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IVF #3 Stims Day 2 and Update On Mom’s Surgeries – The 411

God Is Good

Today my mom had her surgeries at 2pm.  We arrived at the hospital at noon and checked in and then my mom had to go to Nuclear Medicine for a biopsy.  Shortly after we were taken back to her pre-op room and she was put into a gown and her IV was started.  They took her back shortly before 2pm and my sister, nieces and I sat and patiently waited and an hour and half later, the Oncologist/Breast Specialist, Dr. Feldman, came out and said the first surgery went well.  There were NO lymph nodes involved so she was ecstatic about that.  The plastic surgeon was now operating on her, removing the implant and putting in the tissue expander and it should be about an hour, if that.  At 4:10 pm, the plastic surgeon, Dr. Gartside, came out and said it went very well and that she would recommend we take her home in lieu of letting her stay overnight.  There is less risk of infection and no flu bugs floating around the house.  So she said when my mom wakes up, we can decide then.  We had to wait 2 hours to be able to see our mom.  We finally went back after 6pm and she was awake and we told her should could go home after recovery if she wanted, and of course she wanted to go home.  We got her dressed and they discharged her and we got her home and settled.

baby - IVF3 stim day 1

Tonight is my second night of stim meds.  I came in the house and mixed everything with the quickness and iced and injected.  Now, I will settle in, watch today’s soap operas then watch Law and Order Special Victims Unit and Criminal Minds.

Woo Hoo ! IVF #3 Stim Day 1 !- The 411

woo hoo the good news

At 3pm, I called the clinic to let them know I had baselines today and that I had not gotten a call. They noticed that the hospital had not faxed over my ultrasound nor blood work results so I gave her the synopsis.  My awesome nurse, Greta, placed me on hold, came back to the phone and told me that I would start stims tonight and she would put all of my instructions on the patient portal for me. I am as happy as a pig is slop !

baby - IVF3 stim day 1

Today was a bit harder with mixing the meds.  My protocol has changed quite a bit.  I am now taking 300 gonal f, 300 menopur, 20mg prednisone, 5 units Lupron, lovenox, and neupogen.  The hardest part was mixing the meds then injecting into each menopur vial and drawing back out to inject the next vial.  LAUD !

I managed to get it all done and had no pain when injecting the three shots.  Now I am burning up.  I now know what my mom meant when she was having hot flashes.  I feel like I have fire shut up in my bones, like they say in a Baptist church !  ‘Laud Jesus It’s A Fyah!”

Anyway, I am so glad to be on this journey once again and am keeping a positive outcome that my twin babies will be here in July !  Right now, they will have my niece’s birthday as a due date.   I think I need to whip my ice crusher back out and the grape syrup.  Feels like Summer !

I am going to rest up so that I can be bright eyed and bushy tailed tomorrow for my mom’s surgery.  Please send up prayers tomorrow at 12 when she checks in and at 2 pm when she goes in for surgery.

Nervous ! – The 411

baby - nervous

To say that I am as nervous as a hooker in line on judgement day is an understatement !  I went in this morning to the lab for blood work and then across the street to the women’s imaging center for baselines. I was sitting there hoping and praying that my almighty cocktail of Lupron injections, castor oil packs for an hour daily, and popping 4 maca root pills for the past week had done their job.  During my ultrasound, the nurse/tech said that there were no cysts on my right ovary and one little follicle on the left one.

I have been glued by my house phone and cell phone all morning and now it is 2:34pm EST and the clinic has not called me yet.  I am awaiting the dreaded call to say “V, you may start stim meds and the instructions are on your patient portal.”

Well, another minute has gone by and there is nothing new on my portal and no call as of yet.  I find myself checking the dial tone on each phone and jumping every time my cell phone beeps with a new FB, IG or email posting.  Pathetic, I know.  I will give them until 3 pm and then I am calling !  Wish me luck !!

Infertility Etiquette – The 411

baby - infertility

Infertility Etiquette

Chances are, you know someone who is struggling with infertility. More than seven million people of childbearing age in the United States experience infertility. Yet, as a society, we are woefully uninformed about how to best provide emotional support for our loved ones during this painful time.

Infertility is, indeed, a very painful struggle. The pain is similar to the grief over losing a loved one, but it is unique because it is a recurring grief. When a loved one dies, he isn’t coming back. There is no hope that he will come back from the dead. You must work through the stages of grief, accept that you will never see this person again, and move on with your life.

The grief of infertility is not so cut and dry. Infertile people grieve the loss of the baby that they may never know. They grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes. But, each month, there is the hope that maybe that baby will be conceived after all. No matter how hard they try to prepare themselves for bad news, they still hope that this month will be different. Then, the bad news comes again, and the grief washes over the infertile couple anew. This process happens month after month, year after year. It is like having a deep cut that keeps getting opened right when it starts to heal.

As the couple moves into infertility treatments, the pain increases while the bank account depletes. The tests are invasive and embarrassing to both parties, and you feel like the doctor has taken over your bedroom. And for all of this discomfort, you pay a lot of money.

A couple will eventually resolve the infertility problem in one of three ways:

  • They will eventually conceive a baby.
  • They will stop the infertility treatments and choose to live without children.
  • They will find an alternative way to parent, such as by adopting a child or becoming a foster parent.

Reaching a resolution can take years, so your infertile loved ones need your emotional support during this journey. Most people don’t know what to say, so they wind up saying the wrong thing, which only makes the journey so much harder for their loved ones. Knowing what not to say is half of the battle to providing support.

Don’t Tell Them to Relax

Everyone knows someone who had trouble conceiving but then finally became pregnant once she “relaxed.” Couples who are able to conceive after a few months of “relaxing” are not infertile. By definition, a couple is not diagnosed as “infertile” until they have tried unsuccessfully to become pregnant for a full year. In fact, most infertility specialists will not treat a couple for infertility until they have tried to become pregnant for a year. This year weeds out the people who aren’t infertile but just need to “relax.” Those that remain are truly infertile.

Comments such as “just relax” or “try going on a cruise” create even more stress for the infertile couple, particularly the woman. The woman feels like she is doing something wrong when, in fact, there is a good chance that there is a physical problem preventing her from becoming pregnant.

These comments can also reach the point of absurdity. As a couple, my husband and I underwent two surgeries, numerous inseminations, hormone treatments, and four years of poking and prodding by doctors. Yet, people still continued to say things like, “If you just relaxed on a cruise . . .” Infertility is a diagnosable medical problem that must be treated by a doctor, and even with treatment, many couples will NEVER successfully conceive a child. Relaxation itself does not cure medical infertility.

Don’t Minimize the Problem

Failure to conceive a baby is a very painful journey. Infertile couples are surrounded by families with children. These couples watch their friends give birth to two or three children, and they watch those children grow while the couple goes home to the silence of an empty house. These couples see all of the joy that a child brings into someone’s life, and they feel the emptiness of not being able to experience the same joy.

Comments like, “Just enjoy being able to sleep late . . . .travel . . etc.,” do not offer comfort. Instead, these comments make infertile people feel like you are minimizing their pain. You wouldn’t tell somebody whose parent just died to be thankful that he no longer has to buy Father’s Day or Mother’s Day cards. Losing that one obligation doesn’t even begin to compensate for the incredible loss of losing a parent. In the same vein, being able to sleep late or travel does not provide comfort to somebody who desperately wants a child.

Don’t Say There Are Worse Things That Could Happen

Along the same lines, don’t tell your friend that there are worse things that she could be going through. Who is the final authority on what is the “worst” thing that could happen to someone? Is it going through a divorce? Watching a loved one die? Getting raped? Losing a job?

Different people react to different life experiences in different ways. To someone who has trained his whole life for the Olympics, the “worst” thing might be experiencing an injury the week before the event. To someone who has walked away from her career to become a stay-at-home wife for 40 years, watching her husband leave her for a younger woman might be the “worst” thing. And, to a woman whose sole goal in life has been to love and nurture a child, infertility may indeed be the “worst” thing that could happen.

People wouldn’t dream of telling someone whose parent just died, “It could be worse: both of your parents could be dead.” Such a comment would be considered cruel rather than comforting. In the same vein, don’t tell your friend that she could be going through worse things than infertility.

Don’t Say They Aren’t Meant to Be Parents

One of the cruelest things anyone ever said to me is, “Maybe God doesn’t intend for you to be a mother.” How incredibly insensitive to imply that I would be such a bad mother that God felt the need to divinely sterilize me. If God were in the business of divinely sterilizing women, don’t you think he would prevent the pregnancies that end in abortions? Or wouldn’t he sterilize the women who wind up neglecting and abusing their children? Even if you aren’t religious, the “maybe it’s not meant to be” comments are not comforting. Infertility is a medical condition, not a punishment from God or Mother Nature.

Don’t Ask Why They Aren’t Trying IVF

In vitro fertilization (IVF) is a method in which the woman harvests multiple eggs, which are then combined with the man’s sperm in a petri dish. This is a method that can produce multiple births. People frequently ask, “Why don’t you just try IVF?” in the same casual tone they would use to ask, “Why don’t you try shopping at another store?”

Don’t Be Crude

It is appalling that I even have to include this paragraph, but some of you need to hear this-Don’t make crude jokes about your friend’s vulnerable position. Crude comments like “I’ll donate the sperm” or “Make sure the doctor uses your sperm for the insemination” are not funny, and they only irritate your friends.

Don’t Complain About Your Pregnancy

This message is for pregnant women-Just being around you is painful for your infertile friends. Seeing your belly grow is a constant reminder of what your infertile friend cannot have. Unless an infertile women plans to spend her life in a cave, she has to find a way to interact with pregnant women. However, there are things you can do as her friend to make it easier.

The number one rule is DON’T COMPLAIN ABOUT YOUR PREGNANCY. I understand from my friends that, when you are pregnant, your hormones are going crazy and you experience a lot of discomfort, such as queasiness, stretch marks, and fatigue. You have every right to vent about the discomforts to any one else in your life, but don’t put your infertile friend in the position of comforting you.

Your infertile friend would give anything to experience the discomforts you are enduring because those discomforts come from a baby growing inside of you. When I heard a pregnant woman complain about morning sickness, I would think, “I’d gladly throw up for nine straight months if it meant I could have a baby.” When a pregnant woman would complain about her weight gain, I would think, “I would cut off my arm if I could be in your shoes.”

I managed to go to baby showers and hospitals to welcome my friends’ new babies, but it was hard. Without exception, it was hard. Stay sensitive to your infertile friend’s emotions, and give her the leeway that she needs to be happy for you while she cries for herself. If she can’t bring herself to hold your new baby, give her time. She isn’t rejecting you or your new baby; she is just trying to work her way through her pain to show sincere joy for you. The fact that she is willing to endure such pain in order to celebrate your new baby with you speaks volumes about how much your friendship means to her.

Don’t Treat Them Like They Are Ignorant

For some reason, some people seem to think that infertility causes a person to become unrealistic about the responsibilities of parenthood. I don’t follow the logic, but several people told me that I wouldn’t ache for a baby so much if I appreciated how much responsibility was involved in parenting.

Let’s face it-no one can fully appreciate the responsibilities involved in parenting until they are, themselves, parents. That is true whether you successfully conceived after one month or after 10 years. The length of time you spend waiting for that baby does not factor in to your appreciation of responsibility. If anything, people who have been trying to become pregnant longer have had more time to think about those responsibilities. They have also probably been around lots of babies as their friends started their families.

Perhaps part of what fuels this perception is that infertile couples have a longer time to “dream” about what being a parent will be like. Like every other couple, we have our fantasies-my child will sleep through the night, would never have a tantrum in public, and will always eat his vegetables. Let us have our fantasies. Those fantasies are some of the few parent-to-be perks that we have-let us have them. You can give us your knowing looks when we discover the truth later.

Don’t Gossip About Your Friend’s Condition

Infertility treatments are very private and embarrassing, which is why many couples choose to undergo these treatments in secret. Men especially are very sensitive to letting people know about infertility testing, such as sperm counts. Gossiping about infertility is not usually done in a malicious manner. The gossipers are usually well-meaning people who are only trying to find out more about infertility so they can help their loved ones.

Regardless of why you are sharing this information with someone else, it hurts and embarrasses your friend to find out that Madge the bank teller knows what your husband’s sperm count is and when your next period is expected. Infertility is something that should be kept as private as your friend wants to keep it. Respect your friend’s privacy, and don’t share any information that your friend hasn’t authorized.

Don’t Push Adoption (Yet)

Adoption is a wonderful way for infertile people to become parents. (As an adoptive parent, I can fully vouch for this!!) However, the couple needs to work through many issues before they will be ready to make an adoption decision. Before they can make the decision to love a “stranger’s baby,” they must first grieve the loss of that baby with Daddy’s eyes and Mommy’s nose. Adoption social workers recognize the importance of the grieving process. When my husband and I went for our initial adoption interview, we expected the first question to be, “Why do you want to adopt a baby?” Instead, the question was, “Have you grieved the loss of your biological child yet?” Our social worker emphasized how important it is to shut one door before you open another.

You do, indeed, need to grieve this loss before you are ready to start the adoption process. The adoption process is very long and expensive, and it is not an easy road. So, the couple needs to be very sure that they can let go of the hope of a biological child and that they can love an adopted baby. This takes time, and some couples are never able to reach this point. If your friend cannot love a baby that isn’t her “own,” then adoption isn’t the right decision for her, and it is certainly not what is best for the baby.

Mentioning adoption in passing can be a comfort to some couples. (The only words that ever offered me comfort were from my sister, who said, “Whether through pregnancy or adoption, you will be a mother one day.”) However, “pushing” the issue can frustrate your friend. So, mention the idea in passing if it seems appropriate, and then drop it. When your friend is ready to talk about adoption, she will raise the issue herself.

So, what can you say to your infertile friends? Unless you say “I am giving you this baby,” there is nothing you can say that will erase their pain. So, take that pressure off of yourself. It isn’t your job to erase their pain, but there is a lot you can do to lessen the load. Here are a few ideas.

Let Them Know That You Care

The best thing you can do is let your infertile friends know that you care. Send them cards. Let them cry on your shoulder. If they are religious, let them know you are praying for them. Offer the same support you would offer a friend who has lost a loved one. Just knowing they can count on you to be there for them lightens the load and lets them know that they aren’t going through this alone.

Remember Them on Mother’s Day

With all of the activity on Mother’s Day, people tend to forget about women who cannot become mothers. Mother’s Day is an incredibly painful time for infertile women. You cannot get away from it-There are ads on the TV, posters at the stores, church sermons devoted to celebrating motherhood, and all of the plans for celebrating with your own mother and mother-in-law.

Mother’s Day is an important celebration and one that I relish now that I am a mother. However, it was very painful while I was waiting for my baby. Remember your infertile friends on Mother’s Day, and send them a card to let them know you are thinking of them. They will appreciate knowing that you haven’t “forgotten” them.

Support Their Decision to Stop Treatments

No couple can endure infertility treatments forever. At some point, they will stop. This is an agonizing decision to make, and it involves even more grief. Even if the couple chooses to adopt a baby, they must still first grieve the loss of that baby who would have had mommy’s nose and daddy’s eyes.

Once the couple has made the decision to stop treatments, support their decision. Don’t encourage them to try again, and don’t discourage them from adopting, if that is their choice. Once the couple has reached resolution (whether to live without children, adopt a child, or become foster parents), they can finally put that chapter of their lives behind them. Don’t try to open that chapter again.

(Source- Resolve.Org)

Pre-Surgical Tea for Mom – The 411

Tea for mom - october 2014

Today, we hosted a tea in honor of our mother to show our support for her upcoming surgery.  When my mom had cancer eight years ago, we started the tradition of hosting a tea for her.  Our mom collects teapots from all over the world.

Today, a few family friends came to high noon tea.  I spent the last two days baking.  The menu:

Orange Cranberry Scones

Buttermilk Scones

Current Scones

Cinnamon Breakfast Cake

Lemon-Vanilla Pound Cake

Vinegar Tarts

Gluten Free Brownies

Fudge Brownies

Chocolate Chip Cookies

Oatmeal Raisin Cookies

Cucumber Herb Cream Cheese Sandwiches

Chicken Salad Sandwiches

Egg Salad Sandwiches

Turkey and Italian Submarine Bites

Assorted Cheeses and Crackers

Wheat Herb Baguette Rounds

Assorted Teas, Honey, Lemon, Whipped Honey

Lemon Curd

Strawberry Preserves

Champagne Mimosas

My mother and our guests had a great time and the food, of course was awesome.  I love entertaining.  We are looking forward to hosting her “cancer-free” tea.

Time for my castor oil pack !!  Have a great weekend !!

Homemade Gripe Water – The 411

baby - homemade gripe water

I ran across a web article for new moms.  I found this very interesting, especially since I believe in giving babies ONLY organic products.  (Courtesy of mymerrymessylife.com)

Fennel Seeds

Fennel is a perennial herb found in the Mediterranean that is commonly used as medicine to treat colic in babies. Though it hasn’t been proven with scientific research, the anecdotal evidence says that it helps to relax the colon to release trapped gas and decrease respiratory track secretions (source: WebMD). According to my new fav book, Natural Healing Wisdom and Know-How (where to buy), Fennel also helps to decrease obesity, water retention, urinary tract problems, indigestion, and colic and it even has hormonal properties that can increase a mother’s milk supply.

Ginger

Ginger, like peppermint, is more commonly used to treat indigestion because it contains chemicals that relieve nausea and inflammation (Source WebMD). Other uses include motion sickness, gas and diarrhea. I also use it in my homemade cough medicine and find it works very well.

Dill Weed

Dill is also used to treat water retention, obesity, and indigestion. Fun fact – Native Americans chewed on dill seeds to curb their appetites during long church services! (Also found in my new fav book). There are some chemicals in dill that are thought to relax muscles and increase urine like a water pill (source WebMD).

Chamomile

Chamomile is one of those herbs that can help with a multitude of ailments – from rashes to ulcers and menstrual pain, it also helps with indigestion, anxiety and insomnia – all of which are perfect for tiny people and their tummies.

This recipe is very flexible – other herbs/teas that would work well include catnip and peppermint. The two most important ingredients are fennel and ginger

baby - homemade gripe water 2

How to Make the Tea/Gripe Water

With Tea Bags

Essentially, gripe water is just herbal tea and there are two ways I thought of to make it. The super easy way and the super duper easy way. The first one is just to buy (I like Traditional Medicinals herbal teas) ginger (where to buy), fennel (where to buy), chamomile (chamomile), and/or peppermint (peppermint) teas. Put them all in a mug, pour hot water over it and steep for at least five minutes. Then add 1 teaspoon of organic, raw sugar. Let it cool and refrigerate to store.

With Loose Herbs & Tea Bags

Fresh would be best, I suppose, but I’m a little too lazy and occupied with three under four to do that. So, I opted for loose, dried herbs and bags of tea (when I couldn’t find loose dry herbs) that I bought at the grocery store. I found Dill Weed (where to buy), Ginger (where to buy) and Fennel (where to buy) in the spice aisle, but it’s easier to find organic on Amazon. Then, I used bags of Lemon Ginger Tea (where to buy) and drank it a lot during pregnancy when I was nauseous) and Chamomile (where to buy) tea.

Just like in the picture below:

  • I put the tea bags in the mug and the loose herbs in the tea strainer (where to buy) and poured about 1 cup of hot water over all of it.
  • Steep for about 10 minutes or just until it starts to get more strong (and also potent, which is good).
  • If you find your’s is too strong and your baby doesn’t like it (cue really cute, squished up nose), then just add some water to dilute it.
  • Then, LET IT COOL! It’s common sense, but ya know, we all forsake common sense in moments of exhaustion with a screaming baby. So, if you need it fast, maybe throw an ice cube in it.
  • Add sweetener – You may find your baby will take it without sugar, but mine sure doesn’t like it. He does just fine when I add 1 tsp. of organic, raw cane sugar or coconut palm sugar.
  • DOSAGE – 1 teaspoon.
  • Refrigerate – to store and up to two weeks. HELPFUL TIP – I never use more than one cup of it in two weeks, so next time I make it I’ll put some in ice cube trays and freeze it. Then, thaw it under hot water when I need it.

baby - homemade gripe water 3

You Could Also Use…

Essential oils! They work wonderfully to calm fussy babies and rowdy children. I’ve used it with a lot of success on my kids.

  • Dilute 2-3 drops Fennel, German Chamomile, Melissa, or Marjoram in a carrier oil like fractionated coconut oil (where to buy), sweet almond oil (where to buy) or even grape seed oil (where to buy)
  • Use topically by diluting 1-2 drops in 2 tablespoons carrier oil of choice, and massage a small amount gently on stomach and back
  • Can also diffuse lavender oil in an aromatherapy diffuser while the baby is sleep to get the therapeutic benefits, or dilute and rub on the bottoms of the baby’s feet 2-4 times a day

Click here to buy the purest and most effective therapeutic grade oils I’ve ever used! Read my post on how to use essential oils for babies here!

Homemade Gripe Water for Colic in Babies
A recipe for traditional gripe water to ease stomach upset and colic in babies. Could help a person of any age, though!
Author: Sara – My Merry Messy Life
Ingredients
Instructions
  1. Pour hot water over all ingredients and steep for about 10 minutes, or until it starts to get strong. If you want to make more, add 2 or 3 cups of water and steep for 20 to 30 minutes.
  2. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks (label your jar)
  3. DOSAGE – 1 teaspoon or 5 ml

How to Purchase High Quality Essential Oils through My Merry Messy Life

IVF #3 Mission Cyst Destruction – The 411

castor oil packRemember me telling you that Estrace is the devil?  Well I have found a way to cast the devil (estrogen)and his lil imps (ovarian cysts) right up outta here !

I looked through my notes and remembered that doing the castor oil packs, taking 3000 mgs of Maca Root, not eating sugar, seafood, red meat, and staying away from caffeine are the natural way to get rid of ovarian cysts.  Maca root makes the body create more progesterone and off sets the imbalance of the overage of estrogen which causes cysts.

Diets that are “liver healthy” including consuming a ton of water, flush impurities and toxins out of the body and help reduce the fluid in the cysts.

Armed with this information, I am on a mission starting tonight to get rid of these little imps with a little assistance from Lupron !!  Wish me luck ! 🙂

IVF #3 – CD 3 Baselines and Cysts – The 411

baby - ovarian cyst

Today, I got back in town at 6:30 am just in time to make my 7:15 am check in for baselines.  I went and got my blood drawn and then had my baseline ultrasound done.

My clinic called to tell me what I already knew… I have cysts, this time on my right ovary and there are FOUR of those bad boys and they are the size of follicles a few days before trigger !  UGH !!!

Because draining them could result in them filling back up, they gave me the option to stay on the Lupron 10 units and recheck in a week in hopes that the Lupron will do it’s job and get rid of the cysts, or cancel this cycle and start birth control pills for a month to get rid of the cysts.  I will take Lupron for 500 Alex !  I rebuke this nonsense !  Estrace for some reason causes me to develop cysts.  I am going to pray really really hard that the cysts go away by next week so I can continue on this cycle.

The plus side to the cycle of stims being delayed is that my mom’s surgery is on Wednesday next week and this push back could allow her to go with me to Albany at the end of the month for retrieval and transfer !!!  #winning!

In other news, my mom and I had a great and relaxing trip this weekend.   I also met someone online who seems to be really nice. He is a doctor and lives in Washington DC.I am chatting with a couple of other guys who seem to be sweet as well, so… More to come….

All of my fellow blogger sistas, PLEASE send up some prayers, some fairy dust, baby dust, well wishes, and any other positive forms you can muster that these cysts go bye bye and I can stim and get these twins underway !! 🙂