Enough Already!

WARNING: This blog may contain curse words, typos, and heavy emotions not suitable for the faint of heart. 


I have never, not once, left the fertility clinic without being completely discouraged. Oh sure, there’s always silver lining if you look for it, but after three years, and a SERIES of disappointments, I’ve lost my inner Polyanna. In fact, fuck you, Polyanna.

It’s my southern upbringing and natural tendency towards being optimistic that continues to cause me to fall flat on my face EVERY time. If I could just stay “Debbie Downer” then it wouldn’t hurt so bad when things go wrong.

Every time I go to the doctor they have to verbally review my chart with me, “History of ovarian cysts, irregular ovulatory patterns, history of uterine septum, history of stage 1 endometriosis, 3 cycles clomid x1, no result, 3 cycles clomid x3, no result, 3 cycles femara, no result, 3 cycles femara with injectables, no result, two failed IUIs with injectables, one chemical pregnancy resulting in loss…”

Well, what a fun trip down memory lane! Next time, I’ll pack a picnic!

Then, yesterday my nurse called me to confirm my day 3 sonogram  and I told her I’d really like to do the injectables this month with two IUIs (increasing my chances of pregnancy up to 50%), but I told her I could only do the injectables if there were any donated ones that I could have since they cost $1300-1500 each cycle. There were! She found some! There finally was a pack of meds and she set them aside for me.

“This is it!”, I told myself. I was pumped. I went in to the office today ready to walk out with my free meds and start a new cycle and finally have a real shot at meeting my baby. But, to quote The Little Rascals movie, “Then the clouds opened up and God said, ‘I hate you Alfalfa!'”


The right side of my ovaries looked great, but, for the first time in over a year, my left side showed two cysts. So…it’s not safe to do the injectables. Not only do I not get to use the meds, but I get the pleasure of passing on the donation to someone else. Call me selfish, but it’s my fucking turn! I know I should try to feel great about somebody else getting these meds, but I just can’t see it that way yet. Enough already, it’s my turn.

Why not me? Why can’t something in this area of my life just work out? What’s the point of continuous let downs and disappointments?

When I thought my HSG was all clear I woke up to find I had endometriosis.

When I thought my septum was mild I woke up to find out it was super severe and they had to put in a uterine balloon and I was literally in labor for two weeks trying to “deliver” it. Freaky, right?

When I think I’m the lucky one who gets to go home with $1300 worth of donated meds, I find out I have cysts and aren’t eligible. 

Enough already! 

one of three scars from surgeries

one of three scars from surgeries

So, I’ll do femara (lame ass pills) this month with only one IUI which gives me a 15% chance of a successful pregnancy aka I have a shot in hell and I get to waste another month. I’ll get bloated, hungry, exhausted and cranky with no positive end result.

Chelsea Vail with baby zade

Or, maybe after a few days of being negative my southern self will pull through, I’ll channel my inner Polyanna and find some way to be positive again. Ugh, happy people live longer anyway, right? : )

How to Maintain Your Sense of Self

As we get older we add more hats to our head. Growing up you might have just been daughter, friend, sister, but now you may be daughter, friend, sister, aunt, wife, career chick, mom, stepmom, chaufer, chef, launderer, maid, etc. So, moms, I ask you, how do you maintain your sense of self as a woman?


This is something I began struggling with when I got married. I instantly felt an enormous pressure to be this whole other person…a wife. Even though my husband and I had been together for nearly eight years something had changed. I could no longer think only of myself.

Chelsea Vail, Cloudy Vail, Caiden Vail

Then, I started going through infertility treatments and became so self-involved that I forgot about my husband and everyone else. In a way, you have to be self-involved to be successful because everything you do, eat, and drink plays a factor in your fertility.

But, the question remains- How do you maintain your sense of self?

First, ask yourself these questions:

  • Who are the most important people in my life?
  • What gives me joy?
  • When do I feel the most energized?
  • What makes me feel good about myself?
  • How do I want people to describe me?
  • Where do I want to be in 5 years? 10 years?
  • Who do I want to be in 5 years? 10 years?

Think carefully about the answers to these questions and WRITE them down. If you want to go the extra mile, create a collage of images that answer these questions.

Then, create an action plan related to these answers. For example, sending a card to the people you care about or clling them and setting a date to catch up. Schedule a time to do the things that give you joy every day, week or month, depending on how reasonable that would be. Make an effort to do the things that energize you more. Research people you admire and find out how they go to where they are and decide what you can change about your life to become who you want to be again.

Me with my role model, Carrie Contey, PhD

Me with my role model, Carrie Contey, PhD

Every Sunday night I look at my calendar for the week and I schedule:

  • Time to shop for, and prepare clean, energizing meals
  • Time for a run around the lake, zumba, and hot yoga
  • An evening date or happy hour with a girlfriend or group of friends
  • A meal or two with just my husband
  • An afternoon by the pool reading and relaxing

Bonus: if I can fit in a glass of wine or a bubble bath, I’ll add that, too!

This is often easier said than done, but there was a time when I allowed my want for a baby to become the only focus in my life and I don’t want to do that again. When all your energy is focused outside yourself its easy to lose yourself. As a mother, it’s easy for you to focus only on your to-do list, potty training, appointments, bills, what’s for dinner, etc. But, it’s not good for you or your child for you to lose who you are.

How do you maintain your sense of self?

Making time to enjoy the beauty of nature with Cloudy

Making time to enjoy the beauty of nature with Cloudy

Welcome to the Infertility Party

I consider myself a bit of a veteran in the infertile world and I’ve found that only humor, faith, and a kick ass group of friends can help you navigate it without losing your mind entirely. This post is dedicated to the newbies wondering how they’ll make it out alive.


I was post anesthesia

I was post anesthesia

1. The fertility center is a “fork in the road” (emotionally) EVERY single time you walk in the door, whether it’s the first time or the last time. You can choose to break down, because you despise the fact that you’re there, or you can smile, laugh, and find the humor in each awkward situation. I remember one day being spread eagle in the stirrups, my lady parts exposed, and a tech intern (who looked 12 years old & very uncomfortable) walked in. I awkwardly found a way to meet her eyes and said, “Welcome to the party!” She laughed, but more importanly, so did I! Humor helps.

2. I used to hate getting sonograms because for awhile there EVERY single one was bad news. I’d leave in tears, call my mom, consider driving off the 360 bridge, and go home to curl up in fetal position and watch bad daytime TV. So, one day I asked my husband to go with me. When he saw the 2 foot long vaginal wand next to the computer screen his eyes got huge and he asked, “Where does that go?”. I laughed and said, “I’ll give you one guess”. He said, “Chels, I beg you…when the nurse goes to insert that, lift your ass off the table and yelp, ‘Whoa, wrong hole!'” Ha ha ha ha ha! Well, I didn’t have the balls to pull that off, but I did giggle through the whole exam.

3. Our first IUI was extremely stressful. The doctors & nurses gave us ZERO instructions regarding the process and we had no idea what to expect. All we knew is they’d take our “sample” (aka sperm), spin it in a machine to whip the lil guys into action, and then insert the juice via a catheter. Well, I made a playlist for our first IUI and included songs like, “Whip It”, “Spin Me Round”, and “Whip My Hair” to make us smile.


first prayer as man and wife

1. It can be hard to keep the faith when you experience a disappointment every 28 days. When you were a teenager, your period meant you couldn’t wear your fave white shorts to the party Friday night, but as an infertile adult, every period is like being punched in the gut and hearing God laugh, “Ha ha ha, not this time!” I had to stop looking at God as the evil one reframe my thinking to remind myself that it was not Him doing this to me. God was the one in charge of the process as my protector and provider. Only He can decide when the time is right for your baby to be born. It’s your job to take the tests, swallow the pills, follow the schedules, but ultimately He is still in charge.

2. I also went through a period of wondering if using infertility treatments meant I was playing God. Was I creating a “synthetic baby” as portrayed in the media? My baby sister, Skyler, said “Science only goes so far. God decides if life gets created”. She was right. The medicine may assist you in the process, but life does not form inside you without God’s consent.

3. My one and only pregnancy resulted in a miscarriage after 6-8 weeks (estimated gestation). The grief experienced there is a whole other level (and another blog post), but it nearly killed me. I was PISSED at God before I decided that maybe this was God’s way of saying, “Don’t give up. It’s still not time for your baby, but here’s a glimmer of hope that this is possible for you one day”.

Kick Ass Friends

The day I found out I was pregnant…before the loss

The day I found out I was pregnant…before the loss

1. My girlfriends and their husbands have been amazeballs! They’ve been an ear to hear me, a shoulder to cry on, and bartenders when I needed a cocktail or a glass of wine.

2. They have NEVER tried to give me unsolicited advice or tell me what they think I should do…not once, which is awesome! I get so sick of people telling me, “use this oil”, “drink this tea”, “gain weight”, “stop running”, “don’t stress”….AHHHHHHHH!

3. They also gladly engage in my monthly, “I’m Not Pregnant Party,” which is how I avoid the 28 day mental breakdown. Instead of falling apart, I’d try to focus on what I could do since I wasn’t pregnant at the end/beginning of each cycle. I’d go for a run, eat sushi, and drink martinis.

Chelsea Vail, Deep Eddy vodka

PS: Don’t let the posts in the media about the 65 year old mom of multiples or the she-man who got pregnant discourage you…those should be signs that the science is strong. If those peops can get preggers, so can you. It may just take awhile. Keep heart.

Help! I’ve been Robbed!

When I was in college I worked at a bar in downtown Dallas near the West End. Employees had to park blocks away from work, which left me walking to my car alone at three or four o’clock in the morning several nights a week. I started getting followed to my car by a group of Mexican gang members….

Eventually my manager made it mandatory that I ride to and from work escorted with one of the bouncers. Well, one night after work, these men followed me and the bouncer to a gas station and one man shot at my friend while the other man put a gun to my head through the car window and told my friend he was going to kill me. I looked into the man’s eyes and tearfully asked him not to shoot me. After what felt like an eternity they eventually drove away, shooting into the air, leaving me traumatized, terrified, and frantic.

Since this incident I don’t get gas at night (EVER). I get in my car and lock the doors while the gas is pumping, even during the day. I’m terrified of guns and actually cried at the gun range when my husband was attempting to help me face my fear. My heart pounds and I get a lump in my throat every time a car pulls up beside me at a gas station. Those men robbed me of my sense of security and my trust in people.

It may seem dramatic, but hear me out…struggling with infertility and pregnancy loss is not unlike this incident from my past. Infertility has robbed me of my security and my trust as well.

post op

I’ve been robbed!

When I found out I was pregnant the first time I was overjoyed! I celebrated immediately with my friends and family. I have my friend’s reactions to my pregnancy announcement on video. My girls gave me the tightest hugs and cried the most sincere tears and my friend’s husband laughed with genuine happiness for us. I won’t get those reactions a second time. I worry my friends and myself will be hesistant to be excited. Our joy will be accompanied by fear.

Chelsea Vail and best friends

My two best friends!


If I get pregnant again I’ll spend the first six or seven months wondering if I’ll make it to term and being terrified of another loss instead of planning showers and designing a nursery.

Nowadays when someone announces a pregnancy, my stomach tightens and I feel the corners of my mouth tremble. I’ve been robbed of the ability to feel excited for them…I get there eventually, but it’s rarely with a full heart.

Chelsea Vail with sister

Women without an infertility diagnosis can rely on love alone to bring a baby into their lives, but I’ve been robbed. I have to keep charts, use timers, remember meds, and visit doctors morning, noon, and night.

And, I always thought I’d be the pregnant chick at the gym every day, the easy going mom who’s ‘laxed about her new baby, but after my loss I worry I’ll be high strung and fearful. I’ve been robbed of my sense of security yet again.

Maybe enough time will pass that I’ll get over this feeling, but for now, I feel I’ve still got a little PTSD (post traumatic stress disorder).

How do I get my security back?

A Baby Will Not “Complete” Me

Take these pills, give yourself this shot, make this smoothie, drink lemon water, schedule your sonograms, go to the specialty pharmacy, pay the medical bills, slow down your exercise, eat salmon and avocado, increase your fluids, jump, sit, beg, bark, roll over…

Raise your hand if you know this feeling. Fertility treatments are extremely time Cloudy kissing Chelseasensitive; something few people can understand. Fertiles will say, “Just relax, don’t let it consume you”, but it’s completely impossible to relax when you’re given a chart and a packet full of instructions every month broken down by day and hour. This can take a toll on your life, but also your friendships, your faith and especially your marriage.

I’m a Christian, but I totally forgot what that means until a complete meltown last week. I was still trying to find my footing after my recent pregnancy loss and was crying (bawling uncontrollably) to my dad. I was really struggling with envy, anger, and self-loathing while watching both of my sister’s happiness, the oldest with her toddler and infant boy, the youngest pregnant with her first, and wondering why this hadn’t happened for me.

My little sister and I got pregnant at the EXACT same time! Why did she get to keep her baby and not me. I felt my baby was a boy and yet she’s having a boy? Why not me? Why? Why? Why? As I tried desperately to find answers I realized that “why” is a seriously dangerous word that can pull you straight down the rabbit hole. God does not answer “why”.

Skyler and Chelsea Christmas Cracker Crowns

After peeling me off the bathroom floor after what felt like an eternity, my father and big sister encouraged me to reevaluate where my focus was. Even though it’s damn near impossible NOT to focus on a baby when you’re entire life revolves around your fertility treatments, I remembered this verse:

1John 2:15-16 “Do not love the world, nor the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eyes and the boastful pride of life, is not from the Father, but is from the world”.

first prayer as man and wife

I have allowed my focus to shift from the cross to what’s in the world, or more accurately, what’s NOT in my world. I cannot allow my want for a child to be what defines me, complete me, or gives my life purpose. Yes, I want a baby more than anything else in the entire world, but if I never become a mother, my life still has value. I’m a wife, a sister, a friend, a stepmom, a counselor, and a badass aunt!

Do I want to watch my child in their school play? Yes! But I can cheer on my friend’s daughter in her dance recital, too. Do I want to show my children the wonders of the world? Yes, but I can travel with my nieces and nephews, too. Do I want to raise servants of the Lord? Yes, but I can also model a servant’s heart for the children I serve as a counselor, too.

Reading to Evie at Christmas

I want a baby because I desire to see my love for my husband incarnate, because I think it’s our duty as Christians to “fill” the kingdom, and because I was loved so well as a child that I want to pass that love on to my child. I want a baby, but I’m not incomplete without one either. 

The ABCs of Femara

Well, my 90 day break from the fertility suckage is almost over. Although the calm and serenity I was seeking was very rudely interrupted by a pregnancy and loss, I still think taking a break was the best thing for myself, my marriage, and my overall health.

Chelsea Vail with nephew

My miracle worker, Dr. Silverburg, suggested I go back in injections with IUI, but…I’m thinking not. I mean, we’ve never tried anything since my septum removal and if that was one of the major obstacles, why go straight back to injections, the “big guns” without trying the lil things first? Injections were often overstimulating, they hurt like a bitch, they cost more than a new couch (which we need desperately I might add), and I hate carrying around a cooler everyday! So…femara it is.

I have a very, “let’s be real” approach to fertility because, let’s be real, if you’re going through it, there’s a moment each month (or each day) where playing in traffic seems like an awesome lunch break idea. So, here’s the ABC’s of Femara, for those of you taking this lovely pill.

Femara ABCs:

A is for appetite, which increases rapidly beyond cotrol.

B is for bloating beyond buttons on jeans

C is for cravings (today I wanted a donut sandwich).

D is for Don’t. Don’t drink, don’t run, don’t miss a pill, don’t do zumba, don’t…

E is for enlarged ovaries are at risk for twisting (Ouch!)

F is for the four letter word that all infertiles know well

G is for gonal is $1300, but Femara is only $12…winning!

H is for headaches. Feeling as though a midget is sawing my skull in half has become normal.

I is for injections suck, so let’s try pills

J is for jumping can also make your ovaries twist when you’re on femara

K is for the knot you tied with the person you love. Hold on tight to it.

L is for love. You’ve got to remember that you’re doing this to create a lil chunk o’ love.

M is for maniac. Anytime you’re taking hormones, there’s a good chance your alterego can take over and you start to resemble Charles Manson.

N is for nuisance. Be prepared for everything to annoy you on femara so take them at night to reduce the impulse to kill others.

O is for ovidril that releases the follicles when they’re ready. This is “go time”

P is for the pills you pat in your purse all day everyday to make sure you haven’t lost them somehow

Ironic this photo credit goes to “Conceive Easy”

Q is for umm…Q is for? Anyone? Bueller?

R is for rest, relax, recoop.

S is for sleep is a pipedream. I can never sleep well on femara.

T is for twins are likely! Whoop whoop!

U is for ultrasound, the critical moment when you find out the follicles size, readiness, and number that will be released

V is for the violins playing in the background when you finally break down

W is for wait two weeks after the pills are over to find out if they “worked”.

X is for XX…or

Y is for … XY, neither matters to me as long as he/shes healthy

Z is for zis is almost zee end of zee road. Zay ztrong and zour bambino will be here zoon.

I’d be lying if I said I’m always able to find the humor in this situation or that I have a lighthearted approach to the struggle. The struggle is real. It sucks. It’s hard. It’s isolating and nobody gets it, but us. However, it does help me keep my head together to make a few jokes about it every now and again and laugh at the suck.

Chelsea Vail, husband Cloudy