVF chat/support groups. You will have your own ups and downs and if you are hearing about everyone else's...it really just adds a ton of stress that you don't need. I'd say to keep it semi-"private"...have some close friends to talk to about it...who don't mind and will be neutral about it all. Does that make any sense?? ;) XO- Claudia

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05/12/2013 6:08pm

Claudia,
I know that I am a stranger to you, but I am so curious about your story and your advice. My story is so similiar to Kripa and Erin's and my husband and I have just decided to begin the process of adoption. I would love to hear what about your experience, if you would like to share. Thank you! Laura Prow (lauramprow@gmail.com)

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05/12/2013 10:14pm

Thank you Claudia! Yes we are assuming about 20k but also have a couple friends that went more to 30k. It is incredible. We appreciate your support and your sharing. Kripa said he got private FB messages from you but I cant see them since they are in his messages. Please feel free to send them in private messages to our facebook baby page or to erinandkripa@gmail.com so I can see and reply! I am so thankful for the support. I am actually loving the support groups. I think it works well for my personality. I love to share and receive information and I guess that is the whole reason we are sharing with the masses. We know there are others that are daunted and overwhelmed and are likely hiding behind the infertility curtain. They may need encouragement and empowerment and a friend they never knew they had. So happy to provide that to so many now. <3

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Amie
05/06/2013 1:34pm

Erin, you are so brave & strong. Prayers for your fertility. Please look at www.naprotechnology.com. I will be doing my fellowship there starting next January. Although it is in Omaha, it may be an alternative to IVF for you & I would be happy to help when I get there!

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05/12/2013 10:22pm

Thank you Amie! It was so great to chat the other day and I totally appreciate your support and wisdom. Please move back and be an OB here so we can work together hehe <3 <3 I look forward to learning more. xo

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Katie
05/12/2013 5:01pm

try a Catholic hospital, they have different methods, but also because Catholics dont use Birth control and they Chart thier monthly cycle, the endocrinologist have better information about hormone imbalances, and I know several couples that have been helped by them because of the fact that they work with nature instead of against it...

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05/12/2013 10:26pm

Hmm interesting, never thought about that. I am not sure I could get the same care that I can afford at a Catholic Hospital because they are private? The County hospital works with low income. Will have to see if I find anything. Thank you. :)

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Jodie
05/12/2013 5:10pm

Oh i wish you well. Im a mum of 4 kids (plus one in heaven) I am one of those who was told I needed fertility management and IVF, yet conceived naturally my first 3 and with a little medical help conceived the last 2, Praise God. I wish you every success, and just want to say don't give up hope. As a midwife myself I've seen many many success stories so if babies are in your dreams, hold onto that hope.

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05/12/2013 10:32pm

Jodie, WOW! That is such an amazing story you have and so thankful for you for sharing it, AND you are a midwife... Oh my heart. :) Congratulations of your conception and I am so sorry about your loss. <3 <3 thank you for reaching out.

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Ivey
05/12/2013 5:38pm

I had/have severe endometriosis and TTC for over 5 1/2 years. On this Mother's Day, I celebrate my 2 daughters age 4 and 17 mo that made me a mommy. I never thought it would happen. You WILL be a momma one day. In God's perfect timing.

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05/12/2013 10:42pm

Thank you Ivey. :) Question, did you also have blocked fallopian tubes? Did they ever do corrective surgery for your endo? They have not confirmed that I have yet but are assuming but when I asked if they plan to anything about it they said No. Which I thought was odd, but I do not know any better. Congratulations on your little ones.

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05/12/2013 6:05pm

Thank you so much for sharing your story. I too have had similiar fertility issues and have been turned down by a few potential clients because I have not been there. Your story reminds me that we must be open with our own truths. My truth is that we are now beginning the adoption process because we just are not able to get pregnant and geographically it doesn't make sense for us to do IVF (we live 200 miles from the closest interstate.) I commend you on your bravery and wish you much baby dust. A million thank yous!!!!

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05/12/2013 10:44pm

Laura, Thank you for sharing. So are you a doula also? HEYYY! <3 Wow, logistically that does sound difficult. We learned the high costs of adoptions and for now that is why we are trying for IVF. Have you heard about doing IVF overseas? Some say it is more affordable too. I have always wanted to adopt, I commend you on making that choice and send many happy thoughts on your journey. Are you planning local or overseas?

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Jamie
05/12/2013 6:24pm

I have been a doula for 7 years and was having fertility challenges for 4 of those years. We did 5 IVF cycles (while I was attending births). It's strange dynamic and people would ask me if it was hard to be a doula while wanting my own baby but I would tell people, "At least I have a job I enjoy while I'm trying." I would attend births and wonder if it would ever be my turn to experience pregnancy, childbirth and parenting. Our 5th IVF cycle worked and I now have a 2 year old son but I will never forget my long journey.

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05/12/2013 10:47pm

Jamie,Hey doula sister! Congratulations on your son and thank you for sharing your experience with us. The road is long for sure but what an amazing ending. I love being a doula so much and am so happy to not really feel strange supporting others while TTC. I think the hardest time can sometimes be when people assume I am a mom. Or like today, I received a text from an unknown number saying "Happy Mothers Day" from an old friend that assumed I would be a mom by now so thought it would be good to wish me a happy day anyway. It just got my head doing little spins. Still thankful for the gesture and hopeful it will come true.

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Kathryn
05/12/2013 6:36pm

Hi Erin, thanks for sharing your story! I wanted to recommend acupuncture in case you haven't heard about it as an option for treating infertility. I worked at an acupuncture clinic where we treated many couples who were able to conceive. There is a lot of information available online, and if you're interested the clinic where I worked has some info as well: www.ashevilleacupuncture.com. Best of luck to y'all!
Kathryn

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05/12/2013 10:50pm

Hi Kathryn,

Thank you for that recommendation. Yes, I am new to acupuncture but I have been a few times and I do plan to try to get treatment throughout TTC and hopefully while pregnant too. I go to an acu school that does it low cost (such a blessing). I wonder if there is specific treatment for blocked tubes at your place? hmmmm Thank you for sharing. :)

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Jessica K
05/12/2013 8:51pm

I could have so easily written this same piece myself, my husband and I battled infertility for 7 long years before finally (finally!!!) conceiving through IVF. We have issue with both of us, making our ability to conceive naturally 0% as well, it's so hard when well meaning people say "oh well it could still happen" even now they do...I'm darn certain if it was going to just happen in 12 years, 7 actively trying it would have.
We took the big financial gamble and thank goodness it worked! It was so hard and intrusive to go thru that entire process, but after we were pregnant we had a lovely experience with our midwives-and had an amazing home bir

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Jessica K
05/12/2013 8:55pm

Oops, "home birth"
We have been down every path imaginable when it comes to infertility, my dream one day is to become a naturopath practitioner specializing in infertility...someday ;) Now I'm just enjoying managing a lovely free standing midwife owned birthing center

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05/12/2013 10:07pm

Jessica, wow, what a journey you had. That is such a long time and can take such a toll on our hearts and minds. So thankful you were able to conceive and have your miracle and OHHH a homebirth. :) I used to think "we would never be able to afford a birth with a midwife" and at this point I am thinking "What the hell was I thinking a birth with a midwife is pocket change to IVF" Seriously, at this point I think if we get that far we might as well just go all the way! What a dream to be managing a birthing center <3 <3 Thank you thank you for reaching out and sharing your story.

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Jessica K
05/12/2013 8:55pm

Oops, "home birth"
We have been down every path imaginable when it comes to infertility, my dream one day is to become a naturopath practitioner specializing in infertility...someday ;) Now I'm just enjoying managing a lovely free standing midwife owned birthing center

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Deb Gajic
05/13/2013 2:04am

In the UK people are always criticizing the NHS, but they need to read your story and realise the reality of medical care in the USA. In Britain IVF and other forms of fertility treatment are available on the NHS, so low income is not a barrier to parenthood. Good luck, I hope your dreams become reality very soon.

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06/21/2013 5:22pm

Hey fellow infertile doula! I feel like a masochist sometimes for purposefully surrounding myself with pregnant women. I've been married for 6 years and been a doula that entire time. There were very many times early on in my career where I felt like there were plenty of people who didn't hire me because I didn't have children but I was also barely 21 which could have been a factor. I still get that question a lot but I'm a little more honest now and say something along the lines of "no, but it's not for a lack of effort." I've had the privilege of attending the long awaited births of other couples after years of infertility and it has given me hope. Also gives us a totally different level of bonding sometimes too. I hope that being open and honest about your journey will bring you the same good things it has brought us.

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    Venus is the Roman goddess that encompasses love, beauty, sex, fertility, prosperity and victory. 

    I am Venus Birth, I spread love, believe in beauty, my husband thinks im sexy, I struggle with fertility, but with support I will be prosperous and victorious.

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