The Work / RBA/ Infertile women decades ago

The Work

DH and I have been delving deep into The Work and I have to say that it is providing both of us with a great deal of relief! It works, it really does. I have now devoured Loving What Is,  have ordered Who Would You Be Without Your Storyand have done a few of my own inquiries using the 4 questions.

Inquiry goes like this:

*Judge your neighbor (or yourself, or your body, or your underlying beliefs, etc.), write it down, ask 4 questions, turn it around.

*4 questions:

Can you know that it is true? Can you know absolutely that it is true? How do you react when you have that thought? Who/what would you be without that thought?

*Turn it around: Turn the thought around to yourself, to the other, or to the opposite. Are these ways of thinking just as true or truer than the original thought?

That’s the basic gist of it. I will write more about it later and how it is percolating to the surface of my mind in my daily life and helping me. I’m just at the beginning of practicing it, so am wobbly and uncertain at times, but that’s all part of the process. Even when it frustrates the hell out of me, I know the process is genius and enlightened.


News from this clinic just keeps getting better. I keep researching, emailing them, calling them with questions, and I keep being met with the answers I am hoping for. Wow. Okay. I am afraid to be hopeful and so I am trying to control the experience, trying to leave no question unasked, no expectation hanging—and now I am starting to relax a little. I will write more about what I’ve found out soon.

Infertile women, decades ago

One thing I haven’t mentioned to you yet is that occasionally at my job at the nursing home, while I’m doing an initial interview/assessment, I discover that a resident, now in her 80s or 90s, was not able to have children, back when she was a young wife. It is always a strange experience for me, talking to them about this, wanting very much to share my story with them—but of course I do not, as that would be at best inappropriate and at worst unethical. But I do ask them about their story, as it was a major disruptive/traumatic event in their lives. A woman I met recently is, without exaggeration, one of the most loving, nurturing, good-spirited residents I’ve yet come across. She brought a nurse to tears with her affection on the first day she was admitted. The nurse hugged her and said: “You’ve made my day!” When I found out that this woman was unable to have children when she was younger, the first thing that came into my mind was: My god, she would have been an amazing mother. And then I stopped myself. She actually was an amazing mother—look at how she was nurturing the nurse. Look at her family members sitting here, her nieces and nephews, talking about how much she took care of them when they were younger, how much they love her, how much light she brought into everyone’s lives. When I asked how she dealt with this past experience of not being able to have children, she said that she’d wanted it more than anything, and that she was heartbroken. But she believed in God, and she trusted Him and His ways. In my terms, perhaps that would translate as trusting in Reality with a capital “R,” or the Universe, or energy flow. However we talk about it, what is going on in this woman is acceptance and letting go.

The niece explained: “Well, you know, they didn’t have all the medical interventions back then, they didn’t have options…” I started to think about what I would have done, said, been if I had been alive decades ago, having miscarriage after miscarriage, with no medical interventions as options. Would I have just focused on being a mother in other ways? To my nieces? To my family? To the world in general? Would I have accepted and let go?

I don’t judge what I am doing now, with the options that I do have in 2013. It is what it is. Things are different. There are interventions available, and that’s okay, and it’s okay that we take advantage of them. But how do my options affect me? It’s just something to notice. How do my options affect my capacity for acceptance and letting go?

After meeting with her, I immediately went into the break room and wrote a note to myself. I have a niece. I’ll call her Melinda. The note I wrote was this: “Make a little paper book: The Many Reasons I love you, Melinda. Send it to her soon!” I am often so avoidant of interacting with my four-year-old niece, as it reminds me of what I don’t have. I am beginning to realize that this is crazy! A very good thing to realize.




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  1. Hi- I found your blog through searching for any experiences people have had with RBA. I’m seriously considering the frozen egg bank, with the 5 cycle guarantee option. I think we’re in a similar place as we both consider going with them, due to poor egg quality (though I’ve never been pregnant- just had three failed IVFs in the last year). I’m still also considering Shady Grove’s 1:3 program, but leaning towards RBA. Anyway, thanks for sharing your research and your thoughts on this process. You can see my blog if you want to, though I don’t think I have any more research posted than what you have pulled together. I will update it with anything new I learn as we make our decision (hopefully this week) and set up an initial consult with one of their physicians.

    • Oh, wow—I am so glad you found me, and I found you and your blog. I just ten seconds ago had a meltdown in front of a (trusted) co-worker, and told her absolutely everything I have gone through and am going through, and expressed how hard it is for me to keep up with the crush of research. Then a few seconds later I found your comment and your blog. This is so helpful. I am particularly interested in this: “I want to compare chances of having frozens left over with a successful cycle? Answer: With the 1:3 program at SG, 52% of participants have frozen embryos left over, with an average number of two embryos. At RBA, about 50% have frozens left over, and I don’t know the average number of embryos.” I was wondering the same thing. I would like to know the average number of embryos at RBA, as well. And my understanding is that the freeze and thaw and fertilize only enough to make it to transfer—so that could mean they will thaw and fertilize 4 eggs or 10 eggs to to get to (1? 2?) high quality embryo(s)…or can I ask them to do more, so that I have backups, or possibilities for future siblings? In other words—can my doctor and I determine how many embryos to create per cycle? this is what I want to know. I am so excited that we are on the same path, and I’m gonna devour your blog tonight (: Woo. Thanks for writing.

      • Hi there- glad some of my research was helpful! I also was super happy to find the info you have gathered, as well as just your thought processes about this very difficult issue. It’s hard because I have been involved in my local RESOLVE chapter for a year and I know many women who have gone though IVF, but donor egg seems to be much less common- or is it just less often discussed? I don’t know.

        In any case, I just went back to my blog and realized that one of my posts got hidden for some reason (the post from Wednesday, March 20th). I think it fills in the holes from some of what I added yesterday, so see if it makes more sense now.

        But to answer your question more directly, I am not sure if the six egg number applies if you do the 5-cycle guarantee program. I just emailed Mary to ask. I also am checking with her for confirmation about what should happen in the case of a miscarriage or termination- does it count as one of the 5 cycles, and would the $3K admin fee apply?

        I didn’t think to ask about the average number of embryos left over. One problem I’m running up against is that the regular $16K program seems more popular at this clinic, so getting info on the $30K guarantee program is more challenging. But I still think it’s the best choice for us. And it does reassure me that 50% of people do have at least one embryo left over. And even if we don’t, you can purchase a lot of six to reserve if you want to try again in the future. It’s a steep $10K but at least you will know the eggs have worked for you in the past, and then only the transfer would be an additional cost in a couple of years.

        I think these are my last lingering questions, and I will let you know what I hear back from Mary. I’ll post them on my blog- and do you have my private email, in case you want to email me? I filled it in, but I’m not sure if it goes to you or just is lost in some WordPress black hole.
        Thanks for writing back & have a nice day!

        • Hi!
          I am going to spend a little time right now reading your blog as I am “sick” and staying home from work—I just couldn’t handle going in to work today! Sometimes I need time to breathe and regroup, you know? Particularly with the research. I made my appointment–phone consultation–with Dr. Shapiro today for the 30th of April. So it’s getting real! I really appreciate hearing your answers from Mary—she has stopped answering my questions and says “these are issues to bring up during your phone consultation,” which I understand, she’s setting boundaries, but of course it is difficult to sit with uncertainties. Your questions are excellent and I can’t wait to hear the answers. It’s also great to read what you point out—that we can always reserve eggs for 10K and do another transfer for 4K, should I not have any left over possible future siblings. Hmm. Yes, your private email pops up here—does mine to you?

          • I stayed home “sick” Monday too. I actually was recovering from a stomach bug, but I also just needed to get stuff done around the house, and also do some of that regrouping you mention. Hey, I’m trying to register for the clinic to get an appointment- how did you pick a doctor? Did you get a recommendation for someone? I’ve heard good things about Dr. Shapiro but does he have a one month wait? There is also the option of choosing the first one available- but I’m not sure about that.

            • Yes, Dr. Shapiro has a one-month wait, my appt is on April 30th—but I’m ok with that, as I want to be sure I have all my screenings done prior to the phone consult, just in case I have questions, and so he can go over all results before speaking to me. I think I have most everything done already, though. I chose him because he is the clinical manager of the frozen egg bank program. I also love the sound of Dr. Toledo, and he was my second choice.

  1. (Much) more on couples counseling | the unexpected trip

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