Mel, Chicago, IL
Seven was our number.
We went through seven separate IVF treatments before finally meeting success. And while I’d like to say that my husband and I were each other’s main support system through it all, we weren’t. It was just too heavy at times. Too in our face. Too “eff you for not having to get a 2-inch needle poked in your butt every day.” There were a lot of feelings to be felt and while we needed (and leaned on) each other, we also needed space from each other (and all those feelings).
Enter friends. Specifically, friends like Tasha Blasi. Tasha was that one contact in my cell phone that I reached for in every blood draw waiting room, before every ultra-sound check in and in all the crazy hours and days and weeks in between. Why? Well, the easy answer is because she’d been there, too. She knew what I was feeling and could relate, advise, empathize. But the better answer is because she was the one person—more than my husband, more than my mom, more than my nurses and yes, even more than my doctor at times—who was willing to give it to me straight. Low beta numbers? Questionable ultra-sound results? Ridiculous “advice” from family? (“You’re stressing about it too much. If you just relaxed I bet it’ll happen.”). Tasha didn’t tell me what I wanted to hear. She told me what I had to hear. The truth. (“No, that beta’s not great and yes, you should absolutely punch that person in the face, even if she is your favorite aunt.”)
She was real. Honest. Knowledgeable. And also, funny as hell.
Her ability to make me laugh during the times when laughing seemed like the thing I was least capable of, truly was the best kind of medicine.
I can remember near the end of our final cycle, Tasha was going through her own IVF ”fun” and I was feeling particularly anxious about a test result I was waiting on. She texted me, “You will be a mama one day. To whom and to when, we don’t know. But you will be. And the day that kid throws up on you, you won’t remember how much all of this sucks, but only how much being thrown up on sucks.”
She was right. And, as usual, she made me laugh.
Kim, Westfield, NJ
"You will have a baby, and it will be yours." No one needs to hear that confident phrase more than us, women struggling with infertility. After almost a year and a half of trying and then testing, I found myself in a fertility clinic, with no idea what was going on and without anyone to talk to who could relate or even understand. Who should I ask for guidance and support? My friends and family who conceived naturally after 1-3 cycles? Sometimes I was so jealous of these lucky women, I found myself avoiding them.
On top of that, I was still hanging on to the notion that you shouldn't really be talking about it until your already 3 months pregnant, so now I found myself in this strange place of deciding who I should tell and whose worry would just make my life harder. I was worrying enough!
All I wanted was answers and information in the wake of the newest and biggest question. Will I ever get pregnant?
Tasha was an invaluable resource. When my doctor, who was either too busy or too entrenched in this process to realize, was running in and out of exam rooms and hitting me with some facts that are too hard to digest in one sitting like "low ovarian reserve" and "declining quality due to age", Tasha was there to help me with the questions they can't ever seem to answer. Is this normal? Would it be different at other clinics? What are they even testing for half of the time? Are these results promising? What's next?
This process is an emotional roller coaster for even the most put together woman, and having someone who's there when you're sure that this isn't going to work because your doctor accidentally worded something a little too matter-of-fact, is literally priceless. Comfort is what we need, knowledge is what we need, and sometimes just a little extra reassurance. Tasha provided all of that with positivity and confidence, which are the two things missing most during this difficult time.
After you are lucky enough to get pregnant (and you will, and it will be yours), you have an entirely different and agonizing waiting game ahead of you!
Kirsten, Tenafly, NJ
The first time I met Tasha went like this:
"Hey, I'm Kirsten, just found out my second IUI failed so at least I can booze!"
"Hey, I'm Tasha, forget IUI, IVF is what you want. I've done it 4 times and it's totally no big deal. I'll help you with it. Cheers!"
I was aware of people doing IVF, but most of them were so secretive about it and it was something you weren't supposed to ask them about. Tasha was the first person to be outspoken and to make me feel like this could be done and done without missing a beat.
I was feeling really overwhelmed about the prospect of working through insurance, out of pocket costs, injecting myself with hormones, having eggs retrieved - the whole thing felt out of reach. I was 37, had a full-time job and 3-year-old daughter, who was conceived naturally in just a month. I had no "diagnosis". I was reading books about conceiving, taking my temperature, checking vaginal fluid daily...it felt like a lot, and it was a whole lot of failure. I didn't think I had all that IVF entailed in me.
So when Tasha was all "hey, it's so easy", that was a real game changer for me. After meeting her, I plowed forward, asked her a million questions, leaned on her for advice and when I needed to bitch about the process, she listened. She also gave me her extra drugs when the pharmacy by mail was late a few days, sparing me the agony of waiting another entire month (which was a goddamn eternity every time).*
I got pregnant after the second IVF, and my son Dean was born in the winter of 2014.
And at Tasha's shower for her second baby, I told her that, were it not for her, I might not have had Dean. And I meant it.
*Note from Tasha- if this is illegal, I did not do this.
Laura, Chicago, IL
"I'm not sure I would have gotten through IVF without Tasha. She coached me through the injections—including how to make them not hurt and getting over the psychological roadblock of stabbing yourself with a needle—what to expect from the retrieval process, and just generally how to survive the process with your sanity intact. Infertility can be a very lonely place, but Tasha made it feel much less so with her upbeat and frank advice. She even got me to laugh about how ridiculous the IVF process can be! I now have a beautiful toddler boy, and he was so worth all those needles!"
Andrea, New York, NY
"My journey to becoming a mom is one of a lot of patience, guidance and fate! It was in early 2009 I tried IUI to become pregnant. After three tries and one miscarriage, I decided to take a break to reconsider other options.
In late 2009 I decided to adopt a child. I applied to two adoption agencies and contrary to what I had hoped, the process was very long and did not bear any children through a number of years.
That's when I made a decision - I would remain with adoption agencies but I was also going to move forward with IVF as it was always my goal to have a child by the time I was 50 and the clock was ticking.
Tasha became my IVF coach and friend.
The process was more complex than I had originally thought and it was Tasha who helped guide me, answer questions and give me the best advice I could get as she herself had been through the process ten times.
As such, I ventured out to Lone Tree, Colorado to meet with one of the most successful IVF clinics in America as I really had one shot to make this happen. Tasha had told me all about CCRM, and even guided me on doctors and specific nurses to ask for. Probably the best part of having Tasha be my coach, and good friend, is the amount of questions I had could be answered with great depth given Tasha's own experiences.
As it turned out after a multitude of physicals, successful mock trials and the picking of my child's egg and sperm, I receive a call from one of my adoption agencies that a beautiful little girl was waiting for me to adopt.
Eighteen months later I have beautiful Isabella Roberta! But I have no doubt that with continued guidance from Tasha my IVF would have been successful. But my patience and fate won over my journey and here I am today with a beautiful baby girl!"
Brandy, Los Angeles, CA
Having Tasha by my side through the IVF process put me at ease. The IVF experience is complicated and can be emotionally exhausting. Tasha was great at bringing clarity, talking me through each step of the way and, most importantly, giving me some tips that I feel helped get me pregnant. During one of our talks, she mentioned that staying in and relaxing for five days after the transfer really helped her get pregnant and, now going on my third IVF transfer, I realized I needed to follow her guidance. After my third transfer, I took ten days off and I’m so glad that I did – we now have our three-month-old baby girl. When we decide it’s time for Lilly to get a sibling, I absolutely plan on reaching out to Tasha again.
Regine, Red Bank, NJ
Tasha was a great coach throughout my IVF process. She encouraged me to invest in a different clinic and explained the importance of the lab used in the embryo development process. Tasha made me feel like I was not alone, and there was light at the end of the tunnel. With her guidance and ear just to listen my long journey ended with a successful pregnancy, and healthy baby boy.
Lauren, New York, NY
When my husband and I found out that we needed to go through IVF to conceive we were devastated. I did not know much about it and felt really scared and alone. Luckily I had Tasha to calm my nerves and guide me through the entire process. I trusted her completely and through her knowledge, guidance, and sense of humor, I was able to get through it and was successful after the very first round! Now we have our beautiful baby girl and I am so thankful for Tasha's help.
Lynda, Tenafly, NJ
I wish the FU Project had been available when I was going through my fertility struggles. I came from a big family where no one had ever had any problems getting pregnant and it seemed like pregnancy came easy and quick to everyone I knew. I felt so alone and isolated like I was the only one who this was hard for. I didn't feel like I had anyone to talk to sho would understand the struggle I was going through or the sadness or fear I had that I would never get to be the one thing I had always dreamed of- being a mom. The fertility process itself was so overwhelming with a never ending stream of decisions as to what procedures to do, how to manage the cost, what things might help the process (e.g. acupuncture, diet changes) and how to deal with the emotional heartbreak of the month after month waiting periods and disappointments. How I would have loved someone to talk to about everything, a friend who understood what I was going through, someone to cry with and then one day hopefully celebrate with. I am so glad that through FU Project others will get the chance to have the advice and support of an understanding and sympathetic friend.
Thank you so much for taking the time to talk to me today and to follow up with your email. I am very glad that [my friend] recommended I reach out to you- there aren't too many people I want to talk about this with. My best friend doesn't even know...And for my family- I am extremely close with my mom and older sister and whenever we talk on the phone they just make me cry...so having you is kinda like a relief because you unfortunately know this sadness as well and you know what I'm going through. So thank you for today.
Christina, San Francisco, CA
Thank you so much for your note and for generously offering your time. And also for other things, that you likely didn't realize you (already) helped, like my sanity and self-confidence for this whole process. I told [my friend who referred me to you] yesterday that after so many disappointing interactions with fertility people - and walking away knowing that they don't believe in me, all I really need right now is someone who has my back and is willing to be optimistic. This sh*t is the hardest.