Ep 132: Overcoming Fear for the Fertility Journey with Claudia Freedman
Fertility Forward Episode 132:
Claudia Freedman was recently discharged from RMA of New York, under the care of Dr. Matthew Lederman. She is ten weeks pregnant today! During this conversation, Claudia joins us to share her story of reaching this point despite navigating a very real phobia of needles. Tuning in, you’ll hear all about Claudia’s unexpected struggles to get pregnant, her journey to pursuing fertility treatment, and the apprehension she experienced leading up to the process. Claudia shares tips and tricks that she implemented during the IVF process, how she created a sense of control to combat fear, and how asking questions helped set her mind at ease along the way. We discuss how treatment differs from person to person and some of the valuable wisdom for life and parenting that Claudia gained along the way. Thanks for tuning in!
Rena: Hi everyone. We are Rena and Dara and welcome to Fertility Forward. We are part of the wellness team at RMA of New York, a fertility clinic affiliated with Mount Sinai Hospital in New York City. Our Fertility Forward Podcast brings together advice from medical professionals, mental health specialists, wellness experts, and patients because knowledge is power and you are your own best advocate.
So I am so excited to welcome to Fertility Forward today, the very dynamic - I can already tell - Claudia Freedman, who is a just recently discharged patient of RMA of New York, she was a patient of Dr. Lederman’s and she is 10 weeks pregnant today and she wanted to come on and share her story of getting here. And I know that Claudia had a lot of phobias around needles, which so many of our patients deal with. So I'm super psyched to have her on to share her story of strength and hope. Thank you so much for coming on, Claudia!
Claudia: Thank you so much for having me. I'm excited to be here.
Rena: So let's just jump right in and tell us sort of about your journey and you know, with infertility, RMA, Dr. Lederman.
Claudia: Yeah. So I have been married now for three and a half years, with my husband for six years. And my family, everyone in my family was fertile Myrtle, no problem getting pregnant. And so when I, I wanted to have, I want, you know, two children by 32, I wanted my first before 30 I had a whole plan because that's so who I am. And when we were having the conversation about starting to try and thinking about all of that, I was thinking nothing was gonna be a problem. It was gonna be no problem. It was gonna be easy, you know, I'm not even 30, it's gonna be great. And I am someone who is super meticulous and super organized. And so I had, was tracking my cycle on every single app and I knew every detail of my cycle. And after about six months of no success, I knew something was wrong. I trusted my gut. And I feel like so often doctors or OBs will say, you know, it can take a year, it can take a while. And while that may be true in some regards, I felt like something wasn't quite right, right? I'm doing all of the things and following all of the steps and something wasn't quite right. And my husband's parents had some infertility with him and getting pregnant with him. It took them about four years. And so thinking nothing was coming from my side of things, I told him, I was like, maybe we should get tested. Let's figure out what's going on. Let's find out. And so he saw Dr. Bar-Chama in New York City who I guess is THE guy for male infertility. And when he went to do his test with Dr. Bar-Chama, Dr. Bar-Chama also asked has your wife gotten tested as well? And I hadn't, but I was very open to finding out everything I could and, and wanting to make sure I had had all of the information necessary that would be helpful. And so I also went to get tested and I had a meeting with Dr. Lederman. And when we were doing my ultrasound, we started to see that I had low follicle count and then my blood work came back and I had low AMH levels and all of a sudden it became clear that I had an egg factor. I was not even, I'm 29, I will be 30 in May right after I'm due with my baby. And I was think, like, to me it never crossed my mind that IVF was even a conversation we were gonna be having or infertility was a conversation we were gonna be having. I always thought of IVF or infertility is, is later when, if you're trying to get pregnant older or if there's some history of infertility with you, I had no idea that this was gonna be the route that we were gonna go. And after a series of tests on, for both of us, we learned that we have both female and male factor infertility. So in that circumstance, it didn't make a lot of sense for us to go the IUI route and we jumped right into the IVF route and with Dr. Lederman, who I absolutely love. He's incredible. He, we talked a lot. He very quickly sort of learned who I am as a human in the sense of I like to do my research and I like to know all the details and I like to be very involved in everything and I ask a million thousand questions. And he was such a great doctor for me in this process, leading me along this process, answering every single one of my questions, giving me all of the information that I could possibly want. And with Dr. Lederman, we talked about sort of banking all of my embryos now while I'm young and healthy, because as you get older, of course, your egg quality can diminish while I could potentially get pregnant naturally, we don't know how long that could take, right? It could be, I could get lucky and it could be, you know, next month it, or it could have been years. And I didn't wanna wait that long. So we decided that we were gonna do all of my retrievals back to back, and we wanted to have at least two embryos for every child that I would want. And I wanted to go through the whole process of PGT testing and absolutely everything to maximize my chances of success through the process. But I also, like you said, was terrified of needles. Like, a crippling fear of needles. Getting a flu shot was a, a whole scene, like, could not, could not be around a needle. Would faint, like, drama-city. And to me the idea of IVF was very terrifying and nerve wracking for that exact reason. I knew that there were a lot of needles involved. I don't, I didn't quite realize what that was gonna entail. But there's something really interesting that switches, at least for me, that when you want something bad enough, you're willing to do whatever you have to do to make that happen. And I think in the beginning when I was first going through the process and okay, all the needles came, and one of the things I did for myself was I opened everything. I looked at everything, I laid everything out and I was like, okay, I'm gonna look at these needles. Okay, they're actually not as big as I thought. Like, okay, that's gonna be fine. And I laid everything out and I organized everything and I made schedules and trackers and, you know, that was my way of coping, was organizing every detail and really making sure that I knew everything that I was getting myself into so that I could make that educated decision. And the first time I did my shots, I was really nervous, really nervous, like, got all hot and flustered and you know, very, very nervous. But after doing my first round of shots for my stim cycle, for my retrieval, I realized that it actually wasn't that bad. And I did all of my shots myself because I felt similar to how you can't tickle yourself. I felt that if I had control with the needle, if I had control with the injection, with the whole process, it would be easier to do. And that was the case, that it didn't really hurt as bad as I thought. And I was like, it actually doesn't really hurt at all. And after doing one round or one, even one day of shots, I was like, oh, I can do this. And truly, I overcame that fear of needles. I did three retrieval cycles, ended up getting six PGT normal embryos, and I did them back to back. So I had, was doing shots from January until May, so about five months. And now I'm like, not afraid of needles at all anymore. I was nervous about progesterone because those are bigger needles. My husband was gonna have to do them because they're in your glute muscle. It's a harder place to access yourself. But I also was on every Facebook group and every, did my research on every tip and trick to make it easier. And truly it's not, it wasn't that bad. It, it became one of those things that it just wasn't that bad. And I always thought like, I don't know if I can have, if I can do this for more than one child, can I do this for two or three? And my husband and I, the other day, I, I finished my progesterone shots. I guess it was two weeks ago now almost? Yeah, two weeks ago. And he goes, it wasn't that bad, right? Like, we could do this for more. And I was like, yeah, I guess we could. So it was one of those things where you have to get through it, but it, it wasn't as bad as I made it out to be in my head at all. And now I don't have a fear of needles at all. But you become a human pin cushion, right? You're in there getting your blood drawn. It's just the way it goes and, and so you, it just becomes part of the, part of the drill. And when you want something bad enough, when you want a baby so bad, you're willing to do whatever you have to do to get it.
Rena: Wow. What an incredible story. I mean to go from fainting over the flu shot to doing all this yourself, was there anything in particular besides sort of like your own, like moxy or grit, you know, as they say that got you from scenario one, which was fainting at the pharmacy to being a human pin cushion. Like anything particular that you would share with people?
Claudia: I think I had lots of tips and tricks for all the different parts of the IVF process. And I actually have friends that are going through the IVF process as well. And I was like, okay, make sure you do this, this, this and all the different tricks that I found helpful. I think one thing for me was a lot of research and a lot of understanding. I like to be equipped with knowledge and I feel like knowledge is power. And when the more I knew about what to expect or what could I expect or what might this be like, or what tips and tricks could I try, the more comfortable I felt about facing it head on. I would say with the stim shots, I knew going, I well, I like that I had the option of either your stomach or your outer thighs. And so the first night I did them in my stomach and I was like, okay, it's not, it doesn't not like it's fun. No one likes to stick needles in themselves, but I was like, all right, it's doable. And then the next day I tried in my thighs and that to me was so much easier. So I also liked that I had that choice. That was something that was helpful for me. I had these little ice pack things that I would put on afterward if thing, if the Menopur was burning a little bit. And I also felt that, I truly felt like doing it myself made it easier because I was in control of the injection speed, where I was putting the needle. I could feel it, I knew it was coming. And so it wasn't scary the same way where when you don't, if someone else is doing it, you don't know when they're gonna stick you. And then it sort of startles you in that way. And then of course, getting my blood drawn every day you're monitoring, I would never look at it. I still actually to this day, I don't look and watch them do my blood work. But I was much more comfortable knowing that I do this every day and it sort of became routine, right? And I knew all of the nurses and I knew everybody at the practice and so they knew I liked to use the squishy thing for my hand to make sure I had a nice vein. My left arm for whatever reason hurt less than my right arm. I would alternate arms each time, like, little things like that were really helpful. And then for progesterone, and I swear by this, I think this is the truly the way that it, the best way to do it is I used an auto-injector that all people were talking about on all of these Facebook groups where instead of my husband having to kind of throw the needle into my glute muscle like a dart and it's a, that's a hard thing to do and it's a hard thing to control the speed and the angle and all of those things on your own, the auto-injector, sort of like a fancy looking pen contraption that you can load the syringe and the needle and everything right into, and I would heat up the oil in the heating pad and the needles in a heating pad first. So everything was warm. So it sort of dissipate that oil so it wouldn't get clumpy. And I would do that for about 5 or 10 minutes and then I would, I did all of the, I would draw all of my injections myself, I would switch the needles myself. It was sort of like flooding of that fear, you know? So it wasn't scary to me in that way 'cause I was in control of it the whole time. And the progesterone needles are larger. So I was very nervous for my first one thinking it was gonna really hurt and what is this gonna be like and, and what am I gonna feel like afterward? So I would heat up the oil and the needles in this syringe, all of it, in a heating pad for about 5 or 10 minutes. And then I would draw up the, the medicine, I would switch my needles, I would put the whole thing into this auto-injector pen and then I would lay down on the bed so that I was taking all the pressure off of my glute muscles. We would alternate sides each time. My husband would put me with the little alcohol swab in the exact spot that we knew we were gonna do it. So we had it all laid out. We would use the little diagrams to make sure we were in the right place until we started to get the hang of it. And then with the pen, you just click a button and then it injects quickly and at the right angle so it doesn't hurt and you bleed less. And that was amazing. And then the other key was walking for 15 or 20 minutes afterward. So
Rena: Oh my gosh! Because we share on here, Dara and I both share on here, we both went through IVF, we did not have the autoinjector when I was doing it.
Claudia: It’s amazing!
Rena: My daughter is seven. You know, years ago. But that is so wild. Yeah, what a game changer.
Claudia: Completely. And then it made it easy for him to, all he had to do was you literally, and it, and the needle is covered by this little, almost a cap so that you don't see it, you're not sticking the needle in yourself at that time. You literally put the pen up against the muscle in the spot, you click a button and it injects right in. He would push in the, the progesterone and the syringe, pull it out, done, easy. And then walking for 15 or 20 minutes afterward to just keep moving. I wouldn't lie down right away. I wouldn't go to bed right away. I would walk on the treadmill or walk the dogs and that truly, I did 10 weeks of these shots and there was maybe one once or twice that if I didn't walk enough or I had laid down afterward, then I was a little sore. But otherwise I was like, this is not as bad as I thought. I was so worried about it. So that truly was a game changer.
Rena: Yeah, I remember warming the oil and walking around and that whole deal, but not the autoinjector that, I mean really sounds - what a fabulous invention! I hope so many people are hearing this.
Claudia: And I, the other thing with the autoinjector too is you can, I could have used it for the stim shots as well, which I didn't know at the time and I, it wouldn't necessarily be necessary since the needles are smaller and they're easier to go through and just that in through the skin. But you can use, 'cause you can change out the size of the syringe holder so you can change, you could put whatever size syringe or needle on in the autoinjector and you could use it for your stim shots as well.
Rena: Oh my gosh, I love that. I feel like you should have a side hustle working for the autoinjector company.
Claudia: It’s the best tip
Rena: What an amazing thing. I mean, totally. Because that, you know, the progesterone is, is the hardest. It's, yeah, you know, the hardest to do yourself just because of where It is on your body. Although it definitely can be done. So I don't want anyone listening to think they can't, if you're going through this solo, it definitely can be done. And I know many, many people that have done progesterone themselves, and I would think the autoinjector would actually just make that so much easier.
Claudia: Exactly. And it was actually one of the other reasons why I was really interested in it, is if my husband wasn't around to do those for me, if I needed to do it myself, it would make having the right angle and the right speed of the injection a lot easier to do on your own. And when I was reading a lot on these Facebook groups, that's what a lot of women had said - if they didn't have a partner that was there to help them or their partner wasn't around to help them at the time of their injection or they're on their own, whatever the circumstance may be, being able to do it on your own is huge. And I think that's one of the reasons why I wanted to do the stim shots myself was if my husband is not around and you know, he goes to work in the morning or if I need, I have to be able to do them on my own. And I actually, I had a friend's birthday party and I needed, I was really good about doing my shots at the same time every single day and I needed to do some shots that night. And so I brought them all with me and went into the bathroom and did all the shots in the bathroom. These are my childhood friends. And so we all joke like, here they're helping me make a baby, you know, they've been with me through everything in my life and here we are in the bathroom of a bar just doing these shots, you know, because you gotta do what you gotta do.
Claudia: And I did it on my own since I had learned how to do that. And that was really helpful.
Rena: I love that. And I think also, it's so important to note from that example as well is you were just living your life. You weren't saying, okay, I have to stay home. I can't go out because I have to do these shots at a certain time and I, I can't leave my house as I think so many people do, which perpetuates the cycle and feeling really bad, right? Feeling really trapped. You know, you just bring 'em with you. Like, this is part of my life right now, but it doesn't need to consume my life. How can I adapt? How can I roll with the punches on this? Like, right? I'm going to a bar, cool.
Claudia: I’d bring it with me. I brought them on planes. We went to DC for a weekend and I actually left my medication in the mini fridge at the hotel, was freaking out. Ended up, you know, having it all overnighted and sent to us and, and the doctors were like, no problem. We have extra. It was, ended up being fine. But it was one of those things where I had, you know, our flight was delayed. I had to do my shots, I had 'em with me. We're doing 'em on the plane, like, all right, here we are. He's sitting there, you know, lifting my shirt, kind of hiding behind a coat. I'm like, whatever. I did it on the plane. And you gotta do what you gotta do. And you, you have to live your life. I think one of the biggest pieces of advice in general for people who are new to the process or thinking about going through it is, it is not as scary as it sounds. It's not as scary as you might think. And it is very manageable. And it is, it's a blip in time. It's a window in time. And I think that's easy to forget when you're living something, when you're going through something, it doesn't mean it's easy, it's not fun. No one wants to have to do this. But if you are in a circumstance where you, this is where you are in life and this is the cards you've been dealt, I'm of the mindset of like, okay, this is the challenge and how do we overcome it? What are we gonna do to make sure that we overcome this and, and get through it. And it is doable. It is manageable and it is worth it.
Rena: Would you say that this was the hardest thing that you have had to deal with thus far in life? Or have you had other very big challenges before?
Claudia: I think this was probably, I think this was one of the hardest challenges to sort of wrap my head around almost. I think there's a mindset shift in the beginning, right? No one thinks that they're going to have go through IVF to have a baby. No one thinks that that's what they're going to have to do. And I think it was really hard in the beginning to shift the mindset of this is not how I thought we were going to have a baby. I didn't think this was going to be the way. I thought it would be like everybody else. And sure enough, you know, it's simple and oh, there you go, you're pregnant. Like, no big deal. And so I think the hardest part was shifting that mindset and realizing, okay, this is different than I thought, but I can handle this, I can do this. And I think approaching this as a challenge, as an obstacle, as something that I'm going to overcome, that's very true to my personality. I'm very, I'm a very problem solver type of person where I don't like to wallow in misery, I guess is my way of thinking about it. I could have been like, this is awful, this is horrible. This is the worst thing that's ever happened to me and be, and it's okay to feel all of those things. And I felt all of those things. I was shocked and there was a lot of grief and sort of, there was grief and mourning of the loss of what I thought was going to be our journey to have children. But at the same time, when I was able to work through that and I was able to realize like, okay, this is a challenge that I'm gonna overcome and I'm gonna do what I need to do and what are the solutions and what do I need to do to get through it? I was able to do it. And I think that mindset was really helpful. And I also think I was really interested in understanding the process and in understanding all of the science behind it. Like I said, I feel like knowledge is power. And so I felt like the more research I did, the more knowledge I had, I was then equipped to go into Dr. Lederman’s office and ask questions and say, have you thought about this? Why are we doing this this way? And of course, I trust my doctors and I, I trust what their expertise and their knowledge and their training has to say. But I was also able to advocate for myself and say, okay, I know you mentioned my lining was on the thinner side. What are the things we can do before transfer to mitigate that? What can we do to maximize my chances of success? And I feel like when you're going through IVF, there's so many things that you are doing every day, right? You're, you're injecting yourself with hormones, you're having your blood drawn, you're going to these appointments, you're, you're living this. And that is the reality. And that is okay, right? You, you're in the doctor's office a lot and you become very comfortable and familiar with the doctor's office and you, any shyness you have about your body goes right out the window because everyone's in every crevice of your body all the time. And it is what it is. But I felt like I needed to know and understand what was happening. I didn't wanna go in blind. I didn't wanna go in being like, oh, I don't really know why we're doing that. It's fine, whatever. Because then I, this, I'm the one doing it. I'm the one going through it. And not that I was, I'm opposed to putting all these hormones in my body and doing this. I just wanted to understand, okay, what does this hormone do? Why does it do that? Okay, why do we do it that way? I found it really interesting. I liked the science of all of this, too. And I think it also made it more approachable when I wasn't intimidated by the science. It's incredible what modern medicine has allowed for us to do. I mean, the fact that basically Dr. Lederman helped us make our babies, right? And that's amazing. Like he will always be a part of that. And, and yes, I was fortunate enough, we were fortunate enough that we got to use our own sperm and egg to make our embryos. And I know that's not the case for everybody, but it's pretty incredible that we were able to do that. I just needed help doing it outside of my body. And if that's what it like okay, like interesting, cool. How lucky that this is possible?
Rena: I wanna point out too that, so Dr. Lederman is the one that let me know that you would be interested in the podcast and he speaks so highly of you and you know, you, you say on here, like, you advocated for yourself. Like, you took the words literally right out of my mouth. You know, knowledge is power, patient advocacy. You know, you went in, you asked questions, you wanted to know, you know, you asked a lot of Dr. Lederman. And so again, I wanna point out though that Dr. Lederman loves you, he doesn't find you annoying or a pain or a difficult patient. And I think so many people though have a fear of, well what if I annoy my doctor? I don't want them to not like me. I'm afraid to ask questions. I'm afraid to raise my voice. And so they don't, and then they continue to feel out of control, maybe that they're not happy with their doctor or their medical team. They feel like they're not getting what they need. But that's because, you know, physicians, they're not mind readers. You know, they love patients that ask questions, that challenge them, that tell them what they want because we just wanna help you. Doctors, nurses, coordinators, you know, myself, Dara, whatever. We just wanna help our patients, but we're not mind readers. So it's so you're making our job so much easier if you tell us what you want. And so I think that's a really important point to drive home for people listening. You know, you are not annoying, you are not a problem patient if you ask questions. It's so important. I kind of just always tell people, look, you know, you have to give someone an appropriate amount of time to respond. You know, if you email them, let's give them, you know, two business days to respond or whatever and be kind. But as long as you can do that, it is so important. And you know, today's day and age medicine, especially I'll say at RMA, communication is there, it's not a system really anymore where you can't have access to your doctor and you only see the med appointments. And so it is so important to do what you did and you know, you're just such an example of how that helped you. You know, how that helped you cope with this feeling in control and sit here and be super excited about the experience.
Claudia: No, it, it's true. And I, you had asked me, if you had told me years ago that I was going to be doing IVF to get pregnant, doing needles for months and in doctors’ offices having my blood drawn all the time, I would've said, you're crazy. There's no chance. Like, there's no way. But I feel like there's a lot of credit I need to give to the RMA team and Dr. Lederman as well. Like, they truly, they truly have made this experience. It's not easy and it's, and everyone's journey is incredibly different. Everyone's body is different, everyone's experience is really, really different. So my circumstance might be similar to someone else, but it will be different because we're different people. And I feel like having a doctor like Dr. Lederman or a practice like RMA, that, it is a holistic approach. And it is this, Dr. Lederman truly is one of my favorite doctors I've ever had in general. And I'm, I can be very picky because I have a big personality, right? I do my research, I ask my questions and not every doctor appreciates that. And I feel like finding a doctor that you trust not only to want the best for you and to do the best for you, but also that you trust to understand you and appreciate who you are and what you're bringing to the table. To your point, like who appreciates the fact that you wanna ask questions and you wanna know and, and isn't annoyed by that. There are plenty of, of doctors who don't take that approach. And I think it is so important also to trust your gut and to trust your instincts of, you know what, this doesn't feel right or I need to make a change and 'cause you, you have to protect yourself. And I feel like, and it's also with the whole fertility thing in general. I was so sick and tired of everybody telling me, oh, it's fine, it'll just take a while. And that's not, it's not that simple. It really isn't. And, and I think everybody deserves to understand their fertility outlook. Even if it's 100% green light go, go, go, you're gonna be fine. I think it's really important to know, right? I think it should be a standard at your annual gynecological exam to do blood work and figure out where your hormone levels are. Why do I not know that until I'm doing IVF? That's crazy to me, you know?
Rena: You are preaching to the choir.
Claudia: Right? I think it is so important to have knowledge to understand. I also think about, I'm someone who struggled with hormonal acne forever, right? I thought I would outgrow it when I was an adult and I didn't. And what was really interesting is it wasn't until going through IVF that I learned that my estrogen levels are a little bit lower than someone else at my age. And that is a contributing factor to hormonal acne. Had I known that, that would've been a huge amount of knowledge that could have helped me along my journey of figuring out my skin and my, like all of those things, right? And, and I noticed that, I learned that when I was going through the, the stim cycles and the transfer cycle and as my estrogen levels were rising, skin's clearing, all of these things are happening. And I'm like, wow. The fact that it took going through IVF to figure out, to understand, to know my hormones, to know my body in that way is crazy! Knowledge is power. It really is. You have to advocate for yourself 'cause no one else is going to do that.
Rena: Totally. So what will you take with yourself moving forward from this?
Claudia: That you can really get through anything if you put your mind to it, right? When you want something bad enough, you're willing to do what you need to do to get it. And everyone's journey, it's not linear, right? It, it goes in in different waves. Some people have, you know, they could do one retrieval, they get all their embryos, they transfer, good to go done. You know, I did three retrievals. My first one I got nothing, right? And we had to change my protocol. We had to learn what to do. And then my second two retrievals is when I got my embryos. And it's not a linear process at all. And I think that's a good lesson for life in general. And I think actually going through IVF is, it's great training ground for parenthood even. This is my, this will be my first baby and it's a really great lesson in relinquishing control and being able to handle what comes at you. Because in life, when you have children, you don't get to control everything, right? You have to just go with the flow, go with the punches. See circumstances as an opportunity or a challenge that you can overcome and not let an obstacle stand in your way and think, I can't do this. I think it's so important. It's a great lesson in having a yes-and attitude. Yes, and what am I gonna do about that? Yes, this is my circumstance and how am I gonna solve that? How am I gonna move forward? What am I gonna do to get through that? And I feel like, I mean, not only have I become pregnant and I now get to have a baby from this whole process, I've also overcome my fear of needles, which I think is huge because it's such a common fear. And think about all of the circumstances where needles are involved. Your a flu shot, your covid shot. When you're pregnant, your, your blood's drawn and epidurals and all of it. Like to me, I'm like, I don't even care anymore. You know? It's so, no, no big deal. It's not as daunting. I truly used to joke that I was terrified of being pregnant because of all the needles. And everyone's like, oh, you're gonna have to get over that when you're pregnant. Meanwhile I'm like, oh, I'm way over that now. And now I'm just like, okay, here's this arm, here's that arm, whatever. It's fine.
Rena: What a tremendous growth experience for you and, and as you said, and as a mother to a seven year old, yes. You being a parent is nothing less than having to kind of roll with it and relinquish control, which personally was totally hard for me, too. And my journey with that, you know, probably did start with, with fertility as well. And so what a gift though. And, and that you're able to have this attitude now because I think that will serve you in so many areas of life.
Claudia: Yeah. Thank you. I appreciate it. It's true.
Rena: So, you are such a gift. I'm so happy to have you on and I know people can't see you, but you are inspiring me to wanna go get my nails done. You have these fabulous nails going on. Really cool. Claudia: That's my thing. I always like to do a theme, a themed nail.
Rena: I love that. They're like very cool. Like black and gold alternating, I think, love!
Claudia: They're kind of like fall. Yep.
Rena: Yes. I love them. Well, you are such a bright gift and I'm so happy that Dr. Lederman sent you. And I will say we're not, so we're recording this in October, but because of our podcast calendar, we're not gonna be releasing it until 2024. But I am so excited to release this episode and I know that you are gonna be just such an inspiration to so many.
Claudia: Thank you. I appreciate it. I'm glad I could help.
Rena: So the way we like to sort of wrap our episodes is by talking about a gratitude. So something that you're grateful for today.
Claudia: I am grateful for modern medicine, which of course is, is on brand for this conversation. But I am truly grateful that this was possible. There was a time when I wasn't sure if we were going to be able to have children. I didn't know. I didn't know if that was gonna be possible. And you know, even after first retrieval, we didn't get anything. I did not know if we were gonna be able to have children of our own. And I am so grateful for modern medicine and science that this is possible because it's truly amazing.
Rena: But I love that. And I will say, you know, as I said, we're recording this in October, so in the, the midst of this recording we're currently in, you know, the Israel-Hamas crisis. So I will just say being in that sort of space of, of current events, I'm just really grateful for this sense of normalcy, being able to sit here with you, record the podcast, you know, not worry about my safety, and be able to just sort of have this constant and normal life. I mean, what a blessing, you know, it's, so much perspective has been sort of shed in light of current events. And so I'm really just sort of sitting in the gratitudes for the normalcy of my everyday life because I know that truly each and every day it's a gift. And especially right now where so many people aren't in that.
Claudia: I absolutely agree with you. Yeah. You know, I, I think another thing I'm, I'm really grateful for is I have a, a newfound appreciation for my Jewish community here in the light of all of this as well. And I think that's something that is important in also my journey to motherhood and what that's gonna look like for our children as well.
Rena: Absolutely. Yeah. And I think, you know, tying that to just community in general and sort of just another plug for the fertility community and reaching out, building your tribe. Community in any sense, whether it's religious or fertility, just finding people who get you, who get what you're going through is really important.
Claudia: Absolutely. Yep.
Rena: So thank you so much for coming on. This really has been such a pleasure and we are so excited to see where the world takes you and share this episode.
Claudia: Thank you. Thank you so much for having me. I'm, I'm looking forward to it.
Dara: Thank you so much for listening today. And always remember: practice gratitude, give a little love to someone else and yourself, and remember you are not alone. Find us on Instagram @fertility_forward and if you're looking for more support, visit us at www.rmany.com and tune in next week for more Fertility Forward.