news item: my effort to CTFD

Throughout my life, I’ve had a penchant to CONTROL ALL THE THINGS!!

This focus reared it’s ugly head when my birth plan of a pretty, quiet, candlelit water-birth went all to hell, and I found myself getting a C-Section.  It was a HUGE awakening which led to me starting to embrace the unpredictability of life with children.

I joined a mom and me group and realized there was a whole new realm to wound parenting.

  • Suddenly, I was surrounded by other first-time parents who avoided disposable diapers like they would personally cause the demise of all landfill controls. (THE TREES, Julia, THINK OF THE TREES, THE TRUFULLA TREES!! Do you hate rainbows?)
  • People shunned television like it boiled your brains, while I was hooked on the latest trial airing on HLN. (It’s wrong to watch Grey’s Anatomy with your toddler?  It’s EDUCATIONAL!  Don’t go out with McSteamy!!!!!!)
  • They read no less than 39485749 parenting books, and I was uneducated because I hadn’t. (CIO CAUSES DETACHMENT AND SERIAL KILLERS!!)
  • Formula was the devil, causing cancer, 6 toes and deformed eyeballs, while I broke out my Kirkland brand bottle.  (YOU DON’T BUY DONOR BREASTMILK????)
  • I gave my son cheerios, but ZOMG IT ISN’T ORGANIC!!!! (And not PRE-CHEWED????)
  • They avoiding giving their children finger paint because the WHITE ONESIES WILL BE RUINED. (Not to mention SKIN CANCER!)
  • “My child is the only kid not sitting up yet, she will be the only kid in college in a bumbo!!!” (Direct mommy quote from group.  Thankfully, 90% in jest.)

Suddenly moms were super worried because their 1 year old wasn’t walking, or saying two word sentences… or able to finish a simple calculus problem.  They had their kids in six different enrichment classes but worried that perhaps it isn’t to early to start Latin.  I bring up these points as a sort of irony.  These were the things I rolled my eyes at when I was a “young parent.”

Then I realized that my need for C’ing the FD was less apparent, a quiet and isolating one.

  • I was nervous to take my son out (What if he misses his nap window?)
  • I was concerned that he wasn’t saying any actual words at one (SPEECH THERAPY MUST BE NEEDED?!?!)
  • I didn’t want anyone to come babysit, because my dog is kind of a jerk and likes to jump in the fountain.
  • I hated having my mother up, because I felt I had to manage her, and also my son.  (And good god, when will I have time to clean the guest bathroom?)

This lead to a life of solitude for a long while. I didn’t want to go out… I didn’t want people over…  I found that my ability to form complex sentences (read; more than 2 words long) was severely diminished. My wit, developed from a couple decades of interactions with creative and fun people… died.

One day my husband sat down and told me “Julia, I don’t feel like I can invite my friends over, because I know how anxious you get… and it makes me sad.”

*BLINK*

That was a light bulb moment for me.  We sat down and had a very long talk about why I was so anxious in all areas of my life.  It boiled down to one thought:

“Things could go Terribly, Horribly Wrong.” 

This thought dominated so many parts of my life, and until I put a name to it, I just had no idea how much control it had over me.  Anxiety runs through my family, and I didn’t even realize I was anxious.  Anxiousness was a state of being, one that I didn’t know there was a way out of.

Relationships are messy.  Parenting is messy.

I needed to Calm the F*ck Down.

This mantra has been a turning point in my life.  My husband says that I have become a brand new person… One whom can acknowledge when things are going to be crazy, and embrace it.

I’m a mom who knows that at any point, Things Could Go Terribly, Horribly Wrong.  Chances are, nothing I do (or don’t do) will scar my toddler for life.  However, the absence of a moderately sane mom could cost me thousands in therapy bills.

*****

In what areas do you need to “CTFD?” 

What things do you worry about going “terribly horribly wrong?”

What are some of the silly things you worried about early on?  

What are some of the silly things you worry about now?

*****

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Julia, formerly a molder of young minds, has briefly stepped away from that task to manufacture a child of her own. Along with the standard baby accessories such as hands and lips, she is planning on installing chrome side-pipes, rollbars, and a bitchin’ spoiler. She is fending off accusations that Jesse James is the true father.

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the monday snapshot – Amanda

Amanda of Our Grisworld is going to open up the week for us with her contribution to the 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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Almost three years ago my husband and I started our TTC journey. We thought it would only take a matter of months….oh how naive we were. After months of negative pregnancy tests, failed cycles and chemical pregnancies something finally worked. We were able to welcome two new baby girls into our family three weeks ago today. I still can’t believe they are ours. It still catches me off guard when I see them laying in their sleepers, in the swings or even when I’m holding them in my arms. We actually have two children that are going to be with us forever. It’s just so hard to believe that they are actually our babies.\

I’m not sure how long this phase will last and when we will really start feeling like this is reality and not some dream we are living. We both are so in love with these two little girls and so grateful that they are ours to cuddle, console, and cherish.

I could sit around all day long with these two snuggled up on my chest snoozing away. I’m so thankful I get to be their mom.

Amanda

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

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

How long have you been blogging and how did you get started?: I have been blogging since January of 2012. My husband and I had been TTC for about a year and a half at that point and were about to have our first appointment with our RE. I spent a lot of time browsing other infertility blogs and reading about personal experiences with infertility procedures. I then decided I wanted to document our journey and use blogging as a way to connect with others who were also struggle with infertility.

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

Tell us a little about your ALI journey and your family (3-4 sentences).: We had been TTC naturally for a little over a year before we found out my husband had a severe low sperm count and that there was a very low chance we’d conceive on our own. We attempted two IUIs which were both negative. Our first IVF cycle and FET from that cycle both brought early losses. We gave IVF another try and it brought us our twin girls. We are due in July of 2013. We also have two fur-babies: our cat Ivy and dog Sadie.

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

What makes you unique in the blogging world? (e.g. special talent, rare diagnosis, life experience)?: I try to post about topics that others who are pregnant in the ALI community can relate to. I love seeking advice from other mammas and posting about my experiences with twin pregnancy and am hopeful that others find my posts informative and helpful.

4) One word to describe yourself: 

affable

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

Currently, I love connecting with other Twinkie mammas. But, one of my favorite IF blogs to date has been my pal, Stupid Stork. She is hilarious and all her posts are so fun to read.

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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 Amanda of Our Grisworld.

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

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PAIL Book Club vol. 5: No Regrets Parenting posts

Here are the posts for our No Regrets Parenting installment of the PAIL Book Club! Feel free to link to your post about the book in the comments and we’ll get you added to the main post listing here. Join the discussion by commenting on everyone’s posts!

Writing Prompts:

  • What, if anything, did you find particularly useful about this book?
  • How did this book influence how you think about parenting or how you approach busyness?
  • What parts of this book you do disagree with and why?
  • The author keeps talking about time, time time with your kids. I know a lot of us at PAIL have young toddlers, and I’m wondering what others do with their kids in this age range. Sometimes when I have the whole weekend, at some point I feel like I run out of ways to keep everyone entertained.
  • What kinds of things do people do to “double dip” as is discussed in this book?
  • Do you have child activity limits or do you let your child sign up for everything like the “potpourri” parent described? If your kid(s) is(are) young, what are your plans?
  • How do you make time for yourself if you are focusing on spending time with your children and keeping up a demanding career like the author describes?
  • Frequently people tell parents to “enjoy every minute” while their kids are little, and at times this book has that sort of feeling. What do you think about this advice and how can you make it practical as a part of your life?
  • How do you keep track of your child’s activities? Do you find it helpful or hard to see what you might be missing?

Blogger Submissions:

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guest post: “New Chapters”

Julia‘s post “New Chapters” was originally posted on her personal blog, 3 Bed, 2 Bath, 1 Baby. It is being re-posted in its entirety here today with her permission. She had originally submitted an article to us regarding “The 5 Stages of Infertility Grief,” and we asked her to do the write up on it. Enjoy!

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I’ve been absent from the blog for a while.  And though I thoroughly enjoy the Toddler Town Updates (fear not, another is coming) I have something more serious to talk about today.  The state of the Uterus Address is back.

We’ve been trying since the new year for our second child.  We’ve kept it fairly quiet, as the pressure from family and friends of “Are you pregnant yet” took a VERY big toll on me emotionally and physically when we were trying for Ethan.  So, we’ve quietly been plugging along, hoping to have a second child.  My heart has been aching every 40 days as we learned yet again I wasn’t expecting, and I’d have to go through yet ANOTHER round of hoping and disappointment. It seemed like everyone in my moms group was expecting again, and I just felt… so left behind.

We put a limit of trying for one year for baby #2.  Neither of us wanted to go down the road of cascading infertility interventions, and NOBODY wants to see me on Clomid again.  My poor husband lived with an overheated girl in the middle of winter.  Snow was on the ground, and I had to keep the windows open.  But we both felt like we “should” try for another.

We kept it secret, except for a very small group of friends and family… because I didn’t want to pressure of “you’re drinking water… IS THERE SOMETHING YOU WANT TO TELL US?”  “Well you’ve had one, so the second will be easy!”  “You’re SO YOUNG.”  (Can we all have a collective sigh here?  *SIGH.*)  A co-worker even said “Well, you can just adopt! And plus you’ve had one, so the second will be easier!!”  I wanted to cry.  But instead, I smiled and said something like “Yeah, that’s not how it works. But thanks.”  She went off to teach her class, and I sat and cried.

When I originally read this article, we were in the midst of trying.  I related with so many of the stages of grief listed in relation to IF that it hurt.  Since then, the course of our lives has changed.

DENIAL: 6 cycles passed with us trying. Obviously, HPT #50 is wrong, I must pee on another “non-faulty” stick!!!!  I’m sure that’s just spotting from implantation, right?  Those crampy feelings must be that too.  And the sick feelings? Definitely NOT from overeating sushi.  Nope.

ANGER: The highs and lows of hopes going up and being dashed again and again started to take their toll.  As a sexual assault survivor, trying for a baby is triggering, and the idea of intervention again was also triggering… and then one day, we both just sat down, and the topic of baby #2 came up.  We waffled between trying and not trying for so long, I’m sure my friends in my mom group were sick of the “yes we are-no we aren’t” game… so I loathed to change again… but something happened.
We both sat down and said simultaneously  “I don’t think we should have another.”  We went through all the reasons why Ethan was enough to complete our family.

And this time it was so… easy to make the choice.

BARGAINING:  When we decided to try for baby #2, we went through many reasons in our mind as to why it was a fantastic idea.  “Ethan will have a brother!  We LOVE kids!  Won’t it be cool when it’s Christmas and we hear two sets of pattering feet?  Permanent playmates are awesome!  Only children are spoiled and lonelyyyyyyyy!*”   (*I was silly to buy into this one, I’m an only and neither lonely nor spoiled.)

But this time it was so… easy to make the choice.

DEPRESSION: Perhaps the guilt of it being so hard to have Ethan got me thinking that I HAD to try for another.  All that work, and stopping only at one?  You are supposed to have a brood to make up for all the medication, the trials, the ultrasounds, the surgery, the miscarriages… YOU MUST YOU MUST. YOU SHOULD YOU SHOULD.

But, it was so… easy.

ACCEPTANCE: For the past two years, I had been interested in being a Doula.  The “maybe” of #2 was keeping this dream on the back-burner.  Things just kept popping up, as if the Universe was saying “Julia, you CAN stop.  It’s okay.”

– Moms in my moms group started talking about wanting me as their Doula… I could get my practicum birth requirements completed.
-A Doula friend of mine had potential room to include me in her Doula business, giving me immediate access to clients, a friend in the business, a mentor, a partner…
-My birthday money would be almost to the penny what I’d need to get the required workshops paid for.
-A mom friend wanted to give me her library of birthing books.

It went on and on.

Nothing my husband and I have ever done has been the battle that baby #2 was. Nothing that has ever worked out for us  was this struggle and back and forth we endured.  We strongly both feel that the Universe gives us the path, and sometimes we just have to surrender to it instead of battling it. Though I spent a while mourning the loss of the baby that would never be, it was different.  More of an acknowledgement of my feelings, and excitement about the next phase in my life.

And it was so… easy.

I can’t tell you enough about the peace I now feel.  Knowing that at least for the next few years, but possibly forever, the pressure of tracking every cycle, scrutinizing every feeling I had, is over.  I look at Ethan in a new way.  In a “this is the only time I will have a child this age.”  I don’t believe in the Carpe Diem motto of parenting (because I don’t want to carpe today’s diem of him grabbing his diaper, pulling it above his head and smearing poop on his face… can you blame me?) However, I have a new focus on him.  I’m no longer planning for the baby that might not be, I’ve refocused on the one I have. Our family is complete, and I finally realized it.

It is a page I’ve turned.

And it was the best thing I’ve ever done.

*****

Where are you at in the 5 stages mentioned above?

Have you found yourself moving back and forth through the stages during different times in your ALI journey?

*****

Share. Visit. Read. Comment. Support.

Julia, formerly a molder of young minds, has briefly stepped away from that task to manufacture a child of her own. Along with the standard baby accessories such as hands and lips, she is planning on installing chrome side-pipes, rollbars, and a bitchin’ spoiler. She is fending off accusations that Jesse James is the true father.

news item: DNA repair gene BRCA1 helps keep egg cells young

New research is showing a link between the BRCA1 gene (the “breast cancer” gene) and infertility. An article published by http://www.medicaldaily.com reports researchers from a NIH funded institute found that the BRCA1 gene, in its functional form, aided in the repair of female egg cells, keeping them from self-destruction.

As female eggs age, DNA damage occurs. The body has mechanisms to help repair these eggs, but eventually those mechanisms wear out as we age, and our eggs are no longer able to be repaired and they self-destruct. Enter menopause. However, for some women menopause occurs much earlier than anticipated and/or they are told they have relatively low egg reserve at a very young age. What causes this to occur?

Researchers looked at the role the BRCA1 gene plays in DNA repair for eggs of lab mice. In this study researchers turned off the genes, including the BRCA1 gene, associated with repairing damaged egg cells:

The research confirmed that a fully functional BRCA1 gene is extremely important to women’s health. Mice with non-functional BRCA1 genes were less fertile, had fewer oocytes, and had more double-stranded DNA breaks.

What does this mean for infertility? Will testing for BRCA1 defects become part of a standard infertility workup? Will women with a history of breast cancer in their families be encouraged to have some infertility testing done sooner rather than later, say checking egg reserve in their mid twenties?

We hope you will read “DNA Repair Gene BRCA1 Helps Keep Egg Cells Young” and let us know what you think.

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Have you been tested for BRCA1 defects? 

Should women with low ovarian reserve be tested for the BRCA1 defects?

Conversely, should women with history of breast cancer be encouraged at a young age to undergo infertility testing along with BRCA1 testing?

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PAIL headshotChandra is a Mom and Foster Mom. She holds a Master’s degree in Theology and is particularly interested in the theology of infertility. Chandra grew up in the Northeast but she and her husband are raising their daughter in the middle-of-nowhere Indiana. She has 3 chickens that drive her crazy, a huge garden, and a penchant for bacon. She occasionally attempts to make sense of all those things, and more, over at her blog, MetholicBlog. She also shares embarrassing stories about her husband and unicorns.

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