Thursday, June 20, 2013

Stats, Data and Minimalization

This morning I tuned into Good Morning America and found my favorite morning crew discussing a new article in Atlantic Monthly titled "How Long Can You Wait to Have a Baby?". Of course my ears perked up to hear about fertility being addressed on such a public and popular forum. If you haven't read the article yet, please do. Jean Twenge expostulates the "myth" that women have decreased fertility after the age of 35. She points to new studies and research that suggest that healthy women are just as likely to conceive if intercourse is timed appropriately between the ages of 35 - 39 as they are from 19 - 26 and that the studies suggesting otherwise are pre-victorian, dated, and rubbish.

I'm not a scientist, reproductive endocrinologist, or statistician, so I will not argue with the information she's bringing to light in the article. I will point out that even if everything she's saying in the article checks out and "healthy" women have been having self-induced baby panic over their ticking biological clocks for years for no good reason, this still does not address the 1 in 8  who are not "healthy" reproductively. It minimizes women who struggle with infertility and those stats are crystal clear. 7.3 million people in the US alone are battling this disease.

Ms. Twenge is one of the lucky women who waited until after 35 to start a family and did so with ease. She conceived her children without the staggering expense of ART and had happy, healthy pregnancies. I'm thrilled for her (seriously, not being sarcastic here). My fear is that this new research and her article will give women who do not know that infertility lies in their path a false sense of hope that they can continue to wait and will have the families they dreamed of when they are ready. 

Towards the end of the article Twenge does acknowledge that no data is perfect and that if women are concerned about their fertility they can check out "new (albeit imperfect) technologies" to freeze their eggs. It comes in as an afterthought to a piece that (to me at least) screamed "Don't worry, all those doctors and crazy infertile people are wrong! They're a minority. You can have your family on your terms and your time."

I married at 27 and six months into my marriage began trying to conceive. At 29 I found out that my ovarian reserve and egg quality were more suited to a woman 40 years old. I certainly did not expect this news (no woman does). I honestly thought I didn't have to worry about egg quality until I was at least 40. I mean, celebrities are having babies at 42 all the time right? I sincerely hope that this article does not lull women into a false sense of hope. You may be lucky and conceive at 37 after a passionate night and too much red wine, but you should also face the fact that at 34 you may conceive after investing nearly $40,000 with your spouse shooting you in the ass every morning along the way. 

Monday, June 17, 2013

First Ultrasound!

Today was our first ultrasound since finding out we are pregnant. I have been anxiously awaiting this day for a long time and things seemed to move in slow motion all morning. Once we arrived at the clinic and they called me back, there were multiple stops before the ultrasound room. Blood work, vitals check, weigh-in, urine sample...all steps between me and the opportunity to see my baby. When we finally made it back to the ultrasound room the sonographer stepped out so I could get undressed from the waist down. I always wear a dress on ultrasound days, drop the undies and you're good to go! I'm not one to waste time, plus every time I haven't worn a dress I'm always mid-undress when they tap on the door and I do that awkward "Just a second!" yell and hobble over to the table and the modest cover of my paper blankie. Of course today I was on the table in 20 seconds flat and today was the day they gave me PLENTY of time to get settled.  C'mon!  Show me my baby! :)

Anxiousness and impatience aside, it was a really beautiful appointment. We were able to see our precious little bean, the yolk sac, the bulge of the teeniest tiniest heart and a beautiful rapid flash of white on that black and white ultrasound screen for every precious heartbeat. Yeah, I cried big fat happy tears. Little Embry now measures 1 cm (about the size of a blueberry) and has a healthy heartbeat of 145 bpm. We get to go back for another ultrasound in two weeks to see how things are progressing and at this appointment we'll actually get to hear the heartbeat and not just see it. 

Tonight I will sleep soundly knowing that our little one is safe, healthy and growing. This week Embry will develop arms and legs and in addition to that tiny heart also has an appendix, intestines, a pancreas and liver. Hello tiny miracle. I'm in awe of you!

Saturday, June 15, 2013

The DH

My DH (Dear Husband) and I have been married almost 7 years and together for almost 8. We had a whirlwind courtship and married one day shy of knowing one another for a year. He is handsome and has a razor sharp sense of humor, just two of the big reasons I decided to hitch my wagon to his. In addition to looks and humor, he's incredibly smart and capable of figuring out just about any home improvement project which is fortuitous since our 1971 charmer is in frequent need of repair. Today, in fact, he is finishing off the install of a new bathroom vanity which required him to run new pipe and fix a leak. Nothing is ever as easy as originally planned. 

I don't have any particular reason for writing this post other than the fact that I woke up this morning with a major crush on my husband. Even after "all these years" I still have moments when I look at him and get that nervous feeling in my stomach. Our journey through infertility, while challenging and heart-rending, has brought us a closeness that I'm not sure we would have experienced otherwise. He is truly my confidante and best friend and I can't imagine going through this with anyone else. 

Ken never ceases to keep me on my toes and surprise me. While I devour information on pregnancy and busy myself reading Dr. Oz's YOU: Having a Baby before bedtime my husband is more stealthy in his preparations. He recently mentioned that he thought we should invest in a new washer and dryer. While I would love a new washer and dryer, I'm fine with our current set, they're not new or high-efficiency, but they still work. Ken replied that we would need a better set since we are going to be washing and drying cloth diapers soon. Turns out he has researched the cost/benefit analysis on cloth vs. disposable. Gotta love a man with a mathematical mentality. :) 

He has been a rockstar nurse through all of this and still administers my shots each morning with TLC and a dose of silliness. If he catches me trying to pick something up or carry something (usually something well within my limits, I must add) he takes it from me and says, "no baby, you're pregnant" which after 6.5 years of trying makes me giddy. I'm thrilled to be married to a man who not only wants children, but desires to be a REALLY good father...and it doesn't hurt that he still makes my heart flutter.

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

Why Google is Evil

I feel like I just need to put this out there. I'm having a love/hate relationship with the internet and I have been for a while. I love the instant accessibility of information. I love being able to keep in close contact with friends and family from out of state, and I love the outlet that my blog provides. But the internet has a dark, devious underbelly and some of the main culprits are message boards.

I've never been pregnant before so it's no surprise that I have a TON of questions. Every twinge, wave of nausea, lab report and night sweat fills my mind with queries. Is this normal for early pregnancy? Is this anything I should worry about? My nurses are awesome, patient women and bear the brunt of my questions with an easy grace, bless them. Even though I have a team of RNs accessible with a quick email, I sometimes succumb to the dark side and "Google It" and I am ALWAYS filled with regret.

If you Google anything with the keywords "early pregnancy" you will find sites and message boards chock full of stories about how whatever symptom you are experiencing is a sign of miscarriage, the apocalypse or both. I'm pretty sure if you Googled "Ingrown toenail early pregnancy" you would find a horrific story about someone who miscarried because they put off a trip to the podiatrist. 

The convenience of all this information at our fingertips is not all it's cracked up to be. Our mothers didn't have the internet to look up their symptoms and satisfy their neurotic tendencies. They had their mothers, OBs and friends. They hoped for the best and probably didn't worry nearly as much as the rest of us do. I remember in my first consult with my RE, my doctor's best advice on coping with infertility and the ensuing treatments was "Stay off the internet." I definitely think there is some middle ground for compromise here so I've come up with the following plan of action:

  • Do not Google every symptom. If it's concerning, email your awesome nurses and put it out of your mind.
  • Stay positive and in the moment. I will kick myself if I spend my entire pregnancy plagued with worry and not savoring the fact that I am, in fact, expecting.
  • Admit when you have an addiction to information and share this with those in your corner so they can keep you in check. :)

So with that, I move forward. I will strive to overcome my addiction to Google. I'll work to separate my anxiousness and desire for a healthy baby from becoming a full-blown neurotic lady, and I will focus on enjoying each precious moment of this much hoped for pregnancy.

Sunday, June 9, 2013

Half of a Third?

This Tuesday will mark our sixth week of pregnancy, halfway through the tumultuous first trimester and 1/6 of the way to a baby six years and over $40K in the making. Of our handful of friends and family who know we are expecting, I'm often asked how it's going and how I'm feeling. Thus far, the main symptom has been fatigue. Around 1:30 each day I REALLY want to take a nap and on the weekends, I do. On weeknights I find myself nodding off to whatever television show we are watching around 8:00 pm. It isn't even dark out, and I'm ready for bed. No "morning sickness" as of yet,  but I have experienced some mid-day nausea. I'm pretty sure I looked like a crazy person last Friday walking to lunch. Everything I smelled made me want to gag as I walked through Downtown Denver. It is not a notoriously smelly city, but strolling past alleyways, hot dog vendors and businessmen with too much cologne was about all I could stand. 

Overall, I'm feeling good, the lumps in my rear have gone from golf-ball sized to a more manageable nickel or quarter size and I have only had one-night of hard core night sweats. Side note, I had a funny realization the other day when looking through my texts with my husband. If someone didn't know we were doing progesterone injections, they might think they had stumbled upon the missives of a couple into some strangely kinky and passionate stuff.  The sheer amount of texts exchanged having to do with my posterior were staggering.  I think I should password protect my phone lest someone think they have the transcript for the next E.L. James novel.

Right now, our little bean is actually a legume. He or she is lentil-sized and is developing at a rapid rate.  In one more week we will have our first ultrasound where we will anxiously await to hear little Embry's heartbeat. I'm going to go ahead and call it that I will be a weepy mess when we hear that quick galloping horse sound on the doppler. Not to go all Oprah and The Secret on you, but I'm keeping my head in a positive place.  No doubting. We're going to hear a healthy heartbeat. Period. :) 

So that's the latest on our first half of our first third of pregnancy and as it is now 1:15 on Sunday, I am readying myself for a little afternoon siesta. 

Saturday, June 1, 2013


When I first met my husband, there was more of me to love. Like 30 pounds more. He met me while I was in the midst of my weight loss journey and didn't mind the extra curvature. :) One thing he was worried about was my sweet tooth. Even though I was losing weight and working at making healthier choices, I still LOVED me some sugar. Ken never needled me about my sugar intake, but as I started to cut back on the sweets (sodas and other items with high fructose corn syrup), he expressed his relief.  He was worried that I would become diabetic.  

I still have a sweet tooth, but the monster is in check, especially since we are pregnant. I'm reading labels more closely and really trying to make the best choices when it comes to what I put into my body. No more Dr. Pepper, no more white chocolate soy mocha's from Starbucks, but somehow it doesn't seem like a sacrifice. Life is sweet enough as it is.  My day was made even sweeter by Em at Teach me to Braid, when she nominated me for the Super Sweet Blogger Award! I found Em's blog during National Infertility Awareness Week and began following her. She has a remarkable story and shares it with a tender transparency. Beyond that, she is one of the most encouraging people I have never met in real life. ;-) 

Here's how this works, I need to do the following:

  • Thank Em for her sweet nomination (check!)
  • Answer 5 super sweet questions (see below)
  • Include the Super Sweet Blogging award image in my post (check)
  • Nominate other bloggers

Super Sweet Questions:

1) Cookies or Cake? This one is a tough call, but I'll go with cake and a specific one, my family has a favorite cake for all special occasions and it's super easy to make:

Peanut Butter Cake:
1 Super Moist Yellow Cake Mix
1 Cup of Peanut Butter
1 Cup of Sugar
1/2 Cup of Milk
  • Bake the cake mix according to the box instructions, I think the best is when I do it in a bundt cake pan, but sheet cake or cupcakes will work just as well. 
  • For the Icing: In a sauce pan on Medium/High heat mix peanut butter, sugar and milk until it comes to a slow boil and the sugar smooths out.  Pour the icing over the cake....enjoy the deliciousness!

2) Chocolate or Vanilla? If we're talking ice cream, I always vote vanilla and Blue Bell Homemade Vanilla is where it's at. Trust me.  Hands-down, the best ice cream you can buy in a store.

3) Favorite Sweet Treat? Anything including Oreos.  Plain cookies out of the sleeve, delish! Oreo cookie shake from Chick-fil-A, divine.

4) When do you crave sweet things the most? Usually around 2 - 3 in the afternoon while I'm at work. Lunch has faded and few things sound better than a bite of chocolate or a cookie!

5) Sweet Nickname? I have several thanks to my husband. The first was "sweet-pea" which has evolved into a plethora of versions which are too silly to list and quite frankly, embarrassing to admit that I answer to!

Blog Roll of Super Sweet Bloggers
I'm relatively new to the blogosphere since I just started OBG in March of this year, but I have been so touched by the outpouring of blogger love from the IF community. I don't have a full dozen to list, but these three women have been a tremendous source of information and support!

My Path to MommyhoodI know it sounds creepy to develop an attachment to someone you only know through the written word, but Jess is my donor egg soul sister! She and her husband are embarking on IVF with egg donation and her blogs have given me such comfort knowing that I'm not the only one out there with these thoughts and emotions.  

Dreaming of Dimples: Jessah is embarking on a new treatment journey right here in Colorado and I couldn't be more excited  and hopeful for her! Show her some love and wish her the best!

Genuine Greavu: Amanda is transparent and tenacious. I look forward to her posts every time I log-on. She is kicking off an IUI cycle and I have my fingers and toes crossed for success!