Fertility is a real struggle that approximately 15% of American couples are facing. Financing fertility treatment is not easy for anyone, you never know what your real costs will be or of the outcome. We knew if we wanted a chance to conceive we had to reach out. Fundraising for our fertility journey was the only way we saw our dreams being made a possibility. We are not getting any younger, it will take us years to save up to do it on our own, reducing our chances of a successful outcome. For so many families that are struggling they choose not to share with friends and or family and may not have a support system, many feeling ashamed or embarrassed or just not wanting to be a focal point of conversation or pity. For many infertility is so taboo. The bigger struggle for me personally was that I love to help others so much that I felt ashamed to seek support and to also share my broken feelings... my broken body and I guess also my broken heart. As you go through life you either want children or you don't, but most do not come to age and prepare to start a family with doubt of it happening. I just thought "when we are ready, we will get pregnant and we will have a baby." It is not that easy. Every conception and baby is a true miracle, it does not just come easy to everyone. We also know that IVF is not the only way to become parents, we have talked about becoming foster parents down the road and only time will tell.
So here we are, seeking support. Support can come in so many ways and each bit of it plays a very important role in our journey. Compassion and kindness are the most important factors that will help us achieve our goals of being parents.
We woke up this morning eager to see what America would see as Good Morning America shared our segment. It is amazing what actually gets put together after 1.5 hours of interviews, it was just a tiny piece. In the interview we discussed adoption, doula work, health, family and more.
We knew there would be a lot of criticism and controversy over our sharing, but the reality is that those people do not matter and their issues are their own. We will continue holding hope and if having a baby through IVF is not what the future holds we will move on to other options. Opening your heart and asking for help is never easy, but despite all of the negative we are still thankful we did.
I also briefly want to say a few thank you's... Thank you to our parents, our family and our friends and the friends of our family and friends. Thank you to my doula families and colleagues. Thank you to the health providers along the way and to the current Dr's and Midwives that are along the fertility journey with us. Thank you to Birth Without Fear
, De Su Mama
, Baby Zone
and Good Morning America
. Thank you to the kindness of others that have sent us a bounty of love. There is so much to be thankful for!
Here are some of the links that are sharing our story today:Good Morning AmericaYahoo ShineYahoo NewsABC NewsABC News blogCafe Mom
Thank you all so much for coming along this wild ride. <3 <3 <3
Kripá and I visiting one of the sweet babies I was a doula for.
In just a few short hours, our Fertility journey
efforts, will be shared on Good Morning America
On Monday, August 19th, our Fertility story will be shared with all that will listen across America and here we sit feeling nervous, anxious, excited, hopeful and open. Open of what this will mean for ourselves and for others. We know we are fortunate to go through this during a time where we have so many resources, support groups, treatment options and even more the ability to use social media, the internet and crowd funding to share. Opening up about our own struggles and our story has not only filled us with love from others, but allowed us to support others similarly struggling that have not yet found comfort in sharing their own journey. Many have confided in us and been thankful to us for giving them encouragement and motivation to not feel ashamed nor embarrassed. It is amazing to still be able to help others in a time where we became most vulnerable and decided we could not go at it alone and to ask for support.
We are forever grateful to those that have invested in our dream to become parents, shared our story and sent us words of hope and love. Our hearts are out on the table and we are eager to see what the morning will bring.
Thank you to all... and to all a goodnight.
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Fringe will be hosting a Fertility Fundraiser for us on August 22nd. There will be appetizers and wine from Zazou as well as lots of great auction and raffle items. 25% of the sales from the event will be going to our Fertility fund! Come get some Holiday shopping done early this year and help us make a baby. Check out the Fundraiser HERE.
WHEN - August 22nd 5pm - 9pm
Store hours 10am-5pm (25% all day going to Baby Pizzorno
WHERE - Fringe
, 1806 S Catalina Ave, Redondo Beach, Ca. 90277
Do you want to save money?
The reality is most of us do. These are 5 Ways to SAVE Money for Fertility Treatment, or anything else, and not feel like you are missing out. 1. CANCEL CABLE TELEVISION
I know a lot of people these days who do not have cable, but I also know how much my husband in particular loves his programs. I on the other hand barely know how to operate the controllers and mostly enjoy The Amazing Race, The Travel Channel and Documentaries. It was not an easy decision in our house but when we learned we would save about $60 per month we worked out a compromise. NETFLIX!
For $7.99 per month my husband can now watch movies he chooses, when he wants and with no commercials. So overall we are now saving approximately $50 per month. I am happy to now have so many documentaries to choose from, when I actually get the time. So far this has been working out well for us for about 4 months.
2. REDUCE YOUR ELECTRIC BILL
The obvious is to reduce your usage and be more mindful in your home. Change your light bulbs to be more energy efficient and invest in a refrigerator that is more kind. In addition, at least here in Southern California, there is a program to help reduce your bill. It does not hurt to see if your family and home qualify. We submitted our income information and answered a few questions and almost immediately we received approval. Our next bill was about half the normal cost, saving us between $20 - $25 per month. If you are in Southern California and use Edison for you electric, check out the CARE/FERA
programs to see if you qualify.
3. DINING OUT ON A DIME
This part could actually be two pieces, so lets now say you are getting a Buy One Get One Free (we are talking about saving aren't we). This is all about eating out and not feeling as guilty with the burden on your wallet.
1. We all know birthdays are well celebrated in the states and how awesome that so many places like to adorn us with desserts and birthday songs... but did you know you can have a full dinner out and not just ON your birthday?! You can google Birthday Freebies to find lots of options, mostly food related but even make up and more. This is the list I went off of HERE.
There are plenty more not on this list but this is great to go off of. One of the best parts is for example, Behihana, you get an email and you have the whole month to use it to get $30 off your bill. We like that for the month of July and the month of August we can get lots of yummy free stuff. We even did a foodie adventure one day, we jumped amongst 4 places and shared the freebies. Total pig out!
2. For everyday purposes, we use Restaurant.com
. We love it! We admit there are not a whole lot of restaurants we enjoy eating at, but there are a few. If you google for deals you can get a $25 gift certificate for the cost of $2. THe restaurant then requires you to spend $35 (each certificate varies, this is just an example) and they tack on an auto gratuity. In general we can go out to eat, lots of food, take home left overs for lunch the next day and at the end of all of it we spend $20 (or so) out of pocket. Not too bad for a dinner out and most of the time 4 meals.
There are so many things you can recycle these days and we all know about drink containers that give you a few cents back, but did you know about ink cartridges? We have been recycling ink cartridges for about the past year and it may not be a lot but it sure helps us a bit on the side. Our recycling program of choice is STAPLES
. Every 180 days you have to spend $30 in ink. When you do that you qualify to recycle up to 10 empty cartridges per month during the 180 days. You can get $2 credit for each one, meaning every month you can earn $20 to spend at Staples (lots of exclusions on what FYI). So lots of you are thinking, "I do not need any office/school supplies," well neither do we. The reality is that my husband is a coffee drinker and we do need paper towels, toilet paper and soap sometimes. Depending on our stash our usual items we purchase are Starbucks coffee, paper towels, toilet paper, dishwasher detergent, hand soap and zip lock bags (for Doula work purposes, but I will save you on that description). It's up to you to decide if this is worth it for you, but in the past we have collected empty ink from businesses and that has helped us out tremendously... speaking of which, we are out!
5. CREDIT CARDS
Now this is unconventional and many of you may stop above, but the reality is, I LOVE MY CREDIT CARDS! People always wonder how I have done so much travel in the past, the answer is mileage points. So while this may not be the true answer to saving money, it is what has allowed me to LIVE LIFE on a budget. I have flown to Europe twice and Africa once all on airline miles. My secret is every dollar I am going to spend anyways, on groceries, gas, phone bill, car registration and more, I use my Credit Cards. Each month I pay my bill in full, so every dollar I spend I get a point. If you sign up at the right times you can get major bonus miles for signing up (often enough for a free flight, but if you wait a tad bit longer you may even have a free flight to Europe and not just to Vegas). One way you can save, if you are given the option, is based on the card you apply for. This week I received a letter from my credit union that I have pre-qualified for a card with no annual fee, low interest and a good spending limit. The best part of the card is it comes with 15,000 bonus points. Those 15,000 bonus points can be redeemed for $150 in gift cards from the rewards center, so I am deciding between gas, Bed Bath and Beyond or just bonus entertainment to help us still enjoy ourselves while on a budget. You have to be very diligent to play this game correctly and without hurting your budget more. Credit Cards have the potential to be very evil, but when you do it right there are rewards to reap. We used our miles for our honeymoon to get us to Europe and come to think of it I also used bonus sign up points to buy my husbands ipad for his birthday last year and to fly someone out for our wedding. My very favorite place to learn more is Million Mile Secrets
, check it for yourself. (Your last bonus of the day is to check out CouchSurfing
if you like to travel)
Fundraising for Fertility Treatment
seems to be a hot topic. Something we certainly never realized when we started our journey, but we are more than happy that many are interested and that we get to share and inspire others to share too.
Recently a Blogger, Vanessa Bell
, contacted us after she read our story. Vanessa is a blogger for BabyZone
as well as her own blog De Su Mama
. She wanted to ask more about our fundraising efforts as she was doing an article on Fundraising for Fertility and wanted to use us as a feature in her write up. My hubby and I sat on the couch on speakerphone and together told our story. It was a positive experience we were happy to be able to share with others. What happened next, none of us would have expected.
Yesterday I get several missed phone calls and text messages during the time I went to visit a family that had just birthed the day before. Vanessa tells me that Good Morning America
got wind of her article on us and wanted to speak to us immediately. Not only speak to us, come to our house and interview us. I did not even know what to think, I just knew I had to run home and clean like a crazy woman and somehow get my husband home. We had dinner reservations set at 7 for a nice dinner out, it was his birthday after all, and since I was not at a birth we were looking forward to a nice dinner together. Those plans almost changed. I called Kripá and told him he needed to come home ASAP. We got everything sorted, we got showers and we got ready for dinner but also for our interview. A huge truck showed up with a film crew and large equipment followed by the producer/interviewer. Within no time our kitchen was filled with huge lights and camera and audio equipment, we sat on chairs in our living room and it was time. Lights, Camera, Action...
For over an hour we were asked about our journey, about how important the internet has been for us and our efforts to have a family, why we want a family, what is a Doula and what was next for us. It was exciting, nerve racking, emotional, exhilarating and memorable. They were so nice to us and thankfully we ended just in time to push our reservations back and still make it to dinner out.
What Kripá had to say about the experience, "I had a rather unexpected birthday present yesterday... Good Morning America
wanted to interview my wife, Erin, and I about our experience going through infertility and about how we reached out for support through online fundraising. Wow, what an amazing experience that was! To suddenly have a camera crew set up in our tiny dining room and to literally be in the spot light. And of course they tell you, "just pretend the camera isn't there," so the whole time I'm thinking to myself "the camera's not there, the camera's not there..." It was thrilling, emotional, tense, and enlightening all at once. Definitely an experience my wife and I will remember for a very long time. I'm so proud of her for really speaking from the heart... she put it all out there. I can't wait to watch our segment on TV!"
We have no idea how long we will be on or exactly when but we are nervous, anxious, excited and overall thankful for the opportunity. A big thank you to Vanessa for believing in our baby dreams and relaying them to Baby Zone
and to Baby Zone
for the exposure that has led to something we never could have anticipated. We look forward to our portrayal on Good Morning America
and hope it is positive.
You can follow us more on our facebook page Making Baby Pizzorno
Our story and Fundraiser can be found HERE
Being as though I do not have health insurance I decided to go a different route to obtain the long list of labs I need as "prerequisites" for our fertility treatment. My hubby needed some too. When we priced the labs out with the Fertility Clinic the costs came to about $3000. That was not going to work for us!
Being in the birth field I knew there had to be another way. I first hit the internet looking up the various tests I needed done and checking to see if I could get labs done on my own. The search led me to reach out to a birth center as well as a local midwife. When my local midwife friend responded with the costs of the labs if I went through her, it was a no brainer! A couple of weeks later, dear midwife came to our apartment with all the tubes needed and our list, and on my living room couch I patiently had 7 vials of blood drawn. My husband had one taken (the guys get off so easy in this journey don't they ;p ). Because I have crappy veins, the best one she found was on top of my hand. With Disney Princess band-aids being all I had, I felt like I was raising my fist for Princess Power the rest of the day. I had never been so excited in my life to have my blood taken, I HATE needles (something I need to overcome soon for IVF anyway). Having it done at home makes a world of difference. I was able to relax and be comfortable and it was hassle free.
In addition to our midwife saving us a couple thousand dollars and coming to our home, she also told us about an opportunity with one of the tests that we may qualify for Financial Aid. The Counsyl
test typically costs over $500, but when we shared our story and income level they quickly let us know that we qualified to have it done completely free. The Counsyl
test lets you know if you have any genetic factors that should be known and the risk basically to offspring. The even bigger bonus was after we completed the Counsyl
test, they contacted me to participate in a survey and gifted me a $25 Amazon card. (I used it to buy crafting supplies that I will use to make items to sell to raise more baby money). The gift just keeps on giving.
The big moral of the story is, SHOP AROUND! We are so thankful we did.
Visit our Facebook page, Making Baby Pizzorno
Or our Fundraiser on YouCaring
Shortly after we started sharing our fertility story with others my dear mentor and Postpartum Doula trainer sent me a gift to give me hope. I received a necklace in the mail with a description card accompanying it made by Iris Oils
Such a special sentiment, something I will always cherish for the simplicity and meaning that come with it. Thank you Darla. <3
The gemstones, all said to increase fertility, from the center out are: Carnelian, Garnet, Smoky Quartz, Moonstones, Rose Quartz and Rhodonite.
Visit our Facebook page, Making Baby Pizzorno
Or our Fundraiser on YouCaring
Recently while on facebook I saw this beautiful image pop up as a friend of mine commented on it. Immediately I just felt it was so breathtaking, so much I loved in one photo. So I contacted the mom to ask her more about the image as the title read, "Cooling off after mango picking all morning." I mean really, I want to hold a squishy baby in gorgeous clear waters after picking mangoes... I had to know more.
Finding Cissy happened at the right time, I had been (and still am) exploring a healthier diet and trying to pay more attention to my nutrition. Cissy eats a low fat raw food diet (80/10/10) and is passionate about sharing a raw food lifestyle with others and spreading GMO awareness.
When I asked about baby Penny (in the photo), Cissy said at 40 weeks and 6 days of pregnancy, laboring for hours in a hospital under construction, at the end it took 20 minutes of pushing and her sweet girl was born weighing 9.2 lb. "I opted out of every vaccine, Vitamin K shot, and started breastfeeding my girl as soon as I could. She latched on perfectly. She is now almost 9 months old and pretty much still exclusively breastfed. I give her tastes of my fruit, green smoothies, raw soups, and green juices. She LOVES mango. Not a huge fan of bananas."
In short, Cissy is a whole lot more than meets the eye. This gorgeous, fit and tattooed beauty is a mother of 3, youngest under 1 and oldest is 15! hailing from Southern California, this photo was taken while living in Maui and her family has recently moved to Australia. Cissy and her husband are tattoo artists and thankfully they can work anywhere, how lucky! Her message to other families is "to raise healthy kids. They deserve to have the right stuff given to them, and we DESERVE to know what is being put into our foods." Coming across Cissy was certainly inspiring. I am excited to learn from her and pick her brain about her healthy lifestyle. Although she has not been on her blog recently it still may be one for you to add to your list to follow for when she settles in her new home and picks back up again: www.cissylala.com
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.
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.
Photo by Beth Moser Photography - http://bethmoserphotography.com
Leto is the Greek Goddess of motherhood. I see mothers as nurturers and healers.
About two weeks ago I stepped on the tiniest of plastic bottles (literally maybe a 1 or 2 oz travel size) and my foot landing flat on it in my parking garage left the rest of me flat on my face and front of my body. Aches accompanied many parts of me, especially my knees and arms. Thankfully I only obtained one small open wound, the size of a penny. I was certain the following days would bring forth bruises in places I never knew I had, but I never got one (and I typically bruise easy).
What to do with this open wound, that took away a few layers of skin and carefully centered a deep hole... I did what anyone would do, I called upon what would help me nurture and heal. I turned to Leto Goddess Hydrating Mist.
Now let me tell you, Leto is just water, but it is a very special water. Leto is reengineered to a smaller water molecule that allows it to penetrate and hydrate at a cellular level. I have purchased it in the past to give to clients to support their breast health, surgical birth scars, babies diaper rashes, circumcisions and more. I myself did not need it for any of those things but I have my own bottle that I spritz to refresh my face and dry spots and I gave one to my mom for her fire hydrant. When I saw this big open wound, for some reason, Leto was the first thing that came to mind. I had my husband come down to the parking garage and bring my first aid kit, I wiped it clean with alcohol and put a band aid on temporarily. Within about 2 hours I started to use Leto and I did so every day for over a week. The only other thing used were regular band aids and of course showering and hand washing. Most of the time I sprayed, air dried and left open. (In addition I want to clearly state that I was not endorsed or asked to provide this test nor was I given product, I used my own and did not tell Leto people until a few days into the injury that I was using it for my healing).
The following are the photos of my healing journey.
I personally think I have healed up nicely and it feels pretty normal. My new skin is doing well and still pink tones but overall close to nothing ever happening.
If you would like to learn more about Leto for your personal uses whether it be for mothering or just everyday use, you can find out more here - http://www.letogoddess.com
What is your go to for natural healing? I think I need to get more Leto!
UPDATE: (1/3/2014) I was just mentioning Leto to someone and told them about my wrist and sent a photo. I thought I should post it here too. There is no scar at all and it has been this way for months.