Coping with Infertility: Celeste’s Journey through Song and Art

My name is Lauren Gaynor and I am a senior at Michigan State University studying English and Professional Writing. I am the new undergraduate research assistant for The ART of Infertility project and I am overwhelmed and excited by the fact that I have the opportunity to share some of these stories with you.

The first story that I am about to share is reflective of Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. Although Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month is in October, we still felt it important to share this story of Celeste who is all too familiar with this kind of loss. Celeste shows us how she copes with these experiences of loss through art and singing.

The ART of Infertility first met Celeste at the Tri-State Walk of Hope this past September. As we packed up our tent, Celeste shared with us her recent experience of infertility and loss – the passing away of Robin and Rosa.

Celeste Image

Celeste has coped with her infertility through her love of song and expressive art.

After trying to conceive unofficially since September 2011, Celeste officially began trying in June 2012 and has been working with a reproductive endocrinologist since 2013. Six intrauterine inseminations, four in vitro fertilizations and 3 transfers all resulted in negative pregnancy tests, with the exception of her pregnancy with Robin and Rosa.

She conceived a set of twins on November 11, 2014. Unfortunately, she suffered an early pregnancy loss with son, Robin, on December 22, 2014. After being diagnosed with congenital heart disease, her daughter Rosa joined Robin on May 29, 2015.

Celeste channeled her loss and grief through art and music and we asked if she would like to share some of her pieces for a special blog post. Inspired by the work at the Carly Marie project, Celeste captures her loss, grief and journey through her reflections and artwork. The artistic pieces featured are meant to foster Celeste’s connection with Robin and Rosa, express her grief and emotion and continue on the hope of her journey with infertility.

Piece #1

Celeste Piece 1

Celeste shares, “I made this piece as a part of the Carly Marie “Capture Your Grief” photo healing project. The project is meant to help bereaved parents move through their grief during Pregnancy and Infant Loss Awareness Month. The top for Day Three was ‘In Honour.’”

“I started with pencil and paper, and thought about my twins. How would l like to honor them this day? The pencil sort of took over, and out poured my heart on paper. I then finalized the piece in ink.”

According to Celeste, the heart surrounding their names represents infinite love while the Gemini zodiac is for Rosa’s name and the Capricorn zodiac is for Robin’s name. The heart below their names represents their conception date. The infinite love that Celeste has for her babies is shown through the border of hearts surrounding the piece.

“When I look at it again, it makes me think of the Petri dish in which fertilization occurred. There is so much love and beauty in that moment, even if the environment was clinical and scientific.”

Not only is Celeste an artist but she is also an avid singer. Therefore, she inserted text inside of the heart that displayed the lyrics to songs that she sang to her babies while they were in the womb. Celeste would sit in their nursery and sing “You Are My Sunshine” (Traditional), “I Will Wait” (Mumford & Sons), “Human” (Christina Perri) and a plethora of others. Their memory is engrained in the song, art and spirit of Celeste’s intentions through this piece.

Piece #2
Day 11: Glow In The Woods
Celeste Piece 3


Glow in the Woods captures the grief and pain of losing her children. Although their memory lives on in some of her pieces, grief will still sometimes overtake the joy of their memory. It seems that this grief is related to being lost in the woods. “At first, I feel terrified and abandoned. But then, I look around and catch glimpses of light to find my way back home. My family is my life. John especially. With each passing day, he helps me see the light. He is my glow in the woods.”

Celeste compares IVF and ART to the thorny brush of the forest encapsulating and trapping her. These seem to be suffocating rather than setting her free. Celeste states that this is the infertility forest but, “the glow in the infertility forest is the thought that I have the power to decide when enough is enough.”

No matter what Celeste has her husband by her side. If all of the work and intrauterine inseminations and in-vitro fertilization doesn’t result in a child, it will be okay in the end because as Celeste says, “My husband is by my side and love is all I need.”

Piece #3
Broken Dreams
Celeste Piece 2

Despite all of the love and support throughout the process of conceiving, Celeste shares that it was difficult to remain hopeful throughout all of the broken hopes and dreams.

“Infertility and loss have changed my whole world. I used to be a reckless daydreamer and thought that the sky was the limit. Now after experiencing 6 failed intrauterine insemination cycles, 5 failed in-vitro fertilization cycles and the loss of twins, I am afraid to dream.”

This piece truly captures the dark cloud that seems to overwhelm all of the love, support and persistence that Celeste dealt with during her infertility. Despite the hopes and dreams of Celeste, reality seemed to take over and create fear and depression in place of her dreams.

Piece #4
Dark + Light

Celeste Piece 4

Despite broken hopes and dreams, Celeste reminds herself, that there is always sunshine on the horizon. Celeste proves that hope doesn’t always fade and love is all that she needs to persevere through the pain.

This intention captures giving birth and the pain, grief and joy that accompanied Rosa’s life. “Giving birth to Rosa made me realize that without pain, there would be no joy. The physical pains of labor and delivery were intense. But the moment the nurse placed her in my arms, the pain lifted from my memory and all I could see what sunshine.”

The contrast of the dark clouds and bright sunshine bring to life the beauty and struggle of Celeste’s infertility. “The dark storm cloud represents the pain and negativity that infertility brings to my life. The fear and doubt of my childhood dream which is in question.”

The unknown darkness of not being able to fulfill a dream is frightening and beautifully captured by Celeste’s artistry. Celeste’s art shows that for her despite the darkness, there is always hope behind the clouds. “The sunburst behind it, again, is the joyous and beautiful things to come from my infertility struggle. The hope that, at times is mostly concealed, continually tries to break free. The sunshine, while we cannot see it every day, is always there.”

Infertility is…How I’ve Met Some of My Favorite People.

At the RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association Tri-State Walk of Hope last weekend in New Jersey, we brought out our “Infertility is…” cards again and asked those in attendance to share their thoughts. When I was looking through them this week, the first thing that popped into my head about my own experience with Infertility is how it’s brought so many amazing people into my life. We had a chance, after corresponding via phone and email with them over the past year or so, to finally meet some of those amazing people in person at the Walk.

infertility is robin and rosa

There are too many to count, and I don’t get to keep in touch with most as often as I would like. However, each of the people I have met along this journey mean so much to me. There are those who share their stories with the project, reminding me that I’m not alone in my journey.  There are late night exchanges of advice with support group friends via Facebook messenger and emails from people around the world sharing art they have created during their infertility journeys. There are the doctors and other infertility professionals who have opened their doors to us to learn more about the project and those sharing their time and talents with the ART of Infertility community by presenting art and writing workshops. I’ve found an amazing network of incredible people, passionate about their desires to build their families, and passionate about helping others do the same.

infertility is an inaccurate label for the journey

So, this week, I’m sharing some of the new cards from the walk with you and asking you, my infertility friends, to share with us what “Infertility is” to you. What makes the experience so hard? What are the silver linings? Is there anything surprising that has come out of your experience? One of my favorite, surprising, outcomes of the ART of Infertility project is having the opportunity to connect the friends I meet along the way to each other so they can build a bigger network of support.

infertility is exhausting

Is there anything else you feel you need extra help with or support for that we could help you with? Are there things you would like to see ART of Infertility offer that we don’t currently? We’d love to hear from you, our friends in infertility and art!

infertility is humling


Tri-State, NJ Walk of Hope

Maria and I met when we both attended RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association’s Advocacy Day in Washington, D.C. in May of 2014 and quickly bonded over the fact that we were both peer-led support group hosts for the organization. RESOLVE’s signature fundraising event is their Walk of Hope, which takes place around the country.

The ART of IF will be at the Tri-State walk in New Jersey on September 12. We’ll be a community sponsor, to help further RESOLVE’s wonderful work in advocating legislation that helps those with infertility build their families. Our table will have examples from the exhibit on display and we will be doing mini interviews for that project. We’re also putting together a fundraising team. Let us know if you’d like to join us!

Jenna Marinelli is the chair of the walk this year and we’ve asked her to tell us some more about the walk and her personal reasons for walking through our blog this week. Thanks, Jenna, for sharing your story!


RESOLVE: The National Infertility Association is hosting the 1st Annual Tri-State Walk of Hope and we are looking for you to join us!!

The Walk of Hope is RESOLVE’s signature fundraising event. This is a community event that recognizes the many ways in which families are built, supports local support services and programs for the 7.4 million men and women living with infertility. A Walk of Hope event represents the infertility journey—a series of small steps, each one filled with hope and a reminder that no one with infertility should walk alone. One Morning, One Mile, One Community.

Local facts:

  • More than 992,000 women in the Tri-State area (New York, Connecticut, New Jersey and Pennsylvania) are impacted by infertility.
  • There are only 30 peer-led support groups in the Tri-State area.
  • New York, New Jersey and Connecticut have insurance mandates for fertility coverage.

After participating in the Washington, D.C. Walk of Hope for past 3 years, I am honored to be the Chair of the inaugural Tri-State Walk of Hope on September 12th, 2015 at Overpeck County Park – Ridgefield Park Area in New Jersey. This event gives me the incredible opportunity to connect with others struggling with their own infertility, often silently and alone.

Jenna has raised the most for the Washington, D.C. Walk for multiple years. She's now taking her energy to NJ as the Tri-State walk's chair.

Jenna has raised the most for the Washington, D.C. Walk for multiple years. She’s now taking her energy to NJ as the Tri-State walk’s chair.

My story dates back to June 2010, exactly one year after marrying my high school sweetheart, when I was diagnosed with Premature Ovarian Failure at the age of 26. POF is defined as the loss of ovarian function before the age of 40. It occurs in 1 in 1,000, or 1%, of women between the ages of 15 and 29, with the average onset being 27 years old. Currently, there is no cure and no proven treatment that can restore the normal functioning of the ovaries or fertility. Women with POF are recommended IVF with donor eggs or to pursue adoption. POF also has lifelong health implications beyond fertility, particularly with regard to cardiovascular and bone health with greater risks for developing osteoporosis, estrogen deficiency and heart disease.


As of today, my infertility “resume” includes 3 failed IUI’s, 4 cancelled IVF’s using my eggs, and 1 Donor Egg IVF that ended in a Chemical Pregnancy. We do not live in a state that mandates infertility coverage (PA), so we pay out of pocket for everything. This is why we need everyone’s help raising awareness to infertility, so hopefully one day there will be more options & treatments available for couples faced with this disease. We are currently gearing up for our next cycle using Frozen Donor Eggs! I hope that sharing my journey can bring awareness and help even one person. I am a survivor! I will beat infertility!

Please join me for this walk so that no one struggles alone. Registration is free and all are welcome to attend. Both teams and individuals may register. The Walk of Hope also offers fun and activities for all ages. All funds donated will go directly to RESOLVE to further its work. Visit our website today at

The walk will be held at the beautiful Overpeck County Park.

The walk will be held at the beautiful Overpeck Country Park.

Other ways to help

Follow the Tri-State Walk of Hope on Facebook and Twitter.

We need talented, dedicated, and hard-working volunteers to plan, promote and implement the Walk of Hope. For more information, please contact Jenna Marinelli at for details. Volunteering for the Tri-State Walk of Hope is a great way to support the hundreds of thousands of people diagnosed with infertility and have some fun! Each year we rely on the generosity of dozens of volunteers to create a very successful event for the infertility community.

To sponsor the Tri-State Walk of Hope please contact Jenna Marinelli at or Jenlene Nowak at 703.556.7172. Our sponsoring partners are very important to RESOLVE’s Walk of Hope. Your support of this event will allow RESOLVE to create a great day for all those choosing to walk with us. Plus you’ll show your clients and customers that people with infertility matter.