news item: PAIL news!

So if you follow any of us on the twitter (our twitter handle is @pailbloggers) you may have already heard ‘our’ news. SRB of little chicken nuggets gave birth to her GORGEOUS baby M.alcom on Jan 28th. We are so happy for SRB, big brother HGB and hubby BJB! Also we are super proud and excited that SRB was able to fulfill her birth preferences and was the BOSS of birthing. (Actually, in a group email, I joked that she “birthed the sh*t out of that baby” but I feel that may convey the wrong sentiment.)

For a peak at the newest PAIL kiddo check him out here and here. Isn’t that smoooooshy face to die for?! Congrats and much love to SRB!

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news item: organic food and you

A couple of months ago the American Academy of Pediatrics released a report offering their perspectives on organic foods as it relates to children. The news agencies at first proclaimed that the AAP was recommending organic diets for all children and women of child-bearing years. But in actuality the report is pretty unclear. The AAP does state very firmly that “nutritionally” there is no difference in vitamins of organic versus conventional (not-organic) foods.

But. It does state that,

“In terms of health advantages, organic diets have been convincingly demonstrated to expose consumers to fewer pesticides associated with human disease.”

And in regards to antibiotic use in meat production,

“Nontherapeutic use of antibiotic agents in livestock contributes to the emergence of resistant bacteria; thus, organic animal husbandry may reduce the risk of human disease attributable to resistant organisms.”

And what struck me the most was this statement:

“Although chronic pesticide exposure and measurable pesticide metabolite concentrations seem undesirable and potentially unhealthy, no studies to date have experimentally examined the causal relationship between exposure to pesticides directly from conventionally grown foods and adverse neurodevelopmental health outcomes.”

There have been NO studies proving that the level of pesticide exposure we get from eating non-organic foods is safe. Yet they admit that this exposure seems “undesirable and potentially unhealthy.” What is further upsetting, to me at least, is that they have studied the workers who harvest this food and apply the pesticides to the crops. These workers, often migrant workers, have experienced negative side effects and their children, who were exposed in the womb as their pregnant mothers worked, showed intelligence and attention issues later in life. Further in this same paragraph, (which I could just quote the whole thing but won’t), is the fact that when they were looking at the concentration of pesticides in the urine of these farm workers, the levels were in the SAME RANGE of the urine tested of non-farm worker children participating in a conventional vs. organic food intake study.

This news item is the actual study released by the AAP, it is dense and it is at points hard to read because of the technical terminology. But had I not read it, and just read the write-ups about it, I would have totally missed what I feel is critical information. There are studies linking pesticide exposure to neurological disorders and chronic long-term exposure has been associated with cancer, depression, Parkinson’s and a host of other issues.

That all being said, there is also reality. Organic food and free-range meats are expensive. We recently moved to a rather rural area where our local grocery store caries about 5 items total that are organic. And the organic milk at this store is $5 per half-gallon. It is very hard for us to eat all organic, and we simply cannot afford it. This is the case for a lot of families I imagine. We do use a guide called the “Dirty Dozen” that list the top twelve produce items that have the highest level of pesticide residue. We have committed to buying those items organic only.

My husband and I are committed to giving Stella as much organic food as possible, and the same for ourselves. This means that our weekly grocery bill has increased by about $20 a week. That’s not pocket change for us. We have had to cut back on other things. But for us we would rather spend more on organic and less in other areas of our life. It’s all about choice.

Please read Organic Foods: Health and Environmental Advantages and Disadvantages. It’s long and dense, but I’d urge you to especially read the section titled “Pesticides.” And then tell us what you think.

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Do you eat organic foods? What are your reasons for or not?

What are your thoughts on the AAP study?

Do you feel organic food should be a “right” or a personal choice?

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featured post – thoughts from a DE mom

Most discussions about donor gametes focus on technicalities– finding known or unknown donors, the origins of the reproductive disease causing ovarian failure, the manipulation of hormones and the uterine environment, the careful timing of transfers. Fewer discussions center around projected fears and the emotions surrounding the use of donor gametes– in fact, I think you’ll hardly see any unless you’re reading the blogs of people who have used donor gametes, and if you’re not reading those blogs, I would almost guarantee that you won’t see a thing written anywhere about what that experience is like after the child is born.

KS from Inconceivable!?!?! POF Journey, a self-described DE (donor egg) mom, wrote a refreshingly positive post about her experience as the mom of a toddler and another on the way through donor gametes:

I realized I haven’t mentioned my thoughts on DE in quite sometime.  And to be honest with you it’s because I seem to forget for the most part… Yes I am still very aware that Lola and I share no DNA, but there are still such similarities between us that it’s very easy to forget.  She seems to have my personality….  I don’t look at her and see her donor, I look at her and I see my miracle.  My Lola.

For us the idea of using a donor wasn’t even something we really had to discuss.  We both really wanted to experience the whole pregnancy thing.  The expanding belly, the kicks, the appointments, the cravings, etc… It was something we had both dreamed off…  And having DE as an option and the IVF technology available to us is just amazing.

The reason I call this post “refreshing” is, as I said above, because outside our blogging community there isn’t much said about the “after” of donor gametes. It’s only those who use donor gametes and write about it later who contribute to that portion of the story– and really, pregnancy is just nine months or less. What about the entirety of raising a child after the pregnancy is over? There is so much more to the story than just genes and IVF. (Sidebar: I think there are many parallels here to the adoption process as well– that child may not have your DNA, but that’s probably not the first thing on your mind at the dinner table when your child is ten and you’re just doing normal Mom stuff like giving him a lecture about turning his homework in on time. Parenting and love have nothing to do with DNA.) Here, KS shares with us how daily life with her daughter has made DE and genetics fade into the background of her parenting journey.

KS acknowledges that there is a downside to her experience, but it’s unrelated to donor gametes and sounds more like the general infertility experience:

I’m not going to lie to you and tell you that there aren’t days where I am still very saddened by our journey.  But it doesn’t have anything to do with DE.  The reason I have sadness is because of the amount of time we lost trying.  And the amount of tears, sleepless nights and the financial burden my diagnosis put on us.  And the one thing that makes me really sad is that it took us so long to end up at the right clinic and find the right donor for us.

I think most of us can agree with that. For my part, I’m glad everything worked out as it did and I ended up with my beautiful girls, but certainly things would have been much easier if we hadn’t tried on our own for nearly two full years without success before starting treatments with our RE.

Pop on over to Inconceivable!?!?! POF Journey to read “Thoughts from a DE Mom” and other posts by KS. As always, comments here are closed so you can send your messages straight to KS on her blog.

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the monday snapshot – traathy

This week, Traathy of Happily Ever After (and one of the PAIL contributors!) is going to open up the week for us with her contribution to The Monday Snapshot – an evolution of the MMM feature, meant to bring the PAIL blogroll to life by giving its members a chance to feature themselves and make new connections.

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

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GOOD MORNING WORLD!!!

This past month has been I-N-S-A-N-E!!! I went back to work after a year and oh wow – HOLY ADJUSTMENT!!! It’s been good though. Super hard to leave Ky in the morning but it’s somehow working. Phew! Part of my adjusting has been limiting my internet time when I get home because I only get about 3 hours with her once I pick her up and reading & writing has gone downhill like mad on the blog front. Hoping to find my groove sometime…oh about Spring Break or errr…summer perhaps?!?! 😉

This past weekend was just amazing. We had a huge party for Ky’s first birthday and holy cow…everyone (and I mean EVERYONE) showed. We had two hours of fun at a little community centre room around the corner from our house and it went off just perfect. Ky’s entire birth family (minus birth mom who was out of town) came and introductions went off without a hitch!!! My mom’s head did NOT fly off her head when introduced to her birth grandmother 😉 More details over on my blog later today!

Oh ya, it was my 35th yesterday too…so really. BEST BIRTHDAY PARTY EVER!!!

And because I get to be master and commander of the Monday Snapshot…here’s a couple pictures of the party.

"holy crap, why have I never had sugar before??"

“holy crap, why have I never had sugar before??”

Birthday girls!

Birthday girls!

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Now, get to know a little more about ME with my answers to the Monday Snapshot “5 Questions”:

1) How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?

I started blogging almost two years ago in January of 2011 after lurking on a few blogs who’s authors were dealing with recurrent pregnancy loss. One night I just sat down and started typing. Over the course of the next four nights I wrote out almost two years of our hell. Once I started typing I just could not stop. It was the most about of positive therapy that I’ve ever had to date. It was like I finally allowed myself the opportunity to comprehend and believe that our recurrent losses had actually happened. I’m pretty sure I was in denial before that. I don’t blog as often as I did before but I write when the lightning strikes or I get all riled up about something 🙂

2) Tell us a little about your ALI journey and your family (3-4 sentences):

This is always a hard one for me to answer because it’s complex as all hell. In short, we started our journey wanting to adopt OR do IVF w/PGD so as to eliminate the Huntingtons gene that is in my husbands family from being passed onto any children we might have. We decided we would try the IVF route once and then proceed with adoption if it didn’t work. I had like ZERO eggs respond to the higest dose of IVF meds and our cycle was cancelled before egg retreival. Insert freakout only to get pregnant naturally the next month and promptly decided that we’d take the 50/50 risk of HD for a healthy baby regardless. Unfortunately at 21.5 weeks we found out a multitude of things were wrong with our daughter (none of them being Huntingtons) and we were forced to have a second trimester abortion in June of 2010. Those of you who have been through recurrent loss know that despite whatever hell you have been through you will try again – and so we did three more times with no success. In April of 2011, in the midst of our fourth loss we registered with a local adoption agency and when we were finally done with the paper work it was four months later that we were matched with a birth mother locally. Just 11 days after meeting her was the birth of our daughter on January 29th, 2012. We are in a fully open adoption with our daughters family learning the ropes as we go. We’ve never learned why biology never worked for us but we just plain ole’ don’t care anymore. We feel like we have our “meant to be” and don’t dwell on the past anymore.

3) What makes you unique in the blogging world? (e.g. special talent, rare diagnosis, life experience)?

I don’t think I’m very unique in the blogging world. I try my hardest to be as honest as possible and I never hold back when I write. I’m an opinionated jackass most of the time but I’m also that girl who will talk to you about the ALL shit you’ve been through despite how uncomfortable it may make other people.

4) One word to describe yourself:

Sincere/jackass (my husband agrees)

5) What blog or website (IF or not) would you recommend to others? Why?

Ok. So when I met my husband I told him this: “I hate cooking. I’m gonna tell you now that I will never have dinner on the table after work so you better be okay with cooking all our meals”. Verbatium. Luckily, he’s one hellava an Italian cook and enjoys it. MMMM baby. My secret is this: I do love “occasion” cooking. Like the kind where you GO ALL OUT. Holiday dinners, birthday dinners, special treat days. I’m all over it. Why, becasue I love the attention!!!! People are always like “remember when you made that “insert awesome meal here” and I LOVE IT. Yep, I’m that big of a jackass. The turkey from 2008 has been brought up every year at Christmas since 😉

I recently discovered Clockwork Lemon (oddly from my 21 year old little cousin) and I LOVE her recipes. There is no “fat free” nonsense on her blog – just some awesome damn good food 🙂

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As always, we want to see your Monday Snapshot as well, so please comment below with a link to your post– and of course, go visit Traathy at Happily Ever After!

If you would like to be featured on The Monday Snapshot, please sign-up here!

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weekly summary, vol. 33

PAIL Special Announcements:

  • Last week, we launched a brand-new addition to the PAIL world: the PAIL Facebook page! We are very excited about this new endeavor and we would like to announce our winner of the FB contest is lucky comment #3, Erin S.! Erin wins a voucher for 3-bars of handmade soap from ‘Next to Godliness Soaps’ and will soon be finding all excuses to go shower with these amazing soaps.
  • Speaking of Facebook…we have had some people express their desire that our Facebook page be converted into a “Secret Group,” a category of group on Facebook that keeps your membership and comments completely private. We at PAIL strive to ensure that everyone feels comfortable to participate in the projects we do. We would like to highlight the differences between a “page” and a “secret group” and then let you tell us what you prefer.
    • A “page” is a public group in which people on your “friend list” can see that you “like” this page and see what you post to it. One of the things we at PAIL liked about the page format is that it is searchable, so if someone is looking for parenting-ALI resources, our Facebook page would pop up in a search. This would help us reach out to more people and people who might like to participate in such a community but who do not blog. The downside is that for our anon-bloggers or PAIL members who keep their blogging life and Facebook life separate, would not feel comfortable participating or would have to create a “dummy” account to participate.
    • A “Secret Group” grants us all total anonymity. That also means that we are not “searchable” or able to be found by a random person looking for parenting-ALI resources.
    • We at PAIL would like to stress that our preference is to meet your needs/wants. So in the interest of that, we would like to know your preference. Please take the poll posted below (you can only vote once) and tell us your preference. We also realize that we may not meet everyone’s needs and wants for this particular endeavor and understand if you choose not to participate.
  • Don’t forget to sign up for our next book club! We are reading “Simplicity Parenting.” Sign up here!

PAIL Posts This Week:

  • Traathy kicked off our week with this Monday’s Snapshot featuring our very own SRB of Little Chicken Nuggets. Check out HGB making pizza like a BOSS!
  • SRB posted the participant list for our monthly theme post, “where do babies come from?” Check out all the great posts on this topic!
  • Jules shared a great news piece that looks at the issue of blogging about your kids and lines we draw about our own personal blogging. Are you a “put it all out there”, an anonymous blogger, or somewhere in between? We’d love to know what you think on this topic. Check it out in: news item: blogging about your kids.

PAIL Featured Post: Josey shared with us a feature post by Julia of 3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Baby that speaks of that moment when we realize we’ve done it, we’ve come full circle, we have that long-awaited child. Our journey may not be over, but we reach a place where we can look back and take in the view. Julia shares with us how that moment was in visiting her RE’s office with her son. We hope you’ll read, Full Circle, and maybe share your ‘moment’ of coming full circle.

New to the Blogroll:

  • Jules: Life with twins (born April 2009) after 5+yrs TTC & countless IVF cycles.
  • I Won’t Give Up:  After 18 months, numerous IUIs and 1 IVF, we are finally pregnant with our first! Due: September 3, 2013.
  • Bee the Change: Parenting after IVF – currently battling melanoma. A self-proclaimed neat-freak, ketchup lover, and I color sort my M&M’s before I eat them. Born February 2009.
  •  {My}Perspective: Being a mom after 2 years of TTC, one IUI and the IVF that gave us our baby boy! Born November 2012.
  • Xavier & Alice Anne: LDS adoptive mom of one, hoping for two. Thoughts on marriage, race, and whatever else! Born March 2011.

Stay Connected:

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