Ep 3: Why Your Infertility Story Matters, with Ali Prato
Fertility Forward Episode 3:
After a brutal, four-year struggle with secondary infertility, Brooklyn-based journalist and mom-of-two, Ali Prato, launched Infertile AF. Infertile AF is an unfiltered podcast about all the different paths toward building modern families and having babies, or not. So far, the podcast has received over 55,000 downloads in over 50 countries and Ali’s goal is to reach even more people worldwide to let them know that they are not alone.
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 for medical professionals, mental health specialists, wellness experts, and patients because knowledge is power and you are your own best advocate.
Dara: After a brutal for your struggle with secondary infertility, Brooklyn Brooklyn-based journalists and mom of two Ali Prato launched Infertile AF an unfiltered podcast about all the different paths to build modern families and having babies or in some cases not so far. The podcast has garnered more than 55,000 unique downloads in more than 50 countries and Ali's goal is to reach even more people worldwide, letting them know they are not alone. In this episode, Allie speaks about in fertility story all about her experience with her podcast and fertility and how it's helped her process her own trauma as well as what our future plans are in the fertility realm. Today, we have Ali Prato who is the founder of Infertile AF and I had the pleasure of meeting her when I was asked to be on her show to tell my story, my infertility journey. And I am so happy to have her on our show today. So thanks for being here.
Ali Prato: Thanks for having me. I'm so happy to be here.
Dara: So thrilled. So you've had some history here at RMA.
Ali Prato: I have. Even just walking in this morning, I had a little bit of anxiety. I have to be honest with you because this is the facility that I used when I was going through infertility and this is where I used to come when you have to come and get your blood drawn at six in the morning. I remember taking the subway, it was kind of night. It was kind of winterish or like early in the air and still kind of chilly, you know, at six in the morning or whenever you had to be here. And I remember getting off the subway and just walking down these like desolate streets and coming into this thing. And then you come in the waiting room and there's so many people and no one's looking at each other. Yeah, it's just, it brings back a lot of anxiety.
Rena: And that was how long ago?
Ali Prato: So I was going through this between 2012 and 2015 when I eventually did end up having my son through IVF.
Rena: Wow so even, I mean years later.
Ali Prato: Oh yeah. Carrots, the chairs. It took me a while to even be able to really talk about it. It took me a couple of years to, cause I'm a journalist and a writer, so people had asked me after I went through all of this, you know, you should write a book or you should write articles. And I couldn't do anything for probably like two years. It was too raw. It was too hard to talk about.
Rena: I feel like I noticed that for myself. And you know, my daughter's three and I went through it for about two years before having her and I feel like I'm still almost now even just starting to process kind of the trauma of everything and I noticed now, I don't think I've really done the work on that chapter of my wife. I mean I had her, I got divorced, I was going through so many things and I worked more on going through that, but I don't think I worked through the trauma of infertility.
Ali Prato: Did you have her through IVF?
Rena: I did, yeah.
Ali Prato: Was it a couple of rounds or what was your situation? I'm sure you've talked about it before, but since I just met you.
Rena: Yeah, yeah. No, I don't mind though. Yeah, I went through a couple rounds. I had multiple IUIs and then a couple rounds of IVF. I had a chemical pregnancy in there and a burst cyst, so it was about two years. Yeah. And yeah, I mean two of the hardest years of my life. Yeah, I say that and then divorce.
Ali Prato: Yeah. Then how soon was the divorce after you had her? Was it short?
Rena: It was right after, yeah.
Ali Prato: Wow, that is a lot.That is a lot to play through.
Rena: You know it’s pretty concentrated and hopefully all the hard stuff is in the time span of a few years. Yeah. So it took a few years. So it took you four years?
Ali Prato: Yeah, it was between three and four. I had my daughter just naturally in 2009. I didn't have any problems getting pregnant with her thankfully. And everything was fine. I mean she was breech and I also had placenta previa. Did you have that too?
Dara: I didn’t have that, but one of my daughters turned, like afterwards.
Ali Prato: Right. I remember talking about that with you. So I did end up having a scheduled C-section with her, but everything thankfully was fine and she was healthy. And then we didn't start to try again for probably three years cause we were so like in the thick of having, you know, as you know when you have an infant and we were like kind of newish to Brooklyn, you know we both are from Chicago, my husband Vince and I. It was just too much to even think about having another kid because I didn't think I was going to have infertility issues cause I didn't have any with her. Even though I had her at 35 I probably like just made it in under the wire when I had her so that you know, it's kind of an interesting thing now in retrospect. Had I known that I would have problems, then we would have probably started trying sooner, but I didn't start trying with him till I was like around 38, 37/38.
Rena: And did you have diminished ovarian reserve at that point?
Ali Prato: Yes. That was what it was told. Just old eggs basically.
Dara: That's good that you were able to figure out what the situation was.
Ali Prato: Yeah. Yeah. Basically, I guess I, it's funny cause on my podcast, which I know we're going to talk about, I was able to go back and interview my doctor, Dr. Joshua Klein on one of my episodes and I asked him all these questions that I had been wanting to ask him for a couple of years and we talked about, you know, I used to like, I don't know if you remember when I first came in and I had to like jog his memory obviously with specific things, but he said “ Oh yeah, I remember we did, he was like, you were like an egg superstar.” Like I had a very big egg reserve, but they weren't good quality so I wasn't having problems getting pregnant, but I was having problems staying pregnant. So basically I had four miscarriages before I went in to see him know they were mostly early ones, which I think was easier for me.
Dara: It’s still tough
Ali Prato: But yeah, it's still tough and it was just, you know, wanting that thing that you can't have like the worst feeling in the world.
Dara: Did you share the news with anyone throughout those four cycles?
Ali Prato: Like having the miscarriages? Oh yeah. Yeah. I think that's part of just my personality is like I have to talk about stuff that I'm going through. Like I'm not one of those people that will keep it inside and probably to my friends and family I'm sure it got a little tired of me talking about it cause it was like I became a little obsessed with getting pregnant.
Rena: I mean how do you not, it takes over your life. It's something I work with patients on is how do you live your life in parallel, right? How do you do this? Which does take over and become a full time job emotionally, everything, but then also live the rest of your life.
Ali Prato: It's so true. And how do you? What have you figured out?
Rena: Like the secret
Ali Prato: Yeah. What's that secret?
Rena: You know, I think, I mean I think it's, it depends on a person's pathology. You know, everybody's different, but I think it's a combination of asking for help and putting a lot of supports in place. You know? I think it's setting other people up for failure if you think only your partner, only a parent, only at best friend are going to be the people to support you through this. I think it's building out supports, getting a therapist, going to support groups, connecting with other people going through this. I mean the great thing, unfortunately for men there aren't that many resources yet, but for women there are so many. And so I think it's really building a network for yourself. It's being proactive, it's feeling as though you're in control of your life in your case, you know, is that being involved in advocacy even, you know, helping other people, whatever that may be. And then, you know, I really, I see positive psychology and mindfulness play a big role in helping people with this, to practicing gratitude, you know, as sort of, I always feel like that sounds very basic, but I think that trying to stay in the present is really helpful.
Ali Prato: Totally
Dara: Right. There are more resources nowadays.
Ali Prato: Like so much has changed even in the past year.
Rena: I think finally people are now understanding, wow, this is huge. And it affects so many people.
Ali Prato: Right. And it's only getting more and more, it's only getting bigger and more people are affected by it as people, you know, kind of put off parenthood until later in life. But I do think that the voice of infertility and fertility in general is just, it's getting louder, which I think is great.
Rena: I think finally people are speaking up, you know, like you're doing your podcast. People are brave to share their story and say, yeah, this sucked. It was hard. It affected my marriage. It affected my friends. It affected my perception of self. You know this, and I think the more people that speak up and share, the better.
Ali Prato: Yeah. It really plays a number on your, your brain, your psychology and your brain and how you feel as a woman too. I think you're programmed all your life that you're supposed to be able to breed and procreate and all these things, and then when it's not happening, it's like, what am I broken? What am I doing wrong?
Dara: And I'm sure with all the stories that you've heard on your podcast. It’s unbelievable to see what people have gone through.
Ali Prato: Yeah. It's been crazy. So, um, just to give you guys a little background, so I started the podcast in March and the reason that I did so is because exactly what we're talking about. You know, when I was going through it, like I said, I was talking about it with my friends and family and they were wonderful and as supportive as they could be. But as you guys know, having gone through it, you really sometimes just need to talk to people that have been in the trenches and like been in the muck, you know, going through some of the same exact things that you've been through. Cause I could talk to my best friends all day about, you know, having a chemical pregnancy or coming in to get the blood draw at 6:00 AM. But if they haven't done it themselves, they can be supportive. But there's nothing. Yes. And nothing to knock that. You know what I mean? It's just, it's just different when you talk to someone who's been in it. So when I was going through it, I was, I remember going to the bookstore once and looking for books about miscarriage or even infertility. And the section was like two inches wide. There’s nothing. And even online, like they're really, you know, and this was probably five, six, seven years ago now, all said and done. And I was like, this is crazy that there's not more out there. Like it's such a disservice to women and men everywhere that this isn't being talked about more. So I did at one point, once I was on the other side of it and my son was around two, I did start writing articles, you know, people were commissioning me to do stuff and then somebody said, well you should write a book obviously. So I started working on a book and I put a proposal together and worked on it for several months. And then I started shopping it around to try to find an agent cause I was like, it was going to be called IVF AF. And I was going to interview other people as well and kind of weave their stories in so it was going to kind of be part memoir, part kind of scrapbook. And I was trying to make it funny and just like relatable and I shopped it around for a couple months and all the responses I got were like, we love your writing, we love your voice but these books don't sell. There's just not, we're not going to make any money on this. So from a business perspective, you know, the publishers were like, we can't take this on. We wish we could, but it's just, not a market enough for it. And I was like, are you kidding me that, but I think there is because I had to see you.
Rena: I did the same thing I wrote when I was going through it, it was my therapy and finally when I was done, whatever, I'd put it together. I did a proposal and they were like, there's no who's buying them.
Ali Prato: You were getting the same feedback
Rena: And I just disagree so strongly.
Ali Prato: Right. I totally disagree. I mean obviously.
Rena: I mean my patients or our patient pool, they come in here all the time.
Ali Prato: But I think, you know, publishing is so tricky and it's like if you're not Michelle Obama or you know some big name, like you're just not going to make a lot of money for them. And of course there is self publishing and that hasn't been entirely ruled out for me. But later down the line. But point being one day I was just, I had gone to interview somebody for Rolling Stone Magazine, just like a freelance assignment. And then I was like, oh, and it all kind of came together and I was like, oh I love interviewing people. You know, I feel like I'm decent at it. It's what I've been trained to do. I don't need anybody to like greenlight it if I try to start a podcast and then I was like, oh I should just start a podcast. Cause then I don't need to wait for somebody to tell me that I can do it. I could just do it. And I literally, it all like happened really quickly. I talked to the right people. I have a couple of friends that were really supportive and had done it before and gave me some advice. And then like within three weeks it was like up and running and it was, it was quick.
Dara: I had a friend who reached out to me and she's like, Dara do you want to tell your story and, and it's unbelievable how, how many more people you've had on since.
Ali Prato: Yes, yes, yes. So it's been awesome. The gist of it is like, it's very inclusive. It's not just infertility, quote unquote. It's also people who are having babies or trying to have babies through like untraditional means like building modern families. So I talked to same sex couples, I talked to people who've gone through infant loss who maybe didn't have fertility issues but are dealing with that cause I feel like it all kind of falls under the same umbrella now. So it's been awesome. 37 episodes now have come out. And just the range of people's stories like we talked about, it's, everybody's story is so different, but it's, everybody's story is so important and there's always something that somebody can relate to. You know, and like the whole point of it, I think coming from an authentic place of, you know, I really truly want to help people by putting these stories out in the world. I think that that's resonated with people. And so just the emails and the people that want to come on, it's been amazing and beyond what I could have imagined.
Rena: That’s so great. Do you find it helpful for you too, sort of in a therapeutic way?
Ali Prato: It's 100%. Oh my gosh. I feel like I've changed so much as a person. I mean obviously I'm still completely flawed in many ways, but compassion wise I think it's really helped me out in that way and like just knowing that seeing somebody on the subway, like before you get mad that someone took your seat or bumped into you, taking a minute to be like maybe they're going through something right now, you know, just looking at people with through different lens I think has really helped me like day to day.
Dara: Was it challenging to find people or do people come to you?
Ali Prato: It's been great. Thankfully I have like a backlog so I've actually had to email people and say, sorry, I know we did the interview a couple of months ago and it hasn't come out yet, but it's, you know, I have this embarrassment of riches, like it's a good problem to have that. There's been so many, which has been great. So I'm wrapping up my season one and I'm going to do all the ones that I've recorded so far. I'll probably take a couple of weeks off just like around the holidays and then we're going to come back with season two. So I have like some new programming ideas and some new kind of ways I'm going to talk to people and it's going to be great. So there's no stopping it now, thankfully.
Rena: That's awesome.
Dara: Yeah, just the beginning.
Ali Prato: Yeah, hopefully. I think so. Yeah.
Rena: I mean do you want to tell us more about sort of your story?
Ali Prato: Sure. Yeah. So let's see. So I, like I said, Ihad my daughter in 2009 and we didn't start trying for a couple of years, like I said. And then it was just once I had the first miscarriage, like I was kinda like, okay, you know, people have miscarriages, no big deal. But then when I had the second one and then the third like, then it was just, you get into that spiral like we were talking about where like you just start to feel really down on yourself. And I definitely had fertility or like infertility, depression. I did start seeing a therapist, which was super duper helpful. My husband and I have talked about this before so he won't mind, but we were really at odds and it was, it got a little dark at certain points in terms of having terms of having a baby. Yeah. You know, he is an only child and he was perfectly happy just having our daughter. And I totally get that. I really do. He just felt like he hated to see me in so much pain. And I think that it was hard for him too, when you don't have that need yourself, like to have another kid, like he would have loved to, but he saw that it was so hard and it wasn't happening. So I think he was like, okay, we're fine with just the one, but I couldn't bring myself to that point. Like I just, not that I wasn't happy with her and nothing against only children at all. I mean he's wonderful and his parents are both only children too and they're wonderful as well. But it was just for me, like I just, I couldn't shake the notion that I wanted to have another child. And part of it was like, I love being a mom so much. It's my favorite thing in the whole world. And I wanted to like do it all over again. Like I didn't want all the times that like, had I known that she would've been my only child, I feel like I would have made more of like a ceremonial thing of like, this is the last diaper I'm ever going to change or this the last time I'll push her in the stroller. But I didn't do any of that. So I felt like I didn't have that closure. Does that make sense or does that sound super weird?
Dara: I get that. I fully get that.
Ali Prato: Okay. Yes. So I just couldn't shake it. And I remember saying to him, because I, oh my gosh, I was so emotional and like crying on the floor in the bathroom and you know, literally like hitting the floor with my fists that certain point, you know, I remember calling when I was having another miscarriage and the nurse was like so flippant about it and she's like, yeah, you're probably having a miscarriage. And it's just like call us back in a few days. And I was like, thats it? It was so like rough and I remember like just being on the floor and be like, why does this happen? I felt like I was in a movie, like my own movie. But I do remember saying to myself at one point or saying to my husband, actually I wish that I didn't want this so badly. Like you don't understand. Like I wish that I could just be okay with not having another kid, but I can't, I couldn't, I just couldn't. And he finally he was like, okay, I understand what you're saying. Like I wasn't going to be fully happy unless we tried everything. Like, I didn't feel like I could go through the rest of my life not knowing that we'd tried everything. You know what I mean?
Dara: That was great that you're able to communicate that with him. And I mean it took a while and there was a lot of arguments
Dara: But the fact, you know, that you were able to get to that place and that he was able to get it.
Ali Prato: Yeah. And I think part of it too with him was financially, you know, we didn't have any insurance coverage on any of this. It was all out of pocket for us, which is crazy and that's changing thankfully. And a lot of companies now are doing so much more.
Rena: More work needs to be done
Ali Prato: So much more work needs to be done but a lot of, you know, improvements have been made in the last couple of years. But for us it was all out of pocket. And I think that was part of it too, was that I went in for a meeting by myself and I met Dr. Klein and left feeling very optimistic cause he was like, you're the perfect candidate. You know, I think we could do this. And I came home all excited and then Vince said, well I want to go in and talk to somebody. And it was kind of like he got like a bait and switchy kind of vibe financially. He felt like, because it was like, well here's what it's going to cost. But then it's also this and it's also that and it's, and I think he just left feeling like icky about the whole situation. So he came back and was like, I don't think we should do it. And I was like, what and that was the point where I was just like, I don't know if we're gonna make it out of this thing alive. We were like at such an impasse.
Rena: And a lot of people unfortunately end up there.
Ali Prato: Yeah. Yeah.
Rena: It’s very tough on couples.
Ali Prato: Yes. And that's the reason that I'm, you know, he's obviously agreed that it's okay for me to talk about all this and I do want to talk about it cause I think it's important cause people don't really share like it's so hard on relationships.
Rena: So hard, I mean physically, yeah.
Ali Prato: Oh my God. The sex on demand and like all of the awkward you know hormones.
Dara: That’s what I was going to say, the hormones. I don't think people always talk about how it could be different from cycle to cycle. It can be different depending on the medication and a person, but it's a whole lot on yourself.
Ali Prato: Completely
Rena: I mean I feel like I definitely have cracks in my marriage before, but I think going through infertility it was probably like what made the cracks just a giant crevasse and suddenly we just couldn't come back from. I think it was like that was it. You know, and I think so many people struggle.
Ali Prato: Yeah. I mean it's, it's that thing of like when people say when you go through a crisis, it either like bands you together or breaks you apart. Like I think it's common very common for it to break people apart. And I'm hoping to actually get more people on my show, maybe you'd like to come on to talk about it because I haven't had a lot of people talking about like how it kind of fractured their relationships and I think that's, I'd like to delve into that more because I think it's really interesting.
Rena: Yeah, sure definitely.
Dara: So that must've been a tough period. And then what was the change?
Ali Prato: Yeah, so I think that was like in the summer and I think it basically looking back at like my calendar and stuff, cause you know, you forget all the dates. Like there's so many things and I think I blocked some stuff out totally. For sure. Yeah. Like PTSD style.
Rena: There's so much PTSD and trauma that comes from it.
Ali Prato: Yeah, anyway, it kinda took me this summer to convince him like let's just do one round of IVF, you know, the doctor and I'd kept in touch and he was like, if you want to do it, I really think we could be successful. And so Vince said, okay, one round. And so then I said, okay, that's all I need. If it doesn't work then we're done. We can close this chapter. And it's kind of a relief, you know, like obviously I probably would've wanted to do more if it was up to me, but I had to make a compromise and he was compromising too. So we did the one round. I started taking the drugs I think in like early, like maybe March. And then I ended up getting, I think it was 29 eggs at my retrieval.
Dara: That’s incredible.
Ali Prato: But it quickly plummeted. It was like, no, it was like 13 the next day or two days later, three days, whatever. And then I ended up having five embryos that made it to blast that they could test. So we did the genetic testing and then only one embryo came back healthy.
Rena: Oh wow
Ali Prato: Yeah. Isn't that wild?
Rena: Yeah that’s wild.
Ali Prato: We had one embryo and I remember my doctor saying, you know, I want to be the one to do your transfer, but let's do a frozen transfer because it gives you a better chance. Like I guess it was specific to my body. It's different for everybody obviously, but he wanted me to kind of get back to normal and like the hormones back to normal a little bit. and then we're doing a transfer. So it was like another month of waiting.
Dara: That’s the hardest part.
Ali Prato: And I remember being like, oh, but it was like, you know, I don't want to mess anything up and I've been waiting this long. And what's another month?
Dara: I’m sure the anxiety was overwhelming.
Ali Prato: Yes, but I remember him saying that the percentage, cause he was very like statistically driven, which I loved. Cause as you guys know, there's so much in this journey that you can't control. So when you get numbers or like hard facts, and I know you do this a lot with your nutrition stuff, which is really good.
Dara: Yeah I am all about numbers.
Ali Prato: Yeah. It's helpful to have something to grasp onto. Yes. So he had told me, I think it was like a 60% chance of this sticking. And I was like, oh and I remember he's like, we're on the good side of a 50/50 bet. And I was like, okay, well that makes me feel good. Yeah. So anyway, we did the transfer and miraculously it worked.
Rena: Wow. That just gave me the chills.
Ali Prato: I know I gave myself the chills which is so weird.
Dara: You had a good support system with your doctor.
Ali Prato: He was awesome.
Dara: I think giving hope and support and positivity.
Rena: Totally. It sounds like you really had faith too and you were able to stay strong and positive.
Ali Prato: I mean, not all the time, like let's be honest, there was times, like I said, there was times when I was like on the bathroom floor sobbing, so it was a total emotional roller coaster. But I remember when I called and I came in to get the blood test to see if I was pregnant after the two week wait. And she was like, go home and take a nap. And I was like, oh, please.
Rena: Yeah who can sleep at a time like this?
Ali Prato: She was like I'll call you in six hours or six hours or whatever hours is what and it was the longest six hours of my life. I didn't sleep a wink. And then I remember she called and was like, congratulations, call us when you deliver. And I was like, that's it?
Dara: Did you feel any different? Did you have any inclination?
Ali Prato: I mean, I was completely floored, you know, I was completely excited, obviously, but also like super nervous and I don't think I ever relaxed the entire pregnancy. Really. Did you guys?
Ali Prato: Right? Like after going through all that.
Dara: Until the baby came out I wouldn’t relax.
Ali Prato: Right.
Rena: And then she came out and I was like oh that was it?
Ali Prato: Did you have a pretty easy birth?
Rena: Yeah. I always say I was blessed with the easiest delivery cause I went through so much crap to get pregnant.
Ali Prato: Yeah. So was it what happened with yours?
Rena: Nothing. 20 minutes.
Ali Prato: Oh wow.
Rena: That was it, I was like okay, no big deal.
Ali Prato: That's awesome. That’s so funny.
Dara: What about you?
Ali Prato: Um, I had a C-section with him as well, so I'd had one with my daughter cause she was placenta previa and breach and that he was also placenta previa. I think. Maybe, maybe I'm making that up. No, I think he was so they were just like, let's just do a scheduled C-section. That was okay with me. Yeah, I didn't have a problem with that.
Rena: Well, I think I stated with a lot of my patients and I always want to make sort of monitor them, you know, throughout their pregnancy, set them up as supports because I think you're at such an increased risk of anxiety after going through this because you see firsthand how difficult it is to get and stay pregnant. It's a very different experience than a few conceive naturally at home, one month, two months, whatever. So I think, you know, pregnancy through assisted reproductive technology is, it's very different.
Ali Prato: What kinds of things do you tell the people that you work with to do to stay calm? I'm just curious. Like what are the tricks?
Rena: Well, I mean it depends on the person and kind of what they're presenting, you know? But I definitely have sort of red flag markers I look for, you know, if someone's going to be at an increased risk of perinatal anxiety or depression, um, you know, because again, there's a fine line between being anxious and then being so anxious that you're not functioning in your life. Right? Um, so some level of anxiety is normal, but is it taking over your life that you can't function, you can't sleep, you can't work, you can't eat. That's very interesting. So you know, again, there's all sorts of sort of positive psychology and mindfulness breathing, um, anxiety techniques. And then of course the sort of very end of the spectrum is if someone really is not functioning, then you refer to a reproductive psychiatrist for medication.
Ali Prato: Oh okay.
Rena: Um, but again, it's their individual kind of the marker is, is it really affecting your quality of life that you cannot enjoy life and you're not functioning, you're not getting out of bed. That's no way to live like that for nine months. But I think I see most people that go through this are very scared and fearful. Pregnancy makes it a little bit easier.
Ali Prato: I think the word that one of you said earlier, both of you at one point was trauma. Like people don't realize it's traumatic. And you know what I mean?
Rena: It’s hard going from that mindset of trying to get pregnant and being an infertility patient to being pregnant. And the shift can happen, you know, very quickly or not quickly, but people often think that they, it's like, wait a second, now I'm pregnant, but just yesterday I was in this horrific two week wait. And I find the transition between the two is hard and keep our kind and especially when you're discharged from the clinic too, it's kind of like, remember when I was discharged from mine I was like hanging on for dear life. Yeah, I'll just, I'll do progesterone forever. I don't care.
Ali Prato: Totally.
Rena: You know? And you're kind of just left to go out in the world. It's like, wait a second, that as horrible as it may be you know to go to monitoring and all that stuff. It's very comforting.
Ali Prato: Yeah. That's a security. But getting those regular like ultrasounds or sonograms.
Dara: Yeah and there are check ins with the same nurse. And that's where the hard part is, is to stop having that support that's continuous. And that's why I do think it's also important to find a great OB/GYN that you can connect with and the staff also there that can help set you up to feel as best as possible.
Rena: And realize it's okay to ask questions. It's okay to call up. It's okay to ask things, right?
Ali Prato: Yes. Oh yeah. I was that annoying patient that was emailing every day.
Rena: Can I get my nails painted, can I get a spray tan?
Ali Prato: I've told this story before but I went on a hike. I was interviewing somebody for a magazine and it was a health based magazine and they wanted to take this actress on a hike and I would interview her while we were hiking and I was newly newly pregnant and she was a maniac and like did not want to stop, did not want to have water. And it was like, I think it was like a 90 minute hike and we're up in the Hollywood Hills or somewhere in LA and I was like sweating and panicking and like I was so pissed off at the situation and I like dropped her off at her house and I immediately emailed my doctor and I was like, I just went on this hike and I'm scared I killed the baby. And I remember he wrote me back within like five minutes and he was like, well I'm 100 times less worried than you are. And he was like get a big bottle of water and just rest for the rest of the day. Like you're going to be okay. But you know you have that fear. And I've talked to other people on my podcast too where they're worried they're going to like shake it out or like go over a bump in a cab like after you've gone through what we've all gone through, you're so paranoid.
Dara:After the transfer. That was my number one thing. After the transfer, I'd always go on Park Avenue and Park Avenue has bumps approaching 42nd Street and every bump.
Ali Prato: Yes, sorry Dara was that?
Dara: It just cost me all that money.
Ali Prato: I know, right? You're like, did I just screw it up? Yeah. So much anxiety.
Dara: Your body is much more resilient than you think.
Ali Prato: Right.
Dara: You know the doctors have told me that and it helps a little bit, but it's still that fear that underlying, fear yeah.
Ali Prato: I don't know if it ever goes away and then even after you have the kids, there's like a whole new set of anxieties.
Rena: So it never stops.
Ali Prato: No, it never stops.
Dara: I'm so proud of you with this podcast. Really. It’s grown.
Ali Prato: Thank you. You are one of my OG guests. Thank you for coming on and thanks to our friend Marissa for introducing us.
Dara: It's great that it really, it's grown in such a short amount of time. Is there anything that you want to see happen with this? So of course the book is that it?
Ali Prato: I mean the book is kind of on like the back burner for now. I just want to really keep focusing on this because the immediacy of podcast is so much better and so much more accessible. I mean, I have to be honest, I haven't read a book myself in so long, so to be out there and like working on a book and like touting a book and trying to sell, like I just, it doesn't feel right to me at this point, but I'm not, I mean that would probably be amazing as a writer. Like who doesn't want to write a book? Right? But yeah, I mean I think next season I'm going to start doing like a, he said, she said kind of interview where I'll do like a couple or it could be she said, she said or he said, he said, depending on what partners. So it'll be couples that have gone through it together, but starting with one perspective and then getting the other perspective.
Dara: I love that.
Rena: I love that.
Ali Prato: Because I think that's really interesting to see. Even if you've gone through the same thing, obviously your partner.
Rena: It’s so different for each partner.
Dara: Yeah and to hear it from their perspective. So I'm going to start doing more of those. And then, yeah, I mean, I have some other big things planned for next year, like I want to do, I don't want to give too much away, but there'll be like a big event that I'm working on with another woman in this fertility space and we're going to do like a big thing and try to bring a lot of people together.
Rena: Oh I love that.
Ali Prato: Yeah. So it seems like the possibilities are kind of endless and there's, this is affecting more and more people each day, as you guys know, you're in the thick of it with your jobs. So as long as we can all just keep supporting each other and like keeping the conversation going, it seems like it's gonna end up in a much better place than it was even five years ago.
Rena: Yeah I think so.
Dara: I’m proud of you. Breaking down the barriers.
Ali Prato:You guys too. This is great. You know, the more people talking about all of this stuff and I know you don't just deal infertility, but you know, fertility and forward thinking and innovations, like the more information people have, the better everybody is.
Rena: Totally. Knowledge is power.
Ali Prato: Yeah.
Dara: And access to support.
Ali Prato: Yeah. Oh, and that was one other thing. I know you asked me over email, like what's something you've learned through interviewing all these people and just quickly you have to advocate for yourself.
Ali Prato: That's like the common theme in everybody's story is like you just have to ask the questions. If you're not happy with your doctor or the carrier, find somebody else, it's like nobody's going to do it for you. So I think that's a really good lesson to learn.
Dara: People need to hear that. Yeah, that's wonderful. So the way we always end podcasts is we like to ask you about gratitude, what you're grateful for at this very moment.
Ali Prato: Okay. At this very moment, just being in the now I think is something I've really been working on and that I've feel grateful about. I have a soul cycle instructor, my friend Noah, who he'll always say like, what time is it now? And he's like, well, that moment just passed and now that one passed. And now that one past. And I think if you can just be in the thick of it, like nothing else matters. Everything's okay, and it's a really grounding thing that I'm grateful that I've learned how to do. When you're feeling stressed out about something or panicking about what might happen or what did happen, it doesn't matter. The only thing that happens is right this very second right now.
Dara: That's really important for listeners to remember, because a lot of times you think about your past experiences or you think about what could happen in the future and you're not living in the moment
Ali Prato: And none of it matters.
Rena: It doesn't. Right. Stay in the moment. Be in the now. Yeah, totally. I love that.
Dara: Rena, what are you grateful for?
Rena: I think today, you know, we talked a lot about our kids. I'm going to say I'm grateful for my daughter. You know, she had for her little spirit and her independence and her just her sweet little soul. And you know, I think, I don't know what the future holds for me and more children are not. And so just being in the now with that and with her and so grateful I have for, I'm so blessed to have her, you know, I think my life brought me to this point for a reason. I don't know where it's going, but I don't like to live with regrets. So just my present also.
Dara: I'm grateful for a lot of things, but at this moment I'm grateful for our mutual friend Marissa. Oh, who put us in touch and also for you who really sparked my interest in just the idea of starting a podcast and of course Rena, who really started it off also and brought it to my attention and realized that there, there needs to be more voices out there. Sharing stories, experiences, knowledge, just having that great support to help women and men who are going through whatever they're going through in the fertility realm.
Ali Prato: Yeah. Oh, I'm so happy I met you too. Thank you so much. Thanks for having me on guys.
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 at 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.